See the created and the redeemed

Ephesians 4:16 (TPT) For his “body” has been formed in his image and is closely joined together and constantly connected as one. And every member has been given divine gifts to contribute to the growth of all; and as these gifts operate effectively throughout the whole body, we are built up and made perfect in love.

Without a relationship with the Holy Spirit you will not see the body that you are called to in His image. What do I mean by that? There is not a person in the Bible (except Jesus) that did not have an issue with what they saw in the people God called them to. When we start getting close to people we can fall into the trap of identifying them by the flaws that they have instead of the benefits to your life. We are so quick to cut people out of our life when they disappoint us, anger us, hurt our feelings, etc. Yes, the ones that do not want the best for you separate from, but a member that wants to help and their help might have hurt your feelings.

We are His Created and Redeemed. Isaiah 48:12-13,17 (AMP) “Listen to Me, O Jacob, and Israel, whom I called; I am He, I am the First, I am the Last. “My hand founded and established the earth, And My right hand spread out the heavens; When I call to them, they stand together [in obedience to carry out My decrees]. CREATED This is what the Lord, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel says,“I am the Lord your God, who teaches you to profit (benefit), Who leads you in the way that you should go. REDEEMED Start seeing each other as God’s created and redeemed!

1 Corinthians 12:21-26 (TPT)  It would be wrong for the eye to say to the hand, “I don’t need you,” and equally wrong if the head said to the foot, “I don’t need you.”  In fact, the weaker our parts, the more vital and essential they are. The body parts we think are less honorable we treat with greater respect. And the body parts that need to be covered in public we treat with propriety and clothe them. But some of our body parts don’t require as much attention. Instead, God has mingled the body parts together, giving greater honor to the “lesser” members who lacked it. He has done this intentionally so that every member would look after the others with mutual concern, and so that there will be no division in the body.  In that way, whatever happens to one member happens to all. If one suffers, everyone suffers. If one is honored, everyone rejoices.

We are connected. What profit is it not to see the value in others, because you do not think they know what you have been through? Receive the gift anyways. There are those who have knowledge and wisdom in areas. Why not tap into that? Are you afraid they are going to be like Job’s friends and say that everything you are going through is your fault or you deserve it? Well, you might have some people like that, but that does not mean you cut them out of your life. I have been that person and I have been on the receiving end of it as well. That will definitely make me want to go into hiding, but the benefit of the body outweighs the chances of trying to go at it alone.

2 Corinthians 6:11-13 (TPT) My friends at Corinth, our hearts are wide open to you and we speak freely, holding nothing back from you. If there is a block in our relationship, it is not with us, for we carry you in our hearts with great love, yet you still withhold your affections from us. So I speak to you as our children. Make room in your hearts for us as we have done for you. In the Message Translation it says, Dear, dear Corinthians, I can’t tell you how much I long for you to enter this wide-open, spacious life. We didn’t fence you in. The smallness you feel comes from within you. Your lives aren’t small, but you’re living them in a small way. I’m speaking as plainly as I can and with great affection. Open up your lives. Live openly and expansively! Blocking relationships withing the body that you are called to can make you feel small and insignificant. Start living your life in a bigger way!

Get back into the local church and get plugged in! Get into some relationships when they have fellowships and gatherings, make up your mind to not stay away any longer. Start seeing them as the created and the redeemed…a gift to Him and to you. Be blessed!

Do like the otters do

Yesterday was Mother’s Day and I got to bring the message to our church. I am a mother of two handsome teenage boys. I am married to their amazing father, and have been for going on twenty one years this month. However, I was raised by a single mother for most of my childhood (from the age of four to twelve). My mother took us out of an abusive home, to start over with nothing, and did not remarry until I was almost a teenager. In that time she was single she went to night school, we moved from living together in a bedroom at my grandparents (there were four of us), to moving into section eight housing and then she bought a home while I was still in elementary school. We took dance lessons and she was at our dance recitals. We played softball and she was one of the coaches. My academics did not suffer because I was in a home of a single parent.

According to The Life of a Single Mom Ministries founder, Jennifer Maggio, “There are approximately 23 million single moms in the United States. And with divorce rates at approximately 50% and 1 in every 2 babies being born outside marriage, these numbers are expected to rise. 67% of today’s single parents are not actively attending a local church.” There are many reasons, number one is that they do not think they will be accepted. The church will not understand or be compassionate of what they are going through. A third of my church is made of of women that have been or are currently single mothers.

Church it is time to do like the otters do. I googled otters and this is what came up, “To prevent themselves from floating away in the swirling sea while they sleep, sea otters often entangle themselves in forests of kelp or giant seaweed to provide anchorage. … This is also the reason why they hold hands. They do so in order to prevent themselves from drifting away from the group.

I was watching a show on Hulu, called Station 19, and in this episode some of the firefighters were on a dinner cruise. A couple of the guys go off to have a private conversation, one being the chief, he clutches his chest and falls over the rails. The other firefighter just jumps in after him. Another firefighter witnesses this and grabs a life vest to put on himself, a life preserver for some one to grab onto, then jumps in. He tried to alert the crew inside running the boat, but they were not responding, so no one else knows that they have all just jumped overboard and are floating at tight in the Pacific. The boat is gone from sight in minutes. The one with the life vest suggested they do like the otters do, hold hands so they do not drift apart and help each other stay afloat. The chief is dead and floating in the life preserver, the one without the vest refuses and says he will just hold onto the dead thing (which is going to eventually sink). This is where I got my message for Sunday. God said, this is the state of the church right now. They do not see the gift of the body that He put together to strengthen us. Yes, He gave us the Holy Spirit, but He did not create us to be alone separated from His body (the church).

We like to quote Philippians 4:13, I can do all things [which He has called me to do] through Him who strengthens and empowers me [to fulfill His purpose—I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency; I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him who infuses me with inner strength and confident peace] (AMP). Check out what Paul says next, verse 14, Nevertheless , it was right of you to share [with me] in my difficulties. In Galatians 6:2, Paul writes, Carry one another’s burdens and in this way you will fulfill the requirements of the law of Christ [that is, the law of Christian love] (AMP). He is writing to believers. He is writing to the churches. He goes on to write in Philippians 4:15-19, And you Philippians know that in the early days of preaching the gospel, after I left Macedonia, no church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving except you alone; for even in Thessalonica you sent a gift more than once for my needs. Not that I seek the gift itself, but I do seek the profit which increases to your [heavenly] account [the blessing which is accumulating for you]. But I have received everything in full and more; I am amply supplied, having received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent me. They are the fragrant aroma of an offering, an acceptable sacrifice which God welcomes and in which He delights. And my God will liberally supply (fill until full) your every need according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus (AMP).

By resisting the body, and the gifts that it has, we are missing out on this heavenly account. By looking at the body as a gift and receiving from each other, blessings can be accumulating for each other. We are called to be generous givers. This is not just talking about finances. This is talking about our talents, our spiritual gifts, our wisdom and knowledge. The early church gave everything to see the needs of each other met. We look at each other through the lens of hurt and do not see how they can or if they would want to be a part of their lives. A healthy church will see the value in each other and will want to see each other succeed, no matter their status in life.

It is time to do like the otters do!

Not just going through the motions

Mark 10:27 (AMP) Looking at them, Jesus said, “With people [as far as it depends on them] it is impossible, but not with God; for all things are possible with God.”

On Sundays I get to spend a few moments exhorting the people of our church right before I do the declaration. I have been reading about stewardship and God having unlimited resources. The above scripture says a lot of what our faith should be lined up with. I presented to them the excuse that we do not want to create a lot of “Ishmaels.” (Ishmael is the son of Abraham and Hagar, Sarah handmaiden. Sarah gave Hagar to Abraham because they had no children and they thought they would help God out with the promise of a son. Ishmael’s lineage eventually becoming the Muslim nation). I presented to them this question: “Do you not think God can redeem Ishmael?”

Matthew 24:14 (AMP) This good news of the kingdom [the gospel] will be preached throughout the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end [of the age] will come.

No people group will be exempt. Therefore, no action that you take cannot be turned around for His good. Yes we will have consequences, but we are not living if we are not learning. We would just be going through the motions of life, and that would just be miserable.

It is often focused that Abraham only had two sons, Ishmael (from Hagar) and Isaac (from Sarah). In Genesis 25 it tells of Abraham taking another wife, Keturah, and she gave him six more kids. Isaac is said to be the son of promise and the nation of Israel ties it’s lineage back to him, that does not mean that Abraham did not bestow gifts on the others while he was still alive. There are so many messages that we can take away from all of this, but I took away that Abraham had more than one gift to give. We want ours to be the one of the promise (the perfect one).

2 Corinthians 12:9 (AMP) But He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you [My lovingkindness and My mercy are more than enough—always available—regardless of the situation]; for [My] power is being perfected [and is completed and shows itself most effectively] in [your] weakness.” Therefore, I will all the more gladly boast in my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ [may completely enfold me and] may dwell in me.

It is not required to be perfect, His grace paid the price for that. I love that is says that His mercy is more than enough and always available, regardless of the situation. I sure do need His mercy right now. In my disappointment, in my desire to see things grow, I need His mercy right now. He makes things perfect, not me. I want the power of Christ to dwell in me. I want to be led by the Holy Spirit in everything I do. I just have to keep His mercy before me. It is okay that it is not perfect.

It is not required to be perfect, His grace paid the price for that.

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

Deuteronomy 15:10 (AMP) You shall freely and generously give to him, and your heart shall not be resentful when you give to him, because for this [generous] thing the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in all your undertakings.

Above are a couple of verses that encourage me when I step out in faith. I give myself freely to Him in everything that I do and say. Such a great promise of Him taking it and blessing it. Notice He is not asking for perfection. I want to drive that point home. He makes them perfect, I just have to give Him something to work with.

What about excellence? I googled perfection versus excellence ad this is what it says, “Perfectionism is about the fear of failure, while striving for excellence is the urge for success. Excellence is superior performance, persistence, and the commitment to do something exceptionally well. Excellence requires risk, effort, spontaneity, hard work, and extending yourself to reach your full potential.” Excellence is a heart motive, perfection is in Him.

Praying blessings on everything you say and do today!

Say ‘no’ to carpenter ants

Ephesians 1:18-19 (AMP) And [I pray] that the eyes of your heart [the very center and core of your being] may be enlightened [flooded with light by the Holy Spirit], so that you will know and cherish the hope [the divine guarantee, the confident expectation] to which He has called you, the riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints (God’s people), and [so that you will begin to know] what the immeasurable and unlimited and surpassing greatness of His [active, spiritual] power is in us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of His mighty strength.

I do not know about you, but when something is bothering me I mull over it. This is a good moment for me to call on God and ask for a home inspection (since we are the home of the Holy Spirit). My husband and I have purchased two homes since we married. The first one was a bank repossession and was basically as is. The second home we were making a large investment in and had some money, to put down from the sale of the previous home. Let me add that when we bought our second home I was well into my third trimester with our second child. We physically went and looked at and toured nearly eighty homes (I know, I was exhausting).

We were running short on time and we had settled on a home not too far from our church location at the time. I was not crazy about the schools that we would be district for and the layout of the house was a little weird, but the closets were good and they had just remodeled the kitchen. We paid for a home inspection as we had made an offer. We wanted to make sure the home we were going to buy was solid. A home inspection is a detailed report of all the potential problems the home may have. This home had a lot of problems. First off, those appliances were not even hooked up in the kitchen and they were a long way off from getting to where that was even possible (electrical issues). Those cute gas logs in that nice fireplace were just there to look at, there was nothing hooked up and the fireplace was not usable. Then there were the carpenter ants that had built nests all in that brand new deck they put in, but did not treat, and now had infected the rest of the house. How can something so small cause so much damage! That house was a big no after the home inspection.

Our inspection for His home within us is the Holy Spirit and His Word. God has given us these so that I can clean myself up (a different clean up from that sin life I lived), but a clean up of the years of neglect, hurts, fear, shame and other spiritual baggage that I have been carrying around. These “life problems” can do some serious damage to this home, just like those small carpenter ants did to that home. I do not like that I mull over things so much. Overthinking and over analyzing things robs us of our peace and our joy. It will rob us of our sleep and our confidence of who we are in Christ. Christ purchased this home and paid a high price for it. I am forever grateful and know that I cannot do this life without Him.

Praying for you as you begin this week. Know and cherish this hope, that He sees us as the riches of His glorious inheritance. We ask Him to search within us and open the eyes of our hearts. He who began a good work within us will see it to completion. We are worth the investment!

Friendship Strained

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

Have you ever had it happen where you knew someone and you did things together, but all of a sudden they dropped off from your life? Being a pastor, we have it happen quite often. It is one of the hardest relationships with people to navigate, but it is also the most rewarding. Like anyone else, if I did not get joy out of seeing the light come on (fresh revelation being revealed to them personally) then I would not be doing it.

Yesterday, my husband and I were walking around a local thrift store. He is a big thrifter and likes to find items to resell. My kids and him have a Youtube channel called Bama Pickin’ and Grinnin (click on the link to see what they have been up to). I saw someone out that I had not seen in years. I went up to them and said hello. I was met with, “I did not know you were in here,” as their eyes darted in all directions but me. I complimented her on some things and then went on my way. I wondered, what had I done to muster such a look of discomfort from an old friend.

My question was, did I offend them? What stronghold are they holding on against me? Then my heart hurt for them. I never want to spur others to anger. I want to do what the above scripture says. I prayed their hearts would be softened to the Holy Spirit and prayed Luke 6:36-37 (AMP) over them and myself: Be merciful (responsive, compassionate, tender) just as your [heavenly] Father is merciful. Do not judge [others self-righteously], and you will not be judged; do not condemn [others when you are guilty and unrepentant], and you will not be condemned [for your hypocrisy]; pardon [others when they truly repent and change], and you will be pardoned [when you truly repent and change].

There are always two sides to a story (more than one perspective). When we do sit down and talk to each other, really listen to each other. Just because a person has a different perspective than you does not mean they are your enemy, or that they are wrong (this is not talking about the Word of God). The body of Christ is stronger when it is unified and not divided in an issue. So let us (Ephesians 4:32 in the amplified) Be kind and helpful to one another, tender-hearted [compassionate, understanding], forgiving one another [readily and freely], just as God in Christ also forgave you.

Is it really worth holding onto something for so many years? Is it really worth losing compassion? Is it really worth hardening your heart? Christ forgave me, therefore, I need to be readily and freely ready to forgive others.

Deeper Worship

Last night I was talking to our youth about going deeper about the things of the Holy Spirit. We talked about God not being bound to our three dimensional world. That there is so much more to this life that we cannot see because we like to confine ourselves to feelings. However, God did create us as a tri-une beings like He is. We are made up of body, soul (mind, will and emotions) and spirit. He is God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.

Deuteronomy 6:5 (AMP) You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and mind and with all your soul and with all your strength [your entire being].

We got in the discussion about loving God and out of that love for God is why we worship. I explained that I had to grow and mature in why and how I worship. This type of love that Deuteronomy talks about, and what Jesus talked about in Mark 12:30, is grown out of a relationship with God. Relationships take work. Unfortunately, when relationships do not go our way or we feel like the effort is not worth the relationship. We can “fall out of love” with that individual. Some people “fall out of love” with God. Couples use that excuse all the time why they divorce, they just “fell out of love” with each other. As I have grown in my relationship, the type of growth like it talks about John 15, my love for God has also grown. My worship in turn has gotten deeper. My care about who is standing in the room during corporate worship, what I look like, has also matured. This is not about them, this is about Him!

Some people “fall out of love” with God.

John 4:24-25 (TPT) From here on, worshiping the Father will not be a matter of the right place but with the right heart. For God is a Spirit, and he longs to have sincere worshipers who worship and adore him in the realm of the Spirit and in truth.

There is a difference in what happens when you worship in the spirit. We can sing songs, we can read our Word, but we also have the gift, a gift that has to be received of the Holy Spirit (different from the spirit that is drawn to Christ, but of the same). Jesus says in Acts 1:8a (NKJV), “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you.” Then in Acts 2:1-4 (NKJV) “When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

Romans 8:26-27 (NKJV) Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.  Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.

1 Corinthians 14:3-4 (NKJV) But he who prophesies speaks edification and exhortation and comfort to men. He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the church.

When we speak forth the Word of God we prophesy. Prophesying is not this spooky things about telling of future events, that is prophecy. That is a whole other gift of the spirit that we can dive into later, because some have abused this gift and made the things of God look foolish. But to prophesy is grounded in the Word of God. When I pray in tongues, or worship in the spirit, that is for me. It says in verse two that God hears what I say in the spirit directly. It says my prayer language is heard by God’s ears Himself. So when I worship in the spirit, oh there is fire that runs through my bones! I cannot get that until the Holy Spirit has come “upon me.” There is a different level out there if you are open to it.

I like to explain it this way about the power of what the Holy Spirit that can come upon you can do. I take the story from 2 Kings 6:15-17 (AMP) The servant of the man of God got up early and went out, and behold, there was an army with horses and chariots encircling the city. Elisha’s servant said to him, “Oh no, my master! What are we to do?”  Elisha answered, “Do not be afraid, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”  Then Elisha prayed and said, “Lord, please, open his eyes that he may see.” And the Lord opened the servants eyes and he saw; and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire surrounding Elisha. There is more going on than our three dimensional view can understand.

When I had the Holy Spirit come upon me, the power was confidence. Confidence in who I was as a child of God. I no longer had to be in extreme highs and extreme lows with my relationship with God. This does not mean I understand all things. No, and I am not meant to. It does mean that I can now worship Him on a different level. I worship in Spirit and in truth. The truth being grounded in His Word and no longer my feelings. Oh, how I wish you could feel my passion for this type of worship! This kind fills you with joy all the day long. This gets you excited to be up in the morning. This gives you a passion to prophesy, exhorting and edifying His church! I will leave you with one verse, it is one of my favorites to use when we get scared to step a little deeper with God: 2 Corinthians 6:11-13 (MSG) Dear, dear Corinthians, I can’t tell you how much I long for you to enter this wide-open, spacious life. We didn’t fence you in. The smallness you feel comes from within you. Your lives aren’t small, but you’re living them in a small way. I’m speaking as plainly as I can and with great affection. Open up your lives. Live openly and expansively!

Take advantage of your prayer language, use it in worship. If you do not have one and you want to know more about this Holy Spirit that comes upon us I would love to help. You can email me at amanda@desiringformore.org. Go deeper this year!

Jesus got tired too

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That was Jesus. What did He say about you?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You are gifted!

A year ago my husband was in a series called “Finishing the Race,” in this series he described the race we are in. The race is against time…time to complete what God has purposed for you to do on this earth.  Our purpose is Ministry. When I say ministry people automatically think that is pulpit ministry, evangelism or missions. Ministry is whatever helps further the kingdom message. The gift of knowing how to work a camera or do production for television can be used for ministry. The gift of getting a managing of finances is a vital ministry (lights and chairs are not free). I have taken from his notes to write this blog today. I thought it was important, as I put my hands to ministry this week. This week I noticed holes in what I was called to do. I noticed that there are those who are suppose to be linked up with us, that for whatever reason, are not. My prayer is that you see your importance. That ministry is bigger than one person, it takes a team to finish the race strong.

You were created for ministry. Ephesians 2:10, “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” What are we created with an ability to do…”to do Good Works!”

Once we accept Jesus as Lord and Savior, we also accept the responsibility of ministry. 2 Timothy 1:9 “It is He who saved us and chose us for his holy work, not because we deserved it but because that was his plan long before the world began.” Plain and simple a non-serving Christian is a contradiction.

Plain and simple a non-serving Christian is a contradiction.

We have been called into ministry. All of us have a purpose. Galatians 1:15, God, in his grace, chose me even before I was born, and called me to serve him. Ephesians 4:1, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. 1 Peter 2:9-10, You have been chosen by God himself…God called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Every Christian, the moment you became a Christian, you were called into ministry.

We have been gifted for ministry. 1 Peter 4:10, God has given each of you some special abilities be sure to use them to help each other, passing on to others God’s many kinds of blessing. This ability is to be used for Ministry purposes. Philippians 2:4, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. Ministry Life does not revolve around self promotion, but rather promotes the development of others and their God given ability. If you succeed then I have succeeded.

If you succeed then I have succeeded.

I want to stop here an ponder on the wonderful Gift that Jesus left us especially during this time of year when we are so focused on giving/receiving gifts: John 14:15-31 (TPT) “Loving me empowers you to obey my commands. And I will ask the Father and he will give you another Savior, the Holy Spirit of Truth, who will be to you a friend just like me—and he will never leave you. The world won’t receive him because they can’t see him or know him. But you will know him intimately, because he will make his home in you and will live inside you. I promise that I will never leave you helpless or abandon you as orphans—I will come back to you! Soon I will leave this world and they will see me no longer, but you will see me, because I will live again, and you will come alive too.  So when that day comes, you will know that I am living in the Father and that you are one with me, for I will be living in you.  Those who truly love me are those who obey my commands. Whoever passionately loves me will be passionately loved by my Father. And I will passionately love you in return and will manifest my life within you.”  Then one of the disciples named Judas (not Judas Iscariot) said, “Lord, why is it you will only reveal your identity to us and not to everyone?” Jesus replied, “Loving me empowers you to obey my word. And my Father will love you so deeply that we will come to you and make you our dwelling place.  But those who don’t love me will not obey my words. The Father did not send me to speak my own revelation, but the words of my Father.  I am telling you this while I am still with you.  But when the Father sends the Spirit of Holiness, the One like me who sets you free, he will teach you all things in my name. And he will inspire you to remember every word that I’ve told you.

There is so much that is available to us because of the Holy Spirit. The third part of the trinity that we should make ourselves familiar with. A spirit led life is more than a feeling, it is knowing where you are called to be, doing what you are called to do, with the people you are called to do it with. Galatians 5:25 (NIV) Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. There is always free will though.

Matthew 6:33 (GW) But first, be concerned about his kingdom and about his approval. The all these things will be provided for you. If this is what you want your legacy to be, then we have to leave the comfort of the smallness of what we think an impact our gift makes. There are churches, community ministries and world wide ministries with holes in them. They are getting by without you, but does not mean that they have to. Just think what an impact you would make with the gift that God gave you. I need leaders and helpers to complete the vision that God has given me for Connect Church.

In Acts, chapters 17 and 18, we see that Paul is doing ministry but he was waiting on someone. It tells us that he is waiting on Silas and Timothy. Their lack of presence did not cause him to stop ministry. Acts 18:5 (MSG) When Silas and Timothy arrived from Macedonia, Paul was able to give all his time to preaching and teaching, doing everything he could to persuade the Jews that Jesus was in fact God’s Messiah. Here I read this as, now that he had ministry partners, Paul is able to do what he was called to do. He was not successful every time, but he was doing what he was called to do, because those with him were doing what they were called to do.

You are gifted. You are needed. You are more than staying in your room wanting to see this world change for Him. You are being called out of your room, or like me off of my couch. Let us turn this world upside down for his kingdom!

What did 2020 bring?

Haggai 2:6-9  (KJV) For thus saith the Lord of hosts; Yet once, it is a little while, and I will shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land;  And I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come: and I will fill this house with glory, saith the Lord of hosts. The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, saith the Lord of hosts. The glory of this latter house shall be greater than of the former, saith the Lord of hosts: and in this place will I give peace, saith the Lord of hosts.

Hebrews 12:26-28 (KJV) Whose voice then shook the earth: but now he hath promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven. And this word, Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain. Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear.

Prophetic word my husband heard from the Lord when seeking what 2020 would bring this year: “There is a release happening, a release from things of the flesh and world that have attached itself to us.  It has grown alongside the truth, it has dwelt in the same field for too long and the God of harvest is separating the things of the flesh from the things of the spirit. This is a year of release from our past into a release of God’s glory.  The things in our life that don’t belong will be shaken and it is a time to release any and all things that don’t belong. As we release the release of God will manifest. It is time for the unseen promise to be seen and the seen circumstances to no longer distract our focus. There is a shaking happening…this shaking will release the attachments of the curse that have been attached to our lives for so long.  This release will in turn allow to freedom for the Holy Spirit to be released in our lives. Don’t be afraid of the shaking!  But with reverential fear of God, glorify Him who IS the power that shakes the mountains, the earth and the heavens, but has also provided for His children an unshakable refuge they can abide in.  For He is shaking all things loose that don’t belong, that aren’t established in Christ.”

Matthew 16:18 “…and on this rock (the unshakable foundation of Jesus Christ, The WORD) I will build My church, and the gates of Hell shall not overpower it [or be strong to its detriment or hold out against it].”

He said: “I am declaring that this year is a year of RELEASE!  Letting go of the past and embracing the promise of God.”

He is shaking all things loose that don’t belong, that aren’t established in Christ.

I was sitting in prayer and reading the other day. My husband is not a prophetic preacher, he was anointed to bring that word to us though. While reading I came across Matthew 13:24-30 in the Message Translation. As I read this I was reminded of what was prophesied in January, “It has grown alongside the truth, it has dwelt in the same field for too long and the God of harvest is separating the things of the flesh from the things of the spirit.”

He told another story. “God’s kingdom is like a farmer who planted good seed in the field. That night, while his hired men were asleep, his enemy sowed thistles all through the wheat and slipped away before dawn. When the first green shoots appeared and the grain began to form, the thistles showed up, too. The farmhands came to the farmer ans said, ‘Master, that was clean seed you planted, wasn’t it? Where did these thistles come from?’ He answered, ‘Some enemy did this.” The farmhands asked, ‘Should we week out the thistles?’ He said, ‘No, if you weed the thistles, you’ll pull up the wheat, too. Let them grow together until harvest time. Then I’ll instruct the harvesters to pull up the thistles and tie them in the bundles for fire, then gather the wheat and put it in the barn.”

When will the church wake up? When will it be harvest time? Jesus spent all day telling various stories. At the end of the day His disciples went back and asked Him to explain the story of the thistle. This intrigued me as well:

Matthew 13:37-43 (MSG) So he explained. “The farmer sows the pure seed in the Son of Man. The field is the world, the pure seeds are subjects of the kingdom, the thistles are subjects of the Devil, and the enemy who sows them is the Devil. The harvest is the end of the age, the curtain of history. The harvest hands are angels.The picture of thistles pulled up and burned is a scene from the final act. The Son of Man will send his angels, weeds out the thistles from his kingdom, pitch them in the trash, and be done with them. They are going to complain to high heavens, but nobody is going to listen. At the same time, ripe, holy lives will mature and adorn the kingdom of their Father. Are you listening to this? Really listening?

My husband and I are not prophetic preachers, like I said, but I believe the Word of God is real, alive and is prophetic. This just gave me something to ponder and I hope it does you as well. More than ever I need to watch my words and my character. I needs to draw closer to the Father. I need to allow Jesus to do the work in me so I can reflect Him more.

“There is a shaking happening…this shaking will release the attachments of the curse that have been attached to our lives for so long.  This release will in turn allow to freedom for the Holy Spirit to be released in our lives.” The Holy Spirit is about to break free! As a church we have told Him that He would scare the seeker. In the Word, it says that the gifts of the spirit were to bring evidence to the unbeliever (1 Corinthians 14:22). As a church we need to repent for silencing the Holy Spirit. What did 2020 bring? It brought freedom in the shaking! It brought an awakening!! So let us shake off that slumbering spirit that keeps trying to afflict us. Let us rise to become all that He called us to be. We have two choices in this season…we can complain or we can mature. I have chosen to draw closer to my Jesus, to draw closer to the vine, to desire more of Him in my every day life and to be where He wants me to be.

Manifestations…am I crazy!

The past few month the desire in me has been to see the manifestations of God on earth again. You know the stuff you read about in the Bible. If Acts 1:8 says, “But I promise you this – the Holy Spirit will come upon you and you will be filled with power.” What power was Jesus talking about? Power like Elisha who called down lightning? Complete healing from touching the hem of a garment? How about the power of the shadow of Peter?

What is limiting us from seeing the blind, deaf and lame healed? From us walking in the wholeness that God desires for us?

The mindset of the flesh. We will not stop overthinking this salvation and born again thing. We are so caught up in Galatians 5:19-21 (TPT), The cravings of the self-life are obvious: Sexual immorality, lustful thoughts, pornography, chasing after things instead of God, manipulating others, hatred of those who get in your way, senseless arguments, resentment when others are favored, temper tantrums, angry quarrels, only thinking of yourself, being in love with your own opinions, being envious of the blessings of others, murder, uncontrolled addictions, wild parties, and all similar behavior. Haven’t I already warned you that those who use their “freedom” for these things will not inherit the kingdom of God!

We put ourselves under condemnation especially when you see your brothers and sisters in Christ walking in verses 22-23: But the fruit produced by the Holy Spirit within you is divine love in all its varied expressions: joy that overflows, peace that subdues, patience that endures, kindness in action, a life full of virtue, faith that prevails, gentleness of heart, and strength of spirit. Never set the law above these qualities, for they are meant to be limitless.

Law? Condemnation is part of the law.

When we try to measure up to the person next to us, that is putting ourselves under the law. When you think that just because you attend church, that is what showing fruit is, that is under the law.

From looking at these verses from this perspective I can see only one fruit of the spirit.

Love…the rest are attributes.

Just look at 1 Corinthians 13: 4-7 (TPT) for the similarities: Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; loves does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

I have felt condemnation about not living up to what people standards of what this love looks like to them. I have even had this verse and the previous verses quoted at me for not meeting their standard of love (which by the way as Christians make us look petty and does not win the other back). So how can we do this love walk?

John 15:4-10 (TPT) Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.

If we are free from the law then what are the commandments?

Matthews 22:37-39 (TPT) Jesus said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’

Galatians 6:1-5 My beloved friends, if you see a believer who is overtaken with a fault, may the one who overflows with the Spirit seek to restore him. Win him over with gentle words, which will open his heart to you and will keep you from exalting yourself over him. Love empowers us to fulfill the law of the Anointed One as we carry each other’s troubles. If you think you are too important to stoop down and help another, you are living in deception. Let everyone be devoted to fulfill the work God has given them to do with excellence, and their joy will be in doing what’s right and being themselves, and not in being affirmed by others. Every believer is ultimately responsible for his or her own conscience.

Know this about myself, this is something I am having to continually walk in.

When I read 1 Kings about Solomon and his refusal to listen to the warnings of God, I had to repent for watching a movie with my youngest that I knew we should not have watched.

When I post about teenagers, it is because I have teenagers. I have to correct and change how I do things. I do not always get this parenting thing right, but I am progressing.

Why are we not seeing the power of God move? We still have to get closer to the vine. How do we get closer to the vine? I need to get in my Word more…I need to be led by the Holy Spirit more. I need to compare myself with others less.

We cannot be afraid of judgment of those in the church when we need help to overcome what they have already overcome. I cannot hide from conviction and led it become condemnation (putting ourselves under the law). We deny we are wrong and then do not allow the Word to work fully in our lives. I have to die to myself, so that I can live free in Him! There is so much more freedom if we truly open ourselves up to what the Word wants to do in our lives.

There is so much more freedom if we truly open ourselves up to what the Word wants to do in our lives.

I believe that healing is still for today. I believe that miracles can still happen.

There is a song that I have had on repeat in my head. It is there when I fall asleep, it is there when I wake in the morning, it has been within me as I write this. It is called “This is a Move.” Click on the title if you want to give it a listen, but here are some of the lyrics:

Bodies are still being raised
Giants are still being slain
God we believe, cause yes we can see that
Wonders are still what You do.

We are here for You, come and do what You do
We are here for You, come and do what You do
We set our hearts on You, come and do what You do
Cause we need a move

Miracles happen when You move
Healing is coming in this room

Abide in Him…that is the secret. I have to continually abide in Jesus with the expectation that manifestations are a natural part of who He is. I have to allow the release of the Holy Spirit within me. There is a great move that God still wants to do on this earth. He loves to demonstrate who He is. Can you see it now (2 Kings 6:17)?