Rock Steady

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hello Sunflower

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ephesians 3:16-19 (AMP)  May He grant you out of the riches of His glory, to be strengthened and spiritually energized with power through His Spirit in your inner self, [indwelling your innermost being and personality], so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through your faith. And may you, having been [deeply] rooted and [securely] grounded in love, be fully capable of comprehending with all the saints (God’s people) the width and length and height and depth of His love [fully experiencing that amazing, endless love]; and [that you may come] to know [practically, through personal experience] the love of Christ which far surpasses [mere] knowledge [without experience], that you may be filled up [throughout your being] to all the fullness of God [so that you may have the richest experience of God’s presence in your lives, completely filled and flooded with God Himself].

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

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

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

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

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

Sisterhood of the wounded

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Take off the cape

Ephesians 2:8-9 (MSG) Saving is all his idea, and all his work. All we do is trust him enough to let him do it. It’s God’s gift from start to finish! We don’t play the major role. If we did, we’d probably go around bragging that we’d done the whole thing! No, we neither make nor save ourselves. God does both the making and saving.

We are in a culture today where everyone wants to be famous for something. We may never have our names on the big screen, but what about that hand held screen we spend so many hours a day looking at. We want followers, we want likes, we want views and what if something we post does not get enough attention. It is the same inside of the church. We go live on Sundays and we have a You Tube channel. Do you not think that I do not check the analytics?

I never wanted to get up and speak in my church. I never wanted to lead. Did my husband make me? Did anyone make me? Definitely not. It came from my love for the Father. I remember sitting in a service at a Joyce Meyer’s conference and asking God to take the fear from me that kept me from my full potential. I asked Him to put a desire in me to do what ever it takes to set the captives free. When I put on my headset to speak on Sundays, it is not so others can hear me speak, it is so they can hear the Father speaking through me. I whole-heartedly fear others not seeing the Father for the sake of me.

What happens when we are compelled to be like our hero’s because of the spotlight instead of letting Christ stay there? This reminds me of a movie I watched with my boys when they were little, The Incredibles. The Incredibles is a family of super heroes, with fantastic abilities. Before Mr. Incredible started a family, he was a solo hero and a young boy wanted to be his sidekick. However, this boy did not have super powers, and Mr. Incredible was not a work together type of guy, and rejected this young boy. This youngster grows up to become a villain named Syndrome (which in the English language means a form of disease). A little side issue that comes up is the demise of other super heroes. Could capes be a cause? One such character proved that they were. If you watched the movie, then you will get the meaning, if not…capes can trip you up and capes can get caught in things that will pull you back. Why did they want to wear capes? It symbolized that they were super (titles are capes too).

Have we tried to put on capes? Not literal capes (other than at a cosplay event – if you wore a cape out in the public people might think that you are weird). I am talking about the cape of getting to the next level of “success.” We want to be in the spotlight. You might not have thought of it like that, but when we want to be the one people call on when they have a problem. How about we point them to the Light, Jesus! You do not have to call me. You do not have to tell me everything going on in your life, but if you need me I am here. Just know that I am going to point you back to Jesus.

Matthew 22:37 (MSG) Jesus said, “Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.’ This is the most important, the first on any list.

We are not to be first on our list, He is. I am not to put my husband there, my favorite speaker there, my children there, my parents there, my friends there, a politician there, and the list can go on. What happens when we put ourselves or anyone else in the position of Light (Savior)? They miss the mark. No one can be the maker and the savior, only Jesus, the Father and the Holy Spirit can. It is time to take off the cape and put the spotlight on Jesus!!

Our Father, You are Holy! You are Mighty. You are more beautiful than the flower of the field. Thank You for Your Son. Thank You for being our maker and making way for a Savior. We repent for trying to play the major role in the lives of others. We are sorry for the times we made it about us and not about You. All we want is You. We are taking off our capes and laying them at the feet of Jesus. Our hearts desire is to proclaim and expand Your Kingdom on earth as it is in heaven. We are choosing to forgive ourselves for the times we have put something else in first place. You are the giver of life and nourishment. All we need is You! We are choosing to put You in first place today. You deserve all the glory, all the honor and all the praise. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Joy and Strength

Jeremiah 15:16 (AMP) Your words were found and I ate them, and Your words became a joy to me and the delight of my heart; For I have been called by Your name, O Lord God of hosts.

Jeremiah, in the midst of his sorrow, recognized that all He needed was the reminder of what God had said. This is why I carve out a piece of my day to get in the Word. I am not able to do it at the same time every day, nor for the same amount of time each day. Some days I get to be in the Word longer. There are days that I listen to a sermon while I am at the gym. Then there are days where I keep worship music on while I am doing my daily tasks. There are others that I will meditate on a scripture that I had read. The important thing is to find a way to keep the Truth of His Word at the forefront of your mind. Why?

What does God tell Joshua right before he crosses the Jordan? Joshua 1:6-9 (AMP) Be strong and confident and courageous, for you will give this people as an inheritance the land which I swore to their fathers (ancestors) to give them. Only be strong and very courageous; be careful to do [everything] in accordance with the entire law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, so that you may prosper and be successful wherever you go. This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall read [and meditate on] it day and night, so that you may be careful to do [everything] in accordance with all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will be successful. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not be terrified or dismayed (intimidated), for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.

What kept Jeremiah going? The Word of the Lord! What weapon did God give to Joshua so that he would be strong, confident and courageous? The Word of the Lord! What will keep us at peace? The Word of the Lord!

John 1:1 (AMP) In the beginning [before all time] was the Word (Christ), and the Word was with God, and the Word was God Himself. 

John 15:4 (AMP) Remain in Me, and I [will remain] in you. Just as no branch can bear fruit by itself without remaining in the vine, neither can you [bear fruit, producing evidence of your faith] unless you remain in Me. 

John 14:6 (AMP) Jesus said to him, “I am the [only] Way [to God] and the [real] Truth and the [real] Life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.

John 17:15-17 (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.

How can I abide with Jesus (the Word) if I will not get to know the Word (character and nature of God)? The Holy Spirit draws us to the Word (the Truth)…Jesus. Someone asked me about abiding the other day. My response is that I hunger for the Word.

I do have a prayer life, but a prayer life without knowledge of the Word is full of emotions, which are not bad, but not grounded in the Word can be dangerous. Our prayers that are not rooted in the Word can lead to division, isolation and unintended rebellion. Why? They have not been filled with the Truth. There is a difference between my truth and THE Truth. Often times we base our walk and our prayer lives on our truths and in return the “Be strong, confident and courageous” is done in our own power (which is lacking) and not in His Power which is grounded in THE Truth.

One of the first parts of the Bible I will tell a new believer to read is the Book of John. John reveals that we are His Beloved. John reveals all the areas of our lives that Jesus came to be a part of. Then there is Ephesians, Ephesians reveals who we are in Christ. Reading Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel, Ezra, Nehemiah and Esther tells me about the character and nature of God during the time that the Israelites had once again gotten themselves into captivity. Psalms and Proverbs are popular to read. I do make a point to read them once a year at least, but I cannot get stuck there. I have to see the Word of God as a gift and not just pieces for me to take apart because I like them best. It may be easy to just stay in one book like Psalms, but we could be limiting our prayer and devotion life to the emotion part only. The same as if we only read the New Testament.

2 Corinthians 11:3 (AMP) But I am afraid that, even as the serpent beguiled Eve by his cunning, your minds may be corrupted and led away from the simplicity of [your sincere and] pure devotion to Christ.

The enemy, the devil, is cunning and will try to twist the words like he did with Eve and like he attempted with Jesus in the wilderness. His goal is to get you to question the Word and to question the character and nature of God. We may not understand everything that is in the Word the first time we read it, or even if we read the same passage 10 times, but can we trust God? Jeremiah did not understand why he was going through such hardships, but he trusted God at His Word, and joy returned to him. You cannot be strong and courageous without the Word. Jesus is the Word. Jesus is the Truth. Therefore, the Word is Truth. I cannot abide in Jesus separate from the Truth of the Word. I am strong and courageous because I am now in Christ, standing firm on the Word of the Truth. Everything pointing back to Jesus. He is the source of our joy and our strength.

God, You are worthy of honor and praise. We are in awe of Your majesty. Thank You for sending Your Son, the Word made flesh. Your Word is a light to our lives and we trust in You. Forgive us for not spending time in Your Word and giving Your Word first place in our lives. We have allowed the busyness of life to keep us from meditating on Your Word and have chosen to mediate on our worries. We repent for allowing deception to come into our minds when it comes to allowing our truths to override the Word of Your Truth. Thank Your for reminding us in Your Word that You love us, that You desire us, and that You want us free and whole. Thank You for sending Your Son to redeem us and restore us into that relationship with You. Your Word is Life. Your Word is Truth. Your Word is Power. I choose today to abide with Jesus, the Word, the Truth. You are the source of our joy and our strength. In Jesus name, Amen.

Now what?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A vow from rejection

Ephesians 4:2-3 (AMP) With all humility [forsaking self-righteousness], and gentleness [maintaining self-control], with patience, bearing with one another in [unselfish] love. Make every effort to keep the oneness of the Spirit in the bond of peace [each individual working together to make the whole successful].

We are in the middle of what we call “Holy Week.” This is the week we are reflecting on the death and resurrection of Jesus. Jesus came to give us restoration. He restored our relationship with the Father, but He also restored us to peace, to fullness and to wholeness. He restored us to Kingdom purpose. So why are we still looking at each other as broken and ready to hurt each other?

We have turned the thoughts that “not everyone will understand us” into “not everyone is for you.” It is okay when others will not understand us, but when not everyone is for us, then we have an enemy. Why? Our thoughts are now they are out for our harm. I have a question. Does the thought that not everyone is for you bring you peace? Does it bring you the desire to seek restoration? Does it bring you the desire to seek unity? Then can we say, does that match the character and nature of God?

Romans 12:14-18 (AMP) Bless those who persecute you [who cause you harm or hardship]; bless and do not curse [them]. Rejoice with those who rejoice [sharing others’ joy], and weep with those who weep [sharing others’ grief]. Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty [conceited, self-important, exclusive], but associate with humble people [those with a realistic self-view]. Do not overestimate yourself. Never repay anyone evil for evil. Take thought for what is right and gracious and proper in the sight of everyone. If possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.

I know that when I have thoughts that someone meant to harm me, or they were hoping that I would fail, it does not bring me peace. It brings me anger. It brings hurt. It brings in comparison. It brings the feeling of being unloved. So why is it okay for us to say “not everyone is for us.” The enemy, the devil, is not for us. However, we do not fight against, nor struggle against, flesh and blood (Ephesians 6:12).

What if what they said hurt my feelings? What if they did not help me succeed?

I just did a online fundraiser to raise funds for our youth at attend summer camp. I needed to raise $500 for the deposit. We raised $100 of it through them. There was also the option to donate without purchasing the product. We raised another $100 that way. What would your thoughts be if you started seeing people on your feed using the same source (setting up their own fundraisers), but they did not give into yours? It is not for the same cause. What do we do? They did not give into mine, so I am not going to give into theirs? What about when those that you thought would support you, don’t?

How about this real life scenario? I had planned to have my 18th birthday party at my grandmother’s pool. I had also invited a bunch of people. Another girl, in the same grade, had one a few weeks before and lots of people were just having a blast. My party came up and just one of my friends showed up. When I was much younger, this pool was the hangout spot for all the neighborhood kids. You could find my friends and I there just having a blast. Now flash forward to my 40th birthday and it is during the COVID lock down. My family decides to throw a surprise let’s have a car parade party. Sounds fun? Let me tell you it was awkward when not many cars show up. However, I did have more than one friend show up this time.

What does all this have to do with the idea of not everyone is for you? The root of it is rejection. This is the vow we have used to protect our hearts. Will it bring peace? Jesus was sitting at a table knowing that very evening that one of his close friends would betray Him. He still fed Him. He did not tell the others and point him out as “not for us.” He loved him. Jesus said, “So then, in everything treat others the same way you want them to treat you, for this is [the essence of] the Law and the [writings of the] Prophets (Matthew 7:12).” Who is He talking to? Us. The nature of man is to do the opposite. We want to treat others on how they treat us. When Jesus tells us to treat others the way we want to be treated.

My verse at the beginning is a continuation of a thought by Paul. He starts off with: So I, the prisoner for the Lord, appeal to you to live a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called [that is, to live a life that exhibits godly character, moral courage, personal integrity, and mature behavior—a life that expresses gratitude to God for your salvation]”… In the Modern English Version, Ephesians 4:1 states, “walk in a manner worthy of the calling you were called.” What am a I called to? The ministry of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:10-21). As I mature as a believer, my focus is on reconciliation, not who showed up for me. Have I had moments of immaturity? Yes. By the world’s definition was I right? Yes. However, if I follow the example of the Word I am not. I have had to die to that part of myself. It has been one of the hardest things to do. What does it cost? My pride. What do I gain? Peace. Those vows only bring bondage and I would rather live free.

Father, You are all I desire, not for what You can do for me but for who You are. I thank You for sending Your Son to be the Prince of Peace, He is the ultimate example of what it is to serve and love unselfishly. I repent for coming short in areas, when I wanted to live for me. I repent for getting mad and holding people hostage for them not showing up for me. I desire to live a life worthy of the call of restoration. I desire to live a life of Your character, Your integrity and to grow into the maturity of Your Kingdom. I thank You that Your Word has been written on the palms of my hands, it has been inscribed on my forehead and it pours out of my mouth. I thank You that it is for the purpose of reconciliation, so that I focus on Your truth. I take captive every thought, imagination or argument that I have had to bring division to my calling. I choose love today. I choose forgiveness today. I choose hope today. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Love is the work in “works”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here I Am

Exodus 3:1-4 (AMP) Now Moses was keeping the flock of Jethro (Reuel) his father-in-law, the priest of Midian; and he led his flock to the west side of the wilderness and came to Horeb (Sinai), the mountain of God. The Angel of the Lord appeared to him in a blazing flame of fire from the midst of a bush; and he looked, and behold, the bush was on fire, yet it was not consumed. So Moses said, “I must turn away [from the flock] and see this great sight—why the bush is not burned up.” When the Lord saw that he turned away [from the flock] to look, God called to him from the midst of the bush and said, “Moses, Moses!” And he said, “Here I am.”

I have a great love for lots of people in the Bible. I get a kick out of the way Elijah outran camels. I love the energy and passion of Peter. Paul in his humility and willingness to change. Ruth and Esther in their courage. One of my all time favorites is Moses. As different as it was portrayed in the films, Moses knew that he was raised like a prince of Egypt but was really a Hebrew. He ran not because of not knowing his identity (Exodus 2:11), he just wanted to keep it under cover. He was going to step out of the shadows of his covering, of prince, and free the people one Egyptian murder at a time.

So he goes off and starts a new life. It seems to be a good life too. He has a wife and children. He enjoys the work he is doing. It seems to fulfill him. Then he sees it. Out of the corner of his eye is something burning. He turns towards it and away from what had previously given him his purpose. What would it take for us to turn and face God for our purpose?

For me it took losing a job. I was really good at it too, until I wasn’t. One mistake, one word taken out of context, and it was all gone. My character with it. Everything within me wanted to run. I ran to the Word. I buried myself in worship, not to get Him to avenge me, but to keep me in His Presence. It was in His Presence that I found my purpose. The call for reconciliation became so strong. I desired to see my fellow sisters and brothers in Christ free. Is that not what Moses wanted? They wanted freedom, Moses discovered freedom without His Presence would not be enough (Exodus 33:14-17).

2 Chronicles 7:14 (AMP) My people, who are called by My Name, humble themselves, and pray and seek (crave, require as a necessity) My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear [them] from heaven, and forgive their sin and heal their land.

Jeremiah 29:13 (AMP) Then [with a deep longing] you will seek Me and require Me [as a vital necessity] and [you will] find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.

What will it take for us to look for the face of God? We know He is with us, and His hand it upon us to those that believe. I am talking about our expectation. Our listening ear. Our vision. Moses was doing what he was supposed to do to keep his family fed. Something was different in his presence…it was His Presence. Moses changed direction from day to day, to Presence. My word for 2023 is “Presence.” The difference is face to face. The Hebrew word for presence is paneh or panim and it means face. Seeking His face as my most essential need. Moses turned to the face of God. Will we do the same? Here I am God, set me on fire!!

Father, You are the worthy of honor. It is in You that I find fullness. Thank You for Your love and mercy shown through the gift of Your Son and the Holy Spirit. I desire Your Presence more than your presents. I know that because You are such a good Father that You are my Jehovah Jireh (God will provide). Reconciliation has always been Your heart. You accomplished that with Your Son. Now I am free. I am free to come into Your Presence. I am now rooted and grounded in the Love of Christ. Forgive me for not putting You first in every area of my life. I am growing in my freedom through You. As You give us fresh mercy everyday, I choose love and forgiveness every day. I do not want to be indebted to anyone through jealousy, envy or bitterness. Search my heart of God. You are all I need. Here I am God, I am seeking Your face. Set me on fire! In Jesus Name, Amen.

This means war

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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