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

The Storm of Confusion

I see a storm cloud forming. It rolls with power throughout the land.
I see a storm cloud exploding. It has violence in its hand.
It has brought so much confusion. It has brought so much fear
But it is just a cloud of vapor. It has no power to adhere.

Confronting this roar of confusion stands a mightier force.
Confronting this roar of lies; truth will run the course.
Love instead of fear; hope to those who need it most.
Confronting this cloud is;
  the LORD OF THE HEAVENLY HOSTS!

Lately I have tried to write and often I have stopped because I really do not know how to articulate what is stirring in my soul.

I thought to myself, “Why am I having so much trouble. Why am I so confused and conflicted in my soul? What IS right?” There seems to be so much confusion, even amongst believers.

The struggle in my soul was real. As I was considering these things I saw, in my mind, a storm cloud on the horizon. It was dark and it was ominous. A thought flashed into my mind, “That is the very reason that I was confused. Confusion, itself has been taking over our land, our thoughts, our hearts.”

There is confusion in the airwaves. Lies are splattered daily until truth is muddied. There is confusion in social media. There is confusion in the political realm, the healthcare realm, in the streets, in the workplace and even in the churches. It wreaks havoc amongst the young, old, poor, rich, with every race and sex.  People are fighting one another verbally, emotionally, physically.

It is crazy.

One person states this…another something totally different. It is like the spirit of confusion has been released so that people are blind. They are blind with offenses, blind with anger. It is “they said, they did; he said, she did” hour in history.

That is why it is imperative that we learn to listen to the still small voice of the Lord like Elijah heard.

“As the Lord was passing by, a fierce wind tore mountains and shattered rocks ahead of the Lord. But the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind came an earthquake. But the Lord wasn’t in the earthquake. After the earthquake there was a fire. But the Lord wasn’t in the fire. And after the fire there was a quiet, whispering voice.”  1 Kings 19:11b-12.

The Lord spoke in the still small voice. That is the voice we need to listen to. We need to read his Word like never before, hide it in our hearts and learn to hear his voice.

John 10 explains that the shepherd enters by the gate. The thief sneaks in to deceive the sheep. It is the thief who comes to steal, kill, and destroy.  But the sheep recognize the true shepherd’s voice and follow him. We are the sheep that follow the shepherd, Jesus. Learn to hear the voice of the Lord.

I think it is ironic that I have seen comics lately about being a sheep and following the government’s system. Sheep are followers. Which flock are you in? Are you following the quiet voice of the Lord or the loud voice of the world? And when I say world…I also mean doing things out of fear or anger.

There are a lot of voices out there. Pray daily that the Lord will keep in you in truth!

I can honestly say that I am not clear what will happen next. I am not sure what else will take place during this year.

But this is what I believe:

God is and will continue preparing his bride at ANY cost. I believe that the greatest revival that we have seen will transpire regardless of the calamity around us or maybe because of it. And we can be a part of that revival IF we choose. I also believe that the way God will move in this hour may not look like what we have seen in the past.

Jesus wrecked “religion” as it was followed, in his days. What he did looked different and scared many high-ranking religious folks. But he was ushering in the new promise. He healed people, and on the Sabbath! That was taboo. He ate with the sinners. He talked to and loved those of different races (i.e… the Samaritan woman at the well). He walked a path that was not “the norm” of the day.  He did not call out to the masses, though the masses followed him out of curiosity. He called out to individuals and said, “Follow me.” And they did, many following him to a sacrificial death.

They KNEW him. They got the revelation of the greater call, to bring the message of salvation. They brought life to the dying and hope to the hopeless. They destroyed CONFUSION by bringing truth. Jesus told his followers that they (we) will do greater things than he did. (1 John 14:12)

Today is a new day.

I believe we will be called to dark places because the purpose of us being in the world is to bring HIS light. That is why it is imperative, and I mean of utmost importance that we recognize his voice. Read the Word. Hide it in your heart. Stay connected with other believers!

( I want to add a side note: Be careful not to miss the mark. Make sure you follow the Lord into the dark places. If you go on your own you may fall into confusion following the sin. Hear the Lord’s voice and follow his lead so that those who are lost in sin will turn from it and follow truth WITH you.)

I join in with my brothers and sisters in the Lord and take authority over the confusion that is in our land. I declare TRUTH to break through like the morning dawn.

The storm cloud of confusion that swept among us all
Cannot stand long if we listen to the Lord’s call.
Take the time listen; take the time to pray.
Someone’s life may change if you heed his voice today.

Be a life changer. Walk in truth.

What Will be Your New Normal?

 

Plagues, chaos, vandalism, terror, confusion…America?

There were times in the United States of America when rebellion and anarchy and war broke out.

Then there were seasons of rest and peace; more in some areas than in others, but overall, we had long seasons of peace in this nation.

Perhaps because of the ability to view anything almost anywhere in the world in an instant, our nation and even our world seems to have gotten smaller. These are different times than times in the past.

The year 2020 has been not been what I imagined. I believe it will never look the same.

In times past, we may have never known that a virus was covering the world. Perhaps it wouldn’t have even reached our land or maybe it would have come, and many people may have lost lives, but then we would have moved on.

We may have never known that a man was unjustly killed by a police officer. (How very heart breaking.) It probably happened more times than we have realized before days of technology, but it was not known world wide until recent times allowed that technology.

We may have not heard, except through others, that towns were being burned to the ground and chaos ruled the land. Social media and smart phones now record such events. Again, these things have happened in the past but were not announced across the world like they are in the media today.

Today these things spread like wildfire and like wildfire ignite more anger and hate and chaos.

Today we are immediately aware because of our technology. Times have changed

Because of that we are witnessing horrendous events shake our nation.

These are the days in which we live.

Evil is devious. Evil is strong. Evil is loud. It has been in our nation since the beginning of the nation’s existence, and before. I believe there were times of refreshing and open windows of blessings from the Lord in our nation because, for the most part, we honored God. But because we have opened our doors to sin, the blessings of peace seem to have disappeared.

Still during this evil, hope does exist. The Lord is not caught off guard and always has a plan.

“So, shall they fear the name of the Lord from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun. When the enemy comes in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord will lift up a standard against him.” Isaiah 59:19

I believe that the Lord, who sees all and knows all, who is aware of our past, our present and our future will never leave or forsake those who seek him during these hours.

Like I said in my last blog, the enemy of darkness is angry and afraid and will do all he can to bring unrest and destruction. He knows his time is short. And he comes ONLY to kill, steal, and destroy!!! (John 10:10) That is his only purpose. But on the other hand, Jesus came to bring abundant life.

Regardless of the purpose behind this chaos, though it is important, the real enemy is satan. It always has been.

The Lord still reigns. And people need his presence, his hope, his peace like never before.

I believe these riots, like the effects of COVID, are a wakeup call to the body of Christ. We need to always be prepared, not only to pray, but to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit and walk amid the darkness. It is our obligation to bring HIS light and HIS hope. The only answer is Jesus.

There was a season in America when there was peace. Today injustice, hate and anger have multiplied.

During the days of the Roman Empire there was so much chaos and blood shed, as well. That is why the disciples thought, at first, that Jesus was going to raise up a revolution. Interesting enough, God chose a time of complete confusion to bring his hope.

God’s ways our not our ways.

As I write, it is Pentecost Sunday. And where I live it was the first day since COVID that I got to attend my church. I wept, thanking God for that opportunity, yet I was also aware that my country was being torn apart.

What is our place in this chaos?

I know I am to pray but we (you and I) are also called to spread the hope of Christ. The Lord will guide us. I want to hear his voice, in this hour.

God is NOT sitting back. He is STILL in control. He is STILL brooding upon the earth. He has heard the cries of his people that have been crying out day and night for his presence, not just in America, but around the world. Those kinds of prayers have been uttered from suffering individuals in other countries for years. Like the cries that went up to heaven during the years of slavery in which the Israelites suffered at the hands of the Egyptians, so God hears the cries of his saints today.

He is not turning a deaf ear. Evil is evil. But God is greater.

Greater is he that is in you and me than he (satan) who is in the world. (1 John 4:4).

The glory of the Lord will rise in this hour of darkness because the Lord is still on the throne. He longs to save us from our own destruction. He longs to bring us to THE LIGHT. Are we prepared to bring the gospel to a lost and dying world?

Jesus died a sinner’s death on the cross for our sins during the Roman reign. Though it surprised the disciples because it wasn’t what they expected, it ended up being so much better than what they had anticipated.

Jesus rose from the dead!

After he returned to heaven the Holy Spirit came upon them with POWER as seen in Acts 2. They went from hiding in fear to boldly sharing the gospel in a world that did not want to hear it. Yet many came to Christ.

During the turmoil today, like in the days of the Roman Empire, I believe the Holy Spirit will once again fill the earth with his glory.

“In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy. Your young men will see visions and your old men will dream dreams. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy. I will show wonders in the heavens above and signs on the earth below, blood and fire and billows of smoke. The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord. And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord WILL be saved.” Acts 2:17-21

So instead of anger or fear reigning in your heart with all that has been happening in 2020, we should rejoice. We are found worthy to be part of this age, part of something so much greater. We can be part of the greatest harvest before his return.

Remember:

He will not leave or forsake us. Hebrew 13:5
He has a plan, a hope, and a future for us. Jeremiah 29:11
He wants us to rejoice in him, always. Philippians 4:4
He will fill the earth with his glory. Isaiah 6:3

He wants us to partner with him to bring in the harvest.

“He told them, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into this harvest field.” Luke 10:2

Will you be one of the workers in the harvest?

Father,
I thank you for taking the very thing that was meant for destruction and using it to draw many people to you. Thank you that you are healing hearts and forgiving sins. We ask for your mercy. Hear our cries and heal our land. Teach us how to be harvesters in this hour and fill us with your boldness to go on the streets to bring the lost and broken to you. Amen

What will be your new normal?

God IS Good

God IS good.

He is good when things go well
And he is good when they do not.

He is good when you are in health
And when you struggle with illness.

He is good when the storms come
And is good when the sun shines.

He is good when your pockets are empty,
Or when your bank is overflowing.

He is good when you’re surrounded by loved ones
And he is good when you taste loneliness.

He is good when a new life is born.
He is good when death’s door is at hand.

He is good when life is broken and hard
And He is good when life is easy.

GOD IS GOOD

Because ……

He died that you might live.
He has your best interest at heart.
He loves you unconditionally.
He is full of mercy.
He heals your heartache.
He forgives you continually.
He is always faithful.
He fights for you.

In the mist of tears he is your hope.
In the mist of sorrow he is your anchor.

He will never leave you.
He will never abandon you.

He answers you when you call.
He rescues you when you are weak.

He is the same yesterday, today and forever.

He is the Alpha…The Omega…The Beginning… Then End

He is the GREAT “I AM”’

God is GOOD….ALWAYS!

“O taste and see that the LORD is good; How blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!” Psalm 34:8

AMEN

Sometimes Tears Are Prayers When You Have No Words To Say.

One of my favorite sounds is the sound of birds singing. Early in the morning as the sun rises and the sound of birds singing float through the air, I smile. Usually it accompanies spring, sunshine, green grass, flowers and new hope. It also introduces the summer season filled with trips to the lake, vacations and the sound of children playing and laughing outside. That is another sound that fills my heart with joy; the sound of children playing throughout the neighborhood, parks and even my backyard.

But this spring is different.

Life is different. Not only are we secluded in our homes, but schools and playgrounds; places filled with children laughing are closed. On top of that, in my part of the world, snow is still trying to fall from the grey clouds. The air is cold and windy.

This morning I heard birds singing in the early morning hour even though the air was cold and blustery. When I went to the window the sound of the birds quieted. I saw a single red robin perched on a branch of a leafless tree. He rested there for quite a while, standing against the cold wind that blew. His red breast puffed up to trap warm air like a winter coat. I wondered what he was doing there, alone.

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My eyes caught a flag flying at a distance from American the Legion, flapping in the cold wind. Above the wind, the sound of silence filled the early morning hour. It was if the world stood quiet while a demonic influence was trying to stealthily sweep the airwaves with pestilence and fear.

I looked back at the lonely robin, still perched in the leafless tree and I began to feel a tear fall down my cheek. I whispered without even realizing I was talking out loud, “Lord, take care of the robin. Lord take care of all the robins.” I do not know why my heart began to break. The single tear turned into weeping and I cried to the Lord again, “Take care of all the robins”!

I wasn’t crying for the robin, per say. I was crying out for the brokenness of our world, the brokenness of our country, the brokenness of people, people lost, people filled with fear, people dying, people dying without the Lord.

I wept for some time. Sometimes tears are prayers, when you have no words to say.

The Lord reminded me of this verse:

“Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? “Matthew 6:26-27 (NIV)

By afternoon the winds calmed down and blue skies began to appear as the clouds parted. I heard several birds singing and I looked outside my window and that single robin was still perched in the leafless tree. Then I watched him fly away as if he had no care in the world.

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Lord, I do not begin to understand what is happening in our world today. But I know this: You will take care of me. You will take care of those who put their trust in you!

I began to quote a part of Psalm 91.

“He who dwells in the shelter of the Highest will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”
PS 91:1-2 (NIV)

I choose to trust you, Lord, not just for myself, but for those who are lost, those that feel hopeless and afraid. Lord lead them to you. If I am to be the one to lead anyone to you, give me the words to say. Amen.

God bless.

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Called to be a Light

With the COVID-19 out on the loose people have become more vigilant with sanitizing, personal hygiene and social distancing. But there are some of us who still must work. Some are on the front lines, literally, working with patients. Others may have essential positions that do not include dealing with those who are sick, yet are still working in the public.

I have been working daily. I use sanitizer after handling money and clean my workstation often, but there isn’t exactly 6 feet between those in the office and those who we encounter. Some in the office just “deal” with it while others are beginning to become extremely anxious each minute they are working.

One individual, though she wears gloves, washes her hands so much they have become red, chapped and irritated. I heard her say, as she was diligently sanitizing, “I don’t want to touch their filthy things.” That stuck with me for some reason and of course the Lord reminded me of scripture associated with the statement.

In 2 Corinthians Paul explains the importance of keeping oneself from darkness and tells us that there is no harmony between light and darkness, between Christ and the devil.

“Therefore, come out from among unbelievers and separate yourselves from them, says the Lord. Don’t touch their filthy things and I will welcome you. And I will be your Father, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.” 2 Corinthians 6:17 & 18 (NLT)

Of course, we must live and work among unbelievers. I don’t believe that is what the Lord is saying here. Paul states in 1 Corinthians 5 that if we didn’t associate with those of this world, we would have to leave the world.

During the COVID-19 virus that is sweeping the world, we are told to not touch anything unless it has been sanitized and to maintain social distancing. Why? For our safety, of course.

As believers we were already called to separate ourselves from the world. What does that look like? It means that we don’t compromise with sin nor join with those that do. Instead we look different than the world. That is not always comfortable nor easy.

It is easier to blend in.
It is easier to agree with the world.
It is easier to grumble and complain.
It is easier to gossip about others.
It is easier to be revengeful and unforgiving.

And the list of easier continues on and on.

It is ALSO easier to fall into fear during these times, as many in the world are doing.

But Jesus never told us that following him would be easy. There is NO EASY button. In fact, Jesus warned us that few would travel the harder road.

“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow, the road that leads to life and only a few find it”. Matthew 7:13-14 (NIV)

I never did understand the TV show called, “Highway to Heaven”. I am not sure what road they were on, but the road to heaven is not a paved highway, at all. Scriptures imply over and over that it is a road that will involve trials and sacrifice. But it also is one that involves a relationship with our Creator; which in turn reaps rewards of peace, hope, purpose, joy and eternal life.

Why were we warned, as believers, to separate ourselves and not touch the filthy things? Like the warnings of today during the COVID-19 virus, it is for our benefit. We are to separate ourselves to keep us from becoming infected with the sins and distractions of this world. Sin can only lead us down the road of eternal destruction.

We are called to be different, to be a light, to stand out in the crowd and go against the flow so that we can bring hope to a dying world.

It’s like the bride who walks down the aisle She is not dressed like anyone else. She stands out and looks different. And all eyes are on her.

We (you and I) are the bride of Christ. What is the purpose in being different? It is so that others can find hope in this world of despair.

In these days that seem to be getting darker and appear grim, we need to bring the light of hope. I pray that God would fill each of us with his boldness to complete our purpose and represent HIS light. The world needs Jesus.

I agree with Paul when he said: “Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel.” Ephesians 6:19 (NIV)

My prayer is that what the enemy has meant for evil, God would use to draw people to HIM.  And I pray we can be part of that process.

God bless.