Tennis Balls and the Holy Spirit

As I was reading Undistracted by Bob Goff, Saturday, I came across him talking about having to decide about whether he would have a heart procedure done because his heart was beating too fast. His resting heart rate was in the two hundreds. A normal resting heart rate is between seventy and one hundred beats per minute. He had to decide to have a procedure that would stop his heart and then send a shock to restart it (all done while medicated sleep). He posed the question: “Would you be willing to risk dying in order for your life to be more lasting? Would you risk everything for the chance to live your life more fully?”

Jesus did just that when He went to the cross for us. He did that, then how is my life better?

John 16:5-7 (AMP) But now I am going to Him who sent Me; and none of you asks Me, ‘Where are You going?’ But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your hearts [and taken complete possession of them]. But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper (Comforter, Advocate, Intercessor—Counselor, Strengthener, Standby) will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him (the Holy Spirit) to you [to be in close fellowship with you].

My mind went directly to the gift of the Holy Spirit. He is the reason my life is so much better! Yesterday was Pentecost Sunday. If the Holy Spirit was not here, and within me, then the church would not be able to reach her fullest potential.

Acts 1:8 (AMP) But you will receive power and ability when the Holy Spirit comes upon you; and you will be My witnesses [to tell people about Me] both in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and Samaria, and even to the ends of the earth.

I fully believe that I would not be able to fulfill the commandment Jesus gave me without the Holy Spirit.

John 15:12 (AMP) This is My commandment, that you love and unselfishly seek the best for one another, just as I have loved you.

Not many of us can say that being unselfish is easy. I am one that likes to have my time. I plan out what I am cooking and how left overs are going to be used when I am doing my weekly shopping. I am at the gym every day at the same time. I plan what errands that I will do each day and will try to be home at a certain time. This is so that I can have time to read and take a nap before we have evening sports. I can say that I have gotten better at letting go of the routine. How do you think those like me would have handled the changes when the Holy Spirit took root in the early church?

Acts 2:41-47 (AMP) So then, those who accepted his message were baptized; and on that day about 3,000 souls were added [to the body of believers]. They were continually and faithfully devoting themselves to the instruction of the apostles, and to fellowship, to eating meals together and to prayers. A sense of awe was felt by everyone, and many wonders and signs (attesting miracles) were taking place through the apostles. And all those who had believed [in Jesus as Savior] were together and had all things in common [considering their possessions to belong to the group as a whole]. And they began selling their property and possessions and were sharing the proceeds with all [the other believers], as anyone had need. Day after day they met in the temple [area] continuing with one mind, and breaking bread in various private homes. They were eating their meals together with joy and generous hearts, praising God continually, and having favor with all the people. And the Lord kept adding to their number daily those who were being saved.

Your possessions are anything that you get to decide how they are used. Would I give up my time so that others can receive Christ? Would I give up my Saturday so that I can meet the need of someone else?

Bob Goff compared the amount of effort it takes for you heart to beat is like you and I taking a tennis ball in our hand and trying to squeeze it. Try it, it’s not easy. That to me is what it is like to do this love walk (unselfishly seeking the best for others) without the Holy Spirit. I need the Holy Spirit in my time. I need the Holy Spirit in my coming and going. I need the Holy Spirit in my self talk. I need the Holy Spirit in getting to know the heart of the Father. I need the Holy Spirit to become more and more like Jesus. To try to do this without the Holy Spirit is like squeezing a tennis ball. You might get one or two squeezes before you hand cramps, but not enough to sustain a steady heart beat.

If you have not done so invite the Holy Spirit into your life. If you have not received the baptism of the Holy Spirit I would love to talk with you more about that. The benefits of the Holy Spirit that Jesus gave us is so much more than just a Comforter. We also get the benefit of a heavenly prayer language. We get the benefit of not going at this love walk alone. We get the benefit of having God within us. I am so grateful for Pentecost (the gift of the Holy Spirit) and my church. I am so happy that Jesus risked everything so that I could live a life more fully!

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!!

Motives

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.

I believe this verse needs to be as memorized as Philippians 4:13. What is our motive? Why do you want to do something? Or even why should I do it? I should do everything in the name of the Lord, no matter what.

Is it to please our leadership? Is it to make ourselves feel good or more pious? You have a choice. Many people want to do something and do not want to be held accountable (especially when they make a verbal commitment). Their motive is wrong. Let’s be honest. We are self seeking. When we do not measure up, we say we make a mistake and should never have committed to that. True! You were not doing it unto the Lord.

Who or what is your dependence on? If it is not in Christ then you will feel like a failure. In Christ we cannot fail. Keep your heart motive on Him no matter what!

Luke 19:31 (AMP)  “If anybody asks you, ‘Why are you untying the colt?’ you will say, ‘The Lord needs it.’” 

Matthew 14:28 (AMP) Peter replied to Him, “Lord, if it is [really] You, command me to come to You on the water.”

Jesus was referred to as Teacher, Rabbi, Son of God, Savior, Friend and Lord. Which one of those titles holds the most weight? It is unto the Lord that we serve, worship and dedicate. “Lord” carried the most weight when it came to trust in what they were told to do. Peter, said, “Lord, if it is really you….”

Maybe we get frustrated at our leadership because we want them to be Lord (sometimes, but not all the time, only when it is convenient). That is not their role. When we make a commitment to people, what is the intent? For example, my husband and I are pastors. We have heard “Pastor, I am committed to this church. Nothing can run me off.” Or “Pastor, I am all in.” Both parties are pumped and ready to do ministry together. Can I be honest and transparent? Most of the times it does not end well. Guess who is to blame? The pastor. Not really, but they are left to pick up the pieces and move on. We do have a part to play. We are not perfect. It is in the imperfection that you should pray for us.

We have to make Jesus Lord of our lives. When we try to short cut and submit with the wrong intent, we are setting ourselves up for hurt. Yes, honor your pastor. Your pastor is called to equip and lead you to do the works of the ministry (Ephesians 4:11).

I will not remind you to tithe.Yes, I have had someone ask to hold them accountable to that. Did I do it? NO!! Something else made them mad and they left anyways. That is between you and God. Now, when it comes to giving you a leadership role, should those who do not financially support the church be put in leadership? I will let you answer that question yourself.

I will encourage you to love God, I will encourage you to seek the best for others and to love unselfishly. I will encourage you to pray, to get in your Word and to serve in and outside of your church. I will encourage to make Jesus Lord of your life. You can ask me if you heard Him correct and for the direction of your life? I am going to point you back to your Word and ask if it lines up with His character and nature. Will it cause division among believers? Then you did not hear from Him correctly. Will it cause someone to stumble in their faith? Then you did not hear from Him correctly. Will it bring healing? Will it encourage you and others to grow in their faith? Does it show love? Will it draw people closer to a relationship with Him? Then yes you have heard from Him correctly.

What are our motives?

Lord, I want to glorify you with whatever I put my hands to, no matter who sees it. Lord, I want to serve your people, no matter who acknowledges it. Lord, blind my eyes to what does not need to be seen to keep me from stumbling. Lord, I have faith to step out, all you have to say is ‘come.’ Yes, You have given me free will and everything is permissible for me, but not everything will bring glory to You. I choose to make you Lord over my life. What I choose that may be best for me, may not be what is best to glorify You. My dependence is on You today and every day. I choose today whom I will serve. Amen.

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!!

Love is in the seed

Mark 4:14 (AMP) The sower sows the word [of God, the good news regarding the way of salvation]. 

For the past week the nation has been glued to the news to see what has been transpiring across the world. Inflation is up…way up! One thing remains, the Word of God. If you are looking for something good right now, look no further than His Word.

I was reading over Mark 4, preparing for a youth camp to speak at. It was the first time I had done anything like that. I was not nervous until I got up in front on looked at all the faces. The weight of what I was about to say hit me. My story is not traumatizing. My heart goes out to those who are living in war torn countries, but to be honest, I do not know what that is like. I never grew up hungry, wondering where my next meal came from. I grew up desiring to be loved, without the love of my birth father. How traumatic, right?

The desire to be loved and to be accepted drove me to do things in my younger life that I probably would not have done if I had felt secure. When preparing for the youth camp, the passage in Mark 4 struck me in that my heart (soil) have met all stages of that passage.

When I first started attending the church we pastor now I was just sixteen years old. My husband was the pastor’s son. Even though he was not living for God he attended church as an honor for his parents. He served doing sound. He would pick me up in the morning and drive me home after lunch. I dressed for the times and my skirts were short, tops just covered my mid drift and my shoes were platform heels. Often my socks were mid thigh. I was young and had a cute figure. My husband’s mom only said anything to him about the way I dressed, of which his reply was that he liked it. They never said anything to me. When John did not have money for lunch that Sunday he would have me go to his dad and ask. His dad loved it and would hand me a twenty every time.

So here is what I learned: When the Word is sown and Satan immediately takes the Word away (Mark 4:15) keep sowing. I was there for all the wrong reasons, but love always hopes (1 Corinthians 13:7). Things and thoughts like poor self image, pride, rejection, blame shifting, self-justification, people pleasing can all be the rocks that cause the seed to be choked out in our lives (Mark 4:16). Keep sowing the Word, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through your faith. And may you, having been [deeply] rooted and [securely] grounded in love (Ephesians 3:17). What about thorns (Mark 4:18-19)? Thorns hurt! I know, being on the other side sowing, I have been cut a few times. Those I have cut in the past know that it was worth it when they see my growth now. 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] (1 Corinthians 13:7). Keep sowing.

Eventually, with love being the basis for sowing: And those [in the last group] are the ones on whom seed was sown on the good soil; and they hear the word [of God, the good news regarding the way of salvation] and accept it and bear fruit—thirty, sixty, and a hundred times as much [as was sown] (Mark 4:20). I have the capacity of loving more because of what He brought me through.

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

I look back and see how much love was sown into me when I was in all different types of soil. Weeds do still to grow up, but I allow the Holy Spirit to remove them and see the good soil. Weeds do not mean they are hopeless, it means there is still potential. When a weed is pulled up, the ground is the softest. We all have to see each other as potential. Love always hopes. Now do not go out there beating each other with the Word. That is not what I am saying. The Word inside of you will cause you to love and seek the best for others. That was what Jesus commanded us to do John 15:12).

Never give up sowing the Word. Never give up showing love when you do not see the fruit of it right away. There is a change happening. Let it start with your love! We cannot effectively sow the Word without love.

Happy Love Day

1 John 4:19 (NIV) We love because he first loved us.

We all want someone to lay down their lives for us. We want someone to make the greatest sacrifice so that I know that I am loved. Jesus did that when He died on the cross for us. We are suppose to do it every day because of that great love.

John 15:13 (AMP) No one has greater love [nor stronger commitment] than to lay down his own life for his friends.

Yesterday, during Love Sunday, my husband and I got to minister together. We talked about us being created for a purpose. Marriage has a purpose. Marriage is not to give each other purpose, it is to enhance our created purpose. In marriage we get to do it together.

Genesis 1:28 (AMP) And God blessed them [granting them certain authority] and said to them, “Be fruitful, multiply, and fill the earth, and subjugate it [putting it under your power]; and rule over (dominate) the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, and every living thing that moves upon the earth.”

Our union was not just to have lots and lots of babies. We can be fruitful and multiply and it not apply to having children. They are a bonus, my children are not my purpose. The anointing for multiplication is on my life and on yours. We are called to fill the earth with our ideas and concepts planted in our hearts by Him. I am believing for the unusual. I am believing for the unheard of and outlandish blessing to be poured out on my life. Why? Everything that is birthed through me will subdue the earth. We are called to walk in dominion all the days of our lives (men and women). We were given this authority by Jesus.

There is no greater motivator than love. In receiving it and in giving it. God speaks love all around us. He created us in love. In turn we love each other in our actions, because He first loved us.

Last week I had an amazing time showing love. Widows were delivered flowers. Conversations were had with grocery store clerks (not just exchanging pleasantries, but now I know that they work multiple jobs and looking for a new apartment). Future plans have been made to touch back with all of them. One chance encounter changed my perspective on Mary pouring the oil to anoint Jesus for burial. What if you were someone’s last encounter before they left this life? Would they know they were loved? Would they know they were seen?

What opportunities will be opened up to me this week? I was created for a purpose. To be fruitful, to multiply and to fill the earth, and subjugate it through love.

John 3:16 (AMP) For God so [greatly] loved and dearly prized the world, that He [even] gave His [One and] only begotten Son, so that whoever believes and trusts in Him [as Savior] shall not perish, but have eternal life.

Happy Love Day!

Check out the full message on YouTube: Love Sunday 2022

Does my love tank have a leak?

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

What was important to Jesus? He wants you to see others the way He saw you! He wants you to love the way He loved. How did He love? He never missed an opportunity to show love through His hands!

We are love deficient because of our love walk. You may say “I do not hate anyone, I just love everyone.” Can I show you what Jesus said was love?

John 15:13 (AMP) No one has greater love [nor stronger commitment] than to lay down his own life for his friends.

A lot of times we like to think of our friends as in our “circle.” It is easy to do things and want things for people that we know and that we already have a relationship with. Jesus did not do stuff for those that were in His “circle.” It gets more challenging when we start to look for opportunities to love others. That is the love that He wanted us to share. It is radical, it is aggressive and it is life giving.

Are you easily discouraged, depressed, filled with self-pity? Can I encourage you to get active in your pursuit to love who Jesus told you to love. You may say that “how can I do this when I do not feel love myself?” I get it. This tells me that I have to fight off apathy even harder and get out there anyways. Can I show you a promise in the Word?

Isaiah 58:7-12 (AMP) Is it not to divide your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into the house; when you see the naked, that you cover him, and not to hide yourself from [the needs of] your own flesh and blood? Then your light will break out like the dawn, and your healing (restoration, new life) will quickly spring forth; your righteousness will go before you [leading you to peace and prosperity], the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard. Then you will call, and the Lord will answer;
You will cry for help, and He will say, ‘Here I am.’ If you take away from your midst the yoke [of oppression], the finger pointed in scorn [toward the oppressed or the godly], and [every form of] wicked (sinful, unjust) speech, and if you offer yourself to [assist] the hungry and satisfy the need of the afflicted, then your light will rise in darkness and your gloom will become like midday. And the Lord will continually guide you, and satisfy your soul in scorched and dry places, and give strength to your bones; and you will be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water whose waters do not fail. And your people will rebuild the ancient ruins; you will raise up and restore the age-old foundations [of buildings that have been laid waste]; you will be called Repairer of the Breach,Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.

The new life that Jesus died to give you is not one for you to live passively with. It is a victorious life. A victorious life is an abundant life. A life filled with passion and purpose. If your love tank is running on empty, may I suggest filling up someone else’s? According to the above scripture, that kind of love gives strength to your bones. Your soul will be satisfied in the scorched and dry places. Wow! That is totally opposite of what we want to do. I am ready to come out of all these ups and downs. I want to make an impact for His Kingdom. How about you? It is time for me to love my neighbor (unselfishly seeking the best for others).

Practical ways: Pay for the person’s meal in the drive thru that is waiting behind you. Tell someone at the grocery store that they look amazing. Clean out that closet or storage area and give it away. Start a diaper drive for the local foster care ministry. Send or bring flowers to a widow on Valentine’s Day. Invite the coworker who has no family over for dinner (especially during the holidays). Actively look for ways to help out my community with building projects, yard maintenance, home repairs, etc.

Pray and be the hands and feet of Christ. Love the way Jesus loved and you will not have a leaky love tank any longer!

31 Days in…now what?

Proverbs 1:7 (AMP) The [reverent] fear of the Lord [that is, worshiping Him and regarding Him as truly awesome] is the beginning and the preeminent part of knowledge [its starting point and its essence];
But arrogant fools despise [skillful and godly] wisdom and instruction and self-discipline.

January is the time of year when we often make New Year’s Resolutions or begin a new Bible reading plan (often starting with Proverbs), or we participate in the 21 Day Daniel Fast, or we simply live like nothing has changed. It is either because we think that something magical resets in us on the first day of the new year, or we simply don’t care. In all honesty, nothing happens unless you are intentional. Only when you put God first will lasting change occur.   

When I think of reverentially fearing the Lord, I often think of the parable of the talents. This is what Jesus had to say:

Matthew 25:14-30 (MSG) “It’s also like a man going off on an extended trip. He called his servants together and delegated responsibilities. To one he gave five thousand dollars, to another two thousand, to a third one thousand, depending on their abilities. Then he left. Right off, the first servant went to work and doubled his master’s investment. The second did the same. But the man with the single thousand dug a hole and carefully buried his master’s money. After a long absence, the master of those three servants came back and settled up with them. The one given five thousand dollars showed him how he had doubled his investment. His master commended him: ‘Good work! You did your job well. From now on be my partner.’ The servant with the two thousand showed how he also had doubled his master’s investment. His master commended him: ‘Good work! You did your job well. From now on be my partner.’ The servant given one thousand said, ‘Master, I know you have high standards and hate careless ways, that you demand the best and make no allowances for error. I was afraid I might disappoint you, so I found a good hiding place and secured your money. Here it is, safe and sound down to the last cent.’ “The master was furious. ‘That’s a terrible way to live! It’s criminal to live cautiously like that! If you knew I was after the best, why did you do less than the least? The least you could have done would have been to invest the sum with the bankers, where at least I would have gotten a little interest.Take the thousand and give it to the one who risked the most. And get rid of this “play-it-safe” who won’t go out on a limb. Throw him out into utter darkness.’”

Reverentially fearing the Lord means not taking His love for granted. The gifting and the light He has given them will not be hidden away. However, the fear that the third servant displayed was not grounded in His love. It was grounded in the fear of punishment. This love is twisted and perverse.

1 John 4:18 (AMP) There is no fear in love [dread does not exist]. But perfect (complete, full-grown) love drives out fear, because fear involves [the expectation of divine] punishment, so the one who is afraid [of God’s judgment] is not perfected in love [has not grown into a sufficient understanding of God’s love].

I find it amusing that when you point back to the Word and point out what the character and nature of God is, you are labelled as judgmental or callous. I want to help you rethink the issue with compassion. The rejection I feel resembles digging out a deep root that is part of my self-worth. It’s digging up the roots of “not being wanted.” I have to remember the second part of the top verse: “arrogant fools despise [skillful and godly] wisdom, instruction, and self-discipline.” I never want to be associated with arrogance, but confidence is sometimes mistaken for arrogance. Where does the differentiation occur? Pride! Confident people are humble. In contrast to an arrogant person, a humble one will accept correction. Arrogant people believe that self-control restricts freedom. In humility, self-control is understood to be the fruit of love that is rooted in reverent fear of the Lord.

Where did you decide to begin in 2022? My goal is to increase my knowledge of the Word of God, not just attain, but also put it into practice. When I am not a doer of His Word, what good is knowing the Word? I let the apathy around me keep me from being Christ’s hands and feet. In my reading of Matthew 24, verse 43, the scripture says, “But understand this: If the head of the household knew when the thief was coming, he would have been on the alert and would not have allowed his house to be broken into.” I had to repent and tell God that I was sorry that I had let the thief rob me of what I desired. As a result of allowing the thief to steal away my joy in serving, I had to repent. God’s Kingdom is too important for that.

Let’s welcome the second month of 2022. If you didn’t start it with intention, you don’t have to wait until January 1, 2023 to do so. You can start right now. If you fall down, get back up. The intent is what matters, not the perfection. Let’s be intentional this year!

Leaving the Boat

Matthew 14:29-30 He said, “Come!” So Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus.  But when he saw [the effects of] the wind, he was frightened, and he began to sink, and he cried out, “Lord, save me!”

As a church, we are on day eight of 21 Days of Prayer and Fasting. I look forward to this time every year. I choose something to fast that I know will make me have to dig into His Word deeper.

2 Chronicles 7:14 (NIV) If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

To humble ourselves is to not think highly of ourselves. A strong, confident person can be humble. Look at David. He was not a coward and he did not back down. He was even accused of being conceited by his brother (1 Samuel 17:28). A humble person will want to see the best for others. I want my nation healed, because I want them restored to their original purpose.

Peter was the only disciple to get out of the boat. The conditions were not calm, and they were not perfect. Peter walked on the water in faith. It was when he looked at the wind that he began to sink. Peter was outspoken and quick to action. He still walked on the water.

I had a sinking moment not too long ago. In trying to get others out of the boat, I was called judgmental. It looked like only a few wanted to step out with me, and I am grateful for them. I started to look at the wind, at just the few. I started to look at their lack of commitment, their lack of energy and their lack of passion to reach their community. I wanted to quit. I was looking at all areas to escape having to stand up in front of people. I was going to hide and serve in the background. I was going to revert back to the boat. Questioning whether He really did say, “Come.” I was sinking.

In this 21 Days of Prayer of Fasting, by day 5, I received confirmation that I was called out of the boat. Not too long ago I wrote about “Stepping Out of Fear Into My Hiding Place.” My story is that I did all the behind the scene items at my church I served where ever they needed someone. Whenever they asked for somebody, I was that somebody. I asked God to settle the fear within me. I was overwhelmingly afraid of public speaking. So much so, that I would cry and get sick at the thought of it. My desire was not to hold a platform, it wanted to see the captives set free, just like I had been set free.

Rejection and not being what someone wanted almost made me get back in that boat. I fear the Lord in that I never want to cause someone else to stumble. I want them to grow closer to God. If me standing on that stage, exhorting them to get out of the boat, was going to cause them not to want to grow, then I was going to step off of it for good. I felt broken. This scripture and all the messages I had been listening to confirmed, that I was called to be out of that boat. I need to get my eyes off of people and keep my eyes on Jesus. He pulled me back out of the waters from drowning. I am not going back to that boat!

Praying that God speaks to you today and encourages you to keep looking at Him. When you start seeing the wind (distractions, disappointments, rejections, etc.) reach out your hand, He has you. Have an amazing week!

I was born with a mission to set captives free!!!

Water Walkers Series by Dr. Dharius Daniels

Hosanna Wong, Say Yes to Jesus

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!!