Sunday, January 31, 2010

Who Will We Throw Out of the Boat Next?

I have often said that as a society we have become a different people than what we were 100 years ago or even 50 years ago. We used to be the type of people if we saw someone around us hurting then we would go out of our way to help them. If we were in the same boat together and the boat was sinking then we would go out of our way to start bailing water out of the boat because we were all in this together. However today as a whole that is totally different. If we find ourselves in a boat and the boat is sinking instead of working together to keep the boat afloat as a culture we tend to start throwing people out of the boat. We justify that they are holding us back and we need to float. What is so sad is I see this same mentality find itself in the modern day church. As a whole we don’t care if our brother and sister in the Lord is going through a rough time or a testing season. As long as it doesn’t affect ourselves and our own ministries then so be it. We’ve lost the sense of the fact that we are all in the boat of life together and we all need each other.

1 Corinthians 12:26 (The Message) says, “The way God designed our bodies is a model for understanding our lives together as a church: every part dependent on every other part, the parts we mention and the parts we don't, the parts we see and the parts we don't. If one part hurts, every other part is involved in the hurt, and in the healing. If one part flourishes, every other part enters into the exuberance.”


We are the body of Christ. We have all been called to be in this world for such a time as this and be Jesus to them. We have to stop fighting between each other, we have to stop merely tolerating one another, and we have to stop pretending to love each other and truly begin to care. When the person next to me in the boat gets a cramp from rowing the oars then it should be nothing for me to say, “Here take a rest. I’ll row for you.”

When we are in unity we are more of a force to deal with upon the earth. Ecclesiastes 4:12 (The Message) says, “ By yourself you're unprotected. With a friend you can face the worst. Can you round up a third? A three-stranded rope isn't easily snapped.” We need each other! We cannot survive without each other.

I love the move “The Gospel” and if you haven’t seen it go and rent it. Dan blessed me with the soundtrack some years ago. I love some good gospel with some rhythm and if you’ve never heard the song, “I need you to survive” by Hezekiah Walker& LFC I highly recommend you Google it and listen to it. But for those that won’t here are the lyrics:

I need you, you need me.
We're all a part of God's body.
Stand with me, agree with me.
We're all a part of God's body.
It is his will that every need be supplied.
You are important to me, I need you to survive.
You are important to me, I need you to survive.

I need you, you need me.
We're all a part of God's body.
Stand with me, agree with me.
We're all a part of God's body.
It is his will that every need be supplied.
You are important to me, I need you to survive.
You are important to me, I need you to survive.

I pray for you , you pray for me.
I love you, I need you to survive.
I won't harm you with words from my mouth.
I love you, I need you to survive.
(Repeat 6x)


I have been very humbled this week in this area. As the tears have subsided and the questions still linger, there are some things that remain clear to me. That is God is God. He is faithful, and I am His servant. I cannot serve my own opinions or a man, but to serve Him because He is God. I cannot neglect that we are all in this together. Our goals are all the same. It’s to “Make Jesus as Famous as Possible.” (Quote Dr. John Watson of Marion Christian Center). Our goals may appear to be different, but their not. We’re all in this together. I cannot belittle the role you play, and you cannot belittle the role I play.

We need each other. We need to choose unity today. We need to stand tall as a body of believers, and refuse to continue to throw people out of the boat. Instead let’s bring more people in the boat, and get a bigger boat. Think about this when you see each other going through a hard ship. Will you kick them in the backside and help them in the water, or will you hold on tight to them and help their feet be grounded?

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Do you feel stranded in the middle of Lake Erie?

When I was in grade school my friend Becky and I went to an awesome Bible camp for a week. For two years we made the trek to Camp Patmos on Kelly’s Island. I’m not much of a camper by nature. Those that know me know that my idea of camping is a Holiday Inn. But Camp Patmos was different, it’s a Baptists camp in its affiliation and we were in chapel three times a day. Being that it was on Kelly’s Island which is in Lake Erie it was more of a water sports camp. In order to even get to the camp: we were dropped off in Sandusky, took a ferry, and then we driven across the island. We could go: swimming in the lake, they had motor boats we got to ride on, every year we’d have a camp wide shaving cream fight, and there was sail boating too. Every year we went we enjoyed ourselves.

One year Becky and I decided that we really wanted to go sailing. The day was beautiful, and in order for them to let you take a sailboat you had to find an adult. So we started asking around to see if anyone would take us. We finally found someone who was there with her church group. We assumed that she must know how to sail, and that between the three of us we’d figure it out. If you haven’t realized this about me, I’m kind of a jump into something whether I know how to do it or not type of person. In this instance that wasn’t a good thing.

We got out on the water and at first it was good. The weather was picturesque. It was as if the heavens kissed the tips of the water for our enjoyment. Then the inevitable happened. We realized that no one in the boat knew how to sail. Worse yet, the shore was no longer visible, and the adult we were with started to panic. The wind would not cooperate. We kept trying to catch the wind and nothing was happening. We didn’t have a choice but to wait. We were sure somehow someone would miss us, and if they didn’t they’d at least miss the boat. The minutes turned to hours. We waited.

Finally we could hear a speed boat on the horizon. The camp started patrolling the waters looking for us. The plan was that the adult would get on the motor boat while the other councilor in the boat would sail us back to shore. When they were transferring the adult into the motor boat, we discovered something very important that Becky and I neglected to find out before. The lady started totally freaking out. She was struggling getting herself into the boat, and that was when we learned that this mystery woman who was supposed to be the one responsible couldn’t swim. She starts shaking, and I wasn’t sure at that moment she could get in that motorboat.

Eventually the shift was made, and the councilor was able to sail us back to shore. According to him, who was an expert sailor, it was the worse day that we could have even thought about coming out to sail. The wind was not right for it, and for even and expert sailor he had quite the difficulty getting us back to the camp. He had to keep going further down the coast than he wanted to in order to cut back around and get us there.

There are times in life when we’ve all been in similar shoes. We realize that we’ve missed God a bit in a situation. We realize that maybe we should have found out the one in charge couldn’t swim before we get her lost in the middle of Lake Erie. We realize that our choices weren’t the greatest. Maybe we get ahead of God in a situation, or maybe it was never His will in the first place for us to do something. It’s easy to be in the middle of that situation and begin to freak out like that lady back at the boat. It’s easy to find ourselves standing on a sailboat in the waters of life and look around to see if anyone has noticed that you’re missing. It’s easy to cry out when you see circumstances being different then what you thought they should be and wonder “Where is God anyway?”

I want to assure you with the words from Romans 8:31-38, “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written: “ For Your sake we are killed all day long;We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.” Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

God loves you and is right there with you in the midst of our own mistakes. I am amazed sometimes at the lies people believe about God. They think, God does not love his children all the time. He only loves them when their perfect. He’s not setting up in heaven ready to bounce you on the head when you mess up. That’s just silliness. For those of you who are parents do you stop loving your kids when they mess up? No. You want them to learn from their mistakes. I promise you that the above story made me learn. Next time I’ll make sure the person whose taking me sailing can sail, or maybe I’ll learn to sail myself.

God makes a promise in The Word Deuteronomy 31:8 says, “And the LORD, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed.” I found this same phrase of God never leaving you or forsaking you at least 7 other time in the Bible. I think if God meant that He’d never leave you or forsake you.

Circumstances can sometimes stink, and make you question if you really heard from God. Circumstances can be like the windless sail as we sat out on that sailboat waiting for help. Circumstances can be the adult freaking out because she can’t swim. But God took care of it all. He got our feet back on solid ground. He’ll do the same for you. He’ll calm the storm around you just keep trusting in Him. He has good plans for you! Keep trusting in Him! Don’t give up! You’ll see the shore on the horizon, and you’ll have a testimony to tell.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Let Down Your Nets!

I am so very excited to bring this word to all of you this afternoon. It is something that is fresh revelation to me, and its prophetic foresight to what is getting ready to happen in the body of Christ. On Friday, I sat down to study the Bible, and I felt the Lord tell me to go to the beginning of Luke 5. This is the story of Jesus calling his first disciples. Verses 1-11 in the Message Bible reads, “One day as Jesus was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret, with the people crowding around him and listening to the word of God, he saw at the water's edge two boats, left there by the fishermen, who were washing their nets. He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little from shore. Then he sat down and taught the people from the boat.

When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, "Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch." Simon answered, "Master, we've worked hard all night and haven't caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets." When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink. When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus' knees and said, "Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!" For he and all his companions were astonished at the catch of fish they had taken, and so were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, Simon's partners. Then Jesus said to Simon, "Don't be afraid; from now on you will catch men." So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him.”

So Simon and his crew have been laboring at their work all day. Their getting ready to go home for the day and their tired. Their cleaning up their nets, and I am sure their feeling a little defeated because they did not catch any fish that day. Jesus shows up, preaches and tells Simon to go back out on the water and fish again. You can hear the frustration in Simon’s response. “We’ve been at this all day, but fine if you think it’ll make a difference we’ll try.” They fish and their catch is SOOO huge that they cannot even bring it in on their own. It is so much that he calls in another boat and both boats begin to sink. It is after this that Jesus calls them to follow him in his ministry. As many times, as I have read this scripture before there is something very significant that goes on here that never occurred to me until I began to ponder on this scripture. These men were fishermen by trade. They lived off what they caught. They sold any of the extras. When Jesus caused all of those fish to be caught by them, he was doing more than a lesson here. He is financially providing for them, so they can quit their trades and go and follow him into the ministry. He is providing for them financially so they can go forth into the will of God.

What I felt the Lord speak to me is, “It’s time to put down your nets!” I don’t know about you, but personally I can say how frustrating it is when God calls you to do something and you work and labor for it for years and don’t feel like you’re going anywhere. It is a constant step of faith. But just like Simon God is telling many of you today to cast that faith out there again. Trust in Him! Trust that this time it will be different. This time new things will spring forth! In Malachi 3:10 in reference to tithing, “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this," says the LORD Almighty, "and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.” God is saying if you do what I am telling you to, it is my desire to pour out such a blessing to you that you cannot contain it.

I believe that we are about to experience such new things in the body of Christ that it is exciting. Some of you are about to see the biggest breakthrough you have seen to date. Be obedient in what He is telling you to do! When He tells you to put out your nets, it does not matter how many times you have tried before and did not go anywhere, this time you will! This time it will be different! This time will be right on time. God is taking you to a new place so you can continue to fulfill His will for your life. Keep trusting in Him, and know that He is God. Be excited and cast out your nets!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Hidden Majestic Encounters

When I was dating my husband and the man before him, I would travel back and forth from Columbus, OH to Pittsburgh, PA on a regular basis. Then when Dan and I were married I lived in Pittsburgh for about 4 months. I would always take I-70 E to I-79 North. If you ever get the chance to go this route, I highly recommend it. In order to get into Pittsburgh on I-79, the road will lead you through a tunnel in a mountain. Before going into that tunnel there isn’t much in the way of a city. But as you go through the mountain, you come out on the other end and Pittsburgh. It is nestled in the valley. All of a sudden the city sprawls out before you as if in a hidden secret city. I used to love going into the city at night. Coming out of that tunnel was like this majestic sign and wonder. The city was lit up, and just for a moment in time it took your breath away. It’s like you come through that tunnel and below you lays the city and it almost feels as if you’re hovering over it. As many times as I traveled this route, that moment of coming into the city never grew dull for me.

I hear people all the time, and myself included, talk about getting frustrated because God has made all these promises to them and they aren’t seeing them yet. I have often joked that there is a reason that patience is a fruit of the Spirit, because it’s a supernatural thing that you have to choose to walk in. It doesn’t just occur naturally. (Galatians 5:22) Your flesh wants it now, and can get quite grumpy when it doesn’t get it when it wants it.

It’s easy to look at what you may see right now and think that God isn’t doing anything, but what is faith? According to Hebrews 11:1 “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” You aren’t always going to physically see the evidence of what you believe for, or what God has told you. You have to trust Him. Sometimes it can feel as if you’re driving into a mountain tunnel. You may not be able to see much around you, but you have to keep going towards Jesus, and what you know He has said. You have to keep going forward toward the light of Jesus’ Christ.

I believe we’re in a season of “suddenlies“. Pastor Greg prophesied this yet again a few weeks ago. New things are going to be springing forth for the body of Christ all over the place. Don’t loose heart! Suddenlies are breaking forth! It’s just like traveling through the mountain in the tunnel. It may not look like anything is happening, but I believe all of a sudden you’ll find yourself coming out of the mountain with everything God has been doing undercover being brought to light.

Jeremiah 29:10 (Message) says, “This is God's Word on the subject: "As soon as Babylon's seventy years are up and not a day before, I'll show up and take care of you as I promised and bring you back home. I know what I'm doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.”


Isaiah 55:11 (KJV) says, “So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.”


God has good plans for your life. Keep trusting in him. You’re going to come out of that tunnel and see what God has been doing. Just because you can’t see it doesn’t mean anything. You WILL see it! I believe that he is working on your behalf today! He is anointing and ordaining your footsteps so that one day you will see that it is His plan, and it will work out. Keep trusting in Him today! Suddenlies are here!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Get Rid of the "What is that Supposed to Mean" Syndrome

Let’s admit it. We’ve all done it. We’ve all had conversations that took place not just in the text of what was said but in subtext. It’s what is behind the words that start arguments. How many of you have had this fight in your house?

“Does this look okay on me?” You ask. You’re hopeful it’s taken you too long to find something to wear to the event and you confess you’re down to the bottom of your closet and you’re desperate.

“It looks fine.” Your spouse replies, but they’ve hesitated. You definitely heard a hesitation so therefore it must look horrible. You can’t believe that you’re spouse thinks you look horrible. At least they should say, “No it isn’t flattering on you, but you’re beautiful.” Instead they think you look awful.

“You hesitated. You don’t like it.” Then the fight starts. Before you know it you’re both arguing over something that neither one of you said.

Or how about when it happens in the church, with your brother and sister in the Lord?

“Hey, your hair looks really nice. I can’t believe how good it looks. Oh my?”

“What” you wonder “it looks like stink the rest of the time???”

Face it. Thinking in subtext will sink your love walk with each other. I always joke that’s why I don’t like hanging around women a lot. With men you usually know where you stand. They’ll just punch each other but be friends later. We girls can be mean. We argue and try to trump each other in belittling subtext. It can be a battle of the unsaid words.

If we are going to be in unity in the body of Christ and really start loving each other, we have to stop it with the subtext battles. We have to mean what we say, and start thinking the best in each other.

1 Corinthians 13:3-7 in the Message Bible says:

“If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don't love, I've gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I'm bankrupt without love.
Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn't want what it doesn't have.
Love doesn't strut,
Doesn't have a swelled head,
Doesn't force itself on others,
Isn't always "me first,"
Doesn't fly off the handle,
Doesn't keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn't revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.”

I have noticed over the years that when someone really offends you, it’s easy to keep an offense when it comes to that person. The conflict can long since be gone, but every time the person says anything to you, it can be easy to constantly think, “What did they mean by that?” It’s like the littlest thing can tick you off about that person, when really they didn’t do anything.

Do you notice that Love doesn’t keep a score of sins? It doesn’t fly off the handle, and it isn’t always “me first.” Have you noticed in life that often times people aren’t always out to get you or offend you, and even if one particular person is then big deal. That’s their problem. Don’t make it yours! But when you internalize the “what was that supposed to mean?” you’re making it your problem because you’re dwelling on it. You’re stewing in that offense and you need to get over it.

Psalm 133:1 (NKJV) says, “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is For brethren to dwell together in unity!”

God wants us to love each other and choose to be in unity. Listening to what you think is belittling subtext is not going to bring love into a situation, but is really just an excuse for strife and division.

Choose to believe the best in people. Choose to cast off offense, and choose to dwell in unity. To continue with Psalm verse 133:3 it says that there in unity is commanded blessing. There is commanded blessing when you choose to be at peace with each other and love each other. When Jesus was on the earth, he lived like a vagabond on the road with 12 guys. I’m sure there were issues and arguments that tried to spring up. Anytime you put a bunch of people together in those kinds of situations there would. But Jesus loved them regardless and eventually any differences they had they were able to put past them, because in Acts 2 when it talks about the day of Pentecost all those people + a lot more people where in one accord. They learned to love each other and be at peace with each other.

Choose today to believe the best in people. Choose today to love them. Choose today to dwell in unity.


 

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Please, Stop Sleeping On The Floor!

Last year my husband and I decided it was time for us to get our youngest daughter a big girl bed. Therefore, we began our search. I have always harbored a desire to have bunk beds in the house. Eventually we found exactly what we wanted on Craigslist, and it turned out to be such a neat God story because the couple we bought them from desperately needed a reminder about Jesus. God used us to give it to them.

So long, story short we have had these beds in my house now for close to a year. I would think that since my youngest has two beds to pick from she would have gladly chosen either one. That would be too easy. For the most part of that year, she has either slept in a basket on the floor, or on the floor itself. Just a few days ago, my husband convinced her that if she wanted to be warm in the middle of the night she had to sleep in one of them and she just started to do that.

Watching this little girl for weeks and months insist on sleeping on the floor reminded me a lot about the other son in the parable of the prodigal son. The story can be found in Luke 15:11-31. To quickly paraphrase the story there was a man with two sons. One son asked for his inheritance and squandered it. When this son hit rock bottom he came home to his father. The father is so excited to see him he throws him a huge party. While the other son was always faithful, and he is quite ticked with his brother who gets the fatted calf party for his homecoming. The exchange between father and son is found in vs. 25- 32 (in the Message Bible) "All this time his older son was out in the field. When the day's work was done, he came in. As he approached the house, he heard the music and dancing. Calling over one of the houseboys, he asked what was going on. He told him, 'Your brother came home. Your father has ordered a feast—barbecued beef!—because he has him home safe and sound. The older brother stalked off in an angry sulk and refused to join in. His father came out and tried to talk to him, but he wouldn't listen. The son said, 'Look how many years I've stayed here serving you, never giving you one moment of grief, but have you ever thrown a party for me and my friends? Then this son of yours who has thrown away your money on whores shows up and you go all out with a feast!' "His father said, 'Son, you don't understand. You're with me all the time, and everything that is mine is yours—but this is a wonderful time, and we had to celebrate. This brother of yours was dead, and he's alive! He was lost, and he's found!'"

There are so many things in the passage I could teach on, but in sticking with the illustration about my daughter and her beds, let’s focus on the last few verses. In this parable, Jesus is referring to the father of the sons being God the Father. He says to the other son, everything that is mine is yours.

So often we as believers settle for too less of God. We watch other people get blessed and we get annoyed. We’re just like my daughter with two beds and still sleeping on the floor. God wants us to get up off the floor and begin to walk in what He has for us.

2 Peter 1:3 (NIV) says, “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.” As believers, you have in God everything you need!

Psalm 37:4 (NIV) says, “Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart.” As long as those desires are God desires, God delights in blessing His children!

God has so much more for you His child. Start walking in it today. Start praying and asking God what He would have for you. Start watching the circumstances of your life change. Too many Christians are choosing to sleep on the floor when God has more than enough waiting for them. As a parent in the illustration with my daughter, it was really frustrating that we went out and bought these beds for her, and she refused to sleep in them. Far too often, I’m convinced our choices frustrate God. It’s as if we keep choosing to live our lives in this little portion of His will for us, and we wonder why we’re not going anywhere. I think most of the time we do this simply out of habit. We do what we’re used too instead of trusting in Him and stepping out into the unknown. I don’t want to face Him one day and have Him tell me that He had this huge plan waiting for me, but I wouldn’t get up to use what He created for me. We’ll all be accountable for what we did and didn’t do on the earth.

Church, it’s time to step out in to the new thing! This is the word that has come forth time and time again. Take hold of what He has for you! Grab it and refuse to let go. Don’t look at the floor anymore! Forget sleeping down there. He’s calling you up, and He’s causing you to move forward!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Remembering Lot's Wife

Lot’s wife has been a subject that for quite some time I have been searching a deeper revelation about. As I have said before often times when something in the word baffles me, it’s usually because eventually I’ll search it out/study it and will get a revelation on it. For years I’ve been pondering/searching/ and studying Lot’s wife off an on. I knew there had some prophetic revelation and application to her story and I knew eventually the Holy Spirit would reveal it to me. On Wednesday in church Pastor Greg talked about Lot’s wife for about five minutes and while he was speaking the Holy Spirit revealed to me the key about this story that I knew had to be in there. I felt that I had to teach it this morning despite the one I had plans to write. I pray that God will bless you in this revelation. There are so many things I could teach about this story but I’m going to try to focus on where I feel God wants me to go here.

The story about Lot’s escape from Sodom and Gomorrah can be found in Genesis 19. I’ll quickly paraphrase for you. The just of everything is that God goes to Abraham grieved over Sodom and Gomorrah because they were so ungodly. Abraham intercedes for Lot and his family. God sends angels into Sodom to get Lot and his family out of the city before destruction occurs. The angels instruct Lot, his wife and his daughters. They tell them in verse 17 “As soon as they had brought them out, one of them said, "Flee for your lives! Don't look back, and don't stop anywhere in the plain! Flee to the mountains or you will be swept away!" The angel tells them NOT to look back. I don’t know about you but if an angel showed up on my doorstep in the middle of the night and started to tell me to get out of the town now; I’d hope I’d take him seriously. But instead Lot kinda argues with them. He was like I don’t want to go in the mountains like you want me too. He was too scared. Can I go to a nearby town? So the angels relented and said fine go to the next town over. Off subject but latter he and his daughters end up fleeing to the mountains.

Ok, so here is where I want to get too. It’s early in the morning the family is fleeing the city, and the word says in verse 26 that Lot’s wife looked back and she became a pillar of salt. That is what always baffled me. Why a pillar of salt? Ok, yes she was disobedient, and wrong in what she did. But I couldn’t understand why a pillar of salt. In all the word studies and such I’ve done on salt in the Bible, God turning her into salt just didn’t make sense to me. Often times the Old Testament gives us physical illustrations that can have spiritual applications now that we live on the other side of the cross. Something about Lot’s wife just struck me as there being more to this story. So what could be the spiritual application of turning into a pillar of salt? Setting in church on Wednesday listening to Pastor Greg, The Holy Spirit finally revealed it to me. If she was a pillar of salt. . . That meant she had the absence of water. She was a pillar of salt because all the water was sucked out of her. She dried up, and no life can spring up in her. It’s like the Dead Sea. She became lifeless.

How can we take a spiritual application to this? Water in the Bible refers a lot of times to the Holy Spirit. This is a spiritual application because Lot’s wife looked back where the angels told her not to look and life was sucked out of her.

I’m not saying today that God is going to turn a bunch of people into a pillar of salt. What I am saying is that this can turn into a spiritual principle. If you’re constantly dwelling on the past, the reproducing life of God can get sucked out of you. You can dry up spiritually. Too much salt on anything can make people want to pucker up and gag whenever their around you. Have you ever desired a meal. You looked at it and thought wow that looks good, but as you bit into it you realized the cook put too much salt in the mashed potatoes. What is the first thing you’re going to do? You’re going to reach over and grab a drink. You need water/the Holy Spirit.

Before the end of the year I came to you with the word that I know God gave me for this year. Isaiah 43:18-19 “"Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.

See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.”

God is telling you not to turn around. Keep your eyes on him. Keep your eyes on what you know He’s calling you to do. You can’t keep your eyes on the old. You must push forward to the new thing. I know this can be a challenge. But you must keep making yourself do it. Philippians 3:12-14 “Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”

Please don’t be like Lot’s wife. It’s easy to feel sorry for her. But God knew her heart. I think she loved the sinful city more than she loved God, or she wouldn’t have acted the way she did. It’s easy to give God lip service. It’s easy to tell God you love him more, but you’re action speak louder than words. You can’t keep walking backwards. Turn around today! Make the choice to know that you’re future will be better than your past. You’re end will be better than your beginning. God has new things for you this year. Choose to believe it. Choose to trust Him. Watch the new thing spring forth!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

YOU CAN!

When I was younger I used to take gymnastic lessons. Then in high school as a cheerleader I took a lot of cheerleading gymnastic classes which is basically just floor work. The gym I used to go to had a rule. You were never allowed to say the words “I can’t.” We could not be asked to try a new stunt and respond, “I can’t do that.” We had to try no matter what. It’s funny how even in a secular atmosphere it can teach you Godly principles. Today, I have kept that rule in my house too. If my kids try to say, “I can’t do that!” My response is always Philippians 4:13 (NKJV) says, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” You can, now do it! It’s funny because my oldest will quote it to my youngest now. The words “I can’t” are no no words in my house.

We limit ourselves and our abilities by our own speech. In Matthew 21:18-21 Jesus sees a fig tree that isn’t producing and He says to it that it’ll never bare fruit and the next day the disciples are shocked the tree has withered up. The world was formed according to Genesis 1:1 because God spoke and it was formed. People you need to realize that your words and your speech are powerful! Your words need to line up with what God is saying.

Many of you have heard me tell the story about how I finally started to write my first book. For those of you who haven’t heard it I thought this would be the perfect time to repeat it. At age16 God laid it on my heart to write it. I tried to at first, but the task seemed insurmountable. It was if I was the size of an ant and I stood at the base of a huge monument and was told to climb it. I tried to start it, but quickly it fizzled out. I realized that I didn’t have the knowledge to do it then, so I put it on the backburner of my life. I figured I’d start gathering my dad’s stories and when I went to college I took many creative writing classes to help me work on it. But then I graduated and the words still weren’t coming. Frustration began to wall me up on the inside. I started saying to myself and out loud, “I know I’m supposed to write this, but I can’t. It’s just not coming forth.” In 2000, Dan and I moved to FL by the leading of God’s will for our lives. We arrived in FL on a Tuesday and that Wednesday we were at Freedom, the church we’ve attended ever since. Within weeks one of the then pastors preached a message on the power of spoken words. Then by the Holy Spirit, she said, “There are several of you in here that have been speaking against what you know God has called you to do, and that is why your frustrated. You are cursing the very thing that God has anointed you for.” I knew I was one of those people. I knew I had said time and time again, “God did you get the wrong person because I can’t do this?” So I went before the platform and repented for my words. Dan and I drove home that night. In the car, I knew exactly how to start my first book. It hung tangible in the air. I started to write the moment we got home, and within two months the rough draft was completed.

I tell that story often, to say this. What is it that God has told you to do in your life that you feel like that little ant next to a monument? Are you embracing that thing or are you looking at it saying “I can’t.” I’m here today to tell you “YOU CAN!” You can do all things through Christ who strengthens you. If God has laid it on your heart, If you know that you know you are being called to do something then He sees the giftings and talents He has placed inside of you. You can. You can move forward in this thing. You can stop speaking against the will and purpose of God for your life. You can repent for doubting, and God can restore you right to where you need to go. YOU CAN! You Can move mountains by the power of your words according to Mark 11:23.

Jeremiah 1:5 says“ Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; Before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations.”

He knows you. He formed you in your mothers’ womb. He has plans and purposes for your life you have yet to tap into. Trust He knows you better than you know yourself. YOU CAN DO IT! It’s not you anyway, it’s Him on the inside of you. Trust that He can do it through you!

Monday, January 4, 2010

This Is a Test, Not a Final

A few weeks ago we were traveling on 75 through Detroit, Michigan. The chaos in the car was beginning to simmer down after we crossed the Canada/America border. My family and I were beginning to settle down for our three hour car ride to Ohio. I was trying to take stock of coloring books, etch-a-sketches, and snacks for the kids, when suddenly I looked up and read a billboard. It said, “Recession 101, This is a test, Not a final.” I’ve been mulling on those words ever since.

If you read the blog for 2010, you’ll know that I do feel that God is doing such new things in this year. I’m excited for them. I’ve gotten prophetic dreams to confirm all of this, and so has various ones around me. But the thing is, in the meantime I’m still physically right where I was at the end of 2009. If I allow myself to get bothered, this can get very frustrating. We all go through times like this. Where we know that God is doing something great in our lives and we have to trust that He is doing it despite of what we can see. It’s easy to get caught up into whining or complaining. But, Philippians 2:14 says “Do everything without complaining or arguing.” That’s when I have to stop and ask myself. Would I be grumbling and complaining if I really knew that situations were about to change? No I wouldn’t. If I really understood that the situations I see right now are temporary, I’d be excited and praising God for what I know is on the other side of this. I’d be in faith. Because faith according to Hebrews 11:1-2 is “The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. It's our handle on what we can't see. The act of faith is what distinguished our ancestors, set them above the crowd.” We have got to realize that God sees the bigger picture, and we have to trust Him. If you’re struggling with unbelief then ask him to help you. Mark 9:24 says, “Immediately the boy's father exclaimed, "I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!"

I’m a big fan of Corrie ten Boom and the ministry that she had on the earth. If you’re not familiar with her story, she and her sister were older spinsters living with their aging father during WWII in Holland. Their choice to help hundreds of Jews escape during Nazi occupation brought their little watch shop into a main hub of the underground efforts. They were found out. As a result Corrie and her sister were sent to a concentration camp. Corrie survived the ordeal only to have most of her family including her sister and father die in prison. God used her story of forgiveness and survival to minister to thousands after the war years. Her ministry has always impressed me. A few years back I ordered a recent copy of “The Hiding Place” where her story was done in movie form but it also has some extra scenes where they interviewed her. One thing she says in the extra scenes is that our lives are like an intricately woven tapestry. When we look up we see the underneath of that tapestry and it may not make sense. But God is looking at the completed work, and he sees the beauty in it.

We have to try to remove ourselves from the circumstances we see now, and look at the bigger picture. Jeremiah 29:11 says, “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. God has good plans for you! He is able to turn any situation around for His glory.

This may be a test in your life. This may be a time where you are fighting to hold on to what you know God has spoken to you. Make the decision to pass it today. For what you see now is temporary. Keep your mind focused on the eternal. He will do what He has said He would do in your life. Keep your eyes on Him! Restore your vision.