Sunday, November 29, 2015

The Forgotten Field


 
The forgotten field

 
I took a walk in my dream last night.

It was a lonely brook near a lonely hill, a small overgrown wood lay near the eastern edge and to the west a small forgotten field.

In its glory it was the prized treasure of a farmer and his growing family but now all that remained of those years was a broken down well long emptied of its cool clean water.

I have often wondered where I get that sentimental curiosity, the one that asks the questions that no one seems to ask anymore.   I see a second hand tea cup or handmade apron in a store and wonder of the stories they would tell if they could speak. Of who drank tea by the fire while reading Dickens. Or who filled their homes with the aroma of cookies while their children wiped flour caked hands on the carefully stitched rose at the bottom of the skirt. Whose memories are these that for a moment seem to catch my attention and imaginations?

But this field, was haunting as if the memories had never wandered off. It was different than a mere cup or apron from a store filled with disposable memories. This field was alive. It had a temperature. It had a breath and a brain. It could hear and see, it had a heartbeat. But more to the point it was filled with destiny and purpose, promise and hope.

As I walked, I lightly caressed the tall golden grass that met my fingertips. I saw and heard the grasshoppers playing themselves in a beautiful harmonic way that blended with the winds that gently blew through the leaves of the trees and the grasses as the swayed in rhythm. The brook babbled as its smooth water made its small rocks smoother still with its persistent flow. I knelt low to the ground and picked up dirt that was composted perfectly into gold for a harvest by all the years of waste from the wild plants and animals. This place had a value that had been completely forgotten by any man.

It saddened my heart to think of the old farmer who once valued this field, who once cared for it and fed and watered its soil with his own sweat and toil. What would the farmer say if he could see his field sitting and waiting for someone who would never come to tend this valuable soil? What a waste, what a sad thing to see such a precious treasure go untended, unseen and unutilized.

It’s that moment in a dream that you feel yourself waking up, but you are not quite ready to leave. I held on but the ground beneath me shook, it stopped for a moment. I realized it was the earth waking up, the field was as alive as you or I, breathing in and out. Was it me waking up or was it the field I could not say. But just as soon as I awoke from that world and into this, I wished for just one more moment there. To go back and treasure that field through the eyes of the farmer one more time.

I guess this is the part where I tell you that the field was alive and that it exists not just in dreams. You don’t have to dream to find it although in dreams it seems our fields often find us. For me my forgotten field is not your forgotten field but I would guess that most of us have one somewhere. Few of us make plans to cultivate and harvest and fewer still would recognize it if we saw it.

My forgotten field has five names. It is the husband I promised to care for on our wedding day and the four children I named before they were even in my arms. I see the farmer pointing to places in the field where he wants me to explore, cultivate and harvest, places that this inheritance of ministry that he has given me has in time become like the field with the empty well. It happens even to the best of us that we are given a place where will be so powerful if we can only just remember the value of it and yet we look for other fields to find our purpose.

Have you noticed what time can do to value of things? It either devalues them or makes them more valuable. I have a picture by my front door, when I first put it there it was new and fun to look at and now it is just the wall for as much as I notice it. Have you stared at an image for so long that it loses focus. The monotony of life can cause us to live in a state of un-appreciation and begin to devalue the precious things in life. The forgotten field is usually a place you lived for so long that you couldn’t see its true value anymore. I live by the beautiful Rocky Mountains and yet I have gotten so used to them that I don’t see the beauty anymore but just a background, not un-like a screen saver on a computer. How can we break the pattern of our forgetfulness? How can we see again with fresh eyes? Thankfully all we need to do is go to the farmer that gave us the field in the first place and ask him for fresh eyes.

I believe that our forgetfulness is the reason the bible says that we are to begin anew every morning, and that we are to bring, thanksgiving and praise to Him.

Psalm 136: Give thanks to the Lord for He is good, His love endures forever. Give thanks to the God of Heaven. His love endures forever.  

I had all this seed to sow and I was looking for a field to plant it in. A place to put some roots deep inside and all the while my forgotten field was waiting for me.

Where or who is your forgotten field? Do you know that God has been waiting for you to walk once again in your field of giftedness, in your season of promise? Let Him lead you back and although some weeds may need pulling and some wells re dug for water, there will be a harvest, for you will not toil in vane when you toil for love.

 

 

 

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Cheap Faith


 
Cheap Faith


This time of year with the Holidays approaching, it always brings to my mind the nativity scene, gifts, and time spent with family and friends.  I love to give gifts and see the joy on the faces of those who, for that few minutes, have to wonder what is inside. I always love the idea of giving something to my loved ones that will be of true value and great expense and deep meaning to them; so expensive or time consuming that the person receiving the gift will be truly blessed and moved into a spirit of gladness. 

I was asked a challenging question in my devotional this morning. “Are you willing to trust and fulfill His purposes no matter the cost?" I have been very weary lately and very consumed by my rights as a follower of Christ thinking that I don’t deserve some of the challenges and trials that I am facing. I have been so preoccupied with defending my rights that I forgotten that Christ said there would be difficult times and that we would need to trust God through them not scream and yell to be pulled from them.

I think we easily forget that the God who provided one person with the creature comforts of first world life is also the same God of the homeless man on the corner and further still from our sight, the same God of a starving Somalian child in Africa. He doesn’t love me more or less depending on my worldly comforts or discomforts. And often times I fall victim to the same attitudes of the disciples who knew they were walking with a future king but based their perception of his power on an earthly system.

Do I stop in confusion like the disciples did when Christ refuses to be crowned with anything on this earth but a crown of thorns and persecution.  Surely they were hoping that any minute he would use the power he had to raise the dead and heal the blind to overthrow the evil rulers and take his place as King.

I find myself consumed with the truth in 1 Peter. His words although life and light to my struggles are said to a very persecuted church who was often given the choice to denounce Christ or die. And here I am almost derailing my witness because a neighbor doesn’t like the way I park, or the way a tree branch almost touches my house.  I feel offended and claim my rights to not be falsely accused over tree branches while the early church was being wiped with tree branches and hung to die on crosses made from the wood that I out of spite I refuse to trim. My tree (or struggle) is just so silly in comparison to true persecution. None the less I find myself needing Peter’s words all the same to overcome my selfishness.

1Peter 3:8-15

Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. 10 For, “Whoever would love life and see good days must keep their tongue from evil and their lips from deceitful speech.11 They must turn from evil and do good; they must seek peace and pursue it.12 For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.” 13 Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? 14 But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear their threats; do not be frightened.”15 But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord.

I felt like I was in the boxing ring with my neighbors over all of these silly things, getting pummeled over and over, and all I could say to the enemy of my soul was, “I am not supposed to be in this place of persecution, fighting for my innocence.” I gently heard God say to me yesterday as I was trying so very hard to defend myself, “Get out of the way! I will defend you, but you need to get out of the ring.” I was trying to fight the devil at a game of righteousness and the only one that can ever win that fight against him is my God; the one who paid the highest price for me to be made righteous.

I think we get very frustrated in our walk with God when the road is not straight or the things ahead look daunting. I tend to yell at crooked roads to be straight more than I take God’s hand and tell Him that I trust Him. I tend to speak to my circumstances and get angry when they don’t answer back instead of asking if this faith, to just follow no matter what. This is the priceless gift I can give my God. Hebrews 11:6 says, “But without faith it is impossible to please God.” My question to you is: Even if it is hard to have faith, is it any less important to have it?

We often fall into a Christianity of Convenience, but at the moment that our faith costs us something we tend to be less enthusiastic about it. This is a very big misunderstanding that faith should cost nothing. When something costs us our convenience, when it costs us time, or money or our pride, even our rights, we can take hope that it is not a wasted act that we do when we surrender our will but rather an act of worship to our God that honors Him very much.

1 Peter 4:12-14

12 Dear friends, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you. 13 Instead, be very glad—for these trials make you partners with Christ in his suffering, so that you will have the wonderful joy of seeing his glory when it is revealed to all the world.14 If you are insulted because you bear the name of Christ, you will be blessed, for the glorious Spirit of God rests upon you. 

I wanted to yell at the devil to get out of the way of God blessing me, but I think I just realized that the only one in the way of that is me. God blesses me when I trust Him, when I follow Him even through difficult times, when I surrender the fight to Him and believe that no matter the cost of following him, (even if it means death) that all that matters is bringing glory to his name. And although I may not like the way in front of me and I may even ask God to take it far from me like Christ did right before the crucifixion, I will say what Christ did and with all my heart surrender, “Not my will, but yours be done.” Then truly I can say that my faith was not inexpensive but costly, and my love was not cheap but of great value. This act of surrender is very time consuming and can cost a lot, so on that day when I meet my savior, I hope to present Him a surrendered heart, worth the weight of gold.
 
God help us to remember that when trials come, even small ones we can trust you and in turn trade our sorrows for dancing by living and breathing your will. Help us to turn our worldy struggles in for heavenly rewards when we choose to be surrendered to your will. Help us to love you, love our neighbors and love our enemies as you have commanded, and required of us in return for your great love. I love you so much and I want to please you so I ask for you to help me to discover how to walk in faith more every day. Amen 

Monday, October 19, 2015

Advance


Advance. We were meant for more than stalemate.

Often times we live in a state of defeatism. Maybe it is as insignificant as the looming grey of: laundry that is never finished, a sink of dishes that fills up three times a day, paperwork that stacks up, bills that always need paid, vacations that never come, diapers that always need changed or cars that always need fixed. Or maybe it is more complicated issues that seem to drain us of our will to move forward: lost jobs, serious illness, homelessness, estranged family, mental illness, learning disorders, or even death. Sometimes we just feel like any motion forward is a step back and we find ourselves in a suspended stall pattern or at stalemate with the enemy of our joy.

First it is important that we get our enemy rightly named. God is not our enemy nor does he create situations to harm or hurt his children. Many times I see people struggling with the idea that, “if God is love, than why?” The truth is that God is good and there is no evil in him. Our enemy is the one that says anything in opposition to that one beautiful truth that “God is good!” It was the first lie in the garden, it was an accusation of God’s goodness and it was a trick to steal our birthright.


A story in the bible that I have never really examined much is the story of Jacob and Esau. In this story the son with the birthright, to the entire inheritance of his father was tricked into trading his birthright for a bowl of soup to his less favored brother. I never really understood why even a famished person would be so foolish as to give up his entire wealth for something so small. If his brother refused to feed him, why didn’t he just go to his loving father for food? But I can see that this story is more about the foolish nature of men than anything else.

First we are tempted, by the sight, the smell, the touch of that which is, in the moment, so very desirable. Second we are unaware of the worth of our birthright. And third we are unaware of the advantage and the importance of the authority we have.

Our father has given us something of great value beyond any other treasure. It was taken from us in the garden and restored to us on the cross, and yet we still have so little understanding of its immeasurable value and power. Although the enemy has no legal claim on our inheritance it does not mean that he will not try to trick us out of it, steal it or try to convince us to lay it down in surrender. But we must not allow our inheritance and authority to be so easily taken from us. If it took a crucifixion to once and for all reclaim our birthright than we must never treat God’s sacrifice with such contempt as to devalue the prize of our crucified and resurrected Savior!


God says that the same power that rose Christ from the grave, is living in us! Whether it is the grey cloud of a monotonous task or the overwhelming disease that has no cure, we have been given all authority under heaven to conquer in Jesus name. I believe and I will stand on this truth that I am more than a conquer in Jesus. But unfortunately most of us are living a defeated life of less than a conqueror.

How do we claim our rights as sons and daughters of a King who wants us to be restored to our inheritance and authority? First we recognize our failures to be enough on our own and ask forgiveness. Second we ask Him to be the very thing we need in our lives; our Savior and our God. And third we accept the authority given to us by Him and walk in the power of a surrendered life to His covenants, promises, and plans. As the scripture says: If God is for us, then who can be against us. No weapon formed against us shall stand.      

Are you in stalemate? Stale mate is chess terminology meaning there is no move to make where you can win. Do you feel like life, or the enemy of your life, has you backed into a corner? How can we be better aware of the strategy that gets us not only free, but winning the way God intended.

In worship the other day God showed me a visual of the earth as a chess board and the pieces were advancing in patterns that were making a difference in this world. I saw the worshipers of God on the front lines and they were laying down their lives in surrender to God’s plan knowing that Christ was at one time a servant to all and as he advanced in total surrender to God’s plans even unto death he went through that Valley to emerge not a servant but a king! In chess when a pawn makes it to the other side of the board he is what they call promoted. At this time he can be upgraded to the most powerful piece on the chessboard. He becomes royal and can move in power over the whole board. He had the enemy at check mate on the cross and we have the advantage of our birthright in Him. We must advance, because there are so many who don’t even know that they have a BIRTHRIGHT. No more stalemate! We need to know the calling’s, gifting’s and talents he has given to us in order to advance.

 I feel as though God said we are all pawns at some level and that we are called to worship and serve the King but that there are some very special pieces on the board. These people, I believe are the ones who have been awakened to the fight and are ready to answer the call.  

The Pawn

Pawns are unusual because they move and capture in different ways: they move forward, but capture diagonally. Pawns can only move forward one square at a time, except for their very first move where they can move forward two squares. Pawns can only capture one square diagonally in front of them. They can never move or capture backwards. If there is another piece directly in front of a pawn he cannot move past or capture that piece.

I believe that Worshipers are the pawns, throughout the Old Testament when God wanted to win a battle for His people, He often called in the worshipers! They would go out in worship and spiritually a battle would ensue that could accomplish more than a physical battle, and be won for the glory of God. The people who lead us in worship are on the front lines and are often attacked by the enemy because of the stance that they take to lead the rest of God’s people into the fight. As close as they get to confronting the enemy, I find it a thing of beauty that they are not able to be taken head on and can only be captured from a blind spot. This is also a great opportunity for the other pieces like the Bishops (intercessors) to guard those blind spots. It is also important to note that these pieces are not created to move backwards, they are the titans of advancing and will feel frustrated if they feel as though they are being pushed back.   
 
The Rook (The Castle)

The rook may move as far as it wants, but only forward, backward, and to the sides. The rooks are particularly powerful pieces when they are protecting each other and working together!

The castle is a strong fortress and was always my favorite piece, I believe these pieces are very intimidating to the enemy and he can see them coming from a long ways away. They are not hidden and I feel as though this describes the leadership roles of the church, the teachers, the preachers, the evangelists. These pieces are not just intimidation for the enemy but security for all the other pieces on the board, they can see the strong towers and pillars of faith and the other pieces can in confidence follow and flow in the callings they were designed to be because at any moment they can look around and see that they are not alone. Accountability is also a vital thing to recognize for these pieces, they are more powerful when working in pairs to watch each others back.

The Bishop

The bishop may move as far as it wants, but only diagonally. Each bishop starts on one color (light or dark) and must always stay on that color. Bishops work well together because they cover up each other’s weaknesses.

I feel as though I am learning to be a Bishop. Bishops are the prophetically gifted and the Intercessors of the church. I say this because they can see things in blind spots and they move diagonally. Often times the enemy hits in our blind spot but God has gifted some of us to see the attack before it happens. A word of encouragement, a prayer for protection, a healing touch, an anointed move that in turn prevents damage and restores the stolen advantage.

 
The Knight

Knights move in a very different way from the other pieces – going two squares in one direction, and then one more move at a 90 degree angle, just like the shape of an “L”. Knights are also the only pieces that can move over other pieces

These are the Service Gifting’s. Hospitality, Encouragement, Exhortation, Giving, Helps, Mercy and so on. These pieces are the hands and feet of the Lord’s work, the movers and shakers and are able to just get in there and spread the love of Jesus no matter where they are or who they are. They are the only piece that can move around both the obstacles of the enemy and the congestion of the rest of the body of Christ. They can move in and out of places that others cannot and they are effective in rescuing the lost in unconventional ways. The knight doesn’t move like any of the rest of the pieces and cannot be expected to but without them the productivity of love is hindered.

 

One thing that I love about this analogy is that each piece is not only an offensive player but a defensive player, protecting the other pieces on the board. If our Rook is in danger our Bishop can advance in prayer to provide coverage. We are all a part of the kingdom of God and although we have different strengths and weaknesses, together we are strong. And together we can bring glory to the king and destroy the works of the enemy, uncovering the eyes of those who do not see the inheritance before them, and waking up the ancient purposes of God that have remained dormant in the hearts of men too long! We are to advance! Not shutter in fear of destruction, but to be the destroyer of the enemies’ plans and purposes, bringing freedom to the captives!

It is possible that if we feel as though we are not moving forward it is because we are not the piece that we thought we were. God might have created you to be a Rook or Bishop or Knight, or maybe a Pawn. But if we try to move in a calling that is not our own we will not be effective. Not only do we need to be active in the proper gifting’s but we need to be in the proper space on the board. The importance of knowing our gift is just as vital as the location of our hearts in that gift. It is our hearts that are often miss located more than our feet. I struggled with several callings that weren’t mine all while rejecting callings that were.

A calling can be a prison or a palace depending on the location of your heart’s desire in that thing. If we surrender our hearts to God’s calling and unlike the brother who sold his calling for a bowl of soup, we see the value in it. We can then be blessed instead of cursed in that area. I am mom of four and my home can often feel more like an insane asylum than a place of growth and nurturing. But there is so much wealth and authority when you let God open your eyes to the value of what He has given you. It starts with Thanksgiving, and repentance for disvaluing what he has called important. It then turns into Praise and appreciation for allowing us to be chosen. And then it turns into victory!

We are all given a place in God’s Kingdom, some of us are living it in fullness, some of us are struggling with our role or space, and some of us are in the corner hoping that we never have to move. But we are not called into stalemate, we are called into the authority and royalty of God’s kingdom. The moment we surrender it all to Him is the moment we live a fulfilling and satisfying life, free from fear, full of love and guided by his voice and intimate presence.

 

 

Friday, September 18, 2015

In Your Not so Perfect Season


In Your Not so Perfect Season

 


Seasons come and go and much like a new Spring with flowers blooming or a Fall ready for harvest, there is a rhythm and a plan that we can rely on. Sometimes in life I feel like my rhythm is just completely off. I remember thinking as I was graduating high school that I wasn’t ready for the next season because I had no idea what direction I was supposed to go.

 I think my most unforgettable moment of crisis came when I was twenty four. My friends were: graduating college, getting careers, getting married, having babies, building homes, some had even started graduate programs. Meanwhile I was: recently single, living with my parents, and years away from graduating college. Yes it is possible that my choices and my plans had not been given over to the perfect management of God, that out of fear for choosing the wrong path I chosen no path. But the truth is that God had his watchful eye over me, even in all of my hasty decision making, my missteps, my failings, my desert moments and my overwhelming urge to apply for the world’s most useless person award; he was still there.

If you are going to live in a place with little to no climate change, most people would pick a tropical Island, but my life was a cold frost desert of Siberian death. I had no idea that even though my life looked aimless and without purpose that the Master Craftsman was hard at work. It felt more like everyone else knew exactly what they were doing, where they were going and how they we going to get there, while I wandered in my desert.

I am not alone in having a season where either by circumstance or choice I was out of rhythm. The bible is filled with our Heroes of faith that found themselves out of rhythm more than in it.

Abraham and Sarah were unable to have children and God promised them descendants so abundant that they would be like the stars in the sky. Sarah was a little out of season as she gave birth to a boy in her old age. And yet there was going to be no mistaking that God had done a miracle among them.

And speaking of me wandering around in a desert, Moses, did that too. First he was a slave adopted by a princess. He became an important person who then became a murderer, who then ran away to become a shepherd. A shepherd who was then recruited by God to be the leader of God’s people and would take the Israelites from captivity to victory.  Then not many steps after seeing God do marvelous works, they would wander a desert for forty years in search of their Promised Land. Moses’s titles and trials were sometimes circumstantial and sometimes chosen but no title or trial could define and shape him into anything other than the man God was shaping him to be. God wastes nothing. He is in control.

I think we believe a lie that if we don’t produce fruit in every season or in the proper season that we are not productive. I was fruitless in many seasons but that did not mean I was incapable of baring fruit.

 

It is fall here and while all my other plants are starting to wither and die I have this crazy little strawberry plant that just doesn’t seem to know much about when it is supposed to die, or fruit for that matter. It had no fruit during strawberry season but now all of a sudden it is giving me these sweet little strawberries.

The first thing I noticed about it fruiting in this season is that it stands out by a mile. All the plants around it are pale and withered while this green lively strawberry plant is producing fruit.

 

The second thing I noticed is that the birds, bugs and critters are not stealing the fruit, it is as if they are completely unaware of it due to it not being the season for it.


The third thing I noticed is that I am over the moon excited to eat these strawberries because I haven’t had a fresh strawberry since the spring, so the fruit in this season seems sweeter and more noticeably pleasant on my pallet.    

 

This strawberry is thriving in its “not so perfect season”, whether it is the season that is imperfect with unkind storms and trials, droughts and disasters or the plant that is just out of tune with its natural rhythm, it doesn’t matter because the creator of both the season and the strawberry is still on His throne.

  Stop and consider this: That strawberry wasn’t producing visible fruit in the spring because it was developing its roots. Are we so dependent on seeing fruit that we would risk using all our energy on that instead of on something deeper? If we miss our developing moments with God we may become shallow and potentially allow death to take us over because we have no roots. In these seasons of trial and doubt we must focus all of our energy on that which is most valuable; our dependence on Christ, our foundation. Then in the most amazing way when we aren’t even expecting it, we will bear fruit.

The fruit that came from the strawberry that was out of season was three things:

Beautifully noticed by everyone as a miracle that makes us stop and question, “How is this possible”? Giving glory to a perfect God who often uses our, off rhythm moments to shine brighter than ever before.

It was protected from predators that weren’t aware of it or expecting it. No enemy we have calculates the miracle of God’s unexpected plans, the enemy sees pain and trail as defeat but we know from the Story of the cross that Christ proved that it those painful moments in surrender to God that can produce a powerful punch.  

And the fruit was desirably delicious! It was set apart for a special and divine moment. It tasted sweeter and was a blessing that was magnified by the waiting.   How great and glorious will be that day that we produce fruit that isn’t just a reaction to a season but is produced by the nutritional feeding of the depths of our being. When we feed our Spirit we will become strong in ways that we didn’t know we could be and do things that defy the natural way of things.

Some apple trees will fruit every two years, one year it will fruit and the next it will hold back, waiting patiently not just so that its harvest is plentiful, but also so it can tend to the nutritional needs of the tree. How sad if we cut down a tree that wasn’t fruiting but was healing just because we couldn’t see the fruit. Yet we cut ourselves down and we judge the process by other trees fruit. We become obsessed with that which is seen and forget the importance of the growth that is unseen. Do not waste your season of growth no matter if it is through trial or triumph. Our primary focus shouldn’t be the fruit but the foundation of who we are. Focus all of yourself on Jesus; On the vine.

 

John 15:1-17

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes[a] so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.

“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. 11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. 12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. 17 This is my command: Love each other.

 

All we are asked to do is to remain in Him and above all else love, Him and others, He will do all the rest. He will prune, He will develop the fruit, and He will dwell within us. That last part of the verse says “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit- fruit that will last-“

Fruit that will last! How beautiful to bear fruit that will last.

 
Lord, I ask that we would grow with passion for a deeper connection to you, our vine our source of all things! You are so full of rich love and deep compassion. I desire the greater things Lord, I desire your presence and I let go of my pursuit of the fruit, but hold on to the vine, my true and lasting life source. I desire all of you, I desire your paths, your ways and your thoughts to be intertwined within my very soul. I love you Lord and I am so thankful that you call me friend. I call you the love of my life and I will pursue you relentlessly as you have pursued me. Amen

Sunday, September 6, 2015

The Bear


The Bear

 


1 Samuel 17:33-37

Saul replied, “You are not able to go out against this Philistine and fight him; you are only a young man, and he has been a warrior from his youth.”

34 But David said to Saul, “Your servant has been keeping his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, 35 I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth. When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it. 36 Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, because he has defied the armies of the living God. 37 The Lord who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine.”

 The story of David and Goliath is well known; a young shepherd boy who kills a great Giant in the name of the Lord. But how foolish we are if we think that David’s courage was just a matter of his nature rather than an outcome of training. But the training David received was of a spiritual nature and out of conflict. Have we allowed God to train us spiritually? Through the conflicts that arise, do we learn to fight or do we learn to flee? The beautiful irony is that both fight and flight can teach us and train us about the battle. We never come out of a circumstance the way we went in. But if we flee, even if it is into the arms of our loving God, we will miss the opportunity to learn how to fight. Only by learning how to fight our battles will we develop the courage that says “If God is for me than who can ever be against me?”  

We do not fight alone, nor do we fight the way the world does, and certainly not for the same reasons. It is not for riches and glory that we are to arm ourselves but rather for the glory of God to free captives and demolish strongholds. David fought the Lion and Bear, to free the lost sheep. And Goliath was just another predator aligning himself for the killing of a flock. By the time David had defeated Goliath he had already allowed God to strengthen him through the battles before, to arm him with a confidence that come from seeing God equip us to fight and beat down the enemy. Paul describes this confidence we can have and this equipping God does for us to fight our own battles.

2 Corinthians 10:2-8

I beg you that when I come I may not have to be as bold as I expect to be toward some people who think that we live by the standards of this world. For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. And we will be ready to punish every act of disobedience, once your obedience is complete.
You are judging by appearances. If anyone is confident that they belong to Christ, they should consider again that we belong to Christ just as much as they do. So even if I boast somewhat freely about the authority the Lord gave us for building you up rather than tearing you down, I will not be ashamed of it.

 David was not trained in worldly warfare but was equipped with the knowledge of God, to tear down the pretentious stronghold that came against the name of the Lord. As much as the story of David bringing down the Giant is one of physical triumph, it is one of that I believe God wants to give us as imagery of the power we have in him to bring down the giants in our life: the spiritual, emotional, mental and physical strongholds in our life.

So many times all we can hear is the giant roaring his curses over the sound of our Lord speaking. But often times it isn’t even the giant that has us bound up it is the world of human doubters all around us. Paul said that by waging this kind of warfare, we do not live by the standards of this world, nor do we fight like it. But what does that mean and what did that mean to David? David had three older brothers fighting in this war, and upon his father’s wishes he took food to them and was also sent to get a report. When he arrived he started asking around the camp about the enemy when he had an unkind encounter with his older brother.

1 Samuel 17:25-29
25 Now the Israelites had been saying, “Do you see how this man keeps coming out? He comes out to defy Israel. The king will give great wealth to the man who kills him. He will also give him his daughter in marriage and will exempt his family from taxes in Israel.”

26 David asked the men standing near him, “What will be done for the man who kills this Philistine and removes this disgrace from Israel? Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God?”
27 They repeated to him what they had been saying and told him, “This is what will be done for the man who kills him.”
28 When Eliab, David’s oldest brother, heard him speaking with the men, he burned with anger at him and asked, “Why have you come down here? And with whom did you leave those few sheep in the wilderness? I know how conceited you are and how wicked your heart is; you came down only to watch the battle.”
29 “Now what have I done?” said David. “Can’t I even speak?” 30 He then turned away to someone else and brought up the same matter, and the men answered him as before. 31 What David said was overheard and reported to Saul, and Saul sent for him.

 If our motives to bring down a stronghold are of riches and glory, popularity and prize, rather than freedom for the captives and glory to God alone, we will find ourselves much like the Israelite army was at that moment. We will be angry and divided by jealously and greed, we will be controlled by lust and fear and doubt. The world fights for riches, honor, even for the love of the king’s own daughter but all David wanted was to free the captives and restore the power and glory to the throne of God. Most men fight in the name of the Lord for the selfishness they so passionately defend. But we are to fight our giants so that the throne of our hearts and others hearts will be seated with Christ alone. David didn’t fight for the earthly crown that Saul so willingly offered the victor, he fought so that he could rip the crown of glory from the enemy and present it to God in front of all of His people. But his brother was filled with anger because his heart was not in submission to God's plans but rather his own selfish plans. And often times the world around us become another obstacle, another voice to tune out, in our pursuit of freedom.

What giant is cursing at you? What fellow brother is calling you names because they cannot see what God sees in you? Will we go back to the sheep? Or will we fight the enemy of our souls?

The course of a nation’s freedom rested in the rocks that David threw at Goliath. A king gave a shepherd a chance at glory because of something in his words and something in the way he commanded himself. And then a king watched as a boy took a victory that by all odds seemed impossible. What giant, Brother, King and nation is watching you? Although no Philistine army is knocking down my door, I have been given the weapons to defeat strongholds that will in fact change the course of history. Will I go back to my few sheep or will I take the rocks that God has given me and defeat the giant?

I had a very disturbing dream last Wednesday. My son was outside in the back yard and behind him was a massive demonic looking bear. His nose was pointy and his teeth were bared. He was growing in size and about to attack. I ran to the window and started screaming at the bear, to get his attention and to come after me instead. It was in this helpless moment that I awoke. No resolution.

Later that day in prayer I saw that image again of that demonic bear but this time instead of screaming at it. God handed me a bunch of rocks. I didn’t immediately know what to do with them and asked. “What are these, what am I supposed to do with them?” He told me to defeat the bear. At first I questioned the method but then I realized I hadn't previously question my inadequate method of screaming at it and telling it to go away, and that was very ineffective. I had a handful of rocks. I asked another question. “What is my bear, what is my enemy?” God just stepped out of the way and one by one, the unmasked bears appeared. They were my enemies, the things my ultimate enemy had sent to destroy me. I took the first rock and I threw it as hard as I could and I said “In the name of Jesus, Who is my rock and my strong tower I defeat you, Financial Problems!” I took another and threw it at another enemy, The Fear of Losing my Family. I threw another rock at Shame, Regret, at Pride, Selfishness, at Jealousy, Laziness, at Health Problems, Marriage Problems, at Strife, Exhaustion, at addiction, Anger, at Cruel Words and Self Hate, and at Lies.
 
I thought God had given me too many rocks at first but I soon realized that he would give me as many rocks as I needed to defeat these obstacles in my path. I felt helpless screaming at my bear as I watched it trying to take my family from me. But now as I realized the warrior inside of me, I knew that as long as I fought for the freedom of the captives and the glory of God that I could not lose.
 
My struggles are stronger than me, but my God is mightier than them. David learned that sometimes God’s way of delivering us out of terrible circumstances is not simply to take us out of the fight but to allow us to be trained in those moments for a bigger battle ahead. To equip us, to teach us and to lead us into battle.
 
Are we fighting on our knees in prayer for our families as much as we are screaming at the wind in frustration? Have we picked up the right cause? Do we fight for the freedom from our sins and the glory for God, or are we just fighting for our selfish rights? David had authority because he was in God’s authority. His enemy had no size other than this, “HE WAS SMALLER THAN HIS GOD” Our enemy is smaller than our God and if we can turn our hearts and ask God to purify us and make us right with him, he will equip us with the stones to throw at our enemy. But God won’t arm us if we are in the mood to throw stones at the wrong target. We tend to lob our stones at those we love and those who need love (and grace) rather than at the enemy of our souls. And even if we have our enemy in our sights, we tend to scream at him in our selfishness and self-protective nature rather than to pick up the stones that God would equip us with if we humbled ourselves before Him.
 
I often fight the wrong enemy just as Eliab (David's Brother) wanted to fight with David. I find myself throwing stones at my husband, children, neighbors, co workers, friends and basically the whole world, because they offend me or they don't appreciate me, or treat me the way I want to be treated, or respected the way I deserve. I am fighting for me in those moments and God will not honor that self serving fight for rights.  Eliab had been on the front lines, trained and equipped by human standards and here comes little brother who thinks he can save the day. So he throws his stones. How many times have we found ourselves serving the enemies purposes and fighting for the wrong side? Do not be deceived by the enemy and start picking up his stones to throw at just anyone who gets in the way of your pride.   

Be a David who learns how to be a true warrior. With a teachable spirit, a humble heart. A worshiper who seeks God, who does not stray away from the fight but aggressively attacks the Lion and Bear and Giant in the authority of God for the purposes of God.

 Not a Saul: who keeps offering a mighty prize to whomever can kill his giant for him. Hiding behind the idea that someday God will deliver his people.

Not an Eliab : who wants the spoils of victory, who lusts after the earthly prize and claims to be a follower of God, hiding behind the lines of defense and cursing those who desire to fight the giant for God all because of jealousy.

And not the whole army of Israel: who stood and let one man spout out curses to them and their God. While trembling in fear at the might of a deceiver.

The enemy will bring a giant, a bear, a lion, a disease, a tragedy, a conflict, anything he can to make our hearts stand still, frozen in our own inadequacy. But David so boldly proclaimed in 1 Samuel 17:45-47  to the enemy:

45  “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. 46 This day the Lord will deliver you into my hands, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head. This very day I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds and the wild animals, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel. 47 All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give all of you into our hands.”

 Are you ready to say this to your giant? Prepare your heart, get it where God asks it to be in submission to him, and he will hand you your stones.

The question isn’t are you ready to start a fight. The question isn’t about beginning to fight because you have already been fighting too long. Most of us are tired from the constant battle. The question is, are you ready to start winning?

 

 

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Veiled



I heard the sounds of hurried steps. I looked around at the columns that held strong a white stone palace. I saw a woman running with long strides. Her dress was white, flowing softly and angelically. Her hair in curls with small white flowers woven throughout. She was adorned with silver and gold cuffs. As beautiful the sight of this Grecian princess, it was the way she moved that caught my attention. At first when she ran past I assumed she was late for something or being chased by someone, because no one would expend that kind of energy unless they had too. But as her face quickly turned back to meet my gaze I saw something I wasn’t prepared to see. She smiled back at me as though she had great news and maybe even a secret that would change the world. But only had time for an excited motion with her hand for me to follow. Then she quickly turned her gaze to the path ahead. She was so excited and so determined to get wherever she was going that all I could do was completely forget what I was doing so I could follow her.

I could barely keep up and amazingly enough she didn’t even seem to break a sweat or be out of breath. Whatever it was that she was running towards must be worth a great deal. Perhaps a treasure.  Others started to join the pursuit. I didn’t know their motive, maybe it was fear that something bad was coming or that they would miss something great. Maybe it was the thrill of it all or that others were doing it so they wanted to be part of something. Maybe it was that they had nothing other to do and the curiosity had overcome them too. I noticed that as she ran up some stairs and through corridors, the pursuit of her was more difficult and many of those who were just along for the ride began to lose interest. But her determination to pursue this unseen treasure was unlike anything I had ever seen.

Soon we came to a very large courtyard. A marvelous staircase led up to a beautiful doorway. Many people were sitting all along the stairs, some standing even but she ran passed them all and entered the door.  I slowly walked the steps, enjoying the company of those around me. It was comfortable at the steps, it was easy to want to stay outside and be with others that seemed very content to stay just outside the door. But I had to know where she went and why she was so excited. As I drew closer to the door I could see more people inside. They were singing. It was ominous, it was joyous, it was peaceful, sheltered from any storm. But it was not intimate, it was large and crowded with others who had gathered for the safety and warmth.

Just then I saw just a glimpse of the woman run straight into another room at the very back of this chamber. I followed but when I arrived at the door I noticed a line of people just standing at the door. On the floor a torn curtain lay at my feet. The woman had run into this room but others were acting as though their was still a curtain standing in their way. They would say, “What do you think is in there? I wish I could know how it feels, sounds and looks in the inner court.” I was confused because I could see right into the room and didn’t have to guess but when I looked again at those who were in confusion, they were wearing veils and could not see clearly. They could not even see me as I entered into that inner court.

Upon entering that Holy place I saw the woman run and leap into the arms of her one true love. He spun her around with an embrace that makes all other attempts at embracing seem week. I was captivated by the scene. I watched as he gently brushed away a stray ringlet of hair away from her eyes and embraced her face with both hands. “I have been waiting for you here.” He said softly.  “My beautiful bride!”

In a single moment of surrender as I collapsed to my knees and wept with desire to be that bride. I looked up to a loving suitor wiping my tear and taking my hand. As I rose, I went from the spectator to the bride. The rags of my former life had withered away like a dying plant in the extreme heat of the sun. Underneath it all I was wearing a garment of white. I was pure and in his sight I was so very loved.  

From that moment on I was the bride running to the inner court every day to be with my true love. And one day, in one glorious moment in time I will finally hear the procession music as I walk down the aisle to be completely his.

Church we are the bride of Christ and if we do not know how very exciting it is or how very beautiful we are, or how very loved we are by our king, then we have not been this bride who understands that the veil was torn so that we could enter into his presence. I don’t want to be the bride just outside the door. with her veil that hides who the groom is and hides who his bride is. I want to see his face and hear his voice.  I want to understand how great his love is for me.

 I don’t want to be the ones in the outer court just using my Christianity for a shelter from the storm. Feeling safe from the outside but never knowing my God deeply.

 I don’t want to gather just outside the gate on the very steps of his kingdom. I want to run to him! Every day I want to leap into the arms of the lover of my soul. It is a great treasure, a great prize of unsurpassable glory. There is no other thing worthy of our desire. And on that day when he takes his bride I will not be caught unprepared or unaware, only completely enthralled that for every moment for the rest of my life I get to spend it in the arms of my Lord.  

Matthew 27:50,51

 And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit.
51 At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split

2 Corinthians 3:16-18

But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate[] the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.


 "Father make us see that we are your bride and that you love us passionately. Give us the fire inside our hearts to pursue you every day and in every moment. Let our hearts be filled with youthful expectation and mature adoration for your love. We need our eyes to be unveiled so our hearts can leap again at the sight of your glory oh God. I love you so much! Amen"

 

Friday, July 24, 2015

Oh Poop!




So I here I am at the cusp of something really profound, something meaningful and something lovely. I have this idea that I am meant to speak flowery, poetry like words that will awaken the dead and open the eyes of the blind. Words that will instill passion in the hearts of those who have fallen asleep and will spark a fire inside those who have not felt the Spirit’s flame. … And he gives me this: A story about chicken poop. Isn’t that just the way it is? He just wants to get real with us. A verse out of 1 Corinthians 13 says paraphrased, “if I speak with all eloquence, with the words and tongues of angels but have not love, it is of no value.”

You see God doesn’t care if I am politically correct or use proper punctuation. He doesn’t care that I have a bachelor’s degree or what my qualifications are. I said, “God, speak to me, use me, put your words in my mouth, put your life in my body, put your "Will" so deep within my soul that I can’t find the place that it stops and I start.”  And he answers, not with lofty lovely words but a story about poop.

It’s because we know poop. We know the smell of things that are very unpleasant. We can relate to poop no matter who we are. Every person and animal knows what poop is. And no station of life, be it wealthy or poor has escaped its necessity. No difference in race, gender or age can claim the status of achieving a life that is absent from poop. No one can deny the fact that we are designed to consume and then refuse the waste that is created.

So my story begins with me in my back yard. For those of you who do not know I have recently discovered the joys of urban chicken farming. I have ten “lovely ladies” (as I call them) in my back yard. Now it would be incorrect for you to imagine a spacious backyard of grass because I live in a town home with just a small little patio attached to the back of our home. So as you can imagine, ten chickens can make quite a mess of things as they are known for how often they poop. Every night I put them in the coop and then grab a garden hose and spray off every square inch of my concrete yard. I was picking up a pile of wet straw and waste and placing it around my shrubs and trees and then finished up hosing off the patio. I came inside, washed up and then continued on with my night.

Later on I asked my husband to change our youngest child because it was really obvious to me that he had a poopy diaper. I even left the room so I wouldn’t have to smell it because it was a bad one. About twenty minutes later I smelled it again, and then again and then again. At this point I knew that it wasn’t him so then I started investigating. I am looking all over the place for this smell. Out of complete frustration I take my hands and cover my face. Instantly, I realize the smell is coming from me; from under my fingernails. I had washed up but had not taken the time to really scrub my hands. The smell is chicken poop!

 Now I realize this analogy could be used for many different things, “don’t judge lest ye be judged” or “don’t try to remove the twig from someone else’s eye till you remove the log from your own.” But the word God gave me was dealing with something else.

We live in a world where poop happens. Let’s face it, there is physical poop, emotional poop, mental poop and even spiritual poop. It isn’t meant to be something we continue to live with but rather something that is disposed of properly. In some circumstances it can be utilized as fertilizer if we dispose of it properly but if we don’t recognize it and deal with it, it can become toxic.

God used the chicken poop story to show me that I was dealing with a spiritual poop problem improperly. Recently I had been wrestling with some demons. I had been going head to head in prayer over some demonic strongholds that had been plaguing loved ones. At one point in time God asked me to deal with a poop problem in the spiritual realm and I did. Afterward I went on with life and washed myself in him and continued on only to find myself dealing with issues that I normally don’t struggle with, specifically a spirit of defeat. I just felt so defeated in so many areas and hope was hard to find, soon my joy was being taken and then my faith was starting to crumble. I kept looking for the poop so to speak. I wanted to find the stinky thing and it was keeping me so distracted.

 Just like when I was so frustrated with not knowing what was smelling up my house and blamed the baby, I began to be frustrated not knowing what was stinking up my heart. In a state of abandonment to the search I spiritually put my hand to head and there it was. Like I did when I realized it was right underneath my fingernails I went to the throne, not the bathroom throne but the throne room of God and allowed the Holy Spirit to cleanse me from the filth of the enemy. In one simple moment of thankfulness to God, of worship and acknowledgement of his great power, I was clean.

I had been wrestling with issues in the Spirit that I saw as enormous, I saw them out of context. I thought the world was covered in poop and all along it was only a little leftover stench from a cleanup project. I had asked God for a bazooka to deal with my struggle when instead he handed me a bar of soap. We don’t always know what it is that is plaguing us or where the smell is coming from. Sometimes in these moments of mystery and of crisis we begin to doubt God, to blame, to think that he is absent from the fight. The enemy capitalizes on our lack of understanding and counts on us to look for the smell rather than to cleanse ourselves fully in the presence of God.

I don’t know the struggles that you face but I do know the God who desires to face those struggles with you. He is perfect in his love for you which means that no matter the poop that comes your way his love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control is enough to wash the smell off. We all have our own poop to dispose of but that doesn’t mean we have to smell bad.

I know it isn’t a flowery message about roses and sunshine, and that many people would rather ignore the reality of poop than address it. I am here to say that poop happens, and instead of me trying to take your poop away for you, how about I just encourage you in the truth that we are meant and equipped, each of us individually, to face it, dispose of it and then wash ourselves in him to be clean from it.

I might be talking about your depression, about your disease, about your broken heart. I might be talking about your grief, or your disappointment, or your fear. I might be talking about your anger, or about your sadness. I might be talking about your loneliness, or your poverty. I might be talking about your inability to move forward as though you are frozen in time. I might be talking about your eating disorder or your addiction. Whatever it is that has become that festering smell in your life, that is now not just repulsing you but is starting to drive away others, It is time to dispose of it and wash yourself in him.  God will let us smell like poop for as long as we refuse to cleanse ourselves of it. Instead of cursing him for creating the smell I have begun to thank him for it because without its repulsive fragrance I think I would disregard the need to be clean from it.

     
"Father, we come now and we ask for your cleansing water, we have chosen to remove the waste maybe it has been gone for a long time but there is just this lingering smell. We worship you and we dispel the grime beneath our nails, the thoughts within our minds the pain inside our heart that speaks lies to who you are. We trust you. We worship you because you are a righteous, and loving God who does not desire for us to be stuck in a place of stench and filth from past refuse. God please wash us and give us the capability to walk a clean and pure life with you as we allow your spirit to wash us daily. Cleanse my tongue that I may speak love and light, truth and worship to you. Cleanse my heart that I may know only your righteousness and love as my foundation for all truth. I love you so completely and yet I am so broken so I ask you in your goodness to make me whole once again and cleanse me from all unrighteousness. To you be all the glory and honor and worship forever, amen."

Monday, July 6, 2015

A Little Seed; A Little Spark


I believe that God delights in small things; it was from nothing that he spoke life and the creation of all that we know was birthed. Why does he enjoy taking nothing and making something? The manna from heaven that fed the Israelites, the loaves and the fish that fed the five thousand as Jesus preached were both examples of our human reasoning failing and God providing. Our Lord takes something small and makes something great. I recently found myself very troubled by my inadequacy and I felt small. It was a moment of discouragement and I found myself very troubled when God spoke to me these words: "All it takes is a single match to set a field on fire." When my small self is struck up against the plans of God, I know that I can set the world on fire. Sometimes we dwell a little too long on what we "are not" and it overshadows what "we are".

Why does God enjoy using such little instruments for his big plans? I believe it is so that we will know beyond all our doubts, the truth of his glory, majesty and power. If we know that by creation we were made for a purpose (like a cup made for drinking) and see the impossibility of us fulfilling any purpose without God then we have solved the great mystery of life. The enemy would say, you are just a small tin can, what can you do? And we know as the word says that apart from God we can do no good thing. But when tethered with God's plans we begin to see the usefulness of a cup as it is filled with living water. There is a time coming of great thirst and of great famine in the Spirit and it will be the flourishing, faithful, few that will be given a purpose to be poured out over and over and over again upon the children of God. A harvest so great and yet so few to bring it in. To be of purpose and to be used by the great God of all, is what every man secretly longs for. To be loved, needed, important and to find the reason for why.

My name means my little one. I have always loved it and felt very much like it is a term of endearment. I see my Father God calling to me using those words when he is reassuring me of his great affection for me. Sometimes though being so small brings out the inadequacies that the world and the prince of darkness are all too quick to capitalize on. I find myself questioning God in the midst of my small moments and soon I am in the corner of self doubt because my faith in God has been challenged.

 Christ gave us a parable that speaks to God's opinion on our size. Mark 4:30 is the Parable of the Mustard seed. "Again he said, What shall we say the kingdom of God is like, or what parable shall we use to describe it? It is like a mustard seed, which is the smallest seed you plant in the ground. Yet when planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants, with such big branches that the birds of the air can perch in its shade."   

When God knit you together in your mothers womb, he knew the value and importance of what he was doing. He gave us each a special and unique set of gifts and in that moment that he designed you, he was naming you, and speaking the truth of your worth into the world. You and I are the reason that he sent his son to die. He had so much love for his creation that he was willing to give up his live for the revelation we needed to see our value to him.

He could have stopped with telling us about his love but instead he went and showed it so that there would be no reason to question it. But then why are we still questioning it? The disciples did the same thing when Christ was crucified. Even though they had seen him raise the dead and heal the sick and cast out demons they questioned his ability to use them. You find in the scriptures of Luke after the crucifixion, when Christ returns his disciples were not out preaching about a man who just gave his live for them, but that even though they knew he was risen they went back to what they did before Christ had come to them, they went back to being fishermen. Christ said you will be fishers of men yet in their crises of faith, they became aware of how small they were. It is what happens next that gives me great cause for celebration!! He comes to them, he even appears to them in ways that are undeniable miracles and he says that he is sending them a helper. I think that was a bit of an understatement. He tells them to wait for the Holy Spirit, and when the Holy Spirit comes upon them the will be his witnesses.

Finally they will have, not just the creation to be what they are, nor the calling to be what they are, but they will have the empowerment to be what they are!!!! What great news! We are not expected to be something we are not, we are merely expected to be filled with what it is that we lack, in order to be everything that we were created to be.

So here we are being asked to allow this amazing Spirit of God to fill us, to free us, to move through us, to change us more into his likeness. Will we go back to what we knew before Christ? I love that he doesn't tell his fishermen disciples not to fish, for he knows that they are fisherman, he just says that they are fishing in the wrong place and for the wrong thing! He doesn't dislike who we are, nor does he want to change who he created us to be. He merely wants to complete our purpose and fill us, so that every empty part of us can stop searching and start proclaiming; life to dead, healing to the sick, and sight to the blind.

We need a spirit of boldness to manifest in the hearts of God's people. What would that look like if we all knew who we were, and we all became aware of our strengths and abilities, how would we walk out our faith with this revelation that: WE CAN DO ALL THINGS THROUGH CHRIST WHO STRENGTHENS US.

It takes one little spark to set the whole world on fire for Jesus. It takes one spark!

Thank you Holy Spirit that you are the fire in me that can set hearts a flame with desire for you. You are the wind that blows this fire to every heart that is searching and you are the living water that cools us, and brings us the refreshing truth that we need in order to be alive in Christ. Thank you Holy Spirit that you waited patiently for me to finally allow you to burn inside of me with an eternal flame that can not be put out but only grows the more I spend time in you. Teach me how to be the fullness of who I was created to be in you. Amen