Rock Steady

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hello Sunflower

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sisterhood of the wounded

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Take off the cape

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here I Am

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Signs and wonders

Mark 16: 17-20 (AMP) These signs will accompany those who have believed: in My name they will cast out demons, they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up serpents, and if they drink anything deadly, it will not hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will get well.” So then, when the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, He was taken up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God. And they went out and preached everywhere, while the Lord was working with them and confirming the word by the signs that followed.]

I am excited about the state the church is in right now. At the beginning of the year, God gave me the Word “Presence.” For us to truly enter and be at a state of His Presence, we must have a heart of surrender. This starts with repentance and forgiveness.

As I have written earlier, I am in the process of watching The Chosen Series through the Angel Productions app. In season three, episode two, Jesus sends His disciples out two by two to preach what He preached, to lay hands on the sick and to cast out demons in His name. He told them to take no money and not even an extra tunic. The only other instruction was who they were partnered up with. The one that gave the most rebuttal was the pairing of Simon the former zealot and Matthew the former tax collector. It was not them with the problem, but the others, their concern was that the best pair to work together. Could they work together despite their different backgrounds? Often our perception of others limit what we believe they are capable of.

My favorite person to watch in this series is Matthew, I love his transformation. In my reading of the Word it had always been Peter, because he is mentioned so much I guess. In this perspective I just love Matthew. Simon in his former self would have despised and spat on Matthew, just like all the others did in the streets. He would have probably killed him, as zealots were trained assassins by the radical priests that wanted to overthrow the government. Matthew was a tax collector for the Romans, and his people saws him as a traitor. What a fun pair!

I wept when I saw that Simon kept the man calm while he had Matthew cast out the demon. Simon had the strength to do all and just allow Matthew to be a spectator, but that is not how Jesus instructs. It was a real confidence builder in Matthew. You can tell in his face that he felt accepted and needed.

We are in exciting times. There is a spread of revival in our college campuses and a shift in the atmosphere in our churches. Why? There is a heart change happening. It starts with repentance and forgiveness. It is not surrounding one charismatic preacher or one team of people. It is because the body started working like it should. They are no longer spectators waiting for a move, they are the move, they have the power of the Holy Spirit inside of them. The church has awakened.

Every person that we come in contact with has potential. I am a born again child of God and I still desire more of Him in my life. I still desire more freedom. Why? The enemy wants me to stay bound to things in my past, in my offenses, to what science tells me I am predisposed for genetically, therefore, I have become so beat down that oppression is what I would choose to function through. Just enough freedom to go to heaven, but not enough to rejoice and set other captives free. Oppression is a demonic stronghold that has had it’s hold on the body of Christ long enough. It keeps us in the back ground. It keeps us in the dark to say that the Word does not work that way for them. Enough is enough and we need to be bold enough to look the devil in the eye and say they have no place here any longer. Jesus is Lord here!!

Let’s just say demons oppress believers and a woman was set free yesterday in service. Is the promise of heaven just enough? For me it is not. I want all that God has for me. Jesus came to restore me, to make me whole, on earth. I am excited to see the ones who have been satisfied with the background to gain freedom in Christ. I was one of those. I want to be confident in Christ so that when the demons present themselves I do not have to look for someone with the authority, I have the authority. I can lay hands on the sick and they will recover. There is an awakening returning to the body. Signs and wonders will be follow. We are the move of God!

Father, forgive me for doubting Your power that was placed inside of me. I repent for putting me first in what comforts me. I repent for holding onto unforgiveness of those that have hurt me intentionally or unintentionally. You are more than enough for me. Thank You for Jesus and His compassion to lead well, and to humble Himself to teach us how to do Your mighty works. We want to see Your Kingdom here. We want to see the captives free. If there is anything in my life that is still holding me captive, I release it to You. I surrender my life, my will, my emotions so that freedom can flow through me. I ask that You place opportunities before me so that I can present Your Gospel, the ministry of reconciliation. I surrender all. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Heart Nuggets

1 Thessalonians 5:16-22 (AMP) Rejoice always and delight in your faith; be unceasing and persistent in prayer; in every situation [no matter what the circumstances] be thankful and continually give thanks to God; for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus. Do not quench [subdue, or be unresponsive to the working and guidance of] the [Holy] Spirit. Do not scorn or reject gifts of prophecy or prophecies [spoken revelations—words of instruction or exhortation or warning]. But test all things carefully [so you can recognize what is good]. Hold firmly to that which is good. Abstain from every form of evil [withdraw and keep away from it].

I was in 1 Thessalonians yesterday and came across this list given by Paul. It had so much good nuggets of truth in that I wanted to break it down. What is funny is that it is list of do’s and don’ts. Isn’t that what the modern day church is trying to get away from? However, it is not a list of what not sins to do and how to be pure and holy, this is a list of how to keep your mind right. Paul confessed about the battle he had going on in his mind about this very church (1 Thessalonians 3:5), “For this reason, when I could no longer endure the suspense, I sent someone to find out about your faith [how you were holding up under pressure], for fear that somehow the tempter had tempted you and our work [among you] would prove to be ineffective.”

So here is my list for this week:

  1. Rejoice always and delight in my faith. In my prayers, in my daily parts of life and in all circumstances. No matter what happens, I am to rejoice. How can I rejoice when someone just blasted me? How can I rejoice when the bills keep coming in? How can I rejoice when I just got in a fight with my spouse? Remember Romans 8:28: 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. In trust Him, so I rejoice. Joy is a fruit of my faith in Him. Continually have a heart that is thankful. This is God’s will for you!
  2. I should be accepting of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. I do not need to be scornful in direction. We have become an independent, self governed, selfish group when we do not take direction as a growing opportunity. The Holy Spirit is not trying to harm you. We need to grow in the surrendered life.
  3. Do not reject the gifts of prophecy. This is man speaking to me through the revelation of the Holy Spirit. “Nobody is going to tell me what to do!” What will they say? Revelation knowledge (to get me back in line with the character and nature of God as revealed in His Word). Words of instruction (you are always going to have someone tell you what to do). Warnings (sometimes my attitude needs to be put back in check).
  4. Test all things! We like this one. I get to judge and criticize what is being said or done. Wait though. It says to test all things so you can recognize what is good. I do not test things and tear down what is bad. SO I CAN RECOGNIZE WHAT IS GOOD! Philippians 4:8 says, “ 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].” This is a true test for love. Can I change my mindset to focus on the good on others? Can I hold firmly to what is good?
  5. Abstain from every form of evil. Is this telling me to not sin? Why are we so focused on sin? This is a heart thing. If I need to hide who I am or what I am doing, then that is opening a doorway for the evil one into my life. The church has been good about hiding , therefore, it now lacks power. Be a person of integrity. Do not cause anyone to question your motives. This is why transparency is the body should be encouraged. Why are our boundaries more like weapons against flesh and blood?

I am rejoicing over you today. I am thankful for those that He has placed in my life to guide me. I will not be scornful in correction. I choose love instead.

Read 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 in the Passion Translation. I like to put my name in the passage…Amanda’s love is large and incredibly patient. Amanda is gentle and contently kind to all. Amanda refuses to be jealous when someone else is blessed. Amanda does not brag her own achievements not inflates her own importance. Amanda does not traffic in shame and disrespect, she is not seeking honor for herself. Amanda is not easily irritated and is not quick to take offense. Amanda is joyful when honesty is presented and celebrates it for herself (does not find ways around the truth), and she does not delight in when someone else is wronged. Amanda’s trust is under the shelter of the Almighty for she is grounded in His perfect love. Amanda believes and thinks the best for others. Amanda does not take hurt, rejection or setbacks as a defeat. Amanda continues to hope, because love never gives up.

I have to admit that I failed at a few of these this morning, but instead of beating myself up, I look to the Father. He is the perfecter of my faith.

Father, I thank You for the reader today. I thank You that you sent your Son to reconcile us to You. I choose to walk in freedom and grow in the areas that brings me more freedom. I do this so that I can be a light and example to others that need freedom. I bind up every thought that may be holding me captive to loving others the way You want me to. I repent for not walking in love like I should. I know you give me grace in these areas, not that I take advantage of Your mercy to give me permission to hurt others, but so that I can grow. Let my hope grow today. I rejoice in every set up that has been made today. I know that I can trust You. I place my trust in You. I desire You. Holy Spirit I surrender more of me today. I pray for those that persecute me for Your Name’s sake. Let your Word reign in my heart, in my mind and on my tongue today. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Put a demand on it

Luke 18:35-43 (AMP) As He was approaching Jericho [on His way to Jerusalem], it happened that a blind man was sitting beside the road begging. Now when he heard a crowd going by, he began to ask what this was [about]. They told him, “Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.” So he shouted out, saying, “Jesus, Son of David (Messiah), have mercy on me!” Those who were leading the way were sternly telling him to keep quiet; but he screamed all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” Then Jesus stopped and ordered that the blind man be led to Him; and when he came near, Jesus asked him, “What do you want Me to do for you?” He said, “Lord, let me regain my sight!” Jesus said to him, “Regain your sight; your [personal trust and confident] faith [in Me] has made you well. Immediately he regained his sight and began following Jesus, glorifying and praising and honoring God. And all the people, when they saw it, praised God.

I am in the process of watching the Chosen series for the first time. If you have not seen it, I recommend it. It does take some creative licensing to fill in the blanks on what could have happened behind the scenes. It is not one hundred percent Bible, but neither was the Ten Commandments nor the Prince of Egypt. I like it because it gives personality to those that Jesus ministered to. It gives personality to His disciples. I do not know if this particular encounter is portrayed, but I hope so.

One of the things I like about the series is that it also does flash backs to other stories in the Bible, like the time Moses fashioned a snake on a pole. What they are doing is showing the character and nature of God and how Jesus did what He saw His Father doing. Jesus is showing us that as a man (He laid down His deity for us) His ability to heal was because of the Holy Spirit. Which we now have (Acts 1:8).

My question to you: is healing still for today? I believe it is. I believe it and have experience healing first hand. It did not come by the laying on of hands, as there are times for that. Mine came through drawing on the anointing of corporate worship. Jesus spoke to the man, “your personal trust and confident faith in Me has made you well.” The only time I have missed a service for being sick was when I was COVID positive. Other than that, I have been there (I have missed for being of town). If I could not play the bass, I entered into worship and drew off the anointing. I have been there with sinus infections; I have been there after COVID still recovering; I have been there when my joints were sore. Why? You sometimes have to be in a faith building environment to put a demand on the anointing.

This may not be you. You may say that is condemning to those that do not come when they are not feeling well. I promise you, I am not. I just want to stretch your faith a little bit. When I got saved I told God that I wanted everything that He had for me. I had to put a demand on it when I did not feel like it. I had to put a demand on it when family told me I was being a little too radical with chasing after God. I had to put a demand on it when I was called names that did not match my character. Jesus was called a heretic and a false prophet. The Messiah had stones thrown at Him! What did He do in return? He went to the Father and sought Him for the next town, the next person and the next water stirring event.

I am just stirring up the waters a little bit. Ezekiel 37 is one of my favorite passages to stand on for healing. Why? Because it is illustrative. Verses 1-4: The hand of the Lord was upon me, and He brought me out in the Spirit of the Lord and set me down in the middle of the valley; and it was full of bones. He caused me to pass all around them, and behold, there were very many [human bones] in the open valley; and lo, they were very dry. And He said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” And I answered, “O Lord God, You know.” Again He said to me, “Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord.’

Why is this significant? First off, the hand of the Lord was upon Him. Did you know that when you seek His face that His hand is right there? Ezekiel was placed in the middle of the valley. When we are going through times that we do not see a way, those can often be seen as valley moments. When we do not feel like it. This valley was full of human bones. I look around during the day and I see human bones, just going through their next task. I see human bones that are not really alive and free, just dry. This part I love, how many people did God call “Son of man?” The only other time we read “Son of man” is when it is in reference to Jesus (in Daniel, Matthew, Mark, Luke and Hebrews). To me this is a shadow of the Holy Spirit and the power available to mankind.

Lastly, what does God tell Ezekiel to do? He said to prophesy and tell those dry bones to hear the word of the Lord. God told Ezekiel to put a demand on His Word. When we prophesy (not future telling, but speak His Word) we speak power packed words through a power filled man or woman of God. I put a demand on the Word and it will come to pass.

For what purpose? To turn this world upside down. It is to glorify Him. It is to open eyes and awaken other dead men so they many glorify God. Why do I believe healing is for today? Because there are still dry bones. We need to get out of the grave, take off the grave clothes and step into freedom. Put a demand on His Word!! Do not be ashamed to call after the name of Jesus!

Father, I thank you that when you sent your Son, you sent Him just for me. I speak to these dry bones whether it is in my mind, in my physical body, in my emotions, in my spiritual growth or in my feeling of being unworthy. I believe You see me. I speak do these bone to live. I speak strength to these bones and my mind. I choose to glorify You in everything I put my hands to. I put a demand on Your Word. I believe Your Word is truth and life giving. Just like in Ezekiel, if there are times of correcting and mourning, I willing take it upon me and let it be a sweet taste to my lips. I choose freedom today! I choose to look for the best in others and seek the best for them. You are my strength and my shield. I praise You! In Jesus Name, Amen.

Where does rest come from?

2 Chronicles 14:2-5, 7 (AMP) Asa did what was good and right in the sight of the Lord his God. He removed the foreign altars and high places and tore down the [pagan] pillars (obelisks, memorial stones), and cut to pieces the Asherim [the symbols of the goddess Asherah]. And he commanded Judah to seek the Lord God of their fathers [to inquire of and for Him and seek Him as a vital necessity], and to observe the law [given to Moses] and the commandment. Asa also removed the [idolatrous] high places and the incense altars from all the cities of Judah. The kingdom was at rest and undisturbed under his reign. So he said to Judah, “Let us build these cities and surround them with walls, towers, gates and bars [to secure the doors]. The land is still ours because we have sought the Lord our God; we have sought Him [longing for Him with all our heart] and He has given us peace on every side.” So they built and prospered. 

When I read the Bible I do not pick and choose just my favorite verses, I read it in context of what was going on during the time it was written. Chronicles is separated into two books and goes along with first and second Samuel, first and second Kings, the books of the prophets, the writing of Psalms, Proverbs, Lamentations and Song of Solomon. King Asa (found in 1 Kings 15 and 2 Chronicles 14-16) reigned after the death of this father Abijah. In the first verse of 2 Chronicles 14, it states that the land was quiet for ten years. Why was that important? Because after Solomon died, the kingdom was split and warring against each other. There are now two kingdoms and two kings. Does that not sound confusing?

King Asa ruled 36 years. He was known to be a man of character and brought reforms to the nation. In verse five it states, “The kingdom was at rest and undisturbed under his reign.” Yet reformation happened and building happened. Actually, a few verses down we read that Zerah, an Ethiopian Cushate, came out against them. What? I thought they were at rest? The total number in King Asa’s army totaled 580,000 (army of Judah 300,000 and from Benjamin 280,000). The men from Ethiopian came out against them with one million men and three hundred chariots. Talk about out numbered! Asa went out to engage and arranged for battle.

2 Chronicles 14:11 (AMP) Asa called out to the Lord his God, saying, “O Lord, there is no one besides You to help in the battle between the powerful and the weak; so help us, O Lord our God, for we trust in and rely on You, and in Your name we have come against this multitude. O Lord, You are our God; let not man prevail against You.”

What happens next? God strikes down the enemy before King Asa and Judah. What does God striking down look like? Is it like He sends down lightning? How about He empowers us so that it happens like we put a knife in a stick of butter that has been softened.

Rest comes in His presence, not the absence of opposition. Not the absence of action. Rest and peace is seeking God with all of your heart, soul and mind. It is making Him your vital necessity. This is where rest come from. When opposition comes, you have no fear and no worry. He has made a way before you and you follow along fully armed in the full armor of God. Ready, have done all and then stand firm (Ephesians 6:13). This is why Jesus was able to sleep during the storm (Matthew 8:24).

King David, wrote Psalms 23 (AMP) towards the end of his life. We know his life did not go without opposition:

The Lord is my Shepherd [to feed, to guide and to shield me],
I shall not want.
He lets me lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still and quiet waters. 
He refreshes and restores my soul (life);
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
for His name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the [sunless] valley of the shadow of death,
I fear no evil, for You are with me;
Your rod [to protect] and Your staff [to guide], they comfort and console me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.
You have anointed and refreshed my head with oil;
My cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy and unfailing love shall follow me all the days of my life,
And I shall dwell forever [throughout all my days] in the house and in the presence of the Lord.

There is so much I can speak more on what His presence truly brings. Presence is my word for this year. In His presence is peace and rest, even when your enemy (the devil) wages war against you. Seek His as your most vital need today. There is nothing greater.

Father, I thank you for being the God who goes out before me. I seek you as my most vital need today. There is nothing else that I would rather have than be in Your presence. I know I will not really be at rest without You. You have proven Yourself time and again. Your guide me and I am comforted in that. You have prepared a way for me and I will not lack because of You. Let me be a light and example of what it is like to be at peace in this world, not to say that I do not have a care, because You care deeply for us. Peace is one of the gifts You sent when you sent Your Son. I am empowered with peace because of the Holy Spirit that now dwells in and around me. I pray for rest for the person reading this. May they grow to know you more this year. We desire more of You. In Jesus Name, Amen.