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.

Fresh Bread

Leviticus 24:5-8 (NLT) You must bake twelve flat loaves of bread from choice flour, using four quarts of flour for each loaf. Place the bread before the Lord on the pure gold table, and arrange the loaves in two stacks, with six loaves in each stack. Put some pure frankincense near each stack to serve as a representative offering, a special gift presented to the Lord. Every Sabbath day this bread must be laid out before the Lord as a gift from the Israelites; it is an ongoing expression of the eternal covenant.

I like to bake. Most of my meals for my family is prepared using the oven. As of right now, there are about two different baked goods, on the counter, for my family to grab anytime they want something.

A couple of weeks ago, when I took my mom to the beach, I was reading this book, The God Chasers by Tommy Tenney. It was my second time reading it, first time was about twenty years ago. Chapter two in The God Chasers is titled “No Bread in the ‘House of Bread’ crumbs in the carpet and empty shelves. What are crumbs in the carpet?”

This caused me to do a little research. There would be bread in the tabernacle, behind the curtain that the priests were only allowed to go through. On a golden table there would be two stacks of six (twelve in all) of round loaves of bread. It was referred to as Show Bread.

First of all we think that the show bread is there because is symbolized the manna that fell from heaven, and then there are the twelve tribes as to why there are twelve loaves. Show bread in Hebrew is לחם הפנים‎ lechem haPānīm, literally, “Bread of the Faces”. haPānīm is translated “face” and sometimes intimate/inward relationship. haPānīm according to the Hebrew alphabet, the letters equals 180. In their culture numbers are very meaningful. Moses met with God haPānīm el haPānīm, face to face. So 180 plus 180 equals 360 and that is the circumference of a circle.

So why do we not have bread in our modern services today? John 6:35 (AMP), Jesus replied, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again. Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.

This bread symbolized a personal, face to face, relationship with God. Jesus is not here with us today. The Holy Spirit is though. John 14:16 (AMP), And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper (Comforter, Advocate, Intercessor—Counselor, Strengthener, Standby), to be with you forever.

What I like is that the bread had to be fresh. If bread is not fresh it gets hard, it gets stale, it gets moldy. Matthew 6:9-11 (AMP), Jesus instructed them, “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.”

When I think of a kitchen that is used often we have different smells. You can have a burnt smell, from a house that does not know how to cook. A sour smell, from a house that does not take out the trash enough. There is also the house that has a luring aroma, the house that when you enter your stomach starts grumbling. My kids friends say my house smells like the later. They know where to get a good meal. I believe that is the desire of the Father about His house.

Who brings that bread though? We do, as worshipers. It was not the priests that brought the bread, it was the Israelites. I proposed this to my church yesterday (there is a link to the full message below): Do you come to Sunday service with a fresh expectation or are we expecting to be fed off of the same bread crumbs? Do we think it is not necessary to bring fresh bread, a gift in our worship?

I pray this encourages you that God wants to do something fresh and new in you today. I also pray this encourages you that you desire to give Him your best self today as well. Be blessed!

Link to yesterday’s message Fresh Bread: https://youtu.be/ZM_skPaLI00

Where does worry lead?

In the times we live in today it is easy to just spill out our opinions for the world to read. Is that not what blogging and social media was created for? It is easy to follow into the flow of judgement and dishonor. I am guilty of it myself. I try my best not to let it out on social platforms, but I can tell you I have to battle this stuff in my mind.

Pastor Steven Furtick posted late last night, “Father, we worship you in the moment. I declare dreams come alive in this moment, hope come alive in this moment. Do what only You can do, God. Resuscitate, revive, restore, move, heal, save, deliver. Spirit of God, have Your way in our lives. Have Your way in our situation. Nobody is greater than You. Amen.” As I read that this morning I had this unction to cast down the thought of disappointment of people and practice honoring them anyways.

Philippians 4:8 tells us, “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].” (AMP)

That means that whatever I think, whatever I post, whatever I speak about should line up with this so that I can get that heart change. I do not want to dwell on the other stuff, because I do not want it to effect my heart. I do not need to dwell on when they did not show up, that does not mean I have to stop showing up for them. When I choose to honor, when I choose to see the value and virtue in others, I am glorifying my Father.

Philippians 4:4-7 (AMP) “Rejoice in the Lord always [delight, take pleasure in Him]; again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentle spirit [your graciousness, unselfishness, mercy, tolerance, and patience] be known to all people. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious or worried about anything, but in everything [every circumstance and situation] by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, continue to make your [specific] requests known to God. And the peace of God [that peace which reassures the heart, that peace] which transcends all understanding, [that peace which] stands guard over your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus [is yours].”

“Let your gently spirit be known to all people.” To be honest, most of the time I can admit that I do not fall into this category. That does not mean that I do not want to. I desire to be gentle. I desire not to worry so much, which I can say is the root of why I do not walk in grace, mercy, unselfishness, mercy, tolerance and patience at all times. There are times that they will flow out of me and I praise God in those moments, because that is reflecting a work in me. It shows that the Lord is near. That is where I desire to be, where the Lord is near. Worry is not there, peace is. Worry does not lead to honor.

Jesus even says in Matthew 6:25, “Therefore I tell you, stop being worried or anxious (perpetually uneasy, distracted) about your life….” Jesus goes on to talk about food and clothing,but how about relationships? Thoughts and rehearsals of conversations you have had? Events that you were not invited to? People who do not show up for you? This is all rooted in worry, which will ultimately distract us. I am done with being distracted! I want to be free of worry. Verse 27 Jesus says, “And who of you by worrying can add one hour to (the length of) his life?” This is what He does tell us to do, verse 33, “But first and most importantly seek (aim at, strive after) His kingdom and His righteousness [His way of doing and being rightthe attitude and character of God], and all these things will be given to you also.”

Alright God, I hear what you are telling me today. Putting my focus back on you. Laying down the thoughts and worries of yesterday and the days to come. I am going to worship and praise moment by moment today. Worry brings distractions and I am tired of being distracted!

Praying for you all this week!! Be blessed!!!

Deeper Worship

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

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

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

Some people “fall out of love” with God.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Do not stop expecting

Our church meets on Sunday’s at one thirty in the afternoon. Right now we do not have our own building (we are renting a space from another church and they have Sunday morning services). It was a step of faith for us to do this. The property we owned before had a huge overhead with twenty acres and almost fifty thousand square feet of building. On our last service there we prayed it would bless the next church that bought it. We stepped out in faith and was met open arms with another church in our city. I love it when another church wants to see you succeed, even if it is not building their numbers, they genuinely want the Body of Christ to be stronger and in unity.

How has one thirty worked? It is amazing! It has brought us back, that are wanting to press in more, to a place that we no longer take our relationship with God for granted. How did we get to a placed that we started limiting the time we spend in worship?

“Let joy be your continual feast. Make your life a prayer. And in the midst of everything be always giving thanks, for this is God’s perfect plan for you in Christ Jesus. Never restrain or put out the fire of the Holy Spirit.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-19 TPT)

This life in Christ wants us to keep our minds on Him. When it says to make your life a prayer, it is not meaning that we need to speak prayers twenty four hours a day. It is saying we should be mindful of Him all day. The Holy Spirit is alive and in you. We should expect demonstrations of the Holy Spirit everyday because of that. There are so many opportunities presented us throughout the day if we would just expect to be met by them.

I am not talking about the kookie stuff. I am talking about the unbelievable peace and joy that you rest in as you go throughout the day. The fact that when people look at you they notice that there is something different, and they want that. When they ask you about it you are bold enough to tell them where that comes from. You tell them Jesus is real, a relationship with Him is attainable, and that He is my more than enough.

John 4:23-24 says, “From here on, worshiping the Father will not be a matter of the right place but with the right heart. For God is a Spirit, and he longs to have sincere worshipers who worship and adore him in the realm of the Spirit and truth.” Wherever you go, bring your best self. I am not saying you have to present perfection, but compassion is the best place we are to be. Jesus was full of compassion and we should be too.

You might look at that the reason I say church attendance is so important because of the position I have. I agree, the church is not limited to a building. I do not limit my worship to just doing it in that building, during the hours of one thirty to three thirty on Sundays. I have decided to start my worship at home, in my car, at the gym and wherever I go throughout the day. However, we are still called to be a part of a group of fellow believer’s. We are to make disciples and to make those disciples leaders, to disciple more.

Hebrews 10:24-25 says, “Let us consider (thoughtfully) how we may encourage one another to love and to do good deeds, not forsaking the meeting together (as believers for worship and instruction), as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more (faithfully) as ou see the day (of Christ’s return) approaching.” (AMP)

Do not take your relationship with God for granted and just go through your day to day. My husband is going through a series right now titled “Arise.” It is a challenge to the church to stop sleepwalking through life and start expecting the power of God to manifest every day. He closed last service with this verse: “Then the man brought me by way of the north gate to the front of the temple. I looked and saw the glory of the Lord filling the temple of the Lord, and I fell facedown” (Ezekiel 44:4).

Do not take your relationship with God for granted

and just go through your day to day.

We have already agreed that worship does not only take place in a building. What if we take that and prepare before we get into service (worship at home) and we go into corporate worship expecting to see the glory revealed in others? What if when we get there we have already gotten in the Word? That we are prayed up and our spirit man is so on fire. That the Holy Spirit is so alive in us! Demonstrations are not just expected, but happen on a regular basis!! I know that sounds radical. So my question to you is, since you are now a Christ follower, what do you expect is suppose to happen?

Jeremiah 20:9 from the Message Translation, “The words are fire in my belly, a burning in my bones. I’m worn out trying to hold it in. I can’t do it any longer!”

Bass Players Creedo: “Turn it up!”

I guess a “cool” thing I tell people about myself is that I play the bass in our worship band. I have been doing so for the past twenty years.

Now, I do make it clear that I am not trained. I cannot tell you what note something is. I do play with a couple of fingers on the frets at time. I have never been really good at runs.

You see, I cannot sing. When I do, it is really bad. So I need this really loud sound coming from behind me to drown out the horrible noise coming out of my mouth so that others do not get distracted during worship.

Oh, how I love worship though! Right now I am in a season in our church where I am the worship leader. Basically, I pick the songs and tell everyone what time practice is. We talk as a group as we learn new songs and everyone’s ideas are heard. My singers know harmony and are really good at putting that together. I mean, we are no Bethel, but we get in it!

One thing I listen for in churches, when we visit, is whether you can hear the bass drum and the bass player. Then you know you are going to have a good time. Why?

“And pulsing from the thrown were blinding flashes of lightning, crashes of thunder, and voices.” Revelations 4:5a TPT

“After I heard what seemed to be the roar of a great multitude of voices, saying: ‘Hallelujah! Salvation and glory to the power of our God!” Revelations 19:1 TPT

One thing I listen for in churches, when we visit, is whether you can hear the bass drum and the bass player.

These are just two verses that talk about the sounds in heaven. Books I have read describes it that you can feel the sounds in your bones.

Now I have been in places where it was loud and it was not pleasing to the ears, because it was so loud. However, you do not have to be loud to feel the music. When we worship, we should do with everything that is withing us. That is why I love to play the bass during worship.

Worship is a very important part of our daily time with God. He does not demand it of us, but it should be something that comes naturally from our hearts. It is a part of my daily surrender to Him.

King David made it a part of who he was. He was not a perfect king, nor a perfect man, but his heart was for God. Father, help me have a heart like David’s. Your word says, “I will give you a new heart, a tender, responsive heart” (Ezekiel 26:36). Let my heart always be mindful of you.

My father in law likes to say there are eighteen inches between success and failure. Those eighteen inches are from your heart to your mind. Keep yourself in the Word and it will help keep your heart lined up with His.