The Kindness Factor

 

Screen Shot 2017-03-12 at 4.08.08 PMHate is a very strong word. In our family we like say, “dislike with great intensity.” I dislike with great intensity how the ways of this world can sometimes cause us to be suspicious.

This afternoon I was in line at the grocery store. The man in front of me kept turning around in my direction and clearly invading my space and I was becoming very uncomfortable. Just before it was his turn he walked away and the checker was left asking me whose groceries were next. As it turns out this man comes back with his wife who has a separate basket of groceries and quite a bit more than her husband had already put up on the conveyor belt, in fact my groceries were already there as well. I told the man’s wife to go ahead of me to which she was very grateful.

Her husband came up to me and told me I was too kind. I replied, “The world needs a little more kindness.” He said, “I hope I can return that kindness sometime.” I told him, “Yes, pay it forward.” He touched his wallet and very kindly said, “You want me to pay for you?” I smiled and said, “No, pay the kindness forward!”

There is so much animosity these days, especially across social media. It was nice to experience God’s grace even as he was gently reprimanding me for my earlier suspicions.

Precious One, that is why it is so important for us to be continually connected to The Vine; to Jesus. Only He can calm our emotions and show us the good in every situation.

Shalom!

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Grace Wins Every Time

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Greater than hate…God’s grace.

Redemption and righteousness…God’s grace.

Acceptance…God’s grace.

Christ in me…God’s grace.

Eternal life…God’s grace.

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. John 3:17.

God’s grace is for you, God’s grace is for me, God’s grace is for all creation.

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8.

Precious One be the change you want to see happen.

#stophate #stopviolence #prayerworks #PRAY more than you talk.

Shalom!

The Lion’s Roar

A few days ago I saw a picture of a lion and his cub on a rock outcropping called Simba Kopjes in the Serengeti and immediately Holy Spirit began speaking to me that He is calling his pride across the nations in droves but the world does not recognize it yet. Imagine with me the Lion of Judah opening his mighty mouth and roaring across the nations! Can you see the sound reverberations?! Do you hear His call?! Click here and scroll down to see this amazing picture!

A few minutes after seeing this picture a dear friend and soul Sister sent me a text with a word from Holy Spirit from Isaiah 31:4,5.

This is what the Lord says to me:

“As a lion growls, a great lion over its prey—and though a whole band of shepherds is called together against it, it is not frightened by their shouts or disturbed by their clamor—so the Lord Almighty will come down to do battle on Mount Zion and on its heights. Like birds hovering overhead, the Lord Almighty will shield Jerusalem; he will shield it and deliver it, he will ‘pass over’ it and will rescue it.”

Oh, it gets even better! Below is some of my daily Bible reading from the same day, which I read after my friend’s text.

He lifts up a banner for the distant nations,
he whistles for those at the ends of the earth.
Here they come,
swiftly and speedily!
 Not one of them grows tired or stumbles,
not one slumbers or sleeps;
not a belt is loosened at the waist,
not a sandal strap is broken.
 Their arrows are sharp,
all their bows are strung;
their horses’ hooves seem like flint,
their chariot wheels like a whirlwind.
 Their roar is like that of the lion,
they roar like young lions;
they growl as they seize their prey
and carry it off with no one to rescue. Isaiah 5:26-29. 

Did you catch in verse 26 of Isaiah 5 that the Lord whistles for the distant nations?!! I see two messages here. God has raised His banner over all the nations and is calling or whistling to us across the nations to come together as the mighty warriors that we are for an epic battle in the spiritual realms. We don’t need to fear any repercussions because HE will shield and deliver us, HE will pass over and rescue us!

Precious One, seize, which means to attack and take control of, your prey-the enemy, today and everyday, by the power of Holy Spirit in you through prayer for the glory of the kingdom of God! Amen?

Shalom!

Hello, My Name Is

Hello, my name is

The meaning of his name meant pleasant, beautiful or delightful. As was the custom of the time, parents normally named their children according to what was going on in their life. Perhaps at his birth the weather was pleasant, perhaps he was such a beautiful baby or his mother bore him with great delight. His name was Naaman. The two a’s make one long ‘a’ sound against the word man – Naa-man.

Just for fun I thought I would look up the names of my family. You all know that my name is Terese and the closest I could find was the name Teresa, which means harvester. Interesting, for years God has been telling me to feed his sheep and has called me to be a part of a teaching ministry.

Before a farmer can harvest his crop there is much preparation. The land is tilled and made ready for seed. The seed is sown and the farmer is attentive to his soon to be crops by making sure weeds and varmints don’t overtake the new seedlings. He waters and weeds and waters and weeds. Soon it is time to harvest the crops and delight in the bounty of his hard work.

Ministry is akin to farming and perhaps this is why we are given this analogy in Scripture. There are season’s of forming new relationships, prepping the soil, and season’s of laying the seed of the gospel, still other time’s we walk along side and encourage with the truth of God’s word, speaking life into and over our ‘seedlings’ protecting from the varmints and weeds. And then, oh glorious day, there are season’s of great bounty and harvest and new members are welcomed to the family!

My husband’s name means powerful ruler. I know without a doubt that God is shaping him into a very powerful man of God and it is exciting to see him grow in this direction!

Our oldest’s name means from the court. From a very young age she has always been concerned with justice, in fact, her major is law and justice and she aspires to become a lawyer with her sight set in politics.

One day, when our son was very young, he spontaneously ran across the lawn pretending to hold a sword high in the air yelling, “Leviticus charge!” A few years ago he went to a Christian healing room for prayer and the person praying for him told him he saw my son holding a spear. My son’s name means spear strength or strong spear.

Our youngest has a very big compassionate heart, from about the age of five she has said she someday wants to open a homeless shelter. Her name means favor or grace.

But, I have digressed further than I intended, back to Naaman. Naaman was the commander of the army of the King of Aram. He was a valiant soldier and in the sight of King Aram he was a great man and highly regarded because through him the Lord had given victory to King Aram. (2 Kings 5:1).

There was one problem with Naaman, he had leprosy. There was a young girl from Israel who was the servant girl of Naaman’s wife. One day the servant girl told Naaman’s wife that Naaman should go and see the man of God – the prophet, who lived in Samaria. The servant girl was sure that he would heal Naaman! As it was, Naaman did just that.

Sea of GalileeNow, when Naaman arrived in Samaria he pulled up in his chariot to the door of Elisha, the prophet of God fully expecting Elisha to come out and greet him. However, Elisha sent a messenger to tell Naaman to go and wash himself seven times in the Jordan and after that his flesh would be clean. Naaman was appalled! He thought that Elisha would surely have come out to him and stand and call on the name of the LORD his God, wave his hand over the leprosy and cure him. He continued with his tirade saying, “Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Couldn’t I wash in them and be cleansed?” He then left in a rage. Clearly he wasn’t living up to the full meaning of his name that day.

Thankfully, for Naaman, his servant, who was with him was thinking clearly. The servant said to Naaman, “My father, if the prophet had told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much more, then, when he tells you, ‘Wash and be cleansed’!”

Huh, how many times do we allow pride to block our view of answered prayer simply because it doesn’t look like what our mind conceived it to be? How many times do we choose to be offended because God, who is sovereign, decides to use someone in our life to deliver his message rather than speak directly to us?

Hope want conceptNaaman eventually did what Elisha told him and washed in the Jordan seven times and was healed. And this was his response, “Now I know that there is no God in all the world except in Israel.” (2 Kings 5:15b).

Precious One, live up to the full potential of your name in Christ Jesus.

Shalom!

Does It Make It Right?

doodles-flowers328-01-111413-1077 (1)This morning as I was walking with my friend, in the deep dark and dense fog, that was actually a bit balmy and warm, not cold as one would expect fog to be, we began talking about world events. Specifically about the two militants that Jordan executed in retaliation to the death of one of their pilots. My friend explained how she and her daughter had been talking about this subject last night and my friend stated that finally someone was doing something about terror. I listened to my friend talk and then I said to her, “let me ask you a question.” “Does God love terrorists as much as He loves me and you?” She was silent for a few moments and I said to her, “yes, God does.” God loves all his creation, how could he not when each of us believer and terrorist alike are created in His image? Now, please, do not mishear me, God does not love the evil, the sin that people choose to buy into and live out, but he does love each of his created beings.

Many of us are familiar with John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. I think we do this verse and those we share it with an injustice if we don’t also share the gem right after it; that is John 3:17????????????


For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

In the single most greatest act of love of all time, God gave His Son as a sacrifice so that all the world, even those who commit heinous acts of crime, could be saved through Him. Are you a believer in Christ? Then your responsibility is to love, like Jesus does, at all times.

My friend and I continued our conversation. I asked her how big is her God? Did she truly believe that God heard her prayers? Did she think that if she prayed and asked God to do something about this situation, even though she might not see evidence of it, that God would? From the beginning God’s heart has always been about the salvation of the nations. Was she praying and asking Holy Spirit to drop his seed of salvation into the hearts of evil people? Are you?

My friend’s daughter told her, “two wrongs don’t make a right.” I agree with her, yes, even in this situation.

Are you angry about the news of evil around the world? You should be, now let that anger move you to do something constructive. A good place to start is with prayer.

My heart is saddened that three people were killed in this situation, who, mostly likely, never had the opportunity to hear the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ. They will spend eternity separated from God.

Hand drawing heart in sand on the beachLove is the most powerful spiritual weapon against evil. Use it and use it abundantly.

May the shalom of God be yours today and everyday.

Nothing New Under The Sun

Photo by Danette Childs
Photo by Danette Childs

Just this morning I saw this picture. It is from a post on January 27th from Franklin Graham. Franklin states that he received word from his staff in Niger that militants had burned dozens of churches and the charred Bible is part of the aftermath. Franklin asks this question, “but can you imagine the international outcry if this were the Koran?”

Immediately Holy Spirit began, what I refer to as downloading thoughts, I had to blog quickly so as not to forget them all! Precious Ones, God’s not dead and neither is his word! God is alive and well and knows exactly what is going on all around the world.

While it hurts our hearts to see his word physically charred and desecrated, His word is alive because his word is Jesus Christ who is alive!

In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. John 1:1.

Others destroy Bibles to distract believers and take their focus off of God. That doesn’t change the fact that God’s word lives in our heart; active and ongoing.

For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. Hebrews 4:12

There is no stopping God.

so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. Isaiah 55:11

The final thought Holy Spirit gave me is this:

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:2

 Meaning be a part of this world but don’t be in this world. Don’t think like this world because this world is not our home. We are temporary visitors here. Our home is the new heaven and new earth that is yet to come!

I wonder as agents, as ambassadors to the Kingdom of God, while we are busy not being in this world are we also not thinking like this world? We are a part of the kingdom of God. Do our thoughts and actions reflect that? God is supernatural, there I said it, do we think in supernatural ways? Or, do we let ourselves be distracted by pictures and images of fear? Our inheritance is not fear, for we have been given a spirit of power and of love and of a sound mind. From one sound mind to another, I ask you, “How big is your God?” “How big is your faith?”

You know, there is nothing new under the sun and I encourage you to not be enticed by the age-old tactic of Satan; fear. I exhort you to pray and pray without ceasing to the one True LIVING God. Then and only then will the peace of the Lord that surpasses all understanding be in your heart and mind.

God is alive, his word is alive and He will remain that way for all eternity.

Shalom!

Love Is

Screenshot_2014-07-23-07-09-39I love many people. I love God, Jesus and Holy Spirit. I love my husband, my children and my family. I love my friends and I love the story of Jesus compassion, grace and mercy to the women caught in adultery in John 8. The Pharisees and teachers of the Law brought this woman in front of Jesus where he was teaching to a large crowd of people. The law of the time was that anyone caught in the act of adultery would be stoned to death, with very large boulders. The accusers were actually trying to trap Jesus into saying something they could use against him so they could arrest Jesus.

Jesus did something very peculiar. He bent down and began writing in the dust with his Hand drawing heart in sand on the beachfinger as the accusers demanded an answer from Him. Jesus says,“All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” One can only imagine that perhaps he was writing the sins of the accusers in the dirt. One by one the accusers left until it was only Jesus, the woman and the crowd Jesus had been teaching too. Jesus forgave the woman of her sins and told her to go and sin no more.

If we are to be like Jesus, as we are called to be, we ought not throw stones of judgement but instead offer forgiveness and love.

Holy Spirit help us to look past the sin of others and not cast judgement. After all, we were pulled from a life of sin and while sinner is no longer our identity, our heart still has a great propensity to sin, sometimes knowingly and sometimes not. It is not for us to judge, our responsibility is to love like You; love like Jesus. Regardless of the sin; murder, molestation, adultery, lying, cheating, this list goes on. I know this is counter cultural. What is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear or read about a child abduction, campus rape or a senseless death? We want the person responsible to pay. That is human nature. But, Jesus paid the cost for their sin, your sin and my sin. He looks past the sin and sees the person he created and he calls us to do the same. Sin is sin, and I am not down playing sin which leads to spiritual death and life altering consequences, but Satan uses it to distract us from the person God created. If we are constantly looking at someones sin we can’t see the beautiful person God has made. The person he sent his Son to die on the cross for so they too can have the hope of eternity.

I encourage and challenge you to start or continue to pray for those who don’t yet know Jesus as their Lord and Savior, especially those you read or hear about in the news. Perhaps they have no one praying for them and God has chosen you to be their prayer warrior. Who knows but God that He has called you to such a time as this!

2499-1013-A2544Love is one of the greatest weapons of spiritual warfare.

Shalom!

Full Metal Jacket

Several mornings ago I was in that wonderfully blissful state in between slightly asleep and fully awake. I was spending some quiet time with my heavenly Papa, with thoughts and prayers floating through my mind like puffy white clouds gently moving across a beautiful spring sky. That’s when I heard, very clearly in my mind, the words “full metal jacket” and I saw a picture of a protective vest. No longer in that wonderfully blissful state, I was now fully awake.

army-pack-1-6Coming from a military family and being married to a man who use to sleep with his rifles on the floor in between his bed and the wall, one would think I knew exactly what a full metal jacket is. One would be wrong, I had to Google the term. A full metal jacket is a type of bullet that has a soft core and is encased by a harder metal on all sides except the bottom, which is exposed lead.

I began pondering what the Holy Spirit meant by full metal jacket and this picture of a protective vest. If this were a year ago, fear would have set in and I would be stressing about what the Holy Spirit was trying to tell me. This particular morning, however, it wasn’t caution I felt but a call to arms.

This morning as I was praying I heard the word, “gear up!” No, I didn’t have to Google this, I knew immediately the Holy Spirit was telling me to put on His full armor and be ready to ride. Then the Holy Spirit spoke these words to my heart, “My word is your full metal jacket, it is your vest of protection.” Reading  glasses on bible text

Precious one, the Holy Spirit is telling us not to be afraid of current world events but to put on our full metal jacket. He is calling us to a season of intense abiding in Him through reading and studying his word, prayer, worship, praise and most importantly, living out his word through our life.

The Body of Christ is at war not in the physical realm, although that is the chosen battle field of the enemy, our war is waged in the supernatural, the spiritual realm of the heavenlies. The Holy spirit calls us to stand united in prayer, consistent prayer, over the atrocities we are witnessing. That anger you feel and the desire for righteous justice at current events, the Holy Spirit asks you to direct that at Him in prayer. Boldly ask Him to turn ALL hearts to him in repentance. Do you understand the power of prayer? Do you understand that God hears the prayers of his people and those prayers move the hand of God? Don’t ever underestimate the power of prayer. And, pray from a pure heart with God’s motives not your own.

For God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7.

Back in the seventies there was a shampoo commercial that showed a young actress holding a bottle of shampoo and saying something to the effect of, “if you tell one person and they tell one person and so on and so on,” while the picture of her became a screen full the same small picture of her, conveying the image that it started with one person telling another and so on. It is the same here. I am telling you and if each of you tell just one other person, soon the entire Body of Christ will hear God’s call to gear up and put on your full metal jacket.

logo_crusader_shield_swordFor our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Ephesians 6:12.

Shalom!

I Had A Dream

earthLast night I had a dream. In this dream I was in a classroom with other much younger students, I couldn’t see them but I knew they were there. The teacher was telling us her zero tolerance policy on doing any other work in her classroom other than what she had given us to do. I look over and see another women about my age, and who looks exactly like the teacher, balancing her checkbook. I could sense the astonishment of the other students that this woman would be disregarding what the teacher had just told us AND the teacher wasn’t doing anything about. Well, if you know me, when it comes to a battle, especially a spiritual one, I usually jump in, take names and ask questions later, yeah, I’m working on this one. Any way, I am standing next to the woman who is balancing her checkbook and I say to the teacher, “everyone needs to follow this rule except her?” The lady balancing her checkbook takes my hands and tries to bind them at my wrists. In my dream I am thinking this is a total spiritual attack. I was so angry at this woman that I woke both myself and my husband up by yelling out loud, “Let Go!”

Lady Blindfolded Holding Scales Justice SwordI couldn’t go back to sleep and I laid there with goose bumps all over and my heart pounding. I asked the Holy Spirit what the meaning of this dream was. In my mind He took me back into the dream and I am standing in between these two women, who look-alike, and I heard the word, “Justice.” Then the Holy Spirit told me, “I want you to be a voice for those who don’t have one.” After that, I fell back to sleep.

This morning as I was reading my Bible I came across these three verses:

nx_man_pavement_sadSeek justice. Help the oppressed. Defend the orphan. Fight for the rights of widows. Isaiah 1:17b.

The LORD destroys the house of the proud, but he protects the property of widows. Proverbs 15:25.

O LORD, hear my pleas for justice. Listen to my cry for help. Psalm 17:1.

A coincidence? Perhaps, however, over the past several months the Holy Spirit has been talking to me about fasting and human trafficking. Not long ago, I came across true fasting in Isaiah 58. Part of a true fast is to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke. To share our food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter and when we see the naked to clothe them. And, not to forget our own flesh and blood. (Isaiah 58:6-7).

I am excited to see where this leads as the Holy Spirit continues to unravel his plan in my life with regards to being his voice piece, along with others, for those who have none.

Shalom!

Practice What You Teach

I was awakened this morning by a phone call. It was my husband, he was already at work. He called to tell me that our house had been egged, again. This is the second egging in three weeks. This time the eggers got a bit creative, using kid’s paint daubers to write on the windows of our cars. Apparently, they must have thought we would be hungry in the morning because they left us an empty box of baby cereal on the lawn. Unfortunately, they had sprinkled the cereal on our sidewalk and driveway. I am disappointed. The last time they left half a carton of eggs in the grass, which I promptly made hard-boiled eggs with AND they were organic. Score!

The first egging upset me but it was fleeting, maybe because I had already eaten before I went out to clean up the mess. I also learned how to set up and use my husband’s pressure washer without his assistance. Another score! The pressure washer is one of my new favorite toys, along with the electric garden trimmer. I asked my husband if I could have a Screenshot_2014-07-14-08-41-47-1matching pink pressure washer to sit by his red one in the garage. He offered to buy me a motorized one that I can sit in. I know, I was shocked there is such a thing!

This time, however, as I am outside setting up the pressure washer, realizing it isn’t starting because it is out of gas and that requires a trip to the gas station, I am telling God how ticked off I am, how ridiculous this is and if I was in the habit of swearing, I would probably have a few choice words to utter. All the while, I am doing all the talking, ranting really, and not much listening. Oh, I heard what the Holy Spirit was whispering to me, “It could have been worse.” “They used washable paint.” “They didn’t egg the cars.” In the moment, I chose not to acknowledge what He was saying.

When I finished my chore and came in the house I asked God, “What are you going to do about this?” “You go ahead of me in all circumstances, You are my rear guard.” As plainly as I can hear the song birds in our backyard, I heard Him say, “What I did was send them to you.” “I want you to pray for them.” Ah, here is where practice what you teach comes in.

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to teach at our third service at church. Part of the teaching was how it is sometimes hard to pray for what God is asking us to pray about. Sometimes God allows unfortunate circumstances, like one’s house being egged, because he has a job for us to do, and he chooses and trusts us to get the job done and he has already equipped us for what we need to do battle.

God has given each of us the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, which is alive and active and sharper than any double-edged sword. God’s word is sharper than any human sword will ever be, even when that sword is a carton of eggs and a box of baby cereal.

As the Holy Spirit gently brings me to a place of correction and repentance, I can see God’s heart more clearly. It saddens him to think about the many hungry children that could have been fed by the eggs and cereal that were wasted. How many meals could have been purchased with the money spent on the paint daubers? His heart is breaking and I can feel that in my own heart. I feel his sadness and the physical expression of that is my own tears.

There is one small bit of humor in all of this. It is the box of baby cereal. As I sat down to write this blog the Holy Spirit reminded me of 1 Corinthians 3:1-4a

20140714_093330-1 “But for right now, friends, I’m completely frustrated by your unspiritual dealings with each other and with God. You’re acting like infants in relation to Christ, capable of nothing much more than nursing at the breast. Well, then, I’ll nurse you since you don’t seem capable of anything more. As long as you grab for what makes you feel good or makes you look important, are you really much different than a babe at the breast, content only when everything’s going your way?” 1 Corinthians 3:1-4a The Message.

Thank you Holy Spirit for reminding me I was acting like a baby, not content because things weren’t going my way. Indeed, thank you for the blessing of knowing your heart, for choosing our family and giving us your sword.

So, if you’re reading this and you are the culprit(s), you can run but you can’t hide, God knows exactly where you are.  I thank the Holy Spirit for dropping his seed of salvation deep into your heart, where it takes deep root in fertile soil. I thank Jesus that you choose Him!

Shalom!