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.

 

 

 

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!

 

Grace In the Midst of Foolishness!

1 Samuel 25 recounts the story of Nabal, Abigail, and David.   This story happened after Samuel died, and before David was crowned King.   I couldn’t help but practically weep over the grace that Abigail walked in as I read this story today, and how it propelled her to protect the destiny of the King David of Israel, and the entire nation of Israel’s destiny.   Hold on to your seats for this one!

Nabal was a rich businessman with three thousand sheep and a thousand goats.  Super rich.  He is also immediately described as being harsh and evil.   While he was shearing his sheep in Carmel, David was in the wilderness and heard about Nabal shearing his sheep.   He told his men to go up to Nabal and give him a peaceful greeting and tell him that his men have been near by him and haven’t messed with him, stolen anything, or insulted him in anyway.  David told them to tell him basically that they were in good spirits and kind of wanted to party and feast with him, and did he want to do it.  I mean, after all, he was a very wealthy man. At this point, David probably thought that Nabal knew who David was!?  (David was the best friend of King’s Saul’s son Jonathan, and worked for King Saul.)  Maybe that’s why David thought he would give it a shot.

It was actually an honor that he was requesting to feast with Nabal.   However, when David’s men came to Nabal with the request, Nabal sneered at him and basically assumed that David’s men were just off doing their own thing apart from their master David. It seems like he accuses them of goofing off on their own.   Then, he goes on to imply that David means nothing to him, and he wasn’t going to be generous to a stranger.

David was very angry, so he took up his sword and about four hundred of his men, and went towards Nabal’s place, ready to probably just attack Nabal’s house and/or take some stuff that they needed.

And then comes Abigail, Nabal’s wife.   She quickly has her servants get a bunch of food and wine and carry it out to them on donkeys. She didn’t even tell her husband Nabal what she was doing.   David was armed and pretty pissed when she met him on the path in the hidden part of the mountain.

Can you imagine being Abigail?  Meeting a pretty angry warrior of a man with four hundred men ready to attack your household, and running out to meet him before he makes it to you.   Talk about a fearless woman of grace wisdom! She was certainly protecting her entire household from bloodshed, (no doubt there were entire families that were servants in her household), and covering her foolish husband’s butt.

She kneels before David and says that he shouldn’t blame Nabal, but her!    She tells David not to pay attention to her foolish husband’s unkind and haughty words.   She tells him that the gift that she is giving is him is because he is fighting the battles of the Lord.  She knew this!  She obviously was very aware of what calling and anointing was upon David. She even blessed him with an amazing statement.

28”Please forgive the transgression of your maidservant; for the LORD will certainly make for my lord an enduring house, because my lord is fighting the battles of the LORD, and evil will not be found in you all your days. 29“Should anyone rise up to pursue you and to seek your life, then the life of my lord shall be bound in the bundleof the living with the LORD your God; but the lives of your enemies He will sling out as from the hollow of a sling. 30“And when the LORD does for my lord according to all the good that He has spoken concerning you, and appoints you ruler overIsrael, 31this will not cause grief or a troubled heart to my lord,both by having shed blood without cause and by my lord having avenged himself. When the LORD deals well with my lord, then remember your maidservant.”

Abigail knew he was going to be ruler over Israel.  How did she know?  Maybe this was just an insight from the Lord.  Maybe she was prophetic?!  She also gave David a bit of a correction by saying that David was not going to avenge himself, and therefore the Lord’s protection would be upon him.

David wasn’t really in the right frame of mind either.  There is no mention of David being told by God that he should go and attack Nabal.  So, essentially Abigail was also protecting David’s calling and anointing, even before he was crowned King.  I mean, Abigail pronounces this great blessing upon him.  It’s like she see in the spirit what is to come.  She moves so swiftly without a moment’s hesitation.   God used her to protect the destiny of the King of Israel, thus protecting the destiny of the people of Israel.

Who knows what would have happened if she had just been sitting at her house, being super annoyed by her husband’s foolishness and evil ways and became bitter and consumed by greed.  Many a wealthy woman has allowed wealth to corrupt her spiritual senses.  Not Abigail.  She was in the middle of a probably very bad marriage, with a man who was only out for himself and not serving the Lord.  Who knows if Nabal had always been like this. He could have once been a devout man of God who allowed the wealth to corrupt him.    She was not corrupted!  She didn’t allow the wealth to corrupt her.   She doesn’t appear to be in any bitterness, though she does state that Nabal is evil.  Another option for her would have been to just run when she heard the news about David and his men coming for her house with the sword.   Then, her evil husband would have died, and she would have been rid of him that way!  But nope!  Sh protected everyone!

I want to walk in this kind of grace.  Grace in the midst of other people’s stupidity and foolishness.  Covering others, when they don’t deserve it.  Protecting the destiny of others, even when my own reputation is possibly at risk.   Honoring others that I am in relationship with, even when they are selfish and mean.

The Holy Spirit must instruct us on how to honor others and operate in grace, when it’s so very difficult.  This powerful story is so relevant to me as a woman who wants to be used by God in whatever way He desires.  You never know when God is wanting to use you in the midst of other people’s foolishness. Get bitter, or get better!

More to come  on the rest of Abigail’s story. It turns out better than she could have possibly imagined!

If You Want the Cat, Don’t Call the Dog

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit.” Proverbs 18:21 (NASB)

I am at home overcoming a cold today. Notice, I did not say “I have a cold” because I do not wish to possess it. It is not mine. It does not lay claim on me. I speak from a position of victory, not defeat. If I want the cat, I will not call the dog! Metaphorically speaking, this means, speak what you want, instead of clinging to what you don’t want to keep.

“who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness— by whose stripes you were healed.”     1 Peter 2:24 (NKJV)

This doesn’t mean that I have to lie! I might say, “I am overcoming some pretty intense cold symptoms, but I know that the healing power of Jesus Christ is working in my body.”

There are some phrases that I have removed from my vocabulary.

“I don’t know what I am going to do.”
“I don’t know how I am going to do it.”

This is what the Word says as to how we should look at circumstances in which we FEEL like our brain doesn’t know what to do.

“But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come.”   John 16:14 (NASB)

“You are to speak to him and put the words in his mouth; and I, even I, will be with your mouth and his mouth, and I will teach you what you are to do.” Exodus 4:15 (NASB)

So, our spirit knows what to do. The Spirit of Truth who resides on the inside, knows what do.

This is my new language:

“I know The Holy Spirit will show me how to do this, even though I feel overwhelmed.”

Is it easy to change your language?! Nope. If you’ve been saying things like this your whole life, it takes time!

Stop staying, “I think I’m catching a cold.”
Do you want to?! Don’t call the dog, if you want the cat!

Stop saying, “I have asthma.” Or “I have diabetes.” Or “I have allergies.” Or “I have migraines.” Or “I don’t sleep well.” Or “my allergies are really bad today” or “my acne is so very bad” or “my —-itis is awful.”

Change it to: “I’ve been battling asthma pretty badly, but I know I’m healed by the stripes of Jesus.” “I’ve been battling allergies pretty badly, but I know I’m healed.” “I’ve been battling migraines, but I know the healing power of God is working in me.” “The acne on my face is getting so much better in Jesus’ Name.” “I believe I am receiving the full manifestation of my healing from…….., and the same power that raise Jesus Christ from the dead IS quickening my mortal body!”

“But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.”
Romans 8:11  (NKJV)

Will this make a difference?! Yes, yes, yes! All the difference in the world! I’ve lived this! I am believing God for healing from certain physical ailments, and I am seeing a major difference in my body!

I don’t care if the doctor has given you the worst report ever, watch what comes out of your mouth. Speak from a position of victory, and not defeat!

Stand Still, Hold Your Peace

stand-still-blog

 Exodus 14:10 -20 NKJV

13 And Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more forever. 14 The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace.”

          On the path to walking in abundant life, we must remember that the glory of God is the answer. Let’s look at the scripture passage for a minute.
          First of all, the Israelites had been running away from their bondage. This was the first step that God had them take. They had recognized the lies they had been living under while in slavery to the Egyptians.   They needed to start running. However, they got to a certain spot and they recognized that the Red Sea was in front of them and they were trapped. At least, that’s what they thought!
          Then, they freaked out and exclaimed to Moses. “Why did you bring us here? It would’ve been better for us to stay back in Egypt in slavery or die in the wilderness!” (My paraphrase!)   God’s response to them was to stand still and hold their peace. He was going to deliver them, and they need not fight the Egyptians, but just stand still and hold their peace.
          Then, God had Moses stretch out his staff over the sea, and God made a way for the Israelites to go on dry ground through the midst of the sea. The Egyptians actually would follow them, however, God said that he would harden their hearts. God wanted the Egyptians to know that he was the Lord to be honored above Pharaoh.
          If you look at the New Living Translation for verse 18 it says “When my glory is displayed through them, all Egypt will see my glory and know that I am the Lord!”  The glory cloud made a way through the Red Sea for them to follow, and leave the Egyptians behind to be swallowed up by the waters of the Red Sea.
         You may feel like all the bondage you are trying to break free of is chasing you. You keep running. You keep praying, and trying to figure out why you can’t break free of the torment, bondage, or fear.  God wants you to know that He is fighting for you, and you need only right now to stand still. Hold your peace.
         “Stand still” means to stop working and striving for your own deliverance.  When we stand still we are in a place of worship and surrender, in which we know that God is the only one who will be able to overcome this thing for us.  When we worship we come into contact with the glory of God, the very essence of His nature, the light that is him. This glory is powerful over all demons, and silences them!
          So, today stand still, hold your peace, and worship the living God. Watch his glory light up your life and dispel all the darkness so you can break through to freedom and the areas where you have been bound! When we work God rests, but when we rest, God works.

Get Out of the Boat!

get-out-boat-image-only-for-blog-post24 But the boat was already a long distance from the land, battered by the waves; for the wind was contrary. 25 And in the fourth watch of the night He came to them, walking on the sea. 26 When the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out in fear. 27 But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.”   28 Peter said to Him, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” 29And He said, “Come!” And Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But seeing the wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!” 31 Immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of him, and said to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” 32 When they got into the boat, the wind stopped.  (Matthew 14: 24 – 32 NASB)

Peter gets out of the boat, and starts walking on the water.  He actually gets out of the boat. Out of all the disciples, he got out.

First of all, he either had some serious faith in Jesus, or he was just a crazy daredevil-type of guy who just wanted a thrill!  I think it is the first option.  

Peter seems to show the desire to do the impossible through the power of God.  He didn’t just want to stay calm in the midst of the storm, when Jesus tells them all to not be afraid, he wants to take it a step further.  He has his eyes fixed on Jesus so much that he forgets about the storm – the boisterous wind and waves.  He gets out of the boat and starts walking, and then he SEES the wind and waves.  He was focusing on Jesus, but he had a “moment” when he stopped looking at Jesus.  At that point he cried out for Jesus to save him!  Of course, Jesus puts out his hand and rescues Peter.  

What principles can we glean from Peter’s experience?  

One look away from Jesus in the storm can make the “wind” and “waves” of life suddenly appear to be the scariest thing ever.

What “wind” and “waves” do you have in your life that are trying to engulf you?

If we are bound up with fear, then our eyes are not on Jesus. We have to approach the throne of God and surrender all of our fear to Him.  We have to think about what we are thinking about!  We don’t have to think every thought that pops into our head.  If our head is leaning towards the the negative, then we need to expose our minds to the Word of God and His promises.  “Fixing” our eyes on Jesus means – fixing our eyes on God’s Word, and what He says about our circumstances.

I often take just one Scripture to meditate on in any given day, that helps me to combat any recurring negative thoughts that keep trying to pop into my head.  Look at this one…

1 Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:1-2 NASB)

The word “fixing” comes from a Greek word that means looking away from all else, to fix one’s gaze upon.  Hello!  Now, that’s the challenge! This is do-able, or why would the apostle Paul mention this?!  It even sounds like a command! —- Fix your eyes on Jesus, or else you will sink!  

I’ve been there.  In fact, I’m really there every day.  I start “sinking” every time I take my eyes of Jesus.    The longer it takes me to focus my eyes back on Jesus, the farther I sink!

The good news is, when we do focus on our eyes on Him, He actually takes care of the rest – He perfects our faith.   The perfecting of our faith is on the inside of us.  The building up of our “muscle” of faith is the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives.  It is about us “working” the Word.  When we work the Word, the Word works!   

Peter’s faith muscle was big enough to get him out of the boat, but it wasn’t quite built up enough yet to walk on the water for very long, so Jesus had to grab him.   The moment Jesus grabbed him, the wind and waves stopped.  

I have had so many moments like this in my life.  I’m going along, stepping out in faith, doing some things that are risky, trying to walk on the water, and then “BAM!” all of a sudden I start focusing on myself and my ability or on the “wind” and “waves”.  It might take me anywhere from a day or two to a couple of weeks to get myself to call out to Jesus in the midst of my “sinking” feeling.   And then I see Him reach out and grab my hand and lift me out of the fear that is trying to take me under.   Every time He does this, there is a calm that comes to my soul.

In this instance with Peter, the “wind” and “waves” immediately stop when Jesus pulls him up out of the water.   In our lives the “wind” and “waves” on the outside may or may not stop when we call out to Jesus, but the wind and waves on the inside can always immediately stop!

We need to remember, too, that a little faith is all it takes to get out of the boat.   Jesus can take it the rest of way.  If our faith falters, Jesus can catch us.  He truly is the perfecter of our faith.

Jesus asks Peter why he doubted Him, as if to say, “You don’t have to doubt me for a single second.  I got you. My hand will always be here to save you.”

We can have full assurance that we CAN get out of the boat, and we CAN walk on the water.  And one day we may just walk for a long distance without sinking at all!  Hallelujah!

We have to believe that our day is coming soon to “walk on the water”.  For now, we may just need to be like the other disciples and start with the “be not afraid” part before we step out of the boat.  That’s okay if that’s where you are for now.

I’ve been one of the other disciples a lot in my life, but I would like to be like Peter, even if I start sinking sometimes.  How about you?!

You can get out of the boat. 

You can walk on water. 

 

 

Give Your Way Out of Lack

    Philippians 4 (NASB)

 10 But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at last you have revived your concern for me; indeed, you were concerned[before], but you lacked opportunity. 11 Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. 12 I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. 13 I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. 14 Nevertheless, you have done well to share [with me] in my affliction.   

Paul speaks here of being content in His relationship with God no matter what his financial state is.  He has been rich.  He has been poor.  He says the secret to being content is to lean on Christ in Him to strengthen him every day. However, let’s look at what he says next about his current financial state that would be result of him leaning on Christ who strengthens Him.  

15 You yourselves also know, Philippians, that at the first preaching of the gospel, after I left Macedonia, no church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving but you alone; 16 for even in Thessalonica you sent [a gift] more than once for my needs. 17 Not that I seek the gift itself, but I seek for the profit which increases to your account. 18 But I have received everything in full and have an abundance; I am amply supplied, having received from Epaphroditus what you have sent, a fragrant aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well-pleasing to God.

In the previous verses he told us about his ability to be content whether rich or poor, but here we learn that this church was his financial support.  No other church but the one in Philipi gave like they did, according to verse 15.   Even when he was in Thessalonica and could have received all his support just from them, the church at Philippi still sent him money gifts to cover his needs!  He clearly emphasizes that he wasn’t seeking after this financial blessing and he was not desperate for it (because Christ was His strength), but he was glad that they sent it because he knew that it was adding to their heavenly account and was going to increase the financial blessing on their own lives.    Paul was amply supplied.  He had more than enough!  He had prosperity at this time in his ministry.  He didn’t lack for financial support.

Ministries thrive because of our giving.   God needs us to give to His Kingdom work.  The money didn’t fall from the sky into Paul’s lap.  It was the result of the Philippians understanding that they were partners with Paul in ministry.  He ministered to them the Word and discipled them.  They ministered to him by taking care of him financially.   What ministry is helping you to grow?  What ministry or individual is pouring into you?  Are you giving to them?   


He further expounds here that because of their lavish giving, God would supply all their needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.  God supplying all of their needs was connected with their giving.  Let’s not get religious here and say that this is just spiritual needs, because all the previous verses are about money.    Not only would their needs be supplied, but they would be supplied according to God’s riches in glory in Christ Jesus!  That’s abundance!  

We have to understand that our giving our lack thereof is directly connected to our current financial status.   Even if there is not much in your bank account, and you are having a hard time paying your bills and paying off your debt – increase your giving as much as possible.  Take a risk, pray and let God show you what amount (that may be greater than you think you can afford), and just see what God will do in your finances!  The Philppians gave out of their gratitude to Paul for his ministry to them, and God blessed their giving hearts in return.

Over the years I have given a lot of offerings to ministries that have poured into my life, over and above my tithe to my church.   I have seen tremendous increase year-by-year the more that I have given!   If you tithe that’s a good start, but I challenge you to give over and above that.  (If you don’t tithe, then that’s a whole different discussion.) Put some expectation in your giving while you are at it!

Bible passages taken from:  http://biblehub.com/nas/philippians/4.htm

 

Rejoice In The Lord Always!

And Relax in His Grace…

Philippians 4 (NASB)

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentle [spirit] be known to all men. The Lord is near.  Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

How many times have you read these Scriptures?!  If you’ve been saved for any length of time, then you’ve probably read it many, many times.  However, in order to make these Scriptures come alive to me, I did some word studies today and then put what I learned into what I call a “personal paraphrase”  that I can directly apply to my own life.   You can click on words in the passage and see links to the Hebrew definitions!  Here’s what I got today from my word studies…..

Delight and be conscious of God’s grace always!  Again, I shout out to you, DELIGHT IN YOUR FREEDOM FROM THE LAW, YOUR UNMERITED FAVOR!   Let yourself relax and not live by the overly strict standards of the spirit of law, but live by the spirit of grace before everyone in your life.  Jesus is coming back soon!  Don’t allow yourself to be divided and distracted and pulled and drawn apart in opposite directions, but instead pray about everything and make a heart-felt petition to God with thanksgiving when you need Him to take away your negative emotions and give you wisdom and strength.    Let God know your requests!  He can handle it!  And then His peace will come, which will surpass the peace that the world thinks anyone can have in the midst of all kinds of impossible circumstances!    It will guard like a military sentinel guarding the gate of a city and will be both your offense and defense!

Rejoice!  The biggest revelation today is that the word “rejoice” in Greek is rooted in the word – GRACE!  Anxiety comes from the spirit of the law.  Relaxation and peace comes from the spirit of grace.  Amen.

Scripture link taken from:  http://biblehub.com/nas/philippians/4.htm

Abiding in the Father’s Love

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

God’s love is limitless.   It keeps going and going and going.   The love of God is not greater in magnitude for those who fear Him, but His love is realized more in its magnitude by those who fear Him.  The “fear” mentioned here is a reverential fear of displeasing Him.  It comes from the knowing that He already loves us and chose to remove our transgressions from us.  Transgressions are those acts that we have deliberately done that are in rebellion against God.  He has removed those transgressions as far as the east is from the west.

Do we get that?  Do we accept that God, who is perfect, does not identify us by our transgressions?    I believe when we do get this, His love is greater TO and INSIDE us.

Those of us who are honoring God with our hearts, with our lives, with our thoughts, are those who have the love of God MAGNIFIED in us.  It is more real to us.  It is more tangible.  We see it and feel it at work in our lives. We recognize it when others may not recognize it. We can see it when we are in the midst of our own failings. We actually perceive how great is His forgiveness.   When we are just going about and doing our own thing, not taking in and meditating on Him, it is easy to get out of touch with His love.   We can take His love for granted as we get wrapped up in the mundane things of life.  On the days that I am so aware of His presence and His love flowing to me and maintain an attitude of gratitude, are the days that I walk in the fruit of the spirit.  My peace matches His peace.  My joy matches His joy.

 As a father has compassion on his children, so the lord has compassion on those who fear Him; for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust. As for man, his days are like grass, he flirtatious like a flower of the field; the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more. But from everlasting to everlasting the Lord’s love is with those who fear Him and his righteousness with their children’s children with those who keep his covenant and remember to obey his precepts. The Lord has established his throne in heaven, and his kingdom rules over all. Psalm 103:13 – 19 (NIV)

         He knows how our heart and our emotions are formed. He remembers how He formed us.  He knows every fiber that he weaved into us when He created us.  He understands what we are going through.  He not only loves us, but in that love is compassion. Compassion for what we are going through at any minute or hour of our lives.   Our Heavenly Father wants to hold us, love us, comfort us, give us council through every single situation in our lives. His love is with us from everlasting to everlasting. His love is with those who fear Him. It’s not that the Lord’s love is not with those who don’t fear Him, it’s just that they are not in touch with that love. They are not in recognition of that love. We need to be in close proximity to to His love.  Our Father wants us to abide in His love, take up residence in it.   His love should should shape how we live our lives.

“Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me.”  John 15:4 (NASB)  

      Abiding in the love of God has to be a daily choice.   When we honor Him, He honors us, and His righteousness is with us. The word “with” implies that His righteousness is a partner to us.  Righteousness is our identity.  We are in right standing with God because of the shed blood of Jesus Christ. Our Father is to be praised for granting us the gift of righteousness.  This gift is wrapped up in His love.  We can just merely acknowledge it once and while, or we can choose to ABIDE in it by walking in His Word and following His commandments.   As one who recognizes the price paid for our ransom from sin, we should submit ourselves to His Word and lean on the Holy Spirit to help us follow God’s commandments.  As we meditate on the promises of God and align our life with His Word, we abide in His love.  Our joy will be made full.

 “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. “My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples.“Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love. “If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. “These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full. John 15: 7 – 11 (NASB)

 

 

3 Ways to Revive Creativity in Your Life

Creativity is a powerful force. It exists in the heart of every human being. Some thrive on its power. Some make a living off of the creativity in them. Some musicians, writers, painters, singers, composers, actors, and dancers find joy in allowing the force to move through their lives.   Some delight mostly at watching others express it.   Some even feel it is a force that is not in them.   Some feel the very force of creativity has eluded them.  You may be one who marvels at the creativity of others, but never feel creative.  If you are this person, then it’s time to start marveling at your own creativity.  We were born to create.

Creativity is force that is inside of all of us whether we feel it or not. To create is to bring something into existence, or to form something out of nothing. It is to transform something that is maybe plain, boring, unappealing, or mundane and make it beautiful, interesting, or attractive.  Creativity is to believe the impossible.  It is to see beyond the very moment and into the next moment of what “could be.  It is to bring out the colors of the world into the view of natural eye.  If you do not consider yourself an artist, and you do not feel like you are very creative, then please read on.  If you are an artist, but you feel like creativity it lacking outside of your works of art, then read on, too.  How can you revive the creativity in your life?

1. Remember creative things you used to do that you haven’t done in long time and start doing them again.

Even though you may feel like you have never been creative, let me just say that “creative” doesn’t necessarily mean you produce skilled works of art.  When you were a child before you grew to know the troubles of the world and adulthood, you were creative. You drew pictures in school, even if they weren’t “good”.  You colored in coloring books.  You came up with new games on the playground to play with your friends.  You created excuses to your parents for your mistakes. You created study methods to succeed in school.  You created sandcastles at the beach.  You created forts in the woods.   You drew with colorful sidewalk chalk on the pavement.   You created outfits to get attention. You imagined what clouds were in the sky. You did so many creative activities!

Here’s the challenge…come up with a list of at least 20 creative things that you haven’t done in a long time that you used to love doing (even if they were in your childhood).  Do one of those creative activities a day for at least 5 – 15 minutes.

2. Start a dream journal.

Cultivating creativity in yourself has a lot to do with giving yourself the chance to dream.  When we stop allowing ourselves to dream, we stop the creative force in our soul. We are the ones who literally block it. There are many reasons why you may have stopped dreaming. It could be because of hardship and heartaches, emotional and physical pains of all kinds. One way we can pursue healing our souls from wounds is by allowing ourselves to dream again.

I challenge you to start writing at least one journal entry a week by starting with one of these phrases (or you can come up with your own):

Some day I would like to….

If I had all the time and money in the world I would…

If I could have the perfect career it would look like…

Heaven is…

If I could go to any place in the world right now, I would go to….

If I could meet anyone in the world it would be…

If I could have my own business it would be…

I will have my own family someday and we will….

My dream home will look like….

My dream job would be…

If you don’t like to write a lot, try cutting out pictures and gluing them to a picture album page, poster board, or cork board to create a dream collage.  You might do a new collage for each dream like: dream home, dream job, dream vacation, dream business, dreams for family, etc.  Or you could just put them all on one big board.   Make it your own.  If you do a dream board, I recommend putting it up for you to walk by every day, so you help keep hope alive in your heart for your dreams to come true.   At this stage in the game, this is not a vision board really that has to do with goals on how to reach them.  Another blog will deal with the issue of setting goals, but this is just about starting to dream big again.

3. Create an idea board or page for your job.

You may be tired of your job. You may tired of the people at your job. You may be tired of the endless new stressful challenges. You may just be tired, period.  It may not be a job that is your passion.  What if you added a little creativity on a daily basis in the job?!  Perhaps the job is so tiring because you are approaching and performing tasks the same way pretty much every time.

I challenge you to start an idea board or page for your job either on your office wall or in a journal.  You can write, tack up post-it notes, or put cut-out pictures on it.   What kind of ideas could go on it?   Here’s a few ideas to get you started:

  1. How to re-decorate your office or cubicle
  2. Better and more efficient ways of doing the same activities you do every day
  3. People you need to get to know on the job whom you haven’t made an effort to get to know yet….and maybe how and when to talk to them
  4. Needs that you see not being met that maybe you could meet in your time on the job that will help your company grow
  5. People you noticed doing a great job at some activity whom you don’t want to forget to compliment
  6. People on the job who basically do what you do and seem like they need a little help because they are newer on the job than you
  7. Ways you change up the order of your daily routine – to help you escape boredom

As you tackle these creative challenges, let “you” be “you.”  There may be part of “you” that you have stifled and kept inside for way too long, so you might feel awkward at moments.     Don’t criticize what you do creatively at all right now.  Don’t look at what you do as if someone is judging it.   Don’t even judge it yourself.  I promise you will start feeling more alive than ever.

Creativity is a life force that makes us different than any other created being on the planet.  Reviving creativity in your life can revive joy, passion, and peace in your soul!   It can also help your heart and soul to heal, too.  Allow yourself to be okay with expressing the creativity in you, even if you might think others might look at it and think it is odd.   Your creativity is unique to you, and it represents a one-of-a-kind person.  You might just be surprised at how your creativity will put a smile on other people’s faces, and improve the quality of your life in amazing ways!

The Transforming Power of Music

Ever heard a song and it instantly turned your blue day into sunny? Ever heard a melody and it made you remember something that you didn’t want to remember from the past?!  Ever heard a lyric and been so inspired that you instantly made a bold decision about your life?  The answer for me is yes, yes, and yes!  Music has so much power to transform us.

How does music transform us?  First of all, it can transform the way we look at ourselves and our own lives. Music is one of the most powerful forces on earth because it can move the soul.  Music can define, inspire, comfort, energize, and bring joy or sadness. It can cause us to reflect on life and process what is going on in our heads and hearts.  It can get into our head and change our mood. In fact, catchy tunes can get in our head and not get out for days!

I sometimes crave the emotional high that certain songs bring me.  I can play the same song for weeks every time I need to be energized. I have a playlist of exercise music that, I promise you, makes me have the best workout every time!  It’s almost like an addiction. It is a “substance” that provides a high, but without the negative side effects. Seriously, for a musical person like myself, it is a necessity, not just a commodity for my own emotional well-being. I am a much happier person when I am listening to music or singing.  Music even provides an escape from the awful realities of life.  It gives me the opportunity to open up my soul in a very profound way.  When given over to moments of sadness or heaviness, nothing else can do quite what a song can do for me. However, is it the music itself, or is it the words in the music that has the power?   It’s really both.

I listen to plenty of songs that are just fun or romantic, being the musical theatre lover that I am, but a lot of the songs that I play or sing have words that serve the purpose of extolling and exalting God. I sing songs that take my mind off of the circumstances of my life and take me up to a higher place above it all. I feel transported into a new dimension, one in which I feel the heartbeat of God and His unconditional love towards me.  Singing to Him and about Him brings encouragement to my heart. I begin to let go of all fear and trust Him that He is working all things together for my good.  No matter how ugly the circumstances, my faith rises, and I believe that God’s glorious power is working in my life to sustain me and change things for the better.  The dark cloud lifts.  The happy chemicals in my brain are released, and peace is mine.  Awhhh.

This kind of experience with music is worship. In the Greek language “worship” or  “proskuneo” means to “kiss, like a dog licking his master’s hand.” *   So, I am essentially  lavishing love on my Master, only to receive an outpouring of love right back. It’s a win-win situation. To be consoled, counseled, and loved by The One who formed me in my mother’s womb is so amazing. It is like no other experience on earth. Truly.

Though this is an amazing experience, it is not always easy to make myself choose to worship God. Life can hard sometimes.  People can, too.  On the very day that I am so tired and so emotionally exhausted that I just want to go to bed or watch TV, I often decide to push past my feelings and worship God.  Every time I make myself worship the Lord thru singing, I enter a domain that I don’t want to leave for awhile.   A few minutes can easily become a few hours. These worship experiences in recent years have become the absolute deepest times of intimacy with my God.  Just when I leave an experience in God’s presence and think “how could it get any better than that?”…it does. The next time it is better. Deeper. God comes in time and time again and engulfs my heart with His magnificent love in way that words can’t describe. He speaks to the very parts of my heart that need healing.  I am transformed into a different person.   I can walk in great peace and joy even in the middle of the most challenging situations in life.  This is my secret place and it is just where everything makes sense.

If you have not experienced an outpouring of God’s love, I encourage you to pursue Him and watch Him in turn pursue You.  He is chasing His beloved for intimacy and pleasure. As His creation you are His beloved. Turn your affection towards Him, and He will lavish unconditional love on you and you will never be the same again.

I would like to share some powerful songs that are my favorites.   You can be transformed, too.

It Is Well – Kristene DiMarco & Bethel Music – You Make Me Brave

A Little Longer – Jenn Johnson & Bethel Music – You Make Me Brave

Amanda Cook feat. Steffany Gretzinger – Mercy (Worship U)

You Make Me Brave – Amanda Cook & Bethel Music (Official Live Music Video)

Bethel Music – Album – You Make Me Brave

* http://www.biblestudytools.com/lexicons/greek/nas/proskuneo.html