Jesus is the Door

Can you imagine walking into the throne room of heaven? 

What a magnificent experience!

What a fearful experience!

What a glorious experience!

Can you imagine standing before the creator of the universe in all HIS glory. The presence of HIS glory would be overwhelming. The colors must be immense, the beauty beyond our wildest imagination and the brightness of his presence blinding. And just imagine how huge and magnificent the God of all creation must be if the earth is but his footstool. (Isaiah 66:1)

As magnificent as he is, he still wants us to come boldly into this throne room without fear!

Hebrews 4:16, “… come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (NKJV)

Jesus made the way for us!

Why would he do that? Simply because he loves us. He sympathizes with our weakness and understands us because he was tempted as we were and yet did not sin. Because of that HE has made a way for US to come into the presence of God. Sin had broken a relationship with the Lord. But Jesus made a way for us to have a relationship with the Lord, just as Adam had in the beginning.

Before Jesus, only the High Priest could enter the Holy of Holies which was located in the Jewish Temple and protected by a veil. He would sacrifice an animal and pour that blood on the mercy seat, requesting mercy for the sins of the people.

NOW WE can come boldly to the throne room itself and ask for mercy without the priest. WHY? Because when Jesus died that veil was ripped in half, physically and spiritually.

Matthew 27: 51 “Suddenly the curtain in the temple was split in two from top to bottom.” (GWT)

Jesus made a way. “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the father except through me.” John 14:6 (NIV)

Jesus is the ONLY way to the Father. He is the only way into the throne room of grace. His name has authority. HE IS THE DOOR!

You often hear people pray, “in the name of Jesus”. It isn’t because Jesus’ name is magical. It is because there is authority in his name.  He even mentioned in John 14 that if you ask the FATHER for ANYTHING in my name I will do it so that the Father may be glorified.

“By his death, Jesus opened a new and life-giving way through the curtain into the Most Holy Place.” Hebrews 10:20

This is how I envision it:

 When the name of Jesus is spoken in authority, I see a door literally open into the throne room of heaven before the Father. We boldly walk through that access into the very throne room before the Father, the creator of the universe. And who is opening that door? Jesus is…HIS blood is…HIS redemption is.

YOU HAVE ACCESS INTO THE THRONE ROOM OF HEAVEN!

What is it you need? Do you need healing? Do you need hope? Do you need peace? What is it that you are asking the Lord?

You have access to come BOLDLY…without shame, before the Father and ask anything because the name of Jesus has given you that access.

I pray that God meets your every need, IN JESUS NAME. Amen

Tell Your Storm: BE STILL

2023 seemed to come in like a storm. 

As if the previous years had not been hard enough from both a personal stance and in the earth, this new year came in like a hornet’s nest that had just been knocked to the ground. And you know how violent hornets can be when disturbed.

Destruction buzzed furiously as it crept out of hiding.

I felt like it didn’t matter that the few years before seemed intolerable and unrealistic. This year’s relentless assaults appeared immediately and with such determination that the previous years seemed like a baby’s lullaby in comparison.

Just look around you at the disasters, the deaths, the political madness that have been shouting throughout the earth, not to mention the personal woes that may have been trying to knock on your door. I have heard them try to knock on mine.

BUT…..YES, there is a but to this story!

If ANYONE has read the stories from the Gospels, you will recall the story of Jesus sleeping in a boat during a raging storm on the Sea of Galilee, as the disciples reacted in fear.

“Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!” He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.”   Matthew 28:4-26

The words that seemed to slip off the page and into my spirit were: “he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.”

Often we talk about we have little faith and/or how we must rest during a storm. These are great principles to live by. We should rise up in faith and rest in the Lord despite what we see, despite the storms raging in our midst.

But what was highlighted to me this time, was the concept to rise up and tell the winds and the waves – (the storms) – that are ravishing our lives: BE STILL.

How can we do that?

Jesus stated in John 14:12, “I can guarantee this truth: those who believe in me will do the things that I am doing. They will do even greater things because I am going to the Father.”  (GWT)

So how can we do greater things? He said we’d do greater things because when he went to the Father the Holy Spirit would come to the earth and fill his followers (and that includes you and me) with his power. (Acts 1:8)

But like Jesus we can do nothing on our own.  Jesus stated in John 5:19,20 that he could do nothing but what he sees his Father doing. He had spent a lot of quiet time, praying and learning to listen to his Father’s voice. (And we should follow that example. John 10:27, “My sheep hear my voice…”)

With that in mind, each miracle of healing that Jesus performed was different. For some he only gave a word at a distance, others he touched, some he sought after, and in other circumstances people sought after him. Each event was directed by his Heavenly Father.

Like the healings, the seasons in his life differed, as well. While in the boat, during the storm, he rested. But in the garden before his crucifixion, he prayed and he asked his disciples, as they slumbered, “couldn’t you stay awake with me for an hour?”  He later suffered unimaginably on the cross, though because of that, he triumphed in victory!

There were seasons to rest, seasons to war, seasons to suffer and seasons to conquer. He perceived the times and heard the Father.

I say all this to say that there are times and seasons for everything as Solomon had expressed in Ecclesiastes . God is always on the move. He is not stagnant. He is alive and his words are alive. There are times the Lord may ask you to pray for a particular person and other times he will want you to remain quiet.

In this season of time (at least in my life) I believe the Lord is saying: “Tell the raging storms that are surrounding you: BE STILL.”

So today, I thought about the storms in my life and in the lives of my loved ones, and said, with authority: BE STILL.

A calm and a peace has followed.

I believe there is great victory on the horizon for God’s people. That is why the darkness seems to be invading and why wickedness seems to prevail and why the voices of evil are screaming so violently.

It is the last screams of the dying giants that used to mock you. It is the last scream of the lies that tormented your soul. It is the last scream of defeat and hopelessness anxiously calling your name.

Don’t be afraid of what you hear or what you see because the Lord is saying to the giants in the land: BE STILL. He is encouraging each of us to slay the giants and quiet the storms that taunt us (and the God we serve) just as David did when he slayed Goliath. God has given each of us the authority in HIM to rise up in prayer and declare to the giants and say to the storms that rage war against our souls: BE STILL!

What are your storms? Rise up and tell your storms: BE STILL!

Storms will come
They can be strong and fierce
They scream and twirl
And like a sword, they can pierce

Where can you find freedom
From a storm that rages?
Is there a hidden place
From the war it wages?

There is a place of rest
In the one who spoke peace
Who with words of authority
Made that violent storm cease.

I pray for peace in your midst
During the storms you may face
But also for great victory
So stillness can take its place.

Be still and know that HE is God. God bless.

The Lady Behind the Door

I am not sure of the year, but the event echoes in my mind. It was a warm day under the hot Nevada sun. I had heard about a home Bible study group that was in a small senior apartment complex in the southern part of Henderson, Nevada. I attended a large church in Vegas and thought it would be great to get into a smaller group to actually form relationships with other people, instead of just being part of an unknown crowd.

So, I typed in the address that I had found on the website, into my cell phone’s GPS. I found the apartment complex easy enough and parked in one of the many spaces available. I had the number of the building and of the apartment, but once I walked into the courtyard, I wasn’t clear which building was which.  I figured I would simply knock on a door with the same number in hopes that I was at the correct building.

An elderly lady came to the door. I asked her if this was the apartment that was hosting a Bible study. When she told me it wasn’t, I thanked her and began to turn around to continue my search. But instead, the frail old lady looking back at me through the crack in the door asked if I could please come in and help her. She had wanted to watch a movie but didn’t know how to work her remote, nor was she sure which remote went to which TV or DVD or VCR player.

I hesitated because I was already late but couldn’t ignore the pleading in her eyes. She pulled the door  wide open to welcome me into her home.  As my eyes began to adjust to the darkness of her home from the bright sun outside, I saw her despair. I cautiously walked behind her as she led me into her tiny studio apartment. In that one-room home was a small kitchen on one side and a mattress on the floor on the other side with one lone chair. It was positioned in front of two old CRT television sets, each sitting on separate portable metal stands. One had a VCR player connected to it and the other had a DVD player connected to it. And cluttered on all the open floor space was jumbled stacks and stacks and stacks of movies, some were VHS movies while others were DVDs.

She told me she had wanted to watch a particular movie but wasn’t sure which remote went to which TV and/or which video system. I am not real savvy but thought I could try to help her. She mentioned that she was going to have someone come by but wasn’t sure when they would be there. And so, I set my purse and my bible on the floor and tried to figure it out for her. After several minutes it was all sorted out and she thanked me and then wanted to just talk. I listened to her stories and found out that in her younger years she had actually been a cook for a time for BB King. She proudly pointed to a lone picture of the singer on the otherwise empty walls.

We chit chatted a bit more as she walked me the few steps back to the front door. Because I don’t believe there is ever a coincidence in a believer’s’ life, I asked her if she knew Jesus and if she wanted prayer. She said yes to both. So, in the small dark studio apartment we prayed together. Tears streamed down her cheeks. We hugged before she left, and she asked if I could stop by again sometime. I nodded in agreement, thinking I probably would be here again anyway.

Surprisingly as I turned around, after she closed the door behind me, I saw the number of the apartment I had been searching for in the beginning.

I thought I would return the next time I came to the Bible study. And I want to proudly say, “I did return, and we became close friends”.  Wasn’t this a “God ordained meeting”? But instead, I have to report that I never did go back. The meeting moved locations and busyness took my time from me. After several months I forgot and eventually moved away. Sometimes it really bothers me. How could I not return? How could I forget a lonely person that longed for companionship? I can only hope and pray that God heard her heart, and though I know God forgives me I was not the blessed person to meet her need.

Fast forward several years later to December 2022 and several states north. I am attending a small church in the great northwest and have had the opportunity to create lasting friendships. From those friendships I was invited to a Christmas painting party. I love to paint, especially with friends. It sounded marvelous. One of those friends offered to give me a ride. She had been to the house before, so I gladly accepted.

The snow blanketed the roads, so it was difficult to find parking. She remembered though that there was an open parking lot near the home that was hosting the party. That was convenient. So, we parked and marched through the heavy drifting snow. We were coming in a bit late, so instead of knocking on the door we thought we would just let ourselves into the home.

My friend went ahead of me and announced our presence. Except there was no party there. There were no people. Were they in the back of the house? And then we heard a lady frantically asking who was in her home.

“Oh no,” my friend said frantically, “this isn’t the right house!”

I was hysterical. Part of me was laughing uncontrollably. The other part was anxious, and I pushed my way in front of my friend running towards the front door, loudly whispering behind me, “hurry”!

She, on the other hand, was trying to apologize and explain our plight. I hurried out the front door and hopped like a bunny through the deep snow, which I had previously dredged through, back to the parking lot and back to the safety of her car.  My friend was trailing behind me at a slower pace. I was still laughing uncontrollably when I opened her passenger car door and ducked under the dash. We could hear the owner of the house holler from her front door,

 “Are you the people who were in my house?”

My friend apologized and said she thought it belonged to a friend and she was sorry.

We did eventually find the house, which was only a few houses over. After the party my friend thought it would be nice to bring over some cookies and apologize again. I was not in agreement but followed behind her. My thought, let bygones be bygones.  

We knocked this time and an elderly lady, in her pjs and pulling an oxygen tank behind her opened the door. As my friend apologized again offering her a peace-offering of cookies she also asked if she knew Jesus. The lady said she did, but she had to stay at home these days because of her health and the weather. She watched on TV or online but didn’t have many visitors. I suddenly remembered that tiny frail woman in Nevada who longed for companionship, who was deeply touched when I prayed for her.

My aloofness turned into compassionate boldness. This was my opportunity to pray.  After getting her permission, I came into her home (invited). I held her hand as I began to pray. This was an individual whom God loves and did not forget but I felt the weight of loneliness surround her. Tears filled her lonely eyes, and she thanked us.

What is the takeaway from this? For me there are many things.

  1. There are a lot of people in this world…a lot of people going through heartaches. I hope to return and visit this lady, and that is our plan. We NEED one another. Look for opportunities to spread hope.
  2. Be ready in season and out as found in 2 Timothy 4:2 ” Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage — with great patience and careful instruction.” (NIV)
  3. When or if you make a mistake, ask for forgiveness and move on. I would have loved to return to the lady at the door in Nevada. But, though I didn’t I believe God still comforted her, but I missed out on the blessing.
  4. 1 Corinthians 1:27 sure comes in play. “Instead, God chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And he chose things that are powerless to shame those who are powerful.” (NLT) Both of us looked so foolish but in the end the lady was blessed.

Know this: If he can use me, he sure can use you. Be ready.

Happy 2023.

God Bless.

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.

God Hears

I sat quietly alone on my loveseat with the gas fireplace roaring beside me. Though the TV was on, it was set to mute as I considered my next move. I glanced at my injured foot which was now in a “boot” resting on the coffee table in front of me. I sighed. No one else was home. I just wanted something cold to drink but knew how difficult it would be to hobble with my crutches into the kitchen and return with a cold satisfying drink.

So, my dilemma, as simply as it was: Should I relax my newly broken foot or did I really need a refreshing drink. To myself, yet out loud, I said in despair, “there is no one here to help me”.

Immediately my mind raced to the story of the paralytic at the pool of Bethesda. It is found in the 5th chapter of the Gospel of John. Apparently the sick, the lame and the blind would sit by a pool of water. It was said to have had healing powers when it was stirred – some translations state that it was stirred by angels.

Some scholars believe the pools were at a pagan shrine or temple honoring the Greek god or demigod Asclepius, the god of medicine or medicinal powers. It was said that the healing snakes stirred the waters. And the scholars contribute the medicinal powers and stirring of the water from bubbles that arose from the mineral springs. Others debunk this theory.  Regardless, a man sat by this pool of water for 38 years with no one to help him get in. He must have come to a place of despair.

It reads like this from the NIV translation:

Sometime later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for one of the Jewish festivals. Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades. Here a great number of disabled people used to lie—the blind, the lame, the paralyzed.  One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?” 

“Sir,” the invalid replied, “I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.”

Then Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked. John 5:1-9

What I found interesting about this story is that Jesus walked into the midst of a pagan shrine (if that was the case) not caring about the “protocol” of the day. According to scripture he only approached one individual and healed him, on the Sabbath mind you, which was also against Jewish tradition.

He heard the man’s heart even though the man never asked the Lord to help him. We have heard other stories where people called out to the Lord, but not in this circumstance.

God’s mercy and compassion for those in need, for those who cry out from their heart, is amazing.

It made me realize that he hears, even when we don’t speak. He hears even if an individual doesn’t realize who they are calling upon.

I don’t care if you are:

in a prison cell
amid a war-torn country
in a COVID ward
on center stage
looking in the wrong direction for help
rich and famous
poor and alone
amongst friends
amongst enemies
feeling lost
in a church family
in a cubical
homebound
living on the street
a drug addict
hopeless
or seem to have it together…. God hears the heart that cries to him.

Where do you find yourself today? What is your situation?

I am telling you DO NOT GIVE UP. DO NOT LOSE HEART. GOD HEARS!

Isaiah 65:24, “Before they call, I will answer. While they are still speaking, I will hear.” (NIV)

Psalm 139 explains that he knows everything about you and cares. He knew you before you did. And Romans 8 states that NOTHING can separate you from the love of God.

What are you waiting for? What can you lose?

Dear Lord, Hear those who are crying from their hearts, those in despair, those who are in need and even those who do not realize yet that they need you. Amen

By the way: I was able to grab that drink. I just had to guzzle it right there at the refrigerator. And then I hobbled on my crutches back to the loveseat to rest my foot on the coffee table.  And soon my family returned home. I am grateful that I have something to drink, a couch to sit on in a warm house, and for those who are caring for me, as I heal.

I am mostly grateful for God who will never leave or forsake me, who took the time to go out of his way to heal a paralyzed man thousands of years ago when he had no one to help him. God is the same yesterday, today and forever and so I am grateful that he continues to heal today.

Remember: He cares about every detail of your life…and loves you.

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.

Season of HOPE

The waterfall was different from any I had ever seen, whether in person or in a video. It didn’t just flow from a single river which tumbled into the raging waters beneath it. Instead the waters covered all the walls of what appeared to be a complete circular canyon. And it wasn’t water like we are familiar with in this realm. Instead it was as bright as crystals. The shimmer was so intense with light that it was hard to even keep my eyes on it.  I KNEW this waterfall was different because I KNEW it was flowing from the kingdom of heaven itself.

This was the glory of God flowing down from his throne room. This was his blessings of mercy, of grace, of hope, of peace, of healing and provision and so much more. It was all there. It is all here– if we want it. It is all available to those who ask.

And I heard in my heart. “You have not because you ask not. There is so much more.”

This was shared at a prayer meeting and I believe is something the Lord wants to share with us as we are dealing with the darkness, confusion and hopelessness that seem to be covering the whole earth.  People may think all is lost. People may believe that there is no hope. But I want to tell you: there is great HOPE.

Our ways are defiantly not the Lord’s. He has so much more for us than I think we realize or understand.

That is the whole essence of the Bible. It is a message of hope. It was for the people that existed thousands of years ago and it is for us today. There is always hope.

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13 (NIV)

This world is shaking. Our nation seems to be toppling and the economy is imploding. Laws and mandates, beyond are control, are being implemented and changing our lives forever. What was once considered to be wrong is now honored and what was once considered as right, is now mocked.

Is this a new concept? Not really. It has been happening for eons. It is just new to us today. It is new to our nation. Destruction is trying to take the throne. It is even gloating as well-meaning people submit to its demands.

This reminds me of a dream I shared several blogs ago. It was the one where I was in a corridor with a couple other people watching others fighting for their rights, with protests and signs. They chanted with fist in the air toward a political figure of power that stood behind a podium. Then suddenly the shouts ceased as the political figure made deals with each person. One by one each person shook this person’s hand and walked away.

But we must stand and not bow.

What is taking place today is like the story of the Hebrew children (Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego) who would not bow to the idol of the day while many others, that may have been good people, bowed because of fear and intimidation. Because of their refusal, the three Hebrews were thrown into a raging fire. But they didn’t burn! Instead the king mentioned: one, like the son of man, is in the flames with them. Although those that threw them into the fire burned to a crisp, they were saved. It seemed impossible. (Daniel 3)

This is what is happening today. It can seem difficult to stand up for what you believe is right. I mean, well-meaning people are bowing to the demands today.  Even in my dream those same well-meaning people compromised.  It is so much easier. There were only a few that held out in the corridors, watching.

The Bible does say that the way to destruction is broad but the gate to life is narrow.

Don’t be discouraged. Don’t give up. Because seriously:

“They who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength. They shall mount up with wings as eagles. They shall run and not be weary. They shall walk and not faint.” IS 40:31 (ESV)

This is a day of HOPE. One, as the son of man, (Jesus) is standing with you. He is walking through the fire with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.

Also: There is a waterfall, one unlike anything in this world. It comes from the throne room of the Lord. It is his glory And it is filled with mercy, grace, hope, peace, healing and provision and so much more to anyone who asks.

“Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb.” Revelation 22:1

You have not because you ask not. What do you need? God is faithful.

Be of GOOD cheer. This is a good time to be alive and walking on this earth because it is a season of HOPE.

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

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?