Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Gift Inside

Open up the gift inside
See Him there with Spirit eyes
Immanuel, the child King
Lift your voice, His praises sing
Risen Lord of glory and grace
Look in the mirror, see His face
Gaze deep into your eyes and know
His holy Seed within you grows
A shoot, a stem, a branch, a tree
He is the Vine, in Him we breathe
And live, and move, and have our being
Our Life, our Light, all darkness fleeing
From manger to the cross and death
He gives to us His righteousness
Redeemed and chosen, purchased, loved
He bought us with His own shed blood
He lived our life, now we live His
To love, to reach, to touch, to give
Lord of mercy, God of grace
My heart your home, come take your place
Cleanse this vessel, make it pure
You in me, I am secure
Empty me of self and pride
And any worldly thing inside
Remove the stuff that's not of You
Let Your Light come shining through
Your joy, Your hope, Your love, Your peace
So the world knows You dwell in me

If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and His love is perfected in us. Hereby we know that we dwell in Him, and He in us, because He hath given us of His Spirit. And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Savior of the world. Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God. And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God and God in him.--1 John 4:12b-16  (KJV)

Dwelling in His Love,

Thursday, December 22, 2011

He Is With Us

I wanted to leave up the post with the Christmas poem until after Christmas, but I couldn't get this off my mind. WARNING---this is long! You may want to grab a Coke or a cup of coffee....and a cookie!!

Sunday after church my husband and I made a run to Walmart. He wanted to change out of his too warm sweater. We didn't have time to run home between services as our church Christmas play was that evening. So, he found a shirt he liked and we headed back.

As we pulled up to the traffic light exiting the parking lot, there was a man holding a sign that read, "Out of work-need help." I turned to my husband and asked, "Don't you think we should give him something?" He asked me, "What has the Lord told you?" To which I replied, "He didn't speak anything specific to me but His word says if someone is in need and we have it beside us that we are to give." (Matt. 5:42, 1 John 3:17)

I knew I only had one bill in my purse but I drew it out, rolled down the window and said, "Excuse me, sir." I held out the money to him. He looked at the money in my hand, took the few steps to the truck, received the money, he may have mumbled something, and returned to his spot in the median. The man never once looked at my face or smiled. I never saw his eyes. His focus was only on the money in my hand. I didn't feel any real gratitude from the man.

This has stayed with me the past few days.

When we give to someone we don't worry about what they will do with the money. As far as we are concerned that's between them and God. I learned a long time ago (from my Mom and Dad) that when someone is in need and you have it to give, you simply give. AND you don't expect anything in return. When we trust God as our source, He is the One who repays us, and we are blessed. I didn't say rich because that we are not. But God takes care of our needs.

I thought about that man at Walmart as I drove to work today. I wondered how many times we, as Christians, treat God in the same way. How many times do we look to His hand instead of seeking His face? Our Father hears our faintest cry, turns to us, reaches out and blesses us. How often do we receive His blessings and never even thank Him? The answer would be-Every. Single. Day. And every single day we wake up looking for the next blessing. Even if we don't look for them, they are there all around us.

I watched as the sun rose through the clouds and thought, "Every day is a precious gift that we unwrap as we move forward, step by step and breath by breath." Do we thank the One in Whom we live and move and have our being? The One Who gave us breath and continues to give us breath every moment of every day is worthy of our thanksgiving and our praise.

We may mumble a quick, "Thank You, Lord" under the breath He gave us, but do our actions show that gratitude? Really!? Do we worship Him in spirit and in truth? And do we love Him with ALL our heart, ALL our mind, ALL our strength, and ALL our might? Does every fiber of our created being desire to please our Maker? I wonder.

What if we truly believed Immanuel? What if we truly believed God is with us? Do we believe the reality
of His presence? Always! Do we live our lives, think our thoughts, do our works as if we believe this vital truth? HE IS WITH US!

We are His children, the sheep of His pasture, the apple of His eye, His chosen, His peculiar people, His beloved. He is our Provider, our Healer, our Deliverer, our Redeemer, our King, our Lord. Do we treat Him as such? If so, why do so many begin their day without acknowledging His very presence? HE IS WITH US! Why are there so many Christians who feed the body and not their soul? Why do so many enter the church on Sunday morning unprepared?

They take time to shower, brush their teeth, and fix their hair. Their clothes are the latest fashion. Make up, just right. The outside of the cup is fresh and clean. But the inside is empty, even dirty, maybe. They are unprepared. Worship begins and they stand there. Idle. Waiting. They wait for the waters to be troubled so then, maybe, they can jump in. BUT, someone else always gets there first. Or maybe, they don't want to be first, so they wait.

They want the outside temperature to be just right. They want someone else to "carry them" into the waters. They complain about the song, the music, the singers. They are harboring their pet sin (unforgiveness, criticism, jealousy, etc.) and they just can't seem to focus on the King today. They define their worship according to external circumstances or internal feelings. They have forgotten to be thankful, they forget the reality of His presence, and have forsaken the relationship of the heart.

A thankful heart, one that is in love, will always respond in worship and adoration.. Do we enter His gates with thanksgiving? If not, we cannot enter His courts with praise. People, it shows on the outside, more often than you think, where your heart is. God doesn't want lip service, He wants your heart. Many may be saying, "God looks on the heart and not the outward appearance." Yes, this is true! God was speaking of the difference between Saul and David. Actions speak louder than words! David worshipped God. David trusted God. David was obedient to God. David was all that Saul wasn't. Where is your heart? God sees!

Worship is much more than singing a song. It comes from a grateful heart. It puts our focus fully on Christ. It exalts Him and as we lift Him up He draws us to Himself. Worship is spiritual warfare! As God inhabits our praises, the yoke of the enemy is broken. When everyone is worshipping, we are in one accord and of one mind and Holy Spirit wind and fire is set loose in our midst. When we worship we are in unity with heaven and with one another. When we worship we become united in one with the God Who united us with Himself in the Person of Christ Jesus.

God came in the flesh. He still comes in the flesh; our flesh. Know ye not that ye are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? (1 Cor. 3:16, 6:19) God is not peering down at us through some cosmic hole in the universe. No! HE IS WITH US. We, as His children, should act us such and reverence Him. Then we shall see Him moving in our midst and not before.

Today, I asked God to forgive me for my ingratitude. I asked Him to forgive me for the times I seek the blessing and not the precious face of the Blessor. I asked Him to forgive me when I take His gifts for granted. I asked Him to make me more aware of His presence every moment of every day. Will you join me in this prayer? Because--HE IS WITH US!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Unto Us

Every year my mother and I write Christmas poems. I send them out instead of the traditional Christmas card. Mom usually includes hers inside her cards. Today I'm sharing my poem with you. I wrote the poem but the words are God's!

For unto us a child is born
In a lowly manger in the dead of night
Unto us a Son is given
Whosoever believes in Him has everlasting life
The government shall be upon His shoulder
All power is given Him in heaven and earth
His Name shall be called Wonderful Counselor
Immanuel God with us at His birth
He is the Almighty God
Who was wrapped in swaddling clothes
He is the Everlasting Father
Our Savior Christ the Lord
He is the Prince of Peace
The Creator of all things
The One the shepherds glorified
Of Whom the angels sing
The people that once walked in darkness
Have seen a great and glorious light
Those that dwell in the land of the shadow of death
Upon them has this Light brightly shined
He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life
Who died upon the cross
Holy, spotless Lamb of God
Slain to save the lost
He triumphed over death and the grave
To reign forever more
By Him we enter in and are saved
Our Shepherd is the Door
He is the Son of God
Who was born the Son of Man
Who from the foundation of the world
Was salvation's plan
He is King of Kings and Lord of Lord's
He is coming back again
Glory to God in the highest and on earth
Peace, good will toward men

May you all have a very Blessed and Merry Christmas and may Christ Jesus be born afresh in your hearts! Still Dwelling in Him as He dwells in me.
Love and Blessings

Friday, December 16, 2011

Wide Open

This morning my prayer was:

Lord, I want to live with my eyes wide open, I want to see what You see and to see others as You see them.

I want to live with my arms wide open, to embrace who You embrace and what You embrace.

I want to live with my heart wide open, to love who You love...unafraid.

I want to live with my life wide open, to reach the broken, hurting, needy, lost, poor....

I want to live with my ears wide open, to hear You when You speak as You tell me to

I want to be like You!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Mighty Men and Women of God

When I miss an opportunity from my Lord, I tend to "beat myself up." This happened to me Sunday morning in church. Sometimes I trip over this..."all things are to be done decently and in order" (1 Cor. 14:40).  I'm afraid I might speak out of turn. I respect our pastor and I don't want to interrupt him. So, I wonder, when do I speak up after God has given me a word?

The word my Lord gave me was this, Behold, I am the Lord of hosts, the Lord of heavenly, angelic armies. You will encounter the enemy, you will face the battle.  But more there be with you than there be against you. You have the power to lead the enemy captive. I have given you the power. I have equipped you to fight. Use My word, use the power of My Spirit. Use your sword. Be still and know I am God does not mean lay down and quit. It means to prepare to see My salvation IN the battle. It means hit your knees and pray. It means trust. It means let faith arise in you. I am the Lord your God, I will fight for you IN the battle. Be strong, be of good courage. I am the Lord your God and you are victorious in Me.

I thought of Elisha in 2 Kings 6. The king of Syria sent his army to capture Elisha. But the Lord had sent His heavenly army to protect him. Therefore, Elisha and his servant led the entire enemy army captive.

This isn't what our pastor preached, but it was close. He delivered his message from 2 Samuel 23. He encouraged us to stand up against the enemy and be dedicated to the battle. God has a group of people who will fight. David was a mighty warrior who surrounded himself with like-minded men. You cannot serve the Lord and fight the battle while living in the enemy's camp. You have to separate yourself to be victorious.

I have gone back and re-read 2 Samuel 23 and God continues to reveal more to me about David's mighty men in the battle. In verse 8, we meet Adino the Eznite who "lift up his spear and slew eight hundred men at one time." In Joshua 8:18 the Lord told Joshua to "Stretch out the spear that is in your hand..." And how about in Exodus 14:13-16 when all of Israel was caught between the Red Sea and their enemy. God told Moses "...lift thou up thy rod, and stretch out thine hand over the sea and divide it..."  In all these instances, God gave them victory.

So I ask, "What is in your hand? What can you lift up to the Lord in faith so that He can move on your behalf?" Little David raised a sling and a stone against a mighty giant and God have him the victory. Abraham stretched forth his hand and raised a knife, willing to sacrifice his promise from God. Just look at the results of his obedience (Genesis 22) in verses 17 and 18, blessing and multiplying and possession of the gates of his enemies. Just because he lifted up something in his hand in an act of pure faith and trust in God.

While I am on this, what has God asked you to give up that you are still holding onto? Are you afraid to lay your Isaac on the alter? Are you afraid God will not fulfill His promise to you if you just let it go? What about that job, that relationship, that church? It's easy to lay down the things we don't want or those things that we know are evil. But what about that "good thing" that has actually become your idol? Think about it!! I am.

The next of David's mighty men is Eleazar. He single-handedly attacked the Philistines that were gathered together to battle. He rose up and smote (struck and killed) the Philistines until his hand was weary and his hand clave (adhered to, clung, remained faithful...) unto the sword. The Lord gave him the victory and the people returned and gathered the spoil.

How many of us can say that we clung faithfully to our sword in the heat of the battle? There are times when others will leave us and we are alone in our battle. Our battles are fought, not by might nor by power but only by God's Spirit. And we have to stand, clothed in the armour of God, wielding our sword of the Word. Sometimes others will join us on the battlefield. Other times it's just you and God.

When we pray and persevere, fighting for the kingdom, God will bring the victory and we will gather the spoil. We will take back what the enemy has stolen, not only for ourselves but for the kingdom, for our families, and for our church.

Then we have Shammah. He also stood alone, and faced a troop of Philistines, to guard a piece of ground. It was a garden full of lentils. Did you see that? The garden was FULL! The enemy doesn't want your dirt, he wants your harvest. Not only your physical harvest, he especially desires to steal your spiritual harvest. Read Is. 61:3, 1 Cor 3:9, Is. 60:21, and Jer. 17:8. These verses declare that WE are God's garden or His tree, a planting of the Lord. Don't allow the enemy to enter into your garden.

In the Song of Solomon 4:12-16, the maiden is referred to as a garden enclosed. The only One she invites to come into her garden is her Lord. We must be careful to guard the garden of our heart otherwise "little foxes" will creep in to spoil the vines and steal the fruit (2:15). I looked up the word spoil, it means to impair, damage, or ruin something to the extent that its worth, beauty, or usefulness is diminished. It means to damage beyond repair. It means to impair the completeness, perfection, or unity of.  And spoil is also plunder taken from an enemy in war or stolen from a victim in robbery. You are not a victim. You are more than a conqueror in Christ Jesus!!

We know that the thief (our enemy) comes not but to steal and to kill and to destroy. But Jesus came that we would have life, and that we would have it more abundantly. (John 10:10)

There is one more exploit of David's mighty men that I want to expound on in 2 Samuel 23:13-17. In this account, the three men joined together. David had spoken out loud that he longed for a drink of water from the well of Bethlehem which is by the gate. No doubt he was thirsty and the well was deep and the water of that well of Bethlehem must have been cool and refreshing.

This reminds me of the woman at the well in John 4. She came to draw water from Jacob's well but she encountered the Well of Bethlehem. The One who is deep and contains the waters of salvation. The only One who can refresh our soul. The only One who can satisfy our longing heart. Jesus, the Well of living water that sprung forth in Bethlehem. He asked her for a drink. The Bible never tells us that she gave Him a drink but I believe He was refreshed by her faith. How often do we refresh our Lord with our faithfulness?

David is a "type" of Jesus. Here we see that David's mighty men joined forces to break through the enemy lines just to bring him a drink of water. Jesus said there is a reward for someone who gives the thirsty soul a cup of cold water. This was to the extreme. Most of us have never risked our lives to give Jesus something to refresh His heart. And the majority have never even risked their pride to give Him glory.

Think about Mary who was ridiculed as she poured out her precious oil on the head and feet of Christ. Mary, who took down her hair in public to wipe His feet. Mary, who sat at His feet and hung on His every word. What about the one leper out of ten who returned to thank Jesus for making him whole. What about worship; to cry out Hosanna unashamed. Many won't worship in church, let alone on the street. Many of God's children won't even pray in public to thank Him for His provision.

How can we refresh our Lord? How can we pour out an offering to Him? David realized the only One worthy of this kind of love and devotion was his Lord not himself. David didn't drink it, instead he poured out the precious water unto his King. Life giving water that others had risked their lives to give became an offering. What do you have to offer Him? What has He asked you to lay at His feet?

 How can we bless the Giver of all blessings? We can thank Him. We can whole-heartedly worship Him. We can do what He said, "What you have done unto the least of these My brethren you have done unto Me."


Thursday, December 8, 2011

Light versus Darkness

My Lord continues bringing a particular piece of scripture to my mind. It is 2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1--Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? And what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? Or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel (unbeliever)? And what agreement hath the temple of God with Idols? For you are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God and they shall be My people. Wherefore COME OUT FROM AMONG THEM AND BE YE SEPARATE, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty. Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from ALL filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. (KJV)

In the above scripture, God has said He will dwell in us, but He has also said that light and darkness will not dwell in the same place. In Matthew 6:22-23, Jesus tells us, "The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!"

So, the lust of the eyes is allowing worldly things to obstruct our view of heavenly things. Our eyes are to be fixed on Christ. Whatever we fix our eyes on is what we are drawn to or what we will become. He is to be our "single" vision. Matt. 6:23 says that we CANNOT serve two masters! There is no such thing as someone "walking the fence." There are no gray areas. God says you are either full of light or you are full of darkness. There is no in between. God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all. If we are in Him, there should be no darkness in us at all. If we say we have a relationship with God and continue to walk in sin, the Bible says we are lying. (1 John 1:5-7)

Some other examples of separation are found in Matt. 7:15-20. This is where Jesus warns us about false prophets who are ravenous wolves in sheep's clothing. He tells us we will recognize them by their fruits. (V.18) A good tree CANNOT bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. He speaks more on this in Matt.12:33-37. In James 3, James says that sweet and bitter water cannot come forth from the same fountain. And in John 15, Jesus tells us that only those who abide in Him will bear fruit, those who do not abide in Him wither up and are burned. This tells me that some who were once in Him fell away from Him and died spiritually.

I John 2:15-17 tells us that we are not to love the world or the things that are in this world. If a man loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth forever.

Way too many people and churches are trying to mix the things of God with the world. They are watering down the Word of God and making it ineffective. This is having a form of godliness but denying the power thereof. They seem to have a concern for the lost, but they draw them in with worldly enticements rather than praying and seeking God and allowing Him to add to the church. All it took in Acts was a Spirit filled man preaching the truth of the gospel and GOD added to the church by the thousands.

Man seems to have forgotten that it is not he who saves but Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit of God draws all men to Christ as we lift Him up. Instead, many churches have so many distractions such as television and videos. The modern church has "giveaways" to draw people in. Come to church and get a free gift; a coffee cup, a pen, or a t-shirt. WHAT ABOUT COME TO CHURCH AND GET GOD'S FREE GIFT OF SALVATION THROUGH JESUS CHRIST!!! Christ told His disciples to "Go and make disciples." If all we do is "get people saved" and never disciple them, we end up with orphaned baby Christians who are never fed on the pure milk of the Word. Therefore, they never grow in Christ.

God says, "Be ye holy for I am holy." He would not have told us this if it were not possible. It is possible  to be holy when we dwell in Christ and He dwells in us. Then, everywhere we go, the light in us dispels the darkness. The very first words that are recorded in our Bibles, that were spoken by God in the creation of this world is, "Let there be Light!" And until He returns, we are to be His light in this world. (Matt. 5:14) 

Keep Dwelling In His Light!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Church, Keys, and Prison

I was going to share some things today that my Mother and I were discussing yesterday but I guess that will be for another day. God has a way of redirecting us sometimes and He did this through a birthday card I received in the mail yesterday.  Through this card, He took me back to what happened Sunday morning in church.

During worship my Lord began to speak to me, "I will give to you the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever you  loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." (Matt. 16:19) Then I saw, in the Spirit, the hands of Jesus holding forth a jeweled box. He was presenting it to different people. Some didn't even notice, others were reaching in with joy and withdrawing something from inside. I began crying out to Him, "I want it, Lord. Give it to me. I want what you have to give." He held it before me and opened it. It was full of keys. I reached in to receive.

I love our pastor and our church. It is full of Spirit-filled believers, but sometimes I wonder if they are really listening to the Spirit of God within them. You see, our pastor didn't have to preach long because the Holy Spirit was already moving in a powerful way. He flowed with the Spirit and gave an alter call. The call was for anyone who had an unfulfilled promise from God or anyone who needed a breakthrough. Well, I have to tell you, my husband and I wasted no time getting in that line. I jumped right in with my mind full of needed breakthroughs, unanswered prayers, and promises that have not yet come to pass.

As I stood in line full of joy and praise for this opportunity to step out in faith and have my faith united with the faith of others, I was amazed at the people glued to their seats. I thought, "REALLY? None of you have a need, an unanswered prayer, an unfulfilled promise? None of you need a breakthrough? None of you are wrestling with powers, or principalities, or the rulers of the darkness of this world, or spiritual wickedness in high places?"

I believe some were praying in their seats but many more were indifferent. I wonder what our Father thinks when He hands us these opportunities on a silver platter, when He stretches forth His treasure chest of gifts and calls His children to "Come" and be blessed and they just zone out as if a bad commercial came on TV in the middle of good movie. My heart was saddened for them, they were choosing to walk away from the church service leaving behind a blessing, or a miracle, or a breakthrough. I believe God had something for all of them and many missed it. I prayed for them and quickly returned my focus to God and He did not disappoint!!

Now, you may be wondering how a birthday card prompted all of this. You see, the sender is my brother and his situation is an unfulfilled promise. My brother was sent to prison for a crime he didn't commit. It's a long story. I may be able to share it with you some time, if he doesn't mind. But God made a promise to me that HE would be the One to set my brother free when it was time. HIS time! It's been nearly thirteen years now but I still believe God's promise.

My brother is in a physical prison because of what someone else did. Many people all around us are living in spiritual prison as the result of what one man did. Adam. But One Man named Jesus paid all with His blood to set us free. He is the door and He gives His children the key to enter in.

I humbly ask that anyone who reads this post would join me in praying for God to reveal the truth in my brother's situation and that he would be set free. But also that God will use him for His glory right where he is.

In case you have any false illusions of prison life, let me just share a little of his letter with you:

The day here dawned crisp and cold. The powers that be have decided to not provide us with heat this year until the daytime temperatures drop below and remain beyond 60 degrees. (*People, this does not take into consideration the night time temperatures.) This being Texas, could place the introduction of heat, if based on that line of logic, somewhere in January. To further emphasize the disdain with which they view our well-being, they have opted to not provide us with the second blanket, which is usually passed out in the winter months.

The ensuing nights within our concrete enclosure are without question on the far side of brisk.
I have always loved the onset of winter, the autumn seems to bring things into focus where nature is concerned. Every breath is somehow more invigorating and it's as if you can see for miles due to inexplicable clarity. That love though is tempered in here by the restricted line of sight and the lack of the ability, once taken for granted, to gird oneself against the chill. Even so, I am thankful for the relief from this past summer's brutal heat, seventy plus days over 100 degrees. Numb fingers and toes are a small concession to be free of that for a time. (*These men also have no air conditioning in the sweltering South Texas heat.)

I was blessed when they moved me into a cell with a very good friend of mine. You can scarce believe what a calming effect it is to share small quarters with someone trusted and honestly liked rather than some random stranger. (*These cells are smaller than what is legally allowed to house two dogs at the animal shelter.)

My brother went on to say how grateful he was for his Thanksgiving meal but that many complained because they cut out several items that they are usually served. There are two meals these guys look forward to each year. Often the day to day food is served repeatedly until there is scum floating on top and it's soured. Chicken is a rare treat that is used by kitchen staff for bartering for other things, so many of the men don't get their share.

There are supposed to be certain food requirements on what they receive each day. I've also learned that if a guard doesn't like you or something you've done or said, they have the kitchen staff make you what is called a "loaf." That means your every meal for the day is mixed all together in a bowl; breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Then it is put in a loaf pan and baked. That's what you get until the guard says otherwise.

These men are supposed to be supplied with five new uniforms every five years. My brother is wearing the same five he's had since day one. On top of that, laundry is packed so tightly into the big industrial washer that what is in the center doesn't even get wet. Therefore, it isn't even clean. That includes socks and underwear and you don't know who wore them before you.

I could go on. But what I wanted you to notice is the things he is thankful for in the midst of his suffering. It put me to shame. We are so spoiled and take so much for granted and there are people who are thankful for frozen hands and feet because the heat of summer was so unbearable. This led me to think of so many others in our own country who are suffering this holiday season. I pray God opens our eyes to really see the needs right in our own community. We so often set our sights on other countries and their problems when we have hurting needy people all around us. I want to whole-heartedly put into action "what you have done unto the least of these my brethren, you have done unto Me." God blesses us that we might be a blessing to others.

Rich Heavenly Blessings to you My Friends!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Wresting Matches

While others have been writing of Thanksgiving and the preparation of wonderful dishes, here I am writing once again of warfare. Believe me, I am NOT about doom and gloom. I love the holidays, especially Thanksgiving. Who doesn't like to eat?! And I am very thankful for all God has done in my life, especially for my salvation which I do not take lightly. God's blessing and beauty is all around me and I revel in it, in Him. I LOVE HIM WITH ALL MY HEART. However, in the midst of the blessing is the battle and this is where I am and where He is leading me to write. So, here goes!

For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds; Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:4-5

Have you ever seen a wrestling match? I'm not fond of the flamboyant wrestling that takes place on television. I know a lot of it is for show and has been staged. I also believe it teaches children to be puffed up and prideful; not to mention, confrontational. This is how satan must appear if we could actually see him. All swollen up and beating his chest as he spews out threats.

In most true wrestling matches, the object is to pin down your opponent, rendering him powerless. The sumo wrestlers of Japan wrestle inside a ring. Their goal is to knock their opponent off their feet or push them outside a ring. The beginners usually step into the ring and begin to wrestle, while the more experienced will size up one another. This is done by coming to the center line in the ring where they crouch down staring at each other. They may do this several times before the actual bout. Each time they will return to their corner for more mental preparation. As children of God, we are mentally prepared by His Word. Our wrestling is not of this world.

The Word of God tells us that we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, our warfare is spiritual. (Eph.6:12) If you find yourself in a wrestling match with enemy forces, don't be discouraged. God is in control. I am struggling right now to keep this in the forefront of my mind. The closer I draw to God, the more of His Word I grasp, the stronger the battle becomes. I'm finding this is also true with other Christians I am close to. We may feel like we are losing, but we are not. We are being strengthened to endure what is to come. 

God doesn't use those who have a form of godliness but deny His power. (2 Timothy 3:5) Why do we not see more healing and deliverance in the church? Why do we see more sin, more lovers of pleasure than lovers of God? Because these are the last days we are living in and those who are serious about their relationship with God and living holy lives are finding themselves in the heat of the battle.

The Word tells us that there must first come a falling away, then Christ will come. (2 Thess. 2:3)  What are people falling away from?  They are falling away from Truth. The word for "falling away" is apostasia or apostasy which means defection, rebellion, abandonment, to renounce or to abandon a previous loyalty. I've heard it preached many a time that you cannot "lose" your salvation. Salvation, like Love, is a choice. You can choose to walk away from Christ otherwise the bible wouldn't say that you can.

Jesus said, "You will know them by their fruits." Our lives, our actions, and our words tell the world who we belong to. Jesus speaks in Matthew 24:12 about the love of many waxing cold. That tells me they were once on fire for God, their candle was lit and burning brightly. But now the fire has gone out and their hearts, like wax, have grown cold and hard. The battle can make us weary and many will fall away from Christ. Now is the time to press in and draw closer to Him. He will strengthen you.

Take time to examine your heart. Is it on fire with passion for your first Love? Has it grown cold toward God? Are you lukewarm? Is He standing outside the door knocking or has He taken up residence within you? (Rev. 3:14-22) Allow Him to be your Fortress, your Strong Tower, your Dwelling Place. He will never leave you nor forsake you.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Humility--The Last Shall Be First

God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. James 4:6b
Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He shall lift you up. James 4:10
Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time. 1 Peter 5:6

Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion (appearance) as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted Him, and given Him a Name which is above every name. Philippians 2:5-9

Being exalted, or lifted up by God, comes with a price! It is called humility. Humility is not a natural trait found in human flesh. Just look around. People long to have the best position, they want to be first in a long line, or they want to be noticed for their knowledge, looks, or possessions. A child will dive in for the biggest cookie or fight over the "best" toy; which is usually the one held by another child. And we have the tendency to be childish in our ways.

When Jesus said that we are to "become as little children" in Matthew 18:3, He was speaking of becoming childlike in the sense that children are trusting, unpretentious, and teachable. Jesus called a little child to Him and the child humbly obeyed. This little child was set down in the midst of Jesus' disciples and made an example of how to enter into heaven. This child was not intimidated or fearful, he immediately did exactly as Jesus said. How often can we say that we did exactly as Jesus said, the moment He told us to do it? I'm sorry to say, I have fallen short here. I have a tendency to question God. "Was that REALLY You?" When I know good and well that it was. Then I have opened the door to doubt and I hesitate in obeying Him. Every now and then, I'm ashamed to say, I talk myself out of obeying which means I miss out on the blessing.

In Matthew 18:4 Jesus goes on to say, "Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven." As I meditated on this scripture, others began to come to my mind. Such as:
Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall. Prov.16:18
When pride cometh, then cometh shame: but with the lowly (humble) is wisdom. Prov. 11:12
Before destruction the heart of a man is haughty; and before honor is humility. Prov. 18:12
A man's pride shall bring him low: but honor shall uphold the humble in spirit. Prov. 29:23

It is better to humble ourselves than to stand in our foolish pride. Therefore God teaches us humility, often by the things we suffer. When we attempt to place anything before God, it won't be long before we stumble right over top of it and land on our faces. Yet, if we begin on our face before God, He stands us on our feet and we will not fall. Those things we look at as "small decisions" that we can "handle on our own" are often the very things that cause us grief in the end. God will use our situations, wrong choices, and even other people to bring us to a place of humility before Him.

Humility crucifies the flesh and causes us to decrease so that Christ may increase in us. Satan fell because of pride. He thought to exalt himself over God and all that God created. God doesn't want us to fall so He teaches us humility. I have to wonder if that is why God gave us free choice. Satan and the fallen angels were given free choice. And their fall was a long way down from where they tried to exalt themselves.

Perhaps God created human beings to fall BEFORE He lifted them up into the heavens. He decided to allow
sin, evil, pride, and disobedience to tempt us here on this earth so that we can experience the effects in the flesh. God is allowing us to see the result of satan's reign here and now. We see the evil all around us and how the darkness is intensifying. We are touched by sickness and death. There is famine and pestilence, earthquakes and floods. There is abject poverty all over the world. People are being sold into slavery, young children are abducted or sold and forced into prostitution. Satan is an evil taskmaster.  

We have already had "a taste of hell" here on earth. We know by experience what it feels like to be separated from God. However, when we are able to be with Him forever where He is, we will never want to turn away from Him. Instead we will have already chosen to give Him ALL the glory, honor, and praise due His Name.

One man, Adam, made the choice for all humanity to suffer the curse of sin. Adam literally sold us into sin by his disobedience to God. Perhaps this was a lesson to us that we should NOT, EVER follow a man. Then came Jesus. He redeemed us. He paid the price with His life. He shed His own blood to purchase us back from the devil. He humbled Himself when He came to this earth. The King of Glory was born in a stable and laid in a manger. His parents were poor. His friends were considered low-life. He ate with the sinners and walked among those who knew their need for Him. He chose fishermen, tax collectors, prostitutes, and the demon possessed. It was the poor and humble who recognized Him as the Son of God.

Jesus tells us in Matthew 20:28 that He did not come to be ministered to (served), but to minister (serve) and to give His life as a ransom for many. He also said in Matt. 20:16 that the last shall be first and the first shall be last. And again in Matt. 23:11-12, He that is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased (humbled); and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted (lifted up). We are told not to think of ourselves more highly than we should, to prefer others before ourselves, and to condescend, or lower ourselves, and be humble toward others. We are to forgive others, even if they were wrong. We are to always bless others with our words, even if they turn and curse us. (Romans 12) These are examples of humility. This is how the last become first.

I thank You, Father that You chastise those whom You love. I know You love me as You have allowed me to be humbled before you.

Still Dwelling In Him

Friday, November 11, 2011

More Than You Can Bear

There is a scripture that I have been misquoting for years. Actually, it isn't even the entire verse, just a portion of a verse. It goes like this, "God will never give you more than you can bear." This is not true. Let me repeat, this is NOT TRUE!!!

So, to anyone I've ever said that to, I apologize. I have a sweet, special cousin in Ohio who is more like a sister to me. I know I have said this to her. And I am sorry. I never meant to mislead you. I love you dearly and this you know.

The misquoted verse is 1 Corinthians 10:13--There hath no temptation taken you but such is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.

The truth is God allows, in this life, more than we can bear so that we may depend more fully upon the One Who is able to bear all that we cannot.  Sin brought sickness, death, and suffering into this world. God doesn't put suffering on us but I wondered why He allows it when we believe on Him and serve Him.

I can only come to the conclusion that God allows, in this life, more than we can bear so that we may depend more fully upon Him Who is able to bear all that we cannot.  Sin brought sickness, death, and suffering into this world. God doesn't put suffering on us, but He does allow a certain amount of it into each life. I wondered why. Our flesh is always what is being tested in our trials. It's our flesh that rebels against God. When we turn to God, trust in Him, and rely on His strength it always proves that HE IS. It also teaches us more about Him as we seek Him and draw closer to Him.

I can't help but think of Job. He never pretended he wasn't suffering. And just like the rest of us he tried to figure out why all these things were happening to him. After all, he was a righteous man. The bible even tells us that God pointed Job out to the devil. Why would He do that?

Satan assumed that Job loved and served God because God had blessed the work of his hands, increased his possessions, blessed him with children, and protected him. Satan asked the Lord, "Does Job fear God for naught (nothing or no reason). Have You not made a hedge (of protection) about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? Thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land."

I looked up the word substance, it relates to anything tangible, material, or physical. It pertains to those things that can be touched and felt. Satan wanted to remove every physical evidence of God's love, care, and provision for Job. We are God's children and he desires to do the same to us. Sometimes he does. But God has put limits on what satan can do to us. Remember, God told satan he couldn't take Job's life.

Was it more than Job could bear?  Look at his reaction in Job 1:20-He tore his clothes, and shaved his head, and fell down on the ground...but then he worshipped. Most of us are more like Job's wife. In her despair and hopelessness, she wanted her husband to curse God.

We often don't respond the way Job did. Many of us don't have to be urged to "curse God and die" which was the response of Job's wife (Job 2:10). I can see where she was being used by the devil as she was in agreement with what he was trying to accomplish against her husband (Job 1:11, 2:5). Satan wanted Job to curse God to His face so he enlisted someone Job loved. He used Job's wife to goad him.

Job did not listen to his wife. In fact, in the midst of his pain, he blessed God (Job 1:21) In all he suffered, he never sinned with his lips. (Job 2:10) Hmm, how often we sin with our lips when things go wrong in our life.

Can I just be honest here? This isn't the way I intended to go with this post. God continues to bring me back to the words of our mouth. I see so much in Job that pertains to this. Our enemy wants control of our words so badly!! Everyone around Job misspoke; his wife and his friends. Those who were supposed to lift him up, encourage him, and pray for him only increased his suffering. God have mercy on us and forgive us for our horrible words toward one another.

I am writing this last part with tears. Our words are such a powerful weapon. Instead of turning it on our true enemy, we so often attack each other with them. Why does there seem to be such a desire in us to speak evil of one another? We are deceived by foolish pride into believing that if we cut someone else down then we look better and are lifted up in the eyes of others. The bible says the opposite - God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord and He will lift you up (James 4:6, 10).

We think if someone speaks evil of us that this gives us the right to retaliate. All this goes against what the Bible tells us to do. Again I have ended up in James 3 and 4 about the mouth. Chapter 4 goes into why we war against one another. In chapter 5, James tells us in verse 9-Grudge (grumble) not one against another, brethren, lest ye be condemned...and verse 11 even speaks of the patience of Job. Verse 12 warns us not to swear. Verse 16 tells us to confess our faults to one another, that ye may be healed...

What? Confess my FAULTS??? You may as well tell me to walk down the street naked. YIKES!! But that is exactly what God tells us to do. It's hard to be full of pride when others know your shortcomings. But there are benefits. When we know each other's weaknesses, we know how to pray for one another. And then we are healed. I don't believe that is only physical healing, but soul healing.

So many people have deep emotional wounds, overwhelming guilt, and condemnation over past sins. God's children need to be able to trust one another with their confessions so that they can seek prayer from one another and begin to heal. Can you be trusted? Will you help someone else heal?  Examine what comes out of your mouth and you will know. I am also challenging myself here. I know my words aren't always pleasing to God. Will you pray with me today?

Father, I humbly ask You today to forgive me for every negative word I have spoken over others, whether directly or indirectly. Forgive me for sinning with my lips. Your Word says that what I loose in earth is loosed in heaven and what I bind in earth is bound in heaven. Therefore, I pray and bind every negative word that has come forth from my mouth and any that will attempt to come forth in the future. I declare crop failure on every negative seed I have planted. I yield my mouth to You as a weapon for righteousness, to loose blessings and bind curses. I pray your Holy Spirit will stop me from speaking anything contrary to your Word and that I will be a fountain that issues forth the sweet living water of Your Word. I thank You, Lord, that You have heard me and for the change that is coming as I begin to speak to mountains and loose blessing into the atmosphere....In Jesus Name. Amen.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Sifting and Shaking

Early Sunday morning I received a text from my friend Stephanie of Daily Victories. There had been an earthquake in Oklahoma which was felt in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and down into Texas where she lives. It woke her up as her bed was being shaken. Even her bedroom door was shaking and banging in the door frame. Our Lord spoke to her in the midst of it to get up and pray. He urged her to share what He said to her, you can read it here: Many are sleeping.

God began speaking to me about the spiritual side of what is happening. His people are being sifted as wheat. God's shaking is going on all around us, not only in the physical realm, but also in the spiritual realm. His shaking is going on in His church. 1 Peter 4:17-For the time is come that judgement must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?

I have noticed how people are running from one church to the next and back again as if they are in a giant sieve. I feel our enemy, satan, sifting us. I am aware of his spiritual onslaught against God's children. And I've even sensed  the people of God "fall back" from the battle instead of pressing through.

During morning worship at church, I looked up at the ceiling. I try to avoid looking at the people's faces, it can be very discouraging. I had already observed that many were distracted by other things and their own conversations were more important than the worship of our Lord. As I looked up, I saw cracks running through the ceiling. A thought came, "The church is cracked and fragmented."  Fragmented means broken or detached from a bigger piece. Cracked means to break without complete separation of parts.This is the result of the shaking. God always has a remnant, which is a small remainder of what once was. This is all throughout the Bible and will occur again soon. 2 Thessalonians 2 and 1 Timothy 4 warns us there will be a falling away before Christ returns.

 When things are being shaken, something is going to break loose. Monday morning my Lord spoke to me as I was thinking of the church praying for a breakthrough. He asked me, "What do you think the breakthrough is?" Then it occurred to me, it's breaking through the enemy lines. We usually consider it something in the natural to obtain or overcome. Not so!! Our warfare is spiritual.

Jesus told Peter, "Simon, Simon, behold satan has desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: but I have prayed for you, that your faith fail not..." (Luke22:31-32)  I couldn't help but think, our faith is the substance that remains.

In Hebrews12 we read (26)...Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven. (27) And this word, Yet once more, signifies the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain. (28)Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved (shaken), let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear: (29) For our God is a consuming fire.

The sifting process and the refining process are very similar in that, what is of value is separated from that which is not. In Numbers 16 we are told of Korah's rebellion against Moses and Aaron. Moses told Korah, "Tomorrow the Lord will show who are His..." And it happened that the earth opened up; Korah, all his family, and all they owned went down into the pit and the earth closed up. (Is it possible this was an earthquake?) Then a fire came out from the Lord and consumed those who had sided with Korah and had rebelled against God.

This is already long, but there is more God spoke to me. As I drove to work yesterday morning, I was praying for our church and pastor and those in need.. Then I began to cry and repent before God. When I had finished my Lord said to me, "I have reserved you unto that glorious day. You have only just begun to see what I have for you. Stand strong, do not be deceived. Your enemy the devil is very busy collecting souls for the final day. He shall not overcome (prevail). I am victorious already, as are you, for you are in Me and I am in you. Stand strong, wield the sword. Be brave. Fight the battle but remember it is Mine. Do not fear. Stand strong. Like-minded shall join like-minded all across this nation, of good and of evil. Stand strong IN ME. Do not fear. Speak the Word, be courageous. The end is soon, but not yet. Time is so short. Be aware, things are coming on the earth and will intensify; earthquakes and pestilence, signs and wonders. You have the truth, speak it forth and do not fear. I AM COMING! Guard your heart. The world will seek to fill it with lies and deception. The news will be full of falsehoods and deceptions. Keep My Word. NOTHING over-rides the truth of My Word. Dig deeper. Stand firm for the days are evil."

Things are already beginning to intensify. I read in one article on the Oklahoma quake that they have already gone from 50 earthquakes a year in 2009 to 1,047 last year.  (Fox News)

And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh. Luke 21:28

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Power In Us

First of all, I want to thank each of you who have left me comments. I'm aware of the people that I know who read, but I have wondered if anyone else is reading or even finding this little blog. I have prayed that our Lord will send those He chooses to My Dwelling Place which, by the way, is Him. But I'm sure you know that!!

This morning I sat down with my bible, journal, and devotionals. I meditated on Romans 8:26-We know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. I believe God is showing me certain things because He wants me to intercede.

The Spirit of God spoke to me in church Sunday morning. I wondered if it was for the church or just for me. His word was, "Life and death are in the power of the tongue, the power to loose and to bind. Why do you bind My Spirit when you should be loosing Him into your life, into your circumstances? You wave the palms and shout Hosanna, then nail Me to the cross. I have risen, I am on My heavenly throne, I have given you power over all the power of the enemy. Today I loose you to move; to come to Me. I declare you are free."

There are parts of this my Lord has been speaking to me over and over. It's like He's saying to me, "I want you to really grasp this." As I've read this time after time, I began to realize how often I pray for someone or ask God for something, then I turn right around and speak negative words because my thoughts and feelings are negative. Somebody, please, put a bit in my mouth so I can turn this horse around!! We tend to walk by sight rather than by faith. Lord, how I need to turn that around.

James 3:3 speaks of putting a bit in the horse's mouth to control the direction they take. He goes on to tell us just how powerful our words are. They can direct our lives. How much differently we would speak if we really got hold of that truth!! I have the power to encourage or discourage, to bless or curse, to build up or tear down, to speak life or to speak death. That is an overwhelming responsibility but it belongs to every believer.

The second part of what my Lord spoke to me was connected to what He is trying to teach me. "You wave the palms and shout, "Hosanna." I am a very exuberant worshipper. I prefer to wave the banners (more on that later), but lately can only wave my hands, thus "the palms." Hosanna is the cry, "Lord save" or "Lord help, I pray." And is also interpreted as, "Praise to You." We know that some of those who cried out and worshipped Jesus as He entered Jerusalem, also cried out to crucify Him.

 As I prayed about what this was saying, He revealed to me that this too is a result of our words. We pray and cry out to our Lord over our circumstances, we worship Him openly, then turn around and crucify Him by speaking out negative or unbelieving words. WE tie His hands, so to speak. Our words hold the power of binding and loosing. He then reminded me, "I have risen, I am on My heavenly throne, I have given YOU power over all the power of the enemy."

Jesus has given us authority and power because He has given us His Name and His Word. His Word is the two-edged sword coming out of His mouth in Revelation 1. This is confirmed in Ephesians 6:17 and Hebrews 4:12. Our power is God's Word. So apparently the enemy's power would be his words which we know are nothing but lies. Yet we often get in agreement with him by speaking what he is saying to us rather that believing what God has said.

Well, I keep saying "we" but there may be some out there who aren't in my boat, if you don't have this problem, please pray diligently for those of us who do!! That means you never ever speak anything contrary to the Word of God or believe any lie of the enemy. I only pray that I could obtain that in this lifetime.

The last thing my Lord spoke to me was, "Today I loose you to move, to come to Me. I declare you free." I just had to look up the definition of LOOSE--to free or release from anything that binds or restrains, having freedom of movement. Oh, and the definition of FREE--not imprisoned or enslaved, having liberty because where the Spirit of the Lord is there is liberty (freedom), not being controlled by obligation to or the will of another/others, not being controlled or dominated by another/others... (These are some definitions I chose and worded my own way.) I have so been bound up and restrained by the opinions and judgement of others.

The church is supposed to be setting people free, yet, I am finding more and more that they are binding and putting restrictions on those whom Jesus has loosed. There are many in the church who are bound up by religious mindsets and their own ideologies. They attempt to force what they believe or don't believe upon others, mirroring the Sadducees and Pharisees of Jesus' day. Jesus said they "strained at a gnat and swallowed a camel." In Mark 7 Jesus chastises the Pharisees over the way they forced their traditions upon others. They considered their traditions to be equal to the writings of the Old Testament.

Our pastor began his sermon Sunday night with the words, "You are coming out!!"  2 Corinthians 6:16-18-And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God: as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. Wherefore come out from among them and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be My sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.

We are the temple of God, He dwells IN us and we dwell IN Him. His Holy Spirit lives in our temple and prays in us and through us. Even when we don't know what to say, He is searching our heart and the heart of our Father and weaving it into spirit prayer because our minds cannot grasp all God desires for us or all God wants to do for us. He is able to do exceeding, abundantly, above all we could ask or think according to the power that works in us. (Ephesians 3:20)

Friday, November 4, 2011

Letting Go

 Autumn comes and goes each year in a whirl of activity and falling leaves. I have always enjoyed the changing of the leaves. But this year, the fall leaves have captivated me. I don't remember them ever being this vibrant. I have tried to capture it on film but, unfortunately, I'm not much of a photographer.

I am ready for this change; this new season. I need a refreshing in spirit, mind, and soul.  I have been aware of a weariness and if I'm not careful discouragement can set in. Toward the end of the year, I look back over my shoulder and see the unfulfilled hopes and dreams, and even some unanswered prayers. But fall reminds me of the harvest of God's goodness, and His provision and care for me. I have SO MUCH to be thankful for. If I were to weigh the good and bad of my life in the balances, the good would by far outweigh the bad. But we all have our weaknesses.

Yesterday I was talking to my Mom on the way home from work. It was raining hard. The water droplets running across the windshield, matched those streaming down my face as I shared my heartaches and struggles with her. The past few days, I had noticed that the leaves seemed to be fading. I wasn't ready for them to dry up and blow away just yet. The rain began to slow, and as I topped one of the foothills, I saw out across the valley and it took my breath away.

In that moment, God revealed a precious truth to me. Some things are much more beautiful when they are dying. And the rain....the rain revived the brilliancy of the leaves. I realize that I am dying! I am dying to myself and as the inner rain falls from my eyes, God is healing some deep wounds that I thought had dried up and blown away long ago. They were still clinging to me and it was time to let go. But first He wanted to color those things with the beauty of love. His love, and the love of my Mother and my husband.  I'm ready to move forward. God in His wisdom knew He had to remove the old so that He could bring in the new. Now, when my season changes again to spring, there will be room for me to blossom and bear fruit.

This morning, as I drove to work, I was praying for favor to be upon my husband in a job interview.  I kept repeating, "We are blessed and highly favored. We ARE blessed and highly favored." Then it hit me, God's favor doesn't always look like we think it should.

We pray for the house to sell--it doesn't.
We pray for the new position--we don't get it.
We pray for change--everything stays the same.
We pray to move--yet we remain.
We pray to stay--yet we are moved.

And I realize, GOD IS ALL IN IT!! His fingerprints are all over my life, my circumstances, all over ME. It IS His favor because HE orders our steps. (Proverbs 16:9, Psalm 37:23, Jer. 10:23) We can pray, and plan, and obtain good Christian council on a matter, BUT GOD directs our steps.

In my very first bible, my Mother wrote this verse: Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct thy paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6)
I have seen that this applies to every situation in life. Trust and acknowledge God, in all things!

So what does it mean to acknowledge God? It's much more than saying, "I know You are here." Acknowledge does mean to admit or accept that He exists and that He is real and true. But it also means to respond to Him, to receive His answer, His wisdom, His timing, etc. It also means to show appreciation and to express thanksgiving. We are to give thanks in everything: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning us. (1 Thess.5:18)

God tells me in His word, "Be anxious for nothing..." He constantly reminds me no matter where I am, no matter what plans I make, no matter what road I choose it is He who orders my steps. Therefore, I can release all my hopes, all my dreams, and all my prayers to Him, even as the trees release their colorful leaves, to fall and dance and swirl at His feet.

Yes, I am letting go. But I may just grab a rake and scoop up around myself all the wonderful color of my life; all the love, and all the blessings, and all the wonders of God. Then I think I'll jump in the pile and toss handfuls into the wind, letting the Spirit spread them far and wide. And just maybe some of the love and blessings I have received will touch the life of someone else.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

In The Heat Of The Battle--Part 2

Forgiveness is a powerful weapon to use against the enemy. I know that seems like a strange statement, but it is true! Read what Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 2. Paul is urging the church to operate in  forgiveness, restoration, and love toward someone. Paul tells them in verse 9 that these things are a test of their obedience. Then he goes on to say in verses 10-11, "To whom you forgive any thing, I forgive also...Lest satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.

His devices are his purposes, his schemes, and his plans. We need to be aware of the point of his attack against us. It's easy to figure out; what is that thing or that thought that is bringing you anxiety and unrest? What is tormenting you? What are you afraid of? Fear involves torment. Therefore, if we are tormented about something, we are in fear. (1 John 4:18) ...There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear... Only the love of God is perfect and can obliterate our fear(s).

Opposition will often come through people. They are not the enemy but they can be used as instruments of warfare by the spiritual forces of evil. When your hostility is directed toward another person, it takes your focus off the deeper spiritual dimensions of your conflict. I have found that when we focus on a person as the enemy that satan is using you against one another. He is killing two birds with one stone, as he lines us up in his sights. If we are focused on  fighting each other, his evil plan is going undetected.

All the while, as you are in opposition with someone, the person you are battling may be in need of salvation or spiritual deliverance and you don't even realize it. However, if you are feeling hostility toward someone, God may be using them to point out your weakness or some deep issue and He is wanting to deal with it.

When we seem to be in conflict with someone else, the best thing to do is to immediately and sincerely pray for that person and the situation. Allow the Holy Spirit to open your eyes to what is real and true. Ask God to reveal what part you are playing in the situation. Don't be deceived, but be alert to the spiritual warfare going on around you and/or within you. It is real and has the capability and power to become a destructive force in your life and the lives of those you love. The enemy deceives people into siding with him in his attack against another person. Maybe even you.

Unforgiveness and bitterness is poison to the heart, and the soul. We have to allow the Holy Spirit to uproot these from our lives. One way to determine if you have bitterness and unforgiveness is to listen to what is coming out of your mouth. Jesus remarks, "Oh generation of vipers, how can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh (Matt. 12:34).  It's no wonder satan is called a serpent (or viper) for poison is pumped out through his mouth. He has been named the accuser of the brethren, a murderer, and the father of lies. James 3 has so much to say about the tongue and Proverbs 18:21 tells us that "Death and life are in the power of the tongue..." What do your words tell you about what is in your heart?

Don't be discouraged if you feel you are losing the battle, we have the promise that, "Greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world." (1 John 4:4) Jesus has already defeated our enemy. "I am He that liveth, and was dead; and behold, I am alive forevermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death." (Rev.1:18) AND, He has given us power... over ALL the power of the enemy.(Luke 10:19)

This is what I have been living. The battle has been intense. I told my Mom that I feel like I have been buffeted by waves of the sea. As soon as one passed over me, the next one hit before I could even regain my footing. I felt as if I were drowning in my own thoughts and emotions. It made my head spin to the point I felt I was no longer effective.  I continued in prayer and reading the Word of God, but I was forgetting the powerful force of the spoken Word. I wasn't speaking or acting like a triumphant child of God. I sure wasn't walking in victory. I'm not going to tell you everything is perfect right now. I can only tell you, I am taking the next step in my walk. And, no matter how hard things become, I believe in the love of God and that He never lets go!!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Heat Of The Battle

It's not just me feeling the heat of the battle these days. I see it in the faces of those around me, I hear it in their voices and in the words they speak. We stand, stunned by the onslaught of the enemy's fiery darts of poison. He knows where to strike us to bring his desired result. He has studied us for generations, he knows our weaknesses. "So, why don't we know his weaknesses?" you may ask. The truth is WE DO!!

His weakness is the Word of God, the blood of the Lamb, and the word of our testimony. Yet, it seems so difficult sometimes to USE the weapons of our warfare. How quickly we forget to raise our Sword of the Word as we duck and run and cry, "Why?"

We desire to be like David standing against the giant, Goliath, with our slingshot. But when the time comes, we are the Israelites hiding in the bushes behind the rocks and shaking in our shoes. All the while our enemy is roaring like a lion and laughing at us as he slings his lying threats. Yes, we read that David placed one stone in his sling and took down the giant, but what came forth first was the Truth. David TOLD his enemy, "I come to you in the Name of the Lord of hosts the God of the armies of Israel..."  He loosed the Spirit of God that was within him through the spoken word.

We are IN Christ, we have the liberty to use His Name and His Name is THE Name above all names.  Next, David spoke out what his intentions were. He told the enemy what he was about to do, not in his own power, but by God's power. Then he spoke God's Word to the enemy, "The battle is the Lord's, and He will give you into our hands." (1 Samuel 17) It is "Not by might nor by power but by the Spirit of the Lord of hosts." God enables us to do anything by His Holy Spirit.

I have a confession to make. I have been one of those Israelites these past few weeks. I kept trying to "suck up" courage, but then before I knew it, I was quickly deflated by one of those fiery darts and collapsed into a rubbery puddle of uselessness. What the heck happened?

I lost my focus. The enemy had me so focused on me that I lost sight of God. How? Through his threats. And through my own thoughts and emotions. Our thoughts create our emotions. That just came to me, but it's true!! 2 Cor. 10:4 tells us that the weapons of our warfare are not carnal (of the flesh) but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds; (5) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every THOUGHT to the obedience of Christ.

This all concerns the mind. A stronghold is a fortified place which can indicate a way of thinking. It concerns our opinions, prejudices, and viewpoints. The imagination is the part of the mind where ideas, thoughts, and images are formed. A "high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God" are from the principalities, the powers, the rulers of the darkness of this world, and the spiritual wickedness in high places. (Eph.6:12) And then, of course, he tells us to take our thoughts captive--to the obedience of Christ. Even our thoughts have to obey Christ. The only way that will happen is to get His Word into our hearts and minds. But, we all know that, right? How soon we forget. (Okay, ME, ME, how soon I forget!!)

I was struggling and fighting and crying out, "God, I can't do this,  if YOU don't do this, it's not gonna happen!!"  Do you know what He told me? He said, "I already did!"


Y'all, there is so much more I want to share so there will be a part 2 (and maybe even more).  I'll let you think on this while I go back and re-read the book of Colossians. I want to challenge you to join me, it's a short book and could have just copied the whole thing here. But hey, it's already written!!

Thursday, October 27, 2011




My husband and I have been hearing these words for four years now. Our house has been on and off the market so many times that we've lost count. I have given "stuff" away, thrown "stuff" away, boxed "stuff" away. In the process I have found that I really don't need all this "stuff." I had to pause and laugh because I don't even miss the "stuff" that's boxed. So, why then do I continue to hold onto it? I keep thinking that when the change comes and we move that I may need these things.

Now I am wondering about change and move, because God has moved us out of our comfort zone and brought an unexpected change into our lives. The change is a SHE. Let me explain:

SHE--A target of the destroyer
SHE--A lamb returned to the fold
SHE--A woman-child trying to find her place in this world and God's plan for her
SHE--A girl who came to us with a puppy and a broken heart
SHE--A part of our family now
SHE--A daughter we never had (we have 3 boys, all grown)
SHE--A constant source of laughter
SHE--A child of God
SHE--A true worshipper
SHE--A story that is being written on the pages of heaven
SHE--A reason for me and my husband to stay in constant prayer seeking wisdom
SHE--A source of encouragement
SHE--A tender heart
SHE--A reflection of Christ
SHE--A soul moved by the Spirit
SHE--A willing vessel of the Lord


Her name is Shea. She moves us closer to Christ and one another. She challenges us with her questions and her strong will to serve her Lord, no matter what the cost. She has let go of people she loves because she realized they were holding her back. She has been dealing with a broken heart. And still she laughs and smiles and worships. Still, she reaches out to receive more of God. And we pray as God fills in all the broken places with His love and mercy and grace.

She still struggles. Don't we all!?!

She is a light. It isn't always easy being a light in a dark place. A light stands out. A light draws attention, even the kind of attention you don't want. The enemy takes notice of the light and he has many ways to try to snuff out our light. But she is like one of those trick birthday candles that you blow out and just when you think the fire is gone, it springs back to life. And she laughs. And she worships.

And when she is hurt she cries and she asks why just like we all do. Then, she finds something to be joyful about. And she springs back to life. And she laughs. And she worships harder, because that's what a worshipper does.

I watch as she walks through fire because her way of worship isn't understood. But I know God is working in her and refining her. That is how He works. He is building her character and I watch in amazement as He prepares her for Himself.

Everyone she meets tells her, "God has an awesome plan for you."
She watches for it and wonders what it is. She asks why it is taking so long and why she doesn't know what it is yet. And I laugh because she is so young and even at my age I often wonder these same things. But I know God is speaking to her and she shares her heart full of Jesus and I share mine. And we spring to life together. And we laugh. And we worship. Because that's what worshippers do!!

And Shea has moved us.
And Shea has changed us.
And Shea has challenged us.
We love you, Shea!!

Proverbs 31:30 Favor (charm) is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the Lord, SHE shall be praised.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Stand Still

Today I talked to my good friend Stephanie and read her blog, Daily Victories. I was once again amazed at how our Lord is so often speaking the same thing to His children no matter how far apart they are. Stephanie lives in Texas and I live in Georgia. Go ahead and read her post; Stand at

Last night at church as I worshipped and prayed, my Lord showed me a huge silver, sword flashing through the sanctuary. Then I saw Jesus standing with a sword issuing forth from His mouth (Rev. 1:16). My first thought was, "The sword of the Lord, and of Gideon." (Judges 7) My next thought was Hebrews 4:12-For the Word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. (KJV)

As I thought of Gideon (Judges 7:20), I remembered how all they had to do was stand, and blow the trumpets and stand, and brake the pitchers and stand, and hold their lamps and stand, and cry out, "The sword of the Lord and of Gideon".... and stand. (V.21) And they stood  every man in his place round about the camp: and all the host ran, and cried, and fled. (V.22) And the three hundred blew the trumpets, and the Lord set every man's sword against his fellow, even throughout all the host: and the host fled...

Ephesians 6:10-18- tells us all about how to stand covered in the armor of God. God's armor is Christ Himself. We stand in the power of His might, not our own. Our Lord has equipped us with His Word, He has given each of us a measure of faith which comes by hearing His word (Romans 10:17). He has surrounded us with  His "belt of truth" which is His Word, He is our righteousness, we stand on His Word which is the Gospel of Peace, and He is our salvation. Then we stand and pray always...and watch for the answer and stand, and persevere through the battle and stand, and believe that the One who has the power to grant our request will answer us. And we stand.

God more often than not, calls us to be still and KNOW that He is God. Be still and think on Him, meditate on His goodness and mercy and love. He is our refuge, He is our strength, He is with us and within us. Just stand still. Stand still and let God move. We are so often running around trying to change our situation on our own. But before we can change anything outside of ourselves, there must first be a change within and that change will not come unless we are still. We are changed by "being transformed by the renewing of our mind, that we may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God." These things only come in STANDING. STILL. in His presence.

Jesus is our conquering King and He always leads us in triumph. We are more than conquerors through Him that loved us (Romans 8:37). And because He loves us, we can stand in confidence and complete trust in Him, knowing that He will answer and that His answer and timing are always perfect. Therefore, we can stand, just as Gideon's army stood and let our lights shine into the darkness while God wins our battles. And as the enemy flees before us, we can move in and take back all that he has stolen from us.

For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds;) Casting down imaginations (arguments), and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ....Do ye look on things after the outward appearance? (2 Corinthians 10:3-5, 7)

Our warfare takes place on our knees before God. We are not fighting each other, Church!! Are you looking on things, circumstances, PEOPLE according to the outward appearance? Then, stand still and know HE IS GOD and you are in His hands. Stand still and see His Salvation.

Oh Mighty God, strengthen your church as we stand together in one accord.


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

More Fiery Torches

Philippians 2:15-16 ...Shine as lights in the world; holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice...

I know it's been a few days since I've written but, believe me, God has been very busy.  Isn't He always!! It's just that, He has been giving me bits and pieces. I know He will be adding more to what I have (once again, doesn't He always!).

Very often, my Lord reveals things to me during worship. Sunday morning, as I was worshipping, Holy Spirit opened my eyes to see various people holding torches. Some of the torches were flaming but others were dead sticks. The choir was worshipping their hearts out and many of them were holding out their torch trying to get the ones who had no fire to extend their dead stick and become ignited. It was so sad that it broke my heart for the ones that weren't even aware they had no fire. They honestly thought they were ok and standing there, unmoving, like stones. They stood there expressionless, passionless, holding onto something that was dead.

I feel I should tell you that I had my eyes closed the entire time and that God did not reveal specific people to me. When this happens it means He is revealing what He wants me to pray about. I have been praying for the Holy Spirit fire to fall in our church. Oh, He has, that's for sure. But I want to see what happens when EVERYONE is in one accord like on the day of Pentecost, when the body of Christ isn't divided over some issue because of our stupid pride. Religion causes so many to be an immovable "stick in the mud" because they won't receive something "new." When all the while God is wanting to do a new thing and it is about to spring forth but they want to hold onto their dead stick.

May I just quote Solomon in saying, "There is nothing new under the sun." That means anything I have a question about, the answer is already written. I just have to take the time to seek. What's wrong with change, may I ask? Change stirs some people up, it excites them. But others are terrified of the word or even the thought.  Change often means we have to move. It could simply be a rearranging of things, a literal packing up and physically moving, a spiritual move, or a new attitude. It means getting out of that stodgy old comfort zone you have built around yourself. Change is doing or experiencing something new and different.

I've always had a bit of the gypsy in my soul. Moving has never phased me much, in fact I like moving. Weird, I know!! But the shaking, on the other hand, (as in being a mover and a shaker) has always made me a little nervous. I've found that shaking some people up is like putting your torch into a hornet's nest. Ouch!! But God has called us to be salt and light. A torch gives light to the bearer and to those around them. A light can be seen a long way off, a light draws others because it has power, warmth, and even, yes--LOVE. God is Love and Light and Life and Truth and I could go on and on.

There is something my Lord has given me to do, and it's not easy because in order to do it, I really stand out. This has also put me through the fire. However, my God reminded me that the fire isn't to destroy me, it is to refine me so that I reflect His glory even more.

Recently I told God that I didn't think I wanted to do "it" anymore because "it" was rejected by some other believers.  I told Him that I didn't like standing out and being condemned, judged, and criticized. God told me, "You are a light and lights stand out. They are not condemning you, they are condemning Me."

I have to admit, I've learned so much more through this fire than I ever would have learned standing on the sidelines. There are things I never would have gleaned from His Word, had I not faced this trial and really pressed into Him. God's people can be so heartless and thoughtless at times. I am just as guilty so that makes me so much more grateful because I am learning to keep my mouth shut and take my cares to Him and search His Word. This has made me consider others first, before I open my mouth. In Matt. 25:40 Jesus said, "What you have done unto the least of these My brethren, you have done it unto Me." That's serious business!! We, as children of God, need to deeply consider this before we act out. What have I done to others? Jesus takes it personal.

There are so many more thoughts coming to me and I could go on but this is already pretty long. I think it's time for a deeper self-evaluation. Am I being Christ in this world, in my actions toward other people, in the words I speak? I pray with David, "Search me oh God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts. And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting." (Psalm 139:23-24) AMEN.


Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Angel, The Fire, And The Trumpet

Before I begin today, let me just say that dreams and visions from God are very real and are spoken of in Joel 2:28-29. And, in case you haven't noticed, much of the Word of God involves dreams and visions which bring revelation to their recipients. If you don't believe in dreams and visions, then you will have to discard much of the bible. Joseph was a dreamer, as was his father Jacob. What about Daniel? Ezekiel? John, who wrote The Revelation of Jesus Christ. And there are many more. It is very NORMAL for God's children to experience dreams and visions. Ok, that aside!

In my last post I shared a vision my Lord gave me. The first thing I saw was an angel with a trumpet surrounded by fire. The more I have studied on the angel with the trumpet, the more I am finding out about other things. But that's the way God works. He who seeks shall find.

I was curious about the very long trumpet the angel held, so the first thing I did was look online. The closest thing I found to it is called a herald trumpet. This particular trumpet is sounded at the start of a ceremony, inauguration, presentation, or unveiling. But what really got me excited is that it is used to announce a king's entrance or the arrival of a bride and groom.

I am all about using my concordance and Webster's dictionary. I also take advantage of online dictionaries. I have found that most words have more than one meaning and just looking up the definition of one word can magnify God's Word so much more and bring a deeper understanding of what He is saying to us. So you may notice I give a lot of definitions.

The next thing I looked up was the word herald which means: 1) a bringer of news: someone who brings or announces important news 2) sign of what will happen: somebody or something that is a forerunner of something or gives an indication of something that is going to happen 3) an official messenger and representative of a king or leader in former times (Encarta World English Dictionary) I also found it interesting that a herald, or royal messenger, represented a monarch as an ambassador in wartime.

In case you don't know, the church is at war. Spiritual warfare is happening all around us every moment of every day. I don't know about you , but I can feel it now more than ever. If we look around we can see the evidence of it in the lives of people close to us and in those all around the world. Not to mention, our own lives.

A concordance is a great study tool if you want to learn more about the sounding of the trumpet because there are just too many scriptures on this subject to list here, but I will name a few.

* A trumpet was sounded as a call to battle-Judges 6:34. This is in the story of Gideon, and if you continue to read, Gideon used trumpets to defeat the enemy. Also notice that before the battle he worshipped (7:15). In Joshua 5:14-Joshua worships, then comes the battle of Jericho in Joshua 6. The trumpet is blown, the people shout, and the battle is won. God fights for His people!
*A call to worship and celebration-2 Chronicles 6:12-14-I love this!! The priests sounded the trumpets, the singers sang as one praising the Lord...and the glory of the Lord filled the temple so that the priests couldn't continue to minister. Oh to see that today in our churches!! A couple others, 2 Sam. 6:14-15, Psalm 150:3.
*The sound of judgement-Hosea 8:1; Joel 2:1,15; Amos 2:2, 3:6 and of course, the sounding of the trumpets in Revelation 8 and 9.
*It is also used to describe the voice of God as in Rev.1:10 and 4:1, and in Exodus 19:13-20.

I ended with Exodus 19 on purpose. For it is here that we see "the Lord descended in fire" upon Mount Sinai. We also see in Exodus 13:21 that the Lord went before Israel in a pillar of fire. In Exodus 3:2, The Lord first appeared to Moses in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush. I think we so often focus on the bush that we miss that part. The Bible refers to our God as a consuming fire in Exodus 24:17, Duet.4:24, and Hebrews 12:29.

If you are wondering why I am giving you so much before I get to the point, it is that I want you to be able to draw your own conclusions. I continue to be drawn mostly to the book of Revelation. Throughout this book are many references to fire. What I want to focus on is that each church has an angel and that the churches are referred to as candlesticks (or lamp stands), both of these are for holding the light of fire.

In the message to the church at Ephesus, Jesus tells them in 2:2- "I know thy works..." they are many and He proceeds to list them. However, there is a HUGE problem. It is so important that the Lord tells them if it isn't addressed, He will remove their candlestick which means He will REMOVE THEIR FIRE. To me, this is saying His Spirit will leave the church. So, what is it? THEY HAVE LEFT THEIR FIRST LOVE. Jesus warns them to repent. That is much more than just asking forgiveness. It also means to change. Our love for Him and our devotion to Him is what He desires so much more than works. What we do for Him should stem from our love for Him.

In my last post, I made reference to Revelation 3. I wish you would read this, along with the letters to all the other churches, and seriously consider as you are reading that Jesus is speaking to His church. It should be bone chilling to us and cause us to examine ourselves according to these letters. His return is very soon.

This is how I interperet the vision; I believe the angel I saw was announcing the entrance of our King of Kings. He was not only calling us to praise and worship, but he was also sounding the alarm for warfare to take place. You see, I believe there is so much more to our worship than we can even imagine. It is so vital that we are in one accord when we come into God's presence, otherwise the enemy will have a heyday, so to speak. Every eye should be on our Lord, every heart should be focused on His beautiful face, every ear open to hear Him speak. It is when we are in unity that the FIRE OF THE SPIRIT falls.

I also believe the "herald" was warning us of what can happen to our fire if we don't heed what God is speaking to His church. There were also three torches in this vision; one was on fire, one was extinguished and only blowing smoke, the third was cold and had absolutely no sign of life. Which one are you? It's not too late to be on fire for God. Our relationship to Christ is a personal one. 2 Corinthians 13:5- Examine yourselves, whether you be in the faith; prove your own selves...

God Bless You and Keep You,

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Visions and Vessels

As I worshipped my Lord in church Sunday, He gave me a vision. First I saw an angel clothed in white with a very long "trumpet" to his lips. He was surrounded by fire. Then I saw a torch that had been extinguished, thin vapors of smoke rose up from the top of the torch. When I asked God what this meant, He didn't answer but showed me another torch that was ablaze. And last, I saw another torch that had been extinguished a long time. It was cold, not even a wisp of smoke was evident.

I waited and He spoke, "When the wind of My Spirit blows on some, their spark is so weak that it is extinguished, their flames have dwindled. When My Spirit wind blows on others who are on fire, they blaze even brighter. This brought to mind Pentecost; Acts 2:1-4.

Then He said, "Some have run out of oil, their lights have gone out. They have no oil of their own. They have not come unto Me to buy of Me without money; for I would have freely given had they asked. Had they desired more of Me, I would have joyfully given. They know not that they are naked and blind and poor and weak. I am their Resource, not the church." (Revelation 3:17-18)

I have referred to Jesus as my Source many times, but I thought the word "resource" kind of odd. And, I thought the church was a resource. When I returned home, I looked up the word resource in my old Webster's dictionary. I was very surprised at what I found: resource-(to relieve, to rise again-more @ RESURRECTION). There is more to this definition, but God definitely had my attention.

As I wrote this in my journal, I began praying and asking God what He was trying to reveal to me. He began to speak to me of the ten virgins. (Matt.25:1-13) They all had lamps but only five were prepared and had oil in their vessels with their lamps. Hmm, what good is a lamp with no oil? Oil represents the Holy Spirit, the anointing of God, and-oil burns!! The five who had no oil tried to "get what they needed" from the other five who were prepared. (Many times the bible refers to our being, or body, as a vessel.)

Now, Jesus began in verse one of Matthew 25 with the statement, "The kingdom of heaven is like..." Was He speaking of His church? Then that means about half of those in church have no oil in their vessels. "Uh-oh!" Here are couple more thoughts, in the story of the prodigal son, one son went into the celebration while the other stood outside (Luke 15:25-28). Also consider Matthew 24:40-41.

 Let's look in Matthew 21:43. Jesus is addressing the chief priests and the elders of the people (V.23), when He says, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof. And in John 18:36, He tells us His kingdom is not of this world. In the parable of the wedding feast in Matt. 22:1-14, Jesus also tells us that there are those in God's kingdom who are trying to enter in some other way than THE WAY that God provided, and that is through a relationship with Christ. This means much more than just reciting a prayer people. Hello? Just saying!!

May I go back to the ten virgins and finish up what Holy Spirit was revealing to me? Ok. As I was saying, the five unprepared virgins were trying to get something from the five who were prepared. The five who were prepared carried the anointing, they were on fire for God, they had a true relationship with Christ, and they were EXPECTING Him to show up!

Even in the church there are those who are not prepared for the Lord to come into our midst NOW! They are trying to "get something" from the church that the church cannot give and they miss it! Jesus swoops down and those who are prepared are carried away in His Spirit, while others aren't even (spiritually) present. They are attempting to get an anointing through the pastor, the Sunday school teacher, the choir, the preaching, etc. When the ONLY way they can get it is in a personal, real, living relationship with a very personal, real and living God.

Each of us is responsible for our own vessel. Is your vessel full of the oil of the Spirit? Do you go to your Lord and ask Him for more of His anointing, more of His presence, more of His Spirit, more of Him?? Are you on fire for God? Not an extinguished flame, not just "blowing smoke," but consumed by an all out raging Holy Ghost fire.

It's time people in the church stop examining everyone else's vessel and examine their own. Ask yourself- "What consumes me? My time? My mind? My actions? What is filling me? What is in my vessel? Am I prepared to meet the Lord today? In the next moment? In church on Sunday? When He returns?

What about the angel with the trumpet? Stay tuned!!