Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Exciting News...and a whole lotta nerves!

Drum Roll Please……tada! I’m very excited to get to unveil the official book cover for by book coming out in March called, “Cursing the Church or Helping It? Exposing the spirit of Balaam.”

Many of you know my story. God called me into ministry at 12 and laid it on my heart to write my first book at 16. The funny part about all of this is I not only argued with the whole idea of me ever writing a book, but I absolutely bucked the idea of me ever writing a non fiction Biblical teaching book. Not that there was anything wrong with that, but I had set out to write my dad’s story on Vietnam. I thought it was going to be easy and the publishing field would just open up to me like Moses facing the Red Sea, but it wasn’t. It was a lot of years of writing many books that range in genre and topic. Doing something like I’m doing today was far from my idea. God just directed me here. While I’ve had a few things published in compilations this is my first full length book that’s been published. I’m walking in steps that I’ve prayed about for years. This is exciting!

However there is another side of this that I have never experienced before now. I’m being brutally honest, but I’ll admit I’m a nervous about all of this. I 100% believe in the message of this book. I believe that the church as a whole needs to hear it and that it stands as a warning for them to wake up! I 100% believe that the choices we’ve made are God ordained and I have to trust Him. But I’d be lying if I didn’t say perhaps I’ve thought about this a tad too much and the fears of “what if?” have loomed in my mind like a marching band doing a cadence. I’m just a girl from Ohio, who up to this point few people have ever heard about. I need your prayers to pray with me that God will open doors no man can open.

So what do I do? Do I focus on the fact I’m a tad intimidated and the thought of feeling like a very little fish in a really big ocean has occurred to me on more than one occasion. Or…do I focus on what God has spoken? What I do is I choose to trust God!

Months ago when I first saw an original book cover concept, I printed it off along with a list of scriptures on trust. So, every time those nerves started, or the enemy started to whisper lies, or someone may have said something to me that got me frustrated, I could go back to my list and start to meditate on what God says about trust.

I love Psalm 56:3 (ESV) “When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.” This is King David talking before he was king. He went through a crazy amount of circumstances to walk in the places God had for him, including having his former leader try to kill him any chance he could get. I think that often in the body we all fight nerves and fear in our own ways but no one seems to want to admit that. It seems we all want to pretend like we’re perfect instead of being honest and real. That’s way I love this scripture. David who is one of the great men of God in the Bible is saying look, “when I have a moment….I choose to trust God!”

2 Timothy 1:7 (NKJV) “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”

God hasn’t given you the spirit of fear and He hasn’t given it to me! It’s all about where you choose to focus. Are you going to choose to focus on the Big Awesome Super Fabulous Power of God, or focus on how little you feel among the giants? God brought the children of Israel to the Promised Land and they choose not to walk in it because they felt too small. The problem was their focus. You have to remember no matter what God called you to do, it isn’t all about you. It’s all about God! It’s about His ability and not yours. It’s about His purpose, His plan, and His design. Stop focusing on yourself, and focus on Him! Trust and focus are like the roots to excitement. As you know I always close out my blogs telling y’all to get excited for His plans for your life. But your excitement needs to be founded on your trust in God. Excitement with no roots will just fizzle away. Therefore I am excited to get to show you this book cover, because I trust in God. My focus is on Him. May your focus and trust be in Him today too! He does have awesome plans for your life. So, Get EXCITED!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Is It Really Worth It?

This weekend my family and I ventured over to Gatorland. I think it’s becoming an after Thanksgiving tradition. I have a major dislike for gators. Call it a Northern girl fear I don’t know, but let’s just say I’m not anxious to jump in any kind of gator infested water. I have grown however to be okay with them as long as their in their space and I have mine.

I have never noticed before, but this time when we went, someone had taken the time to decorate every pole inside the where the gators were for the season. Each and every one of them had greenery wound around and big red bows gracing the top. There were even wreaths in the center. Here’s the picture I got. I’ll admit I’m a Northern girl and no where in my mind of decorating for the holidays are there gators, Santa Clauses’ on speedboats in swimming trunks, or lights in palm trees. While in the picture I took someone could have used a boat to do this, there were gator tanks all over that a boat wouldn’t have gotten you there. The water is too shallow. Someone had to run out in the middle of all those gators to decorate. Now, I’m all for decorating but that just seems a bit ridiculous. Really, they couldn’t pay me enough to run out into a pit of gators to decorate for Christmas. I kept asking is it really that important for them to decorate? Is it really worth it?

Often in our walk with God we can find ourselves asking the same questions. “God is all this I’m doing now really worth it?” “What are you thinking?” “Don’t you see this can’t be healthy?” and, “The enemy has really big teeth! Are you seeing this?” The problem that most people make is that just because they are frustrated for a few moments and are questioning they tend to give up instead of seeing the whole picture. You can’t let one moment of your life dictate your eternity. Many people assume the lack of comfort about a situation dictates the lack of the will of the Lord and that’s simply not true. You have to be steadfast and stick with what God spoke to you, even if it makes about as much sense to you as decorating a tank of live alligators.

James 4:14 (NKJV)
whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.

Hebrews 13:5 (NKJV)
Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

Now please don’t get me wrong, I’m not telling you to go wrestle a bunch of alligators. But what I am saying is that trust that no matter where you are, and where God has you. If you are in His will He will take care of you. Even if you have a moment of not being in His will, His grace is there. In my illustration the gators are just symbolic. However, just like Daniel He’ll shut the mouth of the gators so you can do what you have to do.

Though your circumstance may seem difficult now, God has never left you. He won’t leave you. He loves you. He wants you to fulfill what He put you on this earth to fulfill. Call Him your biggest cheerleader if you will. He’s cheering for you!

So is it really worth it? Is all the tears, the moments of frustration, and effort worth you fulfilling what God sent you on this earth to fulfill. Absolutely! You have to remember that it’s not all about you. Your life has a ripple effect. You effect the world around you. One day you will be able to look back on your life and see the purpose of each season. He is faithful to you!

Isaiah 26:4 (esv)
“You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.”

You have to remember that God has awesome plans for your life. Get excited!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

What Might Have Been

As a country tomorrow, we will set back and enjoy our: turkey, stuffing and apple pie. We will stand in lines in the early hours on Friday to kick off the official start to the holiday season and get a good buy on a new gadget we cannot live without.

I love the holidays. I love any excuse getting to visit my family and my Northern roots. I love the smell of snow in the air, and Christmas lights. I love spicy scented candles that linger in a firelight room. I love the smell of pine in wooden churches. I love celebrating Jesus’ birthday. I love the time of reflection and renewal.

It is easy at the holidays to start to take stock of your life and reflect upon choices one has made. I can understand why people get the most depressed over the holidays. It is hard when you do not live around family, and your holiday meals are laden with memories of days gone by. The choices you have made or have not made are in direct reflection of where you are today. I made a commitment years ago that I did not want to live my life with regrets, or what if’s. For the most part, I have done that. However, there are a few lingering bad choices that I wish I could go back and change. I have not and am not perfect and if I ever give you that impression, it is false.

In the brief year I listened to country music in high school, I remember this song by Little Texas that I always thought worded this kind of thinking very well. “Try not to think about what might have been. Cause that was then and we have taken different roads. You cannot go back again. There is no use giving in. No, you’ll never know what might have been.”

It can be easy to get yourself caught in the traps of what if, especially around the holidays. It can get easy to be stuck in the traps of wanting to turn back time. However, simply put you cannot. You are just torturing yourself to try. It is creating more mental anguish on yourself. This kind of thinking I believe is a trap for many.

Philippians 3:14 (KJV)
I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

In order to press, you have to press forward. In order for you to go forward you, have to face forward. You have to turn around and put your eyes on the destiny God has for you. You have to let go of all your questions about choices you have made in the past. You have to let go of the “what might have been’s”

May this holiday season be a new season for your life. May you truly let go of the past and embrace your future. I pray that you’ll have an encounter with God in this last month plus of 2011. I pray that you’ll have a renewed vigor and fire about you to run your race towards your destiny. I pray that you’ll draw closer to God, and they’ll be fresh revelation of His love for you. God has awesome plans for your life. He loves you. So, get excited!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Are You Suffering From Prophetic Anorexia?

Many months ago I wrote two different blogs: one on prophetic amnesia, and the other on prophetic dyslexia. I’ve been joking that I should start a series because I believe the Holy Spirit gave me another one. It’s prophetic anorexia.

In the physical anorexia is sadly on the rise especially among young girls. In writing this blog I’m not trying to demean those that suffer from anorexia. If you do then get help! It’s a horrible epidemic.

There is a spiritual prophetic anorexia going on in the body of Christ that needs to get addressed. This is when God tries to tell His people something and they don’t want to hear it, so they don’t receive it. In a sense they vomit it out of their mouth. They reject what God is saying. However, I believe the spiritual body needs the words of God. They need the written Word of the Bible, and the prophetic word.

John 6:63 (NIV)
The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you—they are full of the Spirit and life

So what happens? The body then starts to break down because it’s not getting what it needs. Usually this is when the person starts questioning where God is in the situation. When truthfully God has spoken to the person time and time again. It’s just words they don’t want to hear. Many of us in the spiritual live life running around with our fingers in our ears or down our throats rejecting the very words God is speaking.

The Bible is very clear the God speaks to His people. There were prophetic words after prophetic words foretelling exactly the way Jesus would come on the earth. The book of Revelations is prophetic. God is a loving daddy and loves to speak to His people.

John 10:27(NIV)
My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.

Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)
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.

Perhaps if you are in a time where it feels you have no hope, and you are withering spiritually the issue is you need to hear from God. He wants to give you direction. He wants you to be clear to move into the destiny He has for you. When God speaks to you, however He does that (through the Bible, hearing His voice, etc) don’t reject what He’s telling you. But embrace it! I learned a long time ago that wrestling with God just wastes a lot of time and energy. The quicker you accept what He is saying the quicker you can move forward. Accept the fact He really does know more than you. He didn’t make you like everyone else. He made you like you! Remember God has awesome plans for your life. Get excited!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Need A Car Part? Why Not Try A Horse?

Told and retold in my families history is an encounter between my grandparents when they were newly a family. My grandparents married very young and had my dad early. My grandfather has an amazing ability to acquire random things. I have decided that it really is an anointing because I’ve watched him over the years have the ability to resell the items for more than he got them for in the first place. As the story goes my grandmother sent him out to get a part for the car. She was a new mother, and money was more than tight. Grandpa came back with a horse. Honestly I don’t know how exactly that exchange went down, but knowing my grandmother I’m sure she wasn’t too pleased with the outcome. The story is still told today in the midst of laughter and family time.

Many people feel that often God does the same to them. They pray and pray for one thing, and then get angry or upset that it seems something else may manifest. While a horse was not what my grandparents wanted it was still a mode of transportation and would get them where they needed to go.

So many times people miss opportunities in life because it’s dressed up in packages they never expected. The disciples kept trying to rebuke Jesus because He kept telling them what was going to happen and they didn’t want to hear it. But God’s will manifested. It was what we needed, not what we wanted. The need was fulfilled.

People often get so stuck on what they think they need that they don’t move forward with God. Think about the Israelites in the wilderness (Numbers 13) They were so stuck on the fact they thought they’d waltz into the promised land and it would just be handed to them that when they saw the giants in the land they choose not to go forth in what God had said.

When God called me to write my first book, and eventually I did, I never dreamed in a million years there would be more then that first one. When I kept writing and writing, I never would have dreamed that I’d publish Biblical teaching non fiction. If I would have held so tightly to how I thought God would start bringing me out as a writer, I would have missed everything I’m walking in today. God knows your destiny, and He knows how best to get you there.

Matthew 6:8 (NIV)
8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

God sees your end from your beginning. You’re job is to pray, seek, and trust in Him that He is able to bring about what you need. You have to be willing to be lead by Him and be guided by Him. Even in the times you are looking for a car part and feel like you end up with a horse, LOL! Trust Him. He knows better than you do. He’s got awesome plans for your life. Get excited!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Eleven Years and Onward

I retell this story every year. If you have heard it a dozen times sorry, but as I get new followers all the time, I feel it bears repeating.

Eleven years ago this morning, Dan and I got in the car and moved from Ohio to Florida. However, our story did not begin there. In fact, God had led us up to that decision. Dan and I met through very unusual circumstances. We were living three hours away from each other. Despite all the drama that surrounded what happened, we both knew early that God was orchestrating our relationship. A year later we were married, and living in Pittsburgh, PA. Dan was finishing his degree at The Art Institute. We both knew that God was going to move us somewhere other than Pittsburgh. We began praying and seeking the Lord. I will never forget the day I was driving from work and I felt the Holy Spirit say to me that we were going to move to Orlando, and Dan was going to work for this one specific company. When I got home and shared that with Dan he was excited but that one company was not really hiring. Therefore, we kept looking. Eventually we moved back to Ohio with my mom and dad while we were figuring out where to move. One month turned to four. We had looked at jobs and cities all over the US. Jobs that seemed to look like they were going to pan out and then for various reasons it did not. Jobs located: in New Jersey, Cincinnati, Columbus, OH, Boca Raton, Dan had an open door in Los Angeles due to a long story, and we even briefly entertained somewhere in Minnesota. I could not shake this moment with God, when God told us Orlando. That particular company still was not hiring but there was a guy in Orlando that was just opening his own company, and working out of his garage. He wanted to hire Dan. We knew it would not be long term that Dan would work for him. This was about the time we found out that our oldest daughter was on her way.

Maybe it was a moment of divine faith that made us pack up our car that morning 11 years ago, or maybe it felt more like a moment of desperation. We put everything we could fit in our car and we drove or Florida. I puked in the car all the way down. We left Ohio on a Monday, and arrived in a motel on Tuesday.

On Wednesday morning, we woke up and decided to call around to a couple churches we wanted to check out. I had always felt that wherever we were moving to was critical for us to be in the right church. That it was not just about a job, or a location, but about being in the right church connected with the right people. We were planning to go somewhere to church that evening. We had planned to check out several. The first one to call us back was Freedom Life Church (then Freedom Tabernacle) in Kissimmee.

We walked into Freedom that night, and forever our lives changed. Pastor Arthur Lee began prophesying over us, “That we weren’t going to go forth like tumbleweeds, and God brought us down to FL. When all those had said if you go there you’ll never make it God was saying He brought us here.” That is a quote of a very long word; essentially God through Pastor Arthur read our mail that night. Pastor Arthur went on to be a dear mentor and friend to us. Today I believe he is with the angels in heaven cheering us on. (Hebrews 12:1) While I maintain that we will not be in FL forever, it is where God wanted us for right now.

Eventually Dan did work at the company that God told me he would work. It took several months and some different shifting, but it all worked out.

I always tell this story for many reasons, but mainly that it is easy to loose sight of the fact that God directs you in the ways you should go. It can be very easy to get frustrated and feel He is not there. However, all along God knew where He was leading us, and we had to step out and obey. But He was always there to guide us and show us His will.

Isaiah 30:21 (NIV)
Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”

That scripture is one of my favorites. God loves to direct His people into His will! We have to listen and obey. We have to trust Him despite of what we feel. I can list countless times that we wanted to leave Florida, but we had to commit to be here until God directs us otherwise. For this season of our lives, it has been destiny that we are here in Florida, even if it has not always made sense to us.

I am not special. God wants to direct you in the seasons of your life. He has a divine purpose and plan for your life. Trust in Him! He will lead you. Allow yourself to be led. He has awesome plans for your life. Get Excited!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Supernatural Destiny

I got the opportunity this week to read Don Nori Sr.’s new book “Supernatural Destiny“. Without hesitation I am adding this book to my top five list of books everyone should read (and no I‘m not just saying that, I truly mean it). In it, he talks about how God supernaturally called him to found Destiny Image Publishing and how he has labored along with his family to see what God has spoken come to fruition. I am actually going to wait a few days and go back and read it again.

As I read about all the struggles, triumphs, tears, and victories, I found myself in tears. There were so many things that he wrote that Dan and I have found ourselves in similar places. As I read his story, it made me realize yet again, that Dan and I are not the only ones who have ever found ourselves in the plan of God, and struggled to see His purpose in all of it. I truly respect the fact his words were honest and from the heart. He was not trying to paint a glossy picture that he always knew everything. He was real with his readers. It reminded me that while the process can sometimes be daunting, God’s plan will come to pass, and that plan is always worth it.

I found this book such and encouraging read. God is not a respecter of persons. He does not play favorites (Acts 10:34). Don and Cathy Nori have seen the manifestation of what God spoke because they stuck with His plan. He will do the same with the plan on Dan and my life, and He will do the same with you…you just have to stick with it and hold on tight!

Reading this book also reminded me of how blessed I feel to be among the Destiny Image authors. I was 4 years old when God supernaturally spoke to Don Nori Sr about opening a publishing house. God knew then that one day I would be able to have the honor and the privilege to be published by them. Sure, I am one of many… but this was part of God’s plan for my life. So often, we tend to forget that God is orchestrating His perfect will for your life long before you were even able to think about it. (Jer 29:11)

There have been so many times I wanted to quit. Years of turndowns, and a few editors that had not had their morning coffee before responding to me, took their toll on me. Fifteen books, four screenplays, and a couple children’s books series’ later, I can see that God knew all along that my first full-published book would be with Destiny Image. Many of you have heard me tell the tale about how I once bawled over a turndown, and God spoke to me saying, “Anna, you have to see the bigger picture.” Reading this book reminded me of the bigger picture. Life was not meant to be lived in glossy snapshots that are only good for your facebook profile. The bigger picture becomes more like a symphony that cannot be heard in one note alone, but appreciated in its entirety.

I want to close this blog today by saying a simple thank you. Thank you to Don and Cathy Nori for endeavoring to run the race God set before them. Their choosing to do that not only allows others to run their race as the authors, but also has helped millions run their race as the readers. Their sacrifice means millions of lives have been touched for the Glory of God. You must remember that all our lives have effect on others. When you choose to fulfill or not to fulfill, what God has for your life it is like a ripple and the ripples roll outward to the world around you. As I sign off, I will say again, what I always want you to remember. God has awesome plans for your life. So get excited!

Monday, November 7, 2011

You will Not return to Him void!

Last week in my study time I had a “heavy reavy” I wanted to share. If your not familiar with the term “Heavy Reavy” it’s a divine moment when something clicks about the Word.

I was readying this scripture in Isaiah 55:10-11 (esv)

10 "For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven
and do not return there but water the earth,
making it bring forth and sprout,
giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,
11so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.

I have personally heard this scripture preached on quite a bit. The most typical thing people use it to preach about is when God speaks eventually those words will bear fruit. It absolutely means that. But in my head last week, it was if the Holy Spirit took this scripture a bit further.

In John 1:1-2 we learn that Jesus is the Word.
John 1:1-2 (NIV)
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning

The Bible is very clear that we are to be like Jesus on the earth. In Genesis 1, Hebrews 11, and Mark 11:23, etc there are all sorts of scriptures that point to the system in the kingdom of spoken words. We are as God’s people, fruit of His spoken words. While Jesus is the WORD, we are “words” being sent forth by Him.

Thinking about all of this then going back to the scripture in Isaiah, God is saying here that we as His words will not return to Him void. We will go forth and accomplish what He sent us to accomplish. When I saw this it was a heavy reavy moment for me. I know God wants us to fulfill our destiny, but seeing this like this was like “Woah!” (It was a Joey moment from the sitcom Blossom if you remember that back in the 90’s) I won’t return to Him void! I will go forth and fulfill what He told me I would.” Don’t get me wrong, I believed I would before this, but seeing it worded like that made me want to do a little giddy jig.

It can get so easy to get wrapped up in a defeated mentality. When you make some extreme choices based on what you know God has spoken and then don’t see fruit of those choices right away it can be a test for you. You can start to wonder if you will ever be able to look back on your life and know you accomplished what He sent for you to accomplish. But His word is clear. When you choose to be sent forth, you will not return to Him void. You will go forth and accomplish what He’s purposed for you to accomplish. God has awesome plans for your life. So get excited!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Spiritual Motion Sickness?

It is well known in my family that I have a history of issues with motion sickness. I don’t remember when we officially discovered this: Maybe it was the time that I spent the day at the pool in the sun and then was put in the back seat of my grandparents fairly new car to travel through the hills of Southern Ohio and I puked everywhere that told us this, Or maybe it was the time my uncle decided to travel through the mountains of Gatlinburg with the side door open in the van. Perhaps it was the issues I had with vertigo as a child but whatever it was it was learned early on that I would be fine as long as I got to sit in the front seat. I am better as an adult however; I still cannot read in a long car journey.

Many people suffer from spiritual motion sickness. They have become nauseous spiritually and they do not understand why. Just like how one gets motion sickness in the physical it applies spiritually.

James 1:6-8 (NIV)
6 But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7 That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. 8 Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.

One gets spiritual motion sick when they keep going back and forth, on what God has spoken. One minute their one top of the world because they know God said something to them and the next their down in the dumps because nothing has changed yet. This rocking back and forth is very spiritually draining and in a sense make one spiritual motion sick. While many probably are not ready to puke in the physical it’s, this feeling is not pretty spiritually. One fruit of this condition is frustration. If you find yourself frustrated all the time, are you really consistently sure that what God is spoken is going to happen? If you were really sure, delay might annoy you but would not frustrate you. People, myself included, can flesh out when things do not go their way.

In Matthew 7 it talks about how the wise man builds their house on a rock. In Matthew 21:42 it says essentially that Jesus is the cornerstone. So what does that mean? It means you do not have to be rocking back and forth. You can choose to be on the rock of Christ Jesus.

Faith is not a rocking boat that it’s occupants are ready to puke everywhere. Faith is stable. It is consistent. Faith is not moved by circumstance and with a loud voice I believe God is speaking to His people saying “Peace. Be still!”

Recently as I had shared in a prior blog, I got a turndown for something I really wanted. I found myself in an old familiar pattern of starting to rock again. Essentially I started to get spiritually nauseous and I sought the Lord as to what I could do to stabilize the boat. God very clearly spoke to me about some personal things, but one thing He was constant on was the area of trust. If one really trusts God that their circumstance will change then they would be firmly on the rock of Christ Jesus.

Isaiah 26:4 (ESV)
“Trust in the Lord forever, For the LORD GOD is an everlasting rock!”

Trust is like the sticky glue that keeps you cemented on God!

Psalms 37:5 (ESV)
“Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him, and He will act.”

You do not have to get spiritually motion sick. Let’s face it nausea in any form stinks! It’s a choice. You can choose to be stable. You can choose to keep trusting the Lord. Many times people forget that God wants you to step into your destiny more than you do. He created you for it. You being in that place will make Him so excited! He loves it when His creation fulfills it’s purpose. However you have to trust Him that you’ll get there. You have to keep your boat from rocking and stay stable. Double mindedness will not get you to your destiny. You can’t control it; all you can do is what He’s told you to do. But trusting God will get you there! God has awesome plans for your life. So get excited!