Lazy Days of Summer are Over

Philippians 3:10 (AMP) And this, so that I may know Him [experientially, becoming more thoroughly acquainted with Him, understanding the remarkable wonders of His Person more completely] and [in that same way experience] the power of His resurrection [which overflows and is active in believers], and [that I may share] the fellowship of His sufferings, by being continually conformed [inwardly into His likeness even] to His death [dying as He did].

Summer break is officially over for us. My youngest started his first year of high school this week and my oldest will start his first year of college next week. I have to overcome the lazy days of summer and get back into a routine. Why? I have become lazy. I have become lazy in my devotions. I have become lazy in my reading. I have become lazy in my writing.

Sunday we began 21 days of prayer with our church. You can follow along with the social media prompt here on our Facebook Page. These 21 days of prayer are focused on our children returning to school. We are sending them out as light into the darkness. We do not pray over them in fear, we pray over them so that they may make an impact. I have never hidden my children from the world as we have been instructed to be light to the world. How can we hide what He has illuminated (Matthew 5:15).

My children are not my own, they are His and I have to trust that He can do better with them than I. Remember Hannah (1 Samuel 1), we have dedicated our children to the Lord for His service. Even though the household that Samuel was sent out to was not perfect, God still spoke in and through him.

With all that being put out there, how do I overcome my laziness? I have also taken these 21 days to give my time back to God. I have become more intentional with my devotion time. I have become more intentional with my reading. I have given Him my days again. Why? Just like the above verse states, so that I may know Him. Desiring for More has always been about drawing deeper into my relationship with God.

Monday I redid the website and social media pages to reflect that. When I began this two years ago the verse I used was Ephesians 3:20, (TPT) “Never doubt God’s mighty power to work in you and accomplish all this. He will achieve infinitely more than your greatest request, your most unbelievable dream, and exceed your wildest imagination! He will outdo them all, for his miraculous power constantly energizes you.” I firmly believe when we run after the things of God that my wildest imaginations will come to life. However, that is not why I chase after Him and I wanted to convey that in my writings. So the key verse for Desiring for More has been changed to Philippians 3:10.

To get out of the lazy, I need to realign my heart with His. Seek after Him and do the works of the ministry. However, I cannot get so busy doing that I do not spend time with Him. I cannot spend so much time with Him and never get to doing. That is why I gave Him back my time these 21 days of prayer, it is His time now.

How are you doing with your time? Could you use a readjustment like me? Give back to Him what is His. He freely gave it to us. We need to be good stewards with it (Matthew 25:14-30). Spend time in His Word, spend time in prayer and get out and do what He says. Show your Light and His love today.

Peace, Love and Jesus

Philippians 4:6-8 (AMP) Do not be anxious or worried about anything, but in everything [every circumstance and situation] by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, continue to make your [specific] requests known to God. And the peace of God [that peace which reassures the heart, that peace] which transcends all understanding, [that peace which] stands guard over your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus [is yours]. Finally, believers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable and worthy of respect, whatever is right and confirmed by God’s word, whatever is pure and wholesome, whatever is lovely and brings peace, whatever is admirable and of good repute; if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think continually on these things [center your mind on them, and implant them in your heart].

I love this block of passages. When I read 1 Corinthians 13, I also read this. When I read about putting on the full armor of God in Ephesians 6, I also read this. When I read about the fruits of the spirit in Galatians 5, I also read this. I believe our peace is directly connected to our love walk. How can we love if we are anxious? How can we love if we are constantly in worry? How can we love if there is a storm always going on inside of us? How can I love if I am in fear?

1 John 4:18 (AMP) There is no fear in love [dread does not exist]. But perfect (complete, full-grown) love drives out fear, because fear involves [the expectation of divine] punishment, so the one who is afraid [of God’s judgment] is not perfected in love [has not grown into a sufficient understanding of God’s love].

I am one of those that can take a future conversation and run with it. What if they say this to me? I am going to respond this way. What if they tell someone this? How am I ever going to win them over to my side? Then you go the whole day and nothing is said to anyone. I will just avoid that person entirely because of the future scenarios that I had in my head. Way to show love, Amanda!

I did not choose to think on whatever is right and confirmed in His Word. Anxiety, fear, dread and anything other than peace was about me about that person. We can get that way about situations too. How about when the car starts making funny noises? How about when the line is long at Starbucks? How about when you go look for that protein bar that you had been saving for before church snack? The last one was definitely me.

Peace is also a weapon…so is truth. So stand firm and hold your ground, having tightened the wide band of truth…having strapped on your feet the gospel of peace in preparation (experts from Ephesians 6:14 and 15). How can I fight the enemy that likes to attack my mind without putting these on each day. I have to actively choose truth. I have to actively choose peace. Therefore, I have to actively choose love. The only one who was all love was Jesus, and I think He had to choose it too. I cannot “just love everybody” and gossip. I cannot “just love everybody” and avoid people. I cannot “just love everybody” and talk negatively about everything going on in my life.

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

I want my heart to be aligned with Him, so my thought life does too. Peace, Love and Jesus…make it a what you are known for.

Do not let the roar of the lion drown out your voice

Amos 3:17-18 (AMP) Surely the Lord God does nothing without revealing His secret plan [of the judgment to come] to His servants the prophets. The lion has roared! Who will not fear?
The Lord God has spoken [to the prophets]! Who can but prophesy?

Did you know that when you speak you are prophesying? There is a difference in the five fold ministry of a prophet and a born again believer being a prophetic. Proverbs 18:21 says, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it and indulge it will eat its fruit and bear the consequences of their words.” If my words have power, then that would mean that they are prophetic. My favorite words to speak are those found in His Word.

I love the words in Ezekiel 37 when God tells him to prophesy to the dry bones. He did not just say “get up, dry bones.” He said, “dry bones, hear the Word of the Lord.”

The question regarding whether we really heard God can be like a roaring lion (1 Peter 5:8). Although a lion roars, a true servant of God listens to the voice of God above the roar of the lion (John 10:27). If it lines up with His Word, do it, and in boldness, say it. It might look foolish to others (believe me, I battle this too). Often I will argue with God before delivering a hard word. I do not take it lightly. As a teacher of the Word, I know I will be held accountable far greater than those who are not (James 3:1). The call to follow God in obedience should be louder than the roar of defeat.

He speaks through us to others, encouraging them and affirming them, and upon occasion, giving a word of correction for them (this is the part I wrestle with). I have learned to dust off my feet after I have been obedient (Matthew 10:14). My heart is to see people grow and to be blessed. It is not my job to make sure they receive it. My job is to deliver it. May I add a little thought provoking question? If you sit through services and listen to your pastor and it does not prick you to take an evaluation of yourself, has your heart become hard? Being sweet has nothing to do with the status of your heart. Love will propel you to seek the best for others, unselfishly.

Here are some questions I ask myself. Does it line up with His Word? That is not the same as it making you feel good or stroking your spiritual ego. Does it line up with His character and nature? Not how I want Him to be. Sometimes we want God to conform to our image of Him. Finally, will it bring freedom (even if it is correction)? We are called ministers of reconciliation. If you can answer ‘yes’ to these questions. Then be obedient. Do not let Sanballat’s (Nehemiah 4:1) in your life deter you from what God told you to do. Be bold and courageous. Here the voice of the Lord and go!

Motives

Colossians 3:17 (AMP) Whatever you do [no matter what it is] in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus [and in dependence on Him], giving thanks to God the Father through Him.

I believe this verse needs to be as memorized as Philippians 4:13. What is our motive? Why do you want to do something? Or even why should I do it? I should do everything in the name of the Lord, no matter what.

Is it to please our leadership? Is it to make ourselves feel good or more pious? You have a choice. Many people want to do something and do not want to be held accountable (especially when they make a verbal commitment). Their motive is wrong. Let’s be honest. We are self seeking. When we do not measure up, we say we make a mistake and should never have committed to that. True! You were not doing it unto the Lord.

Who or what is your dependence on? If it is not in Christ then you will feel like a failure. In Christ we cannot fail. Keep your heart motive on Him no matter what!

Luke 19:31 (AMP)  “If anybody asks you, ‘Why are you untying the colt?’ you will say, ‘The Lord needs it.’” 

Matthew 14:28 (AMP) Peter replied to Him, “Lord, if it is [really] You, command me to come to You on the water.”

Jesus was referred to as Teacher, Rabbi, Son of God, Savior, Friend and Lord. Which one of those titles holds the most weight? It is unto the Lord that we serve, worship and dedicate. “Lord” carried the most weight when it came to trust in what they were told to do. Peter, said, “Lord, if it is really you….”

Maybe we get frustrated at our leadership because we want them to be Lord (sometimes, but not all the time, only when it is convenient). That is not their role. When we make a commitment to people, what is the intent? For example, my husband and I are pastors. We have heard “Pastor, I am committed to this church. Nothing can run me off.” Or “Pastor, I am all in.” Both parties are pumped and ready to do ministry together. Can I be honest and transparent? Most of the times it does not end well. Guess who is to blame? The pastor. Not really, but they are left to pick up the pieces and move on. We do have a part to play. We are not perfect. It is in the imperfection that you should pray for us.

We have to make Jesus Lord of our lives. When we try to short cut and submit with the wrong intent, we are setting ourselves up for hurt. Yes, honor your pastor. Your pastor is called to equip and lead you to do the works of the ministry (Ephesians 4:11).

I will not remind you to tithe.Yes, I have had someone ask to hold them accountable to that. Did I do it? NO!! Something else made them mad and they left anyways. That is between you and God. Now, when it comes to giving you a leadership role, should those who do not financially support the church be put in leadership? I will let you answer that question yourself.

I will encourage you to love God, I will encourage you to seek the best for others and to love unselfishly. I will encourage you to pray, to get in your Word and to serve in and outside of your church. I will encourage to make Jesus Lord of your life. You can ask me if you heard Him correct and for the direction of your life? I am going to point you back to your Word and ask if it lines up with His character and nature. Will it cause division among believers? Then you did not hear from Him correctly. Will it cause someone to stumble in their faith? Then you did not hear from Him correctly. Will it bring healing? Will it encourage you and others to grow in their faith? Does it show love? Will it draw people closer to a relationship with Him? Then yes you have heard from Him correctly.

What are our motives?

Lord, I want to glorify you with whatever I put my hands to, no matter who sees it. Lord, I want to serve your people, no matter who acknowledges it. Lord, blind my eyes to what does not need to be seen to keep me from stumbling. Lord, I have faith to step out, all you have to say is ‘come.’ Yes, You have given me free will and everything is permissible for me, but not everything will bring glory to You. I choose to make you Lord over my life. What I choose that may be best for me, may not be what is best to glorify You. My dependence is on You today and every day. I choose today whom I will serve. Amen.

Love Revolution

John 15:12 (AMP) “This is My commandment, that you love and unselfishly seek the best for one another, just as I have loved you.”

This is smack in the middle of the part of Jesus telling us to abide in Him.

John 15:16-17 (AMP) You have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you and I have appointed and placed and purposefully planted you, so that you would go and bear fruit and keep on bearing, and that your fruit will remain and be lasting, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name [as My representative] He may give to you. This [is what] I command you: that you love and unselfishly seek the best for one another.

I am going to put this all together for us.

John 14:12-15 (AMP)  I assure you and most solemnly say to you, anyone who believes in Me [as Savior] will also do the things that I do; and he will do even greater things than these [in extent and outreach], because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in My name [as My representative], this I will do, so that the Father may be glorified and celebrated in the Son.  If you ask Me anything in My name [as My representative], I will do it. If you [really] love Me, you will keep and obey My commandments.

What were the commandments? See John 15:12.

Do not be afraid to do something kind for someone else. Give up a Saturday to help a stranger. Be willing to give away something in order to meet the needs of someone else.  

If you genuinely want to do something, you will find a way to do it.

Refuse to do nothing.

Do not let the fear of becoming overly involved keep you from being involved at all. Do not let the fear of falling into “works” salvation be the reason you do not aggressively want to serve. It is the intent of the heart.

After the early council deliberated on if the Gentiles had to be circumcised to show their salvation or to seal their salvation. It was deliberated that they did not. Actually they talked about the continuation of a lot of the Jewish rituals. The only thing they told Paul to do was:

Galatians 2:10 (AMP) They asked only (one thing), that we remember the poor, the very thing I was also eager to do.

There are literally thousands of ways you can give and spread love if you will search for them aggressively.

Jesus’ disciples saw Him daily helping people. He listened to them. His plans were interrupted so that they knew they were seen. Our words and prayers are important, but our actions carry the weight of our love. Let’s start a love revolution!!

Leaving the Boat

Matthew 14:29-30 He said, “Come!” So Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus.  But when he saw [the effects of] the wind, he was frightened, and he began to sink, and he cried out, “Lord, save me!”

As a church, we are on day eight of 21 Days of Prayer and Fasting. I look forward to this time every year. I choose something to fast that I know will make me have to dig into His Word deeper.

2 Chronicles 7:14 (NIV) If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

To humble ourselves is to not think highly of ourselves. A strong, confident person can be humble. Look at David. He was not a coward and he did not back down. He was even accused of being conceited by his brother (1 Samuel 17:28). A humble person will want to see the best for others. I want my nation healed, because I want them restored to their original purpose.

Peter was the only disciple to get out of the boat. The conditions were not calm, and they were not perfect. Peter walked on the water in faith. It was when he looked at the wind that he began to sink. Peter was outspoken and quick to action. He still walked on the water.

I had a sinking moment not too long ago. In trying to get others out of the boat, I was called judgmental. It looked like only a few wanted to step out with me, and I am grateful for them. I started to look at the wind, at just the few. I started to look at their lack of commitment, their lack of energy and their lack of passion to reach their community. I wanted to quit. I was looking at all areas to escape having to stand up in front of people. I was going to hide and serve in the background. I was going to revert back to the boat. Questioning whether He really did say, “Come.” I was sinking.

In this 21 Days of Prayer of Fasting, by day 5, I received confirmation that I was called out of the boat. Not too long ago I wrote about “Stepping Out of Fear Into My Hiding Place.” My story is that I did all the behind the scene items at my church I served where ever they needed someone. Whenever they asked for somebody, I was that somebody. I asked God to settle the fear within me. I was overwhelmingly afraid of public speaking. So much so, that I would cry and get sick at the thought of it. My desire was not to hold a platform, it wanted to see the captives set free, just like I had been set free.

Rejection and not being what someone wanted almost made me get back in that boat. I fear the Lord in that I never want to cause someone else to stumble. I want them to grow closer to God. If me standing on that stage, exhorting them to get out of the boat, was going to cause them not to want to grow, then I was going to step off of it for good. I felt broken. This scripture and all the messages I had been listening to confirmed, that I was called to be out of that boat. I need to get my eyes off of people and keep my eyes on Jesus. He pulled me back out of the waters from drowning. I am not going back to that boat!

Praying that God speaks to you today and encourages you to keep looking at Him. When you start seeing the wind (distractions, disappointments, rejections, etc.) reach out your hand, He has you. Have an amazing week!

I was born with a mission to set captives free!!!

Water Walkers Series by Dr. Dharius Daniels

Hosanna Wong, Say Yes to Jesus

The struggle of acceptance

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].

I struggle with acceptance. In my previous post titled, “Stepping out of fear into my hiding place,” I mentioned how I am coming out of being an extreme introvert. Yesterday was another challenge for me. We have had to do video worship before, when we were lacking musicians, for a season. Yesterday was such a day. When doing video worship I and others will stand in front of and face the congregation to worship (a style of leading). Thankfully the screen for the lyrics were above everyone’s heads. However, now we are live streaming the service. Now I have to be mindful of my face. Something that I was told to me to do in the past. I was told that I had the look of someone who could bite a car in half. Wow! That was sure encouraging to hear!!

The above scripture was needed for me yesterday and I hope it encourages you to do the hard things. Without the Holy Spirit I would not have been able to stand in front of people. He is who energizes me. He is the one who I want to reflect in my innermost being and personality. He is the only one who can soften that face of mine. How? I am rooted and securely grounded in the love of Christ. Even though it was someone “in Christ” that told me that I had the look of someone who could bite a car in half, that was not what Christ would say. Christ would never tell you something that made you feel unlovable. His love is endless!

I do not like that I struggle with acceptance. I do not like not feeling uninvited. So what do I need to do? Verse 19, above, tells me that I get to know this endless love more when I allow Him to work through me through practical experiences. I can know all those scriptures in my head, but until I step out (in courage) I am not going to know the true richness of those Words. In order for me to be complete, made whole, I have to give the Prince of Wholeness something to work with. I had to stand up in front of the church yesterday and lead worship by video. Why? Verse 20 has a promise…look for the key word “now.” Now follows a responsibility on my part.

Ephesians 3:20-21 AMP Now to Him who is able to [carry out His purpose and] do superabundantly more than all that we dare ask or think [infinitely beyond our greatest prayers, hopes, or dreams], according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations forever and ever. Amen.

When I yield the feeling of not being accepted and rest in Him (faith in action, not the absence of acting), He can fulfill His purpose. His purpose is superabundantly more than I can thing or dream of. I have often read the scripture about seeking first and foremost the Kingdom and all things will be given to you also (Matthew 6:33). If we really believed that and did that with all of our hearts, the things we thought we wanted would pale in comparison to the fulfillment of walking in your purpose. That is where I want to be.

Praying this encourages you to step out a little more into your purpose today.

Stepping out of fear into my hiding place

Psalms 34:4-5 AMP I sought the Lord [on the authority of His word], and He answered me, and delivered me from all my fears. They looked to Him and were radiant; their faces will never blush in shame or confusion.

For the past month I have had the honor and privileged to bring the word on Sunday afternoons (our service is at 1:30) to our church. My husband works a full time job and has been on third shift almost two months now. They are suppose to rotate every four weeks. During third shift, it difficult for him to keep a good sleep pattern on the weekends. Especially when you have a service that takes place during the time you are usually sleeping. I had told him before that I would work on being better prepared to help more in the pulpit part when he is on that shift.

A back story on me…I am an extreme introvert (or well I was). It was so bad that I would not be able to go up to the counter of a fast food restaurant and ask for condiments. My senior project we had to give a presentation to everyone that we invited. I had invited my family. No classmates were present except for the two I needed to help model what I had made. I should have invited no one! I stammered and cried through the whole presentation. There is a recording of it somewhere, thanks to my grandparents! I could not even give a short announcement at church. I cried anytime the microphone was put in my face.

I remember the moment I had asked God to remove that fear from me. I remember sitting in the Gwinnett Center listening to Joyce Meyer minister. I remember telling God that I wanted to be able to talk about His Word and who He is to me. That was the first Sunday that I willingly took the microphone and shared what the ladies in our church had done that weekend.

It has been over ten years since that moment. I was not this phenom that spoke perfectly from that point on. I have had to grow in it. I am in still not one of those polished speakers that you will see on television or at a major conference. I am willing to grow more in it.

I was just in awe this morning of how God put a series inside of me. I have only done one service at a time, with months separating each time I taught. Not to say that anxiety did not try to rise up each and every time. I know that I could not do it on my own. My God was with me every step of the way. I was in His arms (in my hiding place) the entire time I was on the platform. Our crowds do not have to be large. Even if the altar call was just for one person, that is is worth celebrating. I was doing what I was created for.

Psalms 91:1-2 AMP He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will remain secure and rest in the shadow of the Almighty [whose power no enemy can withstand]. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust [with great confidence, and on whom I rely]!”

I do not know what God has put in your heart to step out and do differently. Let me encourage you that growth happens when you do. Stop chasing after things and people to make you happy. Know that when you are where He wants you to be, that is your most happy!

If you would like to to check out the series “Rebuild or Tear Down?” you can check it out on youtube here: Connect Church YouTube Channel

Be blessed!

He calls my name

Isaiah 45:4 (AMP) For the sake of Jacob My servant, and of Israel My chosen, I have also called you by your name; I have given you an honorable name though you have not known Me.

When we named our first born we had two choices picked out for the day of deliver. We went the old fashioned way and did not find out the gender of both of our children until they were born. We had the name ‘Lillian Michelle’ if a girl and ‘Ari Daniel’ if a boy. Lillian was the name of my great aunt that made an impact on me when I was a little girl. She was strong, independent and feisty. Ari was the name of my husband’s best friend. My husband grew up in Belize, Central America, and being the only white kid, friendships meant the world to him.

We have two sons. Ari Daniel and Eli Robert (Robert after my grandfather and my husband’s father). There is deep meaning in their names. Ari in Hebrew means lion. Eli in Hebrew means high, elevated or my God. I named him after the prophets Elijah and Elisha, I wanted him to have double the anointing.

Isaiah was the prophet during the reign of King Hezekiah. King Hezekiah was a good king and did right in the eyes of God (2 Kings 18:3). He was also the king that showed the Babylonians all the treasures of the storehouse (2 Kings 20:13), there was nothing that he did not show them. This was a big no-no, because they were suppose to remain a secret to the surrounding nation.

Isaiah prophesied, 2 Kings 20:16-18, “Then Isaiah said to Hezekiah, “Hear the word of the Lord. ‘Behold, the time is coming when everything that is in your house, and that your fathers have stored up until this day, will be carried to Babylon; nothing will be left,’ says the Lord. ‘And some of your sons (descendants) who will be born to you will be taken away [as captives]; and they will become eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon.’” 

Why is this significant? In Isaiah 45:3, “I will give you the treasures of darkness [the hoarded treasures] and the hidden riches of secret places, so that you may know that it is I, the Lord, the God of Israel, who calls you (Cyrus the Great) by your name.” Who is Cyrus the Great? Why did God call Him by name?

Ezra 1:2-4 (AMP) “This is what Cyrus king of Persia says “‘The Lord, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth and he has appointed me to build a temple for him at Jerusalem in Judah. Any of his people among you may go up to Jerusalem in Judah and build the temple of the Lord, the God of Israel, the God who is in Jerusalem, and may their God be with them. And in any locality where survivors may now be living, the people are to provide them with silver and gold, with goods and livestock, and with freewill offerings for the temple of God in Jerusalem.’”

King Cyrus was not even born yet when Isaiah prophesied this. King Cyrus, of Persia, was the reason that Nehemiah was able to rebuild the walls and gates of Jerusalem. He made sure that everything that Nebuchadnezzar had taken to Babylon was returned to the temple. He made sure that temple was going to be rebuilt.

This gave me great courage during a time that I do not see enough people to do the work that God has called my husband and I to do. Those people have not even been born yet, and He has called them by name. I am not talking about a physical birth, I am talking about the new birth when we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior (John 3:5; 2 Corinthians 5:17). I do not want some other church’s people, I want the ones that He is calling by name now. We are calling them out! We are inviting ALL!!

He has called you by name, even before you were conceived in your mother’s womb. If you do not know Jesus as your Lord and Savior message me at amanda@desiringformore.org. If you do and you want to know how you can share your faith, message me too!

I pray you have an amazing week!

Isolation is not your purpose

John 17:17 (AMP) Sanctify them in the truth [set them apart for Your purposes, make them holy]; Your word is truth.

This was the key verse in my Smith Wigglesworth devotional yesterday. The devotional was talking about making the Word the authority in your life. He wanted to convey that instead of praying whether you should obey the word (which is just disobedience), do the Word. He questioned the heart of the believer for having to pray whether God wanted them to do what was written in the Word.

This got me thinking about the “set them apart for Your purposes,” as it is written in the Amplified Version. Since the beginning of man, Satan has taken God’s Word and twisted it (taking it out of context). Taking this Word out of context we can justify us isolating ourselves from the community of believers. A person can attend a weekly service and still be isolated, because they choose not to get involved with each others lives. They have been “set apart for a purpose.” Really they have a deep rooted fear of not feeling important to the community of believers, but only important to God, therefore, they are “set apart.” I know, because I used to be one of those. Fear will tell you that you are not wanted, not needed and not loved.

Let us put that key verse into context. John 17:15-21 (AMP) I do not ask You to take them out of the world, but that You keep them and protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth [set them apart for Your purposes, make them holy]; Your word is truth. Just as You commissioned and sent Me into the world, I also have commissioned and sent them (believers) into the world. For their sake I sanctify Myself [to do Your will], so that they also may be sanctified [set apart, dedicated, made holy] in [Your] truth. “I do not pray for these alone [it is not for their sake only that I make this request], but also for [all] those who [will ever] believe and trust in Me through their message, that they all may be one; just as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be one in Us, so that the world may believe [without any doubt] that You sent Me.

I took the liberty of underlining some very important elements. First, Jesus is talking about a group, not an individual. He did not say “some believers,” He said a blanket “believers.” To me that means there is not room for me to not be included in these verses, if I am called a “believer.” So therefore, I should not be praying if this is God’s will for my life. If I am a “believer” then, that is an automatic yes I should be obeying this.

“I do not pray for these alone (it is not for their sake only that I make this request),” I believe these words are written in red in some Bibles. This means that Jesus did not single anyone out. This is meant for ALL who will ever believe. He has sent us out to be apart of this world, not of this world. That means I have to allow the messy part of the world to be a part of my life, so that He can shine bright in it.

“That they all may be one…so the world may believe (without any doubt) that You sent Me.” This right here should give us a heart check in why we are called to a Body (a church, a community of believers). What if I have a gifting that can be done alone? Does this verse say you should? Jesus sent the disciples out two by two (Luke 10:1). When we read about intercession in the New Testament we read about it happening in groups (Acts 12:5). Yes, you can do things on your own, but does that mean you should? I have to remind myself that time and again. It is not “I” that is set apart, it is “we” that is set apart.

Praying that you know that you are needed, that you are wanted and that you are loved. Do not let fear hold you back from really being a part of a community any longer. There is purpose in community!

Hebrews 10:24 (TPT) Discover creative ways to encourage others and to motivate them toward acts of compassion, doing beautiful works as expressions of love.