Category Archives: Exhortation

Wade into the Deep

    A picture began to form in my mind as I prayed. I saw a river that began to bubble and swirl freely as it slowly danced along its way. The vision was truly clear and detailed. People were standing near the banks bundled up against the cold and rain. As I came ear the river’s edge, I saw that there was a muddy area to cross if one wanted to get in the river. Grasses and weeds were trampled in the mud, tangled, twisted and dirty. Grasses poked up through the water and I could see that getting to the middle of the river would be difficult and take determination. Upon closer examination, I saw words written on the grasses coming out of the sticky mud. The words were clear, “religious, tradition, rules, control, twisted truth, evil agenda, deception, division”. A few pushed past and made their way to the river. The believers on the banks were trying to stop people from going into the river. “Those in the river are Heretics”, they cried. “Don’t’ believe them, ignore the warnings written on the grasses, the Bible is God’s Word. Your beliefs must be from the Word, but not certain parts that don’t pertain to today! You must not believe all of it is for now. Danger! Stay here where it’s safe!” “Why do you seek more?”

    I saw many people singing and joyfully rowing a huge raft in the middle of the river where the water took on a golden glow. While the drizzly cold day affected those on the banks, the ones in and on the river were in summer clothes and looked joyfully comfortable. They were free. Their faces reflected the sunlight, their hair dry and tussled in the breeze. They waved to me and those standing near me, come! Come in, it’s glorious! I wanted to go too. I absolutely knew the Spirit of the Lord beckoned me to jump in. I traversed the muddy bank. It was like quicksand. It wanted to pull me down, suck me into the mud of that religious spirit. It wanted to hold me down, keep me enveloped in the mire. I took another step; I would not be delayed. As I fought my way past the mud and acknowledged the knife-like leaves of warning, I was emboldened by the Spirit of God. He wants to go! He wants me to go! I heard Him say, “Go without fear, refuse to acknowledge the mire. Go to the deep by faith, be free. Don’t let fear and traditions of men paralyze you”. I broke through! I shed my heavy coat and swam freely to the center of the river. I began to play in the golden sweet-scented water. The farther down I dove, the greater the comfort and assurance. I know this place. I know this voice. I have been here before. This is real. This is the presence of God; He is bathing us in love.

    For weeks I have been confronted by a divisive religious spirit that attempts to attack from every angle. Friends, family, media. The battle has been hard, but I knew I would win because I believe the Word. I rebuke that spirit. It must flee. The battle is done, victory is in Jesus. The enemy has failed again. I speak life over you my friends. Your joy is a target. Guard your heart in all truth. I speak truth and God’s gracious peace over you. Keep going!

The Fire is Coming!

    I see great pillars of fire coming upon the world. Right here in my hometown, I see fire and glory falling like never before. I see people rushing to Jesus, running to salvation and righteousness. Who will help them? Are we ready, Church? My heart is bursting with expectation and urgency. I hear the words, preparation, preparation. I hear, tell them, tell them; shout to them! Oh Lord, my entire being quivers with the anticipation of Your presence, Your grace and mercy falling on massive crowds.

    Church, examine yourself. Look at your resources, plan for hundreds rushing to alters, make way! Open double doors of welcome to the lost. Now is not the time to shrink back, but to jump in the river and lead them! I see prayer groups all across the United States. I see faithful intercessors crying out and gifted administrators forming plans and scenarios. I see nothing locked, no one excluded, nothing that would hinder the great move of the Spirit. Think bigger! Make plans for spontaneous baptisms, plans to recruit people steeped in holiness to bring the desperate to the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Come Church, come to your knees in prayer and fasting. Partner with the Lord for His desire upon the earth. Speak life and declare His word. We do not want to be found with no fuel for our lamps. We must be ready to light the way.

    Oh how Jesus loves us! Look at our lives. We are chosen for such a time as this. We are not spectators looking for entertainment, we are commissioned! We are assigned! We are free to go and do as we are commanded. Put on love people and get prepared. Miracles are coming! Let’s do this! Blessings.

    

Be a Bridge

    I saw this yesterday and then again today, but the view was expanded. I suspect the Lord wants this written to the Church. You have an assignment. With all the division and strife tearing at the fabric of the nation, may we join together and break the momentum.

    In my Spirit I see a long narrow canyon. It’s only about 6 feet wide and 6 feet deep. Liberals and conservatives of every ideology stand along their designated sides of the canyon staring the other side down in hate, intolerance, and disgust. Idiots! Each thinks the other is an idiot. A person, nobody special, suddenly jumps in the chasm. She extends her left hand to a person on the left bank and her right hand to a person on the right bank. A couple more people jump in and do the same. Soon there are miles of people standing in the gap and reaching to clasp the hand of those on the edge. Looking down the length of the chasm, it appears to be a human braid. Angels begin to stir in and around the gap standers, holding their arms up and bringing a surprising peace to the crowd. I can see it, it is gossamer and tightly woven.

    The ground beneath the feet of the gap standers begins to rise. In a whisper, the gap is gone and all stand on solid ground, a long braid of humanity in unity and trust. Opinions, assumptions, lies they believed and evil plots fell into the chasm. There is no strife. People begin to weep and laugh and experience peace and joy as they mingle together and hug. There is unity and love. They look at one another with their heart eyes, loving and caring. They see so clearly. The hear so clearly. All evil was buried.

This is the beginning of understanding. Love covers a multitude of sins. Love conquers hate and discontent. Jesus has stepped in. The Holy Spirit has poured out the love of Jesus. Bask in it. Stay in it. Look at things differently my beloved. Change your perspective. Focus on Jesus and see the world through Him. Be a bridge.

    

The Chase

    Last night as I was falling asleep, a profound thought process began to form in my mind that caused me to sit up and pay attention. Have you ever wanted something so desperately that you did everything in your power to obtain it? When you got it, did you quickly lose interest and move on to the next thing? Yes, me too. In life, we engage in are many pursuits, avenues of enjoyment and knowledge. We are bombarded with opportunities and choices. Something piques our interest and we dive in.

It’s true that in so many things, the hunt, the seeking, turns out to be more exciting than the capture. Once victory is achieved, one quickly loses interest and moves on to something shiny and new. I used to collect jewelry. I loved shiny, blingy rings. I would save and finally purchase what excited my eyes. Soon thereafter, I found myself saving for the next shiny, blingy thing that caught my eye at the jewelry store.

There is only one thing I have ever found that continues to be exhilarating from chase to capture and that is Jesus. To know Him, to really know and understand the depths of His love and wisdom, is breathtaking. The pursuit never ends because there is no end to Him. When I discover a facet of Him or obtain understanding of His way, the victory is overwhelmingly glorious. The joy is unspeakable. Yet, unbelievably, there is more to find! To pursue Jesus again and again is so satisfying, so fulfilling and so joyful, that I am compelled to press on. I am desperate to know Him and the riches of His glory, the unfailing love, the glory of His presence. It is remarkable. For this, the longing for more, is unquenchable in a most pleasant way. I feel a burst of longing and yet satisfaction at the same time. Peace and fire both ignite my heart at the same moment. How can this be? There is only one way, the way of truth and love and life; Jesus. The pursuit of Jesus is both completely satisfying and yet hunger stirring. To study Jesus creates within us a beautiful invitation to find more treasure in Him. It ignites us to know Him, to understand His words, and to love Him increasingly and deeply. This chase is a lifelong, never-ending quest that never gets old, never is a chore, and is always satisfying. Go for it! Jump into this divine thirst that dwells within you! Take one step and see it grow! Blessings.

The Joy Bubble

    There is a moment when I experience a sudden, ecstatic, physical feeling deep in my chest. My spirit jumps and warmth spreads throughout my body. The joy bubble is rising up, overwhelming me with the presence of God, His healing love and never-ending grace. It’s a blissful happiness, a bubble of exhilaration only God can give.

When I find myself feeling hurt and sad and frustrated with life, I begin to cry out to the Lord for help. He gently reveals my mistakes so I might I repent of worry, of busyness, of fear. I repent of listening to the enemy’s lies of division and distraction. I lay my heart out before the Lord in anguish and shame. I begin to praise Him and all my hurt and fear and sadness is gone. It vanishes and is replaced with the persistent love of God, the knowledge that He has this, and all I need to do is cast my care upon Him.

    Only God can instantly heal a broken heart. Only God can remove fear and worry in a moment and replace it with a steadfast confidence, a knowing, that His love for me is greater and greater than anything I face. I praise Him, I love Him, I know that I know He is my Savior. Jesus said, I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one gets to the Father except through Me. He has broken the chains that bound me and given me a way, the truth, and a life. Thank you, Lord for your Joy bubble!

Rainbow

21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’ Matthew 7:21-23 New King James Version (NKJV)

 

    How many times during this pandemic, have we heard people say, “God is doing this for a reason”. That statement grieves my heart; stabs like a knife my friends, as it does yours. If only they knew You Jesus, they would know that You are not mad at us, You Lord, are not teaching us a lesson, and you have no part in this. There is no virus in Heaven. It is not the time for judgment.

    To know God, one must know His Word; Jesus the Word that became flesh, and the written word, the Bible. It is His heart, His mind and His intentions. He promised, after the flood that He would never again destroy mankind. He evidenced that with a rainbow, and every time one appears to this day, we are reminded of His promise and His goodness.

    He loves us with an everlasting love, so deep and full that we cannot fathom it. Can you stop for a moment and imagine how His heart cries out for the world at this moment? Can you imagine the tears? Can you imagine the grief at the ignorance of His chosen people? Please choose to know Him. Please choose to completely open yourself to Him, to let Him in, to know you. The Bible says that in the last days even the elect will be deceived. Are we not deceived when we think we don’t need to know the Word? Are we not deceived to think God is so high that we cannot know His heart? Ask the Holy Spirit to show you the character and love of God. Know Him as an intimate friend, enter into that deep relationship and let Him know you. Selah

Blessings.

 

Stay in Your Lane

    I was driving interstate 84 near Nampa, Idaho the other day. A large diesel pickup truck pulling a covered utility trailer was loudly weaving in and out of traffic. He was going too fast and was careless. It made me feel agitated to be close to him. His recklessness was causing me to work harder to keep out of harm’s way. I was not enjoying my ride. If he would just stay in his lane, the whole road would be smoother and safer for everyone.

And so it was for the early Church in Acts 6. Pentecost had just taken place. Thousands were coming to salvation and the infilling of the Holy Spirit. There was abundant joy in the streets as people heard the good news. Programs were initiated to feed the widows and orphans, things were happening, people were zealous to know about Jesus. The number of followers, disciples, was growing every day. There arose a disagreement between the Hellenists and the Hebrews. Now these are two different groups of Jews living in Jerusalem. The Hellenists were Greek, and the Hebrews were natives of Israel. Both groups were followers of Christ. Both had a different world view and different culture. Both wanted to make the programs and charities work, but they disagreed on how to do it. Meanwhile, the 12 disciples were devoted to prayer and intercession for this amazing new revelation of God happening right in front of them. They knew from the example of Jesus, that the only way to understanding and wisdom was through prayer and intercession. The battle was on immediately, the devil did not want this movement to succeed so he started strife. The 12 recognized their dilemma and refused to be distracted by division and silly arguments. After seeking God, they asked some very trustworthy devotees to find 7 men who were of faith and integrity. These first Deacons were appointed to run the everyday administration of the Church. That delegation of authority freed up the disciples to pursue their assignment of prayer. In that exact moment, the Lord promoted the 12 to the office of Apostle. They were released to pray and take the Church on to greater things. The Church, (the body of believers), survives today because of the alignment with God through prayer.

    The Church grew exponentially as a result of the apostles’ dedication to communication with God and praying out the plan of God. More and more people were filled with the Holy Spirit and given gifts to edify one another. New disciples were raised up to work according to their giftings in administration, hospitality, healing, teaching, prophecy, exhortation and more. They shared all things and worked together in harmony and the groundwork was prayer.

     Are you given the gift of healing? Do that. Does the person gifted in hospitality tell the one gifted in administration what to do? Does the one gifted in exhortation correct the evangelist’s itinerary? Beloved, stay in your lane. Be you and complete your assignment so you may prosper in your calling! I thank God for you! Blessings.

    

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.

This is one of my favorite posts because it’s a personal journey to freedom. It’s raw truth. It’s also not popular as posts go. That’s ok.

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!