“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, Because the Lord has anointed Me To preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives, And the opening of the prison to those who are bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, And the day of vengeance of our God; To comfort all who mourn, To console those who mourn in Zion, To give them beauty for ashes, The oil of joy for mourning, The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; That they may be called trees of righteousness, The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.” Isaiah 61:1-3
I am blessed beyond measure because the Lord has chosen me as His servant. To wait upon Him, anticipate His need to deliver a timely word, to wrap His arms of love around someone who is weary, to speak strength, freedom and healing. To proclaim that Jesus is returning soon! To encourage my sisters and brothers to continue until He comes for us.
I am empowered by His Spirit to decree and declare, to set in motion things that are not seen so that they may manifest in due time. My ministry may not take me in front of a large church or televised around the world. Mine is simple. To hear, to speak, to obey. If I do that, there is no limit to what God can do in and through me.
Time to take the limits off God. Time to put aside your own goals and agendas. Our job is to hear His voice say, “This is the way, walk in it!” And walk on!
Ever feel that every day is a reflection of the day before? Oh, little things are different, but so much of it’s the same. We get up, go to work, come home, make dinner, spend a few hours ‘vegging’ out, only to be repeated day after day after day.
Psalm 39:6 says, Our life is like an image in a mirror. We rush through life collecting things, but we don’t know who will get them after we die.
Wouldn’t it be nice to make a difference in someone’s life? To maybe take more time being a blessing to someone rather than gathering riches to ourselves? Riches? Are you kidding me? I’m just trying to make ends meet! But why? Didn’t Jesus tell us that, “My God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory.”? Shouldn’t that take the stress off us and place it onto Him?
Father, thanks for the reminder. We have become so self-sufficient. You created us to need you. To fellowship with you. To allow you to care for us. Forgive us for being so self absorbed! May we remember that we are your sheep and you are our shepherd. Lead us into green pastures and restore our souls, that we might fulfill your needs, allowing you to meet ours. It’s in Jesus’ name we pray. Amen
I’m not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don’t get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back. Phil 3:12-14
Almost every morning and evening, I lace up my shoes to go for a mile walk. I’m by no means a runner, nor do I desire to be, but I figure walking is a good start to get on the road to health and I enjoy it. I enjoy walking with my daughter the most, we have some pretty amazing conversations and it keeps me from getting bored.
Sometimes we just talk smack, but most of the times we talk about where God is taking us, where we’ve come from and the lessons He’s constantly teaching us. By the time we get back home, I feel refreshed in my spirit and my body. It’s as if God is walking and talking with us. He enjoys our conversation as much as we do.
Life with God is a journey with constant changes going on around us. Sometimes we go through the mountains and are blessed with some awesome views. Sometimes we drive near the ocean and watch the waves come crashing on the shore. But wherever we go, He is with us, beckoning us to stay with Him.
I hear Him speaking to us this morning, “Don’t become too tired that you stop right in the middle of the road. Sit on that rock, it’s a sure foundation. I’ll restore your soul, feed you when you’re weary and give you water to drink that you know not of.”
So my friends, don’t quit now! Keep going because your Father is waiting for you to finish the race.
“A tree is identified by its fruit. If a tree is good, its fruit will be good. If a tree is bad, its fruit will be bad.” Matthew 12:33
That’s pretty simple and easy to understand. Raised in Michigan, I can tell a cherry tree from an apple tree. The blossoms are different in the spring, and their fruit is quite different at harvest time.
Now, in Florida, I can tell the difference between a lemon tree and an orange tree. Both have useful fruit but are very different. But have you ever had a tree that just stopped bearing? We have.
We used to have the most beautiful white grapefruit tree with the sweetest grapefruits in our front yard. But after the 5 hurricanes went through Florida in one summer, it simply stopped producing fruit, and the fruit it had was icky. The stress of all those storms changed the tree, and it stopped bearing, so we had to cut it down.
What a lesson for the body of Christ. Let’s not be stressed out over life. Stay in the Word, speak what God says, do what God says to do, rest in His faithfulness, and bear fruit.
Let’s not just take up space in the world, being like the world, talking like the world, having what the world has. Jesus said we would have tests, trials, and tribulations, but “be of good cheer! I’ve overcome the world!” (John 16:33)
We overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the Word of our testimony and don’t love life so much that it keeps you from bearing much fruit.
You who sit down in the High God’s presence, spend the night in Shaddai’s shadow, Say this: “God, you’re my refuge. I trust in you and I’m safe!” That’s right—he rescues you from hidden traps, shields you from deadly hazards. His huge outstretched arms protect you— under them you’re perfectly safe; his arms fend off all harm. Fear nothing—not wild wolves in the night, not flying arrows in the day, Not disease that prowls through the darkness, not disaster that erupts at high noon. Even though others succumb all around, drop like flies right and left, no harm will even graze you. You’ll stand untouched, watch it all from a distance, watch the wicked turn into corpses. Yes, because God’s your refuge, the High God your very own home, Evil can’t get close to you, harm can’t get through the door. He ordered his angels to guard you wherever you go. If you stumble, they’ll catch you; their job is to keep you from falling. You’ll walk unharmed among lions and snakes, and kick young lions and serpents from the path.
“If you’ll hold on to me for dear life,” says God, “I’ll get you out of any trouble. I’ll give you the best of care if you’ll only get to know and trust me. Call me and I’ll answer, be at your side in bad times; I’ll rescue you, then throw you a party. I’ll give you a long life, give you a long drink of salvation!” Psalm 91 Message
I wanted to end the week on covenant. Over the last few years, God has had me study about covenant and how valuable it is to us as believers. If I don’t know my rights, I have nothing to hold onto. Sometimes you have to fight it out in court to obtain what is rightfully yours, but if you have a good lawyer (Jesus), and you’re willing to not give up, you will win.
I’ve been asked so many times how I can go through so much and keep my faith, continue to write and encourage others and not give up? It’s because I constantly remind myself of who I am and whose I am. God loves me and He loves you no less. He’s faithful to me and He’s faithful to you no less. He’s my advocate and He’s yours as well. If you believe, all things are possible to them that believe.
Let’s let go of the past and trust in Jesus, the author and finisher of our story. He knows your end from the very beginning and will see your final chapter written and published for all to read.
Thanks for reading this week. Hope you’ve been encouraged.
If you’re a hard worker and do a good job, you deserve your pay; we don’t call your wages a gift. But if you see that the job is too big for you, that it’s something only God can do, and you trust him to do it—you could never do it for yourself no matter how hard and long you worked—well, that trusting-him-to-do-it is what gets you set right with God, by God. Sheer gift. Romans 4:4-5 Message Bible
I’ve always been a hard worker. I’ve always gone the extra mile even when my first mile tired me out. But there have been times when the job I was given was way beyond my purview and I knew I’d either bit off more than I could chew or it was assumed I was better than I was.
It was about 21 years ago, I was hired as a consultant for a group of physicians who were in serious trouble and about to file for bankruptcy. I’d never done anything like this in my entire life. I was a medical biller with a history of good accounts receivables. I knew how to bill clean claims and the majority of them were paid quickly. I could look at a billers rejections and tell you whether or not she knew what she was doing.
The biller they had didn’t know what she was doing and when I looked at the amount of unpaid claims she had stacked on her desk, I was amazed she was still working there. Just because someone is nice, doesn’t mean they’re well suited for the job.
My first task was to get them set up for electronic billing so that their claims could be processed quickly. I sat alone in a small room with a mainframe computer, a very large book and a phone. I put my head down on the book and prayed, “God, I have no idea what to do or how to do it, but I know how to hear your voice and will do what You tell me, but please speak cause I’m lost here.”
I looked up and saw the phone in front of me and heard the Lord say, “Call the helpline.” So I did. The voice on the other line said, “Finally! Someone I can work with!”
He walked me through 2 small steps and I transmitted a huge file. We went over it together and it looked ok so we sent it on. In 2 weeks, I went back to see how things were going with the new biller I had hired and they came walking out of their office to greet me. The one doctor was holding a check from one insurance company for $46,000 and asked me, “Do you walk on water too?” I laughed and said, “No, but I know the one who does!”
God freely gifts us with His abilities so that we don’t have to just depend on ours. I couldn’t do life without Him. Not on my job, not in my relationships, not in any part of life. He is everything to me. I’m so thankful that I don’t have to do anything to earn forgiveness, His blood did that and His blood is enough.
And trusting-Him-to-do-it is what gets me set right with God, by God. Sheer gift!
So how do we fit what we know of Abraham, our first father in the faith, into this new way of looking at things? If Abraham, by what he did for God, got God to approve him, he could certainly have taken credit for it. But the story we’re given is a God-story, not an Abraham-story. What we read in Scripture is, “Abraham entered into what God was doing for him, and that was the turning point. He trusted God to set him right instead of trying to be right on his own.” Romans 4:1-3 The Message
Isn’t that a mouthful? There was nothing Abraham could do to make himself right. He trusted God to set him right instead of trying to be right on his own. I just love how that’s written.
I don’t know about you, but I was not raised that way. I was raised that it was all about what we did. We had to keep the big 10, not lie, cheat or steal, not disobey our parents or have bad thoughts towards others. The list of don’ts were longer than I could memorize let alone do.
I think that’s why so many give up on their walk with God, they’ve never been taught that it’s not what they do, it’s what God did for you. When you focus on His saving grace and what His blood did for us, paving the way to a personal relationship with Him, there is just no way you want to turn your back on Him. Enjoying His presence, listening to His instructions, knowing you’re a part of something so much bigger than yourself, there’s no turning back at that point. You simply press on past the pain, you press on past disappointment and discouragement by keeping your eyes on Who made you right.
Hold fast to the Word, hide it deep in your heart. His promises are for you and He is always faithful.
Then Jehoshaphat knelt down, bowing with his face to the ground. All Judah and Jerusalem did the same, worshiping God. The Levites (both Kohathites and Korahites) stood to their feet to praise God, the God of Israel; they praised at the top of their lungs!
They were up early in the morning, ready to march into the wilderness of Tekoa. As they were leaving, Jehoshaphat stood up and said, “Listen Judah and Jerusalem! Listen to what I have to say! Believe firmly in God, your God, and your lives will be firm! Believe in your prophets and you’ll come out on top!”
After talking it over with the people, Jehoshaphat appointed a choir for God; dressed in holy robes, they were to march ahead of the troops, singing,
Give thanks to God, His love never quits.
As soon as they started shouting and praising, God set ambushes against the men of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir as they were attacking Judah, and they all ended up dead. The Ammonites and Moabites mistakenly attacked those from Mount Seir and massacred them. Then, further confused, they went at each other, and all ended up killed.
As Judah came up over the rise, looking into the wilderness for the horde of barbarians, they looked on a killing field of dead bodies—not a living soul among them.
When Jehoshaphat and his people came to carry off the plunder they found more loot than they could carry off—equipment, clothing, valuables. It took three days to cart it away! On the fourth day they came together at the Valley of Blessing (Beracah) and blessed God (that’s how it got the name, Valley of Blessing). 2 Chronicles 18-26 The Message Bible
I just couldn’t end with yesterday’s message, I wanted to tell you the rest of the story. You see, God has big plans for you His children. He’s so set on blessing you that He wants to do it in ways that will overwhelm you in a good way. You see, He’s just that good, just that big and just that powerful. Nothing is too hard for Him and He totally loves blessing His children.
Jesus said it well when He told us in Matthew 7:11, “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!”
Your God is well able to keep you through this battle. He didn’t stop with just answering His people, He gave a plan and than blessed their socks off so much it took 3 days to pick up all the spoils. That’s no small blessing. There were a lot of people in Gods army and it took them all 3 days to collect the spoils of war. Can you even imagine what your spoils will look like? You better get ready to collect. I’ve got my dump trucks ready to collect because I know I’ve got a whole lot coming to me.
“And now it’s happened: men from Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir have shown up. You didn’t let Israel touch them when we got here at first—we detoured around them and didn’t lay a hand on them. And now they’ve come to kick us out of the country you gave us. O dear God, won’t you take care of them? We’re helpless before this vandal horde ready to attack us. We don’t know what to do; we’re looking to you.” 2 Chronicles 20:10-12 Message Bible
This is what looking to God looks like. It’s stating the obvious (there was a real enemy set out to destroy Gods people), asking for help (won’t you take care of them?), admitting you haven’t a clue as to what to do (we’re helpless and we don’t know what to do). But here’s the most important part to remember in your current battle; we’re looking to you.
It doesn’t matter your position or title or privilege, everyone faces enemies and battles we don’t know how to deal with, but something happens when you look to Him. This was a king who saw himself surrounded by enemies he knew he couldn’t defeat without divine intervention. But he called out to God, fell on his face and waited for the answer.
The answer came through a random worshipper named Jahaziel. He gave voice to Gods message and said, “Attention everyone—all of you from out of town, all you from Jerusalem, and you King Jehoshaphat—God’s word: Don’t be afraid; don’t pay any mind to this vandal horde. This is God’s war, not yours. Tomorrow you’ll go after them; see, they’re already on their way up the slopes of Ziz; you’ll meet them at the end of the ravine near the wilderness of Jeruel. You won’t have to lift a hand in this battle; just stand firm, Judah and Jerusalem, and watch God’s saving work for you take shape. Don’t be afraid, don’t waver. March out boldly tomorrow—God is with you.” Verses 14-17.
Look at God! He not only told them what to do, but where the enemy was at and where to meet them.
Let me share a personal story that happened 2 years ago. We were sent to a cancer specialist to investigate a mass on Walts pancreas. When we arrived, he told us there was a test he needed that should have been done prior to the appointment. He made a couple of phone calls and arranged it would be done by a gastroenterologist who specialized in this procedure and we were to meet him at the hospital across the street. When we got to the car, Walt became very weak and couldn’t get in. I tried to keep him off the hot pavement, but I just wasn’t strong enough to support his weight. I couldn’t reach my phone and hold him, there was no one in the parking lot. I began to yell for help, to God and anyone in hearing distance.
In a very short time, a nurse came out and tried to help me but couldn’t. She called 911 and the ambulance came and helped get him up and took him to the hospital where we had intended to go. Come to find out, Walt had whooping cough, something that only happens to two year olds but had been reported in 3 other cases just that month.
I was soon told he was in respiratory failure and was very sick, they admitted him and in two days, the doctor advised me to put him in hospice. He was diagnosed with congestive heart failure and his kidneys were starting to shut down. I went home, curled up in a fetal position on my bed and cried out all night long until finally I fell asleep, exhausted.
In the morning I lay quiet before the Lord and asked what I was to do? We had been doing battle for Walts life for a whole year and I was pretty sure God wasn’t done with him yet. I heard very clear direction from the whisper of God’s Spirit, “Take your tablet up to the hospital, close the door and begin to worship.”
That’s exactly what I did. Even when doctors and nurses came and went, I let the music play and though there was no response or change in Walt, I knew I was being obedient. In the evening, one of the nurses had just got off her shift and came in, pulled up a stool and sat beside me. She said, “I’ve been listening to you all day. Tell me about your husband, how long have you been married and what is your secret?” I gave her a short synopsis and told her how much we loved serving God together, encouraging others, ministering to marriages for so many years. As she left, she told me I gave her hope for her own marriage and she was going to go home with a different attitude.
The next morning I woke up and went back up to sit in his hospital room to do the same thing but when I arrived, Walt was sitting up, looking alert and asked me where he was and what was going on. I filled him in as the doctor came in and said, “Wow, what a difference a day makes!” I said, “No, what a difference our God makes!”
We are His children and regardless of your feelings or circumstances, when you cry out, He hears you. When you are still before Him, He will give you instructions, you just have to be willing to do what He says. Don’t allow the enemy to overwhelm you with ‘what ifs’, but overwhelm him with praise and worship. You can still his accusations through your worship and the Word you utter out of your mouth.
One of my favorite verses is found in Habakkuk 2:2-3 AMP goes like this, “And the Lord answered me and said, Write the vision and engrave it so plainly upon tablets that everyone who passes may [be able to] read [it easily and quickly] as he hastens by. For the vision is yet for an appointed time and it hastens to the end [fulfillment]; it will not deceive or disappoint. Though it tarry, wait [earnestly] for it, because it will surely come; it will not be behindhand on its appointed day.”
The word ‘Vision’ means; the act or power of sensing with the eyes; The word ‘Sight’; the act or power of anticipating that which will or may come to be. The word ‘prophetic vision’; the vision of an entrepreneur.
This shows how important it is to meditate on the Word God has given to us. I believe that without vision, something inside of us dies and we never see the promises of God become a reality. Let’s take a look at the Israelites, those with no vision never reached the promised land.
I have had God show me things to come that have not yet happened, but I believe they will. I’ve heard Him speak things in my spirit which were difficult to believe but remembered His Word, “All things are possible to him who believes.” I don’t ever want to be the one who doesn’t receive just because it looks too big or sounds too crazy. I just scream out, “Lord I believe, help my unbelief!”
I fight off the doubts with my words. I just get more radical because I believe you must have radical, ridiculous faith to obtain and see the manifestation of the promises of God. I’ve heard it said, seeing is believing, I say believing is seeing. Don’t ever measure someone by what you see on the outside. They may look insignificant, plain and simple to you, but the inner person measures mighty in faith to God.
If you want to know the measure of a man or woman, listen to what they say. If their vision is big and their faith is relentless, they will not fail when they place their hope and trust in God.