Enough to share

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

As I was reading these verses yesterday, three things jumped out at me: (1) I need to reflect His character, when I do this I can lead others to Him; (2) Being deeply rooted in Him helps me accomplish number one; and (3) This will result in me becoming increasingly more established in my faith.

John 15:1-8 (TPT) I am a true sprouting vine, and the farmer who tends the vine is my Father. He cares for the branches connected to me by lifting and propping up the fruitless branches and pruning every fruitful branch to yield a greater harvest. The words I have spoken over you have already cleansed you. So you must remain in life-union with me, for I remain in life-union with you. For as a branch severed from the vine will not bear fruit, so your life will be fruitless unless you live your life intimately joined to mine. “I am the sprouting vine and you’re my branches. As you live in union with me as your source, fruitfulness will stream from within you—but when you live separated from me you are powerless. If a person is separated from me, he is discarded; such branches are gathered up and thrown into the fire to be burned. But if you live in life-union with me and if my words live powerfully within you—then you can ask whatever you desire and it will be done. When your lives bear abundant fruit, you demonstrate that you are my mature disciples who glorify my Father!

I have to be attached to the vine (Jesus). His roots run deep! Rooted there I am going to grow. When I grow I will begin to produce fruit. The amazing thing about this fruit is that the nourishment that comes from it is meant to be shared. When I share my fruit from this vine, others will want to see where it is planted and will eventually become rooted as well. This is what increases my faith. My expectation and passion will grow. I start making more Kingdom impacts. I am beginning to reflect His character.

The amazing thing about this fruit is that the nourishment that comes from it is meant to be shared.

Whenever I think of reflecting God’s character it makes me think of His glory. We are to glorify His name when we pray, when we worship and when we talk about Him in the streets. It also makes me think of Moses and how his face glowed after being in the presence of the Lord. I came across this verse, 2 Corinthians 3:13 (AMP) and we are not like Moses, who used to put a veil over his face so that the Israelites would not gaze at the end of the glory which was fading away. The glow from Moses face would eventually fade. Then we go a few verse down, verses 17-18 (AMP) Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty [emancipation from bondage, true freedom]. And we all, with unveiled face, continually seeing as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are progressively being transformed into His image from [one degree of] glory to [even more] glory, which comes from the Lord, [who is] the Spirit. I am no longer bound to my mistakes and my short comings. I like how it says that we are “progressively being transformed.” This year my goal is progress. Part of that progress is coming out of my comfort zone. I am an introvert by nature. I feel awkward when I have to start a conversation ( I feel like our teenagers today who do not know how to answer a phone). When I see the fruit of what my God encounters do bring, it increases my faith.

I want to lead others to a fulfilling relationship with the Father like I have. In order to do that, I need to reflect His character. I need to be attached to the vine (Jesus). Growing in God is so very rewarding. Giving nourishment to others will increase your faith. The Holy Spirit will draw those to you, but He cannot do that if we refuse to leave the comfort of our homes. This is me too. I need to get out more and I need to step into more serving opportunities (outside of my church). Fruit is meant to be shared. People need to see that it is not perfection He is after, it is progress. They need to see me mess up and depend on Him in my recovery. His glory does not fade anymore, like it did from the face of Moses, it radiates through me because I am in Christ (whose glory never fades).

I pray this encouraged you today. Wherever you are in your walk with Christ, know that we should never feel pressured to be at any faith level, just keep making progress. Keep growing. Stay rooted in Jesus, He is the vine. Take a step to give nourishment to others, it will increase your faith when you see fruit growing in their lives.

Please feel free to message me at amanda@desiringformore.org if you need prayer.

Power in Hope

It has been a struggle to decide about what to write about today. In my personal time I have been reading through Psalms in the Message Translation. I wrote about the inward reflection that David took earlier this week (Psalms 42). Last night in youth, one of my leaders led a discussion on Psalms. I had to admit to them, that David is probably someone I would struggle to look up to in leadership, or even to be around. I enjoy him when He is leading them into battle, when he is leading them into worship and when he is talking about all the great things of God. Then he gets to this lamenting, not just complaining and whining, but deep down in the dumps kind of talk.

Psalms 13:1-2 (MSG) Long enough, God— you’ve ignored me long enough. I’ve looked at the back of your head long enough. Long enough I’ve carried this ton of trouble, lived with a stomach full of pain.
Long enough my arrogant enemies have looked down their noses at me.

Then I remember, God said that this was a man after His own heart. In this I am reminded that I have to have some of these kinds of people in my life. There are going to be leaders in my life that I have to honor even if I do not like their personality. Then it made me think, how do I come off on others? Most of the time I am quiet because I feel like I can come off harsh. I was told in one work place (a Christian nonprofit) that I did not speak in love and that they did not receive me as a person that lived 1 Corinthians 13. This hurt me deeply because I try to live Philippians 4:8 (AMP), “Finally, believers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable and worthy of respect, whatever is right and confirmed by God’s word, whatever is pure and wholesome, whatever is lovely and brings peace, whatever is admirable and of good repute; if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think continually on these things [center your mind on them, and implant them in your heart].” I try to live this towards God’s creation. I sometimes have to realign my thinking to this, but that is truly my goal. I asked them about this verse and they quickly informed me that they could not apply that to me. Ouch! So I rub people the wrong way sometimes too. Paul did, Peter did, even Hannah did with Eli the prophet. My heart is for other’s to feel that love of Christ to come through me, this truly is what I want to be rooted in.

There are going to be leaders in my life that I have to honor even if I do not like their personality.

I do understand that this is probably not who David was to everyone. Only those closest to him saw this side of him. What we are reading are his words pouring out to God. Why does God want us to see this? It’s okay that we are not okay sometimes. We need to cry out in our deep grief and anger. He knows our heart anyways!

I told the group last night that David reminded me of He-Man from the cartoon series in the 1980s. In his writings, David, does seem like he has two very distinct personalities. Prince Adam had all the feelings, he cooked, he goofed off and seemed not all that together. He wore a pink vest and purple leggings! Then when he got the “power” he transformed into this warrior.

The power I think is when David remembers his position, that God is for him and not against him. The “power” for David is always underlying there because even in the lament of Psalms 13 we see verse 15-16 (MSG), “I’ve thrown myself headlong into your arms—I’m celebrating your rescue. I’m singing at the top of my lungs, I’m so full of answered prayers.” David was never without hope. There is power in hope. It was the root of who David really was. May we never let go of hope.

Hope is one of the ingredients Paul talks about at the end of 1 Corinthians 13, verse 13 (TPT), “Until then, there are three things that remain: faith, hope, and love—yet love surpasses them all. So above all else, let love be the beautiful prize for which you run.” I did not forget about love. It is the most important, I know. I am running for that beautiful prize (I may not be athletic, but I am competitive).

If you need prayer please message me at amanda@desiringformore.org.

True Nourishment

Hebrews 11:1 (NKJV) Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

Jesus came so that we may have life and life more abundantly (John 10:10). In order to sustain life, their needs to be a substance we sustain on.

Substance by definition means the real matter of which a person or things consists and which has a tangible, solid presence. Food is tangible and brings nourishment to our bodies. I think that is why Jesus revealed His last “I AM” statement as Him being the Bread of Life (John 6:35).

We live in a culture that craves comfort.  Thanksgiving is this week and I don’t know about you, but my family is preparing a bunch of comfort foods. They really are not that healthy for us to eat, but they taste so very good! Just like those that are in the United States of America this week will be celebrating Thanksgiving, because that is what we have always done, we have a culture of “I have been a Christian all of my life.”

If we look at that statement in this perspective of reading Mark 10:17-23 (AMP) As He was leaving on His journey, a man ran up and knelt before Him and asked Him, “Good Teacher [You who are essentially good and morally perfect], what shall I do to inherit eternal life [that is, eternal salvation in the Messiah’s kingdom]?”  Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is [essentially] good [by nature] except God alone.  You know the commandments: ‘Do not murder, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not testify falsely, Do not defraud, Honor your father and mother.’”  And he replied to Him, “Teacher, I have [carefully] kept all these [commandments] since my youth.”  

I am going to take a break right here to state that just because you have lived in a Christian nation, founded on Christian principles, does not make you a Christian. This young man had heard these words all of his life. He knew them inside and out. His concern was to make sure he “made it” into the Kingdom. If we are doing things or not doing things based on wanting to go to heaven, our mindset has become all wrong. There would have been no need for Christ.

Looking at him, Jesus felt a love (high regard, compassion) for him, and He said to him, “You lack one thing: go and sell all your property and give [the money] to the poor, and you will have [abundant] treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me [becoming My disciple, believing and trusting in Me and walking the same path of life that I walk].”  But the man was saddened at Jesus’ words, and he left grieving, because he owned much property and had many possessions [which he treasured more than his relationship with God]. Jesus looked around and said to His disciples, “How difficult it will be for those who are wealthy [and cling to possessions and status as security] to enter the kingdom of God!”

This is a story we use to say the rich are hard to win to Christ. They have no needs and do not see the great need for Christ. What if I told you it was the comfort of our flesh that keeps us from Kingdom business. This was hard for the man because he had become dependent on the comfort. It is the discomfort that real growth happens.

Which brings me to my favorite “I AM” statement. Jesus said,“I am the Vine.”

I love this analogy. I know many of you have heard a sermon on this, have even read this verse. I am going to use a statement that Jesus used “Are you listening? Really listening?” I have come to realize that people will claim they read those chapters in their youth and therefore no longer need to go back and read them. The Word of God is a living Word, the words on the pages do not change, you do. With that life perspective it can speak to you, and reach, in a different way.

As we go through this I want you to get a hold of Jesus as the Vine and what brings nourishment to us (the branches). Remember without nourishment we cannot sustain life. We are going to go back into a slumber.

John 15:1-15 (Living Bible) I am the true Vine, and my Father is the Gardener.  He lops off every branch that doesn’t produce. And he prunes those branches that bear fruit for even larger crops.  He has already tended you by pruning you back for greater strength and usefulness by means of the commands I gave you.  Take care to live in me, and let me live in you. For a branch can’t produce fruit when severed from the vine. Nor can you be fruitful apart from me.

God is still in control. He is the creator and the finisher. There are season we are going to have to go through. The pruning part is when He is the closest to us. It is also the hardest seasons of our lives. Pruning is done in the winter months. It is making room for the Son to shine on our branches. Pruning has to be done carefully for the most fruit to grow.

The vine is where our nourishment comes from. The vine’s roots are reaching deep into the earth. Searching for the water source.  Some have to reach as far as 20 feet down for this nourishment. This is why it is vital to hold tight to the vine.

Yes, I am the Vine; you are the branches. Whoever lives in me and I in him shall produce a large crop of fruit. For apart from me you can’t do a thing.  If anyone separates from me, he is thrown away like a useless branch, withers, and is gathered into a pile with all the others and burned.  But if you stay in me and obey my commands, you may ask any request you like, and it will be granted!  My true disciples produce bountiful harvests. This brings great glory to my Father.

This is the dark truth. We can separate ourselves from Jesus.

I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Live within my love.  When you obey me you are living in my love, just as I obey my Father and live in his love.  I have told you this so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your cup of joy will overflow!  I demand that you love each other as much as I love you.  And here is how to measure it—the greatest love is shown when a person lays down his life for his friends;  and you are my friends if you obey me.  I no longer call you slaves, for a master doesn’t confide in his slaves; now you are my friends, proved by the fact that I have told you everything the Father told me.

There are many “I AM” statements in the New Testament. This one talks about the source of our nourishment, which is our everything. When we stop looking at Jesus as the one who saved us from hell, but the one who is my everything we will start to become focused. Jesus did so very much in His little time of ministry here on earth. He wants us to continue to do His work to establish the Kingdom. We cannot do it if we are malnourished. It was faith that he said the disciples were lacking when the manifestations and demonstrations did not happen for them. Yes, we have the Holy Spirit within us. The power has been given to us. Feed your faith, by abiding in the Vine.

I was not led to this Jesus life because I wanted to be saved from hell. I was led because of someone who had life within them. They had encountered someone who filled them with everything, not gave them everything as in tangible things that would perish, but was their everything. My true nourishment is Jesus.

Prayers of Pastors

On Sundays I have the privilege of leading beside my husband. My husband I are co-pastors of our church. Although I recognize that is not the same in all churches, this is a dynamic that works for us. It is something that our church thrives under. There are areas in both of our personalities that need both of us working together to reach our church. We do not make excuses or try to undermine the weakness of what the other has. We build each other up, in the home, and in front of our church.

This past Sunday as I was spending time in worship before service, (I believe that we should be prepared before we get to church, and not just the pastors but us who are there to receive the proclaimed Word that our pastors teach), but as I was worshiping a passage of scripture stood out to me:

Ephesians 3:14-19 (AMP) For this reason (grasping the greatness of this plan which Jews and Gentiles are joined together in Christ) I bow my knees (in reverence) before the Father (of our Lord Jesus Christ), from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name (God – the first and ultimate Father). 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), that you may be filled up (through 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).

My heart cried out for the people in our church. Oh that they know that their lives can be so much bigger than how they are living right now! Are we showing them the fullness of God in our own lives? Please do not allow myself to get comfortable, to not become desensitized to the Holy Spirits leading.

Are we showing them the fullness of God in our own lives?

There are different levels or stages of faith. I had listened to a series by Michael Todd when he was on this series called Crazy Faith. I was intrigued because he was in the middle of a building program, just like we are. He had different segments of his series like “Maybe Faith,” “Hasty Faith,” “Baby Faith,” etc. It is a really good series.

My husband has been on this series called “Arise” for the past few months and he talked about the sleeping church. What is funny is that the verse he used was the same one used to open up “Lazy Faith.”

Matthew 26:40-41 (NKJV) Then He came to the disciples and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, “What! Could you not watch with Me one hour? Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

I do not know if you have ever stood up and spoke in front of people or not. There are times that I get up to do the announcements, lead our church in a declaration, and most people are looking down at their phones. This can be very discouraging. God has to remind me that I am not to focus on that. I need to focus on what He wants me to say. There have been times that I have ministered and people are sleeping. Now our service is at one thirty in the afternoon. This can be discouraging. God has to remind me that He does the work, I am just the vessel.

With Pastor Appreciation Month comes articles about the statistics of Pastors or Ministers. There are articles about their struggles. There are so many that quit or feel like they are not making an impact.

I am so very grateful that we pastor a church that loves us for who we are. We decided at the beginning of our leading that we were going to be as transparent as possible. We were not going to try to show perfection that was not there. Excellence and perfection are two different things. As a church we should be doing things in excellence, but to not allow room for grace would not be who Jesus modeled Himself to be.

My heart and prayer for our church is just like Paul prayed for the church in Ephesus. The Passion Translation says (Ephesians 3:16): And I pray that he will 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. Please do not fence yourself in by trying to do things on your own, or looking at your natural capabilities. He can do so much more with your life if you will just surrender. This is a pastor’s prayer, that we as vessels, help open your eyes to see your potential. We see it in you. A pastor’s heart is just like that of the Father. We see so much potential!

‘What if’ limits us

Over the years I have stepped out of my comfort zones and allowed God to take more parts of my life to mold it into how He wants it. I was not always like that. Why? Fear. Plain and simple. Fear will rob us of our potential because when we use the excuse of “what if,” I have now refused Him access to that part of my life.

God has had me on the word “refuse” for some time now. Refuse is the opposite of “willing to.” When it came time for me to speak in our church. I have to admit, I was so very scared. I had just attended a Joyce Meyer’s conference. She comes to the Atlanta area every other year and the conference is free to attend. This was my first trip that I had every organized for my church (my husband and I were still just the Associate Pastors at the time). Usually after events I would do all the prep work for the presentation to the church and someone else would talk about the event. I remember sitting in the auditorium listening to Joyce speak, I asked God right there to give me the strength to start teaching in our church. People always told me that I would, but I was so afraid, my voice would shake and I would cry. This time, I had a plan. I did not even tell my husband I was going to do it (just in case I backed out). I remember how proud he was of me. What made it even better was how I know how proud my Father of me. It wasn’t perfect, but I have gotten better over the years.

Joyce has a new book out called Do It Afraid. I am only on chapter twelve and can I tell you it has also revealed other areas that I have allowed fear to still have control in my life. One of those is using “crutches” as to why I do not have success in an area of my life. She made an eye opening statement: “My writing requires me to sit a lot, and a doctor recently told me that the medical profession now considers a sedentary lifestyle to be the new cancer. He wasn’t saying that sitting will cause cancer, but he was trying to impress on me that too much sitting is extremely detrimental to our health.” If that doesn’t make you take a couple of laps around your neighborhood!!

One of those is using “crutches” as to why I do not have success in an area of my life.

Often we will use our health, education, financial status, marital status, etc. as the “crutch” to why we do not see victory in areas of our lives. I am reminded of a parable that Jesus gave us found in Matthew 25:14-29, using the Message Translation: It’s also like a man going off on an extended trip. He called his servants together and delegated responsibilities. To one he gave five thousand dollars, to another two thousand, to a third one thousand, depending on their abilities. Then he left. Right off, the first servant went to work and doubled his master’s investment. The second did the same. But the man with the single thousand dug a hole and carefully buried his master’s money. After a long absence, the master of those three servants came back and settled up with them. The one given five thousand dollars showed him how he had doubled his investment. His master commended him: ‘Good work! You did your job well. From now on be my partner.’ The servant with the two thousand showed how he also had doubled his master’s investment. His master commended him: ‘Good work! You did your job well. From now on be my partner.’ The servant given one thousand said, ‘Master, I know you have high standards and hate careless ways, that you demand the best and make no allowances for error. I was afraid I might disappoint you, so I found a good hiding place and secured your money. Here it is, safe and sound down to the last cent.’ The master was furious. ‘That’s a terrible way to live! It’s criminal to live cautiously like that! If you knew I was after the best, why did you do less than the least? The least you could have done would have been to invest the sum with the bankers, where at least I would have gotten a little interest. Take the thousand and give it to the one who risked the most. And get rid of the “play-it-safe” who won’t go out on a limb.

Wow! This guy’s “what if’s” cost him a lot!! I do not want to be this guy. When I lost my job a couple of year’s ago, it was big hit to us financially. All the jobs I applied for would not have made up for the loss of income. So you know what I did? I used what we had…my vehicle. I took up driving for Uber. We live next to a college football town, Auburn, and there was a way for me to make that money. It was a stretch for me, but eventually I came to love it. I loved talking to the college kids as I drove them to classes. I would play the “Mama Mia Soundtrack” in my minivan and had all the kids singing along (the guys too). I was able to make what I had been missing to finish out our year. We did not go into lack. Do you know what happened after the football season stopped? Our need for that income changed. I no longer had to do that, but I had been willing to.

Last year I only drove a few times to buy my husband a really big Christmas gift. I bought him a Neo Geo. If you do not know what that it is you are probably not a 90s kid or you are not an old school gamer like he is. However, it was on his most wanted list and I made sure he got it. I have no idea what to get him this year though.

Our kids play sports. My oldest wrestles for the high school so the expense really is not that much. My youngest though! He does travel baseball and football. We spend a few thousand on him. When it came time for the fees for travel baseball, we just did not have it. So I used what I had. I am not ashamed to say that I sold plasma to pay for my son to do travel baseball. I had bruised arms for a few months, but I used what I had. This year when it came time to pay his travel fees, guess who had more than enough and did not have to sell plasma again? We did…but I was willing to.

Just because we were in a bind did not mean that we allowed the “what if’s” to keep us in lack. We used what we had, tithed off of the increase and God provided supernaturally! There is a time to use Be Still and Know (Psalm 46:10) and then there is a time to move. Sometimes we keep hold of the “be still” words that we refuse to move into what God has been telling us to do. If you are upset because you keep hearing that you need to move, but you want to stand on the “be still” promise, then maybe we need to search our hearts a little more. Do you think I enjoyed having bruised arms from selling plasma? Or driving in the heavy traffic to get people to the game on time (I even had to clean up vomit once)? I kept a thankful heart during those times. I used what I had and God’s provisions came in a way I cannot explain it. Do not let “what if” keep you in lack any longer. It might be a stretch and it might be scary, but as Joyce says, “do it anyway!”

Draining Days

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, says the Lord.” (Isaiah 55:8 AMPC)

There are days where we allow our thoughts to get control of us. Then what becomes even more draining is when we allow others to tell us their thoughts.

It is so very important to surround yourself with people that will build you up. Job was a cheerleader to many, but those who he surrounded himself were not the same for him.

In Job 4 taken from the Message Translation, “You yourself have done this plenty of times, spoken words that clarify, encouraged those who were about to quit. Your words have put stumbling people on their feet, put fresh hope in people about to collapse. But now you’re the one in trouble – you’re hurting!”

Negative people drain me.

Job allowed himself to be surrounded with those that were speaking the problem. Those kind of people drain us. Find a way to get back to your Hiding Place. Negative people drain me. I have to get myself around some faith talkers. How can you spot a faith talker? When they are going through a hard time they have not stopped praising!

We have to do whatever it takes to get us to a place where we do not stop praising Him. My problems no longer are the biggest thing in my life. I no longer see those areas of lack. All I see is Jesus!

Job’s friends (and I have been guilty of this too) tried to explain God. There is no explaining God. There is no reason that we go through what we go through, other than the devil hates us. If he can get you off track, put you on pause, get you distracted, then he has done what he has set out to do.

Paul even says it himself, “But I need something more! For I know that law but still can’t keep it, and if the power of sin within me keeps sabotaging my best intentions, I obviously need help! I realize that I don’t have what it takes. I can will it, but I can’t do it. I decide to do good, but I don’t really do it; I decide not to do bad, but then I do it anyway. My decisions, such as they are, don’t result in actions. Something has gone wrong deep within me and gets the better of me every time. It happens so regularly that it’s predictable. The moment I decide to do good, sin is there to trip me up. I truly delight in God’s commands, but it’s pretty obvious that not all of me joins in the delight. Parts of me covertly rebel, and just when I least expect it, they take charge. I’ve tried everything and nothing helps. I’m at the end of my rope. Is there no one who can do anything for me? Isn’t that the real question?” (Romans 7:18-24 MSG)

For a moment he sounds a lot like Job. The thing we miss here, is that we want to stop reading. We are like, see, I cannot do this! Paul is not saying we should not surrender to living in constant defeat. What he is doing is expressing anger…he has not received the victory yet. This is a normal reaction.

He continues, “The answer, thank God, is that Jesus Christ can and does. He acted to set things right in this life of contradictions where I want to serve God with all my heart and mind, but I am pulled by the influence of sin to do something totally different” (Romans 7:25 MSG).

We are going to have those draining, I do not know if I can make it kind of days. Put your thoughts on Him. It is a choice and it is your choice!

Do not come down until you are ready!

From Nehemiah 6 MSG “I’m doing a great work; I can’t come down. Why should the work come to a standstill just so I can come down and see you?” “They were trying to intimidate us into quitting. They thought, ‘They’ll give up; they never finish it.’ I prayed, ‘Give me strength.'”

It is hard when other people do not meet your passion. There are countless men and women in the Bible that God gave them instruction and people questioned whether they even heard God at all.

Moses is one of my favorite people in the Bible. I can so relate to him! I probably would have reacted the same way to all of the grumbling and complaining as he did in Numbers 20, when he struck the rock, afterGod told him to speak to it. I might have even taken out a couple of people when going for that swing too! Not really, but you know he was thinking it.

In return Moses would not be able to join in with the others in entering the Promised Land. However, he still makes it into the Hall of Faith found in Hebrews 11.

Near the end of Moses life he writes the book of Deuteronomy. In this book he recites over and over the escape out of Egypt and their time in the wilderness. He was so adamant about teaching their children, and for generations to come, all that had happened (Stephen even stands before his accusers in Acts 7 reciting much of this). This all occurred after he was told he could not bring the people into the Promise Land.

Above all, Moses desired God’s presence more than he desired to enter the Promise Land. He was seeking His face. In Exodus 33:18 Moses asks: “Please, show me Your glory.”

Moses desired God’s presence more than he desired to enter the Promise Land.

Exodus 33:21-23 God responds, “Here is a place by Me, and you shall stand on the rock. So it shall be, while My glory passes by, that I will put you into the cleft of the rock, and will cover you with My hand wile I pass by. Then I will take away My hand, and you shall see My back; but My face shall not be seen.”

Moses kept going up to the mountain to commune with God. He face would shine so bright after his encounters. Don’t you think while he was up there he could see the Promise Land knowing he would not enter it. Or did he…

Matthew 17:1-3 “Now after six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, let them up on a high mountain by themselves; and He was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became white as the light. And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking Him.”

Moses appears with Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration, which happens to be in the physical location of the Promise Land. When he desired to see God before, he could only see His back, but now he sees Him face-to-face.

Moses did not give up going on the mountain top and neither should you. Jeremiah 29:13 “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”

My First Step into Surrender

I was 18 when God spoke to me about surrendering my life to Jesus. John and I were already engaged and he had just turned his life back around. A few months before I found out that he was a drug addict and had always been since we met (almost three years of ignorance). When he got totally sold out to Jesus this time, he was a changed man. I did not quite know what to think. As he was ministering one night, God spoke to me. He said, “Amanda, that pedestal you have that boy on, that’s where I belong. Stop basing your future on what is going on in his life. I can love you so much more than He can!” With that I was all in.

“Amanda, that pedestal you have that boy on, that’s where I belong.”

The next step into being “all in” took great courage. I had a deep desire for love. So much so, that I had instigated the sexual aspect of our relationship. Now, I was going to have to tell him that if we were going to go all into this Jesus thing, then we were going to be all in about Him and not about us…that meant no more sex until marriage. Thankfully, John was all in too. That meant he wanted to see me succeed in my relationship with God, so that our eventual marriage would succeed.

I am going to be honest. It was not easy. There was still that desire there for physical love, especially, when you already know what that feels like. I can tell you for a fact, our relationship with God saved our marriage. We were no longer dependent on each other for the “love” feelings. We have a deep love for each other. We know each other’s thoughts, and can even finish each other’s jokes. We know how to build each other up; in turn that means we know what will be the area that we need the most work in.

Why did we do it?

“Jesus fixed his gaze upon the man, with tender love, and said to him, ‘Yet there is still one thing in you lacking. Go, sell all that you have and give the money to the poor. Then all your treasure will be in heaven. After you’ve done this, come back and walk with me.'” (Mark 10:21 TPT)

What was the one thing that could stand between me and God? What was the one thing I was putting in His place? That was John. He did not belong there. As long as I was giving myself to him, I would not be able to keep God in His right place. We put “us” on pause. We still got married, it was just another two and half years after that moment.