A New Thing- You Can’t Beat It

Psalm 19:7-11 The Gritfull Life

Do you look to the word of God as something that keeps you from living the life you desire, or do you look to the word of God for the blueprint to greatness?

I’m asking this question because I’ve known those who have said, “The bible has too many rules,” “I’m under grace, and that’s all I need to know!”, or “I don’t have time in this season to study my bible.” Honestly, those are all heartbreaking statements to me because these people have no idea the treasures they are robbing themselves of by not reading the word of God. For the things of this world. I understand that there are times where life is frantic and over-scheduled, but the ability to change those variables lies within our reach and responsibility. And thanks to technology, you can listen to the word of God being read anytime. I’m thinking YouTube, Abide, YouVersion Bible App, cds if you’re into that, and more. And while I personally believe that holding the word of God in your hands to read has the greatest impact in changing your life, listening to the word of God has its purposes as well. God’s word says in Psalm 19,

“The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul. The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple. The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes. The fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever. The ordinances of the Lord are sure and altogether righteous. They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the comb. By them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is a great reward.”

I want to dive into breaking apart this scripture passage for deeper understanding of what God is trying to show us here:

The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul

Two word-groups in the Hebrew Old Testament are translated “perfect” or “perfection”: tamam [m’T] and calal [l;l’K]. The former connotes wholeness, soundness, integrity, and often takes on ethical significance; the latter connotes completeness, perfection, and can carry the aesthetic sense of comeliness or beauty.

The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple

Statutes are a law or decree by sovereign God. I love this truth-ism that states, “Show me an area of your life where you are experiencing success, and I will show you where you are following a biblical principle. Conversely, show me an area of your life where you are failing, and I will show you where you are violating a biblical principle. Therefore, those choosing to follow what they call their own personal wisdom are seemingly less than wise, bordering on stupidity. 

Trustworthy means confidence; a reliance or resting of the mind on the integrity, veracity, justice, friendship, or other sound principles of another person. In other words, you can put your confidence in what God is instructing you THROUGH HIS WORD.

I need to stop right here for a minute and say something. Feelings aren’t facts. I have a lot of friends who tell me they “feel God” and while the presence of the holy spirit is a very powerful experience, it is one that we as disciples of Christ should continually walk in. Also, you can feel something, but that doesn’t make it match up in alignment with God’s word. If you’re “feeling” that you need to make a move, feeling that you should align with someone in business, feeling that you should leave your spouse, I recommend you pray and ask God to confirm or refute anything you’re “feeling.” Why? Again, feelings aren’t facts. Eve was tempted by Satan through her emotions and senses. Through her feelings. I’ll prove it, in Genesis 3, “Eve saw that the fruit was good for food (hunger/taste), pleasing to the eye (vision and vision of what she might become in her eyes), desirable for gaining wisdom (thoughts), so she took some (touch) and ate it. Then she persuaded (seduced) Adam to eat it too.” The bible says we are to take every thought captive and make it obedient to the Word of God. So, if you’re not doing that, you’re headed for trouble. Ok, moving on.

The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart

God’s precepts are His instructions and commandments. As we study his word, we learn what is good and acceptable to him and the peace of carrying his yoke brings joy to our hearts. I heard a pastor once say, “Don’t just read your bible, let it read you!” Why? Because as the holy spirit reveals new things about him and you, and you’ll experience layers upon layers of freedom. God says in Proverbs 8 (verse 10-11: Choose my instruction instead of silver, knowledge rather than choice gold, for wisdom is more precious than rubies, and nothing you desire can compare with her.”

The instructions and wisdom of God continually make us free, and there is pure joy in that freedom.

The commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes

God’s word itself is radiant so that it opens our eyes and hearts to understanding what was formerly the mysterious nature of God. His instructions also illuminate our life and our path and teach us the way to live. The only way you can know the plans God has for you is by going to him in prayer and reading his word. A pastor, a prophet, and an apostle can relay knowledge, teach, and prophesy, but IT’S UP TO YOU TO to pursue a discipleship with God, to understand his word.

And for the audience that says they can’t understand what the bible is trying to say: thankfully there are hundreds of translations of the bible in existence today. I use the NIV, the Amplified, The NKJV (the thee, thou version), The Tree of Life Bible, and the Passion Translation. There’s also the Message and others. I will say that there are some versions that eliminate what I consider powerful vocabulary, but I’m a words person. God will speak to you through His holy spirit, if you will go in faith to the word of God.

The fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever

Bibleref.com points out that, ” The meaning of “fear,” here, is the archaic sense of profound respect, humility, and acceptance. This is not a sense of panic, but of deference. This statement points out that reverential fear of the Lord is clean and endures forever. Unlike false religions that are defiled, God’s Word is undefiled and everlasting. A judge may render an inaccurate decision, but God’s judgments are true, David writes, and they are thoroughly righteous.”

This can be hard for those of us who were taught to fear our fathers. I always thought God was mad at me, and that I somehow snuck into the house of God unnoticed, but if it was found out, I’d be told to leave. I didn’t belong there. For many years I was afraid of God, and those fears gave birth to lies that I couldn’t go to him when I messed up. The fear and lies pushed me deeper down into the pit of sin and shame, honestly, because that’s where I thought God wanted me and where I belonged. It wasn’t until several divine appointments over a 10 year time frame, and the deep work that God did inside of my mind and heart, that I was able to break free from those strongholds that caused me to constantly question my salvation, the love of a father, feeling worthy, etc.

Don’t let whatever you believe stand in the way of going to God out of holy respect for who he is, no matter who you think you are. I can assure you, you will be surprised and refreshed at how God really sees you.

The ordinances of the Lord are sure and altogether righteous. They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey than honey from the comb. By them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is a great reward.

The laws and commandments of God are holy. They are priceless. The wisdom you get from the word of God preserves life, warns, teaches abundance, and promises fulfilled. If you were to dive into the historical figures of the bible, I am certain you would resonate with at least 1. The main bible I use is an NIV given to me by my mom when I was 18. Over the past 25 years, God has marked the passages of what I consider to be life messages for me. If I am just flipping open my bible, He will often take me to one of several accounts of historical figures who he has had me study through the years.

But I need to say it didn’t start that way. It started awkward. It started in doubt. It started and then briefly stopped in frustration because I was reading words on tissue paper. Nothing really clicked, and it read flat. It wasn’t until I started praying before, in faith, asking God to please show me what he wanted to say to me that he answered my prayers. You see, I started reading because it was “what I was supposed to do” not out of joy. I had to train myself to develop the habit when I didn’t want to. Like you, I always have a thousand things to get accomplished each day. BUT- when I went to God, knowing that there was more for me in his word, and asking for his favor to understand it, HE WAS and IS FAITHFUL. And He will be faithful to you too. He will make learning about him enjoyable. Just trust me on that.

A prayer for you today

Jesus, I pray that you would woo this reader into your word. I pray that you would speak softly and tenderly to them, using your word to convey exactly what their heart needs to hear so that they know and believe that you are drawing them to deeper intimacy with you. I pray for them to have the faith to believe, in a world that attempts to drown out your whispers with distractions, that they would create a space where nothing would get in the way of meeting with you in your word.

I pray that they would taste and see that your word is good, that it gives life to the bones and to the spirit. I pray for revived hearts, revived lives, and for revival to break out in your body, Lord. We believe for it. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

You’ve Been Talented

Matthew 25:14-15 The Gritfull Life

The Lord gave me a word this morning for the remnant.

You’ve been talented. What will you do with them? Your gifts, your abilities are from me for you, but they’re also for MY PURPOSES.

I have been preparing you in the secret place. It is what I created you for. To bring others to Me. To tell of my excellent greatness. To free captives.

Tell them I am coming soon. Tell them I will reward everyone according to what they have done in My Name, not their own. I am coming for my harvest and to collect my talents from my faithful few.

The harvest is ripe. Soon I will swing my sickle over the whole earth and take up my most treasured possessions.

Lead them to Me.

You’ve been talented

God is saying that He’s given you talents that are specific to you and for His purposes. Your talent can bring you wealth, a name, an inheritance for your children, but God is saying today that He’s given them to you to multiply for Him. Of course, you will reap the benefits of using the talents He’s invested in you, but the talents are to be used for His glory in this season. Are you using your talents to build his kingdom or build your own?

I have been preparing you in the secret place- IYKTYK

The secret place is the place of intimacy He’s drawn you into with him. If you’re there, you already know what I’m talking about. Being still before the presence of the Lord, with absolutely no agenda other than pure devotion to your king. Training. Kind of like Jedi training. To hear your master’s voice. To then practice the discipline in listening. To be quiet when you want to speak. To practice the art of the linger for what he will say and show you.

The secret place sounds mysterious and exciting, but it’s not about you. It’s about sitting in the throne room of heaven to wait and hear what the Lord wants to say. It is not hurried or rushed. There are no clocks or phones in the secret place. It’s a different kind of FaceTime.

You have been prepared for such a time as this

I know that’s not exactly what he says here, but he does say that this is what you were created for. He’s aligning everything. Much like the book of Esther, where the name of God is never mentioned, it is in the collective text that his fingerprints, He is orchestrating events, people, and places so that you can step into your kingdom role that is for this hour. Why? To save your people. His people. Not literally. Although- maybe…To use your influence, power, and position to bring others to him. Or, as Esther did, to fast, pray and make bold moves so that a nation would be rescued.

Your life is a living testimony to the miraculous and supernatural nature of the only living God. Think about it. Think about what you’ve been through. What He’s brought you through! Will you be bold and share so that others may be set free from the kingdom of darkness. Yes, I know that sounds dramatic, but that’s what the bible says here–>

“For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience; joyously giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light. For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins” (Colossians 1:9-13).

Jesus is coming soon- What will you have to show for your talents?

I pray that we will all be like the wise and faithful servants, that we will be faithful with multiplying what we’ve been given. One day, all believers will stand at the judgment seat of Christ and receive their rewards for what they did for Jesus while here on earth. The bible says in Matthew 25(verses 14-30 for the full parable) that the servant who hid his talent was afraid of his master. The bible calls him a wicked and lazy servant saying, “So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest.” The master commands his talent be taken and given to the one with 10 talents. “For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

The Lord is saying today, that, as disciples, we are responsible. While there are only a faithful few, we are the hands and feet. We are the talents of Jesus. We possess the talents. You’ve got the gifting for whatever He’s calling you to! Honestly, that should make you feel pretty special, I would think!

The harvest is ripe

There are plainly-stated instructions here for the hearers of the word today.

Luke 10:2-12 states: “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest. “Go; behold, I send you out as lambs in the midst of wolves. “Carry no money belt, no bag, no shoes; and greet no one on the way. “Whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace be to this house.’ “If a man of peace is there, your peace will rest on him; but if not, it will return to you. “Stay in that house, eating and drinking what they give you; for the laborer is worthy of his wages. Do not keep moving from house to house. “Whatever city you enter and they receive you, eat what is set before you; and heal those in it who are sick, and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’ “But whatever city you enter and they do not receive you, go out into its streets and say, ‘Even the dust of your city which clings to our feet we wipe off in protest against you; yet be sure of this, that the kingdom of God has come near.’ “I say to you, it will be more tolerable in that day for Sodom than for that city.

Revelation 14:14-20

 “Then I looked, and behold, a white cloud, and sitting on the cloud was one like a son of man, having a golden crown on His head and a sharp sickle in His hand. And another angel came out of the temple, crying out with a loud voice to Him who sat on the cloud, “Put in your sickle and reap, for the hour to reap has come, because the harvest of the earth is ripe.” Then He who sat on the cloud swung His sickle over the earth, and the earth was reaped.

      And another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven, and he also had a sharp sickle. Then another angel, the one who has power over fire, came out from the altar; and he called with a loud voice to him who had the sharp sickle, saying, “Put in your sharp sickle and gather the clusters from the vine of the earth, because her grapes are ripe.” So the angel swung his sickle to the earth and gathered the clusters from the vine of the earth, and threw them into the great wine press of the wrath of God. And the wine press was trodden outside the city, and blood came out from the wine press, up to the horses’ bridles, for a distance of two hundred miles.”

Just as the farmer separates his crops, Jesus will one day reap the harvest he paid for with his blood. While those who have rejected Christ will reap the wrath of God.

Lead them to me

God is commissioning you to lead others to Him. In fact, he calls it The Great Commission. “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey everything I have commanded. And surely I am with you always, even to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:18-20).

Only One Life, Twill Soon Be Past

I am reminded of this poem my mother showed me awhile back from a missionary named C.T. Studd, and I wanted to share it. C.T. was quoted as saying, “My only joys, therefore, are that when God has given me a work to do, I have not refused it.” I hope this poem inspires and encourages you to be bold in your assignment and maximize your gifts for his glory.

Only One Life, Twill Soon Be Past
by C.T. Studd

Two little lines I heard one day,
Traveling along life’s busy way;
Bringing conviction to my heart,
And from my mind would not depart;

Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Only one life, yes only one,
Soon will its fleeting hours be done;
Then, in ‘that day’ my Lord to meet,
And stand before His Judgement seat;

Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Only one life, the still small voice,
Gently pleads for a better choice
Bidding me selfish aims to leave,

And to God’s holy will to cleave;

Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Only one life, a few brief years,
Each with its burdens, hopes, and fears;
Each with its clays I must fulfill.
living for self or in His will;

Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

When this bright world would tempt me sore,
When Satan would a victory score;
When self would seek to have its way,
Then help me Lord with joy to say;

Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Give me Father, a purpose deep,
In joy or sorrow Thy word to keep;
Faithful and true what e’er the strife,
Pleasing Thee in my daily life;

Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Oh let my love with fervor burn,
And from the world now let me turn;
Living for Thee, and Thee alone,
Bringing Thee pleasure on Thy throne;

Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Only one life, yes only one,
Now let me say, “Thy will be done”;
And when at last I’ll hear the call,
I know I’ll say “twas worth it all”;

Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

__ extra stanza __

Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.
And when I am dying, how happy I’ll be,
If the lamp of my life has been burned out for Thee.

Rebuild The Walls

Nehemiah 1:3 The Gritfull Life

This morning, the Lord took me to Nehemiah Chapter 1. But before I go into that, I need to share a dream I had the night before. Typically, on the nights that God is giving me a prophetic dream, he’ll give it to me right before I wake up.

This particular dream was a bright day. The sky was crisp and blue. The clouds were perfect, white, cotton candy clouds. I was in the dream and I saw white everywhere, and I heard the voice of the Lord say, “Surely I am coming soon.” Then, I watched as the white panned back out to reveal a white robe. As I was following the shape of the robe up and down with my eyes, I noticed the man was barefoot. He was walking up white marble stairs into the clouds. I watched as he went back up into the clouds and disappeared. It was then that I awoke, and there was this overwhelming sense of peace and calm. I thought to myself, “Thank God, it won’t be much longer now.” and then my heart dropped to the thoughts of those who are unaware. They have no knowledge of the signs of the times. They have no knowledge of Jesus. They are lost, hurting, maybe some are hanging on to hope by a thread. And I started to weep.

The Lord took me to Nehemiah, chapter 1: I’m including the passage here:

“The words of Nehemiah son of Hakaliah: In the month of Kislev in the twentieth year, while I was in the citadel of Susa,

Hanani, one of my brothers, came from Judah with some other men, and I questioned them about the Jewish remnant that had survived the exile, and also about Jerusalem.

They said to me, “Those who survived the exile and are back in the province are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire.”

When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven.

Then I said: “LORD, the God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and keep his commandments,

let your ear be attentive and your eyes open to hear the prayer your servant is praying before you day and night for your servants, the people of Israel. I confess the sins we Israelites, including myself and my father’s family, have committed against you.

We have acted very wickedly toward you. We have not obeyed the commands, decrees and laws you gave your servant Moses.

“Remember the instruction you gave your servant Moses, saying, ‘If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the nations,

but if you return to me and obey my commands, then even if your exiled people are at the farthest horizon, I will gather them from there and bring them to the place I have chosen as a dwelling for my Name.’

10 “They are your servants and your people, whom you redeemed by your great strength and your mighty hand.

11 Lord, let your ear be attentive to the prayer of this your servant and to the prayer of your servants who delight in revering your name. Give your servant success today by granting him favor in the presence of this man.” I was cupbearer to the king.”

Nehemiah went to the king who he served. His sad countenance caused the king to take notice, and Nehemiah bravely asked for permission to be sent back to Jerusalem to rebuild it. He also asked for official letters to deliver to the surrounding areas and to the king’s forest for supplies to rebuild, and military assistance for safe passage. I just want to pause for a moment and say how impressed I was with Nehemiah’s reverence yet boldness to ask for what he needed. The requests indicated that he had given careful thought to what it would take for him to be the one to execute this task. He didn’t sit down and wallow and pray and ask God to “send someone.” He knew that if it was going to be done, if the city he loved, if the promises of God would be restored to the people of Israel, that it would take his buy in and his leadership.

He was serving the king as the cupbearer. In many ways that seems like a very ordinary job, granted, it was cupbearer to the king of Persia, but Nehemiah wasn’t a builder. He was essentially a bodyguard, in that he would test all food and drink before it was given to the king to ensure the king wasn’t being poisoned. He was born in exile. He was not part of the original group of Israelites. He was not part of the group that Daniel, Shadrach, and the others were a part of. While it is obvious that Nehemiah was strong in his faith of God, he was not one who returned with the group of jews who Darius allowed to go back to the promised land. So what does that tell us? That he was content where he was- until. Until he heard that his people were in trouble and that the city’s walls were destroyed.

Significance of the Jerusalem Walls

I found this text from bibletools.org that I wanted to include regarding the significance of walls:

“Sometimes God Himself tears down our walls because of our sins (Isaiah 5:4-5). As Paul puts it, He delivers us to Satan for the destruction of our flesh in the hope we will repent (I Corinthians 5:5). The surest way to restore the wall is through sincere and complete repentance. Playing at the repair job, daubing bits of untempered mortar here and there, will only increase God’s wrath (Ezekiel 13:8-16). Such a wall, lacking God, gives the impression of security but crumbles at the smallest enemy strike. We must be totally committed to restoring.”

So the walls being down equated with God’s hand of judgment that was still over Israel. It was only until Nehemiah came to God in genuine humility and repentance, that God released forgiveness, the plans, and favor to begin and complete the rebuilding of the walls through Nehemiah.

Nehemiah returned to Jerusalem without telling anyone his plans and made a tour of the gates during the night, where he would go unnoticed.

Nehemiah’s nighttime tour of Jerusalem included the following areas:

The Valley Gate toward the Jackal Well: Valleys in the bible are low places. They can be a place of humble service to God, and it’s fitting for Nehemiah, in his humble service to begin at the valley. We have to go through valleys to have mountain tops.

The Dung Gate: Located in the southern part of Jerusalem’s walls, and it was the gate where trash and waste were removed from the city.

The Fountain Gate: Near the pool of Siloam, or the King’s Pool. It is the water from a spring called the Gihon spring or the spring that “bursts forth and gushing”. The Gihon spring was the main source of water for the city of Jerusalem.

There is a lesson in the significance of the gates he visited in the order that he visited them. The pattern is this: enter into service, cleanse or purify yourself from worldliness, and put on Jesus, the holy spirit (living water), the garments of righteousness in Christ. (That’s a word for today’s church right there!)

Faith-filled and Obedient Families Are Critical To Rebuilding

Nehemiah was a planner. Of the remnant that returned, he assigned people, namely families, to work on rebuilding sections of the wall and gates near their homes. Why? Because it cut down on travel time to far parts of the walls and it enabled families to stay in their immediate areas to protect their work, should they be attacked. But what’s the next level interpretation of this? It takes the people of God to repair the breaches and the fallen things in the kingdom of God. Restored walls signify the safety and hand of God over the people, over the church today.

Nehemiah commissioned the priests to rebuild the gates where sacrifices would enter into the temple. It was a work of God, by the people and through the people, so that eventually, the Lamb of God would later enter in.

The Walls of The Church Have Fallen

To be honest, I don’t know when it officially happened. It crept in. We forgot to appreciate the hand and the favor of God over this country. We took our liberties, and our freedom to worship for granted. Many of us became about the thing (church) rather than about the who.

False doctrine with whispers of universalism and secular humanism has crept in while a biblical worldview has diminished. We’ve tolerated things that God calls an abomination in the name of inclusivity. We’ve turned our backs on those in need. We send thoughts and prayers instead of showing up. We’ve stopped with tithes and offerings because our cashflow allocations have priority over advancing the gospel of Jesus Christ. We’re bathing in lukewarm water to get our “word from the Lord” every week, expecting to be “fed.” Come to church and get your weekly dose of milk from the Lord. We drop our kids off for “free daycare” so we can have brunch with friends. While we might be an adult in the eyes of the state but we’re disabled infants in the eyes of God. We don’t see with his vision. We don’t perceive what he’s doing in this hour. We don’t know his voice or his word. It’s the “all about you” gospel instead of the “all about Jesus” gospel.

Our walls have fallen. Since quiet-quitting is a thing, the same applies to believers who quiet-quit their faith and relationship with God. And then covid… now, according to statistics from 2022, church attendance is down 45% nationwide.

So how do we repair?

Let’s take some cues from Nehemiah.

  1. We confess our sins as the body of Christ and repent for the church and our nation. God’s word says in 2 Chronicles 7:13, “When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land. His word also says in 1 Peter 4:17, “For it is time for judgment to begin in the house of the Lord; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God?
  2. We remind God (and ourselves) that blessed [fortunate, prosperous, and favored by God] is the nation whose God is the LORD, The people whom He has chosen as His own inheritance. We ask God for grace and mercy to begin again. And we live a life worthy of our calling.
  3. We DO something about it. We become disciples and we make disciples. We read the word of God, individually, within our family, and collectively as the body of Christ. We talk about it with our children, in our going out and coming in. We fellowship with other disciples. We stand as ambassadors, as intercessors, with a hammer in one hand and a sword in the other, and we REBUILD in every facet of culture today. We represent the kingdom of God in our spheres of influence. We live uncompromised lives- no more lukewarm. No more dead disciple living. Live different. Alive. Brightly lit. Not of this world.

Today I pray that if you’re not at a living church, with other living disciples, or if you’ve strayed from the path that leads to life, that you would return. Ask God to show you your part in rebuilding the fallen walls of our church’s generation. I encourage you to remember the person who led you to Jesus. The person who loved you so much that they invested in telling you about Jesus’ sacrifice for you. What if they didn’t speak up that day? What if they ignored the nudge from God? What if they thought, “She’ll come around when she’s older,”? Where might you be today if it wasn’t for your parents who followed the Lord and made sure you got to church? It’s time we be those people for this generation. SPEAK UP. Don’t ignore the nudge. Live the truth in Spirit and in Truth so that others may find life in Jesus too because surely He is coming soon.

He’s Pursuing You

Psalm 23:6 The Gritfull Life

A word from the Lord:

“I am a jealous God. I am pursuing you through your struggles. The pressure. The circumstances. That’s Me, drawing you to Me. I created the deficits so that you would see that nothing satisfies like the light of my love and acceptance of you. Be not ashamed nor condemned. For I do not condemn you for your sins. I came to save you from them. Will you wash yourself at the cross, underneath the cleansing power of my blood? I will make you holy. I will free you from the demons that have plagued you your whole life. It’s time to be healed. Call out to me, and be saved. turn away from those things that have separated us. Be one with me. Walk with me. Let me show you how to see. Not your circumstances. Not your failures. Not your lack. But My plan for you. The places I call you to go. The Land of Plenty I have for you. Come in faith and just believe! I am a good Father, and I will surely do it!”

I can confidently say that for the majority of my life until now, I didn’t know how to see or how to think. It’s like from the moment I was born the world and the devil began backhanding me across the cheeks with lies.. hitting me so hard that, not only were my thoughts disrupted, but it impacted my vision: how I saw myself and how I saw others, and how I perceived others saw me. This included misthinking how God saw me. Can you imagine a young girl being backhanded and punched in the mind by the enemy? It sounds brutal, but it’s the visual I have as I try to convey my past to you. Why was that devil doing it? Because He saw my potential if surrendered totally to the plans God had for me. For real. We are weapons in the hand of God, people!

I remember being around 5 or 6 years old when my mom first read The Wordless Book to me. I know that sounds funny because there are actually no words in this book, just colors. But the colors spoke a story in a way that left a lasting imprint on my heart. Here’s a brief explanation of how the story goes:

Black: represents sin. Our sin separates us from God.

Red: The blood of Jesus covers our sin. For God so loved us that he gave and sent his son into the world to die for us that we would be saved through him.

Blue: His cleansing blood washes us. We are then baptized as a symbol of dying with Christ and being raised to life in Him.

White: symbolizes how Jesus has made us “as white as snow.” Pure in God’s eyes. And we begin a set apart walk with God, where we are continually cleansed by his blood.

Green: symbolizes growth. We don’t stay babies or new believers. We are called to be a disciple, to be mature, and to disciple others.

Gold: The Kingdom of Heaven. The gift of God is eternal life in heaven with Christ. We will walk on the streets of gold with our Savior.

This simple message of the gospel was appealing to me, because it focused on colors to tell a story. As a child, art was one of my favorite pastimes. I loved to get lost in color- to create pictures and visions of places I’d like to go. Places I’d rather be. It’s so amazing that even as a child, God will speak to you in his special love language. For me, it was imagery, visuals, colors, and dreams. Why am I telling you all of this?

Because God speaks lovingly to us in whispers, in colors, in pictures, in what I call “creation language.” Whatever your love language with him is. Remember when, as a child, you used to dream about what you would become? There was no limit on who you thought you would be. Why? Because imagination is a gift from God. Creativity is a gift from Him. He put things inside of you, special things, that are attached to your identity. But what does Satan do? He comes in like a wrecking ball- into your thoughts, through people, through circumstances- to sow seeds of shame, doubt, victimization, disbelief. To get you to abort the plans God has for you. Give him enough time and he will get you to come into agreement with his plans rather than the awesome plans God has for you.

Today the Lord is saying that it’s Him who has been pursuing you. Things in your life might seem as though they are falling apart, but they’re actually falling together into place. Like pieces of a puzzle that point to his unfailing love for you. There’s nothing you have done that comes as a surprise to him. It’s time to step out of whatever mindset has kept you from coming to God. Receive the forgiveness that flows from the throne of heaven today. Maybe you think you’re not good enough. Maybe you think you’re too far gone in the eyes of God. Maybe you’ve just got the volume up on the devil’s radio and you’re still believing the lies that he’s speaking over you. It’s time to get to the cross. RUN! Don’t waste another day. The Lord is calling out to you in love to come home. Be cleansed with the power of the blood of Jesus and receive healing of your mind and your vision. He wants to show you the plans he’s got for you. You’re not too old. It’s not too late. You will be invigorated by the things God wants to do in and through you. You just have to GO! God is saying to go to Him in faith and “just believe!” It only takes a little faith. A little mustard seed-sized faith to believe that He can and will change your life. He says, “Surely I will!” No more doubt. Just GO!

A New Heaven & A New Earth

Revelation 21: 1-3 The Gritfull LIfe

This morning in my prayer time, I was asking God what he wanted to show me for you today.

Immediately, in prayer, I saw a vision of the world imploding from the inside. Crumbling into rubble. Until dirt and dust filled space. As the dust scattered, the air became brown and a shining light appeared in the middle of the brown. I heard the Lord say, “I will do a new thing. I am creating a new thing. For the old order of things is passed away and new things I declare.” I opened my bible and flipped directly to this passage that states:

“I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away. Then he said to me, ‘Write this down for these words are trustworthy and true.’ He said to me, ‘It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty, I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life. He who overcomes will inherit all of this, and I will be his God and he will be my son. But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, and the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolater and all the liars- their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.” Revelation 21:1-8

To He Who Overcomes

The old things are passing away. This world in its former way is perishing, but as disciples of Jesus, we have this hope as an anchor for our souls. While the world speaks death and destruction, God is saying, “I AM MAKING ALL THINGS NEW.”

Lord, we wait with awe and anticipation for what you will do in this hour. Our hearts are surrendered fully to your will. To your new thing! Come quickly, Lord Jesus!

You’re A Weapon In His Hands

Psalm 144:1-2 The Gritfull Life

“Dawn is breaking. You will be renewed in strength as the eagle. You will run and not grow weary. You will walk and not faint. I AM going with you.

I will clear the path before you. I’ve got conquests for you. You will pillage from the enemy and take back my beloved. You are a weapon in my hand.

Make your hands strong for battle. The victory is mine,” says the Lord.

As I was praying in the spirit this morning, God spoke this to me. I jotted down the word quickly and went to the bible for an interpretation for this word from Him. Here is what I gathered:

Dawn is breaking.

The Light of the world is about to appear. The light of the world is also making his glory known through his remnant; those whose hearts have been purified through fire to declare the Day of The Lord. Isaiah 58:8 says, “Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.”

Your strength will be renewed as the eagle.

Isaiah 41: 29-31 states, “He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall, but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles, they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not faint.” Because dawn is breaking, we are to look up. God is calling us to a new level of hope that results in faith that will reinvigorate us; it will cause us to soar.

Ancient Hebrew culture revered eagles as mighty warriors that also cared fiercely for their young. Eagles carry their eaglets to safety, away from the threat of predators. Eagles are also known for their strength and courage in dangerous, turbulent weather, soaring above storm clouds and to safety. Eagles’ wings was a figure of speech commonly used to attribute these fine characteristics to a person. The Lord references eagles’ wings in Exodus 19:1–6, which is a recollection of how God delivered Israel from the Egyptians. In this passage, the Lord gives Moses a message for His people: “You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt, and how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself. Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession” (verses 4–5).

The prophet Isaiah uses wings like eagles in the same way, attributing the great characteristics of eagles to those who remain faithful to God and look forward to their heavenly reward. The phrase mount up is a translation of the Hebrew word ˈalah, which means “to go up, ascend, to go up over a boundary.” Isaiah is communicating the promise that God will provide renewed strength and courage to overcome obstacles, if Israel would only have patience and trust in the Lord’s sovereign timing.

Upon reading Isaiah’s words, perhaps Israel recalled what God had said to them long ago as they fled Egypt, about how the Lord had delivered them “on eagles’ wings” with His great strength and power. Isaiah tells them that they, too, could have access to such deliverance. If they remained faithful to God, they would soar (gotquestions.org).

I AM is going with you.

Isaiah 41:10 says, “So do not fear, for I AM with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Joshua 1:9 states, “”Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” Before the great deliverance of the Israelites from the Egyptians, and at the commissioning of Moses, God told Moses in Exodus 3:14, “I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: I AM has sent me to you.” God is saying to you today, that your assignment is anointed and appointed. The Lord is going with you to your next. He tells us this before He goes on to be more specific to encourage you and strengthen you for the season that’s coming. You will not be alone in your assignment because you have a holy calling. As leadership changed from Moses to Joshua, Moses, summoned Joshua and said to him in the presence of all of Israel, “Be strong and courageous, for you must go with this people into the land that the Lord swore to their forefathers to give them, and you must divide it among them as their inheritance. The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave or forsake you. Do not be afraid or discouraged” (Deuteronomy 31:7-8). This assignment is about inheritance for God. Its’ for those who Jesus died for on the cross- his inheritance. Did you know that Jesus prayed for you before he went to the cross? The proof is recorded in John 17:20-25. I’m honing in on verse 24 where Jesus says, ” Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you have loved me before the creation of the world.”

The Lord is clearing the path before you

God’s word speaks through the prophet Isaiah to comfort the remnant of Israel. His words say in Isaiah 40:3-5 (ESV): Someone is shouting: “Clear a path in the desert! Make a straight road for the LORD our God. Fill in the valleys; flatten every hill and mountain. Level the rough and rugged ground. Then the glory of the LORD will appear for all to see. The LORD has promised this!” He promises in Exodus 23:30 “little by little, I will drive them out before you until you have increased enough to take possession of the land.”

The Lord has conquests for you

He wants to conquer through you! The definition of conquest is
“the subjugation and assumption of control of a place or people by the use of military force.” To subjugate means to bring under control, as in territories that have been gained. In this case, to be conquered by the kingdom of heaven by Him through YOU. Romans 8:36-37 states, ” ‘For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.’ No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. He already calls you a conqueror in life, and in the calling he has for you!

You will pillage from the enemy and take back my beloved

Christ’s beloved is his bride, The Church. In this case, God is saying you will pillage from the devil to redeem his church. To pillage means to rob a place. Isaiah 50:11 states, Because you rejoice and are glad, you who pillage my inheritance, because you frolic like a heifer threshing grain and neigh like stallions, your mother will be greatly ashamed; she who gave you birth will be disgraced. She will be the least of nations- a wilderness, a dry land, a desert. Because of the Lord’s anger she will not be inhabited but will be completely desolate.” He is speaking of the kingdom of Babylon that took his beloved captive. The Lord is going to pillage the kingdom of darkness through you to take back his bride.

You are a weapon in my hand

Jeremiah. 51:19-23 says, “He who is the Portion of Jacob is not like these, for He is the Maker of all things, including the tribe of his inheritance- The Lord Almighty is His name. ‘You are my war club, my weapon for battle. With you, I will shatter nations. With you, I destroy kingdoms, with you I shatter horse and rider, with you I shatter chariot and driver, with you I shatter man and woman, with you I shatter old man and youth, with you I shatter young man and maiden, with you I shatter shepherd and flock, with you I shatter farmer and oxen, with you I shatter governors and officials. Before your eyes I will repay Babylon and all who live in Babylonia for all the wrong they have done in Zion,’ declares the Lord.”

These verses speaks of God as the war club, but today he is saying that you are a weapon in his hand.

Make your hands strong for battle

Psalm 144: 1-2 begins with praise to God from David. He says, “Praise be to the LORD my Rock, who trains my hands for war, my fingers for battle. He is my loving God and my fortress, my stronghold, and my deliverer, my shield, in whom I take refuge, who subdues peoples under me.”

To train for war, you have to know the weapons of your warfare, for they are MIGHTY to the pulling down of strongholds- the things that hold people in prison! I Corinthians says, “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;”

Put on the full armor of God (Ephesians 6:18)

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.  Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.  For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place,  and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.

Victory is Assured

Can I just encourage you to use your voice? Somewhere along the way, christian culture adopted a mindset that thoughts and prayers are enough to change the world for Jesus. And while there is wonder-working power in prayer, God has also called us to testify! What has He done for you? You and your story might just be the miracle he wants to use to dare others to believe and hope in Him.

Hallelujah! Greater is He who is in us than he who is in the world. Because of the finished work of the cross, we are fighting with Jesus from the place of victory. Now, it’s time to run into the fray and pull others out of darkness. Get ready to go to the mattresses for God. It’s time to take back for the kingdom of God, in Jesus’ mighty name! Amen.

A Step Down

Hebrews 2:5-8 The Gritfull Life

I was traveling last week for a mastermind, and I’ll admit, it’s a challenge for me to leave my family to go out of state. But I also had a lot of time on the plane to read, strategize, and reflect on what God is doing right now.

The disciples were called and then sent. Being at home is a comfort zone for me. But I knew that in order to grow to where I’m going to, I needed to make this trip.

I was reminded that it’s important to take trips and especially to fly. To sit in an aircraft and to watch and wait as you go higher. It lends perspective as you ascend and everything under your feet gets smaller. Not only do you have perspective on altitude but now those things beneath you become insignificant. And then you realize that you’re just as small as those things, you’re just higher. Imagine watching the cars and houses becoming smaller and smaller until you’re so high that the movement of life below ceases from your vantage point. It’s quiet. Peaceful.

But wait. You were just there. You were just down there, feet touching the ground. You woke up this morning and went about your morning routine. You may have frantically driven to the airport. You went through the airport process: checking your bags, checking in for your flight, passing through security….all the fun things you have to do before boarding the plane. Then you realize how small you are. How many more billions like you do the same thing with each sunrise and sunset? And then you realize how personal God has made himself known to you.

We are a grain of sand on a seashore called earth. Our lives are but a breath when compared to the vastness of God and eternity with Christ. What would make him see us so personally, and know us so intimately? What makes him step down from high and enter this world as one of us?

It’s love.

To say, “I’ll never leave you or forsake you”? Never leaving implies that he is right there with us at all times. And he is!

What kind of God could be so big and yet able to be right with us in the midst of our darkest times? The same God that came down from his throne to reach down into the dirt to make man. To sculpt and mold him from the earth. To breathe his holy breath on us so that we would come alive in him.

Some of us have dads that wouldn’t flip us a nickel, but this God. This father. He is real love.

He is real. And he’s not the kind of creator or father that makes us and sets us on the shelf. He is with us in everything- from our first breath to our last, whether we acknowledge him or not. In Psalm 8 David says, “Who is man that you are mindful of him? the son of man that you care for him? He made us a little lower than the angels and he crowns us with glory and honor. You made us ruler over the works of your hands, God you put everything under our feet, all the flocks and herds and beasts of the field. The birds of the air, and the fish of the sea, all that swims the paths of the seas. Oh Lord, how majestic is your name in the all the earth!”

His word says- those who know his name will trust in him for he has never forsaken those who seek him.

Jesus took no advantage of being God. He made himself small like us. He came into the world the way we do: through our mother’s womb. He spoke first as a baby, then as a child. He learned to walk like we did. He held a job as a carpenter, a builder, before he would go on to build the kingdom of God. He suffered like us. He went through trials like us. He experienced a life of humanity, yet as God and man, he did not sin. God came down and made himself a sacrifice for us. All because of love.

Today, I’m praying that you remember the greatness of our God. If you’re getting a little too big for your britches, I pray you’ll remember how small you are. I pray you’ll remember the humanity and divinity of Jesus. He stepped down into the small for you.

No More Unbelief

Mark 9:23-24 The Gritfull Life

A word from the Lord this morning:

My people need to exercise their authority over their flesh. By my holy spirit, be cleansed daily. Believe that I will and want to heal you. Come to be in faith, BELIEVING that I can do all things. And because I can, you have the gift as my heir. Today is the day to stop wallowing in your sickness. Stand up. Exercise your faith that I will heal you. You have work to do, but the devil would divide your mind to keep you ineffective for my kingdom. Get up, take up your mat and walk. March. You’re my soldier. My warrior. And you will do great exploits in my Name.

Before giving me this word, the Lord led me to several passages in the Bible: Mark 9:14 where Jesus heals a demon-possessed boy, Luke 13:10 where Jesus healed a crippled woman, and Luke 14, where he healed a man with dropsy (swelling associated with heart failure). I want to highlight a couple of points.

Jesus Heals The Demon-possessed Boy

I’m paraphrasing here, but the passage begins with teachers of the law arguing with some of the disciples after Jesus is transfigured on the mountain before Peter, James, and John. It was an epic event because Moses and Elijah were there talking with Jesus, and they heard God speak, “This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him!” It was at that point that Jesus instructs them not to discuss what they’ve seen until the Son of Man has risen from the dead. The NIV bible expressly states that, “the disciples kept the matter to themselves, discussing what ‘rising from the dead’ meant. ” Their minds had no understanding of that. But then we segue to where they catch up with the other disciples and a man who brings his son who is “possessed by a spirit that has robbed his speech, stating the spirit throws him to the ground and he foams at the mouth.” The Lord says, “Oh unbelieving generation, how long shall I stay with you? […] bring the boy to me.” The father tells Jesus, “If you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.”

I want to stop for a moment and address the father’s mindset: “take pity on us and help us” speaks from a place that says “I am powerless to do anything for my son, and hints I’m not really sure about you either…” He had enough faith (+action in going) to get his son to Jesus, but there was a wall in his mind that stood between what he had been witnessing about his son since he was a child, and possibly the stories he had heard about Jesus healing. Maybe he was blaming himself for his son’s sickness. He knew enough about spiritual warfare and demonic possession to be able to tell Jesus that it was a spirit that was robbing his son of speech and throwing him into seizures. But he felt powerless to do anything.

I love how the Lord calls out the root issue- he says, “If you can?” “Everything is possible for him who believes.” And his words draw out the heart and even the fears of the boy’s father, who the bible says immediately exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”

It was then that Jesus rebuked the evil spirit and commanded him to leave the boy. The irritated demon shrieked and had a temper tantrum and left the boy. Then the Lord took the hand of the boy and lifted him up to his feet.

Is Unbelief Blocking Your Healing?

I’ve walked this. I once believed that the promises of God were for everyone but me. I tracked it back to generational sin rooted in shame, pride, and it can lead to a spirit of offense against God and towards men and women who are receiving healing.

Have you ever said this: “God is healing everyone but me.” “I guess this is just my cross to bear.” “I must be doing something wrong because God won’t heal me.”

Operating in a spirit of unbelief is a lot like tying the hands of God behind his back. Your mindset about who God is, how much he really loves you will either limit or advance what he wants to do in and through. The bible talks about unbelief, or lack of faith, in Mark, chapter 6:3-6, where the people of Nazareth (Jesus’ home town) refuse to believe:

Mark 6:3-6. [3] Is not this the Carpenter, the Son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Judah, and Simon? and are not His sisters here with us? And they were offended at Him. [4] But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, but in His own country, and among His own kin, and in His own house. [5] And He could there do no mighty work, save that He laid His hands upon a few sick folk, and healed them.[6] And He marveled because of their unbelief. And He went round about the villages, teaching.

So, in other words, Jesus was able to teach, but he was limited, not by his power, but by what the people in his hometown believed (or in this case didn’t believe) about him. The bible states, “He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them. He was amazed at their lack of belief (again, their lack of faith.

The account of the demon-possessed boy humbly reminds us that we are not alone in our little-faith thinking, and that we can all be tempted by unbelief. The boy’s father said something that resonated with me. I have prayed many times, “God I want to believe. God I know YOU can. Change my mind about ME so that I can receive your healing and your promises!”

I didn’t know how to change my mind. It was a tape recorder of voices from my past: my mom, my grandfather, my experiences where others spoke mean things to me that made me come into agreement with lies about myself. Now, I’m not saying that any of those people meant to hurt me negatively influence my thinking, but I was in their company when they spoke ill of themselves, and their perception about themselves became my thoughts- “I must be the same because I’m her daughter. I’m his granddaughter. It made me go looking for proof in my life that those things were true: I’m ugly. I’m not wanted. No one likes me. I don’t have any real friends because of who I am. They were all lies, but to a young child, those words were written on the tablets of my heart and mind before I even consciously knew it. You can imagine the paths that those thoughts led me down. Until I had family of choice speak life over me.

I’ll be honest, I had a hard time receiving it. Your thoughts about you can become like a drug that you become addicted to, and you don’t even realize it. The devil is sneaky. It’s generational sin-cycles that have to be broken by the holy spirit. I can hear Jesus, “If you CAN?!” Not only can I do this for you, but I WANT TO do this for you.” I’ve been waiting for you to get here to this moment so that you will let your faith arise and believe I can. I’ve been waiting for you to see what’s possible and dare to dream that it’s possible for you!” That’s faith. Blessed is she who believed the Lord would fulfill his promises to her. That promise starts with believing and accepting his holy healing. It becomes your new identity- who God says you are, not your mom, not your dad, not your ex, etc. It’s through your identity that you discover your calling. I don’t know if this is making sense, but what I’m trying to say is get out of your own way! If you’re battling unbelief- ask God to help you overcome it. He will do it! Faith and the decision to believe when you can’t see what you’re believing for unlocks every next step of your future!

The Lord is saying that it’s time to marry actions with belief, even if it’s only a little belief. Baby belief is better than no belief, right?,- God says it- “For truly I tell you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.” (Matthew 17:20-21). Just as Jesus told the lame man at the pool of Bethesda, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” The Bible says, “at once the man was cured.” God is saying to you, “GET UP.” Get your healing, and move into the exploits that God wants to do through you.

I want to leave you with this verse from Daniel 11:32: “but those who know their God will do great exploits.

Be Aware Of This

Matthew 7:5 The Gritfull Life Blog

“Beware of the 2 adulteress sisters: divination and witchcraft. It looks like me, but it’s not me. It weaves its way into my people and takes control of weak-willed women who are not spiritually discerning. It’s vital that you stay close to me. As days approach, the evil will counterfeit the holy in attempts to deceive many. You can only know the way, the truth, and the life through me. Not through who someone professes to be, or no matter how special they think they are. I the Lord test the mind and hearts of men. I reveal, uncover, and expose the truth. Test all spirits, for then you will know who are mine and who are workers of iniquity. I, the Lord, have spoken.”

I’m going to include some scriptures that explain this word as it relates to this word.

The 2 Adulteresses in Ezekiel 23

I had never read this passage before, but before giving me this word, the Lord took me to Ezekiel 23, which in high-level context refers to the the northern and southern kingdom of Israel using a metaphor for 2 adulteress sisters. The bible calls them “daughters of the same mother, engaging in prostitution. The Lord says, “since you have forgotten me and thrust me behind your back, you must bear the consequences of your lewdness and prostitution.” The word also says, “But righteous men will sentence them to the punishment of women who commit adultery and shed blood, because they are are adulteresses and blood is on their hands!” Chapter 24 says, “‘I the Lord have spoken. The time has come for me to act. I will not hold back; I will not have pity, nor will I relent. You will be judged according to your conduct and actions,’ declares the Sovereign Lord.”

Divination and witchcraft operate together, and in the instance of this word, God is calling them adulteress sisters in relation to those in the church who are operating under these spirits but calling them the gifts of the holy spirit, or the gifts of God. Just as Judah and Samaria rebelled against and committed adultery with other nations, idols, and their gods, so have these people, or perhaps even actual women in the church committed adultery against the One True God and are operating in false signs and wonders by demonic powers.

The women in Ezekiel were called prostitutes. To prostitute something means to devote to corrupt or unworthy purposes. Intercourse can mean communication or dealings between individuals or groups. In regards to this word, these people and entities are professing believers who are breaking covenant with God for works of darkness through divination and witchcraft. God warns that it can look like him, but it’s not him. Please be very careful and discerning of what you believe of others and what they profess. His word today states that he is going to reveal, uncover, and expose them. But you are responsible for working out your own salvation with fear and trembling before the Lord.

The Meaning of Divination and Witchcraft in the Bible

Divination:  a foretelling future events, or discovering things secret or obscure, by the aid of superior beings, or by other than human means. A diviner is someone who professes divination; one who pretends to predict events, or to reveal occult things, by the aid of superior beings, or of supernatural means.

Witchcraft: The bible says, “The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God” (Galatians 5:19-21).

The word of the Lord says that divination and witchcraft weave (I’m visualizing a slithering as I type this) their way into his people, and he references 2 Timothy 3:5-9: “…having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them. They are the kind that worm their way into homes and gain control over weak-willed women, who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires, always learning but never able to acknowledge the truth. […] But they will not get very far because as in the case of those men, (Jannes and Jambres), their folly will be clear to everyone.” The Lord is saying that weak-willed women who are not holy spirit- discerning become controlled by those who operate in witchcraft and divination. Be on your guard.

Testing the Spirits & Guard Against Deception

The bible talks about testing the spirits in 1 John 4. It has this to say,

“Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world. You dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is not from God does not listen to us. This is how we recognize the Spirit of Truth and the spirit of falsehood.

I went on a search for witchcraft and divination in the bible: I found 18 verses and this website called Acts7:11.com that explains witchcraft and Satan’s attempt to work it into the church. I encourage you to review it because it dives into specific ways this plays out in the church.

Jesus is The Way, The Truth, and The Life

We live in a day where prophecies abound, and perhaps it’s even more evident because of the advance of digital media and technology. But it’s also because Satan knows his time is short, and as he is the father of lies, he will attempt to counterfeit everything holy that God is doing in the earth right now.

The bible says in Matthew 24:24, ” For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect- if that were possible. See, I have told you ahead of time.” I am reminded of this passage in Matthew 8:2 where Jesus says, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in our name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'”

Do You Really Know Jesus, Or Do You Just Know About Him?

Hear me out, and hear the word of the Lord above: THE ONLY WAY YOU WILL KNOW THE FATHER IS THROUGH RELATIONSHIP WITH HIM. I have people who call me wanting a word like I’m 1-800-dial-a-word, and I tell them, I don’t have a word for you, but God has endless words. IN HIS WORD. READ THE BIBLE AND GOD WILL SPEAK TO YOU. Don’t look for a man or woman to be your holy spirit, that’s God’s job. I just can’t say this enough.

Stay close to him. Don’t be deceived. Hold fast to the truth and test everything against the word of God.

A Burning Match

1 Chronicles 28:19

This morning in my quiet time I was praying for the people of the world, and asking God to stir up revival. True confession- I don’t pray for the whole world in general as much as I do for the people and circumstances God places on my heart to pray for, and I was just thinking that I need to be believing and interceding for the bigger and more amazing that I know God can do.

I consume the news like most people, podcasts, social media, mobile apps. You can read the headlines and skim stories, but lately, it feels as though the darkness of the world is encroaching, even into my neighborhood. Anger, frustration, and hate running rampant, and in my opinion, there’s been a major shift since 2020. It’s like people have lost their filter, or perhaps they’re so stressed out about the uncertainties of life that their emotions have ruptured and are bursting forth in ways I’ve never seen before. It points to a root of fear that people have. If you walk on eggshells long enough in life, you begin to react to everything. You become a product of your environment, rather than being in control of your response to people, situations and the like. I was telling God that I see fear and hopelessness rising like a flood, and asking him to come into the circumstances of the world and be change and hope. He is. He gave me this word today:

“Hatred IS rising. Can you feel the pressure? Like labor pains. The time is coming, but has not come yet. There are more who must come. My people are my burning matches in this dark world. Will they rise up? Will they let their lights shine- my light shine through them? This isn’t talking a christian talk and walking a worldly walk. My disciples live and move and have their being in Me. They speak differently. The think differently. They are the 1 in a room of none. A match burning in the darkest night. The wind will not snuff out their flame. The rain will not put out their light. They burn from within because they are kindled in Me. They don’t claim religion. Their flame doesn’t diminish then burn brighter. Their light is immovable. Unchangeable. Just as I do not change. One match burning bright can start a wildfire in the right circumstances. Trust me with the circumstances and just be my burning match.

Wildfires will break out in cities, countries, and in nations. My spirit will not be put out! Watch it go forth! Watch it spread! NOTHING will come against what I will do through my people by the power of my Spirit.”

Even as disciples of Jesus, it’s easy to fall into the same patterns and traps that the world does. I do this..deadlines, goals, the future, etc. Day-to-day life for the believer can look like the same gerbil wheel the world runs in. We’ve just decorated our wheel with Jesus stickers, and we’re running to worship music. I’ve been making a consistent effort to spend my mornings with my Bible and in prayer for 2 years now and it’s amazing how God has shifted my vision to seeking out God’s heart, his goals, his future, and how he wants to use me to be his change agent where he’s planted me. I have to lay my plans down and refuse to rush from his presence. Do I get it right everyday? NO. But it’s a discipline that I’m building because I know God wants to speak. We’ve got to make room for him. I’m reminded of the song called Authority by Elevation Worship. One word from God can change everything. One instruction. One plan. One assignment.

God’s word is a reminder that our being rooted in relationship with him, and being kindled in his fire daily, is the way we are transformed. It’s the only way we can know God’s plans (see the verse in 1 Chronicles that God showed me above), not only for the world, but his plans for how he wants to use us to accomplish his will. So we are burning bright. So we are ready to be the 1 in the room of none. For such a time as this. So God can transform the world through us.

I want to leave you with this verse from Luke 8:16 (KJV). If you grew up in the church, you probably know the song, This Little Light of Mine.

“No man, when he hath lighted a candle, covereth it with a vessel, or putteth it under a bed; but setteth it on a candlestick, that they which enter in may see the light.”

Be Cleansed of Spiritual Leprosy

2 Kings 5:14

2 Kings 5: 5-14

Now Naaman was a commander of the army of the king of Aram. He was a great man in the sight of his master and highly regarded, because through him the Lord had given victory to Aram. He was a valiant soldier, but he had leprosy.

Now bands of raiders from Aram had gone out and had taken captive a young girl from Israel, and she served Naaman’s wife. She said to her mistress, “If only my master would see the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy.”

Naaman went to his master and told him what the girl from Israel had said. “By all means, go,” the king of Aram replied. “I will send a letter to the king of Israel.” So Naaman left, taking with him ten talents[b] of silver, six thousand shekels of gold and ten sets of clothing. The letter that he took to the king of Israel read: “With this letter I am sending my servant Naaman to you so that you may cure him of his leprosy.”

As soon as the king of Israel read the letter, he tore his robes and said, “Am I God? Can I kill and bring back to life? Why does this fellow send someone to me to be cured of his leprosy? See how he is trying to pick a quarrel with me!”

When Elisha the man of God heard that the king of Israel had torn his robes, he sent him this message: “Why have you torn your robes? Have the man come to me and he will know that there is a prophet in Israel.” So Naaman went with his horses and chariots and stopped at the door of Elisha’s house. 10 Elisha sent a messenger to say to him, “Go, dip yourself seven times in the Jordan, and your flesh will be restored and you will be cleansed.”

11 But Naaman went away angry and said, “I thought that he would surely come out to me and stand and call on the name of the Lord his God, wave his hand over the spot and cure me of my leprosy. 12 Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Couldn’t I wash in them and be cleansed?” So he turned and went off in a rage.

13 Naaman’s servants went to him and said, “My father, if the prophet had told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much more, then, when he tells you, ‘Wash and be cleansed’!” 14 So he went down and dipped himself in the Jordan seven times, as the man of God had told him, and his flesh was restored and became clean like that of a young boy.

Who was Naaman?

  • a commander of the army of the king of Aram.
  • The bible calls him a great man.
  • He was highly regarded.
  • The passage tells us that the Lord gave victory to Aram through Naaman.
  • He is described as valiant or brave.
  • then comes the BUT. “but he had leprosy.”

What is Leprosy?

Leprosy is a disease that effects the body’s largest organ, the skin. Today, leprosy is known as Hansen’s disease. It’s spread by airborne bacteria via respiratory droplets. Today, people who have contracted leprosy can receive 6 months worth of antibiotic treatments to cure leprosy and minimize longterm disability caused by the disease. In bible times, leprosy was viewed as a curse from God. (You can study how Miriam (Moses’ sister) was struck with leprosy by God for speaking against Moses as the chosen mouthpiece of God and leader of the Israelites.) Those with leprosy had to leave their homes and families and live on the outskirts of town where they wouldn’t pass their disease to others. Lepers also:

  • had to scavenge for food.
  • They were forbidden to have contact with other people.
  • According to the law, lepers had to ring a bell and shout or declare, “Unclean!” if anyone approached them.

The Three Main Symptoms of Leprosy

Leprosy has a pattern of manifestation just like any other disease. It begins with muscle weakness, going on to impacting the peripheral nervous system, and finally disrupting vision even up to blindness (when facial nerves are affected) (cdc.gov).

A King’s Ransom for Complete Healing

As I was reading this passage today, the Lord told me to look at this passage in light of a sickness that is plaguing would-be christians today: spiritual leprosy. In the passage, Naaman, desperate for change in his condition, sent what in today’s time would be:

  • $300,000 in silver
  • approximately $3 million in gold

Add to that a complete wardrobe of 10 sets of clothes. What did Naaman do? He went to a king for something that only God (in this case, through a prophet) could do. What additional learning can we take away from his approach to the king?

Money (and the things of this world) wont buy your healing

It’s useless to go to man to fix what is a spiritual disease in you. You must accept God’s free gift of grace through Jesus Christ, repent, be cleansed of the disease of sin, and baptized so you can be restored.

Are you willing to do what it takes to be healed and cleansed?

Naaman was expecting a grandiose display of healing that he described as “waving his hands over the leprous area whilst calling out to God” on Naaman’s behalf. He scoffed at the idea of having to go the Jordan. The bible evens says that Naaman went out angry upon hearing the instructions from the man of God and delivers what some might label a victim’s rant. Naaman basically says, “aren’t the ways of mine (the rivers) better than the ways of the God of Israel (his river Jordan, where countless miracles have been performed, btw.) It wasn’t until his servants reasoned with him (thank God for god-given alignments) by saying, “if God told you to do something BIG, you would have done it!” In other words, he’s making it easy for you! He instructed you with a small thing– dipping into the Jordan 7 times. Not bathing 7 times. Not 7 swims across the Jordan. Not swimming to the bottom of the Jordan 7 times. Just 7 dips! C’mon Man! (With all due respect, of course.)

The Disease of Spiritual Leprosy

God doesn’t always use grandiose. He’s just asking you to have faith to do the seemingly small thing he’s told you to do. Would you be like Naaman and scoff at God in your desperation? Or do exactly what he tells you to do, exactly as he tells you to do it?

The text, in verse 14 says, “So he went down and dipped himself in the Jordan 7 times, as the man of God had told him, and his flesh was restored and became clean like that of a young boy.”

It’s interesting that the text uses the words restored and cleansed- in that order. Let’s look at the biblical definition of those words according to Webster’s 1828 dictionary:

Restore: Returned; brought back; retrieved; recovered; cured; renewed; re-established.

Cleansed: Purified; made clean; purged; healed.

God is the God of everything, and especially patterns. Restoration happens when he brings you back to him. THEN, he heals you. He cleans you up. Then he cleans your life up. It’s really that simple. The holy spirit might even be using your spiritual disease, physical disease, and other circumstances to impress upon you the need for sovereign God to be just that- sovereign above your plans, your sickness, your lack, and anything else you might be facing right now.

What the Lord Spoke To Me About Some of His People

God has given you a specific formula, blueprint, or instructions, but He’s not going to do it your way. He’s not doing it according to the way you think it should look or how you think it should be executed. And he said, “Your rebellion against his instructions will only make your leprosy, your problem, spread and continue to inflict pain on your own life.” Spiritual leprosy is rooted in pride, saying that you know better than God how something should be done.

Here’s The Good News

Jesus came to clean you from the sin of spiritual leprosy. In Luke 5:13, “Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. ‘I am willing,’ he said. ‘Be clean!’ and immediately the leprosy left him.” Naaman was restored and cleansed. His skin became like that of a young boy. Why did the bible say it that way? Because a little boy’s skin is soft and not weathered like a commander in an army who has seen a lot of battles? Maybe. But I believe that not only was Naaman cleansed, but his faith was made like that of a child. A pure faith. A faith that absolutely unwaveringly believes in what it cannot see. That God is real, he is for you, he is the God of miracles, and he doesn’t just heal, he makes WHOLE.

Don’t scoff. Don’t doubt. Don’t hide in shame, thinking that this is for others but not for you. The restoring and cleansing power of the blood of Jesus is made available to you today. Don’t spend another second at the edge of the Jordan- run in and get your dip on.

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.

Deep Calls To Deep

Psalm 42:11

The Lord showed me Psalm 42 today and gave me a word for someone who has been struggling to find God in this season.

Here is what Psalm 42 says:

As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with my God? My tears have been my food day and night, while men say to me all day long, “Where is your God?” These things I remember as I pour out my soul: how I used to go with the multitude leading the procession to the house of God, with shouts of joy and thanksgiving among the festive throng.

Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.

My soul is downcast within me; therefore I will remember you from the land of the Jordan, the heights of Hermon- from Mount Mizar. Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls; all your waves and breakers have swept over me.

By the day the Lord directs his love, at night his song is with me– a prayer to the God of my life.

I say to God my Rock, “Why have you forgotten me? Why must I go about mourning, oppressed by the enemy?” My bones suffer mortal agony as my foes taunt me, saying to me all day, “Where is your God?”

Why are you so downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.

For the person who is battling depression, loneliness, separation and maybe even isolation, this psalm is for you. You might be living life with a mask- the you that you let the world see, and the secret you who battles the same thoughts and feelings as the psalmist wrote. This psalm was written by one of the sons of Korah who was a temple musician. What this tells me is that, even someone who was appointed by God to lead others in praise can keep struggles buried deep inside of them that perhaps no one will ever know or see. But let’s remember that the struggles are there whether you choose to let others see them or not. God sees them. And He sees YOU.

This person might call themself a christian but their life and possibly even their secret life testifies against them. They’re doing things that they know do not please God in an effort to soothe themselves, but I’m here to tell you that secret sins are not a security blanket for the believer or anyone else for that matter. They wind up causing guilt, self-condemnation, and even shame. The psalmist, even cries out to God, asking, “Where are you?” “Why have you forgotten me??” “Why must I go on feeling this way, suffering?” It sounds as though the psalmist is even dealing with physical pain in his body, and whether it’s actual people taunting him by saying God isn’t real, or the enemy screaming, “Where is your God?” the clamoring is almost too much for his mind and spirit to take.

The psalmist goes on to do what David did- he spoke to himself in TRUTH declaring in spite of what he was feeling, in spite of his physical pain, in spite of the mocking by the devil and others: “Put your hope in GOD, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.” He says my soul is downcast, therefore I choose to remember you from the land of the Jordan- from a place where you parted the waters for our people. A place where we stepped into our promised land. A place where you commanded us to set up memorial stones so that we would never forget the great things you did for us in Egypt. In the wilderness of our lives. I choose to remember the good things you’ve done for me and believe that you’re the same God- you’ve still got good things for me!

The deep things, the deep love of God is calling out to the deep things in you. The person He knows you can become- who he created you to be that the devil or maybe even you have tried to bury. He’s calling to the deep hurts in you- some of those hurts have been caused by others while you have also afflicted yourself with many of the wounds you carry. You might be in a place now where you feel forgotten by God, but the psalmist says, “By the day the Lord directs his love, at night (the literal night but also the dark times in our lives) his song is with me- in other words, I pray to him, I cry out to him, I cast my deep hurts, pains, and pleading prayers out to him in prayer. He hears you. He’s listening. He’s waiting for you to drop what you’ve been gripping onto and come to him whole heartedly so he can heal you.

The Lord gave me this word this morning to share:

“Stop drinking from the wrong wells. You’ve tried porn. You’ve tried relationships. You’ve tried filling yourself at the work well. At the wells of owning things you thought would make you happy and satisfied. Are you satisfied?

No- you are still thirsty. Your soul pants for water that it knows not of- and everything else has left you dissatisfied. You can consume and consume, but I tell you it will NEVER be satisfying. Your thirst only gets greater. The holes, the gaps only get wider. How much longer will you resist coming to me to quench your thirst? My water satisfies. My well never runs out. It bubbles up and becomes springs of living water inside of you. You will find rest, peace, joy at my well. I bid you to come!

This water does not sour after you drink it. It does not cause shame, guilt, or bitterness. It’s a water you can swim in, you can float in. My water washes the stains of bitterness, rejection, and condemnation off of you.

Come in and believe. Be immersed. Be changed. Leave the bad things and be revived,” says the Lord.

Sometimes words like these can make us feel uncomfortable because we are seen. There may be aspects of this word that resonate with you more than others. The point being is that God is saying it’s time to come back to him. Be revived. He calls out the things that he can see because he wants you to know he sees everything you think, feel, and do, and he still LOVES YOU.

Speaking from personal experience, acting your way into a feeling is a lot harder than feeling your way into acting. You have to go to God in faith when you don’t feel him. There are things that die on the inside of us that keep us from feeling. As you go to God’s well for cleansing, healing and renewal, your physical and spiritual senses will be revived. Your hunger for the word of God and the presence of God will be renewed, and you WILL yet praise him again. I’m praying for you, and believing for you.


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!

12/29/22 A Word From The Lord

Isaiah 45:5 Amplified

“I am the Great I am. I will not share my glory with another. I do not give in part. I give wholly, completely. I do not partially restore, I completely restore. I revive to LIFE. I desire to revive those whose hearts have wandered, those whose hears have strayed. Those who have given up..who are fainting, fading, dying without me. Some believe their relationship with me is sufficient but the only partially know me. Some think they know me but they only really know about me.

I long to redeem them but they have to come to the cross- remember the cross and what I did for them! I gave my life completely so they could live completely, lacking nothing. Whole. Sanctified. Set apart to know me and serve me.”

I had a dream two nights ago. I was at a garden nursery and was watching as the nursery owner, a woman, was dragging in various bushes and trees that were covered with monarch butterflies. It was getting cold outside and there was a distinct chill in the air. It was past monarch migration season, and I was amazed that there were still so many monarchs clinging to the trees and bushes. As she moved the plants under a covered patio, I saw the butterflies dropping, falling off of the plants onto the ground. They were dying, motionless. They were huge monarchs, about 5-6 inches in wingspan. Some of the plants were partially green, others mostly brown, and some of the trees were completely dead- just dry branches. As I went to look closer, the butterflies would not remove themselves from the dead trees. I also noticed that many of the butterflies were faded, lackluster, some were grayish-white. There were others that were fake, artificial ornamental butterflies that the nursery owners had put on the trees and bushes to make them more appealing to the real butterflies.

Near the butterfly bushes and trees, the nursery owner kept a glass cage, and it full of sticks, leaves, and mirky water with large branches. Inside the cage were two green boa constrictors. I cringed, feeling disgusted. One had just finished defecating. I sat down on the concrete to watch the one while waiting for the nursery owner to finish moving her plants in. I felt something warm in my lap at first thinking, “it’s nice to be warm because it’s so cold out here.” But then I looked down and noticed that it was the second boa constrictor. I calmly (surprisingly) removed it from my lap and stood up. I wanted to revive the butterflies. I wanted to pick them up and take them home so that those that were left wouldn’t die. But I hesitated to just start taking them because I thought it might be stealing from the nursery owner. I told her that I’d be back to buy all of the plants.

The trees are the churches. Some are living, some dying, others are completely dead. Some churches have artificial christians there whose motives are not authentic- not to serve God and love others into a lasting relationship with Jesus. Some are just there to look pretty, or because church is part of their brand appeal. Butterflies are fading and dying because they are connected to Eccelsia that are not connected to the True Vine, Jesus Christ. There was not a single butterfly that was flying. They stuck to the various plants and trees until they fell off to the ground.

The boa constrictors symbolize the works of the enemy that come to suffocate or choke the life out of The Church. They are sneaky, they appear without warning, when the environment is dark, using their heat sensors to detect living prey to devour. Google says they “lie in wait waiting to strike any unsuspecting small creatures.”

What’s interesting about this dream is that for whatever reason, the monarchs failed to migrate with their own kind, as they do each year when the seasons change. They were clinging to things that were dead or dying. And here’s the devil over on the side lines, waiting for it to become dark enough for him to come out and devour his unsuspecting prey. In other words, the few butterflies that were left, he was prepared to destroy.

This word and this dream bears significance to me personally regarding my role in helping strengthen the remnant, but there’s a warning here for anyone who professes to be a christian, and a love letter from God regarding his desire to revive his people now. He sees that it’s getting colder in this world. He sees his people clinging to dead things that are causing them to slowly die. He wants to revive you. He wants to restore everything. Your colors, your wings, your ability to fly, but not before restoring his relationship with HIM FIRST. Do you know Him, only in part? Or do you only know about Him but somewhere along the way you’ve been deceived into thinking that that’s all it takes? Righteousness is not inherited. You don’t get access to Jesus because it was your parent’s belief system. God is saying that he longs to redeem you today. To buy your life with his son’s precious blood. God is saying to come to the cross, look upon Jesus. He gave his life completely so that you could live COMPLETE. Completely. Restored. All you have to do is say YES to Jesus.

I pray that if this word brings conviction to you, that you would go to God, repent, and ask him to show you to know him better. He’s got incredible gifts waiting for you. He’s got new colors for you. New wings for you. Be revived in Jesus today!

New Wine

Mark 2:22

This morning when I woke up, I found myself singing, “Make me a vessel. Make me an offering. Make me whatever you want me to be. I came here with nothing but all you have given me. Jesus make new wine out of me.” Over and over, those words were coming out of me like a prayer, but with no accompanying vision or dream. As I sat down to start my quiet time, I went searching for the full lyrics to the song “New Wine” by Hillsong, and here they are:

In the crushing, in the pressing, you are making new wine. In the soil I now surrender. You are breaking new ground. So I yield to you and to your careful hand. When I trust you I don’t need to understand. Make me a vessel. Make me an offering. Make me whatever you want me to be. I came here with nothing but all you have given me. Jesus, bring new wine out of me. Jesus bring new wine out of me. Where there is new wine there is power, there is freedom. I lay down my old flames to carry your new fire today. The song is here if you’d like to listen.

I heard the Lord say, ” Before I can give new wine, I make new wineskins.”

The scriptures say in 2 Timothy 2:20-26, “In a large house there are articles (vessels) not only of gold and silver but also of wood and clay; some for noble purposes and some for ignoble. If a man cleanses himself from the latter he will be an instrument for noble purposes, made holy and prepared to do any good work.”

We are all vessels that carry something. Vessels of different status and purposes, but vessels nonetheless. As scripture points out, some of us are being used to bring honor and glory to God while others are carrying purposes that are ignoble or dishonorable. The Bible states that if a person will cleanse himself from the ignoble things, he will be made holy and ready to good works for the kingdom of God.

The reason I talk about vessels is that a wineskin is a vessel, or a container for wine. The Bible states in Mark 2:21-22 “No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment. If he does, the new piece will pull away from the old, making the tear worse. And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. If he doesn’t the wine will burst the skins and both the wine and the wineskins will be ruined. No, he pours new wine into new wineskins.”

To provide a little context relating to wineskins, I am sharing this passage from The New Frontier Ministries which states, “The new wineskins were filled with unfermented juice and left to age for a period of time. Gasses formed within the wineskin as the flavor, color, balance, and boutique of the wine grew. Because the wineskin was new, it could expand and hold both the wine and the gasses. However, if someone poured unfermented juice into an old wineskin, the forming gasses caused the skin to burst. As a result, they lost both the new wine and old wineskin.”

As I was reading this passage I wrote this:

“God has new wine that he is preparing to pour into his vessels. But the old wineskin, or the old you, won’t support the new wine. He’s in the process of transforming you into a new wineskin and vessel of honor for His good work.” Then the Holy Spirit spoke, “Some are feeling crushed, pressed, but it is me, refining them. Drawing out the sweet, pure fragrance of my work in them. The fragrance will draw others to them so they will be drawn to me. The crushing is making new wine, new rooms, new ministries where my Spirit will not be suppressed. Allow my work in you to be completed so that those who I have ordained will come.”

His words inspired me to look into aroma, and more specifically the art of perfume making. The word perfume is Latin: “per” meaning through, and “fumum” meaning smoke. Ancient perfumes were made by extracting natural oils from plants through pressing and steaming them. The oils were then burned to scent the air. In Exodus, Moses speaks of perfumed anointing oil that was used to anoint the priests and sacred vessels of the tabernacle. 2 Corinthians 2:14-16 states, “For we are the aroma of Christ for those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To the one, we are the smell of death and to the other, the fragrance of life. Unlike so many, we do not peddle the word of God for profit. On the contrary, in Christ we speak before God with sincerity like men sent from God.

I just want to encourage you today. You have a treasure, a new wine that God is preparing for you to carry as His vessel. Allow him to continue His transforming work on and in you so that you are fully equipped to carry His glory into where He is sending you. I am praying that you continue to, as the song “New Wine” states, “yield to Him and to His careful hand. I pray that you continue to trust Him when you don’t understand the process. I want to leave you with this verse from 2 Corinthians 4:7 “But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God, not from us.”

A Form of Godliness

“But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God- having a form of godliness, but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them.” 2nd Timothy 3: 1-5

You might be thinking, “I’m not any of those horrible things!” And while we are seeing evidence of terrible times in present-day culture, for the church, I believe God wants us to really hone in on the latter part of the text. Having a form of godliness indicates that, in the last days, people would look like Christians. What does a form of godliness look like? Perhaps they go to church…maybe they can quote what are non-scriptural cliches within the spheres of Christianity like, “God never gives you more than you can handle”, or “When God closes a door he opens a window.” They celebrate Easter and Christmas (for some they only attend church at Easter and Christmas), and they might even be able to quote a scripture or two. They probably own a bible, but they don’t read it.

In Matthew 7:15 the Bible talks about knowing prophets by their fruit, and we can also use this scripture to apply to the fruit we either see or don’t see in a believer’s life. Trees are known by the types of fruit they bear. As the holy spirit begins to work in the heart of a new believer, God’s character is made manifest through the transformation and refinement of a believer, from the inside out. A person who lives life at the well of Jesus begins to exhibit the fruit of love, joy, peace, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control. It’s antithetical to the scripture in 2 Timothy that we just reviewed. Those with a form of godliness make an outward display of the “being a christian” on the surface, but there is no depth, no real relationship with Jesus underneath the surface.

We should examine our own fruit, as well as the fruit of those around us. Are we bearing any? Do our day-to-day life, conversations, and associations prove that we are pursuing Jesus rather than adding a dose of Christianity to our worldly lifestyle? It’s important to understand your sphere and the culture of your environment because it is shaping YOU. 1 Corinthians 15:33 says, “Bad company corrupts good character.” Jim Rohn says it this way: “You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.” Your friendships and associations influence who you are and who you will eventually become. They determine what you value and prioritize. God’s word also says “Man looks at the outward appearance but God looks at the heart”, and “They honor me with their lips but their hearts are far from me” (Matt. 5:18). We should be the kind of people who live a lifestyle of honoring God first in all things and choosing to align ourselves with other believers aspire to the same kind of righteous living.

This passage from 2nd Timothy invites a pause to self-reflect on who we really are, and the trajectory of our life based on our focus, decisions, and associations. It takes giving the Holy Spirit permission to convict us by showing us where we’ve been getting it wrong so that we can repent and pursue God the way he desires. AND BEAR FRUIT.

Some of God’s people have compromised. They are not quite in the world, not quite in the kingdom of heaven. They look upon and give commentary on the state of the world yet they fail to look inward and examine their own hearts. They have a form of godliness but they stifle the transforming power of the work of the cross, the power to change the world by becoming a living vessel of the message of Jesus Christ. They have made the holy mundane, slowly exchanging the truth of God for a lie. They have a form of godliness but but they are compromising like Ephesus. Paul warns true believers to have nothing to do with such kinds of people.

Verse 16 in 2nd Timothy 3 says, “All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. Chapter 4 states, “In the presence of God of Christ Jesus who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke, and encourage- with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from truth and turn aside to myths. But you keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.”

Today, I pray that you will ask the Holy Spirit to show you the truths he wishes to teach you about your walk with God, your lifestyle, your relationships, and your fruit. May you become closer and closer to God as you pursue a life of true godliness in Him.

Behold! Your Bridegroom!

Matthew 25:6

Early this morning around 3am I heard these words: “Wake up, your bridegroom is coming!” I laid in my bed, trying to wake up but finding myself so drowsy from sleep that I continued to lay there.

This morning in my quiet time, as I talked with the Lord about the urgency of the hour and the words that I woke to, He spoke this word to me:

“I am purifying my bride for such a time as this. I call out their detestable practices. They say they love me with their lips but their hearts are far from me. I must pull back the veil to show them their errors and sin while there’s still time to repent and return to me. Not everyone will listen, but some hearts will be convicted. That’s me- touching their heart because I love them. I want them to be right with me. Made righteous. Pure. I am not coming for a broken bride. I am not coming for a bride that loves me with half of her heart or even just a fraction. I am coming for a bride who has made herself ready to receive me. I died for my bride. She is my beloved, and I am hers. She knows me intimately and understands what I mean when I say this. This is a call to my bride to purify herself. Come out from among them and be separate and touch no unclean thing. Put away the deeds of darkness. It’s almost daylight. Wake up! Behold! Your bridegroom is coming soon!” says the Lord.

He took me to 2 Kings 17: 34 which states,

“To this day they persist in their former practices. They neither worship the Lord nor adhere to the decrees and ordinances, the laws and commands that the Lord gave the descendants of Jacob, whom he named Israel. When the Lord made a covenant with the Israelites, he commanded them: “Do not worship any other gods or bow down to them, serve them or sacrifice to them. But the Lord who brought you up out of Egypt with mighty power and outstretched arm, is the one you must worship. To him you shall bow down and to him offer sacrifices. You must always be careful to keep the decrees and ordinances, the laws and commands he wrote for you. Do not worship other gods. Rather, worship the Lord your God; it is he who will deliver you from the hand of all your enemies.” They would not listen however, but persisted in their former practices. Even while these people were worshipping the Lord, they were serving idols. To this day their children and grandchildren continue to do as their fathers did.

When you asked Jesus into your heart, you made a covenant with him, similar to the covenant of marriage. When you enter into a covenant with God it means you agree to keep certain terms and promises. In this instance, the Israelites, the church, and we as individual believers in covenant with Jesus agreed not to worship any other gods, to serve or place anything at a higher value than we place our relationship with Jesus. We agreed to live life according to the Word of God, not according to the world’s standards, worldly aspirations, etc. And His word says in this passage that when we worship the Lord, He delivers us from the hand of all of our enemies. (He promises so much more than that to us, too!) But the bible states that the people of God wouldn’t listen, and they “persisted” in their other practices. To persist means to firmly or obstinately continue in a course of action despite difficulty or opposition. In other words, they continued to gritfully pursue their own desires, lusts, and serve themselves and other “gods”. A little god (with a lowercase g) is anything in your life that you place of greater value above big God (with a big G). A little god is defined as anything you adore, admire, or anything that has influence over you. Little gods or false gods could be money, intimate relationships, work, gambling, alcohol, sleeping in on Sundays..r-rated or x-rated movies…the list is really endless. And alot of Christians profess Jesus but they continue on with the worship and even sometimes secret worship of all of these little gods. Well, the Bible is clear. When you make Jesus Lord over your life- you are saying, “Jesus, I am making you authority over my life. I am making you the influencer of my life. I am making you the master over my life. Rule over me. How then, do you justify the little gods in your life? His word this morning was clear. We are to purify ourselves, turn from our evil ways and our little gods, know Him more intimately. That means tearing down the idols. His word says, you shall have no other gods before me. And maybe you think you’re living life ok in the eyes of Jesus. I encourage you to pray to him and ask him to reveal the idols you’ve set before him. He is so kind and faithful to show us. He doesn’t condemn you. He wants to make you right so you’re awake and ready for his return. For more, please read the text below when Jesus spoke about the parable of the 10 virgins.

Matthew 25: 1-13. “At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. 2Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. 3The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take along any extra oil. 4But the wise ones took oil in flasks along with their lamps. 5When the bridegroom was delayed, they all became drowsy and fell asleep.

6At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’

7Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. 8The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’

9‘No,’ said the wise ones, ‘or there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’

10But while they were on their way to buy it, the bridegroom arrived. Those who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet, and the door was shut.

11Later the other virgins arrived and said, ‘Lord, lord, open the door for us!’

12But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I do not know you.’

13Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.

Hidden Treasure

I’m feeling so burdened for those who don’t know the Word of God. I’ve been participating in a bible study with several women from my church and have realized just how little biblical knowledge exists within the group.

The Bible calls the word of God our weapon, our sword (Ephesians 6:10-18) At a time when spiritual warfare and darkness are at an all-time high, it’s frustrating to witness the lack of gumption believers have to read the word of God for themselves. I’ve listened as several have made what are ultimately excuses: “I can’t understand it”; “I don’t like to read, I prefer to listen”; and, “I don’t have time to read it”.

Can’t you just hear the devil’s voice in those comments? His job is to rob us of all of the good things God has for us. If he can convince anyone that it’s pointless to connect with God by opening His word and letting the holy spirit speak to them, he’s already won the battle. (But thank God that God wins the WAR.)

The devil has a plan of destruction for you. A plan for evil. A plan that will harm you. Plans to take your hope and your future. While God’s plans for you are the opposite! But how can you know what God’s plans for you are so you can mature in a relationship with him and walk in the paths he’s ordained for you? How can you know your best friend if you don’t spend any time getting to know Him?


“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing, and perfect will” (Romans 12:2).

I can personally attest to this. During the past two years, God changed the circumstances of my life to bring me to a place where I could meet with him daily. Was I faithful every day? No. But each and every time I met him in the same place with my Bible and journal in hand, He was (and continues to be) so faithful. For the first few weeks I met with him, I would pray and be still, and I would hear the words “I love you” whispered to me. Tears would flood my eyes. It was the last thing I was expecting to hear from someone who knew all of my mistakes.

God and Jesus are gentlemen. They don’t force themselves on anyone. No guilt. No condemnation. They are patient to wait for us to go to them. And when you finally decide to, they have so many things to say to you if you will just carve out the time! The Word will come alive to you in a way that you never dreamt possible. I PROMISE!

For the next two years, The Lord would take me on a journey through His Word to heal my heart, correct my thoughts, deliver me from my past, and show me the beautiful future He had planned for us together. I began writing again to save our conversations, the scriptures, and the promises he was giving me.

I just want to encourage any professing Christian to develop the daily habit of reading the Word of God. The Word of God is living. It’s active. It transcends time and your circumstances. God can use a passage of scripture to minister to you in one season and recall it again in a completely different season and it’s just bursting with new meaning.

It’s like having a treasure map. You have to trust that the person who wrote the map did it correctly and it will actually lead you to treasure. You pursue the treasure and when you find it, you’re heart overflows with excitement! You’re rich! In this case, the treasure is the word of God. God is the map maker, and when you find that His Word is so personal to your situation, you know that you are seen and loved by the true God who you can’t see. It’s like putting fertilizer on your faith! You instantly become hungry for more of Him. As you continue to grow in relationship and mature, He will show you more and more. It’s amazing, and awesome, and humbling.

It’s like the parables in Matthew 13:

(vs. 44) “The Kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.”

Start your Treasure Hunt

I’m here to tell you right now, you have the time. And I’m here to declare over you, you CAN understand the word of God. God has specific things He wants to say to you about you because He loves you. He wants you to know the real him. He doesn’t want a relationship with you through your pastor or anyone else!

There are literally more than 100 complete English translations of the Bible in existence today. It’s possible to find one that reads at a level of your comprehension.

I’m old school. I personally like to hold a Bible and read it. I keep it in the same place every day with my journal so it’s ready to go for our standing appointment. I like to highlight and mark mine. I write out prayers around scripture. I’ve had the same bible for 24 years and it’s interesting to see the notes, perspective shifts, and prayers through the years. God is so faithful to call us back to him.

I’m not here to call anyone a “bad Christian” but there comes a point in time when you have to make an honest judgment about yourself. Evaluate the amount of time you spend on social media, at social events, working out, etc. I’m sure that if you were honest with yourself and were able to shave off 10 minutes of time from what you determine to be an excessive activity in your life, you’d have more than enough time to allow God to speak to you through his word.

A Prayer For You To Find The Treasure in the Word of God

Lord, I pray for the person reading this message. I pray that this is confirmation and conviction you bring with love to inspire a desire for a new level of intimacy with you for the person praying this prayer. I pray that you would help them cultivate discipline to meet with you daily, without distraction. I pray that you would lead them to the bible translation that would break any barrier to understanding your word, and I pray for the breath of your Holy Spirit to reveal a fresh and deep understanding of YOU. I pray that they would hide your word deep in their heart so that they would not sin against you. I pray that today is the day where they begin to know you better so that they can grow into everything you’ve designed them to be. In the mighty name of Jesus, Amen.

Deep Roots

Proverbs 8:5

When God gives us a new thing, it starts as a seed. If you’ve ever tried to grow a plant from seed you know how slow the process can be. Imagine a seed buried deep in the soil, with the gardener or farmer towering overhead each day, watching and waiting for any new signs of life to emerge…nourishing a plant with sun and water…creating an ideal environment for the seedling to begin to thrive. It can take weeks to see signs of life, even when the season and environment are right.

This morning I was asking God to show me the direction he has for three different initiatives I recently started. My default actions have always been to sprint to and through the things that I believe He’s calling me to, full of faith and excitement, and mixed with a heaping tablespoon (ok, a cup full) of impatience. When I discover that He’s not working on my schedule, I typically have a little mental setback. The truth is, I want what I want when I want it. I know, very childish, but it’s the truth!

The Lord stopped me this morning and reminded me of the seed in the dirt. Something is happening in the dark, even when we can’t see it. The root system is being established to support, nourish, and sustain the plant before the new bud appears on the surface of the soil. When the farmer plants the seed, he doesn’t return to his garden every day to dig the seed up and check to see if it’s growing. He trusts that the seed is going to do what it was designed to do. The same is true in our lives.

I was asking God for wisdom to know his will about the three initiatives. You have no idea how many times I’ve asked for him to stamp his confirmation on these things. How deep are your roots? You might think that it’s growing time, and it is, but He’s got to grow your roots first- so that when the wind blows, out plants don’t break or blow away.

I remembered this from the story of Exodus 13:17ff: “When God let the people out of Egypt, He did not lead them on the road through the Philistine country, though that was shorter. For God said, “If they face war, they might change their minds and return to Egypt.” So God led the people around by the desert road toward the Red Sea. The Israelites went up out of Egypt armed for battle. ” Sometimes the delays are for our protection. Our development. God knows we aren’t ready yet. He needs our roots to be deep and well-established. We need to develop wisdom and mix it with our faith so that we are ready to manage the harvest when it’s due season.

The Bible also says in Proverbs 9:

“Wisdom has built her house, she has hewn out its 7 pillars. She has prepared her meat mixed with wine; she has also set her table. She has sent out her maids and she calls from the highest point in the city. Let all who are simple come in here! She says to those who lack judgment, “Come and eat my food, and drink the wine I have mixed. Leave your simple ways and you will live; walk in the way of understanding.”

Bottom line: Don’t doubt what He’s called you to grow just because you can’t see the majestic leaves, blooms, and fruit yet. Pray for God’s supernatural wisdom and divine insight for the things he’s calling you to, and go to His Word for direction. He will illuminate your path while continuing to till the soil of your heart. He’s making YOU ready. Continue the preparation to where He’s guiding you.

A word from the Lord: Wisdom is not found in a recipe box. You can’t flip to answers to become wise. Wisdom comes from depth. The depth of my Word. You will find wisdom with time spent in my Word.

Proverbs 8:5 “You who are simple, gain prudence; you who are foolish, gain understanding. Listen for I have worthy things to say. I open my lips to speak what is right. My mouth speaks what is wise. Choose my instruction instead of silver, knowledge rather than choice gold, for wisdom is more precious than rubies, and nothing you desire can compare with her.”

Time Out

Zephaniah 3:17

You know that tightness in your chest? Like you can’t catch a deep, cleansing breath? Sometimes as a wife, mother, entrepreneur, I have 80 browser tabs open inside my head at once. Mentally, I’m shifting and rearranging the most important tabs to the front all throughout the day. And when I get tired, I usually end up closing one by mistake, which inevitably leads to dropping one or all of the balls!

It can be overwhelming, and there are moments when I have to stop and give this mom a time-out to prevent ball-dropping and insanity. Lately though, my emotions have been more of fear mixed with frustration, mostly because of the way the world is looking these days. Uncertainty mixed with more uncertainty on the horizon. The Bible has told us what to expect, but watching to see how it plays out is another thing altogether. How much time is left? What does the future look like for us? For our son? What kind of world will be waiting for him when he matures? What will his peer landscape look like? I’ve worn God’s ears and my own mind out asking a million questions. I still don’t have all of the answers. But I know this much— giving myself a time out, time to withdraw from the noise and confusion of this world and into the presence of Jesus, is time well spent. And the most beautiful thing is you can time out wherever you are, at any time, whenever needed. It’s free and it’s unlimited.

Time-out from the world to have a time-in with Jesus lets me renew my mind and my strength. It’s like sitting in your favorite chair with your favorite coffee and being with your best friend. It just feeds your soul. I used to allow myself a few minutes of social media and TikTok as a means of escaping thinking about the heavy things of life, but I found that, while some videos were funny or ridiculous, it left me feeling more tired in the brain. And the time itself was just wasted. But time in his presence… ahhhhh….

I love how Zephaniah calls out God’s delight in us. It says, “he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.” He is with us. He is mighty to save us from our fear, from our overwhelming thoughts, and time in his presence brings us back to the awareness of his deep love for us. Scripture states he’s singing joyfully over us, like a father singing to his child.

When my son Andrew was still a baby, my husband used to sing “Sweet Child of Mine” over him when he cried. This passage reminds me of that time, and my husband, with joy and love plastered all over his face, rocking our son and singing, no matter how LOUD Andrew was scream/crying! Andrew loves music and singing to him always calms him quickly. It’s the same for us.

If you’re feeling stressed, overwhelmed, afraid, or just angry, just GO and meet with Jesus. You can be honest with him about your feelings. He will quiet your emotions with his love. Under his wings, you will find refuge. His promises are your armor and protection (Psalm 91:4).

Zephaniah 3:14ff ///// “Sing, O Daughter of Zion; shout aloud, O Israel! Be glad and rejoice with all your heart, O Daughter of Jerusalem! The Lord has taken away your punishment, he has turned back on your enemy. The Lord, the Kind of Israel, is with you; never again will you fear any harm. On that day they will say to Jerusalem, “Do not fear, O Zion; do not let your hands hang limp. The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.”The sorrows for the appointed feast I will remove from you; they are a burden and a reproach to you; I will rescue the lame and gather those who have been scattered. I will give them praise and honor in every land where they were put to shame.At that time I will gather you; at that time I will bring you home. I will give you honor and praise among all the peoples of the earth when I restore your fortunes before your very eyes.

Come Alive

What an honor.

We have been called and chosen as his vessels to go into the darkness and proclaim light and life through belief in Jesus. I was reading The Prayer of Peace by St. Francis this morning in my quiet time. I don’t know if you’re like me, but I have always asked God to use me to show others that He is real, that His love is real, and that His forgiveness is real. To go into hopeless situations and speak HOPE. RESTORATION and LIFE. To be a vessel that introduces the transforming power of Jesus.

His word says he came to give us life, and life more abundantly. Before I could do that for others, He had to do that for me. I’m so thankful that he met me where I was and changed me with his love and forgiveness.

I want to share the prayer of St. Francis here for you to read. This world needs a manifestation of these attributes, now more than ever. I hope you’ll pray this prayer with me.

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace:
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy.

O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

I love this song by Brandon Lake called House of Miracles. Every time I hear it, I think of Lazarus. I think of Talitha. I think of the Valley of Dry Bones. I think of myself. I think of everyone who draws breath but is still spiritually dead. I speak new life in the name of Jesus over you.

Lord, awaken your church. Compel your remnant. Stir your Spirit. Make your people Come Alive! Let us be agents of change, in Your Name, for Your Glory and Your Kingdom. Amen.

“Therefore, prophesy. Tell them, ‘God, the Master, says: I’ll dig up your graves and bring you out alive—O my people! Then I’ll take you straight to the land of Israel. When I dig up graves and bring you out as my people, you’ll realize that I am God. I’ll breathe my life into you and you’ll live. Then I’ll lead you straight back to your land and you’ll realize that I am God. I’ve said it and I’ll do it. God’s Decree.’” Ezekiel 37: 12-14

Return To Me

Zechariah 1:3 
Return to Me, and I will return to you, declares the Lord...

Going into 2020, I had made a complete mess of my life. I was neglecting myself and my spiritual health, which gradually trickled and then flooded over into neglecting my marriage and my son. Prior to the covid-19 shelter-in-place, my pastor had decreed a word for the year: TRANSFORMATION. He referenced multiple scriptures but this one stood out most to me: “Return to me, and I will return to you,” says the Lord (Zechariah 1:3). For me, there was great conviction with those words. You see, I was a person who was proclaiming to be a Christian, but living another life. I was checking the Sunday box and being the “good mom” by taking my son to church every week, but there was no real evidence of living the life of a follower of Jesus. I was drinking, medicating depression and anxiety, and on the literal verge of a nervous breakdown.

I would pray prayers at night before bed. Sometimes I would read my Bible. If things were really bad. I would often cry on the way to work– why wasn’t God doing anything? Why wasn’t he coming through for me? Couldn’t he see that I was miserable? I was blinded by my lack of participation in going to God, and genuinely pouring out my heart to him, laying down my way, my plans, my mess. I continued to carry them, all while playing the victim of God’s lack of movement in my life.

A friend of mine gave me a journal for my 40th birthday and encouraged me to begin to write the things that God was speaking to me and showing me. I wrote a prayer in it, and the words that my pastor spoke, “Return to me, and I will return to you.” Then I put the journal away in a basket with some other books and went back to chaos.

Fast forward to shelter-in-place in March of 2020. Mandatory work from home. Mandatory homeschooling. Mandatory time away from the things that kept me distracted from dealing with me. I remembered the journal and the word, and I started to write. Everything. All of my feelings, beliefs, prayers, hopes, and complaints. Everything. I asked God to heal me. I asked God to forgive me. I asked him to help me break my habits of alcohol and medication. It’s a long story, but He started a work in me. A transformation. It all started with a return.

I heard a pastor once say, “If you can’t hear God anymore, it’s not because He moved.” And while I do believe that there are seasons that he lowers his volume so we’ll press in closer and go up higher to where he is, in my story, I’m more like the prodigal son. We are all prodigals at some point. When we accept Jesus, we get to enjoy the benefits of an heir, including a fully restored relationship with him. But we take our benefits for granted, or we expect God to do something amazing for us and when it happens, we forget God. That’s what I did. Thank God for second chances, and thirds, and fourths, etc.

“While he was still far away, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him, and ran and embraced him and kissed him” (Luke 15:20).

“Return to me, and I will return to you.”

It only takes changing your mind to change your direction. Then, if you’ll truly surrender the reins, He’ll change everything in your life. Today I’m on the other side. I don’t abuse alcohol. I don’t take medication to numb my anxiety. Is my life perfect? Absolutely not. Am I doing life alone? Never again. In the 30 years that I have professed Jesus as my personal Savior, He is more real to me now than he has ever been. He’s still in the business of second chances, restoration, and miracles. My life is proof.

Do you need to make a return? Have you been living life with one foot in the world and one foot in the kingdom? God’s word says, “I know your deeds, that you are neither hot nor cold. I wish you were one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm- neither hot nor cold- I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind, and naked” (Revelation 3:15-17).

On the outside, you might be the complete package, but it doesn’t negate the fact that you could be hanging on by a thread on the inside. Just go to Him. I promise you, He’ll run to meet you too. Lay your pieces down at the feet of the Prince of Peace. He’ll transform your reality too.


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.

The Secret Place

Word: You have a thousand tasks to complete this week, and while your mind rushes to the details of your day, I gently whisper to you, inviting you to be with me. The energy and strength you need for this season will only come from time spent in the secret place. Time spent in my presence. I’m here to fortify you for the purposes I have for you. You cannot accomplish all that I have set before you without me. I am your ever-present help in times of trouble. I am your strong tower. I am your mighty fortress. Run to and abide in my shadow to find rest. I’m revealing each step you need to take. I love you. I desire to fill you with my supernatural strength for such a time as this.

Psalm 91: 1-16 “He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust.” Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler And from the perilous pestilence. He shall cover you with His feathers, And under His wings you shall take refuge; His truth shall be your shield and buckler. You shall not be afraid of the terror by night, Nor of the arrow that flies by day, Nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness, Nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday. A thousand may fall at your side, And ten thousand at your right hand; But it shall not come near you. Only with your eyes shall you look, And see the reward of the wicked. Because you have made the LORD, who is my refuge, Even the Most High, your dwelling place, No evil shall befall you, Nor shall any plague come near your dwelling; For He shall give His angels charge over you, To keep you in all your ways. In their hands they shall bear you up, Lest you dash your foot against a stone. You shall tread upon the lion and the cobra, The young lion and the serpent you shall trample underfoot. “Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him; I will set him on high, because he has known My name. He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him, And show him My salvation.”

Stop Picking

There are some of you out there who God is trying to heal, and while you’re asking him for healing, you’re continuing to self-sabotage the process. I think about the man at the Pool of Bethesda who Jesus approached and said, “Do you want to be made well?” That’s such a powerful question. So, I’m asking you: do you want to be made well today?

If you want to be healed, ask God for your healing, and connect your faith with receiving his healing. Walk like you’re healed, talk like you’re healed. I suppose I kind of mean “faith it till you make it”, but I think so many times we blame God for our lack of healing, yet the things we say and walk out day-by-day testify against the healing that God so freely gives. I mean, he loves us SO much!

His word says, “Be direct. Ask for what you need. This isn’t a cat and mouse, hide-and-seek game we’re in. If your child asks for bread, do you trick him with sawdust? If he asks for fish, do you scare him with a live snake on his plate? […] don’t you think God who conceived you in love will be even better?” (Matthew 7:11, The Message translation) God longs to give us good gifts, and that includes complete healing for whatever it is that YOU keep picking at.

Stop looking back.

Maybe for some of you, you’ve received a measure of your healing but you haven’t fully forgiven yourself for the part you played in your past. It’s time to forgive yourself.

This is what I heard the Lord say in my quiet time, and at one point in my life, this was for me. Today, I believe it’s for someone else, and I need to announce what I heard:

I’m trying to heal you, but it’s you that keeps picking at your own scabs, revisiting that old thing that you’ve prayed and asked me to take care of. But your picking at it keeps me from doing what I need to do in your life so you can move forward.

Stop revisiting old pain.

“Forget about what has happened; don’t keep going over old history. Be alert, be present. I’m about to do something brand-new. It’s bursting out! Don’t you see it? There it is! I’m making a road through the desert, rivers in the badlands.” Isaiah 43:19 (The Message translation)

Here’s your promise- He’s ready to bring you out. Are you ready to start walking?

Light Switch

Today in my quiet time, I was led to this passage in John 1.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.

Through him all things were made (that includes you); without him nothing was made that has been made. (You wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t part of his master plan).

In him was LIFE, and that life was the LIGHT OF MEN (Jesus is our light, and when we receive him into our hearts, his light and life shine through us.). The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it (Those without the light know that we’re different, but they don’t understand why.).

He (Jesus) was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him (Those he foreknew, he predestined, and not everyone will recognize or receive him). He came to that which was his own (the Jewish people), but his own did not recognize him (Their books prophesied the coming of their Messiah, but their hearts were hardened to him.).

Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God– children born not of natural descent, not of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God. (He created you by his design and for his purpose. You are not an accident. You are not a mistake.)

Jesus was in the beginning. The life inside of him was the light of men, the calling on his life to save them. His calling and his purpose are to save those who are lost in life, and even his name Yeshua means Salvation. His name was his mission statement to the world!

Right now you might be thinking that you’re not wanted. Right now as you’re reading this, you could even be in a room full of people and still feel all alone. You might be surrounded by everything you’ve ever wanted, but there’s still an emptiness or a dissatisfaction that you can’t explain.

You might have lived your entire life feeling rejected by your parents, your siblings, and the people you encounter at work or at school. You’ve just buried it. You’ve covered it up with denial, by hardening your heart, with sarcasm. But I’m here today to show you that it doesn’t matter who you are or where you came from or what you’ve done. Jesus is the missing piece. Whatever you think is missing from your life right now, Jesus is the key. In fact, I challenge you to define what it is you think you need to feel complete and put that thing in the blank of the next sentence:

“Jesus is the _________ I need in my life right now.” He’s the joy you need right now. He’s the peace you need right now. He’s the assurance you need right now. He’s the hope you need in your life right now.

Jesus said all who receive him become children of God. Adopted. Chosen. He offers this gift to you. He has been standing at the door of your heart gently knocking, waiting for you to let him inside. Those God moments you’ve had that you’ve tried to explain away as coincidences, those miracles that you’ve excused as luck– that’s Jesus. It’s his grace calling out to you. He has so much more in store for you. Just say yes. Receive him into your heart. Let him flip the light switch on in your life today. One moment you’re in the dark, the next moment you’re in his light. Just.like.that.

His light will lead you along the right path. His light in your life will be light and warmth for others. What are you waiting for?

God in a box

Is your thinking too little? Are your dreams too small? Did you put God in a box?

You cannot contain the creator of the universe, but you can limit his power to do the impossible in your life by limiting your belief in what he’s capable of.

God.does.not.change. PERIOD. Scripture says he’s the same yesterday, today, and forever.

The same God that saved Noah, that delivered young David from the bear and the lion, that provided for widow and Elijah…that God manifested his physical presence in Jesus. Jesus performed thousands of miracles of healing, deliverance, and provision. He’s still doing it today. He’s still doing miracles. I’m not talking about tiny miracles (you know, the kind we explain away as coincidence) either. If you want to see God do miracles in your life, take him out of your box. Seek him. Just ask. He’s a good God and he loves his creation. He loves his kids.

I was praying one morning, literally begging God to do something that I had been asking him to do for a while. I heard him say, “You don’t have to beg me, just ask me.” I am guilty of sometimes forgetting that his love is continually unconditional. It’s unmerited. And he gives it in abundance.

Isn’t it refreshing to know that we don’t have to do anything to deserve it or be worthy of it? I’m still learning that even at 41 years old (after feeling unworthy of love for most of my life) he doesn’t see us through the lens of our mistakes or our deficiencies. His strength is made perfect in our weakness. He’s looking at us through the eyes of a loving father. Let that sink in for a moment.

It doesn’t stop there. He has good things for us. His word says he knows the plans he has for us, plans to prosper us and not to harm us, to give us hope and a future. Plans like that can only come from a good GOD. It’s our responsibility to be open and willing to the plans he has for us; to submit to his will for our lives. At one point in my life, I interpreted that to mean that accepting God’s plans for my life meant that I just had to deal with suffering and lack, but that’s out of alignment with Jeremiah 29:11 (quoted above). I didn’t realize it at the time but I had put God in a box.

I want to encourage you to reflect on your beliefs about God and Jesus today. Do you really believe that he’s still capable of performing miracles? Because miracles aren’t Bible stories. They’re accounts that are meant to build your hope to dare to believe. Do you receive that he wants to do miracles for you because he loves you? He wants to do miracles in you AND through you. You’re meant to be a miracle for someone on his behalf.

When you finally catch this thought and let it take root in your heart, you’re going to see the miracles of the Lord begin to manifest in your life. Take him out of the box you have built for him. Let him be God, and let him use you.

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)


Luke: 23:31 | As they led him away, they seized Simon from Cyrene who was on his way in from the country, and put the cross on him and made him carry it behind Jesus. A large number of people followed him, including women who mourned and wailed for him. Jesus turned and said to them, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep for yourselves and for your children. For the time will come when you say, “‘Blessed are the barren women, the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed!’ Then they will say to the mountains, “Fall on us!” and to the hills, “Cover us!” ‘ For if men do these things when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry?”

When I read this I asked the Lord, “Why did you specifically mention that women followed Jesus to Golgotha, weeping and wailing for him?”

There was a pause.

The Lord reminded me of the events of this past week.

I have been asking God to use me in greater capacity in this season. He began by giving me words for specific women in my life, and I believe it was kind of like a test to see if I believe and if I’m ready to speak what he’s showing me—

“Jessica, you’ve been asking me for this. I want to give you this gift in a greater measure. I’m speaking words to you about the people you are praying for. What will you do with these words?” Of course, my reply is, “I’m available for you to use me to do and say whatever you’re leading me to do and say.” (My life verse has been Isaiah 6:8: Here am I, Send me!) I’m willing. No matter how I’m perceived, no matter what I may look like to others, I am willing to carry His message to those who need it most, for such a time as this. Some of the words he has given me start with the thoughts that the Lord knows these women are thinking, and these are the notes I’ve taken down:

“I’m unseen.”

“I’m unheard.”

“I can’t go on.”

“I am questioning everything about life right now.”

“I’ve lost hope.”

The Lord will go on to give me a message for them. A love letter straight from heaven. To encourage these women that God is listening, he’s hovering, he’s watching, with compassion and tender love.

Women are doing all it takes to hold it all together, at all times, for everyone. It’s in the night hours, when the kids are in bed, a thorough dive into social media has been made, exhaustion abounds, the lights are out, and the tears start to flow with the thoughts mentioned above. It’s the late night heart cries that he’s speaking to. The tears that no one else sees, the heartbreak, the life or death thoughts. God is right there, and he’s saying, “I carried my cross, I’ve already died to give you freedom from that. I’m here. You are not alone. I want to lift your burdens for you.”

I have to think, that the common thread for women are the heart cries. The deep things we carry that we don’t talk about, frankly because we just can’t go there. We don’t have time to crumble, or we don’t feel safe enough to feel vulnerable enough to crumble. I believe the women who mourned and wailed for Jesus experienced something, if even for just a moment, where in their encounter with Jesus they “knew” and for the first time in their life, they felt truly “known.” And it is because of that radical life transformation, they were able to put their emotions on full display in mourning for the only One who spoke light into their darkness.

His love for you is so tender and so pure. His love leads us to repentance. To a place of peace and acceptance. I’m praying you allow yourself to really know who Jesus is, and to know that you are 100 percent accepted, just as you are. Just as the Lord was taken out of this earth, one day his holy spirit will be taken out of the earth as well. Come to him while the tree is still green.

Cease Striving

I can always tell when my energy reserves are depleted. My thoughts and actions come from a place that is not Spirit-led and it’s as though I revert back to primitive coping methods. I am short-tempered and generally low on patience. I start scrutinizing the attitudes and actions of others from a place of judgment, which is never a good look. Of course, this comes far after I’ve ignored the signs that I need to pause and rest. And those who usually end up paying the price for my inability to give myself a timeout are my husband and my son, and the last thing I ever want to do is make my home a place of frustration or hostility.

I’m sure that as a woman, you can relate. How did we get here as a gender, thinking that we should be able to carry it all well? Sometimes I think it’s seeing a need and wanting to help, or taking on that extra task that just pushes timeline for the day over the edge. I think as women, we should encourage each other to take a break– if even for half a day, just to rest, breathe and fill our cups back up. And I think we should celebrate and affirm women who have the self-awareness and grit to say, “These things can wait. I need to take care of me right now.” I mean, after all, are we really being effective in being productive when we are running on empty? Or are we just being busy but serving no lasting purpose?

This morning in my quiet time, I cried. I’ve been coasting on fumes trying to get to the finish line of some of my deadlines for school and work. I was thinking to myself, I just need a break. I told God that, and I asked him to show me what’s most important right now because I’m literally so tired, I don’t feel like doing ANY.THING.

I heard the gentle whisper of the words, “Cease striving,” and it hit me.

Thinking back, my whole life has been about striving. About fighting life. About struggling. Struggling for and against things that I was never meant to go to battle for ( i.e., lack of boundaries and codependent-driven actions). Someone ( I can’t remember who) said that if you have to struggle for something to the point that you are no longer healthy, you might be fighting the wrong battle. Well, I’m there again– full-on striving. My thoughts and my actions indicate that I’m feeling the need to control the balls I’m juggling rather than surrender those things into God’s capable hands.

I flipped open my Bible to Psalm 46 and began reading. Here is what the scripture says:

Psalm 46: God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells. God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at the break of day. Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall; he lifts his voice, the earth melts.

The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.

Come and see the works of the Lord, the desolations he has brought on the earth. He makes war cease to the ends of the earth; he breaks the bow and shatters the spear, he burns the shields with fire.

Cease striving and know that I AM God; I will be exalted above the nations, I will be exalted on the earth. The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.

While the Psalmist is referring to God’s message to Israel and her enemies, the message applies to us today, right where we are in the middle of life. God lovingly speaks a word of encouragement to his daughters, knowing that in this time and this place we would be afraid, tired, and taking on too much. He sends his word to remind us that he is always with us, he is our helper, our fortress. We don’t have to do life in our strength, we can rest knowing that God is God- not us. He’s in the details, he’s already seen the future. We can truly experience his divine rest on earth right now knowing that he’s got it.

Friends, God never asked us to carry our burdens. Thanks to the shed blood of Jesus, we don’t have to. I’m praying for you today. It’s time to cease striving.

Come to me, you who are weary and heavy burdened, and I will give you rest. I am meek (gentle) and lowly in heart (humble); and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. -Matthew 11:28-30

Cue the song of the day.

The Harvest

The Harvest, Revelation 14:14

Revelation 14:14 describes an event that has yet to take place on the earth.

“I looked, and there before me was a white cloud, and seated on the cloud was one “like a son of man” with a crown of gold on his head and a sharp sickle in his hand. Another angel came out of the temple and called in a loud voice to him who was sitting on the cloud, “Take your sickle and reap, because the time to reap has come, for the harvest of the earth is ripe.” So he who was seated on the cloud swung his sickle over the earth, and the earth was harvested.

Verse 17 goes on to state, “Another angel came out of the temple in heaven, and he too had a sharp sickle. Still another angel, who had charge of the first, came from the altar and called in a loud voice to him who had the sharp sickle, “Take your sharp sickle and gather the clusters of grapes from the earth’s vine, because its grapes are ripe.” The angel swung his sickle on the earth, gathered its grapes and threw them into the great winepress of God’s wrath. They were trampled in the winepress outside the city, and blood flowed out of the press, rising as high as the horses’ bridles for a distance of 1600 miles.

Harvest comes before the wrath. The son of man- Jesus, will separate the faithful from the unfaithful. When he has completed the work in and through us and we are ripe. Using the word “ripe” to describe disciples of Jesus may seem like a strange term, but allow me to lend some context to the word. Webster’s Dictionary 1828 defines ripe as:

1. Brought to perfection in growth or to the best state; mature; fit for use; as ripe fruit; ripe corn.

2. Advanced to perfection; matured; as ripe judgment, or ripe in judgment.

3. Finished; consummate; as a ripe scholar.

4. Brought to the point of taking effect; matured; ready; prepared; as things just ripe for war.

5. Fully qualified by improvement; prepared; as a student ripe for the university; a saint ripe for heaven.

For those who rejected God’s gift of salvation through Jesus, this time can be likened to hell on earth. It’s not something that we as believers would want anyone, friend or foe, to endure.

Saints, we know the times we are living in. They are the best of times and the worst of times. Let’s not allow these temporary circumstances to keep us from being faithful to show God’s love to others who desperately need it. People are searching for answers and for hope, now more than ever. Let’s be faithful to the call and share the message of Jesus in a loving way with everyone we know. The clock is ticking towards the harvest.

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.



When you hear that word, what comes to mind?

I always think of something strange or different. Or odd. I would say that most of my life, I felt like I was peculiar. No matter what I did or how hard I tried, it was like I was made not to fit in. And that was very unsettling to me for a long time because I wanted to belong to something and be accepted without having to wear a mask or a personality that I thought would make me more pleasing to others.

If you’ve ever tried that you can probably relate and you might even say that deep down, trying to be what you thought others wanted you to be didn’t bring any lasting joy, even though it may have brought temporary acceptance.

But, let’s go back to that word peculiar. Webster’s 1849 dictionary defines peculiar as:

a. characteristic of only one person, group or thing: distinctive.

b. different from the usual or normal.

c. odd, curious.

d. eccentric, unusual. something exempt from ordinary jurisdiction.

Synonyms: atypical, exceeding, exceptional, rare, unique, unusual.

Antonyms: common, normal, ordinary, typical, unexceptional.

Peculiar doesn’t sound like such a bad thing. In fact, it sounds pretty special. I mean, who wants to be normal when you can be peculiar?

Understanding the true definition of a word that at first glance feels synonymous with an outsider has the potential to bring freedom and allow you to completely reframe your identity.

You are distinct. You are unusual. You are rare. You have gifts that this world needs. And above all else, this world needs you to be authentically you while giving your gifts to others. Free yourself from the limitations of what you thought about being different.

Your difference is all the difference.

1 Peter 2:9 “You are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people, that you may declare praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.”

Lead with Love

Have you ever had one of those days where you feel like God’s hand is on and in everything you experienced? Today was one of those days for me. There have been a lot of words spoken over me and secret promises that God has made to me, even as far back as almost a decade ago. At the time, I didn’t understand the prophetic words or the promises because I had no vision for the future that God was speaking those promises into. Sometimes a prophetic word can be like what some describe as “reading your mail.” In other words, the word describes your situation so perfectly, that it’s as though someone had to be reading your mail to know the things they knew. For me, it’s a lot different. It’s a mystery. Something that I have to wait for. (Did I mention that patience is not my forté?) Something that he has to prepare me for.

When God makes a promise, I write it down. I ponder it. I begin looking for it in the natural realm. I’ll start looking for deeper meaning in everything that remotely resembles His promise to me. I’m totally guilty of always trying to figure Him out before the time is right. And I’ll admit, that I’ve failed every time! He’s really good at waiting to reveal mysteries to me! Anyway. Like I said, there are things that He’s spoken to me that I’m still waiting to see the manifestation of, and there are times where I’ll get frustrated and put those promises on the shelf. Some time will go by and He’ll bring them back to mind.

Today was one of those days.

I have felt a shift the past four weeks, and I’m starting to see things differently. I’m starting to sense things differently. It’s like I have a new awareness or He’s opened my eyes in a new way. I’ll try to explain. I went to Half Price Books to search for old magazines to cut up for an art project. I walked right in and right in front of me were the journals. My senses became immediately overwhelmed. Here are just a few of the things I saw:

A journal that said “Write your Story.” (He told me to do that a week ago while I was having my quiet time.)

A note card that said, “If you’re looking for a sign, this is it!” (Ok, God- you’ve got my attention!)

Another journal decorated with artwork “Woman in Gold” (Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer) by Gustav Klimt. One of my favorite artists.

And when I was in the store, I heard Lara’s Theme from Dr. Zhivago, written by Maurice Jarre- the song my grandfather used to sing, and we would dance to from time to time when I was a little girl. When my grandfather passed away, this song was the soundtrack for a dream I had where I was able to see my grandfather happy in heaven, waiting for me.

Here are the lyrics:

Somewhere my love there will be songs to sing
Although the snow covers the hope of Spring
Somewhere a hill blossoms in green and gold
And there are dreams, all that your heart can hold

Someday we’ll meet again, my love
Someday whenever the Spring breaks through

You’ll come to me, out of the long-ago
Warm as the wind, soft as the kiss of snow
Lara, my own, think of me now and then
Godspeed, my love, till you are mine again.

So there I was in Half Price Books with tears in my eyes, telling God, “Oh great, I wasn’t really planning on having a cry right now.” He told me, “This was you and your grandfather’s song, but now it’s our song.” “When your grandfather was alive, he was the person you went to- he was your father. But after he came home to me was when you finally realized that it was time to let Me be your father- to be the one that you come to for everything.”

There was a time when I had forgotten how to dream. I don’t mean dream while I sleep. I mean that over the course of time and circumstance and pain that I walled up my heart to protect it. In the process however, I shut myself off to dreaming anything about my life or my future. The air around my heart became stale. It was beating and I was living, but there was nothing that bloomed. Nothing that brought me joy for me. I could muster living and giving for others’ sake, but I never wanted to put myself through the process of a dream again– for fear of failure, for the fear of more pain that it would cause me.

Today, I saw a glimpse of my promises. And I’m not afraid anymore. It never ceases to amaze me how God’s thoughts towards us are SO GOOD, SO LOVING, and SO KIND. I hope that by reading this, you start to believe again. I hope that you start to dream again.

Sold Out

I used to think I was a pretty ok christian. I grew up in church, and while I had to overcome a lot of obstacles relating to my opinions of the churchgoers and the church itself, I stuck with it for two main reasons, and here they are: I had an encounter with God when I was a child (like 6 or 7 years old) and because of that encounter and feeling like no one on this earth understood me, I always went back to Jesus with my pain and disappointments because he was (and still is) my best friend and the only one who I knew really loved me and accepted me exactly as I was.

My life is far from perfect. I have done many things that I am not proud of. I don’t admit those things to you from a place of shame or unworthiness either. I’ve just made a lot of mistakes. Maybe you can relate. I’m glad that those things are in the past now, because there were definitely times where I did feel completely ashamed of who I was and unworthy of anything good in my life.

There are those times though where I still ask God,

“Why did you let me do those things?”

“Why did you let me walk through that door?”

“Why did I have to fall so hard?”

“How can you possibly take these mistakes and work it together for my good?”

I don’t have all the answers, and He’s still making me wait before he shows me. (Did I mention that patience is not my strong suit?) I do know that God took every misdirected step, every hurdle, every mistake and to this day he’s still redeeming them. He’s still writing my story, and he’s still writing yours. He’s helping me unlearn the lies that I believed about myself and construct new truths, his truths about me. In some ways I feel like a late bloomer because it has taken me 41 years to discover His real love, but then I have to remind myself that His timing is perfect.

His timing is perfect for you too. Whatever he’s guiding you to, He will be faithful to get you there- when you finally allow Him too. He gives beauty for ashes. He works ALL THINGS together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. He just wants you to surrender your heart, your will and your plans. Basically everything. That is totally hard for control freaks like me. But let’s be honest with ourselves, has doing it your way really brought you everything you have hoped and dreamed for?

I promise you- His ways are better. He gives freedom and a peace that you’ve never known before. I’m not saying that your roads will always be easy. Sometimes they are downright dark and full of pain, but you’ll never go through it alone.

When I made the choice to surrender, Jesus had to pull a lot of painful daggers and arrows out of my heart. Through the course of my life I adjusted my thoughts and behaviors to make the pain of those injuries easier to bear. What I’m saying is I grew comfortable with those those things that caused injury to my heart, and I even held on to them like a badge of courage. I told myself not to trust or not to believe anyone but God and myself, but He can’t heal what we’re not willing to let go of.

What’s standing in the way of your healing? No finger pointing. This isn’t about what was done to you or what you couldn’t control. This isn’t about you correcting your mistakes or trying to make things happen in your own strength. Get out of your own way. It’s time to heal so you can be all you were created to be!

Pause to Praise

Life has a way of overwhelming you sometimes. Have you ever had those days where you’ve got too many tasks to complete and not enough hours in the day? I’ve been feeling that way right now, especially with school, work and life. There are always going to be the things you have to do, then the things you want to do, and you’ve got to find a way to balance it with being present for your spouse and kids. There are only so many late nights and early early mornings I can swing before it starts to take its toll on my attitude. Then I start saying and doing things I regret because I’m actually tired but not letting myself rest.

Moms get tired. Alot. Moms get tired alot. It’s ok to get tired. We aren’t Wonder Women. I’ve learned that rather than pushing through, I need to let myself take a break, even if it’s only for 30 minutes. Today is one of those days. When I get like this, I tell my son that mom needs a 30 minute break and I head into another room to recharge with peace and quiet. I sat down in my chair and started telling God, “Lord, I don’t know how I’m going to get everything done. And honestly God, I’m feeling overwhelmed already and what I really want to do is take a nap. Please show me how to prioritize my time right now and give me your peace in knowing that I will get it all done the way it’s supposed to happen, not the way I think it should.” Amen.

I picked up my Bible and asked God to give me something that would refresh me so that I could pick back up and keep moving through my day. I flipped open my Bible to Psalm 146 and began to read, looking for something that God wanted to say to me about what I asked him for right now. Here’s what the psalmist wrote:

“Praise the Lord. Praise the Lord, O my soul. I will praise the Lord all of my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live. Do not put your trust in princes, in mortal men, who cannot save. When their spirit departs, they return to the ground; on that very day their plans come to nothing. Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord his God, the maker of heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them– the Lord who remains faithful forever. He upholds the cause of the oppressed and gives food to the hungry. The lord sets prisoners free, the Lord gives sight to the blind, the Lord lifts up those who are bowed down, the Lord loves the righteous. The Lord watches over the alien and sustains the fatherless and the widow, but he frustrates the ways of the wicked. The Lord reigns forever, your God, O Zion, for all generations. Praise the Lord.”

God doesn’t want us to worry about the stuff we have to complete. He doesn’t want us to worry about our schedules. He loves us. He is saying that we are blessed because He is our help. He just wants us to praise him for who He is and because he’s already taken care of it for us. As clear and simple as this seems, it can be incredibly challenging to utter out praises to God, especially in the middle of circumstances and deadlines that have us feeling a little anxious, and like I said before, short on time. Nonetheless, I thanked Him because I came to Him with a problem and He offered His solution: praise. I turned the page and Psalm 147:10 drew my attention: “His pleasure is not in the strength of the horse, nor his delight in the legs of a man; the Lord delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in His unfailing love.” It’s like God put a p.s. on what He wanted to say to me.

He loves you. Just trust him. He’s not asking you to do everything in your own strength and get Him to put a blessing on it after the fact. Put your hope in his unfailing love for you. He will get you through this time too.

I added this song by Casting Crowns to help lead you in taking a moment to pause to praise. Xo.

Perfect Love

I’m in awe of how you love me.

You’re the only one who knows the darkest things I’ve done, and yet you love me more than anyone else who has ever claimed to.

Your love is precious to me.

Your love is so pure.

Your love has no agenda.

Your love has no conditions.

Your love shows me that you accept me the way I am.

There’s nothing I have to do to earn it.

It compels me to a better way.

It calls me to live greater.

It calls me to love greater.

Your love sets me free.

I’m free to fly.

I’m free to be me, full of you.

I’m ready to tell others of this mystery. This miracle. This love so pure and real.

I want others to know and receive this love. This unfathomable love of yours.

You Can’t Mess Things Up

We think we’re in control. We think this life is really about our plans. Some of us are safely navigating the path of least resistance while others of us don’t mind the struggle as long as it ends with us getting everything we want.

But how do you reconcile matters when your plans don’t go the way you tried to make them go? I’m not talking about the trivial matters of life, I’m talking about the big stuff. The epic fails of life. The things that leave us devastated, in puddles on the floor, questioning our existence and our own will to keep on living. How do we respond to the crises that make it hard to breathe, hard to see past the moment, hard to have vision for the future? What future? Where do I go from here? This-THIS was my everything, and now it’s blown away in the wind.

Have you ever experienced something like that in your life? I have. I know if you are reading this, that can only mean one of two things: you either survived it or you are presently working your way through surviving it.

I want to encourage you. You will come through it. You will stand again. You will breathe again- not the anxiety-ridden breathing, but the inhales of peace and the exhales of rest. You were never meant to carry what you tried to tow around for all of those years. Sometimes it’s just time to stop the charades, and let the walls fall down. No more duct-tape, no more trying to trying to plug leaks, no more keeping up appearances. No more faking it till you make it.

SURRENDER. Cease resistance. Your plans aren’t working. When are you going to admit that to yourself? You were never in control anyway. You just thought you were.

Give Ashes, get beauty.

Give God the pieces. Give Him the remnants. You ask, “What could he possibly do with what’s left?” Or maybe there’s nothing tangible left to give. Even better. Give him your heart. I promise you– that’s all He’s ever wanted from you.

There are so many touching lyrics I love in a song by Danny Gokey called “Tell Your Heart To Beat Again.” In it he says, “Get back up. Take step one. Leave the darkness, feel the sun. Say goodbye to where you’ve been and tell your heart to beat again.”

When you finally surrender control, You give God the authority to begin to move and act on your behalf. Think of it this way: My plans in my hands -or- His plans for me in His hands. You don’t have to be genius to figure this one out.

Jeremiah 29:11-14 For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you a hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all of your heart. I will be found by you, declares the Lord, and will bring you back to the place from captivity.

Isaiah 14:24 The Lord Almighty has sworn, “Surely as I have planned, so it will be, and as I have purposed, so it will stand.”…For the Lord Almighty has purposed, and who can thwart him? His hand is stretched out, and who can turn it back?

Trust Him with your heart. Trust Him with His plans for you. Tell your heart to beat again.

Your Love Song

In my quiet time this morning, this is what the Lord said to me. I want to share it with you. He reminds me everyday of how special you are to Him.

“I love everyone I made with the love you’re feeling right now. I want them to know this real love.

The world and the prince of this world would have them believe the lies he is screaming.


I spilled my blood. I gave my life willingly for you. BECAUSE OF LOVE! I LOVE YOU! Receive me into your heart. Let me fill every empty space. Let my live heal your heart and transform you from the inside out.

I love you so much. Ask me into your heart. You’ll never be lonely again.”

Please give your heart to Jesus. He loves you so much, it’s unfathomable. He’s chosen YOU. He thinks you’re kind of a big deal.

Cue the song of the day.

Right Hand

In my quiet time this morning, I asked God to lead me to what He wanted to say to me today and what I could share with you. I’ve developed this habit where I simply flip open my Bible each day, trusting that He will guide me to what He wants to say to me. This morning I opened up to Acts 2.

In this passage, the disciples had already received the Great Commission by Jesus and were waiting, as He instructed them, to receive the Helper a.k.a., The Holy Spirit. I’ve included the scripture here for you to read (NIV):

“In the last days, God says,

I will pour out my spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy. I will show wonders in the heaven above and signs in the earth below, blood and fire and billows of smoke. The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord. And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

I admit that the passage both excites and scares me a little. Why? I’ve always viewed this passage of text as a thermometer passage. What do I mean by that? It means that when things on the earth start to heat up, God says this is what will happen next. Really amazing stuff and well, pretty frightening stuff. When I see these things begin to happen, based on the promises of God, we are nearing the Lord’s return, and that IS EXCITING!!! But my question to Him lately is, “God, how bad do things have to get before you return?” I admit that there are days where I sit down in my quiet time and just cry over the sufferings on this earth. I don’t mourn as those who have no hope. My heart is heavily burdened for those who don’t have hope, and those who are losing hope every day.

But then He gently tells me, “Read it again and keep reading.”

So I go back and read it again.

“I will pour out my spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy. Young men will see visions and old men will dream dreams. I will show wonders in the heaven above and signs in the earth below.”

According to Webster’s Dictionary, prophecy means: “A foretelling; prediction; a declaration of something to come.” (For more on this, check out the extended cut definition here.) The definition itself when applied to the context of the passage tells us that God never does anything without first announcing it. In this case, He tells us that He will use all people to make declarations about His return.

And because he knows our hearts, He goes on to say, in verse 34:

“I saw the Lord before me, because he is at my right hand.

I will not be shaken.

Therefore, my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices, my body will also live in Hope because you will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your holy one see decay.

You have made known to me the paths of life.

You fill me with joy in your presence.”

If you have placed your faith in and given your heart to Jesus, God is your right hand. Period. The right hand symbolizes sovereignty and authority. Madea said it best, yall!

Urban Dictionary defines right hand as, “a person you can count on through hard times and good times. They are there to hold you up, not bring you down. They will always support you and sometimes you might get in fights with this person because you are too close and understand each other too well. You love them like family.”

Essentially, there’s nothing to fear. Your Right Hand is in charge. Let’s challenge ourselves to live in joy, spend time in His presence daily, and be His light where He’s called us to be. Let’s give our joy away. Let’s leave hope wherever we go. Let’s love others like their eternal life depends on it. Because it does.

I love you and am praying for you today. Go get your Grit on. (cue the anthem of the day.)

Living Torches

Have you ever read the story about Deborah in Judges 4? Deborah was a judge over all of Israel and some even describe her as a military heroine. Judges describes her as:

-a prophetess

-wife of Lappidoth (Lappidoth means “torches” or “light” in Hebrew, btw.)

-a leader of Israel

-one who held court daily at the Palm of Deborah, between Ramah and Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim

-one who the Israelites came to see to have their disputes settled

One day she sent for Barak and commanded him on behalf of the Lord, “Go- take with you 10,000 men of Naphtali and Zebulun and lead the way to Mount Tabor. I (The Lord) will lure Sisera, the commander of Jabin’s army, with his chariots and his troops to the Kishon River and give them into your hands.”

The Lord was already with Barak, but he would not go and fulfill the command of the Lord unless Deborah went with him. He had been given a green light for victory, and yet he was still reluctant to go. The Bible doesn’t say if Barak was afraid or if he desired support. In fact, there’s not much else the Bible has to say about Barak, other than that in chapter 5 of Judges he sings a duet with Deborah after a woman named Jael kills Sisera. Here’s what we do know: Deborah goes with him, and the Lord did as He promised. He routed the armies of the enemy and Barak and his 10,000 men destroyed the troops of Sisera.

Victory was promised and victory was fulfilled, but the victory was first declared through a prophesying woman’s mouth.

What types of victories could we as women proclaim for the kingdom of God, if we would allow Jesus to transform our language from questions like, “Can God?” to declarations like, “Won’t God?” By that I mean, won’t God do all that he said he would do? Scripture says, “He is able to do exceedingly, abundantly above all we can ask or think, according to the power that is at work within us” (Ephesians 3:20). If our hearts are in alignment with His will, won’t He give us the desires of our heart? OF COURSE! Why? Because he’s wanting to use us to accomplish His will here on earth!

So, what’s stopping you?

Maybe it’s your limiting beliefs.

“It’s never happened before, so why would it happen now?”

Maybe it’s your inability to dream a new dream.

“Life is so hard right now, I can’t see to tomorrow, let alone dream any.thing.”

Maybe you don’t believe it’s possible.

Well, I’ve got a scripture for you. Matthew 19:26. “With man, this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

Salvation is possible. Redemption is possible. Healing is possible. Restoration is possible. Victory is possible. With God. Because of your relationship with Jesus, and according to your faith.

Will you be a Deborah and declare the word of the Lord? Or will you be a Barak? Will you use the authority by God given to you to bring light to dark places and dark situations, and call those things that are not as though they are? The first recorded words spoken by God in the Bible were, “let there be light.” (Genesis 1:3). He called the light “good” and separated the light from the darkness.

You’ve been separated to speak life and bring Jesus’ light into your sphere of influence. It’s no coincidence that Deborah’s husband was named Lappidoth, which means torches. You are the bride of Christ. Your bridegroom desires that you carry his torch and proclaim his truth, justice, mercy and grace.

Romans 8:29 (MSG) reads, “God knew what he was doing from the very beginning. He decided from the outset to shape the lives of those who love him along the same lines as the life of his Son.” All this time, he’s been molding you into his son’s image to make his glory known in your sphere of influence.

The Call of Duty

This morning I am praying for the friends who have reached out asking for prayer over the past week. There has been so much loss lately; suicide, covid-related deaths, friends battling cancer, and just general feelings of fear and hopelessness. There are so many times when I wish there was something I could physically go and do to help improve a situation or help make a difference, but friends and family are far away.

It’s our natural default to become fixated on lack and loss, and with the world writhing in turmoil, I have found that I’ve had to censor myself from the news and social media just to catch a break and renew my mind. It makes the time I spend with the Lord so precious, and over the past 3 years, he has taught me that spending time in his presence brings peace and rest. In my quiet time this morning, I was reading Jude, verses 18-22 which says:

“But you dear friends, build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit. Keep yourself in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life. Be merciful to those who doubt; snatch others from the fire and save them; to others show mercy, mixed with fear- hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh.”

Because we are living in the last days, the devil will try anything to keep you gripped in fear so that you are afraid to take steps of faith. Fear often looks like: speaking negative things, sleepless nights, panic attacks, tension headaches, excessive drinking, a short temper, harsh words. I mean, if you start thinking about it, the list could go on and on. But today, I encourage you to look fear in the eye and speak faith. Faith looks like, God is working in this situation. My challenges are making me better and stronger. No matter what it looks like, I know that God has good plans for me. He wants to give me hope and future. He desires that I prosper in all things. Speak faith-filled declarations over your life and watch how what you’re looking at begins to change before your eyes!

The Lord says in Isaiah, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” Isaiah answered the call of the Lord by offering his life in service to what the Lord wanted to do in the earth. “And I (Isaiah) said, “Here am I. Send me!”

Lord give us hearts like Isaiah. When you issue a call, let us be the ones to say, “Send me!” Let us be the kind of people who encourage others, who show up in life for others. Cause our hearts to be moved with compassion and empathy so that we do more than just text or message “thoughts and prayers.” Use us to show mercy and remind those who doubt of your goodness and your good plans. Help us to speak the truth in love at all times, so that your house is built up. Help us to be holy and set apart, for such a time as this. Give us eyes to see the real needs of people so that we may be a blessing to them, because of you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

A Song of Promises

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want for anything. (I’ll never lack anything I need.) He makes me lie down in green pastures (He desires rest for me), he leads me beside quiet waters (He leading brings me to a place of peace), he restores my soul (He desires to restore me.)

He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake (His plans for me will prevail.) Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death (even through life’s uncertainties) I will fear no evil (I am not afraid) for you are with me (I am never alone); your rod and your staff, they comfort me (I know you are always guiding and protecting me).

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies (You call me accepted and you are proud for everyone to know!) You anoint my head with oil; (You call me chosen, set apart); my cup overflows (You bless me abundantly!)

Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, (I will never be alone again.) and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. (I am yours forever!)

Cue the song of the day.