Put a demand on it

Luke 18:35-43 (AMP) As He was approaching Jericho [on His way to Jerusalem], it happened that a blind man was sitting beside the road begging. Now when he heard a crowd going by, he began to ask what this was [about]. They told him, “Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.” So he shouted out, saying, “Jesus, Son of David (Messiah), have mercy on me!” Those who were leading the way were sternly telling him to keep quiet; but he screamed all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” Then Jesus stopped and ordered that the blind man be led to Him; and when he came near, Jesus asked him, “What do you want Me to do for you?” He said, “Lord, let me regain my sight!” Jesus said to him, “Regain your sight; your [personal trust and confident] faith [in Me] has made you well. Immediately he regained his sight and began following Jesus, glorifying and praising and honoring God. And all the people, when they saw it, praised God.

I am in the process of watching the Chosen series for the first time. If you have not seen it, I recommend it. It does take some creative licensing to fill in the blanks on what could have happened behind the scenes. It is not one hundred percent Bible, but neither was the Ten Commandments nor the Prince of Egypt. I like it because it gives personality to those that Jesus ministered to. It gives personality to His disciples. I do not know if this particular encounter is portrayed, but I hope so.

One of the things I like about the series is that it also does flash backs to other stories in the Bible, like the time Moses fashioned a snake on a pole. What they are doing is showing the character and nature of God and how Jesus did what He saw His Father doing. Jesus is showing us that as a man (He laid down His deity for us) His ability to heal was because of the Holy Spirit. Which we now have (Acts 1:8).

My question to you: is healing still for today? I believe it is. I believe it and have experience healing first hand. It did not come by the laying on of hands, as there are times for that. Mine came through drawing on the anointing of corporate worship. Jesus spoke to the man, “your personal trust and confident faith in Me has made you well.” The only time I have missed a service for being sick was when I was COVID positive. Other than that, I have been there (I have missed for being of town). If I could not play the bass, I entered into worship and drew off the anointing. I have been there with sinus infections; I have been there after COVID still recovering; I have been there when my joints were sore. Why? You sometimes have to be in a faith building environment to put a demand on the anointing.

This may not be you. You may say that is condemning to those that do not come when they are not feeling well. I promise you, I am not. I just want to stretch your faith a little bit. When I got saved I told God that I wanted everything that He had for me. I had to put a demand on it when I did not feel like it. I had to put a demand on it when family told me I was being a little too radical with chasing after God. I had to put a demand on it when I was called names that did not match my character. Jesus was called a heretic and a false prophet. The Messiah had stones thrown at Him! What did He do in return? He went to the Father and sought Him for the next town, the next person and the next water stirring event.

I am just stirring up the waters a little bit. Ezekiel 37 is one of my favorite passages to stand on for healing. Why? Because it is illustrative. Verses 1-4: The hand of the Lord was upon me, and He brought me out in the Spirit of the Lord and set me down in the middle of the valley; and it was full of bones. He caused me to pass all around them, and behold, there were very many [human bones] in the open valley; and lo, they were very dry. And He said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” And I answered, “O Lord God, You know.” Again He said to me, “Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord.’

Why is this significant? First off, the hand of the Lord was upon Him. Did you know that when you seek His face that His hand is right there? Ezekiel was placed in the middle of the valley. When we are going through times that we do not see a way, those can often be seen as valley moments. When we do not feel like it. This valley was full of human bones. I look around during the day and I see human bones, just going through their next task. I see human bones that are not really alive and free, just dry. This part I love, how many people did God call “Son of man?” The only other time we read “Son of man” is when it is in reference to Jesus (in Daniel, Matthew, Mark, Luke and Hebrews). To me this is a shadow of the Holy Spirit and the power available to mankind.

Lastly, what does God tell Ezekiel to do? He said to prophesy and tell those dry bones to hear the word of the Lord. God told Ezekiel to put a demand on His Word. When we prophesy (not future telling, but speak His Word) we speak power packed words through a power filled man or woman of God. I put a demand on the Word and it will come to pass.

For what purpose? To turn this world upside down. It is to glorify Him. It is to open eyes and awaken other dead men so they many glorify God. Why do I believe healing is for today? Because there are still dry bones. We need to get out of the grave, take off the grave clothes and step into freedom. Put a demand on His Word!! Do not be ashamed to call after the name of Jesus!

Father, I thank you that when you sent your Son, you sent Him just for me. I speak to these dry bones whether it is in my mind, in my physical body, in my emotions, in my spiritual growth or in my feeling of being unworthy. I believe You see me. I speak do these bone to live. I speak strength to these bones and my mind. I choose to glorify You in everything I put my hands to. I put a demand on Your Word. I believe Your Word is truth and life giving. Just like in Ezekiel, if there are times of correcting and mourning, I willing take it upon me and let it be a sweet taste to my lips. I choose freedom today! I choose to look for the best in others and seek the best for them. You are my strength and my shield. I praise You! In Jesus Name, Amen.

Two Forty Somethings at Disney

Malachi 2:15 (MSG) God, not you, made marriage. His Spirit inhabits even the smallest details of marriage. And what does he want from marriage? Children of God, that’s what. So guard the spirit of marriage within you.

Every year my husband and I do a message called “Love Sunday.” This year the message will take place on Sunday, February 13th. It is something we started when Valentine’s Day fell on a Sunday, once we became lead pastors, and we have continued it ever since. In preparation, I usually spend a month before studying and getting as much material together as possible. We do not just need to teach this, we need to be doers (as we have), but we needed to step it up a notch.

This year my husband and I will be married twenty two years. That is a long time for some. To me, it is just the beginning. My grandparents were married for over sixty years before they passed away. One thing I remember about them, even after the kids had grown up and left, was they sat down together for breakfast every morning. When I was a little girl, I remember my grandfather would come in from working third shift at the mill (he worked in the boiler room); my sisters, and sometimes along with our cousins, would have stayed the night with our grandmother. I would be the first up and join them at the table for coffee and reading the paper (they gave me the comics section). I noticed that my grandmother would not just fix him something to eat, she would sit down and join him at the table. They continued this even when he retired.

When was the last time you just spent time with your spouse? My husband and I got to do just that this past week. We were scheduled to take a cruise to the West Caribbean. This trip was originally planned for May of 2020, to celebrate our twentieth anniversary. As we all know, Covid detoured that. We rescheduled it for Spring of 2021, but the cruise industry still had not started back up again. We scheduled it again for this month. Covid stopped us again and we decided to take that money and just drive down to Orlando, Florida. My husband and I went to Disney World without our teenage boys. We called on my mom to be with them at night and left those boys at home. My husband had already taken the time off, so we were not going to stop our time alone again.

We had the most fun! Disney as an a grown couple, without kids, is quite an experience. We got to act like we were goofy teenagers again. Considering we started dating when I was fifteen and he was eighteen, this was like an old hat. We rode all the different rides. We got to experience new things. We flirted with each other. We got to spend every moment together from sun up, to sun down, for seven whole nights!!

Why was this important? The Word tells us to “guard the spirit of marriage within you.” Part of guarding something means that you need to make sure it is strong. Nothing will come between you. You will protect it.You honor it. You will not do any of those things if you do not see value in your marriage. You guard something that you value.

God, not man, made marriage. His spirit inhabits even the smallest details of marriage…” Invite the Holy Spirit into your marriage. Invite Him into the smallest details. What details do you need to give Him access to?

Jesus tells us in Matthew 19:12 (MSG) “But if you are capable of growing into the largeness of marriage, do it.” God is in the small details. Marriage is a relationship that Jesus compared His love for the Body of Christ to. Do you not think it is special to Him? Treat it as such.

Today I encourage you to do something to strengthen your marriage. If you cannot do a week away, try to plan an over night activity. If you usually do not sit down together for a meal at home, may I encourage you to start there. Play a game together. Read a book together. Cook a meal together. Grow into the largeness of your marriage!

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!!