IT IS EITHER BLACK OR WHITE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What is love anyway?

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

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

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

He was setting boundaries for her benefit.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My prospective?

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

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

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

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

The days may seem like they are darker.

But: HERE COMES THE SON!

 

Evil is not winning

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He is the same God today.

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

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

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

His eyes are on those he loves.

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

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

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

Become a David today.

God Bless.

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.

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?

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?

Do Not Look Back

We often look back on memories of our past.

We may re-live our positive memories with fondness and perhaps long for those days. The negative experiences, on the other hand, can take a more disturbing residence in our minds. Like a loop tape, they play over in our minds to the point of wishing we could change a certain time span, as you see in sci-fi movies. Or they are buried deep into our memory bank and we throw away the key. A simple moment may have changed the direction of our lives.

As far as negative experiences in our past, I have heard it said, “Your past does not dictate your future.” In other words, whatever happened in your past that was negative should not dictate the ability to live the rest of life with hope and promise. Yet, many people use heartache from their past to excuse their actions, saying it’s not their fault that they act a certain way.

It’s true that some people have experienced horrific pasts and need Jesus to enter their lives and perhaps go through counseling. But I am saying that God CAN use any hard situation to prosper us and those around us. HE has a way of turning things around. In fact, II Corinthians 1:3 states that God will comfort us in our trouble SO THAT we can comfort others when they experience trouble and pain.

Regardless, we are to ALWAYS move forward.

Remembering the negative past is for the purpose of reminding us of God’s mercy AND to help those who are stuck in their past. We can; however, learn from the past.

Winston Churchill said, “Those who fail to learn from history are condemned to repeat it.”

So, we can LEARN from our past, BUT we should not camp there. We must MOVE forward. If we choose to live in our past –we will not grow into what we were meant to become.

In Exodus 16, the children of Israel, who wandered the desert for 40 years were told that manna, bread from heaven, would fall onto the ground every morning. There would be enough for that day. But what they did not use (except when they were to bake it for the 7th day) they were to throw out. If they didn’t it would breed worms and rot. We do not want to live off yesterday’s memories or experiences, good or bad.

I think there is more to that concept than we realize.

Even the Lord said that his mercies are NEW every morning. (Leviticus 3)

Paul shared his past in Acts 22 by talking about his background. He described how he was driven to kill those who preached the gospel. He continued by describing his transformation when he met Jesus on the road to Damascus. Since then he only pressed forward. He knew where he came from but did not stay there. The negative in his life was used only to show the power of God’s ability to change lives. He moved forward. He even stated in Philippians 3:13,14 (GWT):

“Brothers and sisters, I can’t consider myself a winner yet. This is what I do: I DON’T LOOK BACK, I lengthen my stride, and I run straight toward the goal to win the prize that God’s heavenly call offers in Christ Jesus.”

At the end of his life he said,

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” 2 Timothy 4:7 (NIV)

We will not finish the race by stopping and taking a break and just chilling. And we definitely will not finish it by turning around and going back to the starting line. So we can’t finish the race by looking behind us and wishing our past was different or listening to the voices that say, “Just quit. Your life was broken from the beginning anyway. Why try?”

Even if an athlete falls in a race, he gets up and runs harder.

Often the children of Israel complained to Moses while in the desert. They wanted to return to Egypt because it seemed easier the way things used to be, even if they were slaves before. They didn’t want to walk forward through hardships to get to the promised land. They were content with slavery.

How about you? Do you want to remain a slave to the things of this world instead of pressing forward?

What happened to Lot’s wife when she turned to look at Sodom and Gomorrah burning in the flames of God’s judgement? She turned into a pillar of salt. I often wonder why she turned to look back, especially after she was warned not to. Was it curiosity? Was it rebellion? Was it one last look at what she was leaving behind? Whatever her reason may have been, looking back had its consequences.

There is something about moving forward that the Lord wants to impress into our spirits.

“Jesus said to him, ‘No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.” Luke 9:62

The Lord wants to encourage us to go forward. It is so easy at times to simply sit back and get comfy or obsess with the past.

But there is joy at the finish line if we do not give up.

(Jesus) saw the JOY AHEAD of him, so endured the death of the cross and ignored the disgrace it brought him. Hebrews 12:2a (GWT)

He saw what was at the finish line and it filled him with joy and gave him the determination to go forward.

If we could really see with 20/20 vision, as many are stating in 2020, we could see that God IS for us. We could see that the suffering of this age is NOTHING compared to the glorious life that is in front of us. THAT is why he wants us to move FORWARD. There is so much more at the finish line.

THERE IS MORE THAN WE CAN IMAGINE IN FRONT OF US!

Do not look behind you with longing. Do not look behind you with regret. Do not look behind you with defeat. The things in the past will not satisfy anymore. Press forward.

Our tomorrows with the LORD will be greater than we have ever imagined. What does God have to say about going forward?

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

Keep your eyes focused on the author and finisher of your faith as you continue to move forward. Press on.

GOD BLESS!

Alive!

Fear, doubt and unbelief seemed to grip the room. No one said a word. I could hear the sound of the others in the room but the darkness hid their faces. Were they filled with the same thoughts that invaded my mind? Thump, thump, thump. I held my hand up to my chest to try to calm the racing of my heart.

“What if, what if this was all there was? What if we were all going to be killed for what we held as truth? What would be the purpose of it all? What would be the purpose of healing the sick, raising the dead, teaching hope for eternity if it all ended with the death of our teacher and our friend? He had brought such hope. Did it just end? Was it over?”

We cannot even imagine the long drawn out hours from the time of Jesus’ death until the day of his resurrection.

We do not know the lies and thoughts that may have penetrated the minds of the disciples and followers the hours that followed his death. They may have seemed so bleak and hopeless.

Three years prior had been glorious! Miracles took place daily. New hope had risen throughout the nation. Jesus spoke with so much wisdom. That kind of wisdom hadn’t been heard of for hundreds of years.

He heard from God!

He taught, encouraged and healed anyone who wanted it. Even the religious and government leaders were stunned by his wisdom.

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

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

People were waving palm branches and laying out their coats for him. All was glorious.

Then one night, it seemed to take a turn for the worse. Jesus had warned them of this moment. But he also said he would rise from the dead.

Now I ask you, what have you been going through that seems dark, hopeless and desperate?

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

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

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

He hears the cries of your heart.

Remember:

ON THE THIRD DAY……HE ROSE FROM THE DEAD!!!!!

Your days may seem dark. Your dreams may seem bleak. But DO NOT give up!

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

Do you even understand how powerful that statement is?

The disciples and other followers of Christ may have not understood right away what was actually taking place the day Jesus died. But their dreams had not died.

Jesus had to die on this earth in order to take the sins of mankind into the pit of hell where he left them.

He did it to steal the keys of death from the enemy of darkness. AND HE DID IT WITH VICTORY.

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

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

Remember: JESUS DID NOT STAY IN THAT GRAVE!

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

Your hope is not dead. HE IS ALIVE!Happy Resurrection Sunday!

God Bless.

When Life Trips You Up

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

WEIGHT THAT CAN SLOW US DOWN

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

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

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

They slow us down.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

THE SIN THAT SO EASILY TRIPS US UP

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

God bless.

Weeds among the wheat

Often we can feel discouraged because of the evil that surrounds us in this age. It seems wrong has gotten a stamp of approval while trying to live righteous is mocked.  Simple morals and kindness have been kicked to the curb as trash and worthless ideals. Lies are spoken, vulgarity runs rampant, and the guilty are set free, while the just are tried with vengeance.

I’ve heard some people state that evil is triumphing because of what they see and hear. Do you notice how evil is proudly flaunting its corruption?  I remember reading how Lot was disgusted and vexed by the depravity of sin in his day. (2 Peter 2:7) It seems it is continuing to surround us with threats of destruction.

I was reading the parable in Matthew 13:24-30 in the New Living Translation titled, “Parable of the Wheat and Weeds”. I’m sure you are familiar with it, but bear with me as you read the following:

Here is another story Jesus told: “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a farmer who planted good seed in his field. But that night as the workers slept, his enemy came and planted weeds among the wheat, then slipped away. When the crop began to grow and produce grain, the weeds also grew.

The farmer’s workers went to him and said, “Sir, the field where you planted that good seed is full of weeds! Where did they come from?”

“An enemy has done this!” the farmer explained.

“Should we pull out the weeds?” they asked.

“No,” he replied, “you’ll uproot the wheat if you do. Let both grow together until the harvest. Then I will tell the harvesters to sort out the weeds, tie them into bundles, and burn them, and to put the wheat in the barn.”

The passage that was highlighted to me was, “Let both grow together until the harvest.”

Hmm“, I thought to myself, ‘the wheat and the weeds grew TOGETHER.” This thought lingered in my mind.

You may see more filth on TV. You may hear depressing lies of defeat. You may watch people choose lifestyles that are controversial, yet glorified. Your child may be taught questionable “facts” and be challenged with ideas that you never faced.

It is because the weeds are growing WITH the wheat. The weeds that were planted by our enemy are not stronger, just perhaps louder. Yet the wheat is growing in hidden strength deep in the soil of God’s righteousness.

I believe that people who are searching for God and are hungering for HIM, WILL walk in a greater power and anointing in these last days. As the harvest grows near, the followers who choose to seek the Lord will become stronger in their testimony as they walk in their God-given authority. The miracles that follow them will be powerful; even supernatural.

You may not be hearing this on your local news station. You may not be hearing it in the social media frenzy. But God is raising up an army! He plants them, waters them and is watching them grow. The weeds are simply a pesky and annoying distraction. (Weeds are invasive plants that try to steal the nutrients and water from the soil so that the intended plant will starve.)  BUT they do not have more power; they are just louder and more demanding.

Yet, the Lord allows the weeds to grow with the wheat in spite of their destructive behavior because he knows that if they are pulled too early the wheat could be uprooted with them. They both grow. And though the weeds try to suffocate the wheat, the wheat grows in quiet strength.

Do your remember when Jesus said, “greater things than these will you do” in John 14? He was speaking to his followers stating that if they believed in him they would do greater things than he did because he was going to heaven and would send the Holy Spirit.

Jesus did mighty things on this earth. He healed the sick and broken-hearted, mentally ill and demon processed. He raised the dead, calmed the storms and prophesied of things to come, all in obedience to his heavenly Father. He did so many things that the Bible states that perhaps there would not be enough room in the world for all the books. (John 21)

With that said, most Christians are definitely not walking in the realm that Jesus has available for them. Timothy warned of these people in his second letter. He states that in the last day Christians will have a form of godliness, but deny its power.

There is SO much more available to those who want to walk in his glory. Note: this is not a super hero power. This is a humble, suffering, total surrender to the Creator of our Universe, listening to the voice of the Holy Spirit, POWER. This is walking in the authority of Christ with miracles that will change hearts and minds, that will heal the sick and raise the dead. This isn’t about people who want glory for themselves. This army is a made up of people who love the Lord with all that they are: mind, body and soul.

It is all about bringing people to Christ so they can be set free from the power of this dark world and live in eternity with HIM. It is about showing and walking in the love of Christ.

Please understand: The Lord DESIRES that all will find him and be set free. Those that are weeds in the garden of life can become wheat. (1 Timothy 2:4).

I cannot get the image of the weeds and the wheat growing together, side by side, from my mind. One desires to cause havoc to their own demise, and the other is deeply rooted in the word and truth of the Lord.

Soon, very soon, the workers will harvest the field. The weeds will be burned BUT the wheat will be placed in his barn.

Soon very soon we will be with HIM in all of his glory.

Until then, you and I can grow as we choose to abide in HIM.  We don’t need to live in defeat and be entangled by the whispers of the weeds that surround us. Instead, we can be the answer for those who are lost.

We CAN and WILL do greater things in this hour.

Be encouraged. Get prepared.

God bless.