Thursday, November 3, 2016

Under Construction!

Hi Friends ~

I have been feeling for a long time that Gates of Crystal/Summits of Rubies was not quite what God wanted me to do. I haven't posted on Gates since July and very honestly, I have plenty to post. But I was waiting and seeking God and wanting to get clarity on why I wasn't happy blogging.

So, Summits of Rubies is going to be integrated into Gates of Crystal. You will still be able to go to the Summits posts easily when I get everything changed but the posts will be in the news feed with all the Gates' posts.

And I 'm going to be adding several new sections to the blog, making it more of a life-style blog.

You can click on my picture on Gates right now if you'd like to read more about what's coming. In the meantime, please check on Gates for future posts. Summits of Rubies will be shutting down soon!

love and blessings~

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Invisible People

Many years ago, when I had been attending a church for several years, a new woman began to attend. Because I had been there for several years, I knew every one who came regularly. We had laughed and cried and prayed together, taken care of each others' children, shared meals and coffee. We knew each other well. We were friends.

When this new lady came, I was not interested in having a new friend. I was satisfied with my place in life.

One of my close friends immediately befriended her, pulling her into the church and making her feel comfortable. I watched her and was still not interested. And I recognized that I was doing it.

Finally, after several months I began to get to know her. She became a friend.

I would find out what this felt like a few years later when we moved across the country. We began attending a large church and went week after week without anyone attempting to get to know us. In their defense, some people spoke warmly to us and it was a large church. They could have assumed someone else had befriended us. Some people have lived in the same place all their lives and don't know what it feels like to not know anyone or have any friends.

I showed up at the women's ministry one morning and sat at a table alone. All the other women knew each other and were standing in groups, talking and laughing. I finally stood up and went over to one the groups and stood with them. No one spoke to me and I remember one lady looking at me like I was rude to come and stand with them. And I knew how she felt.

After a year of no one including us, we stayed home for about a month. The pastor's wife called me one day and asked me why we hadn't been there. I told her that no one talked to us. She assigned someone to us. *smile* That family would become our best friends and we are still close friends 20+ years later.

I learned my lesson. But more than that, one day the Lord spoke to me. He told me that everyone is important to Him, that everyone has a gift or talent that the Body of Christ needs to be complete. Everyone has something valuable to say, if we will stop and listen. Because He's no respecter of persons, He has shared His heart with all of us and for us to hear His heart, we will have to value and listen to each person. Or the Body is not complete.

1 Corinthians 11:23-34 talks about  discerning the Lord's Body as we come together for communion. This passage warns us that if we do not value and discern the Body of Christ, we drink judgment upon ourselves and many of us have become sick or weak because of it.

Look around your church or your place of employment. Do you esteem everyone equally or is there someone that seems to be invisible to others? Maybe they're not attractive or popular. Maybe they won't elevate your status. May they just don't appeal to you.

And then realize that they're precious to God. They have a story. They have an importance to God and to the Body of Christ. They are Somebody. Look at them and see them. See them through God's eyes and love them.

love and blessings~

Thursday, September 29, 2016

If At First You Don't Succeed...

Many, many years ago, I stepped out to do something that God had called me to do. The result was not perfect and it was criticized. I went away believing I had failed - failed God, failed myself, let everybody down, etc.

Years later I heard someone say, "Well, it doesn't have to be perfect the first time you do something. You learn and you get better." And I had this moment of clarity and realized that the critical words that I had heard years before had bound me up. I had believed them. And they were not necessarily the heart of God.

When our children learn to walk, or learn to do anything new, we never expect that they will do it perfectly the first time. And neither does our God.

We learn by trying. We learn by obeying. And God knows we will not always get it right. But as we humble ourselves and try again, we get closer to the goal.

It takes courage to step out and try something new. It takes faith and courage. And God sees that and cheers us on! And we may stumble. But it takes faith and courage to get up and try again.

And I think sometimes God appreciates that we tried more than we can imagine.

Think of Moses when God told him to go and talk to Pharaoh. Moses was afraid and asked for Aaron to go with him and speak for him. And Moses didn't succeed the first time he told Pharaoh to "let my people go." What if Moses had walked away thinking that he hadn't done it right? Where would we be now? ;)

Moses was not 'the expert' in freeing the Children of Israel from bondage. He just obeyed. And don't you know he learned a lot along the way. And now he's our hero.

Wait on God. Make sure you don't get out ahead of Him. Be patient. Let Him prepare you. But when He gives you the go ahead - try! Just try! If you mess it up, come home and give it all to Him. Let Him refresh and direct you. If you get wounded, let Him heal you. Forgive.

And then try again.

And realize that we're all doing exactly what you're doing. We're learning how to walk with God - how to do the things He's called us to do. Because none of us have ever done them before. We all have to start somewhere. And as soon as we get comfortable with what God has called us to do, He moves us forward and asks us to do something new.

That's life.

Don't worry that you've fallen behind. Just do the first thing you know to do to catch up. I don't know if God has a Plan B (or C or D?) but I know He knows us better than we know ourselves and so nothing surprises him. Not even our hesitancy.

Start today. It won't be perfect. Maybe it never will be. But start today.

love and blessings~
PS - I wrote this to myself.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Being Content

I've had the wonderful blessing in the last couple of months of meeting with a group of believers for fellowship and worship in their homes. We've spent time worshiping and sharing our hearts and faith with each other and I have been so blessed and encouraged. The other night, one of the sweet women that are part of this group said something that has changed my life.

She said, "I'm just happy with my life. I'm happy being "C's" wife, I'm happy living in Big Rapids. I'm happy with whatever God is doing."

And I realized something.

I had been discontent. And that was not OK.

Twenty years ago, we lived in Auburn, Alabama. We attended an Assembly of God church and the Lord had led me to start a worship dance ministry and to sing in the choir. While we were attending there, the Lord brought 'revival.'

The Holy Spirit fell on our church. We began to have church 6 nights a week and we would stay until midnight, praising God, dancing at the altar, laying on our faces before God and moving in the Spirit. It lasted for five months and over 700 people were saved. The students from Auburn University were preaching Jesus from the street corners. It was amazing.

I saw God do things during those 5 months that I had never seen before and have never seen since. The Lord would show me a couple of years later that my obedience to start the worship dance ministry and to dance on the altar while in the choir were one of the keys that brought the revival. He would also remind me that He had told me to say the words to a song in a medley that we were going to dance to before we danced and this released the revival.

The words were, "Cast out your nets all you fishers of men,
                           In the power of the Spirit, revival begins!"

I was able to go back and watch video of myself introducing this dance medley and then watch as the Holy Spirit fell on our church!

I have never been the same. God wrecked me in those 5 months and I still have not recovered. I have pressed in, pushed forward, interceded, sought God and contended for break-through since that time.

But when my friend spoke those words - "I'm just happy where I'm at"- I realized that I had also been very discontent.  The Lord had asked me a couple of months ago - "What are you looking for in a church?" and I had answered without hesitation, "I want that revival again! I want to see You move and see people healed and saved and delivered! I don't want a meeting! I want YOU!"

And I have realized in the last couple of weeks, as I have given my heart and life over to God once again and repented of my discontent, that it's good to pray and intercede for break-through. I am a warrior and it will always be who I am. But at the same time, I have to trust God and rest in His Sovereignty and wisdom. I have to trust Him that even though I may feel that all I do is move forward into the wilderness and dig up the dry ground, that God sees me and knows my heart.

And I have to submit my life and make peace with the fact that I may never again experience a move of God like I did, but my prayers have made the way for others to experience this wonderful blessing.

I've found a new peace in the last couple of weeks and a fresh joy. I hadn't realize that I had taken on a false burden and now I've laid it at the feet of the only One Who is able to carry it.

Philippians 4:11 ...I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am.

love and blessings~

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

My Father's Eyes

Lately, I've been taking stock of myself.

I feel like I'm able to look at myself more honestly lately than I ever have in my life. I am able to look at my weaknesses and my bad patterns very clearly and then make a clear decision on whether or not I'm going to change.

I think several years ago this would have been too painful for me. I hid myself from myself. I glossed over my weaknesses. I purposely ignored my failures.

This morning, I was thanking God for the strength He's given me lately to do this and God surprised me again with His grace.

He told me how much He loved me~how precious I am to Him. He reminded me that He has always seen my weaknesses but He sees my strengths and mostly He sees me the way He intended me to be. He sees my potential. And He never wants me to forget that. He wants me to always see myself as He sees me. He wants me to remember that we're not done yet. And He appreciates that I'm always wanting to improve and become more like Him.

As I was thanking Him for letting myself see myself honestly, I was thinking of writing it down for all of you. And when God began to speak to me, He told me, "Tell them this!"

"I love YOU so much~You are precious to me. I have always seen your weaknesses but I see your strengths too. Mostly I see you the way I intended you to be. I see your potential. And I never want you to forget that. Always remember the way I see you. We're not done yet. And I appreciate that you are always wanting to improve and become more like Me"

            Love, Your Father

Have a wonderful day!

love and blessings~

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Can't See the Forest for the Trees

We left our beautiful home in Colorado 23 years ago and moved to Opelika, Alabama for my husband to get his PhD in Economics at Auburn University. We had built a house in Colorado that I loved five years earlier. Our daughter was seven and our son was 18 mos. I did not want to go.

In fact, inside, I was kicking and screaming. On the outside, I was doing my best to be a submitted wife but inside I was brokenhearted to leave our home, our family, our church and our friends.

We bought a house in Opelika, Alabama, which is the small town next to Auburn. It was not nearly as wonderful as the house we had owned in Colorado and one of the hardest things for me is that it was dark inside. The sun shines in Colorado about 300 days out of the year and the humidity is very low and Alabama's climate was a huge adjustment for me. And the winters were cloudy, damp and dark. I was homeschooling our two children and so was home in our dark house a lot.

One day, I took a walk out into our back yard. It was a sunny day but the small forest of 75' tall hardwood trees in our backyard kept the sun from getting to our house. As I was walking around and talking to God, I pointed out to Him the trees that I would like down so that the sun could reach the house. It was just musing, as I knew we couldn't afford to pay someone to take these huge trees down.

About a year later, as I mentioned in my last post, we experienced Hurricane Opal. The combination of the hurricane and the tornadoes that spun off it brought down a lot of trees in our community. We were without power at our house for four days. Our neighborhood really gathered together helping each other get the damage cleared away.

We went to church on a Wednesday night soon after the hurricane and everyone was telling their story. Most of them were saying how the storm passed right over them and they had no damage. We had seven trees down; three on the house, and one through an upstairs window!

I went home that night and it's one of the few times I can remember being mad at God. I lay in bed that night and told Him 'How come we have all these trees down and others don't? And now we have a $500 deductible on our insurance and we are going to have to pay that money! We can't afford that! How can that be a blessing?!"

Within a couple of days, the insurance company came out and gave us an appraisal on the damage. Then a company came out, cleared the trees out of the yard and got them off our house and repaired the damage on our roof and window. We have pictures somewhere of the trees down - their whole root base torn out of the ground - and laying on their sides!

We received a check from the insurance company. When we got the bill from all the repairs and removals, we had money left over! We had actually made money! Little did I know that the insurance company did their appraisal and then took out the $500 deductible before they issued their checks. When all was said and done, we had an extra $300!

And one day in the middle of all of this, I realized that the only trees that we lost were the ones I had told God I wanted gone!

I have tears in my eyes as I write this. I still am amazed by what God did in that season in my life. He showed me that even though I don't always understand why He takes us where He does, He always has our best interest at heart. He is always listening even though at the time, I may not feel like things are going my way. And He is pursuing me with blessings~over and above all I can think or imagine!

And the biggest lesson I learned is that what may look like a storm, with nothing but bad consequences, can be a blessing in disguise. Because God is good all the time.

love and blessings~

Monday, August 8, 2016

Sharing the Love of Christ

When our children were little, we moved next door to a family that didn't know Jesus. We typically started our homeschooling day with reading the Bible, memorizing a verse and praying together as a family. One morning after realizing that this family did not know Christ, we prayed together that we would be a witness to them.

The next day, their little boy punched our 8 year old daughter in the stomach! I sat down for a minute when she came home with her story and injury and talked to God. I told Him that we had just prayed for this family and look at this!

And the Lord brought this scripture passage to mind:

But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic[a] either. Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back. And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.
“If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to get back the same amount. But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons ofthe Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful. Luke 6:27-36

And I had a revelation. I realized that it's easy for us to be an example of love when everything is good. It's when things go wrong, when people are unkind, when there's really a reason to be offended, that people will notice the difference. When we surprise them with love and peace in the face of adversity and offense, they will see Jesus.

We walked over to their house and met with the parents, heard both sides of the story and found out our daughter wasn't blameless, and we asked forgiveness and gave forgiveness. From then on, we had a very good relationship with their family.

One day, about a year later, we lived through Hurricane Opal. Our power went out at 9 pm and we spent a scary night in the basement listening to the multiple tornadoes come up our street and trees crashing all around us, and even one breaking through a window and coming into the house. When we got up in the morning, we had seven hardwood trees down in our backyard, three of them across our roof, and one, like I said, into a window. Our neighborhood was a mess but thankfully, not a single person in our town was injured!

Several neighhbors gathered in another neighbor's yard to cut and remove trees from their driveway. The kids were running all over and enjoying the chaos. Soon, several of the kids rang the doorbell telling us that our 3 year old son was hurt. I ran outside to see blood pouring down his face. When the neighbors realized I was there because he was hurt, all the chain saws stopped and they wanted to make sure he was ok. I asked him what had happened and he told me he wanted to pet the little neighbor dog and that she got a mean look on her face and jumped up and bit him.

She had clipped him right above his eye brow and below his eye and the two tiny wounds were bleeding profusely. I immediately wiped the blood away, saw the small injuries, scooped him up as I spoke gently to him and started to carry him home. The mom of the neighbors we had prayed for ran over to see if he was ok and I smiled and said that it looked minor.

Forever after that, she would tell me whenever she saw me, that she couldn't believe how calm I was. I've thought about that a lot since then. I've wondered what she was used to. She would come and talk to me whenever she had a chance and she would always mention it.

We lived next door to them for five years. We continued to pray for them while we were there. I hope we were a blessing to them and God has brought our prayers, and other's for them, to fruition.

But because of that situation, I've learned to look at adversities as an opportunity to shine in Christ. I look at bad situations completely differently and watch and listen to the Holy Spirit to see how He wants me to use that opportunity. And because I know that 'Jesus is interceding to cause all things to work for good for those who love the Lord' (Romans 8:28) I stay in peace.

love and blessings~

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Get Up and Dance

I was at my chiropractor's office yesterday, waiting for my turn to be adjusted, when I saw a sweet elderly lady also getting an adjustment. It was very hard for her to get up on the table. She was very stiff and I discerned that this was her 'state of being' not a recent injury. I began to pray for her in the Spirit and I heard the word 'settle.'

I saw that her sins (thoughts that don't align with the Word of God) had 'settled' into the joints of her body. And the Lord began to impart to me the value of exercise.

Even though we are three parts: Spirit, Soul (mind, will, emotions) and Body - we can not separate these three in reality. What we eat affects us spiritually, what we believe affects us physically, what we do affects us mentally, etc.

If you don't do another constructive thing this summer, I want to encourage you to listen to  Dr. Caroline Leaf. I linked to a message of hers on my last post. She is a Christian neuro-scientist who has proven that 'as a man thinks, so he is.' She teaches that our thoughts have 'mental real estate.' Our thoughts actually create neurons in our brain. When our thoughts are pure and in line with God's Word, they bring Life and health. When they are sinful, they bring sickness, disease and mental illness.

She teaches, in her books and videos, how to renew our mind in the Word and change our health. Even things we are born with are a result of sin. The Bible tells us that the sins of the father are carried to the fifth generation. She teaches through renewing our mind in the Word, we can 'heal' those generational curses.

I have been listening to her teachings every chance I get and I've gotten two of her books to read. The Lord added to this teaching as I was sitting watching this dear lady.

We know that exercise releases endorphins that affect our moods and mental health. What God showed me is that exercise can keep these sinful manifestations from 'settling' into our joints as we get older and causing us to 'stiffen.' All physical ailments are rooted in these truths.

I love to start my day with Praise. Praise is declaring  Who God is. It is declaring that He is perfect in all His ways. I love to declare my love and devotion to Him with music and dance and movement. If you haven't read my post on the Seven Hebrew Words for Praise, please do. You'll see that movement is a very important part of praise.

When I start my day like this, I am incorporating both praise and exercise. I am blessing all my three parts - Spirit, Soul and Body. When I start my day like this, I hear God's voice all day long.

Some people love to commune with God as they walk. This is also a wonderful way to incorporate exercise with worship.

I truly believe that God wants us to understand that exercise is part of His design to keep us healthy Spirit, Soul and Body.

love and blessings~

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Monday, June 27, 2016

Making Things Beautiful

Hi All!

Sorry that I've been gone for so long! If you read my other blog, Gates of Crystal, you know I've been busy!

I used to wonder if decorating my home was ok with God. I wondered if I was laying up treasure in the wrong place and valuing the wrong things.

I started decorating when I was a kid. I would rearrange my furniture in my bedroom and it was important to me that my room was clean. It was a reflection of 'me' even then. I remember finding out a friend's mom was selling a piece of furniture that I liked and telling my mom. My mom bought it for my room.

When I was in high school, I picked out a new bedspread and had my mom take me to the store for paint. I painted my room by myself on a Friday night. I was an only child and my mom worked full time so I was home alone a lot. I would clean and get things perfect and then enjoy the house. (I never liked to cook!)

When my husband first got his PhD, we moved several times before he got a tenure-track position. We rented homes in two different states we lived in and it was really hard for me that I couldn't paint the rooms. I had learned by then to sew slipcovers so I would match my furniture to the carpet of the house. I also loved garage sales and estate sales and that's when I started finding furniture at prices I could afford. I babysat children from our church so that my kids would have playmates and we would have the extra money.

My family has thought that I was a little obsessed at times. But being a stay-at-home mom for so many years and homeschooling (which requires you to stay at home) it was the thing that kept me sane. I could control my environment.

And that's what brings me to this thought. When we visited The Mises Institute in Auburn in March, I sat in on several of the talks. The Mises Institute is a Libertarian based think-tank and a lot of the people involved are Christian. I love attending the conferences there and often times will hear the Holy Spirit teach me while I'm listening to a lecture.

I was listening to a gentleman give a very informative talk about how our government is causing farmers to not be able to own land and to farm when the Holy Spirit began to enlighten me.

One of the first commands God gave was 'to be fruitful and multiply and take dominion over the Earth.' Without apology, I will say that I don't believe that God's intent was that we take dominion with guns or force but His intent was that we take dominion over evil with love and salvation.

If you read the Old Testament, many of the stories are exactly this: take dominion over the Earth. Obviously, the story of the Children of Israel being set free and taking the Promised Land would be the big one.

I believe we're each given a 'realm of influence.' For some, it may just be their families but for others it may be a Bible study, a neighborhood, a congregation. For some, it will be a world-wide influence. All with the same goal: take dominion, in Jesus' Name, over the Earth.

Where the enemy has brought destruction and chaos, we are to bring healing and love. Where there is lack and loss, we are to bring love and covenant relationship. Where there is ugliness, we are to bring beauty.

Whatever we touch should be better off for having us there. We are the light of the world. Joy, love and beauty should be the fragrance we leave behind when we go.

I believe that ALL people are creative. They ALL were made in the image of God and God is a creator. All children love music, love to move to music and dream of 'making' something. My grandson wants to be an inventor when he grows up and he's always talking about what he's going to invent. (My daughter doesn't have a microwave because of the negative health issues it causes and one day he said he was going to invent something that heated your food real fast! Ha!)

I never want to value the things I own more than God or the people He's put in my life. Therefore, I give a lot of things away. It doesn't bother me one bit. God has asked me before to give away things that were the most dear to me~ my Bible, a banner that I took everywhere and was like an extension of my arm, all my worship dance dresses~ those were the things that were hard to give away. They represent my heart more than my house.

But I believe that God spoke something into us when He told us to take dominion over the Earth and in a lot of us women, we express that with our homes. This is our territory where we express ourselves and want to have a perfect representation of who we are. And God is the creator of color and beauty. God wants our homes to be an oasis in a crazy world.

I ask God when I want a specific piece of furniture and He always brings me the most amazing deals! The Word tells us that when we delight ourselves in the Lord, He brings us the desires of our heart.

love and blessings~

Thursday, May 19, 2016

No Weapon Formed Against You Shall Prosper!

"No weapon formed against you shall prosper,
And every tongue which rises against you in judgment
You shall condemn.
This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord,
And their righteousness is from Me,”
Says the Lord. Isaiah 54:17

The Lord has reminded me of this verse often in my life. It's a powerful truth that we need to employ when fighting against the enemy. Some translations use the word 'confute' instead of 'condemn.' It means 'to prove wrong.' 

The enemy's attacks can take a lot of different forms - gossip and slander, sickness, financial troubles - but we need to understand that we can close the door to these attacks with the Word of God. If our actions have gotten us into trouble, we can still repent of these things and then call on the grace of God to close the door on the enemy.

"Take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God."—Ephesians 6:17. Even Jesus fought with the Word. When He was tempted by the enemy, He quoted scripture. (Matthew Chapter 4)

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walks about, seeking whom he may devour: 1 Peter 5:8  

I like this translation because it says that the enemy looks for "whom he MAY devour." Don't let that be you!  Satan is the accuser of the Brethren and we know that when we gossip and slander others, that we've aligned ourselves with him. 

"...from the same mouth come both blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be this way." James 3:10 Did you know that when you speak against someone, you are cursing them?  I've heard before that Christians are the only ones who shoot their wounded. We need to recognize that even if we disagree on some points, we agree on an awful lot, and we're supposed to be on the same side! 

One of the most amazing things happened to me several years ago.  I used to suffer from migraines. (I found out after several years that they were a result of an injury to my neck during a car accident. Weekly visits to my chiropractor keep me from having them.) 

But I've also had spiritual attacks that have resulted in terrible headaches. I had a man say something to me once and was immediately hit with such a severe headache that I had to have help to get out of the church. I could see the demon attached to my head and people were praying for me but my head hurt so badly that I couldn't tell them to rebuke this demon. I started speaking in my head and finally got it off.

During this same season, I was hit with a terrible headache while I was at home, that sent me to bed. As I was lying there, I spoke before I planned on speaking. It must of kind of been like the donkey in the Bible that spoke~no conscious thought of what I was saying~ but God moved my mouth! 

I (God) said, "No weapon formed against me shall prosper!" It was honestly one of the most astonishing things that I've ever had God do! But obviously, He was interceding for me and teaching me how to fight.

Lately God has been reminding me of this truth and convicting me to declare this verse. I have literally been going around saying it 100 times a day! And as I say it, I begin to feel the strength of God and His protection and energy rise up in me and around me. 

"No weapon that is formed against me will prosper; And every tongue that accuses me in judgment I will condemn. This is my heritage as a servant of the LORD, And my vindication is from Him,"  (turned around to first person) 

That is not to say that I am right all the time. We need to ask God to 'judge us and correct us' daily. As we do that and repent from any wrong doing, the enemy has no legal right to attack us. 

We are always going to encounter people who are unaware that they are being used by the enemy. We have made that mistake, too, so we have no room to judge them. We need to walk in love, overcome evil with good, bless them and not curse them, and learn to protect ourselves.

I hope you have a day filled with joy and the love of God!

love and blessings~

Friday, May 13, 2016

Testing. Testing.

"Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you;" 1 Peter 4:12

When I was younger in the Lord, I used to wonder why God would test us. Doesn't He know everything we're going to do before we do it? What's the point of Him testing us?

The Old Testament stories are examples to us of spiritual warfare and Godly principles. 1 Corinthians 15:46 says, " However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural; then the spiritual." Many of the things that happened in the Old Testament have spiritual lessons that God wants us to understand.

I'm always amazed when I read that the first time Moses comes to the Children of Israel and tells them that God is going to set them free from slavery, they tell him they don't want to go! But God showed me this at a time I was praying for spiritual freedom for a group of people so that I would understand that often times we are happier staying in bondage because it's familiar than getting set free and going into an unknown territory!

I've heard that it would take about a month for God's people to cross the wilderness and get to the Promised Land. However, we all know that they 'wandered' in the wilderness for forty years! The number 'forty' in scripture represents cleansing and preparation. By the time they entered the Promised Land, every one of the first generation had died. 

Do you understand that God was not punishing them? He was cleansing out the slave mentality and disobedience. The generation that had grown up in bondage and would rather stay in Egypt instead of getting set free would never be able to cross into the Promised Land. Either that, or they would have fallen into another type of bondage. God had to cleanse them of this for them to be successful.

They had a mind-set and had made a decision to stay in that mind-set. 

Those that survived the 40 years had been cleansed of bondage and had chosen to trust God. The testing had cleansed them.

I think it's important to understand that we create the need for our own tests. God has a plan for each of us..."For I know the plans I have for you; plans for good and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope." Jeremiah 29:11  We can either submit ourselves to these plans of God or continue to walk in the wilderness.

I think about the story of Joseph often. God had big plans for Joseph but nobody had more ups and downs that he did! He was sold into slavery and then when he finally gets out of it and has humbled himself and -does nothing wrong!- he is accused falsely and put back into prison!

I have wondered about that a lot. If Joseph had been more humble and not told his brothers about his dream of them bowing down to him, would God have permitted him to be sold into slavery? Why did God allow him to be falsely accused and thrown into prison?  There must have been something God wanted Joseph to learn in prison. It must have been important that Joseph be innocent and still be imprisoned.

When I encounter adversity, the first thing I do is go to God and ask Him for His perspective. I want to see the adversity through God's eyes.  What is God wanting to cleanse from my life? Do you understand that none of us is without sin and that even the best of us needs to be stripped of 'self' to attain Christ?

The thing I have learned to do is ask myself; What would Jesus do? Because the goal of all of this is to transform us to the image of Christ. No one was more falsely accused and betrayed and mistreated than Jesus Himself.  And through all of it, He never defended Himself. He always defended His Father and the Truth of the Word, but never Himself. 

And He asked God to forgive those that mistreated Him.

So, when I encounter less than ideal circumstances in my life, I look at it as a test, and ask, "What would Jesus do?" I want to pass the test. I want to move forward. I want to be transformed into the image of Christ. 

It does us no good to demand our 'right to be right.' Love does not insist on its own way. Love does not keep a record of wrong doing. 1 Cor 13. We need to keep submitting ourselves, our every thought and hurt to God, knowing that He loves more deeply that we can ever understand and keep moving forward.

love and blessings~

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Jesus is Our Sabbath Rest

There's a lot of days that I sit down to write and I have 100 different thoughts~all tangled together. Sometimes, one seems to pull itself free and head in a definite direction and then I write, but often I can't sort out what I want to say from the other 99 things that I am thinking about.

Sometimes my emotions get the better of me and my eyes fill with tears and I think how much I would like to be able to impart the love and the grace of My Father. I would love to tell you how lost I was before He found me, how He took me out of the pit and set me in a wide open space. How He gave my life purpose and meaning and how He healed me of my failures. And how much He longs to do that for every single soul that He has created, out of His infinite love.

I wish I could impart that the heart of God sees us as He intended us to be - whole, beautiful, strong - and that He never gives up on helping us become that. I'm crying as I write this because I never cease to be amazed at how much He loves me, how patient He is as He nurtures me and encourages me to go further toward what I'm called to do. In my times of greatest weakness and rebellion, He has shown me His greatest love and grace and He undoes me.

He's the One Who sorts out the tangle that is my thoughts and my questions and my wonderings. He is the safe place that I run to when I don't know where else to go. He is my Great Reward when I wonder if I'm doing anything right or when I just feel un-needed.

The One Who needs nothing, needs me. Because I'm a part of Him.

When I hide myself, He misses me. When I beat myself up, it wounds Him. I am the apple of His eye. My boundaries are ever before Him in love. I am inscribed on the palm of His hand.

There is no sin, no failure, no weakness, that will stop God from loving us. Because that's Who He is. Because He can do no less. Because when He saw us at our worst, He hung on a cross for us.

The work that He needed to do for us on the cross is complete, but that doesn't mean that He won't do whatever it takes to reach us today. That doesn't mean that His grace and mercy stopped when we received His gift. He is Faithful and True and nothing can separate us from His Love.

Jesus is our Sabbath Rest.

My mind never stops. There's not a day that goes by that I'm not weighing myself and find myself lacking.

And then I remember to look at Him. I remember that I am IN HIM. That His grace is sufficient. He is satisfied with me because I have trusted myself to Him.

And He fills me with His joy because the joy of the Lord is my strength. His mercies are new every day.

love and blessings~

"He brought me forth also into a broad place; He rescued me, because He delighted in me." Psalm 18:19

"For I am persuaded , that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present , nor things to come , 39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 8:31

"Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings" Psalm 17:8

"Behold, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands; Your walls are continually before Me." Isaiah 49:16

"But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me." 2 Cor 12:9

Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” Neh 8:18

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, His mercies never come to an end, they are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22,23

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Let Him Who Has Ears...

The more and more I have thought, unto the Lord, about my last post, the more and more understanding I get. Please don't think for one minute that I am happy about the things that the Lord is revealing to me. But very honestly, I have suspected something like this for years.

More than ten years ago, we were attending a local church. When the Holy Spirit began to move in the worship dance ministry that I was leading, I was pressured out of the church. It was a traumatic and painful experience for me but during that season the Lord began to speak to me in very dramatic ways.

First, He proved to me that I was hearing Him. I could write a book about what happened in that season but let me just say that God began to tell me very 'odd' things. Then He would prove to me that I had heard Him.

For instance, I had been one of the small group leaders for a women's Bible study at this same church. We were just getting ready to start Beth Moore's The Patriarchs when the Lord asked me to step down. I obeyed. Then He told me not to even take the Bible study.

I confess that I was really disappointed because I was enjoying these studies so much.

Immediately after that the Lord began to lead me to read in Genesis and began to give me amazing revelation. I had a dear friend who was still leading one of the small groups. We would talk often and I would share what the Lord was showing me. Then, amazingly, she would get the same thing from The Patriarchs Bible study! This happened through the entire Bible study.

The Lord taught me the same Bible study by the Holy Spirit! The really amazing part to me was the details the Lord told me.

There were honestly some things that God did in this season that overwhelmed me a bit. I began to see angels and demons and become very aware of what was going on in the spirit realm and that took some adjustment. One day, I became so aware of something God had done, that I had to leave the house.

And then God began to break off some religious principles that I had been taught in the church. I'm not going to share these things today because I want the timing and the release of the Lord. It took Him some drama to set me free because I was very ingrained into the ways of the church.

One day, I was walking across my dining room when the Lord spoke to me and  His Presence was like a weight that drove me to my knees. And that still wasn't enough to get me set free of the thing He had spoken to me about. It took months of me saying, "Are You sure?" before I had peace. The Spirit of Religion is a strong and binding spirit that keeps The Body from the joy and freedom that God desires His people to have.

I'm telling you all this because I know that I have said things on my blog that trouble some of you. And I get it. There was a time in my walk with the Lord that I could not have heard the things I know now. I would have become offended and immediately shut the door to what was being said. This is why Jesus talks about us being able to 'hear' Him.

The Lord showed me the spirit of pride once. It had hands over the eyes and ears of a person and it put a hand out in front of them held out in a 'stop' position.  The next day, I was in a 'discussion' with an elderly gentleman and saw him do this same motion!

I do my best to obey the Holy Spirit in my encounters with people. Sometimes, the conviction of the Holy Spirit comes on me and I share what the Lord is putting on my heart and the person is greatly offended and rejects the Word. And I have learned to live with that.

But I know there are people out there who are hearing the Holy Spirit and need encouragement to survive in the organized church and this world.  I cannot tell you how much I appreciate those who have befriended me on Facebook and by email and give me such loving, encouraging words daily.

love and blessings~

Friday, April 15, 2016

Instead of Christ

I read a very interesting blog article the other day. I didn't save it and now I can't find it. But when I woke up this morning, the Lord began to give me some direction that I'm very excited about.

In this blog, this male Christian blogger proposed that the Free Evangelical Church is the anti-Christ. He defended this thought well - the biggest thing I remember is him saying that Jesus had the harshest criticisms for the religious.

I heard a long time ago that the spirit of anti-Christ should also be thought of as 'instead of Christ.' I have felt for a long time that the majority of today's churches have an instead of Christ attitude ~ having a form of Godliness but denying the power within.

When is the last time you attended church and received healing? saw a miracle? a deliverance?

Instead, there are programs to raise money to build a new building and marketing strategies to 'reach' the community. I attended a church several years ago that paid a man, who was a professional church marketing strategist, to create a program to raise money for the church!  I was in leadership at that time and was asked to create part of the service that would kick-off this campaign.

I remember standing in this meeting feeling the grief of the Holy Spirit. The events that surrounded this became the catalyst that God used to set me free from religion.

I was shocked the first time I entered a church and received a 'program' that gave the details of the service. Apparently, no one expected the Holy Spirit to move during the service and I suspect if God had found a way to 'move,' it would have been quenched.

We've all heard it said that the churches don't need the Holy Spirit to do 99% of what they're doing today. And we are the church. It's hard today to tell a lot of difference between an American Christian and anybody else.

We dress the same, divorce the same, have intimate relationships before marriage the same, use pharmaceuticals and doctors instead of receiving healing from God, have the same illnesses, the same poverty, etc, etc, etc, ~ all the while professing Christ. The church has an 'instead of Christ' spirit.

This morning, I woke up about 5 am, which is unusual for me. As I lay there, inwardly grumbling that I was going to be tired today, the Lord began to give me a vision.

I saw people entering a building and greeting each other in the foyer and talking. But I saw a sanctuary door closed, with a sign on the door telling people that prayer and worship was going on. After they had greeted each other, the people entered the sanctuary quietly with awe and reverence for the Lord and there was a cloud of glory in this room. The chairs were set in a circle with everybody facing each other.  There was no platform and no obvious leader. There was a small group of musicians in the corner playing worship songs as the people prayed and worshiped.

When the Holy Spirit began to move, people began to give Words from the Lord. The entire thing was Spirit led - prayer, worship, what was spoken, and every 'service' would be completely different as the Lord led. There was a 'gentle' leader that would keep order and point to who's turn it was to speak but no one 'screened' the Words. If someone gave a Word that was not 'pure', it was 'tweaked' by those in the congregation, until everyone felt they had heard what God wanted to say to them today.

As the Lord led, there would be prayer for healing, deliverance, etc.

When the Holy Spirit released the people, they went to a meal. This meal was a true communion ~ eating and drinking together unto the Lord, remembering Jesus and honoring the Body of Christ.

I'm not going to add anything to this. I have sought the Lord for many years regarding these things and was blessed by what He showed me this morning. Please let Him speak to you regarding these things.

love and blessings~

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Trusting God When Things Go Wrong

We've all had one of those days...or one of those weeks. You know. Everything seems to be going along fine and then you have a little bad news. So you take a deep breath, tell yourself that this might not be as bad as it sounds, and you keep going.

And then you get another little set back. So you pause and regroup a little and you realize that the first thing added to the second thing is causing you to be a little more upset than you might otherwise. And you brush back your hair and carry on.

And then a third thing happens and you just have to go sit down and take a moment. Or a day or two. Ha!

Life can throw us come curves and some of them are small and some of them big. Some of them are small but they get a lot bigger in our minds than is necessary.

When these things happen, I remind myself that my wonderful Father knows everything. He knew these things were coming. He knew what was going on when I didn't. He sees all and He loves me. Nothing ever catches Him by surprise. He has even planned ahead of time.

He always has a solution, He always has an answer, He always has my back.

And then I always ask myself, "How would He want me to react? How does God see these things?"

Sometimes, trust is a lot bigger than faith. Sometimes our faith might just be a way of controlling things. And then when things don't go as we planned, do we lose faith?  Hopefully, our 'trust' kicks in. Trusting that God is always trust-worthy.

Yvonne, at StoneGable had a wonderful post the other day about what to do when you're having a bad day. I would really encourage you to read it because she was spot on.  I told her that I would have added one more thing - singing our praise to God.

When everything seems like it's going wrong, I start singing my praise to God.  I sing really loud. I sing loud enough to chase all the demons and doubts and fears away. And then I 'stomp.' I'm not kidding. I stomp around my house and sometimes I wave a banner and I shout and declare that NO weapon formed against me shall prosper!

And I do this until my eyes are firmly back on Jesus. I remind myself of all the good things He has done in my life. I count my blessings and thank Him for every single one of them.

And I make sure that I'm not upset over bad things that CAN happen and that might NEVER happen. I remind myself that giving it to God changes everything!

And then I vacuum. I use all my attachments. And I get every single little dust bunny and scrap of stuff that's in my house. My family likes this stage because then they can't hear me singing. ;)

love and blessings~

Wednesday, March 23, 2016


The Lord put this on my heart to write a few days ago and very honestly, I hesitated. Since then, He's given me two confirmations and I am repenting and writing as fast as I can. :)

I hesitated because this post felt a little harsh but sometimes the Lord corrects us sternly with a desire to bless us.

Several years ago the Lord spoke to me about 'motives.' Since then, I've examined my motives before I do most, speak to someone, go somewhere, etc.  I believe the Lord cares about our motives more than He cares about our good works.

I believe that if our motives are not pure in what we're doing, the work will be burned up. In other words, we may as well not have done it. If our motive is to appear Godly, to have someone else think well of us, or to promote ourselves, we need to stop and get our hearts right before we do anything else.

If our motive is manipulation, we're really in trouble, because control and manipulation are a form witch craft.

Proverbs 16:2 says, "All the ways of a man are clean in his own sight, But the LORD weighs the motives."

For some, this may be a new thought. They've believed that it was a given - that they should go to church, that they should attend the Bible study, that they should take that family a meal - but if the motive is not pure, we've gained nothing in God's eyes.

I think it's very easy for us to be influenced by a society where everyone wants to be a superstar, where everyone wants to be recognized on social media, and where humility and servanthood are not things to be desired. But it's desired by God. 

Matthew 6:3 tells us, "But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing," We are to keep our good works secret, not flaunt them, and certainly not seek recognition for the things that God deserves all the glory for.
A few years back I was in a relationship with a pastor and his wife. I knew the Lord had put me in their church as an assignment. I was asked to be part of their worship team.

I typically start every day with worship. And so even before church on Sunday mornings, I was in the practice of spending time with God in worship and in His Presence. I had an opportunity to share this with this pastor, and his response was, "How long do you have to do this before you get into God's presence?" He saw this as a means to an end. His desire was not for God but for the benefits of God.
The Lord would later show me this man from His eyes. The man had a spirit of selfish ambition and I saw the word, "devour."
Philippians 2:3,4 says, "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.

This is to be our motive; that we first are glorifying God and then that we are seeking the good of others and never hoping to advance ourselves. 

love and blessings~

Friday, March 4, 2016

The Spirit of Gluttony

I don't think I've ever heard anyone talk about the spirit of gluttony in church in all the years I've gone.  I started to write this a couple of days ago but paused, making sure I was in God's timing. Then I read something yesterday that confirmed to me that I was hearing Him.

1 Corinthians 10:31 says, "Whether, therefore, you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God."  We are to eat and drink to the glory of God.  How many of us have ever given thought to this verse?  But there's even more to it than that.

When I was about 35 years old, the Lord spoke to me one day and told me, "You have a spirit of gluttony."  I'm about 5'4" and at the time weighed about 110-115 lbs.  So I was surprised, to say the least. I expressed my confusion to the Lord and He began to explain.

The spirit of gluttony is when we find comfort for our flesh in things besides God. Our 'flesh' is the 'old man.' It's our sin nature. The spirit of gluttony is shopping when you're depressed. It's getting a new color and cut when you're feeling down. It's eating comfort foods when you don't want to deal with your emotions.

We might associate the spirit of gluttony with being over-weight, and rightly so, but this demon can manifest in other ways. It can drive a person to work out and be obsessed with their beautiful physique, because in some, it can partner with 'vanity.'

In our culture, the spirit of gluttony is celebrated. All of the celebrities that we see in the media comfort themselves and feed their flesh with every indulgence. We are told constantly to 'treat ourselves' with new makeup, new clothes and shoes and handbags. If our self-worth is low and we don't like the way we look, we can get a little botox or a whole lot of plastic surgery.

We are told constantly that we can make ourselves feel better by these things and that we don't need God. Some have gone to the other extreme and seek to make themselves feel better by starving themselves. But all have the same need - God. All are seeking 'a fix' to solve an inner lack.

One day when we were doing our 40 day Word fast, I was really struggling with exactly this. It was a blizzard outside and so I was staying home.  I was bored, not enjoying winter, and wasn't feeling motivated to work on a project. I wanted nothing more than to lie on the couch, under a warm blanket, fireplace burning, and watch movies all afternoon. Or read a book. I wanted to veg. I wanted an escape from my reality. I wanted to be entertained.

And because of my commitment to this fast, I couldn't. And it made me realize something.

What would Jesus do?

Jesus lived His life serving others. I can't imagine Him spending His afternoon on the couch, can you? Or at the movies. Someone always needed Him and although He used wisdom and followed God's leading completely, He never 'indulged' Himself. His only 'free time' was spent in prayer and fellowship with the Father. Jesus did not have a spirit of gluttony.

One of my sins that I've confessed to God and am asking Him to empower me to overcome is deciding my own schedule. Because I am not employed and our children are grown, I can do whatever I want. I can go out to lunch, go shopping, hang out at home all day, hang out with my daughter and grandchildren...whatever I 'feel' like doing.

But is that what God wants me to?

I continue to work on disciplining myself to have a schedule and to accomplish the things that I know God has set before me. I continue to discipline myself to eat more healthy and to prepare better meals for my family. And I'm continuing to discipline myself to listen to God and to do what He's telling me to do each truly give Him my life, my time, and my goals.

I think the spirit of gluttony is very hard to starve out. And that's what we have to do. By not feeding this spirit, and for some that's literal, we dethrone it in our lives.

And as with everything else, we can't do this without our Saviour's help.

love and blessings~

photo credit:

Saturday, February 27, 2016

What's In a Name?

It has always fascinated me when I read that God assigned Adam with naming all the animals.
Because I believe that their name decided a lot of their characteristics.

Man has yet to discover all the animals that there are on the earth.  Every year they find a new type of spider that they've not named or a new creature that lives deep in the ocean.

If you've ever watched any of these documentaries, there are so many different species of animals on the earth and such a wide variety of colors, shapes and sizes.

God has such a wonderful imagination - or did Adam?

Adam was created in God's image and therefore, is a creative being.  Was it the name that Adam gave the animals that decided that the giraffe would have such a unique pattern and a tall neck?  That the elephant would have such 'cute' feet, floppy ears and a long nose?  How much authority did Adam have over the earth where God placed him?  The Bible tells us that God gave the earth to man. (Psalm 115:16)

If you've ever looked up the meanings of the names of the people in the Bible, it's a study all in itself. Do you know what your name means and what your children's names mean?

If you think about it, we 'declare' their name over them thousands/millions of times in their lives. What are we calling them?  Does their name have an impact on who they are?

I think it does. I believe that God names every single child. Even those that don't believe in God. He puts a name on their parent's heart and it's the name He has decided for this child. (*I want to edit this statement. My daughter reminded me of situations where God probably had nothing to do with the name some parents gave their children. So thinking about it more, if parents don't seek God for a name for their child, does that name have an impact on that child? I think it does. And there are several examples in the Bible of God changing a person's name when they entered into covenant with Him. Abram-Abraham, Sarai-Sarah, Saul-Paul)

Because He knows every talent, every ability, every calling and potential that He has put in their life. And of course, one or two names can't cover everything, but it certainly is important.

My husband and one of my sons names are Mark.  Mark means 'warrior.'  And they both certainly demonstrate leadership abilities.

Several years ago I was selling real estate when I told someone laughingly that my husband and son were named Mark, my boss was named Mark, three of my clients were named Mark and a dear friend's husband was named Mark.  They replied, "God has surrounded you with warriors!"

Whenever a name surges into popularity, I pay attention to what it means. What characteristic is God bringing into the world 'for such a time as this'?

The name 'Linda/Lynda' means 'pretty or beautiful.'  I had a friend many years ago that was a bit of a tomboy and teased me about being 'girly.'  She told me one day that her daughter 'Lindsay' is "Just like you!" and when she started to try to change that, the Lord stopped her, saying, "I made her that way!" Lindsay is a derivative of the name Linda.

Different variations of the names Kayla, Katelynn and Katherine have been very popular for years. They all mean 'pure.'  My middle name is Kay, which also means 'pure.'  I love knowing what my name means - Beautiful Pure.  It's a lot to live up to! :)

So God brought an interesting thought to me the other day.  I was thinking about the 'spirit of Joshua', the 'spirit of Moses' - you people always say 'there's a spirit of someone on them' - and I was wondering if that was true.  Isn't every individual's spirit unique and does God put a 'spirit of someone' on us?  (Joshua means Jehovah Saves and Moses means Pulled out of the Water)

And God brought me this question, "How much do we determine who we are and how much is determined by God?"

God gives us the potential but how much of what we decide determines how far we will go on this journey God has for us?

I believe that when we receive a prophetic word, which is kind of what a name is, our obedience is what determines how far we will go and whether or not it will come to pass.  We cannot just lay down and wait for God to make it happen.  We are a co-creator in this thing.  The earth was given to man.

And your life was given to you.

A few years ago, I had an assignment from the Lord.  When I started down the path, I didn't know it was an assignment.  I was just following God as best I knew how. And then I found myself in the middle of a battle.  I continued to seek God and lay down my life as He was telling me and obey specifically what He was showing me to do. After about a year of intense battle, the Lord showed me scroll.  I saw it unroll and on it was a 'things-to-do list.' Everything on the list had a check mark next to it.  As I watched, the Lord marked off the last thing! I knew that I had obeyed the Lord in everything He had told me for this assignment and that this assignment was over.

I believe that every obstacle you overcome, every wound you decide will make you stronger, every person you forgive, every dream you determine to make a reality, every single thing that you lay down before God and submit your will to His - every single thing, takes you closer to fulfilling the calling on your life.  Every single thing takes you closer to "Well done, my good and faithful servant. Enter into your rest."

God is using His people to change the world - one assignment at a time.  Never despise the small beginnings. Never think that you're not doing much as you share Christ with just one person. It's these small assignments that add up.  Be humble and faithful in the little things.  We each have 'a garden' to tend. If we do well with our small garden, it grows.

We change the world one assignment at a time.

photo credit: Royaltyfreeclipart

Thursday, February 18, 2016

You Are Fearfully and Wonderfully Made!

Every one of us has a calling from God.  Every one of us has the potential to do something wonderful to change the world.

Every one of us that is born-again has a 'seed' in us, that when it's cultivated with Living Water and fed with the Word, can grow into a mighty force to change the world for righteousness.

Every single one of us.

Well, you might say, "There was only one Joshua."  1 Corinthians 15:46 says, "However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural; then the spiritual."  

Every single story in the Old Testament points to Jesus, the Saviour.  Every hero in the Old Testament was a physical example of a spiritual truth. Some have called it, the 'spirit of Moses, the spirit of Joseph, the spirit of Joshua' and I think if you look at 1 Corinthians 15:46, you can see how that would be true.

Joseph rose to a place of authority in a pagan world by humbling himself before God. He overcame a lot of obstacles before he reached the goal God had for him.  Moses set God's people free from bondage and led them in the wilderness, interceding on their behalf before God. He overcame a lot of obstacles before he reached the goal God had for him. Joshua took God's people across the Jordan river into the Promised Land. He overcame a lot of obstacles before he reached the goal God had for him.

Today, we're still called to do the same things.  Every single one of us. We will have to overcome a lot of obstacles before we reach the goal that God has for us.  Every one of these obstacles will cause us to either grow... or shrink back. We will either be an over-comer or we will shrink back and decide the road is too hard. The choices we make is what will make the difference.  

Because of the choices we make, some will greater realms of authority than others.  

In other words, God has given you a garden to tend. Compare it to the Garden of Eden. God gives us authority over a small area. If we are faithful in tending this small area, our area expands. It's a simple thing to understand that God is looking for those who will faithfully attend to the small things that He has given them so that He can expand their territory and save the lost. He's hoping we'll grow in our maturity, our faithfulness and our faith, and we'll begin to affect more people for righteousness.

The more humble we are, the more He knows He can give us authority. He more discreet we are with the secrets He tells us, the more things He begins to confide in us. The more we bless people as they persecute us and treat us hatefully, the more He knows we can handle bigger things.

Don't let the enemy lie to you and tell you that you are called to 'small' things.  Every single one of us is capable, in Christ, of doing mighty things.  Because it's Christ in us.  If we give Jesus control over lives and let Him do what He wants to do. The difference is; Will we submit our wills, our pride, our reputations to God?

Every one of us has received criticism.  If we've ever stood up for Jesus in any way, we've probably received criticism for that. Every one of us has been hurt. What we do with that hurt will determine what will happen next.

If we choose to forgive and bless and really love, we graduate on to the next level.  Because we need to understand that the next level only gets more criticism. The more people you have in your realm of influence, the more opportunity for criticism.  

I remember hearing Beth Moore, whom I just love, tell a story about getting an email from a lady who was criticizing Beth for getting her nails done. And poor Beth was defending herself and telling everyone how she takes her books with her and studies while getting her nails done!  Beth gets to have her nails done if she wants to! How sad that anyone would criticize her for this when she's doing so much to help others. But that's how the enemy is. He will use any tactic to make us feel ashamed or self-conscious or to hurt us.  

And sometimes he will catch us unaware and we take a hit straight to the heart.  

But we don't have to. We can abide in the shelter of the Most High. The closer we stay to God, the harder it is for the enemy to hurt us. God will protect us. He will strengthen our boundaries. He will heal our wounds so that even if the enemy shoots an arrow, we are able to recognize the weakness in others and it doesn't hurt us.

Every child dreams of big things. Every child dreams of flying and conquering and being mighty. They dream of dancing and singing and soaring. Even in our fallen state, before we are redeemed, that dream of who God has made us to be, is there.  

As we get closer to  God, our dreams change from 'US' being the star, to Him being glorified. But the amazing thing about God is that He makes us look so good! Some say He won't share His glory, but when He sees one of His children that truly wants to give Him glory, He really makes them look good.

Dream big! Dream of changing lives for Jesus! Dream of setting hundreds and thousands and millions free in Jesus! Because there are hundreds and thousands and millions of people out there who need Him. You don't have to go to a foreign country and be a missionary. Your next door neighbor might not know Jesus. The person next to you on the church pew may not actually know Jesus.  But they're seeking and you have an opportunity.

And the Word says to make the most of every opportunity. Start small. Be faithful. And let Jesus live BIG in you!

love and blessings~

"I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; wonderful are Your works, and my soul knows it very well."  Psalm 139:14