IT IS EITHER BLACK OR WHITE

Do you feel the days are growing darker spiritually? To some there seems to be a line in the sand that is evident. This line is dividing the darkness from the light. It is becoming increasingly apparent. You are either on one side of the fence or the other.

Others feel that those who are standing for Biblical righteousness are the ones making this divide. If only people would love or be more tolerant. And so instead of a division between the dark and the light, they see the division between those who love and those who judge.

I know God is the embodiment of love. 1 Corinthians 13, states that faith, hope, and love remain, but the greatest is love. It also states that if you don’t have love, you are just a clanging cymbal or in some translations a loud gong.

You see the “clanging cymbal” version of Christianity when people throw words of condemnation towards other people in a condescending nature such as toting signs that read: YOU ARE GOING TO HELL. Unfortunately, that is how some people envision Christianity and why many walk the other way. They believe it is full of judgement.

Then there is the other side of the Christian coin that states since God is love we need to accept all lifestyles. We need to embrace our differences and become tolerant.

This is where there is a bit of a gray confusion in the body of Christ. What does God mean by love?

Do we just accept everything, or do we need to interpret the Bible literally? How is a believer to act in these times of change in our society? Are we to make a stand? Or are we simply called to love and accept everything?

What is love anyway?

I love my kids, but I also set boundaries because of that love. I tell them there are rules because I love them. I never allowed my kids to play in the middle of a busy street. Why? Because I KNEW that there was a great possibility that they may get hurt or killed. Seems like common sense, right? But when it comes to boundaries with the Lord, we make so many exceptions.

God sets boundaries, not because he isn’t the God of love but because he IS. He knows that certain lifestyles will lead to death. He knows that certain choices will lead to death. Does he give us our own will? Again, yes. But he longs for us to stay in his boundaries so we can encounter victory.

In John 8 Jesus encounters the woman caught in adultery. He doesn’t condemn her, but he also says, “go and sin no more.” He didn’t accept her lifestyle, he accepted HER.

He was setting boundaries for her benefit.

Jesus would not have endured such a great sacrifice of being tortured, going to the cross, going into the depths of hell to take the keys of sin and death to only say…hey, stay in your sin and don’t worry about the consequences. He did all that BECAUSE he DOES love us.

So, we shouldn’t be a loud gong or cymbal and scream insults. We ARE to walk in love, but a love that shows the truth that sin causes. If only we could see into the spiritual realm to understand the powers that fight for our souls.

The spiritual world is filled with the demonic and the angelic. What we see isn’t all that there is in this life. You don’t just hear this from believers, it is heard from people involved in witchcraft or the occult, as well. There is power in the supernatural, both for good and for evil. Scriptures states that the same POWER that raised Christ from the dead lives in us (those who have accepted him as their Lord and Savior –Romans 8:11)

Wow, that is intense! But most people don’t even touch that part of reality. They are too focused on the reality that is visible, the reality that allows them to enjoy the pleasures of this world.

Yet in II Timothy 3, Paul states in verse 5 that people will have a form of godliness but deny its power. In other words, people would prefer to just be neutral. They may go to church but they don’t live like there is any power in the Holy Spirit. They refuse to even make a stand for righteousness.

If you only live by what you see in the natural, you may not understand the depth of what Jesus did on the cross, or the importance of making wise choices or understand people who stand up for the truth of the word of God.

Go IS love, however he neither flirts with sin nor wants us to walk down that path—BECAUSE of his love.

My prospective?

The days are getting darker, and evil is getting louder. And the divide between right and wrong seems to be getting wider. I do not want to throw out words of hate and condemnation as a clanging cymbal, nor do I believe we should sit quietly by and tolerate sin. God never did.

People’s eternities are in the balance. We need to pray for direction to lead them to truth and hope.

God is full of mercy and grace, yet his love and the sin of death will never be able to live together in perfect harmony.

Where there is darkness, the light becomes so much brighter. The best place for God’s glory to fall is in that darkness, like a seed that is planted in dark soil. It will grow into a strong healthy tree of life.

The days may seem like they are darker.

But: HERE COMES THE SON!

 

Evil is not winning

I haven’t written in some time. So much seems to be twirling around in my life and so I put writing on the back burner.

But there is also so much craziness in the world and we need to encourage one another. There seems to be either a sense of hopelessness or anger or people are just ignoring the situation that is arising in our midst. Regardless there is a battle in the heavens. And the enemy appears to have become louder and more assertive. Like Goliath who taunted all of Israel, the evil voices today mock those who stand in their path.

But like David, we need to believe in something greater. I mean REALLY believe. We need FAITH.

Hebrews 11:1 (KJV) states, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”  

Think of it like this: Having faith is like having a ball of energy in your hands. That ball is like “the substance of faith.” It is alive and ready to be activated. You look at that ball and inside are your hopes, whatever they may be. You don’t see the answer to your needs in the physical realm. But hope is alive in the realm of faith. You just need to activate it by completely surrendering and putting your confidence in your Lord. It’s like throwing that ball of faith into your situation no matter what you might see with your eyes. Unfortunately, many hold onto faith that never gets activated.

Again become like David, who trusted God when Goliath mocked all of Israel and the God they served. What he and others saw seemed impossible. Those around him looked at the size of the man before them who appeared as a giant and who had never lost a battle. Goliath begged to fight someone in their camp who was brave enough or perhaps foolish enough, to challenge him. David’s confidence did not waver. Instead, his trust in the Lord was so adamant that it knocked down that giant of a man. David put action to his faith. He faced the giant who was mocking him and knocked him down with a few stones. Then he used the giant’s own sword to chop off his head.

We NEED to put our trust, our faith, and our confidence into action. We, each of us, need to believe without always having to see our miracle in the physical world first. Believe in the unseen. Believe that God is fighting on our behalf. Believe that he hears our prayers. Though others cower in fear we need to walk in confidence as David did.

In John 20:29, Jesus replied, “Do you believe because you see me? Happy are those who don’t see and yet believe.” (CEB)

And that is what I am doing now. I am joining other believers in the land that are believing without necessarily seeing what they believe. We are believing that America will be saved and putting action to our faith by our words, by prayer, but taking a stand, by doing what God has called each of us, individually, to do by faith.

Amid all this: God is Faithful. He always has been throughout the ages, and he continues to be. He can supply our need, whether it is for gas money or food or whatever we are facing. None of this is new to him.

Personally, he has met so many of my needs even when I may have made foolish choices or when calamities knocked on my door. There has been time after time when I wondered how I got through situations that appeared bigger than me.

God is faithful. Wasn’t he faithful to meet the needs of those in the Bible who saw such calamity? Didn’t he feed the widow who was the middle of a famine? Her jars filled daily so she could make bread daily. (I Kings 17). God made sure there was food during the many years of famine in Egypt and the whole region by giving Joseph wisdom to store food for the days ahead. His action of faith saved many people. (Genesis 37-50). What about those who walked in the wilderness for 40 years? They had all their needs provided.

He is the same God today.

He is faithful to hear our prayers and meet the brokenness of our hearts. He is faithful to hide us under the shelter of his wings as found in PS 91. All of PS 91 is great. But listen to these words.

“He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection.” PS 91:4 (NLT)

We do not need to live in fear of tomorrow. We do not live in fear because God is not a god of fear but of love. He IS love.

His eyes are on those he loves.

“For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.” 1 Peter 3:12 (ESV)

Lately I have been feeling like the gentle eyes of the Lord are on me. That may seem like a weird image to some. But it is like I see these gentle eyes on the world. He has the world in the palm of his hands, and he is watching those he loves.

You may see more evil screaming. It may even vex your soul. But evil is NOT winning. It is just being loud. We are not to shrink back in these days or compromise truth. We are to listen intently so we can follow the Lord’s lead. And then walk in peace, boldness, and confidence in our Lord who loves us unconditionally.

Become a David today.

God Bless.

Destruction of War vs the Glory of God

Quiet cackling was heard in the darkness. Whispering followed, but it was not said in words that could be understood. If any person had been able to hear or perceive the voices uttered in the darkness, a chill may have gone down their spine, even though the words were unclear.

From that darkness Abaddon, the demon of destruction, had been able to breathe into a certain man’s thoughts. The man had often opened his mind to possibilities that intrigued them. And since he was pondering those thoughts more often, they knew eventually their thoughts would become his, as he claimed their sinister plans, as his own.

The demon knew that thoughts of power and dominion filled the man’s mind until he felt he was mad. He was often troubled by these notions and had become weary of trying to keep them at bay, without voicing them aloud. He tried to present somewhat of a smile whenever he was around other dignitaries, yet the voices continued to echo in his mind. He would have to wait…wait for an opportunity to arise so he could continue with his plans.

There were other nations, other leaders, who had had the same thoughts twirling in their minds. This individual, who was consumed with intense, brutal power, hoped that perhaps these other nation would join him to strengthen their forces. And then…then he would deceive even them, and reign supreme.

Lately he noticed that the strength of the once great nation of the “free world” was waning. If this continued, it would not be long before he could show his own power and react to those voices, those thoughts and then he could present his true colors with force. But now, he must wait.

The cackling and screeching grew louder as other minions and spirits around Abaddon joined him in his disturbing strategy. They laughed and gloated, rubbing their hands together, satisfied with what was about to transpire. Not since World War II had they been called to join the ranks of such destruction, but their moment was quickly approaching.

It had been such a delight to stand by past leaders as they encouraged destruction upon many nations. But this would be far superior. Abaddon knew or thought he knew “the time” that awaited him was soon to be his, so he could reign with destructive power. He had tried this before, but it was stopped because of unity of the nations, because of prayer of the saints. But these days were going to be different.

People from the “free world” had grown weak, powerless, and apathetic, as had many nations. Most had stopped caring. Long ago they traded love for lust, caring for power and common sense for control. Their own power-hungry agendas had plagued their hearts and minds. It had become easy to conquer from within. These nations had already been overcome with delusion and fear.

Fear swept the entire world through sickness, plagues, and death. Now fear would rule with war, power, and destruction!

Besides, those who did care were no longer in power amongst the nations. The people of the world had become blinded by their own desires and fear and would be caught off guard. And even if they did decide to unite, it would be too late because no one was listening.

And the saints, if there were many left, were more concerned with their own wellbeing to even notice what was happening. Most no longer listened to the Holy Spirit, took time to pray or even read the Bible. They had become consumed by things, riches, and fame. Those who could be called saints had filled their churches with compromise and judgement. They, too, would be caught off guard.

Abaddon gathered his legion together and announced how he had control of the violent leader. Now he would reign with power and use him until he was destroyed. Not only did he have control of this man, but there were other leaders and countries that had been influenced with the same agenda, and demons had already been assigned to their post, opened to their command. Together they would unite. Together they would destroy the “free world.” Finally, they would be able to spill out their hatred for mankind, in the fashion they had been lusting for.

It had already begun. War was already spilling blood. Destruction was in power.

But…..but…but…

The earth started to shake.

“What is going on?” Abaddon declared in rage. A small imp pulled on his arm, as a frightened child might do to his overbearing parent.

“WHAAAT?” screamed the angry demon.

“We may have a problem,” said the timid imp.

“Go on…” Abaddon seemed annoyed.

“It seems we may have miscalculated the situation,” the imp cowardly wimpered.

“What do you mean….miscalculated?”

“It seems, that there are some praying warriors that walk in authority and power that we may have not anticipated.”

An incredible deep throated growl came up from the belly of Abaddon.

“NOOOOO” he screamed. “NOT AGAIN!”

The demons beside him fell from the torturous anger that was growing in the atmosphere.

The earth shook again, this time with far more power.

The demons looked around with fearful anticipation. They observed a huge wave of water coming towards them. But it wasn’t water like the water that fills the earth. It glimmered with such magnificent and brilliant light that the demons were blinded and confused. The depth of this wave became so heavy that they could not move, and the smell was so sweet that they began to regurgitate.

The water was alive!

The demons screamed one more time as they finally realized: It was God’s Glory!!

Accompanying HIS GLORY was a legion of mighty warring angels, so many that the wave of God’s glory and the angels blended as one.

And His Glory was filling the earth and those warring, praying saints were rejoicing. Their voices reverberated with so much praise that the chambers of hell shook.

The demons screamed as they tried to escape. They were being trampled underfoot by hope, faith, love, and mercy.

The earth shook another time.

And this time the wave of HIS GLORY covered the earth. Anything and everyone in its path were being washed.

Abaddon realized, in anguish, that he had gotten it wrong, AGAIN. His time had not yet come. He growled in defeat as he watched the Glory of God fill the earth. He began screaming in agony as many whom he thought he had in his grip, were affected by that Glory. Others ran in fear, as he and his demons had.

For now, he would have to wait.

***********************************************************************************

I have no doubt that our prayers change the atmosphere and create miracles.

“He replied, “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree. ‘Be unrooted and planted in the sea,’ and it will obey you.” Luke 17:6 (NIV)

“For the Lord will rebuild Zion and appear in his glory. He will respond to the prayer of the destitute; he will not despise their plea.” Psalm 102:16 -17 (NIV)

There are so many more scriptures on prayer. What I want to express is this: the enemy THINKS he has control. But it is God who is in control!!! Pray without ceasing. Do not grow weary. Believe in his goodness. He HAS already overcome the world and WILL answer our prayers.

Be of good cheer. Pray and believe and watch. For God is good. Amen

God Bless

When Circumstances Don’t = JOY

JOY unspeakable?

What does that mean? To some of us, and to those who are going through traumatic circumstances it can seem unattainable at times.

How can a person find joy in an age where the world is collapsing around us? How can a person find joy if they are in war torn surroundings (like we are witnessing today), or maybe in a free country but your finances have been depleted, your health is compromised, or your loved ones have perished? Where is the joy in that hour?

Joy is not the same as happiness. Happiness is temporary. It is a fleeting moment of something special. Perhaps it is your wedding day, a new home, a vacation, winning the lottery, or whatever it is that brings your personal happiness.

But what happens when there are real life struggles? What happens when life is not going according to your plans? What happens to happiness when there is a catastrophe or maybe something more subtle like weariness, hopelessness or depression that knock on your door? Where is happiness then?

Many times, accompanying an article about famous people facing a divorce, is a picture of them together, with the caption stating, “in happier times”. That is just it. It was HAPPY times. Things were going ok. But then something began to crumble under their feet and now they are splitting up because they are no longer HAPPY with each other. It was a temporary thing.

But joy is different. It is a strength that cannot be dissolved by circumstances. That is why the Word states in Nehemiah 8:10b: “Do not sorrow, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” The people were sadden when they realized how much they had fallen from the Lord and rebelled.  But they were told to no longer mourn for their strength would come from their joy in the Lord.

Joy in the Lord brings strength to your soul in the midst of otherwise circumstantial defeat. It is a substance that cannot be moved. It is a foundation that is permanent.

Remember the parable about the house that was built on the rock vs the house that was built on the sand (Matthew 7:24-27)? The wise man built his house on a rock (a good foundation) and when the storms came his house stood strong. But the foolish person did not listen and built his house on the sand. When the storms came, his house fell.

If the parable applies to having Jesus as our rock and we are building our life on him, when the storms come, we will be able to stand, unlike the person who built their house on the sand. Their foundation had no substance. Notice both houses had to endure a storm. We will all go through storms. But building your hopes and dreams around what this world has to offer or people that may disappoint you, will cause you to fall into complete chaos when a crisis hits.

Just as Jesus is the rock (or foundation) of our salvation, he is also the rock and foundation of our joy. Our strength comes from him. Our joy is complete in him!

John 15 speaks about abiding in Jesus and his love and obeying our Heavenly Father, just as he did. Jesus continues, “I have told you this so that my JOY may be in you and that your JOY may be complete.” (John 15:11 NIV)

Our joy becomes complete only through Jesus. How does his joy become our strength? It comes out of our relationship with our Lord even through trials.

The joy of the Lord becomes our strength once we begin our journey with him, as we abide in him, as we become passionate about him more than anything else, as we completely trust in him whether there is a storm or not. It is part of who he is. And he lives in us!

It comes from our relationship with Christ!

The joy of the Lord is not an emotion that we have to muster up. It is WHO WE ARE. We become full of joy because the Holy Spirit lives in us. Our hearts become his habitation as we spend time with him, in prayer, in worship, in life, regardless of what is happening around us.

In HIS presence there is joy.

Psalm 16:11” You make the path of life known to me. COMPLETE JOY IS IN YOUR PRESENCE. Pleasures are by your side forever.” (GWT)

His joy empowers us. It even empowered Jesus at the cross.

“We must focus on Jesus, the source and goal of our faith. He saw the JOY ahead of him, so he endured the death of the cross and ignored the disgrace it brought him.” Hebrews 12:2a (GWT)

That is why “the things of this world can grow so strangely dim,” as the old hymn states.  He is our strength when we completely trust in him. That trust is not just in who he is, but who he is IN US and who we are IN HIM.

Whether you are walking in good times or fiery trials, as we get to know the creator of the universe, an unexplainable joy bubbles up from within.

In summary:

Jesus IS JOY to those of us who believe. JOY cannot be moved by circumstances because it has become part of who we are when we became sons and daughters of God the Father.  We cannot muster it up. It is a gift, as is salvation. That strength of his joy is found in his presence, regardless of any situation.

I pray that this becomes such a revelation to you. I pray the JOY of THE LORD consumes you in these hours we are facing. I pray that it doesn’t just consume you but that it flows over to those who have either forgotten who lives in them, as believers, or for those who have not yet tasted of the goodness of the Lord.

Be at peace in this hour.

(And I lift those up in Ukraine and other nations that are facing despair during these hours, whether war, weather or oppression. May God grant grace and mercy.)

God Bless.

Red Sea Impossibilities

As I entered the doors of the local hospital emergency room, once again, several different thoughts came to my mind. This hospital, the corridors, the ritual of checking in, the nurses and even the food, had become familiar for many reasons.

It was just a little over a year ago that I had taken my father to the ER, accompanied by my mother. He had battled heart issues for years and this time his implanted defibrillator went off with such strength it rocked him to the core. Since he had tested positive for that irritating pandemic, COVID, he stayed in the hospital. During those days, his defibrillator went off so many times he simply wanted to quit. But he fought hard so he could come home to his family that awaited his return.

After COVID he battled pneumonia and won! Though he did come home for a time he returned to the hospital because he became infected with MRSA (an infection that is caused by a type of staph bacteria). The infection demanded intense antibiotics which caused kidney failure. Eventually, during the cool of the season, with the trees turning multi-colors (his favorite season) he came home to hospice care.

It would only be a few months later that we would stand by his bed as he entered eternity.

Almost a year to the day that I first had taken my dad into the emergency room, I was driving my husband in. He had become ill with a high fever that lasted for a couple of days and didn’t seem to break, even with medication.

It would be a 10 day stay; first warding off sepsis that was trying to invade his body, and then going through several surgeries that would leave him without four of his toes. The first several days were crucial, but eventually I was allowed to take him home. He would have to remain off his foot for at least another month after he got home. I was becoming used to the daily care, thinking about the times I had helped my mother and sister with my father in the not too distant past. I was thanking God for sparing my husband’s life.

I thought this would be the last I would see of the hospital for some time.

But after work, as I pulled into my driveway, I got a phone call. My mother had gotten into a horrible car accident and was at the emergency room. I entered that familiar door and was led back to emergency rooms, again.

Despite that she lay in a neck brace and endured horrific bruises, she forced a smile. I thought. “I am glad she is alive!” Though bruised, a cracked rib and cracked pubic ramus, she was still alive! I was glad to drive her home that evening. She began to heal slowly while my sister and I watched her improve. Then one morning she complained about chest pains and here I was again, at the ER.

After many tests they discovered small blood clots had entered her heart and her lungs from the bruising in her legs. Not only had she survived the accident, but she had survived blood clots.

I sat by the bedside once again, trusting the God who had always been faithful.

The saying, “when it rains it pours” seemed to be appropriate.

PS 139 kept coming to my mind, especially the final verses.

 PS 139; 23-24 NLT
“Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you and lead me along the path of everlasting life.”

I was being shaken. Often people say that God won’t give you more than you can handle. Well, I don’t always agree with that statement. He often allows more that we can handle on our own. He just gives us more of HIS GRACE. I thought, “What was in my heart? “I want God to lead me along the path of everlasting life. He is faithful to do just that.

These are precarious days. Our country seems to be shaking! The events that are taking place are events that test the core of our beliefs. Events that are affecting our personal lives, events that are affecting the future of America and the world are taking place in these hours.

We must be prepared to hear the voice of God. We must be prepared to obey his leading. We must be prepared to bring in the harvest for salvation.

We don’t know our future. We don’t even know how many days we are going to be on the earth. But it is important that we make most of our time.

As my mother is resting her weary body while it heals and my husband is being restored, I rest in the comfort of the Lord. I know there will be many struggles. I have witnessed them personally and among friends and family. I see them in our nation, and the world, at large.

Heartache, death, disease, violence, and trials don’t seem to stop, it seems. But it is part of this life. Jesus even said that there would be many trials but to be of good cheer for he has overcome the world.

What did Paul say in 2 Corinthians 4:8-9?

“We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed”. (NLT)

God’s light always shines brighter in perilous times and impossible situations.

It has throughout history. I am SURE that when Moses reached the Red Sea and knew the Egyptian army was right behind them, he was wondering what God had up his sleeve. But he trusted God who delivered ALL of them, while their enemy perished.

I bet Esther was not expecting to have to plead for her people as Haman had declared that all the Jews should be slaughtered. It seemed impossible to have victory amid that disastrous proclamation. But God heard the cries of her heart and others. Not only did God deliver them, but Haman hung in the place of the one whom he threatened to have killed.

We can continue with Joseph who must have felt hopeless as he sat in a prison for years for a crime he never committed. He may have wondered how he was going to get out of this one. But God heard his cries and not only freed him but made him second in command of the nation.

What about Daniel, who was thrown into the lion’s den, David, who was sought by King Saul who wanted to kill him, or Noah who built a huge ship to be able to endured a flood that would not spare anyone but his family. God was faithful and saved each of them. And then there was Peter who was delivered from prison by an angel. We can go on and on.

Even in modern times we have heard testimonies of God’s faithfulness when all seemed lost. There are testimonies yet to be heard from places like Afganistan, China or North Korea where it takes the faith of God who still works in the impossible. DOES God hear his people?

Sometimes we must walk through things we thought we wouldn’t have to. Sometimes life seems hopeless. BUT GOD STILL hears our cries and delivers, ESPECIALLY when it seems impossible.

What are you going through? What thoughts are invading your mind? What trials are crossing your path that seem impossible and what fears may be knocking at your door.  What about the future of America? Has God heard the cries for this nation? I believe he is waiting for his timing for this nation and for your future. He is waiting for the impossible. When we reach the Red Sea of impossibilities, God WILL be glorified.

I pray that you trust him in the process of your journey. 

God bless!

Hope in suffering.

There was a single word burning in my heart. It was twirling in my soul. I tried to ignore it, but I seemed to keep hearing it. Even if I put my fingers in my ears, I could hear it in my spirit.

The word? SUFFERING

We don’t necessarily want to talk about suffering nor walk through that valley. But it is hard to avoid as it deviously moves throughout the world in one form or another. As the word was twirling in my mind and wouldn’t leave, I realized that the Lord desired to show me a different perspective.

There is suffering without the Lord and then there is suffering with the Lord. And there is a difference.

Think for a moment about training for a triathlon race. You would not be sitting around binge-watching TV while snacking on buttered popcorn.  Instead, you would be working out and eating right so that you can sustain your body. You would be teaching your body, mind and will the art of endurance, perseverance, sacrifice and confidence. Though the training would be grueling, it would produce the strength needed to win, or at least complete the race.

Suffering is like training for that triathlon. It is the catalyst that will create great rewards and great results. It isn’t the natural avenue we would choose to travel, but it is the very avenue that will lead us to our victory. And though we need confidence in ourselves to win a competitive race, we will need to put our confidence in the Lord, during a season of suffering, to become victorious.

In fact, confidence in the Lord will be one of the defining aspects between suffering without the Lord and suffering WITH the Lord.  Our confidence MUST come from resting in God. If we depend on our own strength our arms will get weak and our hearts will grow hopeless.

In Exodus lies the story of the war with the Amalekites. As long as Moses lifted his arms the children of Israel were winning the battle. But he could not keep them up alone. He needed someone to hold up his arms. The battle was won with the help of those who lifted Moses’ arms and with Joshua’s confidence in the Lord, as he and his men fought. (Exodus 17:8-5)

Suffering WITH the Lord is surrendering and trusting and still persevering with faith even when we see only darkness with our natural sight. it is walking with those who are going through hardships and lifting them up, as well as letting others walk with us.

It is ENDURING WITH CONFIDENCE IN CHRIST.

“My brothers and sisters be very happy when you are tested in different ways. You know that such testing of your faith produces ENDURANCE. Endure until your testing is over: Then you will be mature and complete, and you won’t need anything.” James 1:2

Like in that triathlon where the participant exercises to prepare for the race, we must exercise our faith to be able to endure. It is part of growing and becoming mature. As we learn to endure in the face of battle, wisdom increases and our confidence in the Lord becomes our strength.

But there is even more.

It is connecting with our Heavenly Father without any inhibition. It is trusting him so entirely that the world we live in begins to fade in comparison to his glory. It is being able to say, with Harotio Spafford, who authored a hymn after losing his children to the cold ocean waters: “It is Well with my Soul”.

How could he do that? He had built a relationship with the God of creation. He knew that the Lord was greater than his sorrow.  He knew that God’s love for him and his family overshadowed his circumstances. He surrendered his heart and heartache completely to the Lord.

A similar circumstance, though not as grievous, happened to me when I lost my 6-year-old at a campground in Colorado. He was only gone for a few hours. We didn’t know if he got lost in the woods or was taken by a stranger. But what happened to me in those few haunting hours was this: I chose to totally surrender to my Lord. I could do nothing. I could only pray and trust.

It is walking so close to the Lord that in your darkest hours, you know that he is still Lord. It’s as if you can breathe his presence into your lungs. You know that you know he will not let you go. And you relax in his arms and trust in his all-powerful mercy and grace.

Joseph experienced this confidence in the Lord when he went to prison for years for a crime he never committed. Though it may have felt like he was forgotten, he still held on to his faith in his Lord. After he was tested for a little while, he became the 2nd in command over the nation. After his season of suffering the Lord revealed his plan for his life.

Jesus embraced suffering because he trusted his heavenly Father regardless of what he was about to suffer. He had said, “Not my will but yours be done.” His love was and still is so intense for us that despite the hate and torture and grueling death, he went to the cross and into the depths of hell to get the keys of sin and death from satan.  There was a purpose for his suffering and a plan of victory.

Because He was victorious, we can walk in victory despite what we may be enduring.

The followers of Jesus walked in victory despite the suffering they endured because they had put their confidence in Jesus. Today many around the world are persecuted for their faith because the world hates believers as it hated our Savior, Jesus Christ. Even if you are in a free country you will still face opposition of many kinds. And it is a guarantee that you will face personal defeat, heartache and suffering sometime in your life. The word of God states that we should not be surprised by the fiery troubles that come to test our faith. Instead, we are to be happy to be found worthy. (1 Peter 4:12-13)

When I face opposition, I am learning to stop and consider that the Lord is preparing me for something greater. He loves each of us beyond the trials we face. It is those very trials and sufferings that we endure that will be our steppingstones to complete our purpose.

“We must focus on Jesus, the source and goal of our faith. He saw the JOY ahead of him, so he endured death on the cross, and ignored the disgrace it brought him. Then he received the highest position in heaven, the one next to the throne of God. Think about Jesus, who endured opposition from sinners, so that you don’t become tired and give up.” Hebrews 12:2-3

Jesus endured with joy because he saw the joy ahead of him.

The suffering you endure does NOT, will NOT and can NOT compare to the hope of his glory. He promised that he will NEVER leave or forsake you.

Romans 5:3-5
Not only that, but we REJOICE in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” (ESV)

So, what is the difference between suffering without the Lord and suffering with him?

With him, there is a purpose and a plan. God is equipping and preparing each of us for our destiny.

With him there is a peace that passes understanding, knowing he has us in his hands.

With him there is a strength built inside each of us as we place our confidence in him.

With him there can be a place of joy despite what we see because we are building a relationship with our Creator.

With him there is a hope for our future.

For I know the plans I have for you says the Lord, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

There is a word burning in my spirit today. It is HOPE. Yes, we will endure suffering. But it will produce so much more in our lives. Be of good cheer. The Lord has overcome this world.

Amen and God bless.

Hope

All I see is darkness. I don’t even see shadows, nothing but cold blackness. Suddenly in front of me is a red cage with its door open wide. Then out of the darkness I see a reddish, disfigured being. I know it is a demon and its presence sends chills up my spine. It reaches for me with its claws to drag me into the prison of the cage.

I wake up screaming. My heart is racing and my breathing is shallow. I sense fear in my bedroom.

I immediately begin to pray.

What was that about, I thought, though I quickly knew.

The enemy of my soul was trying to draw me back into the prison I once was trapped. He thought for a moment he could bring such despair that I would gladly give into his plan. But what he didn’t remember is that the one whom the Lord sets free is free indeed. (John 8:36) I believe he was hoping that I would forget that promise. But I quickly held onto the truth.

I was wondering why everything was red. Doesn’t red represent the blood of Christ? But in a negative context it can represent anger and war.

There are so many reasons to be angry today. So many reasons to be in fear or frustration and apathy if we do not keep our eyes on the author and finisher of our faith.

In this season we, the body of Christ, are being tempted, tested, and tried. There were seasons in the past and in other regions where the same darkness seemed to cover the land. Today the darkness and deception appear to be taking dominion throughout the world. It is taunting the believer as Goliath taunted the children of Israel. Like David, we have authority to declare to any giant we face that our Lord will not be mocked and we can bring it tumbling to its demise.

I wonder how dark it was during the time of Noah? For 100 years Noah was mocked and ridiculed. Yet he continued to do what he knew the Lord told him to do. He heard the Lords voice above the laughter of the world. Despite the taunting, he pressed on to accomplish what he had set out to do: obey the Lord. In that day people continued as they always had, there was eating and drinking and marrying and giving in marriage. Nothing to them had changed. They continued in any sin they were enjoying and ignored the God of creation.

Today it looks as if the darkness is winning in every corner of the world. Do I think it is as dark as it was in the days of Noah? I couldn’t tell you. But the darkness and evil that accompanies it sure is gloating. It did as well in the days of Hitler. But the world has become smaller because of the internet. We now witness the evil giants rising and laughing, as they prepare to subdue.

The only thing I know is that the Lord will return one day and warns us that, like in the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Lord. (Matthew 24)

There is chaos and division in our land. We MUST stay in the Word of God to stay in truth because lies are spreading like a forest fire. We must believe what the Lord says above anything the world declares as truth. We must be careful what our eyes, our ears, and our hearts feast on.

These have been trying times for many. Personally, our family had been hit by the death of my father. I listened to my dad’s words that he wanted to share. He had mentioned over a year prior how much the Lord had impressed on his heart to be careful of compromise. He had taken the steps to hear God’s voice and follow his words. As the days got closer to him passing, he felt like the Lord was doing inventory in his heart and called out to the Lord to clean out any area that was not dedicated to the Lord. He ached for the church as it had fallen into compromising with the world above obeying the Lord. He warned that the church, and many who have called themselves Christians, were confusing love and grace for compromise and alignment with sin. And he is right.

So, when I had that dream of the demon pulling me back into bondage, I knew the enemy was trying to lure me back into compromise, back into laziness, back into the apathy that I once lived in. You think you are free but instead you are a prisoner of your own mind, your own unforgiveness and your own bondage.

Yes, there is darkness on this land, but there is freedom in Christ.

Like I have stated before, the Lord said:

“I’ve told you this so that my peace will be with you. In the world you’ll have trouble. But cheer up! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 (GWT)

Today we need to hold on to those words. He has overcome the world! The trials and struggles we face will be the catalyst that will free us from whatever is holding us each in bondage. Those very trials will cause our faith to grow strong as James stated in James 1.

The Lord warns us in Hebrews to be careful that we do not refuse to listen to his words. Because of his great love, He WILL shake what needs to be shaken. Why does he do this? It is because he knows that sin leads to death. It takes us away from his presence. He loves us so much he will allow us to go through storms to get rid of those things that keep us in bondage.

I’ve shared before in my blogs that a storm or wind is coming and that you will need to hold on to him with all your heart, soul, and mind. “Winds of Adversity” September 30, 2018. But I also shared that his glory will visit us. “The Spirit of God is Hovering Over the Earth Today” March 19, 2019.

I believe that God will come in his glory with so much power. But are we prepared?

There is darkness on the land, but God is going to pour out his glory to those who are calling out to him. He will reveal himself to those who are seeking his face. He loves us SO much he is calling us to open our hearts to him and he pleads with us to be careful of compromise. It creates a lukewarm heart and he states in Revelation that he would rather us hot or cold. We should look different than the world.We need to be a light.

Are you ready? As long as you are still on the earth, as long as there is still breath in your lungs you can call out to him. He is not a religion. He is the creator of the universe and more. He loves you so much he does not want anyone to perish.

My dad was an evangelist at heart and he loved the Lord with all his heart. As a tribute to his life, I quote with all my heart John 3:16:

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (NIV)

The Lord is going to return one day. In the meantime, you can be surrounded his light amid any darkness, as he walks through this world WITH you. Be encouraged.

God Bless.

the Challenge

I was in a corridor with three other people. I didn’t recognize them nor was I aware of their relationship to me. I just knew I trusted them. We peered through an opening from the darkened corridor where we were hidden. We saw what appeared to look like the steps of a courthouse. A large crowd had gathered. The crowd comprised of people who were protesting for their freedom that they once took for granted.

They shook their hands in the air demanding freedom. The leaders (people in power) stood on the platform of the steps, towards the protestors, trying to calm down the frustration that the people were expressing. I wondered why we were not amongst them. But the four of us just listened staying in our hiding place. Suddenly we realized that the loud protesting had quieted. And individuals in the crowd were shaking hands with the leaders, one at a time. And then one by one the protesters departed with contentment in their eyes and a smile on their face. We then realized that the leaders were making deals with each person, promising them something they wanted. The people traded their freedom, traded their outrage, traded their stand for what was right for some type of personal promise. They were willing to compromise.

It was then that the four of us looked at one another knowing we had seen enough and it was time to leave. One of the people told us to follow him. He knew the way to go. We followed him back through the narrow corridor.

And then I woke.

The thought that came to my mind: “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction and many enter through it.” Matthew 7:13

Compromise has swept the hearts of many. It seems easier at times to compromise than to stand up for what is right. It is hard to fight against the flow. It is hard to walk upstream. It is much easier to just lay back and float downstream on a nice floatie. Is that what has been happening to those who once stood for righteousness? Have they given it up for the comfort of floating downstream?

The word that kept coming to my mind was: challenge. It is challenging to be different from the mainstream. I do believe that many are taking up the challenge. Our lives have been rocked. We have not been allowed the comfort of floating downstream. Instead many are rising up and walking against the grain.

2020 has given us a reason to get out of our comfort zones and stand. This year may have been challenging to be positive in the midst of the news of rioters, in the midst of a pandemic, in the midst of schools being closed, churches being closed, businesses going under, people losing everything they worked so diligently to attain. It would seem that hate and lies are dominating the airwaves and the stores, the workplace and the streets; our entire lives.

There has always been challenges, even following the Lord or maybe because we chose to follow him.

Paul faced challenges and said as much in 2 Corinthians 4:8,

“We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.”

He knew his choice to follow his Lord would take exercising his spiritual muscles. But when he left this world, he left fighting the good fight. He knew that it was worth it, not just in this life, but especially in the life to come. He had gotten to know his Lord on such a personal basis that he was willing to give up all that he was, for the one that loved him above all. He was willing to be persecuted so others would know the truth, the freedom and the joy he experienced. Jesus had turned his world upside down! And in a positive way. He had learned the truth and that truth filled every fiber of his being, in spite of the hard circumstances.

Jesus also tasted what it was like to go against the flow. He knew what it was like to walk upstream in a world that was filled with lies and darkness. He still healed the sick and still set people free, in spite of attacks, not only from the world system, but also from the religious system.

He took up the challenge and set his face like a flint. He was determined that no matter how hard things got, no matter who was with him, he would accomplish what he set out to do; because he loved his Father. And because he loved each of us, as well. He was willing to take up the challenge that his heavenly Father had given him.

He kept his eyes on the joy that was awaiting him, so that he was able to endure the cross despite the ridicule, humiliation, excruciating pain and loneliness so that we, too, may experience the goodness of the Lord. (Hebrews 12:2)

He defeated the lies of the enemy on the cross so we can be free.

Things have been difficult this year. Personally I have fought challenges, as well. I have surrendered my will and my heart to my Lord many times this year. The Lord was challenging me: Do you trust me?

I choose to take up that challenge and trust him. I choose to take up the challenge and obey him, standing up for what the Bible teaches. Many do not understand that choice and even many who call themselves Christians don’t understand. They want their feet in both worlds, compromising. They are like those in my dream who compromised for the promise that was given to them by the world. They have closed their eyes to God’s truth and have accepted watered down truth.

I pray that the Lord will keep me from compromising with this world, that I will stay on the straight and narrow path. I have compromised in my past and it did not satisfy. I never want to return to that life. I know that living for Christ is worth it in this life and also in the one after.

This is what the Lord is challenging me to do:

I challenge you to trust me…more and more each day,
To trust me in this hour and live out what you say.

I challenge you to read MY WORD and hide it in your heart
To keep it fresh in your soul, so your love for me won’t part

I challenge you to stay in truth, the truth that comes from me
Don’t compromise with those that sin. They are blind and cannot see.

I challenge you to seek MY LOVE, a love undefiled and pure.
Not the fake love that roams the land. It is muddy and unclear.

I challenge you to live in worship. You will never be the same.
It will bring freedom into your life. Chains will break in Jesus name.

I challenge you to walk in boldness with MY holy fire.
Sometimes that means to pray, than watch what will transpire.

I challenge you to live the purpose that runs throughout your blood.
Get READY! My Glory is coming to the earth like a rushing flood.

I challenge you to quiet your heart so you can hear my voice.
Will you let me lead you? I’m giving you a choice.

So I responded: Lord help me. Give me your wisdom and your grace.
Help me to be determined to not just run, but run to win the race.

What is the Lord challenging you to do? These are precarious and exciting times. God is on the move and he would like to have you join him. His glory is about to blow through the world. Are you ready? Do you want to be a part of what God is doing? Are you willing to walk through the narrow gate? You will look different than the world. But the joy that is set before you will outweigh the trials.

GOD IS GOOD…….ALWAYS!

Will you accept the challenge?

Press Forward.

I cannot image the intense physical and psychological pressures that the firefighters are experiencing during these hours. Nor can I imagine the control or determination of doing the “right thing” in the face of threats and accusations that the police officers are facing.

But I do understand the wave of doubt and shaking that has tried to come upon the body of Christ as we continue to press in for our country and in our personal lives. I just keep pressing on, as are many others. I have seen worship breakout across the country outside the church buildings and rejoice. I know deep in my heart that our Lord is at work, regardless of what other things I may see or hear.

Paul saw and experienced many hardships but still saw beyond it and encouraged others. That is why he stated:

And let us not lose heart and grow weary and faint in acting nobly and doing right, for in due time and at the appointed season we shall reap, if we do not loosen and relax our courage and faint.” Galatians 6:10 (AMP)

He was always encouraging his fellow believers during heartache or blessings, while in chains in prison or as a free man.

Today is no different. We need encouragement.

That is why when the Lord showed me a picture while I was in prayer (for my own personal family crisis and for the nation) I wanted to share it with the Christian community.

This is what I saw:

I saw a ship floating on the waters. The bow was beginning to break through what appeared to be a thick glass window. It was at least a foot thick. Chunks of glass began to break and fall as the ship pushed through. I hadn’t noticed that there was even a window in front of the ship until then.  It continued pushing with more force and more power. On the other side of the window one could see clearer.  

I realized then that we have not been really seeing with clarity like we thought we had. Our vision was somewhat cloudy. We have heard 2020 is supposed to be a year of clearer vision. I believe as we join in unity and push through, we will begin to see what Holy Spirit has been trying to show us.

The word that came to my heart: Do not give up. There is breakthrough right in front of you. You are breaking through with his power this hour.

As I am writing this, I am listening to a worship group on YouTube. Before the worship they stated that they kept trying to record live worship, but their equipment kept crashing. (I am assuming they were talking about electronics?) Anyway, they finally were able to record and this was their prayer: “we pray that everyone that sees this will have glass shattered in their lives. All the glass of insecurity, all the glass of pain, all the glass of doubt will shatter, and we will find that Jesus is Lord. May we look more and more like your Son.”

The timing was perfect!!! But of course, the timing with the Lord is ALWAYS perfect.

I encourage each person that is reading this to press forward. There is breakthrough in your lives. Your prayers are on the precept of breaking through for yourself or for others. There is breakthrough against the things that have been holding you back in your walk with Jesus. There is breakthrough for hope, for healing and for salvation; or whatever you have been praying for.  When you break through to the other side your vision will become clearer.

DO NOT GIVE UP!

Wake up! Rise Up! Pray! Assume your authority and then charge forward. The breakthrough is right in front of you.

The Lord has heard your cries, like he heard the cries of the children of Israel as they cried to him to be delivered from slavery in Egypt.

Keep praying. Keep believing. Keep trusting. Press forward.

God is our deliver and will show his hand of deliverance. He loves his own and will not give us up into the enemy’s hands at this hour.

The battle belongs to the Lord.

“This is what the Lord says to you: Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army for the battle is not yours, but God’s.” 2 Chronicles 20:15 (NIV)

Keep on keeping on. God bless.

Live in the Moment

Will the real astronaut please stand up?

I was watching the new “To Tell the Truth” game show and on it were 3 people who were talking about being the astronaut that had accrued 665 days in space over the course of their career. I was interested to find out who the real astronaut was and waited with interest.

When the question: “will the real astronaut please stand up”, Peggy Whiston stood up with a big smile on her face. A question she was later asked was, “Did you miss the earth while you were gone?”

Her response, “I live in the moment, so I enjoyed the moments I had in space.”

Suddenly something stirred in my spirit. Was I living in the moment? Was I cherishing the very moment I was living in?

There are times I have regretted some moments of my yesterdays and then other times when I have become anxious about the moments in the future. Her words didn’t leave my heart and I began to ask God to help me to live in the moment and cherish each one. How could I have abundant life if I didn’t learn to enjoy the moment in which I lived?

Guess what title of the sermon was the very next Sunday? You guessed it, “Living in the Moment”. I kid you not. Again, the words burned in my spirit.

What was the Lord trying to tell me?

To me the statement, “living in the moment” was always equal to making foolish decisions. Wasn’t it living in the moment mentality that caused people to not consider consequences of their choices?

Isn’t planning using wisdom?

If you think about it, I am quite sure that Peggy Whiston planned. How would she get to the place where she was if she didn’t plan? She planned her schooling to accomplish her goals. And I bet she enjoyed those moments, as well.

Even the Lord plans. He planned his only son to come to this earth to bring hope to the world. In fact, the Lord himself says,

“I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future”. (Jeremiah 29:11) .

God plans.

Planning is an important part of living successfully,.

The speaker at my church that Sunday emphasized that he was not saying to not plan. Instead he was saying don’t live in the regrets of yesterday, nor the anxieties of tomorrow.

Living in the moment, according to google.com (we all google sometime) I found this answer: “Living in the present moment means letting go of the past and not waiting for the future. It means living your life consciously, aware that each moment you breathe is a gift.”

Aha. That made sense.

So living in the moment is enjoying each precious moment you have. It is not living in regret of the past and not stressing about the future. It is also being ready at any moment to go where and when the Lord calls.

I want to learn to use those moments wisely.

If you are reading this, you are still alive. And if you are still alive at this moment you probably are extremely aware of the hour in which you are living. These are tumultuous times, filled with evil and confusion.

Yet, we are each living in this moment of time for a purpose. What is the Lord saying to your heart? What is he telling you at this moment? Listen to his voice. Listen and follow through with what you hear in your heart.

In the moment he tells you to help those in need, follow through. In the moment he tells you to pray, pray. In the moment he tells you to speak, speak. In the moment he tells you to be patient and listen, listen patiently. Use your moments wisely.

Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. (Ephesians 5:15-16)

The Lord was telling me to LIVE in the moment. He was telling me to quit worrying about yesterday or tomorrow. He was telling me to enjoy the moments of my life and be prepared at ANY moment to move by his Spirit.

What is the Lord saying to you at this very moment? I pray that each moment of your life will be lived in abundance.

Remember:

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I (Jesus) came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” John 10:10 (ESV)

God bless