Chariots of Fire

Can you see them? The eternal, ancient warriors of heaven and their chariots of fire?

Many times we forget about the spiritual realm around us and perhaps we’ve become desensitized. We aren’t talking much about the enemy and how his hatred toward us causes him to wage war against us. It isn’t hocus pokus and not meant to scare us. Talking about spiritual warfare is meant to place us in a strategic mode of defense so when situations arise that seem hopeless we don’t cower and hide but stand and fight!

As a believer in Jesus and a part of the Body of Christ we join the ancient chariots of fire and are THE mightiest force against the deceiver of our soul. Do you believe this?

Worship, praise and prayer become spiritual javelins, tent pegs and mallets, bows and arrows and spears.

Pick your weapons and use them daily. Attack and counter attack. Retreat and strike again and walk in victory earth as in heaven!

What’s your weapon of choice?

Prosperity, Wealth and the Gospel

Like the spokes of a wooden wagon wheel there are many aspects to wealth.

What does wealth mean to you? Do you consider yourself wealthy

  • in love
  • in friendship
  • in kindness
  • in perseverance
  • in patience
  • in finances

In Proverbs 10:4 wealth is wealth. It is monetary wealth. Before you fall off your chair, if you are sitting, or raise your hand and utter, “but, but,” I am NOT preaching a prosperity gospel. I don’t believe in a prosperity gospel.

So what are we to do with Proverbs 10:4? Like the spokes of a wooden wagon wheel there are many aspects to wealth. Certainly God provides all our needs and there are times that He blesses us with considerable financial wealth. In those times what we choose to do with that wealth perhaps is an indication of our understanding of proper stewardship.

What speaks to me the most from this verse is wealth in serving God especially as it pertains to God calling me to speak, teach and write[three spokes of the wooden wheel!]. Many times wealth is truly measured by our heart connected to God’s and the joy of the wealth that is Him. This leads to the condition of our heart and the practice of reflection.

I am very thankful when Holy Spirit highlights verses such as Proverbs 10:4 causing me to take inventory of my heart. Rather than thinking in one direction about God’s ordination for me it opens up my mind and heart to joyfully and simply serving God.

Proverbs 10:4 reminds me I am a wealthy women indeed!

The Laying on of Hands

The day I came home from the grocery store and witnessed her pure delight when I handed her that package of gum…

Even if it was only a pack of gum given to her ‘just because,’ our oldest daughter’s love language continues to be gifts. When she was younger it was challenging to fill her love language while raising a young family on one income. The day I came home from the grocery store and witnessed her pure delight when I handed her that package of gum will always remain imprinted on my mind. That is when I realized that gifts didn’t and don’t have to be the latest and greatest. For someone whose heart is filled to overflowing with a thoughtful gift, it really is the thought that counts.

For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline. Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord or of me His prisoner, but join with me in suffering for the gospel according to the power of God.(NIV 1984).

2 Timothy 1:6-8

While gifts is not my love language I do love to give gifts and watch the surprise erupt into joy on the face of the person receiving my gift. God works through us to bless others and ultimately display His love for us with His knowledge that He knows exactly what we need. HOW gracious is He?!! Can I get an Amen?!

In today’s verse we find Paul encouraging Timothy to fan into flame the gift of God. Paul is suggesting Timothy take action. God has given the gift and now it is Timothy’s responsibility to learn to use this gift wisely for God’s glory and His kingdom and the saving of many lives. Because truly when we think about spiritual gifts, like gifts in the physical, they aren’t meant for us but for giving! For sharing Jesus with others by giving them hope that the sun really will come out again.

Laying on of hands can seem spooky, hocus pocus or downright uncomfortable to some. But it is Biblical. Perhaps we are not learning about this aspect of discipleship in our churches or through our own studying of God’s word and guidance from Holy Spirit or maybe it has been practiced out of context and abused and church leaders have put up their fingers in the sign of the cross attempting to ward off some sort of evil.

It is important to remember that the gift(s) is not given by the one who lays hands on the receiver the gift(s) it is given by God and God alone. To lay hands on another is God’s instrument of conveying His supernatural encouragement and revelation. When we pray for the one we are laying hands on we are seeking God’s guidance and confirmation of God’s will for that person. Some theologians believe it ought to be a regular practice in church for others to discover God’s will.

Do you ever wonder about the power you wield through your faith in Jesus by His Spirit. It may not be physical power and it certainly isn’t an abusive power. It is the same power that raised Christ from the dead and you, as a believer, have access to this 24/7/365. Doesn’t that leave you awestruck in wonder?! Power, love and self-discipline are all a part of your identity in Jesus. These identity characteristics, like gifts, are also meant to be used wisely.

And lest we think we can do anything in our own power, Paul reminds us that we cannot even suffer on our own. We need the power of God to push through and remain focused on Him.

I bless you with choosing to be a good gift giver through Jesus and the gifts He has given you and to be open to the gifts He has for you through the giving of others.

Perfect or Surrender

Some days it’s all about the prayer because if it isn’t then I’ll decide to do things on my own.

I use to be the queen of checklists. Okay, I still make lists. It’s either that or you’ll find me standing in front of the pantry wondering why I am there.

A checklist is how I use to approach my relationship with God.
Read my Bible ✅
Prayed✅
Did my Bible study✅
But this strenuous system soon burned me out and my time with Jesus became more of a chore than a relationship.

Jesus has taught me to live in the gray area where grace resides.

Terese Belme

I still practice the ‘check marks’ daily but I don’t put pressure on myself to spend time with Jesus in a certain way or in a certain amount of time. I suppose I should also add I am a black and white thinker and a rule follower and over the years Jesus has taught me to live in the gray area where grace resides.

These days it is so freeing to sit in His presence and choose to allow Him to show me how our time together will be. Some days I am immersed in His word and only have time to offer up a few prayers. Some days it’s all about the prayer because if it isn’t then I’ll decide to do things on my own and that can turn out disastrous for me and those around me. Some days its simply sitting in His lavish love not uttering a word-this one definitely takes practice! And, yes, some days all the check marks are accomplished but they are no longer check marks rather the ebb and flow of Holy Spirit guiding me.

What fills God’s love tank is that you simply choose to spend time with Him.

Today I bless you with a growing desire to spend more time in His presence.

Judging a Book by its Cover

Pulling one from the archives with a little make over. Originally posted July 2013.

I’m old school when it comes to reading. Whenever possible I like holding a book in my hands, feeling its weight and turning the page with a sense of satisfaction as I read on. And I must admit the cover will either draw me in and captivate me into reading more or cause me to not give the book a second glance. Yes, in some instances I do judge a book by its cover.

Many times we can look at situations in our life and see only the negative. Somehow we’ve taken our eyes off of God above and placed our vision firmly in front of us. We fall into the trap of judging our circumstance by its prickly, misshapen and unappealing exterior. On the outside perhaps this ‘book’ has been passed over many times seemingly discarded and worthless.

Let me ask you, what if this time God has chosen you to read this ‘book’ acquainting yourself with the characters and their story and sharing His love with them? This ‘book’ is most likely not your normal genre of choice. But what if you choose not to read and you miss a plethora of blessings and opportunities? What if you were chosen for such a time as this?

What if we loved like Jesus?

And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?

Esther 4:14

In Heavenly Places

Only God could have taken a dream He placed into my momma heart so many years ago and spoken it into existence by the very one the dream is for.

Have you heard We Are Messengers? This song is not new but I discovered it not long ago. Yesterday was one of those particularly hard days. Not only was I emotionally spent it was a busy day requiring my focused attention. A day where I knew my adrenals were not stress free nor happy. To top it off, my phone was about to ring its last [at least it made it past the proverbial two year mark] and this had me inserting a trip to the phone store of life. Thankfully Holy Spirit kept me from falling down the rabbit hole of self-pity.

Even as I sat on the edge of that rabbit hole, asking God many ‘why’ questions He still chose to be gracious and kind to me as He always is.

Toward the end of the day my son called to check in on me. We talked for and hour and a half. And like many of our conversations my son asks deep theological questions. Questions I have yet to answer for myself. My son is at a crossroads in many areas in his life. We talked about God placing a passion for good work inside us and when that passion comes alive it comes alive! At the end of our conversation my son said something that I told him I would not have expected to hear in a million years. He said, and I paraphrase, “Sometimes I think about throwing in the towel and becoming a Youth Pastor [he also stated no disrespect to YP’s] I think about Ed and Rhonda [the retired Children’s Pastors at our former church] and how they got to teach kids about the Bible. ” I responded, “Did you just say you think about becoming a Youth Pastor?”, and immediately started laughing. Stick with me. I said, “You don’t understand.” To which he responded, “I don’t like the sound of this.” I then went on to tell him that since he was a little guy I always felt he would become a Youth Pastor. And then there was the time after church one Sunday years ago when he ran across the church lawn with his ‘sword’ in hand and his ‘cape’ around his shoulders shouting, “Leviticus Charge!” I told him that Leviticus means, “he the Lord called.”

This morning as I sat down to spend time with God, brushing off the dust of yesterday, I decided to listen to “Everything Comes Alive” and was immediately filled with hope. This song reminds me of God’s goodness. We say God is a good, good Father. Why? Because in His grace, mercy and compassion He gives us gifts that fill us with hope and joy and perseverance even though He doesn’t ever have too. Only God could have taken a dream He placed into my momma heart so many years ago and spoken it into existence by the very one the dream is for.

How has God been good to you? I would love to hear your stories in the comments!

Don’t Stop Now

When my mom opened the door her heart sank. She knew the only reason these men stood in front of her was as bearers of sad news.

The year was 1968. Two men, dressed in their Army uniforms came to our front door. One was an officer the other a chaplain. When my mom opened the door her heart sank. She knew the only reason these men stood in front of her was as bearers of sad news. She immediately thought that my brother, who was eighteen and had been drafted after he graduated from high school and sent to Vietnam, had been killed in combat. But these somber men who carried the news of a soldier’s death had the wrong house. Sadly, our neighbors son was the soldier not coming home.

My mom, devout in her religion, prayed three times a day everyday for my brother until he came home safely but not unscathed. He told us many stories with too many close calls. Stories of how he ought to have died but miraculously survived.

Maybe you’ve heard the expression prayer changes things. I believe prayer does change things but more than that I believe prayer changes the atmosphere around us. Prayer is a very real weapon that can stop the enemy dead in his tracks. Prayer infiltrates the unseen world like a stealth bomber causing ripples in the air not seen by the human eye and shakes up the constant warfare going on around us.

The Apostle Paul was a prayer warrior and an intercessor. He considered it an honor and a joy to pray for others. He knew the power of prayer and reminded others he was praying for them consistently. Paul’s discipleship heart was that all believers know and follow God’s will for their life. Asking God to fill them with His knowledge through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. So he prayed.

Maybe you don’t have anyone praying for you or perhaps you are a part of multiple prayer circles. I want to encourage you that I am praying for you asking God to fill you with His spiritual knowledge and wisdom drawing you closer to Him day by day. I am praying you will hear Him and desire to be obedient to what He tells you and what He shows you.

Prayer is our authority in Christ. Prayer changes things. Prayer changes the atmosphere.

#bestealth

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Life’s Simplicity

Don’t even think about following the bread crumb trail of evil—you’ll end up with worse than bread crumbs.

Life really can be simple but our human nature is to convolute our life by attempting to take control rather than surrender all to Him. And I am grateful in His grace He chooses to continue to teach me how to simplify my life.

Fearing the Lord is honoring Him. Following His guidance. Speaking words that encourage and brighten the life of others. Troubling thoughts that are given to Jesus and asking for Him to replace them with His thoughts about our identity in Him. Actions that cause others to take notice that there is something wonderfully different about you!

Shunning evil is turning aside from it. Don’t even think about following the bread crumb trail of evil—you’ll end up with worse than bread crumbs. This doesn’t mean we turn away from the evil being committed around us and around the world, no, rather in those instances we ask God how can we be a part of the change for His kingdom.

I love the word nourishment! It makes me think of satisfaction. God is our satisfaction in all areas of our life. Another reason to stay connected to Him daily for His nourishment to flow to us non-stop! Truly, the choice is ours it didn’t stop when we chose Jesus to be our Lord and Savior. Everyday we have the opportunity to choose Jesus. Not for salvation purposes [that choice is one time] but to choose Him daily for His wisdom, guidance, knowledge on how to live life.

Fear, shun, nourish. I pray you choose all three today and every day!

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Don’t Wait!

Over the years she had lovingly spent time writing her memoir. She wanted to tell her story of survival so others could know and experience the hope she had in Jesus. She was close to finishing [I had been praying for God’s miraculous healing on earth to be the final chapter she would write before being published] when my sweet friend went home to be with Jesus after a short illness.

For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.

Matthew 6:14.

The last time I saw my friend was when I went to walk her two beloved Goldens that were feeling a bit stir crazy because their momma hadn’t been able to take them to the park. I sat and talked with my friend for a few minutes and at the time she didn’t know the full extent of what was going on with her health except that her body was railing against her. My friend had the gift of prophecy which she knew and embraced. She also had the gift of evangelism and I’m not sure she realized that. She had no filter when it came to telling others about Jesus and why they ought to put their faith and trust in Him!

As I read Matthew 6:14 I thought about my friend which led me to think about how truly short life on earth is [none of us know when God will call us home]. I wondered, did my friend have any regrets? Were there people she had always meant to forgive or say sorry to and thought, ‘Oh, I’ll do that tomorrow?’ I don’t know the answers to these questions but I do know there is no time like the present.

God has given us the beautiful gifts of confession, repentance and forgiveness. Jesus is faithful to show us the sin and unforgiveness in our life and Holy Spirit is always ready to help us confess, repent and forgive.

If there are others you need to forgive or if you need to say sorry or if you need to confess and repent—don’t wait until tomorrow because tomorrow may never come.

Even in death on earth my friend leaves a ‘no filter’ unashamed legacy of loving and following Jesus.

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Leap of Faith

“Dad,” I said, “I want to go to Teller School. I want to learn how to become a bank teller. This school teaches all the basics of becoming a bank teller and they even help with finding a job! The only thing stopping me is the cost and I don’t have the amount needed.”

My parents were depression aged kids, they grew up in an era in our country where a large percentage of people lost their jobs overnight, businesses closed and money was tight. When my grandparents immigrated to America from Italy they landed in Rhode Island and bought a farm that included the upper end of a lake. My dad and uncles worked hard on their farm and had a milk delivery business. My dad use to tell us stories of how he was still delivering milk by cart and buggy, sharing the road with new fangled automobiles, during the early part of the twentieth century. His savings account was cash ‘hidden’ in between the mattress. For the longest time he didn’t trust banks, likely a carry over mentality from the Great Depression. Asking to borrow money took a huge leap of faith on my part!

I’d like to say that because I was the youngest of five and the only girl, his sweetie and thought I had him wrapped around my pinkie was persuasion enough for him to say yes.

I’d like to say that because I was the youngest of five and the only girl, his sweetie and thought I had him wrapped around my pinkie, was persuasion enough for him to say yes. Okay, that may have been part of the reason but as I reflect back I believe my dad saw the value in investing in what would turn into a career of three different jobs within the industry of finance using the skills I learned at the Institute for Teller Training. And, I paid every penny back!

Leap of faith. We hear others say, “I took a leap of faith and applied for that job, asked that person out for coffee,” or whatever else requires a leap of faith. I can’t recall ever hearing someone say, “I took a leap of faith and believed in Jesus!” But Jesus is exactly where faith comes from. It is His gift to us. As we continue to surrender ourselves to him He continually renews and grows our faith so we can know what He prefers. Faith is God’s divine persuasion which guides us to make choices that help us live inside His perfect will for our life.

May God’s divine persuasion grow exponentially within you as you continue to stay connected to Him and you begin to live the abundant life in all areas that Christ came to give you.

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