Category Archives: Encouragement

Iron Sharpens Iron

    Proverbs 27:17 says, “As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend”. Have you ever had a friend that was bold enough to speak truth into your life? Bold enough to risk angering or offending you because they value you and want you lifted up in maturity? I do have a friend like that. She has hung in there with me for 25 years, speaking truth in love, praying for things I could not see, and loving me for the spirit in me that God created for His good pleasure.

    I used to be very immature in faith, but I dearly loved Jesus. I would get angry with people and resentful for always being corrected. I didn’t understand the value of iron sharpening iron. Simply put, wisdom and maturity allow acceptance of sharpening. There was a long time that I felt insignificant, didn’t measure up, would never be enough, or right, or good. However, at the same time, I knew my friend loved me and wanted me to grow in faith with understanding. I didn’t know anything about spiritual warfare. I didn’t know Satan was the accuser of the brethren, and I didn’t know he hammered lies into my head, created offense and used it all to destroy me. I thought every corrective word was an attack on my character. I thought church people were mean. I hardened my heart. I was deceived into believing all those lies. And I didn’t tell anyone, I suffered alone because I didn’t think my feelings were valid.

    But God intervened! He delivered me from offense and turned those accusations and criticisms into the understanding of the loving words of wisdom they were meant to be. He softened my heart, opened my eyes and untwisted the words I heard. Scripture washed my heart and healed me. My spirit was renewed, my soul (mind, will and emotions) were corrected to see the truth in Christ. The word of God opened my eyes to see the character of God, His fatherly love and grace. I believed the Word, I believed what it said about me. I believed I am dearly loved, I am healed, delivered, provided for and protected. I have the mind of Christ, I don’t have a spirit of fear, but a spirit of love, power and a sound mind. I possess those things so deep in my spirit that they cannot be removed. I became able to be sharpened. I saw truth in love and attached myself to it.

    A dull knife is worthless and even dangerous. A sharp knife has been renewed, finely honed, ground on and formed into a sharp, effective instrument.

    God is faithful to enlighten, strengthen and mature those who seek Him. He said He would never leave us or forsake us. We go from glory to glory, deeper and deeper with Him. He sends us true godly friends who speak the truth and do not compromise. These are the friends to invest in. The one who is not afraid to speak truth is the one to listen to. Take in those words and prayerfully digest them. Pray that every seed of truth will flourish in you. Pray every tiny particle of faith and love be multiplied back to that friend. Honor that friend, love that friend. She was truly sent into your life by God to come alongside you.

    I’m truly grateful for my friend today, and I’m grateful to God for maintaining that long term friendship, making our fellowship actual worship, and bringing fun and adventure to one another as we remember God’s word. Iron sharpens Iron. I pray this word is iron to you today. All glory to God.

Blessings!

Shortcuts and Pie Crust

    For years I’ve been making pie crust in my food processor. I skipped over the old-fashioned method because it’s tedious and messy. The problem is, it’s not as deliciously flaky and not as pliable to work with. I’d even say it was a bit temperamental and broke easily. I would end up getting frustrated because all the work yielded a beautiful pie that had a so-so crust. For me, pie is a delightful combination of sweet filling blanketed in a slightly crispy, slightly salty crust that hits all the right notes and melts in your mouth. I kept making it that way though because it was supposed to be faster and easier. This year for Thanksgiving I made a mince pie with butter pastry. For some reason, I decided to use a hand pastry blender instead of getting out the heavy food processer. I guess I must have known the long way might be tastier. It was perfect. Shortcuts aren’t always better, just faster.

    That got me thinking. It’s just like that with prayer and following the prompt of the Holy Spirit. We try to make it faster and easier to fit it into our busy lives. We shut our ears a little to His voice and tell ourselves we will listen later. It’s not easy carving out that extra hour to sit in the presence of the Lord. We know that skipping time with God leaves us unsatisfied completely, but it will do till we have more time. Sure, we might be a little temperamental, a little short of kind to others, but we can deal with it later. At least that’s what we tell ourselves; we are doing the best we can in the moment. In pie making, you want the fat molecules (the good stuff that brings it all together), to blend perfectly with the salt, flour and ice water. In the food processor, it all whirls too quickly. The heat from the motor warms up the fat and makes it sticky. The flour blends too rapidly and not enough air is infused between the layers. When I used the long, slow method with the simple hand tool, the crust blended perfectly, was flaky and rich.

Look at it this way. Our fat is the good, deep, yummy part of our soul and spirit that we yield up to God because we love Him. When the best of us is blended with the Holy Spirit, revelation, peace and joy is the dynamic result. The perfect intermingling of our hearts with God’s doesn’t happen in a rush. It takes a process, a slower yielding of ingredients to become harmonious, rich and satisfying. But the wind of the Spirit faithfully blows through us, adding lush texture and flavor. Keep pressing in my friends. Keep seeking the face of a loving and kind God who will bring you into perfect fellowship with Him. He waits for us, He is jealous for us. Imagine that! The God of all creation waits for us! He loves you so!

Blessings for a wonderful new year.

20-20 Vision in 2020

This word came as I was driving home from church yesterday.

The new year will bring 20-20 vision; a new clarity and understanding into all things. There will be a settling of divine purpose, a shoring up of foundations and an acute spiritual awareness in the Body of Christ. As eyes open to the magnitude of the Word and the Spirit, a clean transparency of heart will be craved. People will fall at the feet of Jesus in repentance and revival of spirit. Pain, sorrow and loss will melt away. 20-20 vision in 2020 will change the path of many to the new road that leads to glory. Bless the Lord Oh my soul, will be the theme! Revelation will come in frustration free packaging. Saving grace, saving grace! Good news! That’s the new anthem of the Body of Christ.

Resistance Training

    Resistance training for the body is very effective at strengthening muscles and burning off unwanted fat. To get results, one must persevere. Muscles must be retrained to work in a different manner that’s more efficient and stronger. Resistance brings muscle growth and development. That strength brings a leanness, a confidence, a healthy dependability on your body and its function.

    Resistance in the Spirit works much the same way. To resist the devil (James 4:7) brings strength and wisdom with freedom and confidence. What’s the common denominator?? You are. You must persevere, you must put in the work. Repetition is key, until it’s ingrained. In one, you must know your body and its limitations in order to strengthen them. You must know how to properly use the equipment. Then, it’s a matter of repetition until you reach your goal. At that point, you confidently maintain your strength and it becomes easier.

    So it is in the Spirit. We know from James 4:7 that we must resist the devil and he will flee from you. In fact, all the book of James is a wealth of practical knowledge for persevering in trouble. Just reading it made my heart leap in joy! Resistance requires repetition, stretching and perseverance. You must know the word of God which is your source of power and authority against Satan. You must adhere to the belief that God’s word is truth, then speak accordingly. Speak that word and the power of heaven is released with explosions of glory. This is your equipment. In James, it is written that perseverance brings victory. We absolutely will conquer if we resist. When the goal is reached it’s easier to maintain that strength and freedom. Battle fought; battle won!

    Therefore, we continue resistance training, becoming more like Jesus every day, conquering temptation and attacks, with perfect victory. How wonderful is that! Bless the Lord O my soul and all that is within me! Bless His holy name! So, resist the devil and he will flee from you. Go in confidence! Jesus paid the cost on the cross so go in freedom and expectation of abundant life! Blessings.

Love Never Fails

    As I read Habakkuk chapter 2 this morning, it became so clear that these words apply today every bit as much as they did back in this prophet’s day. It seems to me, that God is clarifying that we have a choice. To choose righteousness brings protection and promise, even though we might need to go through a process we don’t understand. On the other hand, to choose ungodliness eventually brings the unavoidable price of judgment and penalty. Sin is a real thing, it brings bondage, addiction and death. Habakkuk was wondering why it was taking God so long to avenge His people, allowing them to suffer at the hands of the Chaldeans. Remember, Jesus had not come to earth yet. Salvation was through the law, not grace. People subjected themselves to judgment for their disobedience; both the righteous and the unbelievers. For us, it’s different. Thank God we can choose to believe Jesus and that alone results in salvation by grace, the unmerited favor and forgiveness of all sin, past, present and future.

Look at Habakkuk 2:4. “Behold the proud, his soul is not upright in him. But the “just” shall live by faith”. We are just, we are found righteous because of Jesus. We live by faith in the steadfast goodness of our trustworthy God. In times of adversity, we stop looking at the problem, and focus on Jesus because He is our redeemer. Jesus is the way, the truth and the life. The result of trusting the Lord is peace in every storm, hope in the outcome, and a knowing that God is at work in us to do and to will for His great pleasure. We always win because Jesus paid the price of our unrighteousness. We have access to abundant life and freedom. It’s just a matter of submitting to His plan.

    So, Habakkuk wants to know why the intervention of the Lord tarries. People get battle weary and war torn. God’s ways are higher than our ways, that’s why we have faith in Him. Perhaps rescue lingers because God is giving those ensnared by sin, time to see their own wickedness and repent. Perhaps the Holy Spirit is dogging them, convicting them because He dearly loves them and desires to free them from the straight jacket of sin. It’s written that it’s Gods desire that none perish but come to the knowledge of God. He has His hand out, He wants everyone to come to Him. Maybe it’s not about us, but about those who do not know Him. You see, we know God. We know His mercy and grace. We know love never fails. We know to wait on the Lord patiently because He has a better plan. That is faith. I think this chapter is a reminder to live patiently by faith while God works in the lives of others. In the interim, we have a life of peace and adventure, provision and hope.

    Sometimes love asks us to wait.

Autumn

There is a change of seasons happening now, both in the natural world and the spiritual realm. I love fall colors, crisp air, smells of warm spices and burning leaves. Autumn is a time of harvest before the winter rest. Fall is a gathering of the land’s offerings. Carefully tended gardens transform into mason jars of warm goodness, abundance and nourishment. As summer’s green leaves wither, fall’s fruit is triumphantly exposed. Bright oranges, reds and yellows decorate the trees. Nature is heavy with produce, colors calling attention to harvest before the plant die off for the winter. Time slows, the sun’s brightness fades to muted shades of autumn. Fall is, to me, the most beautifully evident season. As things die off, more abundance is exposed. The weather changes, coolness soothes the air. It’s a little darker in the evenings. Comfort. It’s a time of cinnamon and comfort.

In the Spirit, we lay our gatherings before the Lord in gratitude and wonder. We take inventory of His blessings with a thankful heart. It feels warm, vibrant and peaceful. We are ready for a cozy winter, safe in the Lord’s provision, warm in His lovingkindness, and amazed at His never-ending goodness. Fall is a time of reflection and worship. As I look upon the mountains of winter squashes, pumpkins and melons; the rows of jars filled with vegetables and fruits, I reflect on the abundance and generosity of a God who meets every need, gives more than enough, and loves so vastly, it takes a lifetime to catch a glimpse of it. As I gather my thoughts into a quiet place of warm thankfulness, I see myself throwing old broken branches, brown leaves of doubt and dead vines of fear into the burning barrel. As the smoke rises to Heaven, the Lord smiles on my sacrifice of flesh simply because He is good. There is an undercurrent of excitement, expectation and wonder. What are we going to do Lord? I can’t wait to find out your next plan!

Have you ever raked up a big pile of vibrantly colored fall leaves just so you could jump in the heap and play like a child? For me, turning around and falling backward into a pile of leaves is the very definition of my spiritual autumn. A falling into the trustworthy arms of Jesus, laughing and playing joyfully in His provision and protection. It’s like a game, a hayride with my best friend. Fall is freedom, a release of finished things; an expectation of comforting things. Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. I encourage you today, to jump in the leaves, play in the beauty He has given. Enjoy Him. He is the creator of all things, the giver of all things. The season has changed, the harvest of abundance is here. Jump in! Taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessings.

The Clock

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I have a really cute clock in my study.  The clock ticks but it doesn’t tell time.  The battery is defective.  It makes the right sound, but it’s sole function as a time teller, does not stay true.  The time is off by hours, not just a few minutes.

It’s just like us in that the thing that runs the whole mind, will and emotions, may need a fresh charge.  The clock can never work  accurately as intended if its source of power isn’t recognized and maintained.  The clock can’t rely on itself to work properly.  It needs that power connection to run.  Refresh the battery, and see what happens.  When the clock submits to the correct source of power, it works perfectly.

What’s your source of power?  What keeps you thinking accurately?  Are you connecting first with Jesus for power and strength and wisdom?  Are you ticking along kind of halfway?  Maybe it’s time to change the battery!   Blessings!

The Library, the Tree, and the River. A Conversation with Jesus

Come to the Library. What do you see?

Very dimly, I see walls and stacks covered with books. My focus is on the library table I’m sitting at. There are rows of tables. I’ve been here several times; the building is magnificent in its gold leafed splendor. The stacks of books are old and worn, but not dusty.

Open that big ancient book before you.

There are pictures and notes and footnotes below the pictures. The images are clear, lifelike, almost like photos. There are pictures of events; Jesus in the boat on the Galilee, Moses on Mt. Sinai, Moses in his reed boat on the Nile.

This is the history scrapbook of the world. I’ve recorded everything; every event, every life, every tear, every joyful moment. See the tiny book there on the table? Open it. What do you see?

I see gray pages and black lettering with black and white dull pictures. It’s dim and hard to see. It seems insignificant. I’m not interested, I want to see the big book again.

This is the book of the devil’s attempts at victory. He is insignificant. It’s a shame, he was so beautiful and loving at first. It broke my heart to expel him from Heaven. He tries to steal, kill and destroy, but my children resist him. He has done much damage, but he lives in frustration because of my victory. His book of triumph is small, love always prevails. You must fight him and keep him insignificant in your life and that of your family and friends. Yes, he is at work, but I have given you gifts to discern and overcome.

Look at the book of maps. These are the places the gospel has been presented. It is updated daily. Almost every piece of earth has now heard it. People can accept or reject it; their choice.

We are no longer in the library. We are walking in a park; the park of Heaven where the trees and the river are. There is the Tree of Life. It bears fruit unto righteousness. The leaves are for the healing of the nations. Revelation 22. Somehow I remembered that.

Pick some leaves. Hold them and pray for the healing of the nations; for old wounds and resentment from past conflicts and wars to cease. Pray for truth to come to leadership. Wash them in the water of the River of Life and let the healing sap flow all over the earth.

Yes Lord. Please bring healing to the hearts and minds of the world. I’m realizing that the leaves I hold are extremely powerful. I stop and pray for the world leaders. An urgency rises in my spirit. Jesus continues after a minute.

The Tree of Life exists in Heaven for your use on earth. It can’t thrive on earth; it would eventually be destroyed. But here, it is safe, and its provision never fails. Come and pick its fruit, come receive divine health, wealth and everything you need for life and godliness. It’s all here in Heaven, right before my throne, being fed by the River of Life. Come and take all you need. It is not to high and out of reach. You are a citizen of Heaven; the fruit is free. The leaves will not cease to exist until they are no longer needed. Use them.

I’m taking the fruit of freedom from sin and shame and I’m feeding the spirits of my family and friends. I’m taking the fruit of provision and feeding my loved one’s health, healing and peace. I declare they rise with health. I’m taking that fruit of the Spirit into my life. I receive the providence of God. Thank you for that. I can come and pick the fruit any time. Anyone can!

I realize, I am standing on the main street of Heaven, right before the throne room. It’s like a huge amphitheater overlooking the park. As I slowly turn from the Tree of Life and the River, I see the Father and Son leaning toward me as they sit on their thrones, each smiling with loving eyes and excitedly giddy body language. They want me here; they invite me to partake of Heaven and share the good news on earth. Yes! They are so happy! It looks like they are saying, another one comes and understands! Yes! I realize I can come visit anytime! Someday I will live here, but now I’m free to come and visit. I’m free to partake of the Tree and the River, the library and vaults of promise. Everyone can!

To live in the supernatural is normal. Let people know there is more. You are citizens of Heaven temporarily assigned to Earth. You are welcome to visit and partake. My throne room is open to all who believe. You must pray Eph 1 over the Church. Remove the blinders, rebuke the lies of Satan. Open the eyes of their understanding with the Word that they may know the riches of my glory, all freely available to them. If I would give my only son, why would I not give everything else? Tell them I have set before them all life and
liberty and abundance. There’s so much more! Take!

Spiritual Irrigation

We are irrigating our small 5-acre patch of alfalfa that happened to come with the new house. It’s hard work for people our age, but somebody’s gotta do it. Twice a day my husband and I go out and change the location of the irrigation pipes. Each galvanized pipe is about 16 feet long and we hand carry them, hook them together and repeat the process until all the line of pipes are moved to the new location in the field. Then we turn the water on to fill the line and start the big gun sprinklers. It takes a little over an hour to unhook the pipes, walk them to the next location and start the water. The work is hard. We tromp through 3 ft tall alfalfa plants wearing heavy rubber boots; mosquitos swarming all around, sweat dripping, bending and lifting and carrying. I’m kinda proud of us for even being able to do it! It is a priority. If we don’t steward the crop, it will die and we would be left with a field of dried up twigs, unusable as feed for neighboring farm animals.

Faith is like that. If I don’t persevere to water my spirit with the Word of God, I will dry up, be ineffective and ignorant of His immeasurable goodness. If I don’t immerse myself in conversation with God and scripture, I won’t know Him, know His character and His profound love. Just as water brings nourishment and vitality to the alfalfa, so does time with Jesus do for me. It nurtures me that I may provide spiritual food to others. Today I will pull on my spiritual boots, push myself past my physical limits and stretch my ability to persevere. Why? Because I know God will do what He says He will do according to His Word.

I pray for you in this moment my friends, that the big gun sprinklers of glory stretch over you, educate you, and water your soul and spirit. I pray the Word of God opens the eyes of your understanding and fills you with supernatural vitality. Let the love of the Father saturate you and bring you peace. Blessings.

The Big Merger

    I see the word MERGER. It’s just like that, in all caps, bold and standing alone. The Spirit says, many churches are wimping out when they need to be ramping up. It’s time for The Church to come together in one accord, fully submitted to the Holy Spirit, listening, flowing. I see stadiums and huge convention centers filling with hungry people who want to hear the true gospel; the good news that Jesus came to save them from sin and death because He radically loves them. I see pastors working together as the disciples did, to bring love and truth to the lives of people, individually and corporately. No one is first, no one is last, they are all working in tandem to accomplish the Kingdom of God on Earth. No personal agendas, no man-made mission statements, no fear, no denominations, sects or rule books; just love. Jesus brought love, abundant life, peace and freedom. He is our king; we follow His example.     

    Let’s look at the last command of Jesus before He ascended to Heaven. Just preceding the statements in Mark 16:17-18, He tells the disciples in verses 15 and 16, to go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. The great commission. Keep in mind this is an appearance to the disciples after He died and rose from the grave. He conquered death, the very definition of the Dunamis power of God. It’s that powerful. He delegates this authority to use His power over to the disciples. He promises them in Luke 24:49, that the Holy Spirit would come and endue them with the power. Acts 2:39. That same authority and power and equipping passes down to us. So, how do you know you are getting the full meal deal at church? The answer is right there in Mark 17-18.

        17. And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; the will speak with new tongues; 18. They will take up serpents (demonic deceivers, not actual snakes); and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick and they will recover. Mark 16:17-18. The power to overcome obstacles, give proof, meet needs and preach the good news.

    Ok wait, lots of Jesus loving churches don’t believe in spiritual gifts. Lots believe the use of tongues is a spiritual gift that needs to be interpreted. Let’s clarify. There are two very different giftings of tongues. The special gift of tongues used in a corporate setting is when a person stands up, delivers a message in tongues then sits down. That message, according to 1 Corinthians, must be interpreted to be in line with the Bible and the Spirit. If it’s of God, and usually is, the interpretation follows. Personal tongues is a holy and spiritual language given to any believer who will ask for it. It’s a prayer language, it’s evidence of the infilling of the Holy Spirit. When we don’t know how to pray or what to pray, the Spirit prays through us. It is extremely useful for prayer in agreement with God and personal edification. The Bible is the will and word of God. If spiritual gifts are criticized and negatively judged, it grieves the giver. Just saying. All you need to do is ask the Holy Spirit for understanding and scripture to back it up.

    Are we seeing this in our churches today? Does a typical Sunday service come alive with the glory and manifestations of the Spirit of God? Are there testimonies of His goodness in everyday lives? Is the Holy Spirit revered and allowed to move? Are there healings, miracles, deliverance and prophesies? I believe the vision I’m seeing is God in His goodness, proving Himself to His people in spectacular methods that benefit them in very personal ways. He wants our hearts, our attention and our devotion. He wants to set us free of hurts and sufferings. We are the Church. Let’s merge with one another in unity, giving God the glory and praise. Blessings.