Take the Test

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work.” -James 1:2-4

No one wants to be tested. They take us out of our comfort zone. Yet, it is one of the greatest tools that God uses to take you from glory to glory. The goal of God’s testing is to draw you closer, make you stronger and draw out the dreams and gifts He planted in you. 

“For you, God, tested us; you refined us like silver…we went through fire and water, but you brought us to a place of abundance.” -Psalm 66:10,12

No one enjoys trials. For most of us it hurts but if you dare to persevere the end result of your trial and testing is this…Abundance!

Testing took Noah from World Destruction to the Ark to a New World.

It took Abraham from Childless to Father of a Great Multitude.

It took Joseph from Pit to Prison to the Right hand man in Pharaoh’s Empire.

David went from Shepherd Boy to Soldier to Fugitive to King!

Do you see how each test pushes you further and look at the end result.

If you’re in a season of testing don’t be shaken by where you are, focus on where this test is taking you.

“Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised.” -James 1:12.

Endure, persevere…aim for your crown!

Be Strong

Be Strong

It was like deja vu when I got the phone call. My mom’s biopsy results were in and the report was not good. It had been 8-years since her breast cancer diagnosis. A battle she emerged victorious in Christ in. Now here we were, 8 years later in the same office…again. On the drive there I said, “Okay Father you gave me a word before concerning my Mom. I’m expecting a word from you again.”

We sat and listened to the oncologist and heard his thoughts on the matter. When he and his nurse left the room I turned to my Mom and said, “God is not going to put on you more than you can bear.” 1Cor 10:13 Suddenly I saw a Peace in her that wasn’t there before. Then I knew it was a word from the throne of grace. I have to be honest though; I needed more. Why were we back here again and as a Royal Priesthood how am I supposed to stand and represent The Father in this? I had questions and I needed insight into the word God had given her. 

Later that day I stepped into that secret place (prayer) and shared with the Father what was on my heart. That’s when I heard Him say, “Joshua 1:9” Immediately I went there.  This is what it says:

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

Then I asked, “But how do I do that Lord?” 

The Lord replied, “It’s like you said before, I’m not going to put more on you than you could bear. Your ability to bear is based on what I placed in you. I can command you to be strong and courageous because I’ve already equipped you with strength and courage. I can say do not be afraid because My perfect love has casted out your fear. I’m simply calling out what’s already there and that’s how you’re going to do this.”

 What was in me began to stir like a mighty current.  All of that discouragement suddenly slipped away. I felt strong, confident, comforted and equipped to stand as a royal priest by my mother’s side and glory to God that is what I did!

 I am happy to report that the battle was glorious. The King of Kings made His presence known on the battlefield. I told no one but my Husband and kids about my Mom’s surgery yet God drew prayer warriors amongst the medical staff to lay hands and pray with me for my mom. To my delight the surgeon was a fellow believer who personally submitted the surgery into the hands of the True Physician. The LORD fought the battle and gave us the victory. My part was to have faith in Christ who strengthens me. 

God’s Beloved, He who created and formed you has equipped you with strength and courage. He can call those things and more out of you because that is who you are. That same Spirit that raised Christ from the grave is in you child of God. His Presence, Wisdom, Authority and Truth dwells within you. You are well equipped and you’re not alone.  So Be Strong, Be Courageous. Be Fearless; Do Not Be Discouraged. For greater is Christ Jesus that is in you, with you and for you wherever you are, than anyone or anything that can come at you in this world. 

Jesus Is With You

I have this spiritual wall art that hangs in my home, lately the Father has been prompting me to share it. It reminds me of the promise that Jesus made to us in Matthew 28:20, “I am with you always, even to the end of the age. Amen.”

This is what the wall art says:

Happy Moments

Praise God

Difficult Moments

Seek God

Quiet Moments

Worship God

Painful Moments

Trust God

Every Moment

Thank God

Jesus is with you always. He is with you in the happy moments. He’s right there making all things work for your good in the difficult moments.

You can worship Him in the quiet moments knowing that it’s Him leading you beside those quiet waters (Psalm 23:2) Quiet is a good thing. “The Lord is good to those whose hope is in Him, to the one who seeks Him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.” Lamentations 3:25-26.

Jesus is with you in the painful moments. He draws close to the brokenhearted; He heals them and binds up their wounds. Blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord. (Psalm 34:18, 40:4, 147:3)

We give thanks because of Love. For God So Loved us that He Gave. He gave us His Beloved Son, the irrevocable gifts and promises of God and He continues to give us the victory through Christ Jesus each and every day.

Jesus is with you in the highest of highs and in the lowest of lows and all of the other moments in between. In every moment there’s an opportunity to praise, seek, worship, trust and thank Him. Jesus hears you, sees you, He’s for you and He is with you always even to the end of the age.

God’s Economy

“Restore us to Yourself Lord.” –Lamentations 5:21

The Lord’s Economy is nothing like our own. Let’s take a look at Job. Job lost his wealth, his livestock and sadly his children. Soon after, Job was afflicted with painful sores that ran from the crown of his head to the soles of his feet. There was no support, no peace, no joy; not even the pleasure of sweet sleep. What remained though was his faith in God and his righteousness.

Through Job’s afflictions, whom by the way is a shadow of Jesus, we come to intimately know God and His Restoration Plan. The Lord restored Job’s fortunes to him and gave him twice as much as he had before.  His latter days were better than the former and he received long life to enjoy it all.

I know it saddens the Lord to see His children living life defeated. For it is written, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life.” If you or someone you know is living life defeated you are measuring your life against the world’s exchange rate not God’s. Look to the cross, Jesus gave you beauty for ashes. He became poor so that you may be rich. Jesus’ body was broken so that you may be made whole.  Your life, past and sins may have robbed you of a lot but in Christ YOU are a new creation and you can expect “your fortunes” to be doubled to you. You can expect your life to be transformed. Expect God’s favor to go ahead of you and open doors that would normally be closed. Expect Salvation to come to your loved ones. Expect healing and victory in every battle, test and obstacle in your life because of who you are, a beloved child of God.

You can liken yourself to Job. I know what some of you are thinking, “Job was a righteous man, I’m not.” Friend, here’s a fun fact, it was God who called Job Righteous and You, who are in Christ, are the Righteousness of God in Christ.  Like Job your righteousness was a gift. A gift given not because of your works and faithfulness but based on Jesus’ faithfulness and finished work on the cross. Whether you are experiencing the best of times or the worst (#TheWisdomofSolomon) You can expect that every promise the Holy Spirit has whispered to you in the valley or on the mountaintop is a “Yes” and “Amen” to you.

-He restores you to Himself. That’s our God’s Economy.


 

When God Whispers

person-1245959_960_720The prophet Elijah was having a rough day. He was a wanted man; all of the priests of God had been murdered. The temple was destroyed and now the queen wanted him dead. Depressed, defeated and afraid. Things were so bad for Elijah that he prayed that God would take his life. He went to the mountain to wait on the Lord. First there was a powerful wind, followed by an earthquake and fire but the LORD was not in either of these. When The LORD came to Elijah He came as a gentle whisper. See Elijah’s Story.

I asked the Father, “Why is the enemy’s voice so loud and Your voice so quiet?” He responded, “Don’t you have to be really close to someone to hear them whisper? The devil is on the outside; I dwell on the inside of you. I don’t have to shout.” Said the Lord.  This revelation changed my life.  If you can hear God’s whisper then you’re not alone or defeated. His quiet voice is evidence that God is not far off, He’s with you and for you. If the enemies voice is a loud shout, then he’s far off and has no authority over you.

The thing about the “whisper” is that only you and the one who whispered heard what was said. This is where your walk gets real. Are you going to listen to the ones outside of you or are you going to hold on to the whisper?  God said this to Abraham, “A son coming from your own body will be your heir…look up at the heavens and count the stars if indeed you can count them, …so shall your offspring be.” Genesis 15

This is how Abraham held on to God’s whisper, “Abraham, even though he was past age and Sarah herself was barren-was enabled to become a father because he considered Him faithful who made the promise.” Hebrews11

Your job isn’t to convince anyone of God’s promise to you. You have to be persuaded that God is who He says He is. Confident that no matter what the circumstances look like, things will work out for your good. Your Hope is that His whisper is greater than the shouts outside of you and your Heavenly Father is able and willing to do what He promised.


“For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, And do not return there, But water the earth, And make it bring forth and bud, That it may give seed to the sower. And bread to the eater, So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.” Isaiah 55:10-11

Your Joseph Moments

IMG_0161Joseph was the beloved son of Jacob. His son by His true love Rachel, and He treated Joseph as such. He was set apart from his brothers even His robe, a gift from his father, was finely woven and made of many colors. He was hated by his brothers and one day betrayed by them and sold into slavery for twenty shekels. Then he was sold again to an Egyptian captain named Potiphar. Scripture records for us that while Joseph lived as a slave in Potiphar’s house that the LORD was with Joseph and He prospered him.  Later Joseph was falsely accused and imprisoned. While in prison the Holy Spirit records, the LORD was with him and He gave him success in whatever he did. You know how the story ends; God took Joseph from Prisoner –to- Right-hand Man to Pharaoh. Through Joseph’s promotion both the Gentile nations and his brothers were saved from famine and death. Joseph’s life served as a snapshot of our Savior Jesus Christ. Read full story of Joseph.

I think we’ve all experienced a “Joseph moment” at one point in our lives. One minute your up and everything is going well and then something earth shattering happens and your down in the dirt. Like Joseph, God’s intent is always to take you to the next level, to lift you higher. From fruit -to more fruit -to much fruit. Jesus will always meet you where you are but don’t expect to stay there. Expect Him to take you from glory to glory.

Wherever you are in life, know that this is a part of the process it’s not the final outcome. Set your eyes on the outcome not the twist and turns in between. HE Who Promised Is Faithful. God told you that He has a plan for you, plans to prosper you, not to harm you but to give you hope and a future. Just because you’re shipwrecked in a storm it doesn’t mean He’s changed His mind about you. See the bumpy roads and the shipwrecks as the tools that will sharpen you for the purpose that God created you for and the message He cultivated in you to impact this world and fulfill your destiny for Jesus Christ.

Just because you’re shipwrecked in a storm it doesn’t mean God’s plans for you have changed!

The Sweet Water Life

efa1a-33318602_2050060551948021_8403795983611199488_nWhen we look back at our past, the mistakes we’ve made, the loss, heartbreak, regrets, betrayals and disappointments we’ve had… its hard not to feel bitter about it. Yet God has a way of taking the bitter taste of your past and hurt and turning it into sweet waters. Look at Joseph, betrayed by his brothers, sold into slavery. He was falsely excused, imprisoned and forgotten but God used it to position him for greatness. At the appointed time he was exalted to the right hand of the most powerful man in Egypt. Those same brothers who betrayed him, he was able to save. He became a great blessing to many including his own father.

It is recorded for our benefit so that we may be encouraged that God was with Joseph in the lowest points of his life. The Lord was with Joseph when he was sold into slavery and God prospered him. He was with Joseph when he was falsely accused and thrown into prison and God showed Him favor, kindness and granted him success. This is such a beautiful revelation from our Heavenly Father. You could be having the worst day of your life but unlike those lost in the world you have this Hope that your Father is with you. His favor, grace and success is abounding towards you. Jesus is working on your behalf. Even in your weakness, when all you see is lack, you are more than a conqueror and a success because of Him who is with you and for you.

God’s math is different from ours. God has a way of taking what the world has subtracted from you and multiplying it two to five-fold back to you. (See Exodus 22, Job and Joel 2:25-27) You are in a unique position child of God; you are in Christ.  That’s why we count it all joy in times of trouble because we know that all things, not some things but ALL THINGS will work out for our good, its His promise to us. So hold on to this hope; the One who loves you with an unfailing love will make the bitter waters in your life sweet.

 

 

 

The Answer

I sought the Lord, and He heard me, And delivered me from all my fears. – Psalm 34:4

The answer to all of life’s questions and concerns can be found in one person and place and no other. That person is Jesus and that place is His Word.

“The words that I speak to you are Spirit, and they are Life.” -John 6:63

 Your hope, healing, purpose and future can’t be found in self-help books, seminars, 12 step programs or spas. Alcohol and drugs (prescription or otherwise) only numbs the pain, giving you a temporary reprieve. None of these things can give you the lasting results you need. They don’t provide you with the key to unraveling the thoughts that you wrestle with daily. They don’t release you from the lies, hurts and fears that you constantly struggle with. None are truly capable of freeing you completely from your addictions.  Jesus Can! HE is the answer and the freedom you so desperately seek.  The One who can take your brokenness and make you whole. Jesus is the lover, author and perfecter of your life.

Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” -John 14:6

When you feel like your trapped in a maze, Jesus says: I’m going to make a way for you. When the world and the ones you love reject you and your heart and mind is bombarded with lies, Jesus says: I’m your truth and I know the truth concerning you. When all hope is lost and you struggle to believe that your life has worth or purpose, Jesus says: I am a restorer of life. Your life is in my hands. Your life is linked to Mine and it is an abundant life filled with beauty, great plans, hope and a future.

Friend, it may seem like you’re in an impossible situation but for God nothing is impossible. His best overrides the enemy’s worst and know that it is the one whom So Loved You, fighting for you.

“He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him and honor him. ” -Psalms 91:15

A Prayer For You


“May the Lord answer you in the day of trouble; May the name of the God of Jacob defend you; May He send you help from the sanctuary, And strengthen you… May He grant you according to your heart’s desire, And fulfill all your purpose.” -Psalm 20: 1-4

In Jesus name Amen.

God Is With You

IMG_0489It’s been over a year since my Dad passed away to be with Christ. When your parent gets up there in age, you begin to prepare yourself for that day. In spite of your best efforts, you’re never really prepared for that moment when you realize that they’re gone. No more laughter, or advice you really didn’t want. Just silence.

In the beginning everyone is so understanding with words of comfort. When days turn into weeks and weeks turn into months and years your encouragers begin to wonder sometimes out loud, Will you get over it already! They don’t mean to be cruel but I guess people’s tolerance for grief is limited. So in an effort to not be a buzz-kill, you lie when they ask you how you’re doing. You put on your best smile and fake it for as long as you can and when you can’t fake it anymore you isolate yourself. In the back of your mind you hope that someone would notice that you haven’t texted or called; that they barely see you anymore. My guess and I could be wrong is that your distance is a bit of a relief to them. You’re clearly depressed in their eyes and who wants to be around someone like that.

I believe sadness is often misinterpreted as depression. What I feel is a great amount of sadness but because of my Dad’s salvation I have hope. For some, losing a parent is like losing a part of you. It’s like your childhood just disappeared. You’re no longer someone’s little girl/boy anymore. If you’re close to that parent you miss just being able to pick up the phone and talk to them. You miss the relationship.

I share this to share what God did for me in the midst of my trouble. The word says that God draws near to the broken-hearted.  Not only did He draw near, He kept showing up as a Father. The first time was while visiting my sister in-law’s church. The church joined hands in a prayer circle; everyone got a chance to speak. I lifted up my Dad’s salvation to the Lord, (my Dad was unconscious in the ICU at the time,)  it’s been my prayer for him for years. My mouth repeated my petition but my heart was screaming, “God I wish you could just come down and give me a hug!” I didn’t say that out loud, this was an intercessory moment. It wasn’t about me.

The Pastor dropped her hands and looked me straight in my eyes. She said, “God told me to give His Daughter a hug.” She walked over to me and gave me the biggest, warmest hug I’ve ever received. She began to pray over me in a heavenly tongue while she held me. I don’t know what she said but I felt the arms of God wrapped around me and I was so touched and humbled that He called me His Daughter before a group of people.

Whenever I write in my prayer journal to God I would close with, “Love, your daughter” I was never certain if I had the right to call myself daughter. That day He permanently evicted the doubts in my heart and mind when I heard Him say, “I AM Your Father and I AM With You and For You, Wherever You Go.”

It didn’t matter to God that I was still feeling the loss even after a year. It didn’t matter that I struggled to smile. I don’t have to pretend or hide my emotions from Him. He promised that He would be with me wherever I go. If I’m in despair, He’s right there collecting every tear. If I’m angry, He’s there without judgment. No matter where I am or what stage of grief that I’m in. Good, Bad or Worst Day of my life, God, my Father is with me. 

He shows up like a Father does every time. He makes me laugh in a way only a Dad can. He imparts wisdom to me when I need Fatherly advice. He listens to me when I just need someone to talk to. He repeats Himself, like any good parent, and reminds me of who I am and the plans He has for me. The Father is with me.

I share this all while fighting a losing battle with my tears just to tell you that your Heavenly Father is with you. He knows what you are going through, He understands more than you’ll ever know. He’s not just there during the Happy, everything is perfect days. He’s also there in the dirty, smelly trenches with you. Jesus has paved the way for you to have an amazing relationship with the Father. He truly cares for you and loves you sons and daughters with an unwavering and unfailing Love. God’s words aren’t just mere words; it’s the Truth. His promises are real and alive and you can hold on to them and Him!

-Be Encouraged God’s Beloved because that is who you are in Jesus Christ. God is with you! #JesusIs

A Priestly Blessing

panoramic-3227810_960_720The Bible is filled with so many precious gems. Promises, deep revelations and endless gifts and blessings from our Heavenly Father. I stumbled across this gem during a time in my life when I was feeling really discouraged. As Israel’s high priest, Aaron, the brother of Moses, was commanded by God to speak this priestly blessing over the children of Israel.

The Priestly Blessing

The Lord said to Moses, “Tell Aaron and his sons, ‘This is how you are to bless the Israelites, (that’s you in Christ) {Insert your name here}. Say to them:

“‘“The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace. ”’ “So they will put My name on the Israelites, and I will bless them.” Numbers 6:22-27 NIV

To be face to face with God the Father and have His light, grace, peace and blessings to fall upon you. Better yet to share His name… what a gift! According to God’s word this blessing is yours, “For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promiseGalatians 3:26-29 

Today Jesus stands as our High Priest and unlike His predecessors He knows your walk, He gets our struggle. The word says, “For we do not have a High Priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet He did not sin.” Hebrews 4:15

Our High Priest who lives and reigns forever is for us and not against us. He is for our freedom, for our victory, for our health, wellness joy and peace. This Priestly blessing is but a fraction of the blessings of God that Jesus Christ speaks over you today.

In all things, Be encouraged Beloved Child of God, the best yet to come.