Friday, January 31, 2014

Praise Makes the Difference

Saul did some really stupid stuff, and as a result, lost God's blessing and the kingdom. A little while later, Samuel anointed David as the next king. After all this went down, a darkness started plaguing Saul. It was so awful, that his servants suggested that they find, "a man who is skillful in playing the lyre, and when the harmful spirit from God is upon you, he will play it, and you will be well." (1 Samuel 16:16b) By God's hand, David was that man. "And whenever the harmful spirit from God was upon Saul, David took the lyre and played it with his hand. So Soul was refreshed and was well, and the harmful spirit departed from him." (1 Samuel 16:23)

He liked him...the boy. He did. He was strong, courageous, charming. A man of valor. A man of God. There was no reason for him not to like this boy.

But he didn't. Not anymore.

Nevertheless, he needed the kid. Things had changed between him and the Lord. Tension as thick as a horse's hide. The spirit was tormenting him. Worse. Reminding him that he was in the darkness. However, when David played, the darkness didn't suffocate him. He felt a small part of his soul calling out to him, reaching for him, begging him to come back.

David looked up from the lyre and smiled. He looked so peaceful, so free. Saul frowned. When was the last time he had felt free? When was the last time one of the Lord's melodies had come to him? Now the great king had to rely on a former shepherd to give him faint glimpses of his former glory. David the musician. David the Philistine slayer. David, the Lord's chosen one. He hated him, and all he represented!

With a snarl, Saul jumped up from his chair. The melodies died out. "Go on," He barked. "Keep playing." The strumming started again as Saul paced back and forth. His heart was racing. He needed to stop, to listen to the music, to spend time with God, but he ignored the urging in his heart. He stalked to the other side of the room, where a rack of spears awaited. Gently, he reached out and touched one. Kill David. It was the darkness, but for once, the darkness made a lot of sense. It would be so easy. Glancing over his shoulder, he saw David's head bowed, eyes closed, hands focused on making music to God. Kill David. He wrapped his hand around the spear and spun, using his momentum to hurl the spear towards David, and kill all of his problems.

This story was loosely based on 1 Samuel 18:6-11

David has always been known a worshiper of God. With his lyre, songs, and dance, David always gave Him praise. When Saul first called upon David's playing, the music helped him. But the more Saul strayed, the less the the music helped.

"It is good to give thanks to the Lord, to sing praises to your name, O Most High; to declare your steadfast love in the morning, and your faithfulness by night, to the music of the lute and the harp, to the melody of the lyre." Psalm 92:1-3

"The stupid man cannot know; the fool cannot understand this: that though the wicked sprout like grass and all evildoers flourish, they are doomed to destruction forever;" Psalm 92:6-7

David was the one giving God praise, morning and night. Saul ended up the one who could not understand. He was the stupid man, the fool, and ended up in destruction.

My point is: are we giving praise to God, singing and making melodies in our hearts to Him? Are we letting His joy sustain us? Are we in His presence? You don't want to wander. You don't want to start relying on your own might. That leads to darkness, destruction, and worse of all, separation from God. In 1 Samuel 16:14 it says that the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul. I don't even want to imagine what that's really like for someone. How awful, bleak, and empty! I really believe that David's one-on-one time, praising God is what made the difference. Because he understood. He knew Who was first. He knew it was good to give God praise. So he did. And so should we.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

"His Guarantee"

And He taught them many things by parables, and said unto them in his doctrine, Harken; Behold, there went out a sower to sow. And it came to pass, as he sowed, some fell by the way side. Some fell on stony ground. Some fell among thorns, and other fell on good ground. Mark 4:2-8

I know that the parable of the sower has a lot to teach us about the various soil conditions or rather the condition of our hearts but today I would like to make mention of something that the Lord brought to my attention. It is just a really simple thought. One that I'm sure you know already but it is also the thought that I haven't been able to set aside for about a week now, so here I am, sharing it with you.

It is a thought about the seed. The same seed was sown in all four types of soil. The same seed that fell by the way side was also sown in the stony ground. It was also the same seed that was sown in the thorns and in the good soil. In all four ground types the seed did what seeds do. It got planted. It started to germinate and grow even if it was only for a little while. It did what seeds do until it was stolen away, beat up, choked, or allowed to fulfill its whole purpose of producing fruit. It was the same seed and it automatically did what seeds do because that is how it works!

When asked by His disciples to explain this parable Jesus told them that the seed was the Word of God. So, what I think is that today, He would have us remember, that His Word works! It will always, always, always, ALWAYS automatically work if we will just plant it! Just so you know, it isn't my opinion but His! Matter of fact He even guarantees it!  
                                    His Guarantee
For as the rain comes down and the snow from heaven, and do not return there, but water the earth, and make it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower and bread to the eater, So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, but shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it. Isaiah 55:10-11

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The Lion in the Shadows

I don't know how many of you are familiar with The Little Mermaid, but that was one of my favorite movies when I was little. For those of you who are not up to date on your mermaid trivia, this is all you need to know. For today at least.

Ursula knew about Ariel's forbidden love for Eric, a human. She used that to her advantage. She tempted Ariel with a deal, and did everything in her power to make Ariel fail, so that her father would come to her rescue. You see, that was what Ursula wanted all along. She wanted to take the power for herself. Ariel was just a stepping stone. Her action had negative consequences which affected others.

"Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour." 1 Peter 5:8

Ursula and the devil have some stuff in common. Their lust for power has overcome them. They will use and destroy anyone in their evil rampage for power. 

When Jesus was tempted in the wilderness, the devil was badgering Him continuously. After Jesus had defeated him, I suppose the devil said, "Well, I guess I'll just go." No! It says, "And when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from him until an opportune time." Luke 4:13

The devil was lying in wait, so that he could take down Jesus. He wanted Jesus to sin and die. He believed that would destroy God's plan of salvation and eternal life. Thus completing his revenge on God. 

Our response to temptations can have a huge impact. The devil wants to take us down. But it's more then that, he wants to kill our ripple effect as well. If he takes you or I out, then the people we are called to minister to for God are left hanging. Sin has it's own ripple affect; it never affects just us.

"No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you many be able to endure it." 1 Corinthians 10:13

There is a hungry lion in the shadows. He is waiting for opportune times in our lives. Ways to strike back at the King. We can either be selfish and stubborn, looking at the world through the clouded eyes of self-service, or we can know that the devil is on the hunt for us. And when he dangles a big piece of I-want in front of your face, know that God has already provided the way out of that situation. Know it, and take it. Don't succumb to the prowling lion. Be ever watchful.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

"Think Of It - His Heart Revealed"

Now He was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath. And behold, there was a woman who had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and was bent over and could in no way raise herself up. But when Jesus saw her, He called her to Him and said to her, "Woman, you are loosed from your infirmity." And He laid His hands on her, and immediately she was made straight, and glorified God. Luke 13:10-13

Lord, I don't know how to share what I feel and see? How do I express with words that I feel your heart, not just for this poor woman, but for all those that are bound, waiting to be loosed from their infirmities. I'm sitting here crying for a woman you already healed!

I think, in this moment, that this is one of those times that it is important to put yourself in the position of being there. So to that end, I'm going to ask that you really participate in today's word. Think about your Sunday worship service. Think about what it would be like if you came this next Sunday and this scene played out before you. Think about someone in your congregation that has been battling for a while with their infirmity. Your Pastor is in the middle of his message when all of a sudden he stops mid sentence because he notices your infirm person sitting there, bound up in their struggle. He calls to them and tells them that they are loosed from their infirmity. He doesn't stop there he leaves the podium and goes to them, puts his hands on them and immediately they stand up straight and start glorifying God!

What would your response to such an event be? Would you like the Pharisee in this account be upset. He was angry because Jesus healed her on the Sabbath. He had his rules, his traditions. Would it matter more to you that the sermon or the traditions of your service were interrupted?  Or, because you know the extent of their struggle, would you instead be in tears, rejoicing and praising God that he had set your person free?

I have just spent the last three hours crying trying to write what He has shown me in this incredible account. He saw her! He called to her! It was his heart to set her free! He knew the extent of her struggle! Listen to His response to the Pharisees criticism. Pay close attention. See his heart!

"Hypocrites! Does not each one of you on the Sabbath loose his ox or his donkey from the stall, and lead it away to water it? So ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has bound-think of it-for eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath?"Luke 13:15-16

He calls them hypocrites with an exclamation point after it. He is talking with passion. He is totally serious about what He is saying. His heart towards this woman and her situation is exposed for all to see. After he tells them why they are hypocrites (the you take care of your animals thing) he makes sure they understand that if their animals deserve water so doesn't this woman who is a daughter of Abraham. His next statement reveals even more about his heart ...whom Satan has bound-think of it-for eighteen years...He is making this logical argument one minute about their compassion and care for their beasts and her heritage and therefore her right to be set free when He interrupts it with this... whom Satan has bound-think of it-for eighteen years emotional argument. When He said. "Think of it" it revealed His anguish, His compassion, for the extent of her suffering. Those three words communicate so much about His heart concerning her suffering. He didn't just say, "Think of it." He said it with passion, with conviction trying to motivate compassion and understanding in their hearts. "Think of it - for  eighteen  years!" His understanding of her years of  suffering were revealed by the anguish in his tone of voice, and the love in His eyes. The "Hasn't she suffered enough," question hanging, unspoken. It worked!

And when He said these things, all His adversaries were put to shame; and all the multitudes rejoiced for all the glorious things that were done by Him. Luke 13:17

You can't read this without seeing that it IS HIS HEART to set the captives free! If you are reading this today and you are struggling with an infirmity know that He sees your struggle. His word to you is, "You are loosed!" Receive His touch, stand up, look straight up to heaven and give Him praise!

Strong's definition of infirmity - feebleness(of body or mind) by impl. malady; frailty and it comes from a root word that means strength less(fig. or mor.) If this is you than know He sees you! It is his heart to touch you!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Givers of Grace

"The scribes and Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst they said to him, 'Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?'" John 8:3-5

Let's join the story...and we will call the woman, "Ray."

Ray attempted to spit out the dirt that coated the inside of her mouth from being thrown to the ground, and pushed herself onto her knees. A large crowd had gathered around her. They started at her with contempt, judgement, and blood-lust. A few of them were already holding stones!

"So what do you say?" said one gleeful looking Pharisees while the others nodded their agreement.

Ray's eyes met Jesus' for the first time. His eyes...they were filled with love and compassion, and something else. Was that pain? As if the sins she had committed had hurt Him. The emotion made her breath catch, and she ducked her head to avoid His gaze.

For the first time, in a very long time. Repentance and guilt squeezed her heart. But it was too late now. She was going to die in her sins.

"And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, "Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her." John 8:7

Ray's head snapped up. What could that mean? Astonished she watched everyone leave, one by one. No one dared to say he was without sin. No one could! Soon it was just her and Jesus. She stared at Him, waiting. It felt like forever before he finally looked up from His writings in the dirt.

"Jesus stood up and said to her, 'Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you? She said, 'No one, Lord.' And Jesus said, 'Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.'" John 8:10-11

Ray gasped. Grace! Grace! She stared at Him. This was no ordinary man. With all her heart she knew this was the One who could have her condemned. Instead, He chose to give her grace. Grace she did not deserve.

Jesus has given us undeserved grace. "They are your servants and your people, whom you have redeemed by you great power and by your strong hand." Nehemiah 1:10

We all know how it feels to have someone you love, wound your heart. We want to hold onto that anger, and leave that person with the punishment they deserve. But that is not the example we have been given.

Jesus is the only one Who has the right to condemn. He is the only one Who has the right to those stones. We need to drop our stones, and hold out our hands. We need to follow His example. There is a time and a place for judgement, but it has never been our right. We have been given undeserved grace, so our job, is to be givers of grace as well. Give what we have been given.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

"Their Carcass Is Toast"

So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone, and struck the Philistine and killed him. But there was no sword in the hand of David. 1 Samuel 17:50

David prevailed over the Philistine with something as simple as a sling and a stone for a very good reason. There was no sword in his hand. He had something else. The word of his testimony!
I'll show you what I mean starting in verse 23 it says that Goliath came out and gave his 'speech' according to the same words and it ends with this statement, "So David heard them." He also saw, 'And all the men of Israel, when they saw the man, fled from him and were dreadfully afraid. verse 24. He heard and saw the same giant as every other man on that battlefield but these are the words he spoke in response to what he saw and heard. "For who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?"

Next thing we see his brother is upset with him for making such statements of faith. He sends a couple of accusations David's way. David's response is, "What have I done now. Is there not a cause?" Then he turned from him toward another and said the same thing; and these answered him as the first ones did. verses 29-30 As David continued to speak word got back to Saul and he sent for him.

Then David said to Saul, "Let no man's heart fail because of him, your servant will go fight this Philistine." 17:32  Saul takes one look at him and despite his words and his willingness to go fight he makes this statement, "You are not able to go against this Philistine to fight him; for you are but a youth, and he a man of war from his youth. 17:33 The king, the authority took one look at him, judged him and spoke these words to him, "You are not able. Your too young. He is too good. You can't win." Did that stop David? No. The next words he spoke were not words of defeat. 17:34-37 He explained that he had experience killing big, bad, and scary and delivering the lamb from the jaws of death. He had dealt with the lion and bear and this Philistine would be no different. ..."The Lord, who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear. He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine." 17:37

Saul hears him and gives him permission. He then tries to give him his own armor and sword. David refuses and goes out to battle with what he knows. His staff in one hand. Some stones in a bag and a sling in his other hand. He steps out on the field. It says that Goliath took one look at David and he disdained him for he was but a youth. It says that he cursed him and threatened to feed his flesh to the birds and the beast. David isn't affected by the giants words. His response, "You come at me with a sword, a spear, and with a javelin. But I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day  the Lord will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you and take your head from you. And this day I will give the carcasses of the camp of the Philistines to the birds of the air and the wild beasts of the earth; that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel. Then all this assembly shall know that the Lord does not save with sword and spear; for the battle is the Lord's, and He will give you into our hands." 17:45-47

And it was so, when the Philistine arose and came and drew near to meet David that he hastened and ran toward the army to meet the Philistine. I think this is one of my favorite verses. He hastened and ran toward the army... He put action on the wings of the words he had just spoken. He ran towards the fulfillment of them fully believing in what was about to happen as he reached in that bag to take a stone.

From the moment David heard and saw Goliath defy the army of God it was in his heart to do something about it. His family, the king, and the giant himself all had words to say that could have discouraged him from accomplishing what was in his heart to do. The confession of his mouth, the word of his testimony, "The Lord God is with me, He will deliver me!"  The confession of his mouth was always one of faith. Don't let family, friends, authorities, or even the giants themselves steal the victory from you. Like David, you don't need a sword in your hand to slay giants. Do what David did tell them that their carcass is toast! Why? Because the battle is the Lord's!

Saturday, January 25, 2014

The Forsaken Ones

A light breeze stirred him. Even before opening his eyes, he could see the pure light shining into the cave. With bloody fists and a whimper of anguish, he arose from his make-shift bed, and started to walk. His home was in the tombs. The home of the dead and forsaken. His home. Long ago, he had been driven from his people. They didn't want a monster living among them, and who could blame them? He was a monster now. Or at least that's what the voices told him.

He didn't know how it happened. He had never wanted this life, this weight crushing his soul and body. All he wanted was to be free. Free from them.

So today, he would fight them-even if it killed him. Today, He would meet the Healer. The one they called Jesus. The voices knew Him. They shrieked with outrage at the mention of His name. He didn't know if Jesus would one else would...but if the voices were scared of Him, well, that was a good start...

"When Jesus stepped out on the land, there met him a man from the city who had demons. For a long time he had worn no clothes, and he had not lived in a house but among the tombs. When he saw Jesus, he cried out and fell down before him and said with a loud voice, "What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God?" For he had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. (For many a time it had seized him. He was kept under guard and bound with chains and shackles, but he would break the bonds and be driven by the demon into the desert.)" Luke 8:27-29

This man had been plagued by many demons for a long time. Then an amazing thing happened! Jesus delivered him! Drove those crazy demons out and into a herd of pigs. He was free at last! Good news...right?

"Then people went out to see what had happened, and they came to Jesus and found the man from who the demons had gone, sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind, and they were afraid. And those who had seen it told them how the demon-possessed man had been healed. Then all the people of the surrounding country of the Gerasenes asked him to depart from them, for they were seized with great fear. So he got into the boat and returned." Luke 8:35-37

What stupid, stupid people! This man had been saved, healed, redeemed! He was no longer forsaken, and they told Jesus to get out like he was a traveling salesman toting miracle dust. This was the real deal, but they didn't want to see, least they be called to action.

Demons have adapted with us a little. They may not make every person thrash and foam at the mouth, but they are still around, spiritually tormenting people. They love to plague people. Do we, as those equipped to fight demons, step up for those people. Are they forsaken because we can't be bothered to help? Because we are too afraid?

Jesus took all those weights and so much more when He went to the cross. No one on this earth should be plagued by Satan's minions. They have the right to be free. Question is, do we do our part? Or do we leave them forsaken?

Friday, January 24, 2014

"He wasn't Listening - Will You?"

And an angel of the appeared to him, and said to Him, "The Lord is with you, you mighty man of valor!" Judges 6:12

As a youth Pastor this is one of my favorite verses to teach on. I can expound on it for hours and hours and hours, there is so much to gain from the life of Gideon but, you are in luck, I have one simple thought to put before you today.

Gideon's response to this statement reflects his heart about himself and his situation. He also made the same mistake that you and I often do. He was looking with his eyes. He wasn't listening to the prophetic word that was being spoken over him. He heard the words with his ears but not in his heart. His response shows that he heard the most important words of all. "The Lord is with you." except for one thing. He adds the word, if because his eyes are on himself and his situation.

"O my lord, if the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all His miracles which our fathers told us about, saying, 'Did not the Lord bring us up from Egypt? But now the Lord has forsaken us and delivered us into the hands of the Midianitetes." Then the Lord turned to him and said, "Go in this might of yours, and you shall save Israel from the hand of the Midianites. Have I not sent you?" So he said to Him, "O my Lord, how can I save Israel? Indeed my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father's house."

When God speaks into or over our lives He isn't looking at the weak, ill equipped person that we are right now, he sees us prophetically and what I mean by that is that He sees who we will be with Him, with His Word, at work in and through us! He sees the future you. The one where he is performing His word in us.

Gideon wasn't listening. God called him a mighty man of valor and told him to go save Israel. So, Gideon called himself the weakest of the weak, and said I can't go. He wasn't listening! The reason God could call him a mighty man of valor is because of the first words that He spoke. "The Lord is with you."  Next He tells him, "To go in this might of yours." Gideon was only looking at his own weakness not what God was saying. He said, "Go in this might of yours." Gideon still wasn't getting it. The might he was to go in wasn't his own. The might he was to go in was God's presence. The fact that He had said "The Lord is with you!" is all the might Gideon needed to conquer the Midianites.

Once more He says, "Surely I will be with you, and you shall defeat the Midianites as one man." Judges 6:16 When God speaks prophetically into your life it is because He knows that He will be there with you and that where He is, the evidence of His presence follows! He will perform His Word in your life! Know that He is with You and it is not about you, your strength, or your weaknesses, it is about His ability to carry out his Word! It is not your might but HIS presence!

"The Lord is with you! You mighty men and women of valor! Go, conquer,  in the power of His might!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Start with the Vegetables

"Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity. Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching... Practice these things, immerse yourself in them, so that all may see you progress. Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers." 1 Timothy 12-13,15-16

I love these verses. While reading them, I couldn't help but think that they reminded me of Daniel. He is a man in the Bible whose life, his entire testimony is living by unwavering example for everyone to see. The first time you see that is when young Daniel decides he is not going to eat the meat sacrificed to idols. Can you imagine the reaction he first got?

"You don't want to eat meat?! You've got to be kidding me! This stuff is the finest food in the land." The steward is shocked. Flabbergasted even. These boys need to look like healthy men, not sick cows!

"No, I don't want to eat meat offered to false god's. How about some vegetables?" He was standing his ground. He would not waver. He knew that eating a few lettuce leaves would be physically better for him then delicacies from false gods.

Daniel was taken care of by God. Every time, the test of faith grew harder, but Daniel plowed ahead, and remained true. And in response, no matter how the enemy tired to come at him- maiming, death by lions, execution- God has taken care of him. He had amazing visions. When he prayed, angels showed up, addressed him as, "O Daniel, man greatly loved," and explained things to him. Daniel 12:13 says, "But go your way till the end. And you shall rest and shall stand in you allotted place at the end of the days." His faithfulness to God earned him, guaranteed him a place with God. Daniel is an incredible example to us today.

Daniel started with his vegetables. "One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much." Luke 16:10

If you want to learn how to become an example to all believers, then remember to start with your vegetables. One day, the lions and fire will test you, but if you've been faithful with your vegetables, then you can say, "Yeah, so what," to those obstacles. Your example could make the difference for somebody.

Stay true to your spiritual spinach.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

"Cut To The Heart"

"Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ." Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, " Men and brethren, what shall we do?" Then Peter said to them, "Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call." And with  many other words he testified and exhorted them saying, "Be saved from this perverse generation." Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand were added to them. Acts 2:37-41

Have you ever had the Word of God cut you to the heart causing you to cry out, "What should I do?" "How do I make it work in my life?" According to Peter in the example above, the answer is simple, repent and then receive it! According to the Strong's the word repent simply means; to think differently or afterwards, i.e. reconsider (mor. feel compunction) So, instead of thinking God can't, think God can! It means to change your mind. To think differently. So, if for example today you think God can't or won't heal you, Repent! Choose to believe differently. Choose to believe that He can. Lay a hold of, He can and He will, because He said He would.

When His word comes your way and it cuts you to the heart it is for a reason. Don't walk away unchanged! Think differently! Repent. Change the thoughts of your heart about God and your circumstances. Choose to believe and then receive what His word has promised you. When His Word cuts, repent. Simply put, change your thoughts to match His thoughts. Gladly receive His Word and receive the fruit that gets added daily.

Lord, will you cut some hearts today so the we, your people would be more like you and instead of proclaiming "I can't" help us to gladly receive the truth of your word. Help us to lay  hold of, All Things Are Possible!"

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Will We Go?

“I believe you. I believe that this is a God thing.” I say. “I've got to do this. I’m not scared about going. Or about what awaits me once I’m there. I just know in my heart that I've got to go. That this is God leading me. I’m sorry. I love you guys so much. But I am going with him.”

Once I really started wondering about Rebekah's last day with her family, in her known, safe world. I wrote about it, and this is what I imagined Rebekah saying to her family. The whole, "I love you, but get off my back." thing. 

She left everything she knew, went into the unknown, and stepped into God's destiny for her life. 
Most of us would have been a little hesitant if a random servant showed up claiming we were to leave with him immediately, sprint off to another country, and marry a strange person. Her family certainly wasn't okay with it! In the middle of this argument, they decided to see what Rebekah wanted to do. "And they called Rebekah and said to her, 'Will you go with this man?' She said, 'I will go.'" Genesis 24:58

She didn't pause. She didn't worry. She saw the incredible way God had picked her, called her, and that was enough for her.

Rebekah stepped into her destiny. She married Isaac. They had Jacob and Esau. From Jacob's descendants, the nation of Israel was born. That was part of her destiny, her legacy. If she had not left her family, then what would have happened?

We are all called. We all have a God-given destiny. There are times when it seems scary and unknown, but do we chicken out because of that?

"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare (peace) and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope." Jeremiah 29:11

Think about Ester who was called to the kingdom, "for such a time as this." Think about Abraham who also left his family and homeland. Think about Peter, who stood in a rickety fishing boat, while Jesus walked on water. We are all called for a God-given destiny. We are all called to take those scary first steps of pure faith. However, will we go?

This, my friends, is the conversation Rebekah is having with her handmaiden, right before she sees Isaac for the first time:

“Miss, may I ask you something?” She says hesitantly. I nod my head. She looks over her shoulder like she doesn't want anyone else to hear her before continuing in a hushed voice. “Do you still believe coming here was the right thing to do?”

The familiar question comes to my mind every day. But every day when I start to worry, I feel a peace flood me. “Yes,” I say finally, “I do.”

Monday, January 20, 2014

"Verily I Say Unto You"

Verily I say to you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall  not enter therein. Mark 10:15

Verily I say to you. Once again we have Jesus using the word verily. Verily or as the NKJ translates it, assuredly I say to you. Jesus is assuring his disciples of something rather important, thus the assurance that His statement is the truth. He uses the word verily to say to them that what He is about to say is a trustworthy statement. "Unless we receive the kingdom as a little child then ...He shall not enter therein."

What does it mean? As a little child. How does a little child receive? Find something cool to hand them and watch and see! After all the kingdom of God is pretty cool! A little child will grab it and run with it. It becomes wholeheartedly 'mine' and is usually accompanied with squeals of delight. There is no hesitation. No weighing the pros and cons. There is no deciding involved. They don't stop and ask themselves. 'Is this really something I want? Do I want all of it? Maybe some of it? Hmmm?" No! They just accept it. Say thanks and use it, play with it. Get attached to it etc.

How does a little child accept God? Same way. If you teach a little child about God they believe that everything He said and does is possible. They don't doubt! They trust that what He says He will do, He will! Here are two examples of what a little child will believe about what it means to belong to the kingdom of God.

And the Syrians had gone out on raids, and brought back captive a young girl from the land of Israel. She waited on Naaman's wife. Then she said to her mistress, "If only my master were with the prophet who is in Samaria! For he would heal him of his leprosy." Not an ounce of doubt that God wasn't big enough to take care of Naaman's leprosy. She was quite bold and confident that if he wanted his leprosy taken care of then, go were God is!

How about in John 6:9 when the disciples are panicking about what to do and how to feed the multitude. Along comes a little boy with five barley loaves and two small fish. He offers them up as a solution fully believing, trusting that his lunch will make a difference. He believed that with Jesus it would be enough to meet the need!

Children accept and receive God and all that comes with being apart of the kingdom without putting limitations on the possibilities! After all He is God and He did say he would be our God if we trust in Him. Children receive the kingdom and all that comes with it because they simply believe. They believe that He is God!

Verily I say to you... Accept all the possibilities, the gifts that come with being His child! Grab a hold of them and don't forget... squeal in delight, say thanks, run off, use them, get attached and...


Sunday, January 19, 2014

Powerless Fire

Once upon a time, in a land closer then we realize, there was King Nebuchadnezzar. One day, he upped and decided to have a huge, golden image made, and ordered the people of his kingdom to worship it. He had a worship band prepared, and a fiery furnace. His herald announced his edict: when the people heard the worship music start, they were to fall down and worship the golden image. However, if they did not, then they would be cast into the fiery furnace. But really, the choice was theirs.

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego would not bow down to this false God. Somebody maliciously squealed on them. King Nebuchadnezzar was furious! Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were brought before him and he asked them the burning question, would they not worship his gods?

"Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered and said to the king, 'O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If this be so, our God whom we serve  is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.'" Daniel 3:16-18

Enraged, Nebuchadnezzar had them thrown into the furnace seven times hotter then normal. They should have been ash in mere seconds! Instead, They stood in the midst of the flames, with a fourth Man, who looked like the Son of God! Nebuchadnezzar went to the door of the furnace, and asked them to come out.

"Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego came out from the fire. And the satraps, the prefects, the governors, and the kings's counselors gathered together and saw that the fire had not had any power over the bodies of those men. The hair of their heads was not singed, their cloaks were not harmed, and no smell of fire had come upon them." Daniel 3: (end of) 26-27

I said all of that to get to this: the fire had not held any power over the bodies of those men.

I don't know about you, but their fate didn't sound pleasant. Right up there with these fiery situations:

"And shall cast them into the furnace of fire; there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth." Matthew 13:50

"Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire." Revelation 20:14-15

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego knew something then, that we should know a whole lot better today. The flames held no power over them. Whether or not God chose to save them, the flames could not ever truly harm them. Jesus' life, death, and resurrection means the same for us. If we accept Him as Lord, for all that He is, and give Him our lives, then the flames will hold no power over us. Our names are written in His book. This is why we should be able to stand before the bullies of the world and say, "Yeah, I serve God, and only Him. I won't stop. If that means being tossed into your furnace, so be it. Because it is powerless fire. He has already saved me."

We should be able to say that. Question is, do we? Do we let the flames be powerless?

Saturday, January 18, 2014

"Why and Because"

"Go into the village opposite you, where as you enter you will find a colt tied, on which no one has ever sat, Loose him and bring him here. And if anyone asks you, 'Why are you loosing him? thus you shall say to him, 'Because the Lord has need of him.'" So those who were sent departed and found it just as He had said to them. But as they were loosing the colt, the owners of it said to them, "Why are you loosing the colt?" And they said, "The Lord has need of him." Luke 19:30-31

I read these words a few days ago when I was writing "Keep The Stones Silent" and have not been able to get them out of my head. They keep randomly coming to mind. "Why are you loosing him?" "Because the Lord has need of him." I realize that it was just a colt but he did have an important job to do! He was loosed and brought to Jesus for a purpose. He carried Jesus down the descent of the Mount of Olives into Jerusalem.

In John 4:35-36 Jesus said, Do you not say, 'There are still four months and then the harvest?' Behold, I say lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest!
And he who reaps receives wages, and gathers fruit for eternal life, that both he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together."

The harvest is all around us or even the 'village opposite you.'  There are those that need to be set free. Loosed from the chains of sin and death.  Like the colt, people are tied up, bound by sin, never having experienced what it is like to have a loving relationship with Almighty God. They don't know the freedom that comes with knowing Him, or the joy that comes with serving him.

Like the colt we have been loosed because we to have a purpose. To carry the message of the cross. To bring Jesus to those around us and to have the mindset of "The Lord has need of him" as we share the gospel message and set the captives free. We need to look at people with these words in mind, 'The Lord has need of him' because He has a purpose for them. He wants to see them loosed because He has a "Hope and a Future" Jeremiah 29:11 for them that can't wait!

Friday, January 17, 2014

Never Stop Forgiving

"Then Peter came up and said to him, "Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?" Jesus said to him, "I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven." Matthew 18:21-22

Peter asks Jesus the  question we are all dying to know: when can we stop forgiving? Answer: Never. Great, right?

Jesus goes on to talk about a king who wished to settle his debts with his servants. A certain servant owed the king ten thousand talents. Let's call him, Bob, for the story's sake. The king ordered that Bob, his wife, his kids, and all that he had, be sold to pay his debts. Bob begged the king to have mercy on him. The king took pity on him, and forgave his debt. He was now debt free! Immediately after,  Bob went and found another servant who owed him a hundred denarii. Let's call the second servant, Joe. Bob demanded that Joe pay his debt right then. Joe pleaded for mercy, asking for just a little more patience and time. Bob refused and had Joe thrown into jail. When the king heard about Bob's cruel behavior, he had Bob brought before him. The king said, "You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. And should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?" The king then had Bob thrown into jail until he could pay his debt. Jesus ends with, "So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart." (With the exception of the names, you can find this story in Matthew 18:23-35)

The world watches us. They watch to see if we, as Christians, as followers of Christ, are really different from them. They don't just watch for our big screw-ups, but for our little grievances as well. We bicker, hold grudges, and refuse to forgive because this church believes that, or this person did that. We need to forgive. Someone disagreeing with us has never been license to shun them. A stupid comment has never been a good enough reason to not forgive.

"The Spirit and the Bride say, 'Come.' And let the one who hears say, 'Come.' And let the one who is thirsty come, let the one who desires take the water of life without price." Revelations 22:17

We have been given the water of life freely. Our debts have been forgiven. We need to learn from Bob's unforgiving attitude. We need to forgive others like we have been forgiven. We need to forgive from our hearts. We need to never stop forgiving.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

"The First"

But what do you think? A man had two sons, and he came to the first and said, 'Son, go, work today in my vineyard.' He answered and said, "I will not," but afterward he regretted it and went. Then he came to the second and said likewise. And he answered and said, "I go, sir," but he did not go. "Which of the two did the will of his father?" They said to him, "The first." Matthew 21:28-31

As Jesus told this parable He ended it with a question that had a pretty obvious answer. "The first." The first son is the one that ended up actually going and working in the vineyard and doing the will of his father. Why? Simple. Even though his attitude and words said, "No," his actions were in line with what was asked of him by his father. The second son on the other hand said, "Yes," but didn't follow through with the doing part.

Just so we are clear, I looked up the word will in the Strong's and it means; determination, choice, spec. purpose, decree. So, what does this have to do with us? Jesus said that not everyone who calls Him, "Lord" will see the kingdom of heaven. It is not just about the words that we speak to him. It is also about the follow through. Our actions or rather our obedience matters. It is not enough to talk the talk without ever actually walking out the will of the Father. Jesus also said that, "All will know you are My disciples, if you have love for one another."  John 13:35 Love isn't just words. It involves actions as well!

Have you worked in the vineyard today?

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

The Healing God

We argue about Scripture a lot. One of the big issues is whether or not God still physically heals today.   
"But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed." Isaiah 53:5

This verse is taken the wrong way quite often. First, He has taken our sins upon Himself, giving us spiritual healing. Second, His death has brought us peace, giving us emotional healing. Third, His wounds have brought us physical healing. 

Yes, God still physically heals today. It may be through doctors, it may be through a Heavenly homecoming, and it may be through His Almighty power, but He does still administer healing to His believers.

"If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand." (Mark 3:24)

The devil knows that if we, the church, are divided about enough details, then we cannot stand against him. So, for instance, he takes healing. Some people believe, and others do not believe. And when someone passes away, he uses that to trick people into thinking God does not heal or answer prayer. All of it is connected to try to pull us away from God. Instead of arguing, we should be uniting. We shamefully argue about a beautiful verse that tells about how God has and will heal us in all ways.

"Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquities, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy." Psalm 103:2-4

This is not a difference of opinion within the church; this is a division within the church. Don't forget His benefits. Don't forget that His healing extends beyond the emotional and spiritual, but also to the physical. God would not have us arguing about something so foolish, because His heart, is to heal us.


Tuesday, January 14, 2014

"Keep The Stones Silent"

"I tell you that if these should keep silent, the stones would immediately cry out." Luke 19:40

THESE were His followers. His disciples. THESE were those that had been with Him seeing all that He had done and hearing all that He had been teaching. THESE were those that had been living day to day in His presence. Jesus spoke these words in response as the Pharisees once again called for Him to rebuke the disciples ...the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works they had seen, saying: 'Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!' And some of the Pharisees called to Him from the crowd, "Teacher, rebuke Your disciples." Luke 19:37-39 They wanted to silence the praises of His followers.

The enemy would try to do the same in the lives of those who would today declare themselves as His. He would try to silence our praise with trials, tribulations, doubt, unbelief, or even really simple distractions. It says that they rejoiced and praised God for all the mighty works they had seen. Things they knew He had done! We know that He has done the mightiest work of all. He paid the price! I heard a quote from Max Lucado the other day. He said, "Worship is the 'Thank you,' that refuses to be silent."

As awesome as it would be to hear 'the stones cry out' it would also be rather heartbreaking! It would mean that you and I were silent with our thanks. It would mean that we, His followers, those that know Him best, were silent in our appreciation for for all we've seen and heard. It would mean that we stayed silent about His mightiest work, our redemption!

We are a part of the THESE that Jesus spoke about and we need to keep the stones silent!

Monday, January 13, 2014

An Eternal Gospel

"Then I saw another angel flying directly overhead, with an eternal gospel to proclaim to those who dwell on earth, to every nation and tribe and language and people." Revelation 14:6

The phrase, "an eternal gospel" really just stuck out to me.

"He entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves, but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption." Hebrews 9:12

Jesus' sacrifice is eternal. It won't run out, expire, or come up short. It's an eternal redemption, an eternal promise, an eternal gospel.

There are some who believe the time for God and Jesus is long since passed. Or that maybe, now that they are grown, they don't need fairy tales about God. Some would even say God and His message of salvation is outdated.

He isn't just in the past. He is our present and future. "'I am the Alpha and the Omega,' says the Lord God, 'who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.'" Revelation 1:8

This isn't something we can just dismiss as fable. It's truth and life. We eat every day because we know that if we don't, we will die. It's an eternal truth that we know because someone told us. The Gospel is eternal because Jesus (our past, present, and future) and His sacrifice for us will never fade away. It is our past, our present, and the key to our future with Him. This eternal gospel is the key to eternal life. And it's something we had better be sharing with everyone because our time on this present earth is not eternal.

"Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay everyone for what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end." Revelations 22:12-13

The gospel is an eternal truth. And it's a message that needs to be proclaimed.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

"Picture Of A Deer"

As the deer pants for the water brooks, so pants my soul for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God? Psalm 42:1-2

The word pants simply means,'to long for' according to the Strong's. As the deer longs for the water brooks, so my soul longs for You, O God. I get that. The longing for God. I guess the thing I've always wondered about is why the deer? Why use a deer to illustrate this attitude of longing for God. What truth, understanding, or revelation is there in there for us to grasp?

I checked my footnote and it says that the writer was exiled in the far north of Palestine and that he was writing about his desire to be able to go back and worship God at the Temple in Jerusalem. It also says that he used the figure of a deer longing for water in the midst of a prolonged drought to make his point.  Personally I think that it is more than that.

As I went to bed last night these words were on my heart, on my lips as I shared with my Father my heart to draw closer to Him each day. These are the words I awoke to this morning; "When a deer gets thirsty it is his instinct to head for the watering hole. He knows where to find water. When he is thirsty, when he longs for water, he goes to the source and drinks."

Jesus was talking to the woman at the well and he said, "Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life." John 4:13-14 It is time that we look to him to fill the 'thirsts' of our existence. We often look to other people,the world, or search in other places when all along, like the deer, we need to look to the source and drink of his living water.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, For they shall be filled. Matthew 5:6
If you too are thirsty, if your soul is crying out for the living God then be like the deer. Let your first instinct be to head for the source and Be filled!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Before the Resolution...

What do you see in the world today? It's certainly no Heaven on earth or Garden of Eden. It's filled with lies, murder, death, darkness, earthquakes, wars, and evil. It's easy to feel overcome, to lose heart, to stop trying.

Sometimes it seems like it'd be better to give up, than to keep striving in vain. Or would it?

Why do the fairy tales and children's movies have a happy ending? Why are werewolves and vampires suddenly the good guys? Why do we fight for justice for the little guy? Because we
believe that good should conquer evil.

"I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have (perfect) peace and confidence. In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer (take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted)! For I have overcome the world. (I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you.) John 16:33, Amplified Bible

"Do not let yourself be overcome by evil, but overcome (master) evil with good." Romans 12:21, Amplified Bible

Jesus says that yes, there will be awful things in the world, but He has already taken it's power to harm us. He has given us eternal life, eternal victory. As followers of Christ, here is our reason to keep going. The battle is already won. No matter what crap the devil throws our way now, there is going to be a happy ending! Good is going to overcome evil! Until then, be undaunted, be strong. Remain faithful. Stand your ground. Fight evil with good.

This is the climax, the final battle, before the resolution.


Friday, January 10, 2014

"Keys To Being Led"

For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. Romans 8:14

Sons are led by the Spirit of God. What does that mean exactly? There are excellent examples in the book of Acts but today we are going to look at chapter 13:2-12. Verse 2 it says ...As they ministered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, 'Now separate to Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.'

Key#1 - Listen. Hear Him when He speaks. He will give specific instructions as to what is needed.

In verse 4-7 it says ...So, being sent out by the Holy Spirit, they went down to Seleucia, and from there they sailed to Cyprus. And when they arrived in Salamis, they preached the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews. Now when they had gone through the island to Paphos, they found a certain sorcerer, a false prophet, a Jew whose name was Bar-Jesus, who was the proconsul, Sergius Paulus, an intelligent man. This man called for Barnabas and Saul and sought to hear the word of God.

Key#2 - Go where He sends you. He has an important job, a divine appointment for you there!

Starting in verse 8 we learn what happens as Paul continues to listen and obey. ...But Elymas the sorcerer (for so his name is translated) withstood them, seeking to turn the proconsul away from the faith. Then Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked intently at him and said, "O full of all deceit and all fraud, you son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, will you not cease perverting the straight ways of the Lord?  And now, indeed, the hand of the Lord is upon you, and you shall be blind, not seeing the sun for a time." And immediately a dark mist fell on him, and he went around seeking someone to lead him by the hand. Then the proconsul believed, when he saw what had been done, being astonished at the teaching of the Lord.

Key#3 - Be willing to allow Him to work through you. Be a vessel. Allow the gifts and fruits of the Spirit to work through you.  He will give you the wisdom and the knowledge to know what you need to do and He will always back you up with whatever sign, wonder, or miracle that is needed! And most important remember, as you, the son or daughter are being led by the Spirit of God, with all the authority that comes with it.

 So, for me the three keys to being led by the Spirit of God are simple. Listen to Him. Go with Him. Allow Him to work through you.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Forgiven and Worry Free

We know God loves us. We know that Jesus' death has covered our sins, but there are days, when we don't forgive ourselves. There are days, when we just feel like not matter what we do, we will never be clean enough, worthy enough, or good enough for God. Where it feels like every dumb thing we've ever done is proof against us. Without God, that's true, but with the blood, it's a different story.

"For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery." Galatians 5:1

Do not submit to the lie that tells you that no matter what, you are too tainted for God. Do not think that He doesn't want you. Do not allow a yoke to be placed over you. That yoke was destroyed by Jesus. He has redeemed us. He has freed us. He has made us white as snow. When you give into that lie, you are doubting the power of the blood.

God has an ironic sense of humor. I was talking about these things with my husband. I thought the discussion was over, but apparently God had other plans. We started talking about some phone cases my sister-in-law was looking at for her new phone. One of them said, "Hakuna Matata: It means no worries." As soon as I said it, I was just filled with the Holy Spirit. I could not stop laughing because I got it. Do you get it? He is telling us that we are not to worry about such things! It means that we are not to allow that lie to take root in us. It means not to worry about the lie in the first place because God has redeemed us! Fear not, doubt not, but trust God !

So the question is this: are you going to let a lie rule you, or are you going to live worry free?

"The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. He will not always chide, nor will he keep his anger forever. He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the  earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us." Psalm 103:8-12


Wednesday, January 8, 2014

"Poured Out. Filled Up. Ready To Go."

And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, That I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, You young men shall see visions, Your old men shall dream dreams, And on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days; And they shall prophesy. Acts 2:17-18

Once again we have a verse that is talking about sons and daughters. Sons and daughters that have had the Holy Spirit poured out upon them. Can you imagine what that moment must have been like when ...suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as a mighty rushing 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.

I hope you caught that! 'Suddenly a sound could be heard from heaven.' Everyone always says that it was the Holy Spirit coming in like a mighty rushing wind and that it was the sound of His coming that could be heard. I have a thought about that because the thing is, it isn't what it says. It doesn't say that a mighty rushing wind came. It says, "that there came a sound from heaven." It says the sound they heard, from heaven, filled the whole house. It says it sounded like a mighty rushing wind. Jesus said, Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you. John 16:7 It also says in Matthew 3:11 "I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire."

So, here is my thought on the matter. Try this experiment with me. Cup your hand in front of your mouth and say the word. "Go!" like you mean it. Did you feel the breath of air? I believe the sound that could be heard coming FROM HEAVEN was sound of the breath of Jesus telling the Holy Spirit to, "Go," and that the 'tongues of fire' was the Holy Spirit landing, baptizing with fire just as we were told that He would do.

The disciples were in this room waiting for the Promise because Jesus had told them to. Acts 1:5 "for John truly baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now." The believed, waited, and received exactly what Jesus had promised them. They lived their lives as 'sons of God' from this moment on.

The word above tells us that He is going to pour out His Spirit on all flesh and His sons, and daughters will prophesy. So, I'm here to tell you as His daughter, "Get ready! Get ready! Get ready! Say, "Yes!" Say, Yes, to Jesus as your Lord and Savior. Say, "Yes!" to the Holy Spirit and being baptized with fire. Don't be a scoffer on the sidelines saying, "They are full of new wine." Get ready because ... There is about to be a move of My Spirit in the Earth. Put on your listening ears and you will hear the sound of the rumble as I begin to move. You will feel the shake and it will be a move that is volcanic in nature! There will be an eruption, an overflowing of the things Spirit so that all who call on the name of the Lord shall be saved. Get ready!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

With God's Will There is a Way, and He is the Way

"Thus says Cyrus king of Persia: The Lord, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth, and he has charged me to build him a house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Whoever is among you of all his people, may his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and rebuild the house of the Lord, the God of Israel-he is the God who is in Jerusalem. And let each survivor, in whatever place he sojourns, be assisted by the men of his place with silver and gold, with goods and with beasts, besides freewill offerings for the house of God that is in Jerusalem." Ezra 1:2-4

King Cyrus made an incredible decree here. Not only would the Israelites be returning to Jerusalem to build God's temple, their neighbors were supposed to give them gold, silver, supplies, offerings, and animals to help them! And amazingly enough, they did! "And all who were about them aided them with vessels of silver, with gold, with goods, with beasts, and with costly wares, besides all that was freely offered." Ezra 1:6

This is incredible. A rich king giving up his people and wealth. Everyday people giving away their money and wealth. And do you think for one second it was coincidence? NO!

"In the first year of Cyrus the king of Persia, that the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, so that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom and also put it in writing." Ezra 1:1

This incredible start of events was God stirring up hearts and His spoken word. How many of us would have seen the powerful king, all his subjects, and said, "Well, it was a nice idea, but it's not going to happen." We forget and take for granted the power of God. His word is more solid then oak, and He can move in hearts of stone to bring His will to pass. No matter how unlikely the outcome looks, we need to remember that with God's will there is a way, and He is the way. God will bring all things to pass-maybe with a bonus from the neighbors.


Monday, January 6, 2014

"Food For Thought"

Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy-meditate on these things. Philippians 4:8

We all know that to be healthy physically we need to eat healthy. To eat a balanced diet with foods from all four food groups. Meat, dairy, fruits, and the all important vegetables. To be and to stay healthy spiritually we need to make healthy choices as well! We need good, plain healthy, 'food' for our thoughts. It matters what you spend your time thinking about! It will be reflected in your thoughts and actions. It will show on your face! Check out this excellent example.

And in the process of time it came to pass that Cain brought an offering of the fruit of the ground to the Lord. Abel also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of their fat. And the Lord respected Abel and his offering, but He did not respect Cain and his offering. And Cain was very angry, and his countenance fell. So the Lord said to Cain, "Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen?" Genesis 4:3-6 If what you spend your time thinking, meditating on is not true, is not noble, is not, just, pure, or of a good report, it will show on your face. Then it will show up in your actions. Not maintaining a healthy diet physically has some potentially  serious consequences. So does choosing not to think on whatever things are true, noble, just, pure, lovely, and of good report. Make a choice to dwell on anything that is praiseworthy!

Cain chose to dwell on his anger and resentment. He ended up killing his brother. Don't end up killing the "cool God stuff' in your life by dwelling on the junk of the world. Dwell on the "cool God stuff.' Meditate on His word for you. Think on HIM. Praise Him! It will be reflected in your life and the fruit you bear!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Talking to God

While I hope I'm not obsessed, I've got to say that I really enjoy cell phones. They make communication very easy. I can text or call someone, know that they've received the message, and they will reply in kind.

What if we could send text messages to God? What if we could pick up the phone and call Him? Would we all be closer to God? Would our relationship be deeper if we could hear His voice and see His answers?

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." John 1:1

"So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." Romans 10:17

It is so annoyingly simple. If we want to hear God, then we need to start with His word. We can hear God's voice and see His direction through reading our Bibles. While cell phones make communicating with friends and family much easier, they wouldn't make our relationship with God any easier. It would kind of be like taking the easy way out. We already have the ultimate ways of communication with God! Prayer and His Word! It doesn't get any more direct then that!

"He that is of God heareth God's words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God." John 8:47

 How awful that would be to hear! But it's the result of a lack of relationship with our Savior.

"How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! If I count them, they are more than the sand. I awake, and I am still with you." Psalm 139:17-18

"My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O Lord; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up." Psalm 5:3

This should be our relationship with God! First thing on our minds: God. Don't take the easy, lackluster path. Don't rely on devices and a fallen world's concept of communication. Seek His face, read His word, pray. He will talk back.

"My heart has heard you say, 'Come talk with me.' And my heart responds, 'Lord, I am coming.'" Psalm 27:8


Saturday, January 4, 2014

"Earnest Expectation"

"For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God." Romans 8:19 (NKJ)

In the KJ version the word 'manifestation' is used instead of the word, revealing. According to the Strong's Concordance the word means; disclosure and it comes from a root word that means; to take the cover off. All of those words and meanings together paint a picture or a scene in my mind of an unveiling.

All of creation is waiting for the day for the manifestation of the sons of God! Waiting for the revealing. Waiting for the cover to come off, for the disclosure of the sons of God. We know that The Son of God already came. We know that Jesus was the firstfruits. 1 Corinthians 15:23 First means something! First means more are to follow. To be first in line means that others come afterward. If more don't follow than you are not first, you are just it. First doesn't apply if others don't come after!

The first thing that we know Jesus did was to set the example for those to follow was to go to the Jordan and to be baptized. "And John tried to prevent Him saying, "I have need to be baptized by You, and are You coming to me?" But Jesus answered and said to him."Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness." Then he allowed Him. Then Jesus, when He had been baptized, came up immediately from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him. And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, "This is My Beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness... Matthew 3:14-17, 4:1

This scene revealed, disclosed, uncovered and manifested Jesus for all the world to see who He was, The Son of God.  So, what needs to happen for the 'manifestation' of the sons of God, that all creation is longing for? I believe that you and I need to come to the same place that Jesus did. We need to follow His example of total surrender to the Father. We do that through the Son and accepting the price that He paid. We also need to follow His example as a Son of God and submit to the leadings of the Spirit. Romans 8:14 ...For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.

Let Him reveal, manifest, uncover, and disclose you as a son or daughter. Surrender then follow where He leads. "And as you go, preach, saying, 'The kingdom of heaven is at hand.' Heal the sick, cleanse the leper, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give." In other words, be like Jesus, our example, and manifest the Kingdom here on earth. Be a son! After all, there is an expectation that you will!

Friday, January 3, 2014

Where Is Jesus?

"Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover. And when he was twelve years old, they went up according to custom. And when the feast was ended, as they were returning, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. His parents did not know it, but supposing him to be in the group they went a day's journey, but then they began to search for him among their relatives and acquaintances, and when they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem, searching for him. After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions." Luke 2:41-46

It is not good to assume your milk is still good because it is still in your refrigerator. It is not good to assume your dog is outside just because that's the last place you saw him. It is not good to assume that the chicken is cooked all the way through just because the oven beeped. It is not good to just assume that the oven is off.

Assume means to suppose to be the case, without proof.

One of the most dangerous things we can do, is suppose Jesus is there, and without even checking, go on with our business.

If we are all Christians, true God lovers, then it's a bad idea to assume everything is just peachy if we haven't heard from Jesus in awhile or spent any time with Him. While He will never leave us, we may have wandered far from Him. It's awful to suddenly realize you've strayed from Jesus' side without even trying. That's why it's important to look for Him everyday. Spend time with Him whenever you can, so that you always know where Jesus is in your life.


Thursday, January 2, 2014

"The Father's Words For You"

"And he said to him, 'Son, you are always with me, and all that I have is yours." Luke 15:31

There is a truth tied up in these words that Jesus spoke to the Pharisees and scribes as He told them the parable of the 'Prodigal Son.' They were murmuring about the way He allowed all the tax collectors and sinners to draw near to Him to hear Him teach. Luke 15:1-2  His response was to tell them this significant parable that ended with these words to the second son when his jealousy and resentment wouldn't allow him to be happy at the celebration for his brother's return.

I believe that this is a word that we as His people need to grab a hold of for this coming year! If we will catch hold of His message than we will walk and talk differently. We will walk and talk as though we truly understand that the inheritance is ours. Ours to walk out. Ours to use. Ours, to lay claim to with all the authority that comes with ownership.

The younger son had no problem understanding..."and the younger of them said to his father, 'Father, give to me the portion of goods that falls to me.' So he divided to them his livelihood. And not many days after, the younger son gathered all together, journeyed to a far country, and there wasted his possessions with prodigal living. Luke 15:12-13 It says that he went to his father and asked for his portion. He took it and left a few days later. He then proceeded to waste it away. After living for a while in that state it says that 'he came to himself' and decided to go back, that being a servant in his father's house would be a better place then the one he now found himself in. Luke:15:17-19

He knew that he had used his portion. He didn't expect to go back and have a claim to the same rights that he had had before as a son. He was going back with the idea of being a servant. It was the father, with a father's heart, and a father's love for his son that restored him back to his place as his son. But the father said to the servants, 'Bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet. And bring the fatted calf here and kill it, and let us eat and be merry; for this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.'

The older son comes home, finds a celebration in the works and gets angry, refusing to join the festivities. When the father goes out to talk to him, his response is to accuse his father ...So he answered and said to his father, 'Lo, these many years I have been serving you; I never transgressed your commandment at any time; and yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might make merry with my friends. But as soon as this son of yours came, who devoured your livelihood with harlots, you killed the fatted calf for him.

Next, comes his father's response and these words were no different than the words that he had spoken to the younger son. They were both responses that revealed his love and provision for them both as His sons. "And he said to him, 'Son, you are always with me, and all that I have is yours." Luke 15:31 The older son hadn't understood. The fatted calf was His all along. He had never laid claim to it.

Sometimes, I think that, as believers you and I are no different than the older son. We have miss the mark in terms of our understanding of our position as sons and daughters of the Most High God. It is also because of this lack of understanding that we miss opportunities to 'make merry with the returning prodigals' as well as the signs, wonders, and miracles that come with walking as a child of God. I think we sometimes forget that He said over and over again that the kingdom of heaven is at hand. The kingdom of heaven is available to us here and now. Jesus said, "It is the Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom." Luke 12:32

I know because I know because I know that the Father's word for you and I, here, now, today is this; "I am with you always, and all that I have is yours." Put on your robe of righteousness, your garments of praise, your signet rings and Kill the fatted calf.

Meditate on these words from your heavenly Father: 'I am with you always; All that I have is yours.' This father worked hard all his life to provide an inheritance for his sons. Your Heavenly Father is no different. He too sacrificed and made a way for you and I to be His sons and daughters. The least we can do is thank Him and honor Him by being just that; Sons and Daughters of The Most High God.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

A New Year of Devotion

"Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord's Christ. And he came in the Spirit into the temple, and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the Law, he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said, 'Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen you salvation that you have prepared in the presence of  all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel.'" Luke 2:25-32

"And there was a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years, having lived with her husband seven years from when she was a virgin, and then as a widow until she was eighty-four. She did not depart from the temple, worshiping with fasting and prayer night and day. And coming up at that very hour she began to give thanks to God and to speak of him to all who were waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem." Luke 2:36-38

Simeon and Anna were old people, who had devoted themselves to God a long time ago. One day, the Holy Spirit leads them to the temple, and Jesus, God's salvation, is there. They saw God's Son with their own eyes. They saw His promise.

They didn't get to see the Savior simply because they happened to be alive. God blessed their devotion. God blessed their faithfulness. God blessed their lives because they lived their lives for Him.

As we kick off the new year, I feel the urging to stress that we devote ourselves to God. That we live our lives for Him, and with Him. That our love for God would be increased. Let this be a new year of devotion for you. So that you can see all of God's incredible works with your own eyes.

"And he said to them, 'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all you soul and with all your mind.'" Matthew 22:37

Have a Happy New Year. May He bless you, and may we move closer to God's heart then we ever dreamed.