Paper Dolls

 

When you were a child, did you play with paper dolls?  I remember breathlessly waiting for the newest edition of McCall’s magazine to arrive in the mailbox.  It seemed like a month was an eternity.  It was so exciting to flip through the pages and find the paper dolls.  Do you remember them?  The dolls were made of heavy stock paper and you cut them carefully out of the page.  The dresses were the latest style, outlined with little black hash marks, ready to cut out.  These were printed on thin magazine paper and you had to be careful to cut out not just the dress, but the all-important little tabs that folded over the paper doll and held the dress in place.

I remember having a box to keep all my dolls and dresses safe.  I learned very quickly that they had to be treated very carefully because they are only made of paper and are very fragile.  One careless move could crush the paper, irreversibly wrinkle or tear it.  I had to be particularly aware of the little tabs that held the dresses on the doll.  Folding them over and over again to dress the doll created a weak spot and they eventually broke.  I remember trying to tape them but they couldn’t be repaired successfully.  What a heartbreak, especially when the dress was a favorite.   Oh how I loved my paper dolls.  Every doll had a name and a personality.  We had tea parties together.  We acted out elaborate dramas together.  They were my treasured rainy day companions.

There are times I’ve felt as fragile as a paper doll.  There are times I’ve had to give up what I was clothed with because it was no longer the season.  Sometimes we become complacently happy with how we are clothed.  Something happens and God comes along, gently drawing us out of our comfortable place.  He says look, that dress is torn and wrinkled, it’s out of style.  Look with My eyes.   I have come to cover you with My garment.  I want you to discard the flimsy tabs that held that old dress and embrace a new, strong and smooth fabric.  I have not only mended the rips in your garment, but I have created a new one specifically for you.

This is Kingdom living.  This is an embraceable moment with Jesus, one you never forget.  What unspeakable joy to look upon His face and see new beginnings, new goals, new faith and new worship.  He always keeps us fresh.  He is careful not to crush us, to wear us out.  He makes all things new.  He sweetly reminds us He is always with us; He carefully keeps us protected in a special place.  He preserves us and renews us.

Because I know this, no matter what life throws my way, I can keep going.  I know that I know that He will never leave me exposed.  He is my fortress, my protector and my friend.  What amazing peace and joy it is to know Jesus.

The Race

I like Nascar races, I admit it.  For 3 hours or so you sit on the couch eating special Sunday  snacks and enjoying the crashes, the near misses and the drama of the arguments.  An anticipation builds as the last 30 or so laps come around.  Something in the air changes.  The closer to the end, the more exciting it gets.  Strategies become clear; skill and endurance become paramount.  By the time the final lap comes around, the fans are on their feet.  All the spectators are caught up in the exhilaration, thousand are screaming and holding their breath at the same time.

So it is with us.  In Hebrews we are encouraged to run with endurance the race set before us.  It’s the last lap, the great cloud of witnesses is on its feet cheering with expectation of victory.  The atmosphere is electric with anticipation.

Endurance.  How do we maintain that?  We must renew our spiritual vitality.  Look at Hebrews 12:12-15.

12.  Therefore strengthen the hands which hang down and the feeble knees, 13. and make straight paths for your feet so that what is lame may not be dislocated but rather be healed.  14. Pursue peace with all people and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord; 15.  looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled.”

The instructions are clear.  YOU are to strengthen yourself with the Word of God.  Refresh yourself in His grace and mercy.  Encourage yourself by remembering what God has done in the past and what He has promised to do in you.  You know the perfect character of God, you know He never leaves you nor forsakes you.  He is the author and finisher of your faith.  Look to Him as you breathe in that second wind of the Spirit.  You know this is a joint effort with Jesus.  His word, His breath strengthens you.  It’s intimate and empowering.  For He knows the plans He has for you.  You only need to stand up, seek Him carefully and run forward, denying offense to cloud your view.

You see, you are not alone.  This is a global race.  Every member of the Body of Christ has an important role to play, a perfect piece of the plan.  With every one of us seeking God and running with endurance, we partner with him for the great final victory.  Be encouaged!  Pray and go forward with what He’s whispered in your ear.  Look up to the cheering crowd of witnesses who have done their part and are now partnering with you for yours.  The crashes are over, the smell of victory is coming!

Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make YOU complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever.  Amen.  Hebrews 1:20-21.

The Fruit Trees

On January 21, 2016,  I was sitting in heaven with Jesus just talking about things.  I wasn’t physically there, I was visiting in the Spirit.  I asked Jesus to show me a tree in heaven.  He loves to show us things and I love trees.  We walked over to a magnificent orchard, all the trees heavy with huge pieces of colorful juicy fruit.  Some I recognized from earth, some were different.  I became perplexed because I couldn’t reach the fruit.  It was growing to high for me to reach.  Jesus smiled and lifted me up so I could reach the fruit to pull a piece down for myself.

Jesus told us to go and produce much fruit.  He esteems the fruit of our labors for the Kingdom and holds that fruit high.  He lifts it, protects it and asks us to preserve it, look after it and nurture it.  He asks us not to allow it to fall and rot, but to become fully ripe and ready.  He holds us up, enables us and equips us to apprehend that which seems too high for us.  He uses fruit as a description of our spiritual growth.  Fruit is our harvest and a description of his empowerment in us.

Here in the natural I do a lot of home canning.  We preserve earthly fruit by adding sugar to sweeten.  We add a little lemon juice for tartness which actually enhances the flavor.  We add thickening or pectin to elevate the depth and body of the end product.  After it’s cooked and boiled down, what is revealed is a perfect undiluted addition to our daily bread.   Bread is great for toast, but by adding jam, it’s something special, something more.   It signifies what He gives us is above and beyond just what we need.  Jam is a sweet, thick joy in a jar.  It’s the result of fruit that we picked and preserved throughout a whole process.

So we should do in the spiritual.  Cultivate your fields.  Minister to people, tell them the good news.  Prepare the way for a fruitful harvest of love, healing and deliverance.  Then, preserve what the Lord has entrusted to you, always relying on Him to enable you.  Pray for those you love.   Preserve that fruit.  Be a faithful steward of that which has been given to you.

I love that God partners with us in gathering fruit and in it’s preservation.  I love that He keeps a record of our fruit and watches over it.  I love that He lifts us up, prepares us, boils us down and refines us.  How sweet you are to Him beloved friends.

Keep the Son in Your Eyes

 

This is a word I received the other day while visiting with Jesus.  It’s on the warning side of exhortation.  I have checked it against scripture and with a person I highly esteem in the knowledge of such things.  I feel confident now to share it.

Revival is coming like a flood. It’s different from the past. Revival is coming to your homes, your gatherings; not in your dead churches where control and opposition quench the Spirit. It is coming to places open to Me, open to repentance. Get on your knees and allow me in.

You hungry ones, open your homes. Don’t be deceived, it’s not all fun and partying, a grabbing of blessing. It’s serious. Give me honor. Repent and be washed by the flood. Break down strongholds, deny flesh, deny entry to spirits that work against the knowledge of God.

No more games, no more wimpy Christians. Get in or out, but don’t be lukewarm. Complacency is a stronghold. Fear is a stronghold. People love God but deny my power. They love to hear themselves speak. They teach tolerance of fleshly desires. Excuses, excuses. Stop it. Come to repentance, drink the pure water of the Word and the wisdom of the Spirit. Stop mollycoddling and enabling. Stubbornly believe. Set your face like flint toward Me. I will reveal more of Myself to you if you will believe. 2 Peter

You can’t’ advance without the Word of God. This is a military action. My army is weak and ineffective as foot soldiers. The few generals are strong, but the Word gets confused by the time it filters down to the troops. Teachers beware. If you knew the Word, you would not compromise the faith of your students.

My army can’t battle a head cold, let alone their own flesh or the attack of the enemy. The devil uses the flesh to get the mind confused, to get temptation in the forefront of one’s thinking. They pray and pray and see no result. They battle their desires to no avail. Repent and rise up. Mount up and get your eyes on Me. I am angry with this generation, tears flow from my eyes for their ignorance and selfishness.

Yes, I am a mighty fortress, but my warriors have no foundation, no knowledge, and no training in how to use their weapons. They are deceived into thinking they need only sit and wait, but remember this: Go ye into all the world and preach the good news! Everyone in the army of God has a purpose and a plan for their life. Please loved ones, you are important, you are empowered and you are crucial to the body. Go then, go in victory.

A New Revelation

This is a new one for me and you will either love it or delete me. It’s ok, it’s a new season.

I possess the Spiritual gift of exhortation. That means, encourager. Often times I have an urging from the Holy Spirit to pray for someone and will know the first sentence or two of what He wants communicated to that person. It’s always based in scripture, it’s always uplifting, encouraging and pertains directly to something that person is concerned with.

In studying the word “exhortation” and it’s use for the Body of Christ, I was interested to learn that there are two faces of this revelatory gift. One of course is encouragement. A word of knowledge or wisdom comes and is followed by a word of exceptional encouragement. The other side, however, means “warning” in the Greek. The exhorter issues a warning, is a watchman on the wall, and sounds an alarm when things get off kilter in the body. That’s the new season, that’s the side that is coming forth in this new year.

It takes a lot of courage for me to repeat what the Lord has given me today. I’m reluctant, but if He said “tell them”, then I will do it. I need to tell you now that I will obey God whether readers like it or not. If you want the happy encouraging devotions, please just read those and ignore this part. Either way, I believe the Lord has a message for all of us in these last days and we will find blessing in it. 2 Peter talks about the difference between false teachers and the Word of God. Know this, I believe the Word of God takes priority in all cases. We have everything we need for life and godliness because the Holy scriptures provide all knowledge and wisdom. Give that first place in the building up of your mosty holy faith.

Gimmee Cake!

Do you do this?  Am I the only one?  We just finished a really healthy dinner, low in fat and carbs, high in protein and veggies.   The dishes are done and the kitchen is sparkling so I skip on over to the couch and settle in for some TV with Mike.  About 20 minutes in I start hearing this voice in my head, screaming for a snack.  I need cake!  Cake is good, it’s carrot cake so it’s almost a vegetable.  It’s ok, just one little piece, it won’t hurt anything.  You know the drill.  The voice gets louder and louder as the minutes tick off.  Pretty soon I’m convinced the voice is also shaking me to get my attention.  I want cake!  I deserve cake!  I’ve been good all day and need a little reward!  Ok, so I give in and have just a little piece.  That’s when the real trouble starts.

2 Corinthians 10:3-5 came up this morning in my prayer time.

3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh.  4 “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds.  5 casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,”

Well then, that shines a lot of light on the problem.  The flesh argues, creates strife, anxiety and gets your mind twisted up.  Your flesh hammers at your mind bringing confusion and frustration.  Give me cake, give me cake!  Then, when you give in and shut that voice up, the devil swoops in to berate you and make you feel guilty and condemned.  Depression, negative self-talk.  He loves to grab our weaknesses and make them forefront in our minds.  But wait, here comes the flesh again gearing up to demand another snack.  Sugar after all, is addictive, and now that you’ve had some, it stands to reason that you need more.  So what do I do?  I decide that’s it!  I will just go on a diet and deny my flesh the satisfaction of unhealthy sugary goodies.  Sentence imposed, no more snacks, gavel down!  And what happens?  You guessed it, epic fail.  Now the devil is not only making you feel bad for eating, he’s berating you as a complete failure in life, doomed to be chubby.  And, the whole cycle begins again the next day.

God said He would never leave us nor forsake us.  That’s the Bible, that’s the truth.  So where do I go to find the answer to my fleshly dilemma?  The word of God.  I dig in and He is faithful to provide the answers.

The weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds.  This my friends, is a stronghold.  The enemy has discovered my weakness for cake and has created a stronghold from the lie that I can’t resist.  He bugs me with that till I accept that as truth rather than the truth that Jesus conquered all on the cross.  My focus is off, I need to repent and get my thinking in the right direction.

I need to use my weapons.  What are they?  The Word of God, the Blood of Jesus and the name of Jesus.  The Word is truth and like a sword, cuts off the lies of the enemy.  The Blood of the cross overcomes all evil, even death.  For we have overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony.  I declare and testify that the Word is truth, the devil is a liar and the father of lies, there is no truth in him.  I plead the blood of Jesus and I am covered by that overcoming power.  Finally, I wield the name of Jesus and all the authority that name bears.  I have the privilege of naming the name that is above all names in Heaven and in earth.  In the name of Jesus, I declare I am free, I am saved and am provided for.  I am now equipped to cast down those arguments in my flesh and bring them to the obedience of Christ.

 

So the next time I think I need some cake, I’m prepared to do battle with my flesh.  If I sow to the flesh, I will reap weakness in the flesh.  If I sow to the spirit, of the Spirit I will reap life.  Now I know, now my eyes have been enlightened.  Now I get it.  I am not weak; I am strong because He is strong in me.  I am filled with the Holy Spirit and He goes before me and is my rear guard.  I will, in His strength, resist the devil and as promised in the Word of God, he will flee from me!  I have dominion over cake, cake does not have dominion over me and the devil can no longer use it to make me crazy!

Bless the Lord!

Earthquake

Have you also sensed this? I think a lot of people have. There’s a stirring, a rumbling, a shift about to happen. I sense a great move coming. It’s global and immanent. It’s deep calling to deep.
In the natural, right before an earthquake, there is a rumbling. It’s loud. It heralds the coming of the shaking. It’s a warning given a split second before the quake begins. It seems to throw us off balance because it’s so strange, but it warns us to take cover, to hold on, to seek immediate shelter.
An earthquake is a shifting of tectonic plates that causes the ground to shudder. It would follow then that a spiritual shaking is a shift in the very foundational beliefs of Christianity men have layed down to help them control their own interpretations of God’s Word. These are interpretations that became law, false religion, false doctrine, legalism or frivolous tradition. When these things are shaken, the core of the faulty foundation is exposed. That foundation cracks and crumbles under the weight of rules and regulations, works that have no eteral value. The rubble falls away leaving the true foundation exposed. That foundation is strong, reinforced and true and it continues to stand even if the walls of the structure are gone. Once the refuse is swept away, new construction can begin with bricks of truth, peace, love and freedom.
How joyful to be relieved of things not eternal! Shake me Lord, expose wrong and faulty foundations. Let the deep roots of my salvation choke out the crumbling bricks and mortar of wrong doctrine. Free me from my own made up things that seem logical, but are not of You. Build me up in your truth, your love and your freedom.