“I Loved You First.”

1 John 4:19. Says; “We love because He first loved us.” Beautiful words. Words that breath refreshing and life into any weary soul. “He loved you first.” In this sweet and simple verse, we hear the Father declaring His love for us, right from the beginning of time. A shout through the ages from creation to kings, from wars to prophets, down to the birth of His Son. “I loved you first.”

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Our wonderful Heavenly Father is the initiator and we are the responder. “You have not chosen me, but I have chosen you.” John 15:16. He chose us, we didn’t choose Him. So often we tell the story of how we chose God, when the reality is, He chose you! He chose you, way back when you were formed in your mother’s womb and your days were written in His book! God is the initiator, we are the responder.

We don’t give, in order to move God to give us more! We give because He has already given, a thousand blessings, an abundance of miracles, the assurance of salvation. He gave first. Our response is to give back out of gratefulness and thankfulness for His generous love. We don’t praise Him to experience His presence. We praise our Savior as a response to His majesty, as a response to His greatness, His mercy and His grace. Creation responding to the Creator! God is the initiator, we are the responder.

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Our motivation to give, to love, and to praise, must be a response to the Great I am loving us first. He gives in abundance, He never leaves us or forsakes us! You cannot read your bible long enough, pray enough, or do enough good works to make Him love you more. He loved you first, with a perfect love, a love that knows no bounds, to which there is no end. Should we not fling our arms to heaven and declare our love for Him when we know the depths of His love. Our response should be written into every detail of our lives, in our giving, in our doing, in our praising and in our living. “We love because He first loved us.”

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What about the meek?

Have you ever had one of those frustrating days where everything just seems to go wrong and you come home irritated and annoyed? I’m sure you haven’t, but I know that I have! My mind goes a million miles an hour trying out different scenarios, what could I have said and done differently and even thoughts of exactly what I would like to say but don’t dare!!

This happened to me very recently and I came home and sat on the couch with a dark, gloomy cloud hovering just above my head! I cried out to the Lord in my frustration and said, “I need perspective, Father, a Word from You as to how to proceed!” Within seconds the Lord dropped a scripture in my heart from Matthew 5:5 – “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” Blessed are the meek? The meek? “I need another scripture Lord!” I cried. But no. This was the one highlighted by the Holy Spirit. So I picked up my commentaries and concordance and took a closer look.

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The very first thing I discovered was the Greek meaning for the word meek – someone who has a mild disposition or a gentle spirit. It is the opposite of self-assertiveness or self-interest. In my chaotic journey to not operate out of my flesh, gentleness was certainly something I desired. Then I happened upon David Guzik’s words on the subject; “In the vocabulary of the ancient Greek language, the ‘meek’ person was not passive or easily pushed around. The main idea behind the word ‘meek’ was strength under control, like a strong stallion that was trained to do the job instead of running wild.” Strength under control – now that is something to aspire to!

Perhaps the clincher for me was Matthew 21:5; “Tell the daughter of Zion, ‘Behold, your King is coming to you, lowly, and sitting on a donkey, a colt, the foal of a donkey.” Jesus, our Messiah, humbled himself and meekly rode a donkey into Jerusalem. That same Greek word for meek is used here for lowly. Strength under control! The King of Kings was certainly that! Perhaps I could be that.

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Mark 11:2 tells us that this colt had never been ridden before. This colt had not been broken in or taught to be obedient to its owner’s commands. But this beast behaved like one broken in, one who recognized the hands of its Master. This untrained donkey knew that the One seated on its back was The Creator, that the meekness of our Saviour was strength under control.

Clarke said it best; “This entry into Jerusalem has been termed the triumph of Christ. It was indeed the triumph of humility over pride and worldly grandeur, of poverty over affluence, and of meekness and gentleness over rage and malice.”

And so, meekness and gentleness should be sought after – not looked down upon as something we would consider weak. Self-assertiveness should be bought under control, along with our pride and desire to be right. So we must cast off all the sins of self-sufficiency, self-worth and self-glorification and in humility and meekness pick up our cross and follow the Saviour.

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This entry was posted on April 6, 2020. 2 Comments

The Sweetness of the Wilderness

When asked if I am a Mary or a Martha, I must confess that a lot of the time I am a Martha with deep desires to become a Mary! I like to be productive and feel as though I am accomplishing something. I enjoy being involved, in the thick of things! Now here we are with Covid-19, in isolation, and time feels as though it has turned to molasses! For many of us, it feels as though we have been launched into a lonely place, a desert, or a wilderness. Social distancing is really hard! Whether we like it or not our schedules are cleared, and we have time to sit at Jesus’ feet! This all reminds me of an ‘accident’ that became a ‘God moment’ several years ago…

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I was leaving the home of a friend when my ankle flipped over, and I tumbled down the stairs fracturing my kneecap. For six weeks I couldn’t do anything. I found myself in this wilderness place with all this time on my hands! I felt cut off from the heart of things, I didn’t see many people, and didn’t go to church. Sound familiar? Initially, I was miserable, but after a few days, I determined that the enemy was not going to use this time to crush me, to depress me or cause me anxiety. I would use this season to draw closer to the Lord, to sit at His feet, and really hear from Him.

The Lord took me to the book of Hosea, and right there, in that desolate place, something incredible happened. My beautiful Saviour revealed that He had such a desire for me that He was drawing me away, pulling me into the wilderness to be alone with Him. Sometimes we get so busy doing ‘stuff’ that we forget, the Lord’s desire is for us to come away with Him. In Hosea 2:14 the Lord says, “Therefore, behold, I will allure her, Will bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfort to her.” This is exactly what the Lord desires to do, so much so that He will allure you, entice and draw you away with Him. He wants to be alone with you, in a secluded place, just the two of you.

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The Lord drew me away and began to speak comfort to me. Do you know what comfort means? So often we think of comfort as perhaps a consoling pat on the back, a couple of encouraging words, in my case a “don’t worry you’ll get through this” or a “this too shall pass” – but that isn’t it at all! The Hebrew word for comfort comes from ‘labab’ which means to speak to your inner man, your soul, mind, will, and heart. To be enheartened and become intelligent. Jesus wants to speak right into your heart, to give you understanding and revelation! But there is more – ‘labab’ also means to ravish the heart, encourage, make the heart beat faster!! My Lord, my King, my Redeemer desired to ravish my heart, to enchant, enrapture and delight me. To so overwhelm me with His love for me that my heart would beat faster! He took me away, into the wilderness, to a secret place where no-one could find me, and spoke into my innermost being. He took my breath away! I have to say I was spellbound, tears poured down my cheeks as I finally understood.

Jesus desires that the wilderness would be a place of sweetness, a place where your love for Him would be strengthened. Jesus wants to give you so much, but you have to stop for a moment to receive it. Hosea 2:15 says; “I will give her her vineyards from there, and the Valley of Achor as a door of hope; she shall sing there, as in the days of her youth, as in the day when she came up from the land of Egypt.” It is in the wilderness that we receive our inheritance, our vineyards. As the Lord pours out His endless river of grace over us, we receive our birthright from Him, a life that will be fruitful and not barren, fertile and not sterile. In the place where we should receive judgment, instead, we are given hope.

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It was in that same Valley of Achor, that Achan sinned against God and was disobedient. All Israel stoned Achan and burnt him with fire, they raised over him a great heap of stones and this place was called the Valley of Achor or trouble -Joshua 7. There are so many times in my life that I have been disobedient, or even slow to be obedient. I have a habit of trying to argue my way out of what the Lord has asked me to do for Him! I have sinned against God and know my heart is deceitfully wicked.

Now here I am in the wilderness, in the Valley of Trouble where I don’t deserve any more than Achan himself! But God desired to give me the Valley of Achor as a Door of Hope, He chose this time to pour out His great mercy and grace upon me. “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

It was after this purging in the Valley of Achor that the Israelites went on from victory to victory, taking all of the Promised Land, even to the point where the Lord stilled the sun in the sky so that God’s chosen people could win the battle! He stilled the sun in the sky for them and He would do it for you! Achor was a Door of Hope for the Israelites and the Great I Am intends to Open that Door of Hope for you.

This Door of Hope is the springboard upon which we shall walk into our Promised Land, but we have to do this by walking through the Valley of Achor first. By embracing our wilderness, leaving behind the sin which so easily entangles, releasing to the Lord everything which would hold us back, we can then confidently walk through that door right into the hope of our calling.

What a glorious day it will be when you walk through that Door of Hope, a day when you shall finally be set free to be everything God wants you to be. As the Israelites crossed the Red Sea, as Almighty God delivered them from the hands of their enslavers, they rejoiced and sang. The Israelites were finally set free and not only were they free, but their enemy was drowned in the sea, never to enslave them again. You see, hearing the truth shall set you free, “and you shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free” – John 8:32. Right there in the wilderness, Jesus will whisper truth in your ear, the truth of His love for you, He will release you, empower you and set you free!

“And it shall be, in that day,” says the Lord, “that you will call me “My Husband,” and no longer call me “My Master,” (Hosea 2:16). What a promise! To be able to see the Lord as husband! I realized that the scripture says, ‘in that day”, and I asked myself, “In what day?” In the day that Jesus lures you into the wilderness and speaks to you in a passionate way, that is the day. When you are in the wilderness place with your Lord there will be such a change in you that you will no longer see him as your Master but as your bridegroom! You may go into that place with the mindset of a slave, but you WILL leave it with an enormous change in your way of thinking, seeing the Lord as your husband! And it shall be, it shall be, this is not a conditional promise – it is something the Lord says will happen. You shall leave the wilderness knowing, without a shadow of a doubt, that Jesus is your bridegroom!

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Jesus is the kind of bridegroom that will treat you with the greatest tenderness, the utmost respect, with gentle loving-kindness, with immense compassion. Jesus is the supreme defender and protector, a shield about you, a refuge that you can run into. A husband who believes in you, knowing that you can achieve anything you set your mind to. He listens, even hangs on to your every word. Simply put, He adores you!

During my time in the wilderness, as I listened to my Saviour whispering in my ear, everything else seemed to fade away. All that I considered important no longer seemed to be important anymore. All my cares, anxieties and fears were put to flight. Today, if you are in the wilderness, allow your Saviour to wrap His arms around you and whisper tender words of love in your ear; “You are safe, you are loved, and you are my bride!”

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Prayer and Planning

Nehemiah’s reaction was extreme.  Suddenly there was no strength left in his legs, he felt weak and overcome and sat down in shock.  Shocked that the city and people that God loved were in such a dire position.  He really felt the heart of the Father for His chosen ones and wept over the condition of a people he had not met.  Supernaturally God had given Nehemiah a heart and a burden for His children in Jerusalem.

So it was, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned for many days; I was fasting and praying before the God of heaven.”  Nehemiah 1:4key-3087900_1920

This verse tells us that Nehemiah wept, fasted, and prayed for many days, seeking the heart and will of God in this situation.  I don’t know about you, but so often, in an extreme circumstance, I move straight into reaction mode!  Often, I don’t even think my next move through before jumping into action!  Not Nehemiah.  His very first reaction was to go to God in prayer.  There, in that place of prayer, the LORD began to do a great work in Nehemiah’s heart, He gave him strategy, wisdom, and strength for the season ahead.  He took this great leader that He had fashioned and formed through the tough times in Persia and prepared him for this incredible and difficult mission up ahead.  A mission of rebuilding not only the walls of Jerusalem but the lives of God’s chosen ones.

Alan Redpath said this; “There is no winning without warfare, there is no opportunity without opposition, there is no victory without vigilance.  For whenever the people of God say, ‘Let me arise and build,’ Satan says, ‘Let me arise and oppose.’”  For every great task, there will be great opposition.  We must take time to pray and allow our Father to prepare us for the mission that follows.  We need to take a leaf from the book of Nehemiah and allow the Lord to make us battle-ready.  We need to be prayed up, prepared and positioned!book-2341083_1920

For 4 months Nehemiah sought the LORD, he listened to the LORD and waited on the LORD.  But Nehemiah was also a very capable leader, he also spent 4 months planning, working out a Spirit-led plan, for the day the LORD flung wide the Door of Opportunity.

wall-2831911_1920In Nehemiah 2:4-8 we read the story of Nehemiah’s conversation with the King.  Nehemiah knew how long he would be gone, that he would need letters of protection as he passed through dangerous places.  Nehemiah made requests for building materials, he knew just what he needed, he had a plan.  Nehemiah didn’t rush headlong into the opportunity but took the time to plot a course of action, knowing that “the good hand of his God was upon him.”

We know that our God is a planning God, “The counsel of the Lord stands forever, the plans of His heart to all generations.”  Our Savior had a plan, from the very beginning of time, for your salvation.  A plan so delicate and intricate, you can see it woven into every book of the bible.  A plan for your restoration, a plan to bring you to Himself.  Our Abba Father is a planner and He would have you be one too.

butterfly-2049567_1920Proverbs 21:5 says, “The plans of the diligent lead surely to plenty, but those of everyone who is hasty, surely to poverty.”  We aren’t any more spiritual when we ‘leap out in faith’ and don’t plan. Nehemiah showed immense faith in his planning, in his belief that God would supply what seemed like an overwhelming number of requests.  When God showed Nehemiah the desperate situation of His chosen ones, Nehemiah didn’t simply pray and leave it at that. No, Nehemiah was moved, he prayed, and he planned, he was ready to change history for the glory of the King!

Nehemiah fasted and prayed for four months – 120 days!  When God felt that Nehemiah was prepared and ready to rebuild the walls it took only an incredible 52 days to complete the task!  Nehemiah prayed for twice the amount of time and God used Nehemiah in a miraculous way!  Our motto needs to become, “Pray first, act later!” Even when we think we have no time to pray, God is showing you, by using the example of Nehemiah, that if you stop, pray first, plan second, then the Great I AM will help you accomplish your mission in record time!

Do you take the time to pray and plan when the Father shows you a need and opportunity, or do you jump straight into the fray with no forward-thinking at all?  Let’s learn from Nehemiah and be more like our loving Father who had a plan for you from the very beginning of the world.

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This entry was posted on January 19, 2020. 1 Comment

Fear!

I’m afraid of a lot of things, spiders and bugs being at the very top of the list!  I’m afraid that if I don’t study my bible enough, our Abba Father won’t love me and I won’t be pleasing to Him.  I’m afraid that my beautiful daughter will be attacked walking home alone, in the dark.  I’m afraid my son won’t find his way back to the Father and be lost forever.  I’m afraid my husband won’t return from a trip to Africa and my Dad will no longer remember me because of dementia. I could go on writing this list, but I won’t. Dwelling on the list of things you are afraid of is not healthy!fearless

When you are afraid, fear begins to paralyze you.  Anxiety incapacitates you.  Distress immobilizes you.  We cannot walk forward if we are letting fear take root in our souls.  1John 4:18 says this; “There is no fear in love.  But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment.  The one who fears is not made perfect in love.”

This scripture made me do a double take, changed my thinking; it really did penetrate my soul and spirit, my joints and marrow, so sharp was this word from the Lord.  “Fear has to do with punishment!”  Fear whispers in your ear the very worst possible scenario.  It shouts its bitterness and poison into your spirit until your mind plays over and over again its sulfurous synopsis.  Fear tells you that your Father won’t love you – it tells you of an angry God, waiting to pour out the fire of judgement upon your head.  Fear tells you that you cannot trust the Lord in all things, with those you love the most!  Fear tells you that you cannot believe in His promises, His goodness, and His kindness.  You cannot trust in His perfect love!

Several years ago the Lord spoke to me about letting fear overwhelm me.  He showed me His incredible love, His glorious grace, and tender mercies.  In 2014, I had a wonderful opportunity to travel to Israel and while I was there, the Lord told me to be baptized in the Sea of Galilee, the very place that Peter walked on water.  “Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus.  But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus reached out His hand and caught him, “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”  Fear took hold of Peter’s heart when he saw the ferocity of the wind, when he saw what he was up against.  He was afraid of what would happen, afraid of a disastrous outcome and so he began to sink.stormy seas

How often, when we stop having faith and trusting the Lord, focusing on the problem and not our Jesus, do we begin to sink?  Deeper and deeper into the muck and the mire of our own anxious thoughts.  Jesus is right there, hand outstretched, ready to pull you back into the boat again.  I love how this scripture says, ‘immediately Jesus reached out His hand and caught him!’  Immediately! Instantly! Urgently and unhesitatingly!sea of galilee

If we take our eyes off the storm and fully trust the Lord there will be no fear of punishment.  If we concentrate on His goodness, we will not be afraid of the outcome but know He will always work all things together for good.  If we rely on His perfect love, we will know that we can leave our loved ones in His hands.  No matter what we are walking through, we need never be afraid as He is walking beside us, showing us the way, ready to catch us if we begin to sink.  “Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7.

He will give you strength, He will give you hope and encouragement, He will give you the ability to move beyond your paralysis and walk forward.  He will bring you to a place where there is no fear of punishment, no fear of the outcome, just faith and trust in His perfect love, in His plan for your life!

Now what am I going to do about those beastly bugs that I’m still afraid of!pink flower fear

This entry was posted on January 11, 2019. 1 Comment

Judgement

I get a little bothered when people talk about God’s judgement.  All the hurricanes, fires, earthquakes and calamity that is occurring worldwide is God’s judgement upon us – I don’t think so!  This certainly does not fit into the character of the God I love and serve.

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“Hurricane Harvey is God’s judgement upon America!”  Not!  This simply rubs me the wrong way.  It’s just not biblical.  Why do people always say it’s God’s judgement from devastating fires to personal hardship?  Do we just not know our God well enough?

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Now Abraham, here is a man who knew His God!  God came down and told Abraham that He was going to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah because their sin was so great,  there was an outcry calling for God’s judgement on the city.  Abraham was moved with compassion for the righteous that were left in Sodom and Gomorrah, thinking too of his nephew Lot, and he began to beseech to the Lord: “Far be it from You to do such a thing as this, to slay the righteous with the wicked; far be it from You!  Shall not the judge of all the earth do right?”  Genesis 18:25.  Abraham knew that God is a righteous God, a just God, and would not punish the innocent the same way as the guilty!

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In the end there was only one righteous man in Sodom, and that was Lot.  Before the righteous judgement of God was rained down upon the city, the Lord led that one righteous man out.  “Shall not the judge of all the earth do right?”

The word for right in the Hebrew is ‘mishpat’ which means; justice, act of deciding a case, right, proper or fitting.  Mishpat is used interchangeably throughout the Old Testament as justice or righteousness.  Micah 6:8, a well known verse, says: “And what does the Lord require of you but to do justly (mishpat), to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”  The Lord requires you to do what is right!  Just as the Father is a righteous God and will always do what is right.

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I love the scripture in Psalm 33:4 that tells us, “For the Lord’s decrees are just and everything He does is fair.”  The New Testament goes on to tell us more about the judgement of God.  Acts 17:31 says, “because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness, through a man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead.”  There will be a day of judgement and God will judge the world through His Son, Jesus Christ.  God the Father himself will not be the one who judges mankind, but the Son himself.  “For not even the Father judges anyone, but He has given all judgement to the Son.”  John 5:22.  These are the words of Jesus himself.

When Jesus hung upon that cross, dying that painful death for all mankind, the full wrath of God was poured out upon Him.  He took our punishment, God’s judgement was spilled upon Him for you and for me, once and for all, and now we stand righteous through Christ.  If we believe that our Father pours out judgement and wrath upon us in the form of disasters and terrifying tragedies, then are we believing that He did not pour out His full judgement upon His Son, wouldn’t that negate the cross?  Would this not detract from the full miracle of Christ dying for us, of God’s judgement and wrath poured out on the Son, so that on the appointed day of judgement we can stand clean before the Lord, washed white in the blood of the Lamb?  

Do we run the risk of looking at the great sin of the world and thinking, “if I was God I would visit my anger upon them?”  In turn justifying that this must be what God is doing…  We become the judge of the sin in this world and consider our anger righteous.  God’s word says, “So then my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God.”

Let’s become people who speak less and listen more.  Let us hear the pain of those dying and not condemn them to our judgement.  Let’s rejoice in the character of Almighty God who is all at once righteous, fair , good and kind.  Who has made a way for us, so that we don’t have to come under the wrath and judgement of God.

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Abundance

 

In John 10:10 we read the words of Jesus; “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I come that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”   What is it that Jesus wants to give us that the enemy so desperately wants to steal?  Jesus wants to give us life and life abundantly! This abundant life is certainly not about more stuff, more attention, more power or more thrills.  Those are just distractions, a carnal definition of the abundant life!

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King Solomon, in all his wisdom, said it this way; “So I became great and excelled more than all who were before me in Jerusalem.  Also my wisdom remained with me.  Whatever my eyes desired I did not keep from them.  I did not withhold my heart from any pleasure, for my heart rejoiced in all my labor, and this was my reward from my labor.  I looked on all the works that my hands had done and on the labor in which I had toiled; and indeed all was vanity and grasping for the wind.  There was no profit under the sun.”  Eccl 2:9-11  All was vanity, and Solomon had it all but soon discovered, this was not the abundant life.

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Abundant life in Christ is, the surety of our salvation, freedom from death, freedom from fear, freedom from prejudice, freedom from the one who would whisper in your ear and steal your joy.  It is beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness, it is love, joy, and peace – oodles of it!  Patience! Kindness and gentleness in abundance.  All. The. Time.  Not just when things are going well.  In abundance.  

 

The Greek word for abundance is ‘perrissos’ meaning, exceeding some measure or number, over and above, more than is necessary, superadded, extraordinary, surpassing, more remarkable and more excellent.  Your God wants you to live a remarkable and excellent life!  He wants to give you an extraordinary life that surpasses all your expectations!  Doesn’t His Word say; “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love Him.”

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When you look deeper at the word for abundance, what you find will astound you!  The root word for abundance is ‘piero’, meaning to pierce.  That stopped me in my tracks, overwhelming me, bringing tears to my eyes.  Jesus, the Son of God, was pierced for me, over and over again.  Pierced as that whip bit into his flesh, pierced as they hammered those nails into his beautiful feet and loving hands.  Pierced as they stabbed a sword into His side.  At any time He could simply have stepped off that cross, after all, He is God.  But His love for you kept Him there, he went over and above, surpassing what was necessary, so that you could have an abundant life!  Now that is abundant love!  Going exceedingly beyond, for you.  Extraordinary!

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This is the life He wants to give you, in abundance.  Without Christ, life has no meaning, there is no abundant life.  

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Uproot the Squatters

Joshua 6:20 says, “When the trumpets sounded, the army shouted, and at the sound of the trumpet, when the men gave a loud shout, the wall collapsed; so everyone charged straight in and they took the city.”

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Can you imagine the Israelite army being given this absurd order to march around the mighty city of Jericho without saying a word? I wonder what was going through their heads… For some, it was probably, “This is silly,” or “I feel stupid.” But for others, it was certainly, “We are going to do this! We are going to take this city!” The more they walked, the more their confidence grew. Perhaps some of them, looking forward to that final day, were thinking, “I’m going to be loud, so LOUD!” Faith was stirring within their hearts, and the expectation that God was going to do something great was getting bigger and bigger.pexels-photo-157534

Imagine for a moment the sound of the trumpets and that huge, loud roar going up from the army on that final day. The volume of noise coming from thousands and thousands of men must have been so loud and intense that it shook the very ground they were walking on. The New King James Bible tells us, at that loud shout, the walls fell down flat! Walls that had seemed high and insurmountable flattened at one loud shout! The Israeli army totally destroyed Jericho, nothing was left.

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The Canaanites that lived in Jericho would have been a serious threat to Israel’s spiritual welfare. They were steeped in idolatry and immorality. They were squatters in the Promised Land! They didn’t belong. I know that in my own life and the lives of many, there are Jerichos that are holding us back. Huge walls that may seem insurmountable, chains that seem too big to be broken. With God fighting our battles, every single one of those Jerichos will fall! What is it that is holding us back? Let’s uproot those squatters. The Promised Land is worth it!

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This entry was posted on June 3, 2017. 2 Comments

Rising Up Again and Again!

At the end of 2016 I felt the Lord begin to whisper the words “Rise Up” into my spirit, along with the scripture from Psalms 3:3 “But you, O Lord, are a shield about me, my glory and the One who lifts my head.”  I knew right then and there that these would be my words for 2017.  It was time for me to Rise Up and I knew the Father was right – I couldn’t live in the sadness of the past 5 years any longer, I had to do something about it and it was up to me.  I could continue to sit in darkness or I could Rise Up and let the Lord light my way!

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At first I couldn’t see how Psalms 3:3 and the words “Rise Up” were connected until I started to dig.  Then I got excited!  Lifter is ‘ruwn’ in Hebrew and means; to rise, be high, be exalted, to be set on high or to cause to grow up.’  Perhaps in my 50th year it was indeed time for me to ‘grow up’!  I love the definition too; to make louder, to take plants out of the ground for transplanting or harvesting and to move your head or eyes up so that you can see something!

When we are in despair, depression, or grief our eyes are cast down, not only our head but our hearts hang down.  It feels as if everything aches and is oh so heavy.  BUT GOD will lift our heads, He WILL BE our glory and cause us to RISE UP and rejoice!  Our Father will not force our head up – as He gently places His hand under our chin, we have to raise our heads, we have to engage the muscles in our neck and move!  There is action required on our part!

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Early in the New Year I heard a scripture from Micah 7:8 that just exploded in my heart!  “Do NOT gloat over me, O my enemy; when I fall, I shall rise; when I sit in darkness, the LORD will be a light to me.”  There was absolutely NO WAY I was going to let the enemy gloat over me!  I have sat in darkness for far too long.

The word rise in the Hebrew is ‘quwn’ – to become powerful, to stand, to be established, to be fixed, to be proven, to be fulfilled.  It was now my time to rise, to stand and become powerful and if I fall again to rise quickly!

When Hannah was a baby I remember when she began learning to walk.  She would take a few steps and her chubby little legs would collapse underneath her.  Sometimes she would bang herself as she fell and she would sit and cry.   I would pick her up in my arms, kiss her better and plop her back down.  Up she would get and take a few more steps – she never gave up, she would rise up every single time!  Now she is 17 and a beautiful dancer who jumps and leaps and spins on the very tips of her tiny toes.  I’m sure she falls sometimes when learning something new, but that will never stop her from getting up and trying again.  

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Psalm 37:24 says “Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down; for the LORD upholds him with His hand.”  No matter how many times we fall we shall not fall below the supporting hand of God.  God will always be there to pick you up, dust you off, kiss you better and then plop you back down to try again!  He knows that eventually you will not just rise but you will soar and dance because He knows the end from the beginning!  Never once did I worry or fret that my child would not get up again and neither does God – He KNOWS you will!  It’s just a matter of when, and He will be cheering you on every step of the way, just as I have for my Hannah.

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This entry was posted on February 1, 2017. 6 Comments

Rise Up!

This is for both my beautiful friend Linda Bishop and myself as we Rise Up in 2017 together!  Love you so much my friend!

So dark.  So completely black.  Sitting on the floor I pulled my knees up to my chest and rocked back and forth.  Tears wet my cheeks and it seemed as though deep darkness slid over me like a black cloak.  My heart ached within me, anguish so deep I feared I would drown in this sea of murky, dark misery.  The “what ifs” and “should haves” of my past clamored through my head all shouting for attention and another thick sob rose in my throat.  Somewhere in the foggy background I could hear the snicker of the enemy planting malignant thoughts in my mind; “Where is your God?!  You’ll never amount to anything!  You’re pathetic, a loser!  You’ve been deserted.  You’re all alone in the quicksand of your sorrow and you’ll never get up!”  The gloating of the enemy grew in intensity drowning out any other sound.

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I opened my swollen eyes and squinted in the blackness.  There at the very edge of my vision was a tiny, pin prick of light.  Hope!  A tiny fragment of hope!  As I watched it seemed to be growing brighter. “Impossible,” I thought and rubbed my smarting eyes with my fists.  “NO,” yelled the enemy, “there is NO hope!”  “But I think there is,” I replied with a smile.

As I made that tiny declaration of faith, smaller than any tiny mustard seed, hope flooded in like a freight train!  Light illuminated every crack, every hole and every crevice of the room, soaking through my skin and trickling into my heart.  Warmth thawed out all the ice that had frozen like crystals in my soul.  New tears began to rush down my cheeks.  Good tears.  Tears of rejoicing.  Tears of relief and the knowledge that my day of restoration was upon me.  I felt the Spirit of the Lord filling the space all about me, the thickness of His weighty presence upon me.

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Then I heard His voice.  I heard His voice!  “I am a shield about you protecting you from the terror of night and the arrow that flies by day.  I am your rock and your deliverer, trust me! I will hear you when you call to me and be your salvation and refuge.  My word will be a lamp unto your feet, it will light up the path that you should walk on and show you where to go next.  I shall lift up your head above your enemies and cause your heart to sing.  I will be your everlasting light and bestow on you favor and honor, for you are set apart for me! Now is the time for you to rise up and shine, for your light has come.  The shining greatness of the Lord has risen upon you.  For see, darkness will cover the earth but I will rise upon you and my shining greatness will be seen upon you.  Nations will come to your light.  And Kings will see the shining greatness of the Lord on you!  Lift up your eyes and look around you and see.  They all gather together, they come to you.  Your sons will come from far away and your daughters will be carried in the arms.  Then you will see and shine with joy!  Rise Up, this matter is in your hands.  So take courage and do it!

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My eyes snapped open and with new resolve I began to lift my head.  It was easy! The power of the living God was shooting through my veins, running through my spirit!  I stood to my feet and threw my arms wide open taking in deep breaths of sparkling light.  I felt giddy, light headed even and began to spin in a circle like a child.  Laughter rose up within me, joy began to flow from my head to my toes.  With an exuberant shout I yelled; “DO NOT gloat over me anymore my enemy, when I fall I SHALL rise, when I sit in darkness, the LORD will be a light to me!”

 

Psalm 3:3 – But you, O Lord, are a shield about me, my glory and the One who lifts up my head. Micah 7:8 – Do not gloat over me, O my enemy; when I fall, I shall rise; when I sit in darkness, the Lord will be a light to me.  Other scriptures used – Ps 84:11, Ps 18:2, Ps 4:3, Ezra 10:4, Ps 91:5

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This entry was posted on January 10, 2017. 1 Comment