The Giver

    I received a handmade pen for my birthday. The pen is fashioned by a cabinet maker, from a gorgeous piece of polished wood. The trim is gold. The grip is perfectly comfortable, the fine point tip flows beautifully.

    When the Holy Spirit opens something to me, inspires me and downloads something into my spirit, I hand write it in my journal. Today, I’m writing for the first time with my new pen. What really makes me marvel, is the one who gave this gift to me. My dear friend David chose the perfect thing for me. He knows my heart, he knows my passion for writing. David was thinking of me when he sought out a gift. It wasn’t random or an afterthought. It wasn’t an obligation or a chore. David wanted it to be special, he wanted to give me joy. It’s the giver that makes this gift so perfect.

    Is that not a lovely picture of Jesus? He gave us the ultimate gift. He continues to enrich us, grow us and bless us with gifts of grace, mercy and love. He goes farther. He inspires those around us to give into each other’s lives. Because Jesus loves Mike and me, He gave us David. Because Jesus loves David, He gave him our family to love. Together, we recognize and rejoice in God’s perfect love.

    Jesus was thinking of every one of us as He hung on the cross. He knows our deepest desires and thoughts. He lived in a human body and suffered just as we do. Jesus knows exactly what to give us to bring us joy and freedom. It’s that intimate, personal love that picks out the one special gift that brings us to our knees in wonder and adoration.

    As we enter the Christmas season, let’s think about the giver. Our father, creator of the universe, gave us Jesus, and gives us all good things. Because of His original gift, I want to remember to cherish the givers the Lord has put in my life, and give Him all the praise, honor and glory. It is an awesome thing, too much for us to comprehend. Blessings.

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Cast Your Care

I Peter 5:6-7 says: ” Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.” NKJV. I got to thinking, what does it mean to cast your care? It sounds almost violent to me, as if you are to throw it with vengeance and disgust. I was wrong.

The Greek word for cast means to throw upon (lit. or fig.), to cast upon. But that word is a combination of two other words, so let’s see if we can get more clarity. In digging around, I found that it means a superimposition of time, place, order, etc., as a relation of distribution. To have charge of, over, upon, beside. It is through the idea of sudden motion, to fling, with a quick toss, not a deliberate hurl. It indicates an extended projection, by qualification to deposit (as if a load), to disperse, cast down, out, scatter abroad, throw.

    So, in all that, it seems clear to me that because of the blood of Jesus, we are qualified and loved eternally, so much that, He desires to free us from worry, guilt, hurt, anything that would hinder us or cause us to focus on anything but Him. He tells us to worry about nothing, to be anxious about nothing, and gives us the way to accomplish just that. Casting has a nonchalance about it. Casting is just flicking it aside over to the one who heals our wounds of the body and the heart. Casting is not a deliberate or violent act, it’s a mere tossing of the care off to Jesus. It’s almost casual, without a lot of thought, done by rote. We can do that because He cares for us.

    We all know that the devil hates us and wants to kill us. But Jesus loves us and wants us to live abundantly, fruitfully and blessed. He will turn our mourning into dancing. He will turn all things for our good. He has already paid the price for our sin and shame, it is finished, forgotten and He set us free. So, Jesus, having walked this earth as a man, suffered and knows all our sorrows and pain, worries and life issues. He knows what it’s like to be sad and depressed, to be hurt by others, to be broke and hungry, and to be lacking. We live in a contaminated world, but keep in mind, we are only sojourners here. We are citizens of Heaven. In Him, there is fullness of joy. In Him there is hope and an unshakeable understanding that He did everything for us. It was finished a long time ago, and whatever our circumstance at the moment, if we will cast that care upon Him, He will turn it for our good. I’ve seen Him obliterate debt, fill a hungry stomach, pay the rent, and give rest to the weary. He doesn’t give us trouble to teach us something, there’s no need. The instructions for life are in His Word. He doesn’t take from you, He fills you. He doesn’t cause problems, He can’t. God is good and His mercy endures forever. He never stops being merciful and kind. He is not a man that He should lie, He is trustworthy.

    Bow your knee with a grateful heart, be convinced that He will lift you up, and tell Him your cares. Transfer authority over to Jesus concerning your cares. Remove it from yourself and focus on what is promised in His Word. He is forever faithful. Just hand it over and walk away in anticipation of what He will do. Sing to Him a song of praise. Blessings.

The Trouble

I was talking with a family member the other day about suffering. Not a popular topic, to be sure. We were talking about suffering with sickness and disease, and there was a reference made to suffering for the Lord in infirmity. I was profoundly knocked off balance and saddened that anyone might believe that God desired they suffer such agony, but then I got to thinking. Slow down Carol, analyze this. It’s a logical conclusion if someone doesn’t know God’s Word on the subject. The devil is a liar and seeks to trip us up anywhere he can. His lies sound like they make sense. If that kind of supposition is pervasive, then I better get educated. If the devil can persuade someone that we suffer for Christ in many ways, sickness included, then he succeeds in one more step in his quest to destroy them. Not on my watch! We will build each other up in our most holy faith!

Three words came to mind as I poured over scripture; suffer, trouble and tribulation. Trouble and tribulation are almost interchangeable, finding their root in the Greek word thlipsis which means pressure, affliction, anguish, burdened, persecution, tribulation, trouble. I started from John 16:33 “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” NKJV. The same word is seen repeatedly in the new testament indicating squeezing, pressurized distress that crushes. The word suffer in the Greek is pascho, which is a verb meaning to experience a sensation or impression (usually painful), to feel, passion, vex. It is combined in this text with the word sun, a Greek word denoting union with, i.e., by association, very closely with, a process, a resemblance, possession, meaning beside or with. Together and in the context of John 16:33, Matthew 16:21, Mark 8:31, 9:12, and Romans 8:17, (there are many more, but I don’t want to get you lost in scripture yet!) the meaning is clearly to suffer the same way Christ suffered, to identify with, to be persecuted as He was, to endure pressure, anguish, tribulation, be crushed and beaten as He was. To go through the process of persecution in the same manner as Jesus did. It makes sense, people still revile Jesus and religion and are quick to attack a believer for things they do not understand. Go back and look again, Jesus said in Me you may have peace. If we suffer, we do so in His peace, without animosity, bitterness or worry for self-preservation.

Absolutely nowhere in the scripture is there a reference to sickness and disease in conjunction with suffering for God. I find no reference to any of the disciples suffering pain and disease. Pain and suffering sickness is not included. The reason for that is simple. Jesus was persecuted and as he was nailed to the cross, he took upon himself the sickness, disease, poverty, demonic affliction, and every other thing that would torment and distract us from life in God. Jesus bore those things so we might be free. Because of the blood of Jesus, sickness is not ours to suffer because His blood covered it. I Peter 2:24, “who himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we having died to sins, might live for righteousness – by whose stripes you were healed. He wants us to live for righteousness, right standing with God, unencumbered, abundantly. I Peter 4:12-19 talks about suffering for God’s glory. It speaks of suffering the same insults, persecutions, revilement and reproach that Jesus did, all because we are His. Verse 19 says, “therefore, let those who suffer according to the will of God commit their souls to Him in doing good, as to a faithful Creator.” Is it God’s will that you suffer sickness? No, it very clearly says, according to His will. His will is His word, the word does not speak of suffering illness because it is finished on the cross. We have authority in the name of Jesus to cast that out. Sickness and pain serves no kingdom purpose, does not glorify God. Being healed glorifies God. Going through things in the strength and power and equipping of Jesus, glorifies Him. Taking hold of what He did for us on the cross, glorifies Him. Putting on the whole armor of God, glorifies Him.

Wow, I love revelation. So, if the devil can get us to believe we glorify God when we suffer pain in our bodies because of sickness, he can get us to accept it and speak life into that pain. He can get us to just live with it, do nothing about it and die sooner than is God’s plan. It will stop our effectiveness, it will stop us from doing what we are called to do, it will steal our joy and render us miserable. Speak truth and life, speak the Word of God over yourself, refuse to believe anything that is not the will and Word of God. Know the scripture, it is life and health, joy and freedom. Phil 4:8 “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy, meditate on these things.” Look for the goodness of God and think on those things. Forget not His benefits and remind yourself what He has done for you. Train your mind to look for God’s way first. Blessings.

What’s Burning?

Fall is probably the most beautiful time of year in my humble opinion. The colors are otherworldly, the smells of burning leaves and brush, the chill in the air, all promise a cozy winter to come. My husband is outside right now as I write this, burning the trimmings from summer plants and flowers, and the leaves that have covered the yard. It smells like campfires and marshmallows.

How many of us have cried out from the depths of our souls to the Lord, asking fervently for refinement? Create in me a clean heart O Lord, and restore a right spirit within me! I’ve done that, sick of my own flesh, sick of my own will, hungry for Jesus to carry it all away and render my heart clean before Him. Turn my heart of stone to a heart of flesh, burn away any part of me that is unacceptable and unproductive, make me clean and a useful vessel.

So, you’re going along with life, and a situation arises. You are blindsided by the viciousness, shocked at the torment and pain, devastated at the destruction in your life. A wrong perception turned to a completely inaccurate assumption. No amount of reasoning could budge that opinion, no compromise could be found. Friendships were lost, reputation lost, you are alone and cut to the bone. You feel like an old testament burnt offering, an animal fileted down the middle lengthwise, so its blood can run freely like a river into the fire on the alter. You become angry and bitter that such a thing should happen. Why? You cry out to the Lord, you know it’s the enemy come to steal, kill and destroy, John 10:10. You also know you are not wresting against flesh and blood, but principalities and powers of darkness. Eph. 6:12. But why didn’t they see that? Why didn’t they listen to your heart? How did they totally misread you, when they knew you so well? How did they assume you meant one thing when you were talking about another? What is this mysterious burning smell?

Oh, wait, head slap. There is hope, always hope. All things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose, even things that seem impossible. Romans 8:28. The eyes of your understanding start to become enlightened. You start to see, you start to look with fresh, open eyes as you peer into the goodness of God. Jesus took that ugly situation and turned it upside down for His glory. As you walked through that refining fire, you gained confidence in Him, closeness with Him, an awareness of His seasons and the way Kingdom things work. The weight of fleshly desires is shed; the need to be right and recognized is released. It’s not all about you, but Him alone. Your heart becomes clean, the stony place is turned to soft flesh. There’s an awareness that The Lord has restored a right spirit to you. Joy slowly returns, rivers of living water began to course through. Focus changes, freedom comes. A new power and authority manifests, gifts of the Holy Spirit are clearer and stronger. Freedom, victorious freedom from unforgiveness, bitterness and fear emerge. Thankfulness overflows.

I asked the Lord if this was the refining fire I cried out for so many times. So gently, He spoke into my heart. The enemy comes to steal, kill and destroy. No one is at fault in this, no flesh set out to do evil, it is a work of the enemy. But I come to give you life, and life abundantly. I used that work for the good of all concerned because you are all mine, all righteous, in right standing with God. The branches that are done for the season need to be cut off and burned. Unfruitful branches, spent flowers and leaves, no matter how beautiful, can infect the ground if left to rot. To keep the ground pure, the dross is removed and burned. So, rest. Trust the gardener of your heart. Rest in Me while the work is completed, knowing that you know, that God is faithful to complete the good work He began in you. Rest in comfort and peace as He begins the process of promised restoration. Focus on Jesus, the author and finisher of your life, and find complete joy, victory of heart, and fulfillment. Peace.

TWO DOORS IN HEAVEN

    I saw Jesus beckoning to me, “Come to the hallways past the inner courts, past the Holy of Holies, and open the doors. Explore the chambers, the storehouses and the soft feathery places of rest. Come see all the wonders of Heaven.”

    I see a storehouse, a huge warehouse. It’s not decorated, its’ made of gray stone and there are rows and rows of wooden doors. The building is plain and clean, it has no need of a caretaker, it is maintained by prayer. At the birthing prayer of the intercessors, the contents of many of the bunkers will be poured out in due time.

    I approach a door and it opens. Inside, stacked to the ceiling, are bright lights of all sizes. The room can barely contain all the lights. They are in danger of overflowing over and around the door at any minute. Small lights are twinkling inside the room, large lights flood the area, medium lights glow. It’s brilliant and golden and doesn’t hurt my eyes. Jesus explains to me that the lights are ideas, innovations, inventions; new things that are about to be released. Jesus says, “these are new things to be liberated upon the Saints. New things, like the earth has never seen before. These are coming in a flood and will be profitable. The wealth of the wicked has been laid up for the righteous, and now the storehouse is about to open. These inventions and ideas will revolutionize the earth’s processes and wealth will pour into the Church from the faithful; wealth to be used for the Gospel.”

    “Ask for ideas and they will come to you. Ask for furtherance of the Kingdom. All my children have a role to play and the equipping to make it so. Open your hands and I will fill them.” The door gently swooshed shut.

    We walked to another plain wooden door. Jesus explained that this is one of the most treasured stores in all of Heaven. “This room contains the tears of the intercessors and prophets. They are from those who have paid a high price to pray. They invested their time and energy into knowing My heart. Every tear has been carefully noted, inventoried and preserved. These are mine, says Jesus. These are my treasures. I have every one ever shed. I remember them all. I place high value on these. They are Kingdom jewels, Kingdom foundations, Kingdom inroads. They are from invasions of love, poured out freely for my plans and purposes on the earth. My people who were called to pray, suffered these tears, the price of obedience and love for Me. These are now mine. I hoard them, I remember every incident, every prayer in partnership with Me, every precious tear of supplication, of joy and of intercession. They are my personal treasure.” The door closed, and we continued on.

Crave

    I think everyone has cravings for one thing or another. Me, I crave chips. Corn chips, plain potato chips, ruffled potato chips, flavored potato chips, zucchini chips, anything but kale chips! I love chips, sometimes I think I absolutely must have them or I’ll go bonkers! They are so satisfying and crunchy! I feel good when I eat chips. They go with everything.

    Above all that, even more than chips, I crave the presence of Jesus. I must have His presence, His voice, His fragrance. I crave time with Jesus, time building a stronger relationship, listening to His wisdom, hearing His heart.

    Today He spoke these words to me, and I believe they are for you.

    “Do you know that I crave? I crave close relationship with you, even more than you crave me. Look at the Song of Solomon. This is my description of how I love my Bride, my children. Each one, individually, totally, uniquely. I crave every part of you for myself. It’s true. I am jealous for you. I crave your presence, your worship, your heart. I crave your friendship, your prayers, your voice. I crave you, and your willingness to come near me. That satisfies me.”

Thirsty

I started making some changes in my lifestyle so that I might lose some weight and build strength. The first thing was to divide my weight by 2, and drink that number of ounces of water every day. After a few days, I began to notice something; I’m thirsty. I didn’t drink near that much water before, and I was never feeling the sensation of thirst. But now that I’m feeding my body the water it needs, I’m thirsty.

It’s like that with Jesus. The more I drink in from the wellspring of His grace, mercy and faithfulness, the more I crave Him. As I feed on His word, His stories, His wisdom, I find that I must have more to satisfy my soul. There’s joy, unfathomable joy in His presence. I thirst for more. He said, Satan has come to steal, to kill and to destroy, but I have come that you may have life, and more abundantly. He quenches us with abundance. He redirects our focus to Him. He satisfies our souls with His goodness. He brings life to dead places in us and turns a heart of stone to a heart of flesh.  He is living water. To drink Him in is to slake the unquenchable thirst that’s built in our DNA, once for all, never to thirst again for any earthly thing. Hugs

John 10:10