Monday, July 26, 2010

Honoring one of God's Generals

It was the summer of 1996 that I found myself on the doorstep of Marion Christian Center in Marion Ohio. I had just gotten out of high school, and had a hunger for the gifts of the Holy Spirit and didn’t know what to do with it. I had just walked out of one of the hardest seasons of my life at that point, and didn’t realize the toll it had taken on me. I was young and was in desperate need of some spiritual guidance.

It was only a few months later that I sat in Dr. Watson’s office in tears. I’d been carrying the vision that God had called me to write a book for a few years at that point, and I thought the idea was crazy. Dr. Watson believed in the call of God on my life. He taught me what it meant to be an eagle Christian. God used him to lay a foundation for ministry.

Dr. John Watson founded Marion Christian Center. He held an academic PhD and years before had moved across the country to Marion, Ohio to help found a college. He not only did that but founded Marion Christian Center, a ministry that has shaped and sent out numerous mighty men and women of God. God used him to create a legacy that spans cities, towns, and the nations of the earth.

Dr. Watson was an apostle in the truest since. He was a spiritual father figure and leader to many. He was personal friends with Bill Hamon, Chuck Pierce, and other mighty men and women of God. He was one of the most humble people I ever knew. I remember reading a book once and finding he’d been quoted in it. When I brought that fact to him, he smiled and replied, “Yes, people do that on occasion.”

He genuinely cared about people. He loved the ministry that God had trusted him with. There was a time in my life in college where I had gotten off and whenever I visited MCC I tried to sneak in the back. He’d always find a way to find me and tell me he was praying for me. I am the person today because of several people God has used, and Dr. Watson is one of them.

It was an honor to be part of this legacy. Today I cry tears, but I know where he is. He’s in heaven with Jesus. He’s no longer in pain. He is soaring like the eagle.

As believers of the word, as those that he trained so well, please remember these words.

1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 (King James Version)
But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.
For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.
For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.
For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
Wherefore comfort one another with these words.

I am reminded by the phrase I’ve heard before, but today for all who grieve I’ll remind you again. That Dr. Watson isn’t just in our past. He is in our future. Today he’s in the presence of angels. It is right to take the time to grieve. But don’t forget to take the time to rejoice for him too. Taken from his face book page, "This mighty man of God fought a good fight and has won the race - great is his reward."

Please keep the Watson family and the Marion Christian Family in your prayers.

*This picture is a picture of Dr. Watson and myself at my wedding. Though it’s not a flattering picture of me, I’ve always liked it. I’m setting at his feet listening to wisdom.

Are you swimming with ankle weights?

I have heard over and over again on the prophetic wave of what is going on among the church in these days is that “these are days of change.” It is beyond just something I have heard for my own life, but prophetic voice after prophetic voice has confirmed it throughout the body of Christ as a whole. I began to think about this, this morning and it was as if I felt many including myself at times are swimming into the things of God. We’re going past the ankle deep waters, past the knee deep, we’re going past the waist deep waters (Similar to the vision in Ezekiel 47), but wait a minute we’re wearing ankle weights or things of our past that‘s weighting us down. How are we supposed to swim? It is time to take of the ankle weights and swim.

Why do we hold onto “weights” or things of the old like sacred objects? I think that sometimes it is because we lie to ourselves thinking that by holding onto the past we are maintaining some kind of control. The root of all of that is fear. If we let go we will have to totally trust God, and that can be stepping into the unknown. If you really have a revelation of who God is you should know by now you can trust Him.

Philippians 3:12-14 (NIV) says, “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

In order to press on, you also have to let go. You have to forget what is behind. Most of the time when we hear the word ‘forget’ we think to ourselves how am I supposed to do that? I cannot remember what happened? My brain just will not forget that event or time, and it can start a huge cycle of self-condemnation. I was just looking up the definition of forget, and I found it interesting that some alternated definitions were, leave something behind, and stop worrying about something. I have often said that while you may not forget the event, you can forget the emotions like a tidal wave that surrounded them.

Holding onto worry and anxiety is not trusting God. Read Matthew 6!
Philippians 4:6 says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”

When my husband and I lived in Pittsburgh, PA, we went to this precious Missionary Alliance Church in downtown Pittsburgh. This is a ministry that is bursting at the seams of their building and when we left were having several services each Sunday. In the few months, I lived in Pittsburgh I remember one Sunday Pastor Rock said something that has forever stayed with me. He boldly declared, “Worrying is just a form of atheism. You don’t believe your God is big enough to do what He said He would do.”

In order for us to fully begin to swim in this change that God is leading us into we have to take off the ankle weights. We have to trust God in what He is doing. We have to make a choice to walk away from our pasts and embrace the new. I know that can get scary. I used to use ankle weights to work out and after a time you tend to forget that their even there. You are so used to being weighed down that you do not remember what it is like to be free of them.

Be free from them in Jesus name. Let God removed the worries and the cares. Let God remove the weights of both good and bad memories. Memories are not always a bad thing, but you cannot hold onto them like a life raft and think you will swim to the places you need to swim. You have to let go now, and trust God that He is with you. He will never leave you nor forsake you. He thoughts over you are good, and He has awesome things for you in this season of your life. Choose to let the weights go, and I know it will be worth it. God is excited about your future. Get excited with Him.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Diamonds formed under pressure

One completely random fact about me is not only do I hold a BA from OSU, but I also spent time while working in jewelry sales earning a certification in Diamontology. Most people do not know what that is. . .in short I know a bit about diamonds. I found myself referring to some things about diamonds a few times in the last several days while ministering to people, and as I sat at my computer trying to feel where God wanted me to minister today, I thought I would relay those things here.

Diamonds start out as a lumpy piece of coal. Their carbon that actually set off a certain amount of heat. It takes years of pressure from the earth to form a diamond. I mean many years, like millions. When someone uncovers a raw diamond to the untrained eye, it would look like a piece of junk. However, to a trained eye they see underneath the mess. There then taken to polishers and cutters. Those stones are individually looked at to be cut into the right shape and size for that stone. Parts of that stone will be cut away and polished until what is left is what we typically know as a diamond.

What is my point? We are all in process. We all start out as a lumpy piece of “clay”.

Isaiah 64:8
Yet, O LORD, you are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.

In order for you to be “formed” into what God has called you to be, there will be pressure. It will not always be comfortable. However, unless you go through the pressure you cannot be formed into a diamond for His glory. Despite of your rough appearance and attitudes God sees beauty on the inside of you. He sees that despite your roughness you have amazing potential. He looks at you and knows just how to make the best you out of the mess. Often God will even put others in your lives, like your pastors or friends, who can see through your rocky exterior and know inside you are a shining gemstone precious to God. You must go through the process in order to be shaped and polished. It is not easy. Sometimes you can feel as if you are loosing parts of yourself on the gem cutters floor.

Did you know in order to cut a diamond they use diamond cutters that have small diamonds on their tip? What is the significance of that? God often uses people around you to help form you. That is why it is so important to get around the people God wants you around.

Proverbs 27:17
As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.

In the end, there is a beautiful stone that can shine for the glory of God.

Despite of what you have done, how you have acted, your frustrations, and rough exterior God looks at you and sees a beautiful creation for His glory. Wherever you are in this process, God sees the potential in you and He wants you to fulfill it. He has created you for a specific plan and purpose. If a lump of coal jumped out of a cave wall while the pressure was on because it could not take it, it would not be formed into His glory. It would still just be a lump of coal.

Whatever your going through today be confident that God has a bigger plan and purpose than what you see. The process can get old and annoying, but it is worth it. The biggest key I have learned is that we have to trust God despite of everything. Shaking our fists at God do not get us anywhere but more frustrated. We have to set back and be a yielded vessel, saying God I trust you.

Submit to the process. Keep submitting to it. It is worth it. It is a choice that moment by moment you have to keep making. One day you will find that you will be a glittering sign and wonder for His glory. His destiny for you is good. His destiny for you is today. You get to the fulfillment one moment at a time. Keep trusting in Him. He loves you, and He has not forgotten you. 

Sunday, July 18, 2010

The Hidden Wasp Nest

While my family was gone on vacation we had swarms of wasps stage a hostile take over on the front portion of our house. I’m not exaggerating in the least. There was a particular bush right beside our door I’ve always hated and we started to take it out because of all the wasps. We’d get a branch out and a very animated swarm of insects would come out of the bush and aim for us. We found around six nests in it. As a whole I’ve already been stung five times and my husband a couple of times. We’ve gone through five cans of wasp spray, and had to cut down two bushes in the front of the house. We still have to run through our front door so that no one gets stung because now we have a bunch of angry homeless wasps lingering around our door.

As both my husband and I have spent quite a bit of time fighting with these little critters this week I got to thinking about how this fight can be like an all too often occurring spiritual battle in our lives. Going on vacation is a great thing. Your body needs the rest. However all too often we think that there are certain matters that we can “take a vacation” on in our spiritual walk with God. Folks, we can’t slack in spiritual matters.

1 Peter 5:8 (NIV) says,
“Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”

No matter where you are you have to continue to be on your guard and alert. Sometimes things will come in and try to mess with you just so see if it can. Those wasps took over because we weren’t home we weren’t on our guard. Spiritually speaking, you have to be on guard. Don’t spiritually check out. Take some time to rest but don’t check out.

When you aren’t on your guard deception has a wide door into your house. Those wasps are deceived to think that my house is there house. Deception, or lying, or trickery is the only tactic the devil has to try to defeat us. Jesus already defeated him at the cross. The same power that conquered the grave lives inside of us once we receive Christ. Don’t spiritually check out, because the devil is looking for a foothold in your life. (Eph 4:27)

Wake up people. This is not the time to “check out” spiritually. This is not the time to go on a spiritual vacation. Be alert and on your guard. I love what Pastor Greg said this morning when he said that we can’t be asleep at the time of harvest. If we’re sleeping we won’t reap. How sad is it for many who have sown seeds and labored in the kingdom to fall asleep and spiritually “check out” right at their harvest. The church as a whole is stepping into some of the most exciting days that they’ve seen. Wake up! It’s time to drive any wasps that have tried to make nests in your homes and wake up! There is a new season in your lives coming and now is not the time to sleep! Wake all who sleep and drive out anything that is not of God in your life! Be excited God is awesome!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Time of Gathering

Hello! I hope you all have had a great few weeks. We enjoyed our vacation immensely. We had some great family time. I made contact with a few bookstores and even was able to schedule a book event in my hometown of Marion, Ohio on December 11th for the devotional I’m in coming out this fall. If you live in the Ohio area, please mark it on your calendar! It’ll be an awesome time to get to see all of your faces!

I want to share today from some things the Lord dropped into my spirit while we were in Canada a few weeks ago.

Isaiah 54 is a scripture that God has brought me back to at many times. In fact, for a couple of years I was stuck in verse 2 and 3 for a while. So when I felt the Lord leading me back to that scripture I internally groaned a little thinking what have I not gotten out of this scripture, but God’s word is so multi-faceted. He has a way of showing you things you’ve never seen before. I felt him direct me to verse 7 and 8 that day.

Isaiah 54:7-8 (KJV)
“For a small moment have I forsaken thee; but with great mercies will I gather thee.
In a little wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment; but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith the LORD thy Redeemer.”

First, let me say that God will never leave you nor forsake you. God says that in the word quite a bit. However sometimes it can feel like He did. We live in the New Testament. I don’t want you all thinking that God is mad at you, that‘s between you and God. However sometimes it can feel like He is.

There are times and seasons in your life that you may not understand. You may wonder, “But God why am I going through all of this? Where is what you said?” God is making a promise here. He’s saying, “I will gather you.” He’s saying, “I will bring it all together. I will make it work!”

When God led me to this passage, again I felt very strongly that God was saying to me and to many in the body that this is a Gathering time in His Kingdom. This is a time where we will begin to see that all these things that we’ve done in faith have not been in vain. This is a time where we will begin to see the hand of God in our lives and know that it was only by His power did He bring it all together and make it happen.

I want to encourage all of you today that we’ve stepped into that Gathering Time as a body. You must trust that God will and can “make all things work together for good for those that love the Lord.” (Romans 8:28)

He is doing exciting things in your life. You have to trust Him. You have to let it go and give those things that have been causing you all this anxiety over to Him. Let Him gather it together. Let Him make it work! Let Him put the pieces to the puzzle together. You’ll see it won’t be long until you can step back and say, “It’s a good thing!” Be encouraged today. God is faithful to you and to the call of God on your life. Be excited!