How I think of myself matters

Romans 12:2 (AMP) And do not be conformed to this world [any longer with its superficial values and customs], but be transformed and progressively changed [as you mature spiritually] by the renewing of your mind [focusing on godly values and ethical attitudes], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His plan and purpose for you].

Yesterday I had the privilege of ministering the word to my church. It was called “Mirror the Glory.” This is an excerpt from it. I believe our minds are the biggest battle we face to keep us from walking in the command to love, just as Jesus commanded us to. It all starts on how we see ourselves. The NIV starts off the above verse with “Do not conform to the pattern of this world.”

What is the pattern of this world? “I am the result of my upbringing.” “I cannot move ahead because I was not set up to succeed.” “I was not loved as a child so I do not know how to show love (or receive love).” “I grew up in dysfunction so all I know is dysfunction.” “I was abused so I seek out relationships that abuse.” “I have been through too much.”

1 Corinthians 7:23 You were bought with a price [a precious price paid by Christ]; do not become slaves to men [but to Christ].

Do not become slaves to this thought pattern. Do not allow this to keep you from the abundant life that He came for (John 10:10).

1 Corinthians 6:12 (AMP) Everything is permissible for me, but not all things are beneficial. Everything is permissible for me, but I will not be enslaved by anything [and brought under its power, allowing it to control me].

We are held in bondage by the thoughts we have. This has nothing to do with His love for you. I can be held in emotional bondage and He still loves us.

Romans 8:38-39 (AMP) For I am convinced [and continue to be convinced—beyond any doubt] that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present and threatening, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the [unlimited] love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

This has nothing to do about whether you are saved (going to Heaven), whether He loves you, this has to do about the SOZO. SOZO means to save, deliver, heal, to make whole. The devil’s goal is to separate us from God’s love, because God’s love is the main factor in our emotional healing.

Ephesians 3:17-19 (AMP) 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].

In order to full experience this amazing and endless love, you need to go through the process of giving Him what bounds you. It is through this process that you experience the love to the fullest. The Holy Spirit was given to us to Comfort us through the process. It is going to hurt, but it is a good hurt. Let the spiritual roots of bondage be set free. Receive the wholeness that He came to bring you. It is a continual thing. It is not a one and done.

2 Corinthians 3:18 (AMP) 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.

Look yourself in the mirror today and make this declaration: I am fully loved by God. He adopted me into His family. The pain of my past does not determine my future. The spirit that now dwells in me has full access to my life. He has permission to search within me and clear out anything that the enemy can use to hinder the call that He has on my life. I am free! I am healed! I am whole!!

Untie the colt

Acts 4:13 (AMP) Now when the men of the Sanhedrin (Jewish High Court) saw the confidence and boldness of Peter and John, and grasped the fact that they were uneducated and untrained [ordinary] men, they were astounded, and began to recognize that they had been with Jesus.

Yesterday we began what we call “Holy Week.” Starting with Palm Sunday, we celebrate and reflect on the week leading up to the Resurrection of Jesus on the following Sunday. Palm Sunday was the day that Jesus made His triumphant entrance into the city riding on the back of colt, the foal of a donkey,(Luke 19:28-38) as prophesied in Zechariah 9:9.

Jesus was 30 years old when He was baptized and He started His ministry. We read in Luke 2:41 that His parents took Him every year to Jerusalem for the Passover Feast. We even see at the age of 12 that He was able to talk about and have an intellectual conversation about the scriptures. He was 33 years old when He went to the cross. Nearly 33 years walking into that city for the Passover Feast. Why was this one so special? Jesus knew that the time would come. There was never a time that He did not celebrate the Passover. What made Him decide this time was different?

Reading the story of John and Peter healing a man in front of the temple, and then getting arrested, made me think of what Jesus’s disciples thought when their king was hung on the cross. How many times do we say, “it was not in God’s time” because we do not see an abundance of blessing poured out on someone when they step out? Looking at these two situations. That is what it looked like in the natural. How big was their faith to say “even if?”

Jesus hung on the cross for hours in agony. He died a horrible death. Our Jesus willing did that. God did not have the colt waiting for Him to ride at the bottom of the Mt. of Olives. He had to tell His disciples to go and get it. He chose to do it!

Matthew 22:14 (AMP), Jesus said, “For many are called (invited, summoned), but few are chosen.” Do you think that meant that we are called forth and chosen? Remember in elementary school how we would be divided on team for dodge ball? We would have two “captains” and they would take turns calling out the names of the kids they wanted on their team. It was always humiliating to be the kid picked last. That is not how it works in the Kingdom. Chosen here means you have a choice. Chosen are the ones that say ‘yes’ even if.

What has got you from grabbing onto your colt and starting? We were not told the year or age that Jesus would die on the cross before hand? John and Peter did not say, “God said,” before they laid hands on the sick. It was the Holy Spirit inside of them that led them.

Many of us do not want to step out of God’s timing. May I encourage you to not be led in fear of punishment, but know that He loves a heart that is willing.

Romans 8:28 (AMP)  And we know [with great confidence] that God [who is deeply concerned about us] causes all things to work together [as a plan] for good for those who love God, to those who are called according to His plan and purpose.

Let me encourage you this Holy Week to step out into your calling. Make a contact this week. Peter and John were not qualified by man’s standards. Jesus was ridiculed even up to the moment of His death.

Matthew 27:54 (NIV) When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, “Surely he was the Son of God!”

Even if it looks like a mess, He can turn it into good. They will be astounded at the goodness of God. Untie the colt and start!!

Water Gate

Nehemiah 8:1-3 (AMP) Then all the people gathered together as one man at the open square in front of the Water Gate; and they asked Ezra the scribe to bring the Book of the Law of Moses which the Lord had given to Israel. So Ezra the priest brought the Law before the assembly of men, women and all who could listen with understanding, on the first day of the seventh month. Then he read from it, in front of the open square which was in front of the Water Gate, from early morning until midday, in the presence of the men and women, those who could understand; and all the people listened carefully to the Book of the Law. 

I have just finished reading the Bible in chronological order. I have yet to do a rapid Bible read through in 90 days. This is only the second time I have read it completely through. It is not an essential thing to accomplish to be a good Christian, but I do believe it should be a desire of our hearts. This is one of the areas that I would say would be “works” oriented. It does not matter how much scripture you read in a day, how much you memorize or how much you pray. Do you follow the teachings? Do you love to the extent that Jesus did?

As I started a new plan, I decided to start with Haggai, Ezra and Nehemiah. Nehemiah being a type and shadow of the Holy Spirit, as his name means Comforter. Nehemiah was not a priest and he was not a prophet. What he did was have a burden for the people. He desired for them to be restored. That is exactly what the Holy Spirit will do in our lives. Jesus is not just my savior, He is the Prince of Wholeness (Isaiah 9:6-7 MSG).

In the first chapter of Haggai he pointed out the people were concerned about their personal needs and they just couldn’t get it together, although they knew God called them back to this place. He said twice “Consider your ways.” The Israelites returned to Jerusalem after 70 years of captivity in Babylon, focusing on rebuilding their homes, reestablishing their businesses, and creating comfortable lifestyles in their homeland. Yet they completely forgot the importance of rebuilding the temple and reestablishing their relationship with God.

Haggai 2:3, 6-9 (AMP) Who is left among you who saw this house (temple) in its former glory? And how do you see it now? Does it not seem to you like nothing in comparison?For thus says the Lord of hosts, ‘Once more, in a little while, I am going to shake the heavens and the earth, the sea and the dry land. I will shake all the nations; and they will come with the desirable and precious things of all nations, and I will fill this house with glory and splendor,’ says the Lord of hosts. ‘The silver is Mine and the gold is Mine,’ declares the Lord of hosts. ‘The latter glory of this house will be greater than the former,’ says the Lord of hosts, ‘and in this place I shall give [the ultimate] peace and prosperity,’ declares the Lord of hosts.”

In the book of Ezra we see them come back to rebuild the temple. It did not look the same way that it did under Solomon. Those that knew it’s previous glory mourned. Those who never saw it before rejoiced that it was there. It is all about perspective.

In Nehemiah, he sees the importance of rebuilding the walls and the gates. Each one has significance but I want to concentrate on the Water Gate. Located adjacent to the Kidron Valley, the Gihon Spring was accessible via the Water Gate. The Kidron Valley served as a burial ground. This is the world’s largest Jewish cemetery, located next to the Mount of Olives. It shows their commitment to the faith.  

Ephesians 5:26 (AMP) so that He might sanctify the church, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word [of God]

Psalms 119:9 (TPT) How can a young man stay pure? Only by living in the Word of God and walking in its truth.

The Holy Spirit is the one who makes the word of God alive to us personally, allowing cleansing, encouragement and direction to take place in our life. This Word is so important to us and our restoration. Water yourself in the Word! Hold truth to the Word!!

It was of spiritual importance that the Word of God be read in front of the Water Gate. The Word was valuable to them. It should be valuable to you. It does not determine your salvation from Hell. It does not make you a better “Christian”. The Word of God is restoration. You will not know all that He has available to you unless you know what the Word says about it. Come dip with me in the water today, and when you are ready, we can go a little deeper. Desiring for more is where my heart is!

Restoration takes more than me

Philippians 3:12 (AMP) Not that I have already obtained it [this goal of being Christlike] or have already been made perfect, but I actively press on so that I may take hold of that [perfection] for which Christ Jesus took hold of me and made me His own.

There are many benefits of our Reconciliation through Christ besides just “going to Heaven” but they can remain dormant and non-beneficial until discovered and used. My husband posed this question to us a couple of Sunday’s ago: “Am I walking in the Freedom of Reconciliation today?”

Your relationship with God is as deep as you want it to be. Your freedom is to the level that you set it.

Luke 10:19 tells us that Jesus gave us the ability to exercise authority over all the power of the enemy (Satan); and nothing will harm us. I want to remind you that you cannot do this alone. You were not meant to do it alone.

Have you ever heard this? “I work out my own salvation!” That is taken from Philippians 2:12 and we use it as a defense mechanism because we do not like being corrected. We are taking it out of context. You see quoting this and stating “I work out my own salvation” is not the character and nature of God. Actually, in the original Greek it is not quite stated like this. The New American Standard Bible has the closest, because we all know from grammar classes, punctuation is important.

You should not quote verse 12 without 13: So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to desire and to work for His good pleasure.

You cannot do this separate from the Holy Spirit. You are not alone to work out your own salvation. You need to know and read His Word, but if you do not have the Holy Spirit you are limited. You will quote verses out of context and live half free.

There was also something else that God gave us to help in our restoration. He gave us each other.

Ephesians 2:18, 22 (AMP) For it is through Him that we both have a [direct] way of approach in one Spirit to the Father.  So then you are no longer strangers and aliens [outsiders without rights of citizenship], but you are fellow citizens with the saints (God’s people), and are [members] of God’s household, In Him [and in fellowship with one another] you also are being built together into a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.

The devil will try to tell you that since you are the only one like you in your family that you do not belong, that you are an alien, that you are an orphan. Even though you DO belong to a family, he will do everything he can to keep you from the full benefit of salvation. I know what it is like to feel like you are not included. My husband and I are the pastors. Do you know how hard that is to be the leader? Someone once said that if you want to please people sell ice cream. However,I cannot become all that He created me to be if I do not fellowship with my church. I am not talking about gathering to eat food. Am I being authentic in my growth with them so that they can encourage me? Not just one sided to where they are vulnerable and I just can’t because of my lack of trust in the very body of believers I am called to. I need to walk in fullness. I have to let the body do what it is suppose to, even if it hurts (just a little secret, growth is suppose to hurt).

Ephesians 4:12, 16 [and He did this] to fully equip and perfect the saints (God’s people) for works of service, to build up the body of Christ [the church]; From Him the whole body [the church, in all its various parts], joined and knitted firmly together by what every joint supplies, when each part is working properly, causes the body to grow and mature, building itself up in [unselfish] love.

The five fold ministry is essential in equipping the saints (the born again believer). Do you have a pastor? Do you allow them to correct you? There are good ones out there that want to see the best in you. The body of Christ is also essential to each other. We are no longer our own person. My restoration was for a bigger purpose than myself. I should be encouraging you to grow. You encourage me to seek the Holy Spirit in my growth!

Love is the unselfish concern for others, to see the best for them. This goes against the culture of “do what is best for you.” That shows a total lack of trust in the Father. Do you honestly think that if you did something that was better for someone else that He would not see to it that you go the best too? Let us grow past looking out for ourselves and serve one another.

Let us get back to the main question: “Am I walking in the Freedom of Reconciliation today?” We cannot do it apart from Jesus and the Father. We cannot do it apart from the Holy Spirit. We cannot do it fully without each other. You were not meant to work it out alone. God’s desire is for you to be whole. Let the Holy Spirit and the body of Christ do its work.

Two Forty Somethings at Disney

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Word for this year: “Light”

John 1:9 (AMP) There it was – the true Light (the genuine, perfect, steadfast Light) which, coming into the world, enlightens everyone.

I have never been one to do a “word of the year,” but this year God spoke to me “Light”. My heart’s desire is to seek first His Kingdom. When special occasions come my family will ask if there is anything special I would like to do, go, or want. My answer is nothing at all. There are things that I like and places that I like to go, but those are not the desires of my heart. There are a benefit and I would never turn down a trip to the beach, but I will not pout if my husband does not plan us a trip there every year for our anniversary.

Why “Light?” I have been seeking God about why the Body of Christ have lost their boldness. Their boldness to reach the broken and to see the captives set free. Why are we seeing shallow Christians? He told me that they do not know me as the “Light.” They may have accepted Him as Savior, but that does not mean they have not been free from the shadows of the darkness. They have been tricked into thinking that it is not their time yet, so therefore, He has not released them.

Luke 8:16-18 (AMP) “Now no one lights a lamp and then covers it with a container [to hide it], or puts it under a bed; instead, he puts it on a lampstand, so that those who come in may see the light. For there is nothing hidden that will not become evident, nor anything secret that will not be known and come out into the open. So be careful how you listen; for whoever has [a teachable heart], to him more [understanding] will be given; and whoever does not have [a longing for truth], even what he thinks he has will be taken away from him.”

Why would Jesus come to turn on the lights and then expect God to hide it? That does not line up with the character and nature of God. It does not make a bit of sense to tell someone that God has hidden you. What about when the angel told Joseph to hide Jesus when King Harod wanted all the boys killed? Was Jesus baptized in the Holy Spirit yet? Nope! You see when we are born again (into the light) the Holy Spirit now dwells in you. Then if you accept the baptism of the Holy Spirit (as it talks about in Acts), your power source should be so bright that the unenlightened should be seeing you down the street. We are all called to the ministry of reconciliation. Not one born again believer is exempt from that ministry. That means, I am not hidden, I am full of Light! We need to take a lesson from Moses about that glow!!

John 8:12 (AMP) Once more Jesus addressed the crowd. He said, “I am the Light of the world. He who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.”

Matthew 5:14-16 (AMP) “You are the light of [Christ to] the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good deeds and moral excellence, and [recognize and honor and] glorify your Father who is in heaven.

Ephesians 5:8-10 (AMP) For once you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord; walk as children of Light [live as those who are native-born to the Light] (for the fruit [the effect, the result] of the Light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth), trying to learn [by experience] what is pleasing to the Lord [and letting your lifestyles be examples of what is most acceptable to Him—your behavior expressing gratitude to God for your salvation]. 

Genesis 1:1-4 (AMP) In the beginning God (Elohim) created [by forming from nothing] the heavens and the earth. The earth was formless and void or a waste and emptiness, and darkness was upon the face of the deep [primeval ocean that covered the unformed earth]. The Spirit of God was moving (hovering, brooding) over the face of the waters. And God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. God saw that the light was good (pleasing, useful) and He affirmed and sustained it; and God separated the light [distinguishing it] from the darkness. 

I pray that this opens your eyes more to who God is and the desire He has for you. He sent His only Son to restore you back to Light. Live in the Light. Remember whose you are and be bold. You have the power of the Holy Spirit dwelling within you, never to hide your Light again. You are not hidden, but you are a city on a hill, shining for the world to see Jesus!!

Let it shine!

John 1:9 (AMP)  There it was—the true Light [the genuine, perfect, steadfast Light] which, coming into the world, enlightens everyone.

Here we are two days after Christmas. The time of the year that we celebrate the true Light coming into the world. The way my chronological reading plan worked out is that I started the New Testament yesterday with Luke 1 and John 1. The past few weeks (December 1-24) I took a chapter in Luke per day and read it along with my other readings. Today I wanted to focus in on John’s perspective. He starts off with Christ is the Word and the Light.

John 1:1-8 (AMP) In the beginning [before all time] was the Word (Christ), and the Word was with God, and the Word was God Himself. He was [continually existing] in the beginning [co-eternally] with God. All things were made and came into existence through Him; and without Him not even one thing was made that has come into being. In Him was life [and the power to bestow life], and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines on in the darkness, and the darkness did not understand it or overpower it or appropriate it or absorb it [and is unreceptive to it]. There came a man commissioned and sent from God, whose name was John. This man came as a witness, to testify about the Light, so that all might believe [in Christ, the Light] through him. John was not the Light, but came to testify about the Light.

Christ came so that He could restore us to our rightful place with the Father. He came to be Savior to the world, but He is so much more than that. We begin our relationship with Him as our Savior. That moment that changes our life and we let the Light in. The Light is always going to point us to the Word. The Word should bring life to you. Do you dread reading the Word? Does it seem boring to you? Are you one who says that you read and get nothing out of it? The Holy Spirit can help with that.

Whenever a person tells me they want to grow more in their relationship with God, or they are ready to surrender entirely to Him, I ask them if they read their Bible and if they pray in the Spirit. If they have never received the baptism of the Holy Spirit then I encourage them to do so.

I remember my moment that I received the baptism of the Holy Spirit. I was nineteen. I had been saved for a little over a year and attending seminary. Their was a missionary ministering at the church and she gave the invitation. I was engaged (to my husband) at the time and we had talked about how important it was for him that before we got married that I was spirit filled. Just a couple of weeks before the missionary had visited our church I had given him a box with his wedding band in it, letting him know that I was ready to take the next step in my relationship with God. We set our wedding date for nearly six months after that moment. Unlike others I know, this was not a manipulation tactic to marriage. This was genuine.

From that moment. The Light was brighter, the Word came alive. The zeal for everything to be reconciled to Christ was greater. Life does happen and if you do not charge your self in the Word and prayer then you will become dim again, but the Light is still somewhere there. So what am I rambling on about? Do not wait until January first to say I want to get in the Word more. Do it today! Why wait? Pray in the Spirit more. If you have never been baptized in the Holy Spirit, message me and I can point you to some scriptures to help with that.

Now that we have our Word and our Light, go as John did and testify of Him. We do not draw people to ourselves, but point them to the Light.

Matthew 15:14-16 (AMP) You are the light of [Christ to] the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good deeds and moral excellence, and [recognize and honor and] glorify your Father who is in heaven.

Let your Light shine!!

The struggle of acceptance

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Get your sword!

Nehemiah 4:10 AMP Then [the leaders of] Judah said,“The strength of the burden bearers is failing, and there is much rubble; we ourselves are unable to rebuild the wall.”

In some translations it says that their strength was decaying. Do you know what they did? They prayed. This is how I take a step back and regain my perspective (not really mine, but His). In January I got to share a teaching called “Reset Your Position” with my church. I had heard the term “RESET” a lot when it came to 2021. We were in twenty one days of prayer and fasting as a church. There are different ways to fast. When you fast you are putting out a request for reset. However, if you are not in prayer during the time of fasting, that reset will not last. You will go back to the old way of thinking and doing things.

Just because you pray and fasted for seven, ten or twenty one days does not mean the enemy is not going to try to take away your revelation. You need to reset your position.

Nehemiah 4:17-18 AMP Those who were rebuilding the wall and those who carried burdens loaded themselves so that everyone worked with one hand and held a weapon with the other. Every builder had his sword secured at his side as he built. And the one who sounded the trumpet [to summon the troops] stood at my side. 

In Ephesians chapter six we read about putting on the full armor of God. Part of that armor is a sword. Called the sword of the spirit, which represents the Word of God. A sword is an offensive weapon. You have to know your Word to do battle against the enemy.

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. 

Prayer is also an essential part of a believer’s life. We are all called to intercede (pray). Not all of us have been called to spiritual warfare prayer, but we all have been called to pray. Why?

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, especially after time of great ministry and miracles. Why? He had to reset His position.

At the gym we see all kinds of people. I get a chuckle at the ones who are working on a machine and doing it all wrong. It is not like the instructions are not written on the machine. It is like Dwight, from “The Office” (a television series), going to the gym and he puts the dip belt (the one you where on your waist to add more than your body weight to do dips); he puts it on his head and gets two dumb bells and extends his arms out. I see people in the gym do this and I am like “bless their heart.” I think God thinks the same way about us when we miss quote scripture or try to blame Him for why we are going through and what we go through.

I need to reset my position not just when I fast though. 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. He had to go back to the Father. He knew the Word. He had the Holy Spirit. He also surrounded Himself with people to help do the work of the ministry. Nehemiah (being a personification of the Holy Spirit) did the same thing.

I encourage you today, that if you have not taken the time to get in the Word, that it is one of the greatest weapons against the enemy for your life. Reset your time in prayer. Remember you need the Holy Spirit and the Body of Christ to carry out all that He desires to do in your life. Be blessed!

Help Needed

Nehemiah 2:17-18 AMP Then I said to them, “You see the bad situation that we are in—how Jerusalem is desolate and lies in ruins and its gates have been burned with fire. Come, and let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem, so that we will no longer be a disgrace.”  Then I told them how the hand of my God had been favorable to me and also about the words that the king had spoken to me. And they said, “Let us rise up and build.” So they thoroughly supported the good work.

Nehemiah is the personification of the Holy Spirit. Nehemiah means Jehovah Comforts. John 14:16 AMP, Jesus tells us, “And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper (Comforter, Advocate, Intercessor—Counselor, Strengthener, Standby), to be with you forever.

The Holy Spirit was sent by God to be your helper. Here we see the Holy Spirit as a person, because He is a person. He is not a thing. He has a purpose. He restores, heals and builds life back into our bodies and souls. He will also point you to Christ. In this verse we see the need for our community. We are not called to do the “good work” alone. We need support.

Ephesians 2:10 AMP For we are His workmanship [His own master work, a work of art], created in Christ Jesus [reborn from above—spiritually transformed, renewed, ready to be used] for good works, which God prepared [for us] beforehand [taking paths which He set], so that we would walk in them [living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us].

Nehemiah is the one who had the original burden for the rebuild of the walls of Jerusalem. He was the one who let his king know the need of his people. Nehemiah was living as a captive and serving as a cup bearer to a distant kingdom (Nehemiah 2:2-5). He was not even a first generation captive. He was living the good life, but still had a heart for those who were left behind. Nehemiah 2:3 AMP it was reported to him when he inquired, The remnant there in the province who survived the captivity are in great distress and reproach; the wall of Jerusalem is broken down and its [fortified] gates have been burned (destroyed) by fire.”

You may be living the good life. You may be living the blessed life! You may even be one who identifies with the remnant that you feel like your life is in complete ruin. Here are two things I ask someone when they tell me they want to know God more: 1) Do you have a Bible that you can read (understand), and 2) have you received the baptism of the Holy Spirit? I am going to add a third: are you a member of a life giving church? The church is your support, they build you up, and they disciple you (that means yes there are areas of correction…not control).

The Holy Spirit will never tell you to be on your own. That is some other spirit. If you are looking for a perfect church, let me know when you find it this side of Heaven. Church is not meant to be perfect, it is meant to be a place where we can grow in this relationship with Jesus together. Nehemiah (a personification of the Holy Spirit) could not rebuild that wall on his own. You should not do this life alone either. If you do not have one, I encourage you to become a member of a good church. Membership is not just attendance, a member is involved. They allow their pastor to know them. They get out of their comfort zone and attend small groups. They will support their church. Members are not spectators, they are active participants. Get involved!!

If you want to know more about the baptism of the Holy Spirit message me at amanda@desiringformore.org