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.

God Speaks

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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!

 

Looking Through A New Lens

“Every step you take, every word you speak, every breath you earthbreathe-all is done in My watchful embracing Presence. You are totally immersed in My invisible yet ever-so-real Being! Sarah Young “Jesus Calling”

I know and believe by faith that the power that raised Jesus from the dead; resurrection power; the power of Holy Spirit lives in me. But, as I read the above paragraph from “Jesus Calling” the profoundness of me residing in Jesus came alive like a beautifully wrapped present just waiting to be opened and inside is something you’ve waited for and known all along but didn’t know until the gift was given and you chose to open and receive.

I have a precious friend, who, after receiving a gift from God, ‘gets back in line’, and says, “more Daddy!” More indeed! More light, more love, more grace, more mercy, more supernatural wisdom, more resurrection power!

for in Him we live and move and exist, as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we also are His children.’ Acts 17:28 (emphasis added).

Shalom!

Through The Storm

About a week ago during worship at church we were singing “Cornerstone” by Hillsong. This is the chorus:

One letter from old brick alphabet set “Christ alone Cornerstone. Weak made strong in the Saviors love. Through the storm He is Lord, Lord of all.”

I was struck by the thought that a storm experienced in a person’s life is usually thought of as a negative thing, but it doesn’t always have to be nor is it always a bad thing. You see, the day before we had taken our oldest love bug back to the airport for her trip back to college. And, although, this was our sixth such trip since she started college in late 2013, this time it was the hardest for me. I also sensed it was a bit harder for her as well.Anemometer

I wondered on this as Holy Spirit was showing me this momentary storm was not a bad thing, it came out of a really good thing! As I stood in worship the tears starting flowing, both sad tears for a season that has passed and tears of gladness at the Lord’s work. He showed me pictures of her youth like a slideshow and he spoke to my heart, “My hand is upon her. I have given her the passion of her heart; the passion for justice. She is on My path.” Oh, the grace of God is unfathomable! He never has to share with us the inner work he is doing, but many times he chooses too. He knew my troubled heart before the storm ever hit and he offered his grace, his comfort and his love.

crown3-111413-734Through the storm He is Lord, Lord of all.

Shalom!

Oh That Robe

I am a part of a group of people on another social network that have committed to reading through the Bible in a year. The group was formed to help encourage each other and to discuss what speaks to us from a given day’s reading.

Every year I try to read through the Bible from a different format or translation. Last year I used a woman’s devotional Bible, which had a daily reading and then a devotional at the end of each reading. This year I am reading through the Bible in chronological order along with the group I’ve joined.

A few days ago my reading was from Genesis 37:1 – 39:23. And goodness there was a lot going on! For some reason Holy Spirit is highlighting things that I simply ‘read’ in years past. I grabbed my journal to write down the insights from Holy Spirit, I felt like I couldn’t write fast enough!

Family puzzle conceptIn Genesis 37:2 we see Joseph tending his father’s flocks with his brothers and he brings a bad report back to his father. Was Joseph a tattletale?! We go on to read that Israel loved Joseph more than any of his other sons, because he had been born to him in his old age. I think it was more than that. I think Israel loved Joseph more than his other sons because he was the son of Rachel, the love of his life. My, is there any wonder Israel’s other son’s were rebellious? And, did this add fuel to the fire between Leah and Rachel, while Rachel was still alive? Leah, always trying to get Israel’s attention to love her and Rachel, most likely, bitter toward her father for giving her sister Leah to Israel (Jacob) in marriage first, when it should have been her and her alone.

I wonder too, was Joseph just a bit spoiled, maybe coddled? After all, Israel made Joseph an ornate robe and nothing for his other sons. The Bible tells us that when Israel’s other sons saw that their father loved Joseph more than them they hated Joseph and could not speak a kind word about him. (Genesis 37:4).

I am the youngest and only girl after four boys in my family. The youngest of my brothers Hope want conceptis seven years older than me. Yes, I was spoiled with attention and my brother and I were close despite the difference in our ages. But, he was the baby of the family for seven years. Growing up he always thought that my mom loved me the most, ironically, I always thought my mom loved him the most. After all, he always got to do whatever he wanted. Silly, when I think back, of course he got to do things I couldn’t he was older than me! But what caused each of us to think the other was more loved? And, what did my other brothers think?

I love my children equally, but each of them have unique qualities that I love the most about them as individuals. As parents our responsibility is to show each of our children how much we love them unconditionally; regardless of their actions, talents, gifts, accomplishments or shortcomings.

Israel favoring Joseph is the same as Rebekah favoring Jacob (Israel) and Isaac favoring Esau over Jacob. Had Isaac, Rebekah and Israel shown unconditional love to all their children would there have been so much sibling strife? Is this generational? Was it a learned behavior for Isaac, Rebekah and Israel? Even Isaac was favored over his half brother Ishmael.

Was Joseph just a bit naive when it came to his brothers? And the brothers, they remind me of Cain. So much jealousy that they plotted to kill Joseph. As Providence would have it, they do not kill Joseph but instead sell him to some Ishmaelites who were on their way to Egypt to sell their goods. Well, doesn’t this just come full circle?! The Ishmaelites were descendants of Joseph’s great uncle Ishmael, the least favored son, that we know of, from Abraham. The division in this family spans generations!

Judah is Joseph’s brother who suggests they sell Joseph to the Israelites, saying, “Come, let’s sell him to the Ishmaelites and not lay our hands on him: after all, he is our brother, our own flesh and blood.” (Genesis 37:27). After all?!! Oh Judah, always looking out for your own gain, where did you learn such deceit?

As you can read, I’ve come up with more questions that answers! There is One who loves us unconditionally, despite where we’ve been or what we’ve done. Jesus Written In Plastic Kids LettersHis Name is above all Names. His Name is Jesus.

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6.

Shalom!

On Being A Mom

Being a mom is the greatest blessing and job in the entire universe! I wouldn’t trade the trials, challenges and struggles we’ve faced in raising our lovebugs so far, though daunting at the time, because they have helped us grow as individuals, bond as a family and grow our faith and trust in God, knowing we can depend on Him for all things.

Screenshot_2014-08-29-13-47-29-1Our older two are one year two weeks, and according to our oldest, 1 day apart. They were 4 and 3 and a half when our littlest lovebug was born. I remember fondly the days when the middle seat, of our now retired Suburban, had one booster seat and two car seats lined up. In those days, a full night’s sleep seemed like a distant dream, these days horror mones are the cause of sleepless nights, but perhaps that is a story best left untold. Like clockwork, every night, one of them would wake up and make their way into our room and lay on the floor on my side of the bed, where I kept pillows and blankets, you know, just in case. Soon and as if the other two knew it was their turn, they too would end up next to their sibling and sleep the rest of the night snuggled up to one another. Just recently, I remembered those nights and wondered, “when did this season end?” The change happened so subtly it was as if it had always been that way. But my momma heart still holds onto those precious memories.Garrett, Hannah playoff 2013

20140212_135910These days I look into the faces of you younger moms and I see the tiredness in your eyes or hear the cries of your little lovebugs and without you knowing it, I am silently cheering you on and praying for you! You can do this!  The message you send your children with your perseverance is that you love them and you think they are worth all the tears, the crying, the struggles, the smiles, the accidents, the homework you don’t understand, and all the other challenges you may face by being called to the most important job ever. 20140506_213503

One day your children will remember how you poured all your heart and then some into them and they will call you blessed.

Her children arise and call her blessed;
    her husband also, and he praises her:
 “Many women do noble things,
    but you surpass them all.” Proverbs 31: 28-29

Shalom!

 

Hope for Today: 2 Timothy 1:7

lightning-strike-913-1010My verse today is 2 Timothy 1:7

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 has been swirling around in my head for a while now. I even pray this over my family and me, personalizing my prayer with our names. As I was praying this morning the word power stood out at me.

Power, in this verse, means a person or supernatural being who has administrative power; miraculous power. The miraculous power of the Living God lives in us. God gives us His power, the same power that raised Jesus from the dead. Resurrection power. This power lives inside those who believe in Jesus as Lord and Savior through the Holy Spirit. Think about that for a moment. The same power that raised Jesus from the dead LIVES inside you!

God wants to work through you with His miraculous power to lead others to His Son and eternal life, to heal the sick, to set the captives free, to be His witness of his sovereignty.

Go ahead, own the resurrection power within you. It is part of your identity. Its also your inheritance and a spiritual blessing from heaven. And, it is your God given authority in Christ. As an ambassador to the kingdom of God, use His power in you to change the lives of those around you.

Shalom!

 

A Nugget From Job

Photo credithttp://news.discovery.com/earth/nanoscale-gold-nuggets-130204.htm
Photo credithttp://news.discovery.com/earth/nanoscale-gold-nuggets-130204.htm

I found this nugget of treasure this morning in the book of Job.

If mortals die, can they live again? This thought would give me hope, and through my struggle I would eagerly wait for release. You would call and I would answer, and you would yearn for me, your handiwork. Job 14: 14-15. (emphasis added)

How profound that Job would ask, “If mortals die, can they live again?” And, that this thought would give him hope! Not only hope but that he would be released from his earthly struggles. The gospels teach us that Christ died on the cross for our sins and to give us hope of living in eternity with him when we choose Him as our Lord and Savior. But here, here, Job is already pondering this very thing.

Did you catch the last word? Job knew he was God’s handiwork! This is our identity in Christ; His handiwork. Precious One, you are His greatest masterpiece! Here is a parallel verse to Job 14:15

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good work, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:10

I’m liking this godly man Job more and more. Have a blessed day resting in your identity in Christ as His beautiful masterpiece.

Shalom!

Hope For Today: Paper Dolls

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When I was young we would make paper dolls. If the paper was folded correctly and cut properly when we unfolded the paper the dolls would be holding hands. That’s what I see with these three verses. They hold hands, one with another.

Be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. The farmer waits for the precious produce of the soil, being patient about it, until it gets the early and late rains. James 5:7

For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place and you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not attained royalty for such a time as this?” Esther 4:14.

‘Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’ Isaiah 41:10.

In between the rains there is a season of dry. Sometimes we can mistake this as God not speaking to us, wondering, “where did he go?” I encourage you to think about this season as a time of rest and preparation for Esther 4:14, being chosen for such a time as this!

When we realize God has chosen us for a particular assignment we might get anxious or fearful, even asking, “why me God?” I encourage you to ask yourself, “why NOT me?!” That’s when Isaiah 41:10 takes hold of your hand and reminds you, “fear not for I am with you!”

I declare the truth of these three verses over you, that the dry season between the rains is a time of preparing you for such a time as this and that you have no fear of stepping out in faith because the Lord is with you!

Shalom!

My Sins Are Forgiven: Do I Still Need To Confess and Repent?

Many times I blog about revelations from the Holy Spirit from his word and love to share with others to encourage and offer hope. Tonight I am pondering this question; “If I am forgiven for all my sins do I still need to confess and repent?”

I believe that Christ died once and for all.

“For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, crossso that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit;” 1 Peter 3:18.

I also believe all our sins, past, present and future have been forgiven. Our position in Christ is forgiven, past tense.

“to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us.” Ephesians 1:6-8.

Indeed, God casts our sins as far as the east is from the west.

IMAG0775And as far as sunrise is from sunset,
he has separated us from our sins. Psalm 103:12 The Message.

Beloved, the hour you first believed all your sins were forgiven. There is no need to continually confess your past sins. However, and I believe there is a distinction to be made here, when present sin is brought to our attention it stands in the way or our fellowship with God and we ought to have the posture of confessing and repenting. Confessing; acknowledging to God we have sinned and repenting; turning away from that sin by the power of the Holy Spirit who lives in us.

Isn’t it an awesome wonder to be forgiven of all our sins while at the same time God offers the gift of confession and repentance, which brings us back into beautiful fellowship with him, that deep and intimate relationship?

Hand drawing heart in sand on the beach “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9

Shalom!