The Zeal of God

Isaiah 42:8

“The Lord will march out like a mighty man, like a warrior; he will stir up his zeal; with a shield he will raise the battle cry and will triumph over his enemies. For a long time I have kept silent, I have been quiet and held myself back. But now like a woman in chid birth I cry out, I gasp and pant. I will lay waste the mountains and hills and dry up the vegetation, I turn rivers into islands and dry up the pools.

I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do, I will not forsake them. But those who trust in idols who say to the images, ‘ You are our gods,’ will be turned back in utter shame. Hear you deaf; look you bling, and see!” Isaiah 42:6-17

There is a shift in the spiritual realm that is now manifesting in the natural realm we live in. The Lord is waking up his remnant to stir up his zeal within them. As disciples of the kingdom of heaven, it’s time to pick up the weapons of our warfare, to charge into the fray so the message of the Lord can go forth in this world. So that salvation can come to the sinner. So that recovery of sight can return to those who are spiritually blind to Jesus and the things he is doing in this hour.

What is Zeal? Zeal is great energy or enthusiasm in pursuit of a cause or an objective. Webster’s 1828 dictionary says, zealous means, “Passionate ardor in the pursuit of any thing. In general, zeal is an eagerness of desire to accomplish or obtain some object, and it may be manifested either in favor of any person or thing, or in opposition to it, and in a good or bad cause.”

Back in 1994, Oprah reviewed an experience she had at a mega church where the pastor preached that God is a jealous God. Oprah’s misunderstanding and lack of study as to the deeper meaning of God’s word caused her to assign a secular meaning to the word “jealous” and go on to broadcast and thus influence her audience about God’s definition of zeal and jealousy. (video here)

I remember this being a topic of conversation among my mom and her coworkers at the time. Because of the power (god-given, if I might add) and influence of Oprah Winfrey, many of her viewers subsequently were drawn into into her teachings by Eckhart Tolle and others who promoted a new age movement and secular humanism. In a nut shell, secular humanism in a belief that humanity is capable of morality and self-fulfillment without belief in God.

So let’s go back to the zeal of the Lord. The Lord, in his zeal, pursues you. He is eager for you to come to him. He desires that you would become his. He created you. He wants you to choose him back!

Now the time is come where the Lord is stirring up his zeal in his true followers. This zeal will take Jesus into new rooms, new marketplaces, new spaces, new homes, new media. His people have kept silent. Some out of fear, some out of not knowing what to say. Some have kept silent because their actions don’t match their words. But NOW. Now things are changing. They cannot be quiet. They cry out! The Lord is stirring up his spirit so much so that his people will cry out! They are arising with a new boldness to declare the day of salvation. The good and acceptable day of the Lord. These are the days of Elijah.

God is taking those who couldn’t see. He’s opening their eyes, he’s taking them and guiding them on new paths, not the direction of men. He’s shining light into the dark spaces in hearts, in lives, in families, in businesses. He’s giving everyone another chance. And those who are distracted by their idols- their money, their job, their secret sins, their SELF, will miss him. Don’t miss Him. He’s calling out!

Our King is coming.

Words for 2023: Reclaim and Possess

In 2020, I began asking the Lord to speak to me personally about his direction for my life. I had really made a mess of things in my own life, and God gave me the gift of time to really begin to seek him for what my future would look like. Over the course of the next 2, now almost three years, this evolved into asking for personal words for the new year to spearhead what he wanted me to grow in and accomplish for him and my family, business, and ministry. My tribe, Elevate Life Church, also does this. We align corporately for a vision and mission for the year, and without going into too much detail, it’s been an integral part of my transformation journey.

About a month ago, I was praying in the spirit during my quiet time and I heard the Lord speak two words to me. I had been asking him to reveal to me what he really wanted me to strive for this year. I heard His voice say, “Reclaim and Possess.” I wrote them down in my prayer journal. Sometimes he will give me a word, or a vision or a dream, and I’ve learned to write it down because sometimes it’s not always for me and it’s helped be develop my spiritual senses to where he’s leading me +/- who he’s leading me to to encourage.

I find that going back to the definition of these words helps lend context to what God is trying to say to you because sometimes we think we know what a word means but there’s deeper revelation, or layers of meaning in the things he’s speaking to us. And it’s easy to take a word and run with it, but I have started asking the question, “What demand does this word (or words) put on me to do all and be all that God is calling me to be in this season?”

So, let me lend some context to the meanings of these words.

The definition of reclaim: to retrieve or recover (something previously lost, given, or paid); obtain the return of. get back, claim back, have returned, recover, take back, regain, retrieve, recoup, recuperate, Opposite:forfeit

The definition of possess: to have and hold as property. own. to have as an attribute, knowledge, or skill. to seize and take control of. take into one’s possession. to enter into and control firmly dominate.

The Lord took me to a passage in Joshua, chapter 1, where the former leader Moses had just died and God told the Israelites it was time to cross over into their promised land. Hear these words:

Get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give them.” “I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses. Your territory will extend from the desert to Lebanon, and from the great river, the Euphrates- all the Hittite country- to The Great Seas on the west. No one will be able to stand up against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.” God then goes on to tell Joshua, “Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers to give them. Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Do not let the Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified. Do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

Then Joshua ordered the officers of the people, “Go throughout the camp and tell them people, ‘Get your supplies ready. Three days from now you will cross the Jordan here to go in and take possession of the land the Lord your God is giving you for your own.

2022 was my year of Promise, Birth, and Expectation. I was to believe for the Promises of God, Expect the Promises of God and allow the Holy Spirit to birth the promises of God through me. I would also experience a birth of the new things He wants to do in my life. Seeds have been incubating inside of me, new ministries, new businesses, new rooms, and now I have new babies, things that are in infant stages to care for and nurture. Things that I have been carrying must now be cared for. For new things to be born, old things had to die. In many areas, this meant letting go of the past, old mindsets, old blue prints, old relationships. New means never been done before. The world hasn’t seen it yet. It requires god-given imagination, bravery, courage..not to speak my truth, but to speak his truth in my life through actions, words, and works. Bravery to be his mouthpiece, to go where he tells me to go and say what he tells me to say. And I’m so grateful.

Reclaim and possess are words for me but they’re also words for his people. His remnant. What things have you forfeited in your past? Did you give up on your dreams? Did you settle for less than God’s best in one or all areas of your life? I’m having this vision of a white round table in a dark room with a spotlight. It’s covered with wrapped presents. Beautiful bows, shiny paper, gifts stacked high. You don’t have to earn the gifts, but you do have to become who God needs you to be in this world to properly steward them. If you’re praying for gifts, or asking God for greater increase in areas of your life, what are you willing to do, to train to be to be prepared for what He’s got for you?- For what you’ve been asking for. In God’s word he says to Israelites, “Little by little I will drive them out from before you, until you have increased and possess the land.” Part of who we must become is achieved little by little. A little growth, a little gain. A little growth, a little more gain. Life and success is not a sprint it’s a full-blown marathon. You’ve got to have discipline to have staying-power, or in this case possessing-power.

To possess all of the promises God has for you, it’s going to take, as God told Joshua, strength and courage. When looking through the world’s eyes, this is not exactly the type of landscape that says, “Now’s a great time to start a business, build your dream home, go back to school, etc.” But if you’re journeying through life with kingdom-shades on (think Neo in Matrix), you’re just going to see things God’s way: “Now is the perfect time. I’ve called YOU to this. I’ve equipped YOU for this. I’ve been preparing you for a grand season. Cast off the weights and run your race with grit. Little by little, I will drive out those before you and clear your path so that you can run unhindered into your Promised Land. I’ll build your faith with each victory, if you’ll just trust me and cross over.

During my searching of God’s meaning of reclaim and possess, I found this word that stamps or seals meaning onto and into everything else the Lord has been showing me about these words. Here’s what it says:

“On the way to your promised land, God is going to ask you to do something. This may be where you are right now. You’ve worked on the first five steps, and now…here you sit… right at the water’s edge. But to cross the Jordan, the Israelites had to make the first move (Joshua 3:8) before the waters parted for them. What move do you need to make? What step of faith will open the waters of the Jordan for you? Stop procrastinating and step out of your comfort zone. Don’t get stuck waiting in camp. Dip your toe in the water, and keep moving forward!” -Kenneth Copeland.

It’s time to reclaim your inheritance, your promises. It’s time to possess all of the gifts that God has wrapped and waiting on your table in heaven. It’s time to advance in becoming who God needs you to be to steward what he wants to do in you, to you, for you, and through you. GOOOOOOOOO!

A Holy Blueprint

1 Chronicles 28:19 blue watercolor mark with a hand holding a stylus

“I have in writing from the hand of the Lord upon me, and he gave me understanding in all details of the plan.” 1 Chronicles 28:19

David made plans for the temple under the divine inspiration of God. He carefully planned and strategically gathered every item that would be necessary to construct the temple and articles that would be used in sacrifice and worship of God. God spoke to David, telling him in verse 3 of 1 Chronicles, “you are not to build a house for my Name, because you are a warrior and have shed blood.” David told Solomon, “The Lord has chosen you to build a temple as a sanctuary. Be strong, and do the work” (v10). He encourages Solomon more. In verse 20 it says, “David also said to Solomon his son, “Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you until all the work for the service of the temple of the Lord is finished. The divisions of the priests and Levites are ready for all the work on the temple of God, and every willing man skilled in any craft will help you in all the work. The officials and all the people will obey your every command.”

I’m here to tell you today that, whatever you’ve been asking God to show you in regards to your life, the ministry, the business….whatever it is, God is saying to you today, “Be strong and do the work.” He’s got your blueprint written in heaven, and as you go to Him in worship with praise, He will reveal the plans, the next steps, and as David said, “understanding of all the details of the plan.” There are treasures waiting for you in the presence of the Lord. Enter his courts with thanksgiving and praise. Go confidently before the throne of God- He has ordained your work for this season. There’s only so much reading, so much research that you can do. You’re prepared. You’re ready! Go to him in faith knowing He will illuminate the way. He’s already got people assigned to help you build. Have faith, trust, and take the next step! Be strong. Be courageous!

The definition of strong is to have the ability to bear or endure; to be firm, solid, well- fortified, able to sustain attacks; not easily subdued or taken.

The definition of courageous means to be bold, confident and of “good cheer.”

The Lord is with you. Keep seeking Him for the next steps, keep going into His presence to praise Him. Submit your plans to Him because He’s got the BEST prepared for you.

Magnify

Jesus, your ways are incomparable.

Your thoughts are unattainable. Your gifts are unimaginable. Your hope is unforgettable. You mend the broken things. Broken people. You raise the unlikely, the unseen, the unloved.

You elevate your chosen to greater authority with greater purpose, for your glory. You illuminate the path of the righteous so that their way is clear.

You trade dishonor for honor, sin for cleanliness, ashes for beauty, darkness for light. You raise up, and you tear down for your purposes.

Oh Lord, you have looked upon me, and in your mercy and loving-kindness, you have caused me to forget the former things. You pour blessing upon blessing over my life. You anoint my head with oil. My cup overflows.

I will walk with you hand-in-hand, all the days of my life. To your name, I will bring glory.

Luke 1. ////////// My soul glorifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on, all generations will call me blessed for the Mighty One has done great things for me. Holy is his name! His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation. He has performed mighty deeds with his arm. He has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts. He has brought down rulers from their thrones, but has lifted up the humble. He has filled the hungry with good things, but he has send the rich away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful to Abraham and his descendants forever, even as he said to our fathers.

Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished.

Focus

I don’t know about you but I don’t recognize this world anymore. Some say we’re getting better. Some say it’s worse. I was watching the 80’s Top Tens on Disney+ last night and began to travel back in my mind to my personal memories of growing up in the eighties. As I watched, tears filled my eyes. It was like another lifetime. A time where I was naive about a lot of things. A world where things were simple and people were kind.

Like the picture, we live in a world where things are upside down. Evil is called good, and good is called evil. Focus is so important. Terri Savelle Foy says, “What you think about, you bring about.” It’s why you have to make a valiant effort to focus on the promises of God. To believe God for the impossible. To use your gifts and abilities to change spheres of influence. The Bible encourages us to, “fix our thoughts on what is true, honorable, and right and pure, and lovely and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise” (Philippians 4:8). Does this mean we should ignore the problems? Bury your head in the sand and pretend that since it’s not in your backyard that it doesn’t affect you? No- It means we charge into the culture and take a stand. We change it by our presence. We change it with our actions. We change it with our voices. Together, as believers in Jesus.

When you’re looking through the right lens, the things that are out of focus are made clear. Sharp. The path is made visible. And straight. There’s greater clarity, and with that clarity comes peace. On the outside of the lens, there’s still confusion, cloudiness, chaos, uncertainty. This may seem obvious, but I’ll say it anyway. Our lens for clear living, peaceful living, and purposeful living is the Bible. I’m praying that you will make a habit this year to renew your mind in the word of God every day, so that you can maintain your peace, grow in wisdom, and experience a greater revelation of who Jesus is and who he’s calling you to be.

A word from the Lord:

To stay in the flow of my spirit, it’s vital that you do not allow distractions to hinder your time with me. What I have to say to you is important for this time. I need you to focus.

Scripture

Teach us to realize the brevity of life, so that we may grow in wisdom. Psalm 90:12

Choose Your Hard

Choose Your Path, Choose Your Hard

My pastor Keith A. Craft (Elevate Life Church in Frisco, Texas) shared this one Sunday, and I’m sharing it here because it’s in alignment with what it means to live a Gritfull Life. When I first heard this, I thought truer words were never spoken. It’s easy to get into the short-sighted game of comparison and think that life will get easier when you finally “arrive” at your place of achievement. Or maybe you think the grass is greener on the other side (which we all know it’s not, but still). Let this remind you that no matter what you choose for your life, choose to do it with Jesus. There will be mountains and there will be valleys. There will be peaks and there will be pits, but you can conquer any hard with his help.


Galatians 6:9 | So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.

If doing good was easy, you wouldn’t grow weary.

Being your best is hard.
Being your normal is hard.

Making wise decisions is hard.
Making bad decisions is hard.

Being in shape is hard.
Being out of shape is hard.

Losing weight is hard.
Being fat is hard.

Working out is hard.
Being weak is hard.

Being disciplined is hard.
Being lazy is hard.

Getting out of your comfort zone is hard.
Staying in your comfort zone is hard.

Starting a business is hard
Working for someone else is hard.

Making a lot of money is hard.
Making a little bit of money is hard.

Being rich is hard.
Being poor is hard.

Having great relationships is hard.
Having bad relationships is hard.

Having friends is hard.
Having no friends is hard.

Fighting for your marriage is hard.
Divorce is hard.

Having a lot of things is hard.
Having nothing is hard.

Living on purpose is hard.
Living off purpose is hard.

Doing life God’s way is hard.
Doing life your own way is hard.

Everything is hard!
Choose your hard!


Keith A. Craft (keithcraft.org)

Non-perishable Goods

This morning in my quiet time, I took God my plans for the day and asked him to show me the most important tasks that needed my attention and what could wait. I tend to get overwhelmed with thoughts of wanting to make everything happen quickly, so much so that that my schedule rules over me more than I rule over my schedule.

We all have a lot going on right now. Personally, if I stop to think about all of the things I have to accomplish, all of the questions I still don’t have answers to, and all of the hours I really need to make things happen in my life, it can cause me to feel like I’m sinking in the deep waters of my circumstances. I was telling God that this morning– “Lord, how? How am I going to get all of this done in time?” He lovingly reminded me that his grace is enough, and he is showing himself to be strong enough for me to accomplish the most important things. He reminded me that he has already empowered me to do all things because of his great, supernatural strength.

Then, the Lord led me to 1 Corinthians 15: 44 which states,

” If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. So it is written: “The first man Adam became a living being, the last Adam (Jesus), a life-giving spirit. The spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the spiritual. The first man was of the dust of the earth, the second man from heaven. As was the earthly man, so are those who are of the earth; and as is the man from heaven, so also are those who are of heaven. And just as we have borne the likeness of the earthly man, so we shall bear the likeness of the man from heaven.”

“I declare to you, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed– in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we (who are alive) will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”

“Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?”

“The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

(My favorite part) “Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm, Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.”

Because Jesus paid our sin debt, we as believers have the glorious hope of heaven. As we spend time with him (in his presence and in his word) daily, his word is an incubator for transformation, and we are changed into his likeness.

This morning is a much needed reminder that the things God is calling us to must take first place in our lives. We must clothe ourselves with the things that will not die- the things that make his name known in all the earth. Those are the things that outlive us all. This morning Jesus reminds us that, no matter what’s going on in this world, no matter how insane or bleak the circumstances may be, we are to surrender ourselves completely to the dreams and the mission he’s called us to.

He wants to do an eternal work in and through you, for his kingdom.

I’m praying that you seek him today. He is ready to reveal his plans to you when you are ready to make time to listen.