God Speaks

Screenshot_2015-02-24-20-07-50-1

Not long ago I read something to the effect of God speaking only through his written word and implying that God does not talk to people on behalf of others or for the masses but that when He speaks to someone it is for that person only. This left me feeling very unsettled and because I am an internal processor it has taken me awhile to reconcile why I was feeling this way.

I believe, without any doubt, God speaks to us mainly through his word. That is why reading and studying his word is so vital to our spiritual health. But, I also believe God speaks to us in different ways; through dreams, visions, pictures and prayer. I also believe God gives us messages of encouragement and prophetic messages to be given away to others. He has done this through me many times and I always suggest to the one who is receiving a word from God through me that they take this spoken word to God and ask God what part of it is from him and what part of it can be tossed out, because many times my human-ness and my impressions can be mixed in with the message from God.

It is the hearer’s responsibility to be alone with God and pray about what was given. Oughtn’t we be doing this on a regular basis to begin with? Most of us attend church on Sunday or Bible study during the week, simply because one has been anointed by God to preach or teach does not mean we will ever get it right one hundred percent of the time, again, it is the hearer’s responsibility to go God and ask God for his discernment on what was preached or taught.

Paul gave these words of wisdom about worship in 1 Corinthians 14:26b.

When you come together, everyone has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. All these must be done for the strengthening of the church. 1 Corinthians 14:26b.

When we always imply that what God speaks to one person should be only for that person we negate the truth of God’s word. All of these things including prophecy, further in the passage Paul addresses prophecy, are meant to strengthen the Bride of Christ! Have they and are they currently misused? Yes, BUT it is each believers responsibility to go to God and ask for his wisdom, his discernment on what was spoken or taught. Let’s give each other the freedom in Christ and encouragement to seek the spiritual gifts Holy Spirit wants to lavish on us; gifts that are meant for the greater good of the entire Church.

Precious One, “Do not put out the Spirit’s fire; do not treat prophecies with contempt. Test everything. Hold on to the good.” 1 Thessalonians 5:19-21.

Shalom!

 

Grace Wins Every Time

dove-vector-element_M1PQMiUu_L

 

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!

Here’s to your Health

810-9148-64-166Some people like to listen to music while they run but I like to reflect, ponder and talk with God, catching the thoughts Holy Spirit brings to me as they flitter into my thought process. That was the case this morning. I was running in the neighborhood of one of my first friends when we moved to this area and the old French proverb, “the more things change the more they stay the same” came to mind. What this proverb means is that tumultuous changes don’t affect reality on a deeper level. As I thought about this I began to see this a bit differently. Sadly, my friend passed away about three years ago. Her husband sold their house and their four children no longer reside in the area. Things changed and nothing is the same for them. Yes, on a deeper level their loved one is no longer with them, but that is only a part of their total reality. A reality that has changed and is constantly evolving and being shaped by the hand of God.

A few days ago I wrote about Daniel’s seriousness to prayer. You can read that post here. As I was writing the Daniel post, Holy Spirit began to answer a question I had about my prayers in a current situation and by the time I was done writing He laid a plan tailor made for me to make some changes to the way I approach prayer. He gave me an assignment; the names of three people who are struggling with their health and asked me to devote some uninterrupted time each morning for three days discovering what I could about what He says about healing and applying these truths as prayers over the three people he asked me to pray for. He is an amazing and good, good Father indeed! While there are many verses about healing and health, here is my favorite so far and at first glance one might not think this has anything to do with healing but allow me to show you the gem I found.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11

Hope in the original text is actually the word peace, which can mean health. The words ‘a future’ in the original text is an expected end; it is an expectation, hope of deliverance, a thing that is longed for. Literally it means a cord of attachment. This cord of attachment comes from a word that means be strong, endure, remain, patiently wait for, on or upon.

God knows the plans he has for your life, plans for health and the hope of deliverance. All you need to do is patiently wait upon him connected by the cord of expectation.

Are you feeling discouraged, angry, discontent or hopeless? Perhaps you’re thinking a change of scenery might make you feel better. Maybe a job change, moving to a new neighborhood or seeking out new friends. Then yes, the more things change the more they stay the same; you bring the same heart and soul condition to your new changed reality.

However, as a believer in Christ if you stay firmly connected to Jesus it is impossible for you not to change on a deep level because the truth is Holy Spirit is always transforming you through the ongoing process of sanctification; drawing you closer and closer to Christ like behavior; experiencing his characteristics, his joy, his love, his peace and his healing. Your choice to say yes to Jesus didn’t end when you asked him to be the Lord of your life. Everyday you get to choose to say yes to the lover of your soul.

Precious One, maintaining health, spiritually, mentally and physically, is a choice. So, what will it be? Superficial change where everything remains the same or real down deep change and the hope of deliverance as you stay connected to the cord of expectation?

Shalom!

Life’s Purpose

MyLifeHasPurpose

 

 

I have a rock and not just any rock. I received this rock about four years ago with instructions to write on it what I felt the Holy Spirit was speaking to me at the moment. On one side I wrote “Faith” and on the other side I wrote “My Life Has Purpose.” My rock sits on our kitchen counter where I have the opportunity to look at it several times a day. Little did I know this rock has been ‘whispering’ to me these past four years. Hey, if God can use a talking donkey….!

About 8 months ago God placed a message in my heart. Through some topical Bible studies I was working on, he began to highlight verses that I felt I ought to keep track of. Praise God for Evernote! I even wrote in my journal, “is this a sermon or a teaching?” A few times a year I have the awesome opportunity to give the message to our faith family, and throughout the year I co-teach at our Women’s weekly Bible study. Deep down I knew this was a sermon message and for some reason that scared me! Maybe because I had become complacent and cozy right where I was.

In January we were in D.C. helping our oldest lovebug move into her first apartment. We had stepped outside for a few minutes and I missed a call from our Pastor so he messaged me asking if I would like to preach the following month. As I read his message my heart started racing and I knew the message God had placed in my heart months before was for this time. But, all those months before, as I was keeping track of the verses He was giving me, I was ignoring the prompting of Holy Spirit to begin putting His message together. I strongly advise against ignoring!

As soon as we arrived home from D.C. I began putting this message together. Holy Spirit titled it “Connected to the Vine.” and it was all about purpose. I was amazed, as I always am, how Holy Spirit brings together verses that are seemingly unrelated and weaves them into one another so that they walk side by side, holding hands, complimenting each other and making perfect sense.

Since this message was titled “Connected to the Vine”, it made total sense to me that the leading verse Holy Spirit gave me was John 15:5.

“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.” John 15:5.

I have read this verse numerous times, as I am sure many of you have as well, but I couldn’t ‘walk’ away from this verse without digging deeper into what it says to us.

I found that in addition to live, dwell and abide, the word remain in John 15:5 also means to follow Christ’s example of living a life obedient to the will of God. So right away we see we have a purpose in John 15:5.

We have a second purpose found in John 15:5 and that is to bear much fruit. Karpos is the Greek word for fruit in John 15:5 and it means everything done in true partnership with Christ and is the result of two lives – the Lord living His life through ours.

This morning I was reading Acts 26. Paul is recounting his encounter with Jesus on the Damascus Road to Festus, King Agrippa, his wife Bernice and many others who were in attendance.

“ ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,’ the Lord replied. ‘Now get up and stand on your feet. I have appeared to you to appoint you as a servant and as a witness of what you have seen and will see of me. I will rescue you from your own people and from the Gentiles. I am sending you to them to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’ Acts 26:16-18.

I would like to say it hit me with a huge Emerile Lagasse, “Bam!” but it didn’t it was more subtle and matter of fact….we have purpose found in Acts 26:16-18. Our purpose is to open the eyes of everyone God sends us to or brings to us and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in Him.

Acts 26:16-18 is one of the reasons we say our life is not our own. Jesus paid the ultimate price for us upon the Cross, taking on the sin of all humanity once and for all. And at that moment God turned his face away from Jesus and he was forsaken because of our sin. Jesus has never been out of communion with God or Holy Spirit except for this one moment and he did it all for me and for you, because He loves us, because He wants our life to have purpose. His purpose.

Precious One, God’s purpose for your life and my life is to live life obedient to His will, to bear much fruit because He is living his life through ours and we are in true partnership with Him. Our purpose is to turn others from darkness to light, from Satan to God for the forgiveness of sins and the hope of life everlasting.

Live life on purpose. His purpose. Stay connected to the Vine.

Shalom!

Memories of Junior High Camp

 

 

Scan 2

 

ScanYears ago, I was an adult leader with our Jr. High Youth group. Every year we would go to summer camp, and, every year there was one night we played hide and go seek. The adult leaders would take their Jr. Higher’s and hide and it was the job of the Pastors to find each group. We would all wear the darkest clothing we had. I still have my hoodie that I bought at camp just for this night and it is still one of my favorite sweatshirts! Now, I use to be very competitive, okay, I still am, but just a tiny bit especially when it comes to board games. I was determined this night that my girls and I would not be found.

Scan 5We hid down by a stream that had a huge fallen tree across it that one could walk over instead of the path we took. We positioned ourselves in a straight line in the shadow of the tree. It was completely dark except for the light of the moon. It was also very quiet except for the shouts and calls of the Youth Pastors attempting to draw everyone out. We sat and whispered to one another and giggled as one by one we could hear the other groups suffering the defeat of being discovered. There were a few close calls as we heard Pastors coming our way and turning around after finding ‘nothing’. Finally, after what seemed like a million years, the game was over and we were never found! We won! We won! We won! Did I mention I use to be competitive? My heart is racing recalling this memory! The funny thing is we were actually hiding in plain sight. Had anyone come from the other direction they would have been facing toward us and even though we were all wearing dark clothing the Pastors all had one advantage, they had flashlights!

Scan 3In Acts 17 we find Paul walking around Athens and he is greatly distressed to find the city full of idols. He even found an altar that had an inscription to an unknown God. This gave Paul the perfect opportunity to share the gospel message and Christ Jesus as the unknown God.

God had revealed Himself to the Athenians, who had been worshipping Him without knowing, well before Paul arrived. God the Father was there the entire time in plain sight! Oh, how the Father loves his creation, so much so, he will stop at no means to show his desire to be in a redeemed relationship with all his creation through his beloved Son, Jesus!

Scan 1Precious One, God is not a hidden God, He is right in front of you. He is in plain sight.

Shalom!

check out http://www.icr.org/article/genesis-chinese-pictographs/                                   for another amazing story of God in plain sight!

 

 

Who Do You Work For?

wpid-img_20140306_140905.jpgIf you are a believer in Christ where do you put your hope? Is your hope in the media, in the world, or in Christ? As believers in Christ our hope ought to be in Him and him alone.

In view of recent world events I ask you, “Do you not know have you not heard you are only a sojourner in this land until Christ returns or calls you home?” Now, I am in no way making light of recent devastating world events, my family was directly affected by September 11th and we will never forget.

Do you understand that the events playing out in the physical realm are the result of a greater battle in the heavenly realm?

And, so, I ask you another question, “Are you praying about these events as much as you are talking about them on social media?”

The moment we became believers in Christ God gave us two of many very powerful tools. First and foremost the very Spirit of the living God lives in you. The same Power that raised Christ from the dead lives in every believer in Christ. Which leads me to ask, “how are you staying connected to the Vine?” Apart from Him we can do absolutely nothing, and connected to him we are blessed with His peace that is nothing like or in comparison with the peace the world attempts to offer us.

Changing my profile picture, no offense to those of you who have, will not stop this raging spiritual war. But prayer, prayer has the power to move mountains! Are you upset with the way your government is handling the threat of terrorism? If so, I encourage you to stop talking about it and begin or continue praying only. God’s word instructs us to pray for all those in authority so that we can live peaceful lives. (1 Timothy 2:2; emphasis added).  Part of our responsibility as believers in Christ is to share the love and hope of Christ not get caught in the fray.

And what about those caught up in the bondage of terrorism? Are you praying for them? I am. Why? Because they too were created in the image of God. Because God’s love, his grace and his gift of salvation are for all his creation. Romans 5:8 confirms this for us –

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

Bondage is bondage regardless of what name is placed on it. And God’s heart breaks when anyone who is caught up in bondage and doesn’t know Christ as Lord and Savior dies because it means eternity apart from Him.

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:9. (emphasis added).

If you are a believer in Christ your life was paid for with a ransom; His blood that was shed for you. Your life is not your own, but belongs to Him and he calls you to share his love and his grace with the rest of humanity.

So, who are you working for? Are you placing your hope in Christ, even more so in these unstable and unsure times, staying so closely connected with Him that you can’t help but offer His hope to a frightened world, or are you allowing yourself to be distracted by the age old schemes of the enemy?

God’s word speak to us and tells us there is a time for everything.

A time to be silent and a time to speak. Ecclesiastes 3:7b

Silence may be golden but prayer speaks volumes. May the Bride of Christ arise.

Shalom!

Don’t Judge Me By The Clothes I Wear

fashion-girl-on-ornate-background_GJGp5-F_Don’t judge me by the clothes I wear you know nothing of my story. Rather walk beside me and share your love for Christ with me; share His glory.

You say that you are a follower of Christ; a born again believer. If this is so, why then, would you ever say, “I can’t believe her parents let her out of the house dressed like that”? You think I don’t know what you’re whispering to your friends as you glance my way with that look on your face. I thought grace and love were your compass.

You see, I grew up in a Christian home and you know nothing of my story. There was a time I was strong and confident but then I started to believe the lies the enemy whispers my way. Some days it’s a struggle just to hear the voice of God, though I try. Hand drawing heart in sand on the beach

And, if you are a parent of a son teach him to respect me regardless of what I wear. Teach him self-control, you know nothing of my story.

It is your love, it is the grace that God freely gives to you to  give to others and it is your prayers that will make a difference in my life. Won’t you be a part of my story?

Precious One, it is the season of Homecoming dances, Sadie Hawkins and the Christmas Ball. Many pictures will be posted online. Please be mindful of the words that come out of your mouth, especially before you hit the send button. While comments can be deleted, once they’ve been seen the damage has already been done. May your words and thoughts only be gracious and kind. May the ‘clothes’ you wear be those that others desire. You know nothing of ‘their’ story.

“I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.” Luke 24:49 emphasis added.

Shalom!

Warrior Princess

Artwork by  P.O. Box 24 Bridal Veil, Oregon 97010 StreamsOfMercy@gmail.com  352-777-0123. Pic found on Pinterest.
Artwork by Todd L. Thomas P.O. Box 24 Bridal Veil, Oregon 97010
StreamsOfMercy@gmail.com 352-777-0123. Pic found on Pinterest.

She knelt before him her helmet under her left arm and wearing her administrative clothes. Her robe was long and lush and of the most beautiful hue of ecru. It was lavishly embroidered and had a fur trim all around. And her helmet, ahh, well, it was a gift from a very sweet friend who told her it was like a nuclear warhead with missiles and different projectiles ready at her command.

For weeks now he has been saying to her, “Listen, listen to me.” Her response was always the same, “What am I listening for?” Today as she knelt before Him he said to her, “Jael you hear My voice and you follow Me and I know you. My daughter, you are my beautiful warrior and my beautiful princess; a warrior princess and I anoint you.”

Interesting, because for a few years now she and one of her best friends have called each other SWP, which means Sister Warrior Princess. Curiously she wonders what the anointing is for since she has thought of herself as a warrior and a princess for a long time now.

To be continued….

My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me. John 10:27.

Shalom!