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. 

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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

Jesus’ Guide to Love

A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you. John 13:34 

fullsizeoutput_133After Jesus rose triumphantly from the grave and was seen by His disciples we find him chatting with Peter who had denied Christ three times after Jesus’ arrest. They had just finished eating a miraculous seafood breakfast by the seashore when Jesus asked, “Simon son of John, do you truly love me more than these?” Peter’s Restoration Story

Many focus on the types of love shown here, Agape (divine)|Philia (brotherly/friendship). I would like to draw your attention to Jesus response to His own question because in it we discover how to love Jesus and one another as He loved us.

Jesus’ response to His first question: “Feed my lambs.”Again Jesus asked Peter: “Do you truly love me?”

 Jesus’ response: “Take care of my sheep.”

He asked again for the third time, “Do you love me?” Jesus’ response: “Feed my sheep.”

How Did Christ Love?

For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal lifeEverywhere Jesus went He spoke about the Kingdom, healed the sick and gave hope to the broken. Jesus unveiled the Love of the Father in His Walk, on the Cross and through His Resurrection.

Through Peter’s restoration Jesus shows us how to Love. To feed and take care of His lambs and sheep is to intercede and share Christ to whomever God draws to you. This is how we love and are known as His disciples. Knowing the Father’s will to see that none perish stirs up the Love of Christ inside of you to share the good news about Jesus so that families, neighborhoods, cities and nations of people can live and be saved!

You are God’s hands and mouth piece; Co-heirs with Christ. When you share with someone how God so Loved them that He gave Heaven’s best for them and their loved ones, you are loving as Christ loved.

Whatever means God gives you to share, Just share Christ as if someone’s life is depending on it because it is. This is how we’re called to love.

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 Father Who Listens

dad-909510_960_720My family and I were just hanging out at home one day. It was one of those days where everyone had a joke or funny story to tell. All of the sudden my seven-year old went stomping out of the room. I called after him but he didn’t respond.  So I went after him and found him curled up on my bed with a pillow over his head. I asked him what was wrong, he sighed  and said, “Nothing.”

I lifted the pillow off of his head and wiped away the tear that rolled down his cinnamon colored cheek. He got up and sat beside me. “Nobody ever listens to me, they won’t let me talk.”, he said.  Sadly, that often happens to the youngest in the household. I put my arm around his little shoulders and said, “I’m listening.” He looked up and said, “Thanks Mom.” What followed was a tale of an action packed, yet funny dream he had the night before.

This moment taught me something about our relationship with God.  The beauty in knowing that our Heavenly Father is listening. Even in the midst of a crowd, He hears you. His ear is tuned in to the voice of His children. How amazing is that! You have the ear of the Lord of Lords, the King of glory, the omnipotent, omnipresent, the Life Giver and Creator of all. He listens to you.  He even hears your unspoken prayers, your incoherent prayers. He hears your cries; your pain-filled, heart-wrenching sobs. God the Father hears YOU.

Don’t take my word for it, hear Him for yourself:

“You will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the Lord.” Jeremiah 29:12-14

See the Father’s Love for you in action:

2 Kings 20:2-5

“Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the Lord, “Remember, Lord, how I have walked before you faithfully and with wholehearted devotion and have done what is good in your eyes.” And Hezekiah wept bitterly.

Before Isaiah had left the middle court, the word of the Lord came to him: “Go back and tell Hezekiah, the ruler of my people, ‘This is what the Lord, the God of your father David, says: I have heard your prayer and seen your tears; I will heal you.” “

Thanks to the finished work of Jesus Christ, We have a Father who listens, so talk to Him.

 – Be encouraged God’s Beloved.

A Prayer Imagined

Imagine if every Believer were to pray and intercede for their families, friends and loved ones salvation…

Multiple generations would be saved.

Imagine if we were obedient to Jesus’ call for us to pray for our enemies…

The whole world would probably be saved! 🙂


Know the Father’s Will: Pray for Salvation

7D55B32C-9A68-4AF9-A7D6-655BB86CEA18God is so faithful. I’ve witnessed my family, one by one, come to know Christ Jesus as their Lord and Savior. Jesus cracked even the “tough nuts” in my life. As much as you love them, God loves them more. He desires their salvation even more than you do.

“This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.” –1Timothy 2:3-4

Sometimes you may wonder, why me Lord? I’m not a pastor or a church elder. Perhaps God chose you to be a shepherd amongst your family members, friends and co-workers because He trusts you to carry His message. Perhaps He can count on you to faithfully intercede on their behalf. You may just have the right ingredients within you that would draw those God placed before you to Christ. To borrow an illustration from my husband, see yourself as the hand of God extended to that loved one and yes, your bitter enemies.

Jesus encourages us to pray for our enemies, “But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in Heaven.” –Matthew 5:44-45

Choose to be God’s firefighter. You know what’s coming; we have this one short life to choose Christ and our eternal destination. Save lives by snatching people out of the fire (Jude 2:3). It is God’s desire to see that none perish; as children of God we share in that desire. And when you pray know that, “Whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” – Mark 11:24

No matter how bad it looks, it may seem like your prayers are having no effect…don’t give up, don’t stop praying! Do not be dismayed by what you see or hear. Be like the persistent widow in Luke 18 and know that our God is a Righteous Judge. Hold on to the fact that HE Who Promised Is Faithful!

Salvation: Mission Possible

The ministry of salvation is simple,

I think “we” (people in ministry) tend to make it complicated. I believe it’s because we forgot what it was like when we first fell in love with Jesus. We forget that God’s greatest desire is to see us repent and live. So much so that He gave us His Beloved Son while we were rotting in our sin so that we may live.

When I got saved there were no rituals or 10-step process involved. I didn’t have to “get right” before I dare to stand before God. Matter of fact when I got saved I was on a date with my now husband who invited me to church. I didn’t have any “church clothes” so I wore a party dress with a blazer. I got saved during the praise and worship service. Jesus was simply lifted up in my presence and I fell in love with Him. I felt Jesus’ love for me and saw His desire to save me. In that moment I believed in His love and I got saved.

I didn’t even make it to the altar call. No hands were laid on me, the only hand I felt was the Hand of God reaching out to me and saving me right were I stood. One touch from Jesus and I was forever changed.

Don’t get me wrong I’m not against altar calls or the laying on of hands, I’ve been there. I lay hands on my children all of the time and it’s powerful. I’m simply testifying to how simple salvation was for me.

Jesus said when He is lifted up He will draw all people to Himself. (John 12:32) Jesus did the tough part. Our part in this joint venture is simply to share Him to the lost, broken and wounded. We don’t need to fix people, get them right and then present them to God. It’s Jesus who saves us, makes us righteous and presentable before the Father. Jesus is the one who renews and restores us.

If I had been told that I had to change into a church appropriate outfit, get my life together and then make my way to Jesus, I probably wouldn’t have come back through those church doors. Some don’t. That approach would have made Salvation Impossible for me. God doesn’t look at the exterior of a person. So why do we? God accepted me party dress and all, during a time in my life where I was drowning. God so loved me…He cared that much that He saw past what the world saw and reached out to the part of me that was lost and bound and Saved me. When Jesus is lifted up (revealed, shared) lives are transformed!

Your Mission, If You Choose To Accept It Is This:

Our job is to scatter seeds (Jesus, His Love, His Word, His Hope), water it (pray, love, share Christ and His word again) and God will make it grow!


 

Accepted in Christ

The Father said to me the other day, “The validation that you seek can not be found in a worship-2721716_960_720man, woman or child. Your parents can’t give it you; your children can’t fill that need. Your worth can’t be found in the things you do, the success you’ve had or the places you’ve been. These things can’t validate you. The validation you seek can only be found in Me, only I can do that for you.” Said the LORD.

We tend to look outside of ourselves for our self-worth but our worth could never be found in anything this world has to offer. Our worth dwells on the inside, where God’s Spirit dwells. For the Kingdom of God is with you and in you. What you seek is in your heart, the place where Jesus chose to make His home. “He anointed us, set His seal of ownership on us, and put His Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.” 2 Corinthians 1:21-22.

Our worth is wrapped up like the perfect gift it is in the body of Jesus Christ. It’s seated in Heavenly places, seated at the right hand of the Father. Simply put you’re Christ workmanship created in Him to do good works Eph. 2:10 better yet as Christ is, so are you on this Earth. His love makes you complete. 1John 4:17

I’ve come to realize that I can’t measure myself by the world’s ever-changing standards nor can I compare my achievements or lack there of with another. All I have, all I am and all I am to become can be found in no other but Jesus. I am the one He laid down His life for; conquered death and the grave for. My name is engraved in the palms of His hands Isaiah 49:16. I am the object of His mercy and love. That is my net worth!

I am the object of His mercy and love. That is my net worth!

You may be struggling today with the feeling of not being loved, accepted and appreciated by your friends, colleagues and loved ones. Honestly you may never receive that validation that you desire from them. Nevertheless, you don’t have to live life feeling rejected. According to your Vindicator and Redeemer. There is a great light in you, a love unfailing and unwavering dwelling on the inside of you. There is resurrection power inside of you. Your worth can’t be measured by degrees and scales; your worth can only be measured through the eyes and heart of an Infinite God. For God so loved the world <insert your name> that He gave His only Begotten Son. This is what an infinite God thinks about you, everything else that you heard is a lie.

You are accepted into the Beloved Eph 1:6. Forget the haters/naysayers your Heavenly Father speaks a better word that overrides every negative word or act done to you. You’re accepted in Christ. God’s Beloved pray to the Father and let Him make known to you His heart and thoughts towards you.

“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.”-Jeremiah 29:11 NKJV

-Amen


 

A Man Named Jesus

person at crossI was walking down a road called self-destruction, when I encountered a Man who was and is like no other. His name was Jesus Christ. He is a gentleman in every sense of the word. He knew everything there was to know about me; He knew me better than I knew myself. He knew the good; the bad and the ugly yet He never condemned me or made me feel ashamed of the bad choices I made. He Loved me…anyway.

The more time I spent with Him, the more I saw how deep and wide His love was for me. A Love unfailing, unwavering and everlasting. I’ve never felt this loved before. There was so much He wanted to give me, so much He had planned for me. Salvation, healing, peace, joy through His righteousness. He offered me freedom from my past and my pain. Forgiveness and the courage to forgive.

This Jesus took my heavy luggage, that contained all of my burdens and hurts and He handed me His. Surprisingly it was so light and easy. This was just a fraction of the gifts He offered me. There was so much more, more than my heart and mind can contain. I had nothing to offer Him except for a believing heart and a mouth that confesses and shares with others that He is who He says He is! Savior and Lover of our souls. This was more than enough for Him.

A Man named Jesus. A Man without spot or wrinkle who shed His righteous blood for the redemption of all of our sins, sickness and diseases. The only One who was willing and worthy to fulfill the will of the Almighty God. A Man like no other. He met me in my fallen state; touched me and transformed me into His image from glory to glory…to glory. Would you like to meet this Man named Jesus?

A Salvation Prayer


Then pray with me. Father God in Heaven, thank you for loving me so much that you willingly gave up your Beloved Son Jesus Christ to die for my sins. He took all of my sins, death and punishment into His own body and nailed it all to the cross. Better yet, He rose conquering death and the grave with salvation and complete healing in His wings. He did this so that I may become a son/daughter of the Almighty God, the righteousness of God in Christ. Today I receive Your Son Jesus Christ as my Savior and Lord and I receive You as my Father and my God. Come into my heart; fill me with your Holy Spirit. I say goodbye to the old me and embrace the new creation that I am in Jesus. In Jesus name. Amen.

Welcome child of God, to Jesus’ Beloved Family 🙂

Father Keep Me Encouraged

I was wrapping up my morning prayer when I said, “Father, keep me encouraged today.” I gasped as soon as the words left my mouth. I couldn’t believe I just said that. I’ve been saved for almost half my life; these words shouldn’t be coming out of my mouth. I felt ashamed. God has performed miracle upon miracle in my life. He’s made the impossible, possible so many times. My entire household is blessed beyond measure. I have more than enough to be encouraged about. If King David could encourage himself after losing his wives and kids and the family’s of his men to the enemy. Surely I can muster up enough encouragement for myself. Looking back at all the Lord had done for me only made me feel worse. Besides, things were good. There was no reason for me to make such a request. I felt so ungrateful and selfish.

That’s when I heard the Lord say, “If your child were to ask you for help and it was within your power to help them, would you ever deny them? I thought… No.

The more I thought about it, the more I realized that it wouldn’t matter how many times I’ve helped my kids in the past. It wouldn’t matter how great or small the need was; if they need me, I’m there. I don’t keep a tally. I would never say, “Sorry kid you’ve hit your limit, or you’re an adult now, you’re on your own.” To be honest I take pleasure in helping them, even with the things I know they can do themselves. I love being there for them. I like to think that the love I have for my children is but a fraction of the Love God has for us. If it pleases me to encourage my children then I have to believe that it pleases God to keep me encouraged.

I was led to the book of Romans and with 7 words God replaced that shame that crept into my heart with love and a boldness that set me free. This is what I read: “…The God who gives endurance and encouragement…” Romans 15:15 NIV. I didn’t even finish the rest of the verse and I didn’t need to. All I needed was these few words, that He is the God who gives endurance and encouragement. Never again will I ever hesitate to ask my Heavenly Father to keep me encouraged. The greatest trick of the enemy is to keep us too ashamed to come to the Father with our needs. Hebrews 4:16 encourages us, “to approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. “

I was feeling a bit burnt out that day. I needed a “pick me up”. I thought because of my “maturity in Christ” that I was beyond asking God for the little things. If God cares to count the hairs on our head surely He cares about the little things that goes on in our lives.

I want to plant this verse in you. “ May our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, who loved us and by His grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.” -(2 Thessalonians 2:16-17) May this seed of truth take root in your heart today. 🙂

Be encouraged Child of God and don’t ever hesitate to cast your cares upon our Father who cares about you and loves you with an unfailing love.