Category Archives: Exhortation

The Lord Calls, Come Closer

    I’ve never liked reading James 3:8-10. It convicts me, points out my shortcomings. It causes me to reflect on my own behavior and I feel a little itchy. It’s easy to just avoid it, there’s so many other things to study, but there are times when it just needs to be looked at. Besides, conviction leads to repentance which leads to freedom. If God didn’t want us free and joyful, that wouldn’t be in the Bible.

        “But no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness.  Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be.” NIV James 3:8-10

    The Word of God tells us to be Holy because God is Holy. He is our father; we are to emulate Him. We are made in the image of God, so the outside is good, but our insides need a little tweaking every now and then. And that’s interesting in itself, because we tend to focus on making our outside look good while justifying the inside. Well, holiness is hard, there’s a price. The devil hates holiness. He tricks us to look at other things. I’ve noticed that discipleship and holiness are not taught like they once were. I’m not talking about religious rules and regulations, restrictions on how you act, how you dress. Those are superficial and create strife. I mean a circumcision of the heart. A turning from walking the fence, to all out commitment to trusting God and walking in love. So, what happens when we don’t understand holiness? Division, distraction, and deception. Take social media for example. Have you noticed how many good Christian people post political cartoons, those nasty statements about a leader they oppose? These are hateful. Calling that leader and their followers incompetent idiots, is unproductive and arrogant. I get it, they are angered by the actions of a particular leader, so they personally attack them. When the “likes” start coming in, it validates their opinion. They are encouraged to find more vitriol to post. Exactly what is the focus here? What have they chosen to look at? Are they at peace? Satisfied? Are they full of joy and living an abundant life? Do you bless God and then curse someone with the same mouth? My beloved, this should not be so. If this is you, the enemy has stolen your focus on God and His blessings. All you need to do is repent and change your way of thinking. Be careful what passes your eye gates and your ear gates. Look, I love you my brothers and sisters and I believe the Lord is pursuing you. He calls to you, come closer.

    Keep in mind that the enemy of our soul is relentless in causing division. That’s not to say your opinion is invalid, it’s just that it has been twisted to get you off track. God sees and hears you. He pays attention to your concerns. Rebuke the enemy and breathe in the breath of God. Live in peace knowing that God has already written your name in the book of life. There is a plan. Pray the love of God and His plans prosper in the world and in your leaders. Blessings.

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.

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!

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.

Delegated Authority

    The word “comparison” has been coming up in prayer frequently over the last few months. Today I decided to ask for wisdom that I might share it with you and perhaps free us all from something. It turns out to be much more insidious than I suspected. I was wondering why I felt unproductive. Why was I not writing anything of depth or benefit to the Body of Christ? Why haven’t I had visions and revelation lately? As I began to pray, the Holy Spirit began to reveal the stumbling block. I was comparing myself to other writers and prophetic people.

    When we compare ourselves to others, it opens nasty doors that suck you in to self-destructive thinking, torment and insecurity. The bell in my head should have gone off, but I missed it. The Holy Spirit said to me, with realization of a gifting, anointing, assignment or promise, comes an attack. The enemy isn’t going to stand idle and let you grow in power without trying to take it from you. James 4:7. Good news, we have already won, so stand up and defend your position!

     Mark 3 is a fascinating chapter, so full of wisdom and character that it took a couple of days to soak it all in. In verses 22-30, after being scrutinized and accused by the Pharisees, Jesus was angry and grieved. He mourned the blindness of the religious leaders and the false doctrine they forced on the people. He wasn’t worried about what they could do to Him, He was grieved at their hard hearts. Jesus was full of the Spirit of God. He was full of the Dunamis power, the excellent might and glorious explosive power of God that could not be quenched. So, Jesus instructed his disciples and delegated to them, His Exousia power of God, empowering them to preach the good news, heal the sick and cast out demons. The Exousia is defined as the delegated authority to use and administer the Dunamis power of God. That authority passes to us as believers, and it has never been rescinded. Wait, what? Yeah, read that again.

    Therefore, when the enemy comes against you to distract and take your joy in the Lord, your very identity in Christ and keep you from using the giftings and callings (which are irrevocable), stand your ground. Use that authority delegated to you by the Lord Jesus Himself and resist the devil and he will flee from you. It is written, it is the final word on the matter. Stand. Use your weapons with joy and expect the victory that you already have by the blood of the lamb! You are not powerless, you are mighty and you wield the Dunamis. May the shalom peace of God overtake you and bring you to your knees in joy at the wisdom and provision of our almighty God! Blessings.