He Wins Every Time!

Here’s how I study the Bible sometimes.  I just take a passage of Scripture and re-write it placing myself in the narrative, replacing pronouns.  I like looking up a few words in the NASB Strong’s Concordance on Bible Hub.  

David speaks as “the King”, with very poetic language.  I am noticing how he delights in the Lord His strength in this passage.  The imagery of His glory, splendor, and majesty is very powerful and captivating and is what is standing out to me today.  

Slow down and take time to dwell on the imagery of His majesty and splendor and glory and how He is fighting for you.   May today you behold Him as He is in all His glory today.  Here’s the track I am listening to while I write. 1 Hour Bliss of His Presence.

1 How great is my joy (that comes from You) in the victories You give.  

~ You have conquered the power of the grave, and You fight my battles when I step back and allow you to fight them. I need to allow you to fight this one battle in my life that is pressing in, trying to take me down. 

1 Oh Lord, I rejoice in your strength. 

~ I am filled with joy because Your strength carries me despite the weakness in my soul.  I rejoice in your strength because is it is the working of your mighty power in me. 

2 You have granted me the desire of my heart (the desires that You’ve put in there) and have not withheld the request of my lips.  

~ I desire to be an instrument of your love, a vessel to be poured out.  Lately my request has been to use the gifts You’ve given me to share your love and You are giving me new vision, passion, opportunities, and connections to do that. 

3 You welcome me with rich blessings (of favor and provision) and placed a crown of pure gold (that sparkles and reflects light) on my head.     

~ This crown is beauty, honor, strength, joy, wisdom, peace, the anointing, your gift of righteousness. 

4 I have asked You for life, and you gave it to me – length of days, for ever and ever.     

~  I have abundant life – health and joy.  My body is doing well.   

5 Through the victories You give, Your glory is great.  

~ Your glory, the illumination of all that You are is ON me. It’s magnificent.  It’s huge.  Others see a difference in me, when I am walking with you in victory over all the negative forces that try to plague me.     

5 You have bestowed on me splendor and majesty (authority, beauty, dignity, respect). 

~ You respect me.  Wow.  You have given me authority over all the power over the Enemy.   Your grace and purity upon my life, makes me beautiful. 

6 Surely you have granted me eternal blessings and made me glad with the joy of your presence.

~ I have more than earthly blessings, I have blessings for eternity in eternity, which I will see when I go to be with Jesus in Heaven someday.  However, I have you the joy of your presence here and now.  I can be WITH You 24 hours a day, 7days a week.   I want to stay connected to You.  

7 For I trust in You Lord; through the unfailing love of the Most High I will not be shaken.   

~I will not be shaken BECAUSE OF your unfailing love. I can stay dwelling in the secret place of your love, even when people I’ve trusted and loved, wound my heart with their actions and words.  I don’t have to be shaken when people fail me.  I don’t have to be shaken when disappointment comes, for I hope in your unfailing love.   Your love defines me, not what people say.   

8 Your hand will lay hold on all your enemies; your right hand will seize your foes!!  

~The enemies, the little demons and familiar spirits, that are pressing in against my life and my family’s life – are YOUR enemies, YOUR foes, and You don’t take it lightly that they trying to take ground that doesn’t belong to them.  You are ripping them away with your hands, so that they can not take my peace and joy and delight in Your goodness.   

9 You are burning with anger at my enemies who are trying to come against me, and you will burn them up!   You will swallow them up in Your wrath and fire will devour them!     

10 Even the small little “relatives” of my enemies, you will wipe out completely. 

~ For me right now EVERY LIE, big or little one, that I have believed about myself for years is going to be destroyed!!  Every stronghold that got set up because of them is being obliterated.    

11 Though the Devil’s plan was to take me out and hold me back, he will not succeed! 

12 For You will make the turn their back and run and aim bowstrings at their faces! 

13 Be exalted, Lord, in Your strength.  I will sing and praise Your power!!

  ~Selah

The Fastest Way to Regain Hope for Anything!

Photo by: Kevin Tran

There’s a common occurrence in my life. I am driving home, and I get tired of wearing my jewelry. I put it in the center console of my car somewhere, or inside the pocket of my purse. Or I go to the gym and I shove my jewelry down in between my clothes or in a small pocket. Or I go on a trip and I shove a pair of earrings, a hair tie, a bracelet, in a random little pocket. I don’t find these little things until sometimes weeks or months later, usually when I am not looking for them. If I had put them in the place where they belong, then I wouldn’t have ever had trouble finding them when I needed them to go with a particular outfit.

This is like what we do with faith and hope sometimes. We stick in the most random of places and then can’t find it when we need it.

I found myself one day a couple of weeks ago feeling completely hopeless about more than one situation in my life. This feeling came after having my hopes up for something and seeing them dashed. However, how could something as seemingly trivial as this, cause me to feel such utter hopelessness about practically everything in my life? It felt like it came on all of a sudden. Out of nowhere. But did it really? No. These intense emotions never just come out of nowhere. There’s a root to it.

Then, I realized. I just stuck my hope in some random places. I laid it down a little at a time. Here and there. In the moment when someone made a negative comment to me, I dropped off a little hope. In the moment when I was rejected by someone I wanted to like me, I set down a little hope. In the moment when I tried really hard at something, and failed, I put down a little hope. In the moment that I had high expectation and anticipation and a friend let me down, I dropped off a little more hope. Here and there, my hope tank had run dry.

The feeling of hopelessness and despair can creep up on us like a little villain waiting to pounce, but he doesn’t have to. No, we can stop and find our hope again, and find it fast! Dig the earrings out of the pocket. Pull the bracelet out of the bag. Find the necklace in the bottom of the car, or the corner of the kitchen.

A very strong analogy for a very foundational principle in life. Hope is a choice. It’s something that we have to choose daily.

Hope is also very easily lost when it’s placed in people and circumstances that we can’t control. What we have to do is go back to the hope that is on the inside. When that friend lets us down this hope shouts out, “I’ve got something better for you. ” When we fail at something this hope cries out, “You can still do it.” When we are rejected this hope calls out, “You are accepted and loved, and will never be alone.” When we are feeling bad about ourselves this hope declares, “You’ve got what it takes to make it.”

There is One named Jesus Christ who gave himself up so that we can hold on to our hope.

4 Keys to Jolt You Out of Hopelessness:

  1. Think of the times when you dropped off your hope in one area of your life..i.e. hoping for a new job, hoping for a relationship, hoping for a promotion, hoping for a good review at work, etc. Write down some of those situations where you started thinking negative thoughts about yourself or about God.
  2. Replace each negative memory with a positive thought. Ask the Lord to show you what He sees and was trying to say to you in those moments. Write down what you hear in your heart, or see in a picture that He shows you. OR Look up Scriptures on whatever you want to feel instead- joy, peace, inspiration, etc. Write those down. These are positive declarations to jolt your brain to think in line with the Truth.
  3. Write a list of thank you’s. What can you celebrate?
  4. Go do something to celebrate what you do have. Eat a cookie, go to a special dinner place, buy yourself a gift, have a little dance party, belt out your favorite song!

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Romans 15:13 NIV

Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.

Psalm 42:5 NIV

Seasons of Singleness

“If you are single, your singleness is not just where you happen to be right now.  It’s where God has you right now, and there’s world of difference between those two outlooks?”                -Dr. Tony Evans, Living Single

The second outlook is the best outlook!

I just turned 40 years old and I am still single.   I am not new to the idea of being single.  I have never been married.   Every single season in my life of singleness has been different, and ordained by God to make me into the person that I am today.   Let me explain why I say “every single season.”   The word “season” indicates a shift in attitude, a change of pace, a change or place, or a different vision or purpose.      I would like to talk about two very contrasting seasons of my single life that I know anyone can relate to if you’ve been single for 1 year  or 10 years.    My purpose in sharing these is to give you, child of God,  hope and inspiration that you can walk out of one season and into a new one!

The Season of Woe-Is-Me 

If you’ve been single for any amount of time, you know exactly what I mean.   It’s that kind of a wanton emotional state that doesn’t seem to ever go away.   It’s the season when everyone was getting married around me  – both of my sisters, every friend I’ve ever head, etc. etc.  BUT NOT ME!

After about the 10 engagement announcements or wedding invitations I received I felt like I wanted to wallow in self-pity and stare into the pit of despair.  I felt some amount of happiness for everyone getting hitched, but yet found myself at home by myself saying, “Why, God, why? And when God, when?!”  The questions ranged from – “What is wrong with me?” “Do I smell?”   “Do I need to dress better?”   “Am I too picky?”   Not a pretty season.

I’ve hit this season more than once.  Lasted several months to even a couple of years.   And possibly no one would ever know it.   I am a good actress.

I can remember watching a baby dedication at church one time in my late twenties and crying crocodile tears.  Not because I was touched, but because I was feeling sorry for myself and like – “I will never get married and have a baby. It’s over for me. It’s just never gonna happen.”   And then on top of it, every relationship I ever had was dangled like a carrot in front of my face by the Enemy of my soul, as He taunted me with lies and more lies….. “You missed out.”  “You can still have that guy, if you really want him.”  “You really screwed that one up.”  “You missed your last chance. There will be no more opportunities for love or romance.”   To top it off a lot of anger and resentment towards God really crept in, which completely rob me of my peace and joy for days on end.    Yeah, those haven’t been pleasant seasons, and usually I’ve gotten so miserable being miserable that I’ve crawled my way out of the pit and back into the arms of Jesus where life truly makes sense.

The Season of Being Enraptured with Jesus

That’s kind of a dramatic word, but I can’t think of a better one that more suits this season.   It’s the season where I cared for nothing but being with Jesus, loving Him, serving Him, and knowing Him.   The season where I could care less if I got a date on a weekend night, cause being with Him was enough.   He was all that I needed.   I remember one of these seasons succeeded the end of a relationship in my twenties.   I can remember someone saying to me, “Wow, you are so glowing.  You look amazing. What’s going on with you?!”   My response, “I just feel so in love with Jesus.” I wish I could remain in that season forever, but the desire for marriage does eventually pop back up again.    I am probably more in love with Jesus than ever now.  That love has matured and grown in each one of these seasons.  I became a different person in many ways.  More purposeful, more loving, more creative, more adventurous.  It’s the one where I relished my single days of having no other obligations to anyone and often spent a whole day or morning with Jesus with nothing pressing on me.    Tremendous security,  confidence, peace, and joy grounded me in these seasons.  Why?  Because I didn’t get to know myself better, but I got to know the One who made me better.   In that intimacy with Jesus all things were made new.  He made the Word come alive in me and it truly changed me from the inside out.

Next time,  I can tell you about some other seasons that I’ve walked through, and all the wisdom that I’ve learned through them.

What I want to leave with you today is….

You are not alone.  You may have feelings of feeling lonely, but you are never alone.  Bare your heart before the Lord, let Him take all the shame and the blame.  Surrender your heart and your life to Him in this season of singleness.     It’s where He has you right now.   He’s not punishing you.  He wants you to want Him more than a mate.   He knows that this is the key to your life.  Don’t be mad at Him, yourself, or anyone.   He loves you enough to have given you this gift of singleness for a season. It’s divinely ordained state.

Will you embrace it?

I highly recommend Get a Love Life by Michelle McKinney Hammond.    I’ve read a number of her books over the years, and her insight has helped me so much.

Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm;

for love is as strong as death,  its jealousy a unyielding as the grave.

It burns like blazing fire, like a mighty flame. b

7Many waters cannot quench love;  rivers cannot sweep it away.

Song of Solomon 8:6-7 NIV

He Promises, You Can Rest

Photo By Kevin Tran

Rest.  It’s something that some people have no problem with. Then, there’s me.  My brain tends to be super active all the time. I typically have a lot of energy, but then comes a 50,60, 70 hour work week.  My reserves are drained. My emotions are spent. My spirit not particularly charged. All of a sudden sickness hits, and I am forced to stay home from work for three days.   I have never taken three days off from work. I am almost depressed as I am home recovering from sickness, not to mention that I feel really bad. I am just so tired. So tired.  

“You’ve been really busy. You need to rest.”  People at church say this to me when they see me sick. More than one person.  Multiple friends out of the kindness of their heart try to give me a cough drop, and want to pray for me.  I allow them to pray for me. However, I am almost embarrassed that I am coughing so much. I really wish I hadn’t come to church at all because I feel just so exhausted to my core.   No amount of coffee really helps much.

I am forced to slow down my body, go to bed earlier than usual every night for a couple of weeks.  However, slowing down my mind, well that’s another thing all together. My mind keeps circulating through the questions like, “Why am I so sick? Why haven’t I kicked this yet? What is wrong with me?”   The answer is – I am just tired. I’ve been running too hard for weeks without much balance. I kept some commitments that I should have let go. I am just exhausted.

Have you been there?? It’s no wonder that the Apostle Paul talks a lot about rest.   In fact, in Hebrews 4  he talks about the promise of God’s rest.

1Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it. 2For we also have had the good news proclaimed to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because they did not share the faith of those who obeyed. a 3Now we who have believed enter that rest, just as God has said,

“So I declared on oath in my anger,

‘They shall never enter my rest.’?” b

And yet his works have been finished since the creation of the world. 4For somewhere he has spoken about the seventh day in these words: “On the seventh day God rested from all his works.” c 5And again in the passage above he says, “They shall never enter my rest.”   Hebrews 4 NIV 

Let’s break down what he is really saying here.  In verse 2 he says that some had the gospel of Jesus Christ preached to them, but the message they heard was of no value to them.  They didn’t put faith in Jesus Christ. However, those who believe in Jesus Christ do “enter that rest”.

Jesus finished the work for us.  When we choose to believe in that finished work, then the spirit of Jesus living on the inside of us equals rest!   Salvation equals rest from trying to earn acceptance from God. We can’t rest and still be striving for God’s love.   We can’t rest and still be trying to do enough good to win God’s approval. If we are, then we truly aren’t enjoying the rest that has already been granted to us through Jesus Christ.  

Paul goes on to talk about how God rested on the seventh day Himself, permanently. 

“And yet his work has been finished since the creation of the world. For somewhere he has spoken about the seventh day in these words: And on the seventh day God rested from all his work.”  

Having a day each week to recharge and rest is definitely important, but let’s remember that God is sitting on His throne.  This Scripture says that He has been resting from His work of creating the world, since the second He finished it!!  At least, that’s how I look at it.   He created the world and then His creation missed out on enjoying the Garden and walking and talking with Him like He desired.  They did their own thing.   For hundred of years His creation did this.   So then He says, “So I declared on oath in my anger, ‘They shall never enter my rest.’”   However, God re-nigged on this oath later on by sending Jesus as the one to finish the work that we should have had to do in order to earn the right to rest.

It still remains that some will enter that rest, and those who formerly had the gospel preached to them did not go in, because of their disobedience.  Therefore God again set a certain day, calling it Today, when a long time later he spoke through David, as was said before: “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.” There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his.  Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will fall by following their example of disobedience.    Hebrews 4:6-10 NIV

God again set a certain day for rest when He sent Jesus to create a new oath of rest for us- TODAY!   Is God saying He wants all of us to stop physically working and sit on our butts all day?!  No. I believe He is saying that every day you can stay in a state of rest in our souls – our mind, our will, and our emotions.   We can rest in the finished work of Jesus Christ.  We can rest in the fact that He done it all for us.  We can lay down all worries and cares.

I love what Matthew Henry says in his commentary on Hebrews 4. 

“We, who have believed, do enter into rest, v. 3. We enter into a blessed union with Christ, and into a communion with God through Christ; in this state we actually enjoy many sweet communications of pardon of sin, peace of conscience, joy in the Holy Ghost, increase of grace and earnests of glory, resting from the servitude of sin, and reposing ourselves in God till we are prepared to rest with him in heaven.” (Biblehub.com)

So essentially when there is lack of peace and joy in the Holy Ghost, we are not enjoying that rest that should come from our union with Jesus.    Oh, but when we who have received Jesus, make an effort to stay in that state in our souls, it truly delights our Father God.

28“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”  Matthew 11 NIV

In this last week when a friend asked to pray for me because I was still coughing when we were in a group setting,  I said, “At this point, I’ve had enough people lay hands on me and pray for me. I believe it’s a walk of faith right now in terms of my healing.  I believe there’s spiritual and soulish roots that are contributing to it, that I am getting free from. I’m getting better.” And it’s true.

12 For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.13 Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.  Hebrews 4 NIV

The Word is dividing those areas in my soul that doesn’t want to rest and wants to strive, fret, and worry about anything and everything.   I’ve been asking the Holy Spirit to reveal any patterns of thinking and lies I’ve been believing about myself and God that have opened the door to these negative emotions and sickness in my body.    I’ve journaled them, I have confessed them, and I have released them to be covered in the blood of Christ Jesus that has paid the price for my peace and joy.

I’ve rested my body, but I’ve entered back into true rest by going into undistracted times with Jesus, the Lover of my Soul.  His Word is restoring my soul into a place of peace and trust about all things in my life. The only “work” is laying down fear, failures, frustration, anxiety, and stress, and giving it to Him.  Hours go by and I realize that I am in a state of bliss with Jesus. That’s right, a state of bliss. Joy and adoration. Peace and stillness.

And my strength is returning.  My physical symptoms are diminishing.  God is faithful.

When I go back to work after vacation, I know that I can continue to stay in this place of rest, even when I am working.  That’s right. It’s true. 

We can stay seated in our souls.

We can stay in constant communion with Jesus.   

He is rest.  

If you are in a state like I’ve been in, my prayer for you is that you heed the voice of Jesus calling you to focus your whole attention on Him.  He alone can restore your soul into a place of rest.   

 

These Man’s Eyes Don’t Lie

I don’t define myself by my failures.

I don’t define myself by my successes.

I don’t define myself by my outer beauty.

I don’t define myself by my clothes.

I don’t define myself by my stuff.

I don’t define myself by my income.

I don’t define myself by my social status.

I don’t define myself by my job.

I don’t define myself by the words that others use to describe me.

I define myself by who He says I am.   All else can and will fade away.

I heard the gentle voice of the Lord in middle of the night when I was having trouble going to sleep.    I was thinking about some comments that were made by friends about me at my birthday party.    As kind as their words were, they are not what defines me.

For years I fell into the comparison trap.  I felt as if I wasn’t really where I was supposed to be in my life because I didn’t have a husband or a family of my own.  Many a friend and family member have I watched get married and have a family.   This is not my story.  God has had a different plan for me.  It’s different than what I would have chosen for myself years ago, but yet I am satisfied with right where I am.

It has taken me awhile to get to this place of satisfaction and completion.   At times I have come into what I thought was satisfaction, but then quickly fell back into the comparison trap. A few months ago, I had a breakthrough in this area.  The breakthrough came out of utter and total despair about the state of being alone.   Yes, no kidding.  Isn’t that when breakthrough comes?!  It often comes when we are the bottom emotionally and have no where else to look but up.   It comes with the cry, “Only You alone, Lord can pull me out of this despair and loneliness.”

And all of this to say, I haven’t always been in this state.  It’s been an up and down journey. However, this time, I believe that so much has changed in my pattern of thinking about myself, that it will be hard to go back to that lowly emotional state.

Let me tell you how and why a revelation of His love for me has pulled me out of that pit.

It’s become a season of love where I have begun to sit with Him for much longer periods of time and just BE WITH HIM.   Not just be in the Word or be in prayer for others, but BE WITH HIM and allow Him to just BE the GREAT I AM to me.   Sit still in His presence and fill up on His love for me.  This is new to me.  I’m used to worship and praise.  I’m used to interceding in prayer for others, and praying in the Spirit.   But just sitting and being still, and bringing nothing but my gaze is not something I’ve done much in my life, and I’ve been a Christian since I was a child.  I’ve walked with Him for many years, but the depth of the relationship has become sweeter and deeper and more full of joy now.  In a more real way than ever before.

I’m so in love with the One who made me and redeemed me and counsels me.   What matters most of all is how He looks at me.   I want to behold Him and become like the One I behold.

Jesus loves me so much that He gave up His life for me.   In his eyes I see who I truly am.  My heart is has become intertwined with His unfailing love and that’s why I am only defined by who He says I am. When I keep my gaze on Him, I remain in the place of satisfaction and completion no matter what I am lacking in terms of my natural life.

There’s no possible way I could explain this in human terms. This is nothing like a relationship on this earth with a human being. There’s no possible way to relate it to a relationship between two human beings. The reason why is because human beings have a sinful nature. Yes, we’ve been redeemed. However, we have a sinful nature, but when you behold yourself in the eyes of Jesus, you are beholding the perfection that is in His eyes. His love is beaming with no condemnation or guile. His love is selfless and kind, and it’s not fragile. It’s not even dependent upon our love for Him.

That’s why you have to define yourself by who He says you are.  Do you understand? Do you understand that He knows the beginning from the end of your life?  Do you understand that He has always known the number of hairs on your head? Do you understand that He is the light of your path? Do you understand that He knit you together in your mother’s womb and fashioned you for a specific purpose that only you can fulfill?  This purpose can only be found by staying close to His heart, by listening to his voice, and looking into His eyes.

I am so grateful for the love of Jesus. Grateful is not even the right word for it. I am satisfied in Him.  These man’s eyes never lie.

*Please read Eric Gilmour’s book School of His Presence.  Attending His conference and reading this book has encouraged me to bring my relationship with Jesus to a deeper level than ever before.

Why Singles Should Know Where They Want to Sit!

I am reading the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change by Stephen R. Covey.  It’s a best seller.  He talks about paradigms that we all have and how “where we stand, depends on where we sit.”  What is paradigm?  It’s the way we see the world in terms of perceiving, understanding, and interpreting. It’s essentially a map. A map is not the actual territory, it’s an explanation of certain aspects of the territory.  We all tend to interpret things in terms of the way things are and in the way things should be. These maps actually produce behaviors and attitudes.  And let me tell you as a single, this greatly influence our approach to relationships and dating.

I had a conversation with a group of people and one particular friend on a hot topic.  My friend was a champion on the views put forth in a new book on dating and singleness that she recently read. She seemed to wholeheartedly to agree with the principles that the writer put forth. As I listened, I thought completely along a different vantage point. Her background, experience in life, cultural, family, and church experience has shaped her view. So has all of this shaped mine.

Our stories are totally different. I mean, everyone’s stories are different, but ours happen to be VERY different.  I listened to her and thought honestly that she was agreeing with the writer’s own paradigm about the subject of dating. Her wants, desires, and experiences seem to line up with what he was saying, and she feels his ideas are true.  Not really wanting to get into an intense conversation, I didn’t really say much.   I respect where she’s coming from, and respect her as a person.  She has much faith in her own paradigm.  However, I have a fairly different paradigm at this stage in my life.  It looks nothing like the paradigm I used to have in my 20’s.  Thank God.

People sometimes use the Bible to support their ideas or paradigm on dating.  I’ve read many different books on the subject.  All of them having many valid points.  Each one of them kind of coming from a different paradigm. Many of them are full of wisdom principles, and many of them are full of opinions based on each writer’s personal experiences.   However, the Bible doesn’t really talk about the actual subject of how to go about dating in terms of:  whether or not we should go on dating websites; go out a lot on one-on-one dates or only do it through community; or make sure we hear from God about His choice of a mate for us.    Our beliefs about all of these things come from our own experiences and worldview.   We all have different needs according to our past, and we all are wired differently in what our hearts can handle in our lives. So, of course, we all have different paradigms!

The Bible does discuss the matters of the heart as a matter of character.   It describes the values and virtues that should govern the life of a believer, that should govern the life of every believer whether single or married.   It talks of sexual purity, honesty, sincerity, unconditional love, unselfishness, honor, respect, etc.    I’ve focused a lot more on those principles in the last years.   I’d rather not argue with certain Christian single’s point of views on all the other matters.  God knows I’ve been pretty adamant about my views in the past.   Healthy discussions are needed in the Body of Christ, but arguing is not really profitable conversation.

How to choose where you sit!

  1. Be fully convinced and in faith in your own paradigm for dating. 

Whether or not you “kissed dating goodbye” or you “date whomever you want whenever you want” it’s up to each person to do what is in his heart to do what is right for them.  Some may exclaim that kissing dating goodbye ruined their lives, while others exclaim that it saved them from much heartache, and they met their mate in the context of community.  (You would have to read Joshua’s Harris book to fully understand this concept.)  Their love story was pure, beautiful, and completely designed by God.    I’m not taking sides with either point of view, and I don’t really feel the need to explain my point of view right now.  However, I do believe that,  “Each one should be full convinced in his own mind.” (Romans 14:5

I am navigating myself through this treacherous territory of my single life with my own “map” for this territory.   Is it ever changing?  Of course.   It’s a beautiful and wonderful life that I have, and I am in a great place right now. My new paradigm is from a vantage point that has brought me more satisfaction than I ever have had in my life.   I have thoroughly thought through it.   I have some very strong convictions that other singles might laugh at or disagree with.  And one of them is that I just don’t go out with any attractive Christian guy who asks me out.  It’s just not gonna happen.  Yes, I pray about it.  That’s cliche for some people, but not for me.   It’s real life.   I don’t want to date and date and date for months and months because everything appears hunky-dory only to later really seek the Lord for peace after I’ve fully emotionally invested myself in the relationship.  That’s an upside down paradigm that made me stand in a hurtful place for more than one season of my life.  Not going back there.   I am fully convinced and in faith that I am sitting in the right place now, and will stand in the right relationship for me at the right time.   It’s about stinking time I got to this point.   I’m healthier, truly happier, and have more purpose and vision than ever before.  How did I come up with this vision, well a whole lot of time consulting the Lord.  So above all else, make sure that you…

2. Consult God on His map for you and where He wants you to “sit”. 

Ask God the hard question….What paradigms do I have that are not your paradigms? I want to see the world essentially the way He sees the world. I want to see experiences and people the way He sees them. I want to not just THINK that I am perceiving things with my spirit, I want to KNOW that I am perceiving things with my spirit through His vantage point, so that my behaviors and attitudes about all things are pleasing to Him.  (Galatians 5: 16-24)   One of my mentors talked about the other night how we should be a people who pray with such great confidence that when we pray, we know – it shall be done. That’s having a paradigm that exists at a higher level, and not just based on what is naturally seen with the human eye.   Covey talks of how we see the world not as it is, but as we are. The Bible says:

1 John 4: 17   By this, love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; because as He is, so also are we in this world.

For years I read this as – I need to know myself by how God sees me, but that’s only one side of it.   Really and truly when I cultivate intimacy more and more with the One who created me, then I more fully know who I am.   My focus these days is in knowing Him, for this intimacy shapes my personal paradigm.   When I am living in the love of God, then I am truly living and all else flows from that place of intimacy.

1 John 4:7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 8The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love. 9By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him. 10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

Furthermore, if “where I stand is where I sit,”  then I want to make sure that I stay seated with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.   That takes a lot of effort and time, but it helps to keep my heart in the right place and ready to receive a mate at the right time.

Ephesians 2:4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.

Why The Hallmark Kind of Love Fails

There are several standard plots in Hallmark movies.  They are far from realistic in some ways, though I can’t help watching them often, especially this holiday season.  These movies represent typically a woman longing for unconditional love.  She finds different kinds of love through the course of the film.  We all cheer in the end at what the man and woman both find, and truly it’s an “Awwwh, I want that moment” for most women watching,  but let’s a take a look at the Hallmark kind of love.   

The Hallmark Kind of Love     

  1. It is friendship love that falls short of the deepest desire for enduring true love.   

In practically every plot we see the longing of the woman to be married to a perfect prince, to sweep her off of her feet.  In the beginning of the movie we see that she’s so in love with the idea of marriage, that she stays in a relationship with the perfect guy.  He doesn’t “ruffle her feathers” about anything. He doesn’t challenge her. He is so much like her in his personality, goals, and interests, that there’s really no adventure or tension in the relationship. She’s been with this guy for a long time, not seeing that he is really not what she needs to be with the rest of her life. She doesn’t realize that loving someone and being in love with someone are not the same.  She only really has “friendship love” with her boyfriend.  The boyfriend has to be the one to break up with her, often right at the moment that she thinks he is going to propose to her!! She is mortified.  After the relationship ends, the Hallmark girl is hoping to find true love, but is often a bit jaded, and not sure it will ever happen for her.

2. It is romantic love that is based on feelings. 

When the girl meets a new guy who is nothing like her last boyfriend,  she often clashes with him. He might get under her skin in some ways because he does not totally agree with her on some things.  However, the more she’s around him she becomes more and more attracted to him. They start to develop some friendship intimacy and she is actually kind of taken off guard by how much she starts to like him. He falls in love with her, and she falls in love with him through some really beautiful life experiences. They find that though they are different, they really enjoy being with each other.  Then, there’s some kind of complication that causes her to either run from him or him to run from her. A friend or family member talks them into running back to each other because they know that they have found true love. They talk through their differences, he explains his heart for her, and it all works out beautifully because they both “feel” ooey-gooey after only knowing each other often for only a few weeks! 

Who doesn’t want to feel ooey-gooey and in the euphoric state of being in love?!  We all do!  We all want that, but that kind of love is nothing like the love of God, which never, never, never, fails.

Why do we need the unconditional love of God?

  1. His love is committed to us for eternity. 

Since I’ve watched so many of these movies I have begun to realize how many analogies there are to our relationship with Jesus as the lover of our souls. We have often been mesmerized and “in love” with the world or a person, only to find the world or the person dumping us or letting us down and leaving us. We feel as if we will never find anyone who will truly love us.  However, the love of God is committed to for eternity.  He will NEVER leave us or forsake us.  We are yoked to Him in covenant when we have made Jesus Christ our Savior and Lord of our lives.  Covenant is not broken even with death.  He doesn’t break His covenant of love even if we run away from him for weeks, months, or years.  He is always waiting with open arms.   That’s a powerful love.

2. His love transforms us into better people.  

The love of Jesus will come running after us, even if we are running from it.   He is not like any other lover.   He is gentle, kind, and has many qualities that we don’t have. He challenges us with new ideas and new ways of looking at ourselves, our lives, and other people.  He even “ruffles our feathers” a bit because we don’t always think that what He thinks is right, but we can’t help but be intrigued by His suggestions, ideas, and sense of adventure!  When we begin to give our heart to Him and open up to Him, and start trust Him, then His love transforms us.  

3. His love is always present, every minute of the day and night. 

In every human relationship we can not always be with that person.   They are not present every second of the day.   Well, His love is always near.  After Jesus died, God sent the Holy Spirit as our counselor to live on the inside of us.  He is present at all times to teach us all things we need to know.  To comfort us, support us, calm us, give us joy, every minute of the day – and EVERY TIME we call out to Him.   What kind of person can be there for you like that?! No human being on the face of the earth can or ever will be able to do that.

There’s been some seasons in my life when I think I got so focused on the cares of this world that I stopped connecting with the love of God.   And sometimes when things weren’t going right, just like the Hallmark girl, I ran from being in the presence of my Lover and no longer was listening to what He had to say to me every day.    I’m not currently in a relationship with a man on this planet, so as a single I have to stay connected to His love, or I become lonely, hopeless, depressed, fearful, and even angry.    Oh, but when I do stay connected with that love, I look at my singleness in such a different way, and I am fully alive, fully aware that I already belong to One who gave up His life for me.

He’s waiting for you!

Maybe you’re the Hallmark character who has run from The One who loves you. Maybe you are in a season where you are upset with your first love, Jesus.  He is waiting for you with open arms. He wants your heart again. His love for you is everlasting and unconditional.   You may need to start wherever you are, even if your life is a mess because you have left Him out of the picture.  This time really give Him your whole heart and soul.    He will never leave you or forsake you.  I promise, you will not be disappointed.

 In the movie I watched last night the couple at the end had to re-introduce themselves to each other.    Maybe you need to say, “Hi, Jesus, it’s me _________________. I need you in my life.”

He’s waiting for you.  Your First Love is waiting.  And this man is full of unconditional, agape love.  He never ever gives up on you. He keeps no records of your wrongs.  This man has written your name on the palm of His hand and knows how many hairs are on your head.   This man gave up His life for yours.  This is way better than the “Hallmark” kind of love.  No comparison, period.

Jeremiah 29: 11‘For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. 12‘Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. 13‘You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.

Song of Solomon 2: He has brought me to his banquet hall, and his banner over me is love.

Song of Solomon 7: 10 I am my beloved’s, And his desire is for me.

Dairy-Free Butternut Squash Lasagna!


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You won’t know this is dairy-free, I promise!  It’s creamy and delicious, and has way less saturated fat than if made with milk and cream.  I love pretty much any dish made with butternut squash.  It’s such a creamy and yet sweet vegetable that God created for us to enjoy.  When looking for a perfect fall dish, this is a absolutely perfect!

Ingredients

2 medium-sized butternut squash  or 3 cans of butternut squash puree

1  tsp of cinnamon

1  tsp of nutmeg

4 cups of coconut and/or almond Milk

1 – 1 1/2 pound of ground turkey meat

1 tbs of fresh sage or 1 tsp of dried sage

1tbs of fresh thyme or 1 tsp of dried thyme

3 onions

2 tbs of Nutritional Yeast

2 tbs of Tapioca Flour or All-Purpose Flour

Oven-Bake Lasagna Noodles

1 tsp. of salt

1/2 tsp. of pepper

1 – 1 1/2 tbsp grapeseed or coconut oil

1 package of vegan mozzarella-style cheese shreds

Steps

  1. Preheat oven at 400 degrees.  Cut butternut squash in half and scoop out the seeds.   Sprinkle 1/2 tsp of salt and drizzle on coconut oil.   Lay on a greased pan with foil liner and bake for 45 minutes.  After they cool a little, scoop out and put in your blender. Add cinnamon, nutmeg, and one cup of almond or coconut milk.   *If you want to skip this step then just take 3 cans of butternut squash puree, and add the cinnamon, nutmeg, and coconut to it.   Then, blend in blender until very smooth.  You might need to add a little bit more coconut or almond milk to make it more smooth and less clumpy.   Put aside in a large bowl or glass measuring pitcher.
  2. Brown ground turkey meat and one diced onion in the skillet with the 1/2 tsp of salt, the sage, and the thyme. Set browned meat aside.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  4. Béchamel sauce: Put three cups of coconut or almond milk in the blender and 2 tbs of nutritional yeast and blend well.  Sit aside.  Add grapeseed oil or coconut oil to a medium sized pot and adding two diced onions or one large onion to the pot.  Cook so transparent.  Add tapioca flour to onions, and stir well.  Add blended coconut milk and nutritional yeast, and salt to taste.   Let this bubble for a few minutes in the pot on medium-low.  Be careful to stir it so it doesn’t burn on the bottom.   Then, turn off burner.
  5. Assemble the lasagna now! Grease the bottom of your glass rectangular dish.  Take a soup ladle and spoon about half of the Béchamel sauce on the bottom.   Lay down probably 3 – 4 noodles on it.    Pour about half of the butternut squash mixture on it top of noodles.   Put half of the ground turkey on top of that.  Put 3 – 4 noodles on.  Put the rest of Béchamel sauce on top of noodles. Put more butternut squash mixture and ground turkey, and then top with about half of the shredded vegan mozzarella cheese.    You can honestly layer any way you want.   This way worked for me.
  6. Cover loosely with foil.   Bake in oven for 45 minutes on 350 degrees.   Take out and remove foil.   Turn oven up to broil.  Add the rest of the mozzarella cheese on top.  Put back in oven for 3 – 5 minutes to make the mozzarella bubble and brown a bit.
  7. Let sit for about 10 minutes before eating.

Recipe by Cynthia Lowa

I never measure exact measurements for herbs and salt and pepper.  Feel free to just play it by ear and salt and season to taste!

Learn A Lesson From a Cucumber!

I couldn’t help but think of so many practice spiritual and life lessons today that I learned while picking cucumbers!  Yes, I just said picking cucumbers.

First thing I noticed was that in the places with the most vines covering the ground, were the highest number of hiding cucumbers.   In fact, the most giant, plump cucumbers were usually there. Seriously.  They were beautiful.

I said to myself as I was picking,  “That’ll preach!”

I’ve often felt overlooked at times in my life.  To be really honest, it’s currently a feeling that I have been overcoming myself.  However, I know that my Father God has been hiding me in a place where I can develop and grow to my full maturity, AND THEN be “picked”.  I might feel insignificant and invisible, even to God at times, but I am not.

My Father God has a purpose and plan in every season.   I believe in this season He wants me to stay in the “shade” a little longer, hidden from the “pickers”!  In the shadows, I have had to be willing to allow Him to change me and “ripen” me to be ready to be used by Him whenever and wherever He sees fit.

If you feel like you are in the shadows today, don’t despair.

In the shadows I pray for you as Paul did in Colossians 1:9 – 12 that …

You are being filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding.

You are walking in the manner worthy of the Lord to please Him in all respects.

You are being strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience, joyously giving thanks to the Father who has qualified you in the inheritance of the saints in the light.

You know where we really should be hiding?  We should be hiding in the secret place with Him.

Psalm 32:7  You are my hiding place; You preserve me from trouble; You surround me with songs of deliverance. Selah. I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you.

Psalm 91:1 He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.

This puts a whole new perspective on being in the shadows.  Who cares how long you have to hide, when you are abiding in the secret place with Him?!  This will make you stop complaining, and start being grateful for the time to hide with Him.  It has certainly done that for me.  I have had to make a choice to abide in the secret place with Him where all peace and hope is found.

Romans 5: 3 And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character,hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been pouredout within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

So essentially this means…….

Tribulation =  perseverance = proven character =  HOPE.

When you get the point of “proven character”, basically, what this is saying is that – it will be hard for you to be disappointed EVER.  That’s really a character trait that we all want, isn’t it?!

I’m not talking about being numb and not wanting anything any more. I’m talking about knowing that every dream will come true in God’s time, beyond a shadow of a doubt!   I’m talking about dreaming big while being in the shadows, yet being totally satisfied in your intimacy with Him.

So, you may not be receiving that promotion that you want right now.  If you have the right attitude and submit to the process,  you will get so strong in character that it will be hard for anything to sway you or disappoint you.  When you do finally come out of hiding  you will KNOW YOUR GOD in a way that you didn’t before.  That is, if you truly make the choice to pursue more intimacy with Him!!

Do you sense I’m about to get up and start dancing?!?!

You will discover WHOSE YOU ARE, AND WHO YOU ARE!

You might have to serve in positions that are not your favorite.  You may have to do things that your flesh doesn’t necessarily love doing.  All the while you will be going deeper and deeper in God.

Totally on the flip side of things, there was another thing I noticed when picking cucumbers today. Many of the kids started munching on the smaller cucumbers.    I munched on one myself, and thought they were delightful, too. The small ones were tasty, too!  For some reason, I thought maybe they wouldn’t be, but the indeed were tasty.

You may feel like a little cucumber, totally not ready at all to be picked, but God may want you to get “picked” right now!   Can He use you?  Yes?!

(“You’re comparing me to a little cucumber,” you say. “What is a Veggie Tale story in the making?!?!”)

God may want to use you right now as unqualified as you may feel.     Yep, it’s true.

God may also want you to wait and let you develop and hide you and ripen you for the appointed time when He will cause you to be noticed and brought in the light!  And boy oh boy when you finally get picked, you are not at all the same person that you were before.  If you had been picked way before that, it might have been a big disaster, because as the saying goes….your talent will take your where your character won’t keep you.   Now you will have “staying power”, as I call it.    Yow will remain (hopefully) in that newly appointed position in the light because your character will be fully developed.

And furthermore I couldn’t help but notice something else…

A lot of the kids picking the cucumbers today were not willing to really, really look hard at the ground, but just kind of grabbed the ones that were easily visible.

I see this like…we may be overlooked by people who are just looking for talent and noticeable gifts,  but those who are looking for quality and depth, will look harder, and look more at character.  God can cause you to be highlighted and all of a sudden seen and chosen.

Isn’t it true that a larger more developed cucumber will most likely have many, many more seeds that can come from it  than a smaller cucumber!   In a fully developed cucumber, is the potential to produce more of its kind. A LOT MORE OF ITS KIND.   A smaller cucumber, can’t always produce a lot more of its kind! But a bigger one can!!

What did God say in the very beginning when He created man?

Genesis 9: 7“As for you, be fruitful and multiply; Populate the earth abundantly and multiply in it.”  

Do you think this was just about fruit in the natural?? God was also talking about our lives as “fruit”, to be “picked” by the world.

There are lot of reasons to rejoice that you are in the shadows right now, even though part of you just REALLY, REALLY wants you to be seen.  In fact, God desires that you get over the desire in your soul to be seen and noticed by people.  He wants you to get over the desire for the praise of man.   He wants you to be able to step into the light just to glorify Him.

Learn a lesson from the cucumber –  whether you are “small” or “big”, He is faithful in every season of your life and you are created to be a blessing to others, period.

The Transformed Life!

Romans 12: 1-2 Therefore, I urge you, brothers in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – His good pleasing and perfect will.   (NIV)

 

So let’s look at just these two verses.  How are we able to offer our bodies as living sacrifices holy and pleasing to God? According to these Scriptures we cannot offer our bodies as living sacrifices if we are not being transformed by the renewing of our minds.

What happens when our mind is renewed by the Word of God?   We are able to stay conformed to Kingdom principles and not the pattern of the world. Without the renewing of our minds, we will not be able to test and approve what God’s will is. We will not be able to distinguish what his good, pleasing him and perfect will is.  Our lifestyle choices will not reflect Kingdom principles or the wisdom of God. We are walking as carnal people allowing our carnal nature to dictate our decisions living on this earth.

What would be an example of conforming to a pattern of the world?    Doubt and fear is a pattern of this world.

  1. Doubting God will take care of us.
  2. Doubting that we have received our healing from an illness.
  3. Doubting that God is going to fulfill his promises for our lives.
  4. Doubting God’s provision for our needs.
  5. Doubting we can be delivered from an addiction.
  6. Fearing the future.
  7. Fearing calamity.

When our default is immediately fear and doubt to circumstances and adverse facts in the natural,  then what does the Word say about what is going on in our mind?….Our mind is not renewed in that area.

When a feeling of fear or doubt comes up in you, what should you do then? Get your mind renewed in that area. Find a Scripture or two that applies to the fear or doubt you are dealing with specifically and meditate on it, study it,  and declare it. Allow the seed of the Word of God to take root and choke out all of the lies you have believed about God.

When you think of the maturing and growing and transformation of a caterpillar into a butterfly do you think that they look very very much alike? No!   We are transformed by the renewing of our mind. Our habits, defaults, and our attitudes will look nothing like they used to when we are truly transformed!

Let me put this in perspective. For years I struggled with really bad acne on my face. It was a source of great insecurity. I was tired of being anxious and insecure about my face and wasn’t understanding why I was not receiving healing from the Lord from the acne. I could make all the diet changes I wanted to make and still the acne was really an issue. I took several scriptures and began to declade them over myself every day.  It took some time for my mind to be completely convinced that I was healed by the stripes of Jesus, but I finally saw the transformation in myself. Where in the past one large pimple would pop up and I would possibly get angry, upset, and distressed, now I would just continue to speak the Word and tell it to dry up and tell my hormones to go into balance. Finally, one day I realized that my face had been clear for many months and from that time on my face has pretty much always been clear with only minor disruptions rarely!

One other thing that I had to deal with in terms of receiving my healing from acne was learning to walk in my identity as a child of God. Often times the spiritual root to acne is self-rejection. Sometimes we have a difficult time walking in our identity as children of the King of Kings. This little demon of inadequacy can jump on us and affect our bodies. For me the result happened to be acne. For others it can be a range of different physical ailments.  I began knowing who I was as the daughter of the King, and that changed everything!

The good news is that you can be so sure that as you are renewing your mind to the Word of God and being transformed that you will no longer look like the person you used to look like in the physical, in the spirit, and in your emotions!  Your default and knee-jerk reaction to what you see in the natural will be faith instead of fear and doubt and negativity!

When All That He Is, Meets All That We Are


1Behold, how good and how pleasant it is
For brothers to dwell together in unity!

2It is like the precious oil upon the head,
Coming down upon the beard,
Even Aaron’s beard,
Coming down upon the edge of his robes.

3It is like the dew of Hermon
Coming down upon the mountains of Zion;
For there the LORD commanded the blessing—life forever.   Psalms 133:1-3 (NAS)

 

For some reason this just stood out to me today in my devotion time.   The part about the precious oil coming down upon the beard and coming down upon the edge of Aaron’s robes.I went to the Jesus ’17 Conference in Orlando on Saturday night.   As probably several thousand people worshipped and praised and just soaked up the presence of God, asking Him to not pass us by, to get to know Him in a way we haven’t before…the glory of God fell.   I can totally relate to the oil running down all the way from his head to his toes, for that is essentially what the glory of God feels like when it is manifest in a place where a congregation is corporately worshipping the Lord and crying out for more of Him.

When we first started the service, I didn’t feel very connected to the Lord.  I felt tired.  I felt expectant for a move of God, to a certain degree, but I felt tired from life.  Overwhelmed from just allowing the pressures of life to bother me.

There came a point in the service that Michael Koulianos was just talking about all of the crazy things that are mentioned in the Bible that many Christians from various Christian circles judge, criticize, and reject as something that God wants to do or does do in this time.   He mentioned men’s bones rattling and great prophets being struck down on their faces for hours, etc. and how that was all “Bible”.   I began to think about the Red Sea parting.  Paul getting bitten by a deadly snake and him shaking it off.   People being raised from the dead.

And what do we want now as the Body of Christ?  Do we want to please religious people and go on with just experiencing one side of God and not crying out for revival in this nation and revival in our hearts?

I don’t.  I want revival.   I want to see this nation turn their hearts to the Lord.

He longs for us to cry out for more of Him.  To know Him in a way we never have before.   To behold Jesus like we never have before.

I needed it that night.  I need it every day.

I heard myself crying out the prayer for God to not pass me by, just as Michael said, even though I at first wasn’t feeling a single thing and felt borderline numb.   I just began praying in the Spirit in tongues during the service.  I did this for awhile, while other people were going to the altar to surrender their lives to the Lord.   And then all of a sudden a wave started coming over me….It was like I was laughing and crying at the same time.   It was a belly laugh up out of my spirit that felt like it was releasing junk from my soul.   And while I was laughing and crying all at the same time I started hearing the Holy Spirit release words of deliverance over me.   There were several things I don’t even think I realized that I needed deliverance from, but it was like He was snapping His fingers and things were just breaking off.  Every tie that bound.  Every little and big weight that had been trying to press on my mind and steal my faith in the promises of God in my life.  Every little lie that had been trying to make me into an anxious ball in the last few weeks, just fell right off.   It was like a cathartic  counseling session in which I didn’t even have to tell Him or anyone what was bothering me, it was like He went – zap, zap, zap, break, break, break, release, release, release!

I have been so very honored to have had quite a few of these types of encounters with my Jesus in my life.   I’ve grown up in this.  I mean meetings where the glory of God was so thick, I felt like you could cut a knife through it.  Once I encountered that, I didn’t want to go back.  You will pass up all kinds of other events to go these places where you know hundreds of people are all going to be crying out for the same thing.  That’s my life.   And just when I  think it can’t get any better in the presence of the Lord, He brings me into a whole deeper level.  Into a new dimension of His glory.

What is the glory of God? You may be asking this question if you have never experienced it before.   Well, I’m not going to do a Bible study for this today, but I am going to explain to you that really the manifest glory of God is like when Jesus steps in the room and walks down the aisles and every person wanting to be touched, gets touched.  Healed from physical sickness. Delivered from mental illness. Released from chains of all kinds.    It’s when all that He is contacts all that we are.

I’ve heard Pastor Robert Morris from Gateway Church in Texas talk about how the manifested glory of God can be compared to when a millionaire is present in the room and just sitting there, and when that millionaire is not only present in the room, but is handing out gifts to every person waiting for a gift.  Expectation is the key to encountering God in this way.

Michael Koulianos, who headed up the entire conference,  talked about being obedient to do whatever God wants you to do to really encounter Him in a way that you never have before.   Whether it’s giving up sleeping so long every morning to be with Him, or laying down a job or a relationship, or a position in ministry, there’s generally something we have to surrender and sacrifice in order to get to that place where we encounter God in the way that prophets of old did.   And even so, we really can encounter God in a way that they never have, because we now also have grace.  We don’t have offer physical sacrifices to the Lord to pay for our sin before stepping into His throne room.  We can just enter in because the shed bled of Jesus confirmed His covenant with us, allowing us to enter His presence any time of the day or night.   Yes, sometimes we very much need to repent before we can enter the glory, but if repenting for every sin was the key to entering the glory of God, we would never enter it.    We often don’t know what we need to repent for until the Holy Spirit unveils every hidden place in our hearts that has shut Him out.  We have to expect and want Him to do this, though.

When you encounter His glory, you will not be the same.  You really will not be the same person. I have felt so much fatigue for several weeks and Sunday morning I woke up a different person!  And today, Monday, the world felt completely different than the last several weeks.

We don’t have to go to a huge congregation of people to come into contact with all that He is.  We can experience it in our very own prayer closets as we surrender to Him and come with great expectation.   It’s in the presence of the Almighty God that troubles vanish and hearts are mended.  Vision is given for life.   Purpose is birthed. Wisdom is poured out.  Healing is manifested.  Miracles take place.

Dear God,

I want more.  I want so much more.  Bring on the oil, Lord, may it drip down every day from my head to the edges of my robe, so that I can go forth and bring hope, healing, and the Truth about You that I have found in your presence into the world that so desperately needs it.   Set me on fire so that all everyone in my path feels the warmth of Your love and power.

Flee the darkness.  Run to the light.  

Blink: The Revival is the next installment in the Blink series of shows, written and directed by Jeffrey Smith.  It follows the story of Dr. Bailey Parker, a psychotherapist who, after a traumatic fall, has a near death experience that causes her to question everything she believes about life and the afterlife and sends her on a terrifying quest to answer those questions.  I had the privilege to act in the film and play the role of Bailey Parker!

With a script based on actual events, Blink: The Revival brings to light the sobering reality of the brevity of life and the possibilities of eternity using unparalleled drama, film, live action, special effects, dance, and cutting-edge technology.   It is only recommended for youth over the age of 13 and young adults!

The desire to create and innovate was instilled in Jeffrey Smith from a young age, when his traveling minister parents encouraged his talents in music and songwriting.  By age 17, he signed his first recording contract with a major record label.  Jeffrey developed into an accomplished recording artist and producer with four national releases and over 1,000 completed songs in his catalog. He has written music that has been recorded by a variety of Grammy-winning artists.  He is currently producing and directing his first feature-length film, Southern Gospel, and his first book Jesus First, Jesus Always will be published this fall.

 In 1998, Jeffrey Smith merged his extensive music background with his love for production to create and write the show Blink, with the goal of showing how quickly life can come to an end.  Originally mostly a stage production, it has evolved into a unique hybrid of live show and movie that incorporates every creative tool to tell true stories.  Jeffrey scored Blink from top to bottom with original music that gives the show an epic cinematic feel.  Blink is now a live multimedia experience that fuses all facets of the arts, including dance, drama, live score, stage production, and film, to communicate powerful truths about eternity.   Over the past twenty years, Blink has been shown to sold-out crowds, nearly 175,000 people have seen the production, and 50,000 individuals have made decisions to follow Christ.

Flee the darkness.  Run to the light.

 

Unlimited Potential in Every Seed

“Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb that yields seed, and the fruit tree that yields fruit according to its kind, whose seed is in itself, on the earth”; and it was so. Genesis 1:11 NKJV  http://bible.com/114/gen.1.11.nkjv

Seed only produces after its kind. Seed is the guarantee and promise that there is a future. No seed, no future.

God established the Law of Creation that operates by the sowing of seed. Either God or the Devil will grow the seed that you sow.  It just depends on what seed you sow. For example, sow judgement, criticism, and condemnation will come back to you. The Devil will multiply it.

Sowing seed is intentional, purposeful, and directional.

One of the biggest problems with believers is they want the seed for what it will do FOR them instead what it will do IN them.

Manna and quail ceased for the Israelites in the wilderness when they came in the Promised Land. There they would be sustained by what grows.

Words are seeds. He brought forth the world through words.  Mary got pregnant and conceived Jesus through words.

When God wants to do something great in a person, He sows seeds in them.

“The sower sows the word. And these are the ones by the wayside where the word is sown. When they hear, Satan comes immediately and takes away the word that was sown in their hearts. These likewise are the ones sown on stony ground who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with gladness; and they have no root in themselves, and so endure only for a time. Afterward, when tribulation or persecution arises for the word’s sake, immediately they stumble.” Mark? ?4:14-17? ?NKJV http://bible.com/114/mrk.4.14-17.nkjv

The Devil comes to steal the seed of the Word in our heart!  He knows the power of the seed in us.

The seed will also represent and reproduce the character of where it is sown.  Seed that doesn’t go into good ground produces no fruit. The seed is at the mercy of the condition of the soil. The condition of your heart.

Do you have some plowing to do?!   Do you need to break up the stony ground?

You might say,  “I’m just trying to control my mouth.” Change what’s in your heart, and that will change.

The miraculous comes from the seed. It’s the guarantee of a continual supply.  The potential of what’s in a seed is unlimited. The harvest is always greater than the seed.

God will sow in you, but you will have to cultivate it to make it become real in you so it becomes real through you.

“But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.” II Corinthians? 9:6 NKJV http://bible.com/114/2co.9.6.nkjv

“Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.”Galatians 6:7 NKJV   http://bible.com/114/gal.6.7.nkjv

It’s not even about the size of the seed or your faith, it’s what you do with it.  God gives you a seed, and you have to sow it not just keep it.

It’s always the same principle…sowing and reaping.

“Now may He who supplies seed to the sower, and bread for food, supply and multiply the seed you have sown and increase the fruits of your righteousness,”  II Corinthians 9:10NKJV http://bible.com/114/2co.9.10.nkjv

Don’t eat your seed. It’s HAS to be sown by you to grow.  God will sow in us, but not for us.  Sowing puts the creative power of God to work in your life.

“And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.” Galatians 6:9? ?NKJV  http://bible.com/114/gal.6.9.nkjv

So there’s a progression of a multiplication for you, in you, and then He sows you!

“Then He commanded the multitudes to sit down on the grass. And He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, He blessed and broke and gave the loaves to the disciples; and the disciples gave to the multitudes. So they all ate and were filled, and they took up twelve baskets full of the fragments that remained. Now those who had eaten were about five thousand men, besides women and children.”  Matthew? ?14:19-21? ?NKJV?? http://bible.com/114/mat.14.19-21.nkjv

The boy gave what little bread and fish He had, and God multiplied it to feed 5,000.

Seed sown in me establishes my progress…..That’s God’s Word, His wisdom. His counsel. 

Seed sown by me establishes prosperity…..That’s my time, my talents, my gifts, my service, my money, my love, and so much more.  

My life sown by God establishes my purpose….That’s all of me that He needs for a specific purpose in His destiny for me.  

“Those who are planted in the house of the LORD Shall flourish in the courts of our God. They shall still bear fruit in old age; They shall be fresh and flourishing, To declare that the LORD is upright; He is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him.”  Psalms? ?92:13-15? ?NKJV?? http://bible.com/114/psa.92.13-15.nkjv

Shut the Poser Down!

 

The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. John 10:10 KJV

One of the items on the Devil’s (The Thief’s) main agenda is to steal your ability to hear.  When we hear the Word every day through our time with Him, believe, act on it, stand on it, and walk in His wisdom, that is being alert of his agenda!  You are a threat to the Devil when you hear the voice of God all the time…and respond.

There are other voices trying to call out over His voice.   The Devil, our Enemy wants us to hear him, because if we hear him and listen to him, then he’s got us!

8Be of sober spirit,be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.  1 Peter 5:8

Satan walks about “like” a roaring lion. Satan may roar like a lion, but he is in a cage. He is a poser. An intimidator. Close him down.

Just remember the Lion of Judah roared his way out of the grave on the third day. Silence the Devil’s voice that calls for your defeat!

Will the “thief” put thoughts in your mind?! Absolutely! Daily, weekly, and every time you turn around he tries!  Reminding you of your past, your failings, your sin, your mistakes, your weaknesses. However, Jesus, the Lion of the Tribe of Judah,  says that your past doesn’t determine your future.  His plans are to prosper you and bring you hope.  He is a God who came to move mountains of impossibility in your life.  He has given you the keys to the Kingdom.  The Kingdom is righteousness (right standing with Him), peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit!

YOU ARE FREE!  LIVE FREE!

 

The Arts Transform Kids’ Lives!

I had the amazing honor of creating the curriculum and being an acting instructor in this online arts curriculum. It…

Posted by Cynthia Lowa on Sunday, July 30, 2017