It is a season of REST

It is a season of REST

In a world where you see so much violence, in a land where the political realm is almost dangerous, this word keeps entering into my soul: REST.

There are many descriptions of rest but these best explain what is on my heart:

  1. peace of mind or spirit
  2. free from anxieties and disturbance
  3. to remain confident (trust)

How can we discover this rest?

“Come to me all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you REST.”  Matthew 11:28 (ESV)

“And he said, ‘My presence will go with you, and I will give you REST.” Exodus 33:14 (ESV)

“Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will REST in the shadow of the Almighty.” Psalm 91 (NIV)

It requires God’s presence.

  1. Come to the Lord
  2. Stay in his presence
  3. Dwell in him

It doesn’t matter what news you may hear, whether in the world, in the nation, or in your personal life, you can still rest and experience peace as you stay in his presence.

Yes, we do need to pray earnestly for our government, for those around us and even for ourselves. But ultimately the battle belongs to the Lord. In spite of what we might see, our confidence must rest in his faithfulness.

As believers we should always stay vigilant in prayer and reading the Word, because the enemy seeks to bring destruction. But in the midst of this: REST.

I was thinking about the season of King David. While he remained king it was a season of war and conquering. When his son, King Solomon reigned it was a season of peace.

I feel that this isn’t just a season that the Lord is giving to me personally, but it is a season that the Lord is granting anyone who desires it.

God has heard our prayers. Like he heard the cries of the children of Israel when they were slaves in Egypt, he will bring deliverance to us, as well. Though we see turmoil in this world, God is doing great miracles of deliverance in the realm of the spirit for each of us individually and in our nation.

Remember the story of Martha and Mary? Martha was busy doing what needed to be done, but Mary was sitting at Jesus’ feet. And what was Jesus’ reply when Martha began to grumble about her sister’s apparent laziness?

“Martha, Martha, you are getting worried and upset about too many things. Only one thing is important. Mary has made the right choice and it will never be taken away from her.” Luke 10:41-42

If you have been diligently praying about a situation, he has heard your prayers. Make the choice to sit in his presence, listen to his words and REST in his faithfulness.

It is a season of REST.

God bless.

 

 

Unstoppable

Unstoppable

All of us have been through those middle school years. For some the transition may have been smooth. Then there was the other half, whose transition came with many obstacles. Either way your life was changed. You entered as a little kid out of elementary school and left as a teenager ready to meet the high school years. Not only was your body going through transformation, but so was your mind and emotions.

If you are a parent of middle school children, or should I say tweens who end up as teenagers, it can be like a riding a carnival ride. You want to have fun, but you also realize that the ride was put together in only a couple days. It can be a little unstable and perhaps a little scary.

During one of those tumultuous rides I have had the privilege of experiencing, I was having a very serious talk with the Lord. I was asking for wisdom and felt the Lord gave me three areas that I could spend time praying over.

  1. Revelation of God’s love.
  2. Loving Oneself.
  3. Understanding the power of honoring (or respecting) one’s mother and father.

That sounded simple enough. But as I was thinking about those concepts, I needed to make sure they were stable in my life. First, I needed to adjust my oxygen mask, so to speak, then through prayer I could help adjust my middle schooler’s.

REVELATION OF GOD’S LOVE-

That is simple enough. We know the Sunday School song, “Jesus Loves Me”. We’ve read the bumper stickers, “Smile God Loves You” that is inclusive of a smiley face. I know how cliché these words can sound without the leading of the Holy Spirit. I have been told that God loves me since I was a child. But it took me a LONG time to get the revelation.

In my youth I worked hard for that love so I could have a pat on the back. And as an adult I resolved to have a godly home. But it wasn’t always the case and when I would make unwise choices for my life, I would beat myself up. If I let someone down, especially my heavenly Father, I would be angry at myself.

But if I REALLY had the revelation of God’s love, it wouldn’t have been such a strenuous walk. There was a time while I was beaten down emotionally and spiritually when the Lord spoke to my spirit to trust him. My reply: but I don’t trust myself! I knew that I was imperfect and would make mistakes.

Then I heard him say, “I never told you to trust yourself, I said to trust ME.” It is hard for those of us who want to have control to let go and allow the Lord to work in our lives and in those around us. But it is necessary to allow him to display his love towards us. So, I chose to take the step to trust God’s love.

It was that same love that David experienced. Though he had made unwise choices at times, his heart was humble, and he was devoted to the Lord. God said about him, “I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after my heart, who will do all my will.” (Acts 13:22)

It was because of the revelation of God’s love that John could write, “the disciple that Jesus loved” about himself in the Gospel of John. He understood the deep love that the Lord had for him. It allowed him to stand with his Lord at the cross. It allowed him to endure suffering, as well. It also allowed him the honor to receive the visions to write the book of Revelation.

LOVE YOURSELF-

When I say to love yourself, I do not mean it to be a self-centered statement. It means to take genuine care of oneself. It’s concept: “I am worthy.” It gives a person the ability to make wise choices for themselves whether it is mentally, physically or even spiritually. It gives the individual the power to put up boundaries and surround themselves with positive input.

It loves the body you are in. It even makes it easier to consume the proper food, view clean content and make wise friendships and life influences. Believe me, this concept will keep you from much heartache.

Once you can love yourself, it will be easier to love those around you.

HONOR YOUR MOTHER AND FATHER –

Well, that is a nice statement and a great Bible verse. As parents is easy to want to share this one with our kids. But as I was meditating on it, the reality of its power became more evident.

“Children obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and mother, which is the first commandment with a promise; so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.” Ephesians 6:1-3 (NIV)

If you think about it, respecting authority creates peace. Respect for our elders, teachers, bosses, police officers, judges and our highest office –presidency, begins with honoring our parents. Those you see fighting police officers, destroying property in the name of protest, making rude jesters and comments towards those in authority probably never learned to respect their own parents when they were young. (Of course, perhaps no one took the time to teach them.) Regardless, honor brings peace, peace brings blessings. Blessings create the ability to enjoy your life with longevity.

Be Unstoppable-

Though there are many views and suggestions to help raise our children, tweens and teens, these three concepts are some of the tools they will need to face the giants that will try to defeat them. This isn’t just for the young. It’s for all of us.

There is transforming power in God’s love. We can only love him because he first loved us. (1 John 4:19).

How can we share his love without the revelation of his love towards us? How we can love others if we do not first love ourselves.? How can we bring peace to our families and our societies if we do not first show them respect?

I pray that the youth today experience a God-encounter inclusive of the powerful revelation of HIS eternal love for them. I pray that they will take that revelation to their peers. I am believing and praying that the Holy Spirit will transform our children, tweens, teens, their parents and grandparents so that our land can rise up with the knowledge of God’s love.

Then we will be unstoppable and can spread his Gospel .

God bless

Acceptance

Acceptance

You may not be old enough to remember, Cheers, the TV sitcom of the 80s. But perhaps you are familiar with the theme song, “Where Everybody Knows Your Name.” The stanza goes as follows:

“Sometimes you want to go
Where everybody knows your name,
And they’re always glad you came;
You want to be where you can see
Our troubles are all the same:
You want to be where everybody knows your name.”

In other words, you want to be accepted, just as you are. Acceptance plays a huge role in the lives of every individual. It is the exact opposite of being bullied and rejected. I believe that people bully so that they can force their acceptance upon others. Most likely they have been rejected themselves. They parade that rejection by rejecting others in hopes that they will get followers that will admire their display of power.

Wanting to be accepted, as well, the weak minded do follow this perverse display of power. You’ve seen it with global leaders. Who would willingly follow Hitler or Stalin or any other destructive personality? You would think it would be obvious to walk away from that vulgarity, but the desire of acceptance is overwhelming.

You can witness this as the display seems to evolve from the playground into the lives of world leaders today. You hear of the news of horror stories of children committing suicide because they were bullied, and not accepted. And others kill those around them in anguish of rejection.

The pressures of acceptance is so intense that individuals will go against their conscience so that they will be accepted by those around them. In fact, I am sure that the crowds that have been displayed on our streets are filled with people who have no idea why they are joined together to protest, except that their peers are doing it. It is the thing to do, if you want to be part of the “in group”. I’ve listened to street interviews asking what their opinion is regarding a movement and the individuals interviewed are clueless. They are just following the crowd. These are not the first days this has happened.

Think about the holy movement taking place when Jesus walked the earth. Crowds heard about this man that did miracles and they smothered him. But just as quickly when a few strong voices screamed to crucify him, individuals joined in on the band wagon and began repeating the same words. Those who didn’t were silent or scurried away.

It was the same with Paul. There was a huge riot when he and some of those witnessing with him, visited Ephesus. The people were angry but there was a confusion.

“Some people shouted one thing while others shouted something else. The crowd was confused. Most of the people didn’t even know why they had come together.” Acts 19:32 (GWT)

“Everybody’s doing it. I want to be part of the larger voice,” they may have thought, as many are doing in this hour. “I want to fill the longing of acceptance that rages in my heart.”

I recently listened to a testimony of a person that temporarily left the church because of being hurt and rejected by those she trusted. She explains that the rejection and hurt in her heart was so overwhelming that she began to look elsewhere. She found acceptance in the LGBTQ community. She explained that, that particular community of people is so welcoming of any person that is seeking acceptance. It is extremely easy to feel like you belong. From there she got involved in street gangs. You can read her story in her book, “Behind Enemy Lines” by Nicole Collins. Or watch her testimony on Main Street @ https://youtu.be/RfMV-e5g10g

It is very easy to compromise your beliefs or morals because of the power of rejection and craving of acceptance. I believe that is a main reason that people today are rushing towards that lifestyle. It is growing with rapid speed as it is a community which embraces anyone as long as you embrace their lifestyle.

Please accept me, please do not reject who I am. I need to be heard and acknowledged.”

As much as that is true. The lifestyle is a fraud to the “real” power of acceptance. In the end of that trail is an image of you standing alone, rejecting the one who loves you the most.

I have good news. The Lord promises he will accept you when those around you forsake you and disappoint you. There are churches and/or church goers who have lost the drive to tell the lost that there is hope. It is the purpose of the Gospel. The real Church is not a community club. It’s people who have been redeemed by the blood of the lamb and who desire to share that hope with others so they too can be set free.

Unfortunately, many in the church are not followers of Christ, so the purpose is tarnished.

But the Lord DOES accept you and will not leave you even if others do. Thus the Bible verses:

“But God demonstrated his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8 (NIV)

“Though my father and mother forsake me, the LORD WILL RECEIVE ME.” Psalm 27:10

The Lord again promises in Hebrews that he will NEVER LEAVE YOU OR ABANDON YOU.

At the end of every single one of Billy Grahams messages the song that would play was: “JUST AS I AM”.

“Just as I am, without one plea
But that Thy blood was shed for me
And that Thou bid’st me come to Thee
O Lamb of God, I come! I come.

He takes us just as we are. He accepts us! He doesn’t leave us as we are though. He takes us from glory to glory as we spend time in his presence, as we seek him. The Word states that if we seek him with all of our hearts he WILL be found. (Jeremiah 29:13) It isn’t that he is lost, we are, or were. It is just that we didn’t see him until we looked for him.

We are HIS.
I am HIS.
You are HIS – if you ask to be, if you want to be.

We are accepted into the family of God. People will let you down. None of us are perfect. But he is! That is when we need to forgive, as he has forgiven us. Forgiveness sets us free. And when you mess up, run to him quickly. He doesn’t turn his arms away from a broken heart. NEVER.

HE has already accepted you. Run home to HIM today.

If you do, one day you will be in a place where everyone knows your name, and everyone will be glad you came. It won’t be in a bar where there is brokenness and a life of troubles. It will be in a place called Heaven, in the very presence of the Lord.

Your name can be written in the Book of Life today.

 

Alive!

Alive!

Fear, doubt and unbelief seemed to grip the room. No one said a word. I could hear the sound of the others in the room but the darkness hid their faces. Were they filled with the same thoughts that invaded my mind?

Thump, thump, thump. I held my hand up to my chest to try to calm the racing of my heart. What if, what if this was all there was? What if we were all going to be killed for what we held as truth? What would be the purpose of it all? What would be the purpose of healing the sick, raising the dead, teaching hope for eternity if it all ended with the death of our teacher and our friend?

He had brought such hope. Did it just end? Was it over?

We cannot even imagine the long drawn out hours from the time of Jesus’ death until the day of his resurrection. We do not know the lies and thoughts that may have penetrated the minds of the disciples and followers the hours that followed his death. They may have seemed so bleak and hopeless.

The three years prior had been glorious. Miracles took place daily. New hope had risen throughout the nation. Jesus spoke with such wisdom that hadn’t been heard of for hundreds of years. He heard from God! He taught, encouraged and healed all that wanted it. Even the religious and government leaders were stunned by his wisdom.

Not too long prior to his death, Jesus was riding on a donkey through Jerusalem with what appeared to be victory. Things couldn’t have been better. People adored him!

“The crowd that went ahead of him and that were following him were shouting,
“‘Hosanna to the Son of David!
Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!
Hosanna in the highest heaven!” Matthew 21:9 (GWT)

People were waving palm branches and laying out their coats for him. All was glorious. Then one night, it seemed to take a turn for the worse. Yet Jesus had warned them of this moment.

But he also said he would rise from the dead.

Now I ask you,

What have you been going through that seems dark, that seems hopeless, that seems desperate? It may seem like all is lost. What was the purpose of following your Lord? There was a time when all may have seemed glorious and you were on top of your game. But then an unforeseen moment came knocking on your door and suddenly your circumstances appeared dark, and your hopes felt like they died and your dreams seemed to be unreachable.

It may seem like God is s…l…o..o..o…w about his promises and you might really feel like you are walking through molasses as you wait for his response. Yet the word paints a different picture.

“The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9 (NIV)

He hears the cries of your heart.

Remember:

ON THE THIRD DAY……

HE ROSE FROM THE DEAD!!!!!

Your days may seem dark. Your dreams may seem bleak.

But DO NOT give up.

THE SAME SPIRIT THAT RAISED CHRIST FROM THE DEAD LIVES IN YOU!!! (Romans 8:11)

Do you even understand how powerful that statement is?

The disciples and other followers of Christ may have not understood right away what was actually taking place. But their dreams had not died. Jesus had to die on this earth  in order to take the sins of mankind into the pit of hell where he left them. He did it to steal the keys of death from our enemy of darkness. AND HE DID IT WITH VICTORY.

If we could grasp that the trials we face are temporary and that there really is victory in Christ, we could see with eyes of understanding.

Like Jesus, I say to the darkness that would try to choke me, to the fear that thinks it can befriend me or to the lies that attempt to take space in my mind, “Get behind me satan. You are a stumbling-block to me. (Matthew 16:23)

Remember: JESUS DID NOT STAY IN THAT GRAVE!

So be of good courage followers of Christ. Speak life over your situation and hope into your soul.  And share this hope with those who have not tasted his goodness.

Your hope is not dead. HE IS ALIVE!

Happy Resurrection Sunday!

God Bless.

 

 

Why Is It Wrong?

Why Is It Wrong?

 

Why is it wrong to love the nation we live in
To believe in righteousness and not in sin

Why is it wrong to honor our flag that flies
Or the men and women who gave up their lives

Why is it wrong to respect the highest seat
Whose backbone is strong and won’t retreat

Why is it wrong to fight for a child’s life
And why does that cause such anger and strife

Or that its a man and a woman who become one
Or that you are born either a daughter or a son

These are basic beliefs many stood on so long
But now they’ve been challenged as bias and wrong

Because I believe different than you may hold true
Does not mean I have phobias or that I hate you

Those beliefs in my heart will still stand strong
I still have the right to speak, or am I wrong?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Spirit of God is Hovering Over the Earth Today.

The Spirit of God is Hovering Over the Earth Today.

The Spirit of God is powerful and creative and alive!

He is hovering over the face of the earth, TODAY, as he was in the beginning.

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.” Genesis 1:1-2 (NIV)

The Spirit of God was hovering. The earth was formless. It was empty. There was only darkness. But the Spirit of God hovered. He brooded, like a bird that sits on its nest waiting for its young to be born.

As the children of Israel traveled in the desert from the land of Egypt to the promise land, they followed a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. They were following the Spirit of God. 

“As they moved each day the cloud of the Lord hovered over them.” Numbers 10:34 (NLV)

He brooded over them. He hovered over them.

Though there is more evidence of the Spirit of God throughout the Old Testament, let’s fast forward to the New Testament.

In the book of Luke we see that Mary is visited by the angel Michael. He says to her, ” The Holy Spirit (the Spirit of God) will come on you and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.” (Luke 1)

He brooded, he hovered, he overshadowed. He created. And Christ was born.

When Nicodemus asked Jesus how one can be born again, Jesus replied,  “You must be born of the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to the Spirit.” John 3:6

The Spirit of God again creates. He creates a new life in those who ask. It isn’t just a cleaned up life. It is altogether new.

“Anyone who is joined with Christ is a new being; the old is gone, the new has come.” 2 Corinthians 5:17 (GNT)

When Jesus was baptized the heavens opened and the Spirit of God came down in the form of a dove and RESTED on Jesus. A voice was heard from the heavens. “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.” ( John 1)

The Spirit of God hovered, he brooded, he rested – to give birth to life, to give power to the powerless.

In the book of Acts we see the promised Holy Sprit, that Jesus foretold the disciples. He came like a mighty wind to give them power to preach the Gospel.

“Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to REST on each of them.” Acts 2:2-3 (NIV)

Remember the pillar of fire that led the people out of Egypt? I found that interesting that there was a fire that came down from heaven and separated into tongues of fire. Same Spirit. Of course, John the Baptist did explain that Jesus would come and baptize us with the Holy Spirit and with fire. (Matthew 3:11)

Again the Spirit of God hovered, brooded, rested and new life began.

The Bible states that The SAME Spirit that raised Christ from the dead. LIVES in US. Think about that for a moment. The Spirit of God, that created this world, that led the children of Israel while in the desert, that created the Son of the living God in the flesh, that rested on Jesus as he was baptized, that makes us into a new creation, that was revealed to the disciples to give them power to spread the Gospel, and raised Christ from the dead…

…LIVES IN US! That is pretty amazing and powerful!

As I was praying one day, I saw a vapor, a midst, or a cloud resting on the earth. I now realize that it is the Spirit of the Lord. He is hovering, brooding and resting  on the earth. He is wooing those who will come to Jesus. He is pouring himself out with power to those who are desiring him. He is so powerful, so strong, so intense, so full of creativity, so full of life, that if you don’t watch out, you WILL get caught up in his glory.

I promise you!

If someone is praying, those answers are coming. Do not grow weary. If someone is praying for your salvation. You will get saved.

“In the last days, God says, “I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams.” Acts 2:17 (NIV)

The Spirit of God is hovering, like in the beginning of time. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. He does not change. He is brooding. He is waiting to created new life in you. He wants to give you power to live victorious and to spread the Gospel of life to others.

Get ready and expect his glory.

God Bless.

When Life Trips You Up

When Life Trips You Up

I woke up to a few words that the Lord put on my mind. Well, they are paraphrased because quite frankly I admit that I did not write them down right away. I figured I would remember them. You know how that goes.

(Note to self: Always write down your dreams and/or words from the Lord, ASAP.)

The essence of the words were: “Let go of the things that trip you up. The days are growing evil. You have to remain alert to hear my words.”

The verse that came to my mind is Hebrews 12:1.

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set for us.” (NLT)

My first thought: “Seriously, the days are GROWING evil? I cannot imagine them getting worse.”

Then I thought about the things that trip me up and ensnare me, things that bring me down with heaviness.

WEIGHT THAT CAN SLOW US DOWN

Personally, I tend to want to take on all the cares and stress factors that involve my family, my future (their future) the heartaches of the world, the brokenness, the loss, the violence and the lies the world spews. Basically, I have a hard time just letting the cares disappear. I think part of that though, is the compassion of Christ. I pray or intercede often for people and circumstances. That could weigh me down, IF I do not give them to the Lord and leave the tears at the cross.

Also, my mind tends to want to relive past moments where I made an incorrect choice. IF I would let that play over and over in my mind it would drive me mad. But I have to take every thought captive and put it under the blood of Christ and remember that none of us are perfect. In fact, it is our very mistakes that create a testimony of the Lord’s faithfulness and grace. God somehow uses those very things to draw us closer to him.

What kind of things weigh YOU down? Is it fear, anxiety, anger, unforgiveness, frustration, hopelessness, despair? We have all gone down these roads. BUT remember these are just things that the enemy would love to put on us so that we CANNOT walk in triumph; so that we CANNOT walk in victory.

They slow us down.

“But those who trust in the Lord for help will find their strength renewed. They will rise on wings like eagles; they will run and not get weary; they will walk and not grow weak.” Isaiah 40:31 (GNT)

The answer to the things that slow us down is to wait quietly on the Lord and trust him. Let him renew us. How? By getting to know him through the Word of the Lord and prayer and hanging out with those that know him. We have to cast our cares on him because it is not the Lord that is giving us these thoughts of despair. We need to take authority of our thoughts and verbally put them under the blood of Christ so that we can have peace.

Basically think on things that are true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and worthy of praise. (Phil.4:8) How important it is to have our mind and heart in the right place and practice them. That is how we will discover peace. (Phil 4:9)

There are simple “good” things that slow us down, as well.

Too much entertainment can become distracting, so that our minds are filled with other things constantly. That includes sports, TV, gaming, movies, books etc…Don’t get me wrong, these things are okay, BUT if our lives are not balanced they can take up too much time. Maybe you are a workaholic, or fill your time with so much ministry or volunteering that you don’t have time with Jesus. Maybe it is gluttony. That is a big one for the people in America. It’s just easy and the church doesn’t necessarily consider it bad. But it can bring on health issues that can distract you from your calling. And the list continues…

PLEASE UNDERSTAND: There are occasions that life consumes us with family issues or even emergencies. BUT take a few moments a day to seek the Lord, even in your car.

Think about it, what is weighing YOU down so that you are slowing down in the faith?

THE SIN THAT SO EASILY TRIPS US UP

We are not perfect. Each of us have weak areas that are not totally surrendered in our lives. It is these areas where the enemy will try desperately to get into our lives and wreak havoc. Do you tend to lose your temper or hold onto anger? Do you hold grudges and don’t easily forgive? Do you gossip. complain, are given to substance abuse? Are you easily tripped up by sexual immorality or are you lazy or even complacent?  Yes, even complacency will trip you up because the Lord said that he would rather that you were hot or cold. (Revelation 3:16). Perhaps it’s dabbling in dark magic or lying constantly or lusting things or stealing. Again, the list can go on and on.

We all have to deal with the things (or sins) that easily trip us up and become even MORE cautious in those areas of our lives. That sin will knock at your door, so to speak.  Ephesians 4:27 says “do not give the devil a foothold”.

“Be ALERT and of sober mind. Your enemy, the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5:8 (NIV)

Whatever it is that may cause you to stumble, put a stop sign up to the enemy of darkness. And by all means DO NOT hang out with those that dabble in those areas. Be wise who you choose as friends.

“Do not be misled. “Bad company corrupts good character.” 1 Corinthians 15:33 (NIV)

The Lord reminds us to be sober and vigilant. We need to make time to listen if we want to hear the voice of the Lord. And how much more important it is as the days are growing evil and confusion is consuming the land.

These words were definitely for me. But I know that they are for someone else today, as well.

Finally, I pray that each of us can run the race with endurance so that we can be found faithful when we meet our Lord, and so that we have the energy and wisdom to encourage those around us.

God bless.