Remember Your First Love

A word from the Lord:

“My people are asleep. They have allowed the cares of this world to draw them away from their first love, but time is short. The harvest is coming, and I am preparing the threshing floor. Those whose hearts are rooted in me will be saved. And as the wheat is separated from the chaff, so will I separate those who worship me in Spirit and in Truth. Do not mourn for them. They had teachers and prophets, but they made their choice as I knew they would.

Consecrate yourself for my purposes for such a time as this. I am going to get my glory. The time has come and there are still those who must come to the well. Do what I tell you to do. Say what I tell you to say. Lives depend on it.”

Obviously this is a very sobering word. I went to the Bible for deeper understanding of several points God made in this word he spoke to me.

God’s People Are Asleep

In 1Thessalonians 4:4-8, the bible states:

4But you, brothers, are not in the darkness so that this day should overtake you like a thief. 5For you are all sons of the light and sons of the day; we do not belong to the night or to the darkness. 6So then, let us not sleep as the others do, but let us remain awake and sober. 7For those who sleep, sleep at night; and those who get drunk, get drunk at night. 8But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and the helmet of our hope of salvation.”

God is about to wake up his church. He is making his bride ready for his return.

But his word says that not everyone will be ready.

He illustrates this in The Parable of the 10 Virgins.

Five of them were foolish and five were wise. The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. The wise ones, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep.

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

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

“‘No,’ they replied, ‘there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’

10 “But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut.

11 “Later the others also came. ‘Lord, Lord,’ they said, ‘open the door for us!’

12 “But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I don’t know you.’

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

They Have Forgotten Their First Love

In the book of Revelation, chapter 2, God gives a warning to the church of Ephesus. Ephesus is known as “the compromising church” in the last days before the return of the Lord. The Lord tells them:

 I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked people, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary.

Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first. Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place. But you have this in your favor: You hate the practices of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.

Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.

The Harvest Is Coming

The threshing floor is a place where God separates the wheat (the harvest) from the chaff (the things of no value to the farmer). God’s word says that he values those who walk in righteousness, whose ways are fully pleasing to him, who bear fruit in every good work, and who increase in the knowledge of God (Colossians 1:10). Just as all mankind is given a choice, we are not to mourn for those who have chosen life outside of the salvation of Jesus Christ. God’s word also says not to look back, but to keep our hand to the plow and keep to the harvest (Luke 9:62). Lives depend on our bringing the hope of Jesus into their hopeless situations.

It’s Time To Dedicate Yourself To The Lord’s Purposes

God clearly said that it’s time to make the decision to consecrate yourself for his purpose now. I can’t help but think of Esther who had just become queen when the decree for the slaughter of the jews was made by Haman and the king. Mordecai spoke these words:

13And Mordecai told them to answer Esther: “Do not think in your heart that you will escape in the king’s palace any more than all the other Jews. 14For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”

God is faithful. He will do that which he says he will do. He will deliver his people whether you’re on board or not.

If you’re reading this and you’ve been asking God for clarity or confirmation for your role in the ingathering of believers, I pray you receive confirmation from his word and that you seek the Lord for your specific role. We are his hands and feet. We are his light in this dark world.

Lead Others To The Well

The truth is our words and our actions in these days either point to the hope of Jesus or they testify against it. My mom used to say, “preach the gospel at all times. When necessary, use words.” Today is the day to wake up from sleep for our salvation is nearer than before. Open your bible and commune with God. He is waiting to speak with you. Make time for him in your daily schedule. How can you do what he wants and say what he needs you to say if you haven’t made time to listen to him? Yield to him, and let him use you!

There are divine appointments ahead on your journey.

Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

Burn the blueprint

I’ve been seeking God diligently for the past two years about how he wants to use me. Honestly, I believe that everything leading up to now has been a process of a systematic “letting go” of what I thought my life would look like. I find myself waking up most mornings, going through my day-to-day activities, but searching for the reason why God purposed me to live in this generation. Do you ever think about that?

It doesn’t take a genius to see the convergence of signs that point to the soon return of Jesus. First for his bride, and then to rule and reign. I can’t help but want to tell everyone, but I also battle imposter syndrome. Some of my limiting thoughts include:

“I’m not a bible scholar. ” (BUT I am a bible READER and strive to be a bible doer)

“People will think I’m a crazy bible-beater.” (but some people’s eyes might be opened!)

“I’ll lose business…friends..” (but what if I win business and make new friends?)

“My past disqualifies me from being someone He’d use.” (lie, btw)

I can quote scripture, and I can tell you the story of how he’s loved me, delivered me, and healed me, but I can’t sketch out an end times timeline for you. I feel a sense of urgency in my spirit that I must do something, but I’ve also made mistakes in the past where I believed God wanted to use me, and I didn’t see what I would call “success” in those circumstances.

So here I am.

HERE I AM.

Wait a minute- that’s my life verse. “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then said I, “Here I am. Send me!”

The truth is, I don’t have all the answers. But I know who does. And all He really asks is, “Who’s available?”

I once had a prophet speak over me, “I’ve (the Lord) been waiting for you to LET GO of what you can’t, of what you shouldn’t be having anymore”, (this was 10 years ago, btw, so the struggle of letting go is real. But so is the perfect timing of God).

The thing he wants us to do is NEW.

A word from the Lord: It’s never been done. You can’t look for a blueprint of what it looks like, because it’s being invented in you. created in you, by me, for my people. It’s not a copycat ministry. You don’t need the blessing or approval of anyone to start. I will anoint it. I’ll put my hand on it because I’ve got healing for the nations coming.

“Behold I am doing a new thing. Do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the desert.” Isaiah 43:19

Burn the blueprint. Seek him. Be available. And start where you are with what you have.

Engraved

Isaiah has always been one of my favorite books of the Bible because it speaks of restoration, comfort, deliverance, and hope. This morning in my quiet time I flipped open my Bible to Isaiah 49, which speaks of the restoration of Israel. Take a look below.

But Zion said, “The Lord has forsaken me, and the Lord has forgotten me.”

“Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me.

Isaiah 49: 14-16

God’s promise of restoration often comes at times where we feel restoration is hopeless. As I read the scriptures, I could relate to being like Zion, saying, “God doesn’t care about me. Where is God? I don’t matter to God.” I can’t even type those thoughts without tears welling up in my eyes because I remember how dark those times were for me. And while those were real feelings, feelings aren’t FACTS. The TRUTH is, God has always been present in my life, just as he has been in yours.

I asked Jesus into my heart at 6 years old. The first conversation I had with God was at 7 years old when I prayed Isaiah 6:8 for the first time. God knew just how much I would need him, and I believe that’s why He revealed himself to me at a very young age. Did bad choices and bad circumstances have consequences in my life? YES. I had to do a lot of reaping of things that weren’t quite so lovely. But I love this love note from God that reminds all of us, no matter what, that He has never left or forsaken us:

v. 16). “See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me.”

The definition of engrave means to literally scratch or scrape. Seriously!? God loves you so much that he has YOU tattooed on his hands?! I can’t help thinking of Tommy Boy: “That’s gonna leave a mark!”

But what about your walls?

In the Bible, walls symbolize protection, security, a place of shelter. During the time of Nehemiah, the restored walls of Jerusalem became a unifying force for God’s people, a symbol of inheritance and belonging. When the walls of Jerusalem were intact, it served as an indication to God’s people that God’s hand of protection and prosperity was on them. God is saying he’s ensuring you’re protected. I’d even go as far to say, he’s watching for possible breaches, and if you’re in fellowship with Him, He’ll tell you and show you how to correct them.

As believers living in a chaotic world, it’s absolutely necessary to remember that God isn’t like us. He’s God! He doesn’t make empty promises. He doesn’t make plans for us only to cancel at the last minute. He doesn’t say kind things, only to turn his back and speak ill of us. He’s not a surface friend- someone you can’t go into deep conversation with. He doesn’t ghost (except for the holy ghost, ha). His ways are not our ways. He He hasn’t forgotten you. He can’t. You are engraved on Him.

For more on the book of Isaiah (Yes, do it. Isaiah is amazing!), watch this video: Isaiah for the Visual Learner

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.

Introduce Yourself (Example Post)

This is an example post, originally published as part of Blogging University. Enroll in one of our ten programs, and start your blog right.

You’re going to publish a post today. Don’t worry about how your blog looks. Don’t worry if you haven’t given it a name yet, or you’re feeling overwhelmed. Just click the “New Post” button, and tell us why you’re here.

Why do this?

  • Because it gives new readers context. What are you about? Why should they read your blog?
  • Because it will help you focus your own ideas about your blog and what you’d like to do with it.

The post can be short or long, a personal intro to your life or a bloggy mission statement, a manifesto for the future or a simple outline of your the types of things you hope to publish.

To help you get started, here are a few questions:

  • Why are you blogging publicly, rather than keeping a personal journal?
  • What topics do you think you’ll write about?
  • Who would you love to connect with via your blog?
  • If you blog successfully throughout the next year, what would you hope to have accomplished?

You’re not locked into any of this; one of the wonderful things about blogs is how they constantly evolve as we learn, grow, and interact with one another — but it’s good to know where and why you started, and articulating your goals may just give you a few other post ideas.

Can’t think how to get started? Just write the first thing that pops into your head. Anne Lamott, author of a book on writing we love, says that you need to give yourself permission to write a “crappy first draft”. Anne makes a great point — just start writing, and worry about editing it later.

When you’re ready to publish, give your post three to five tags that describe your blog’s focus — writing, photography, fiction, parenting, food, cars, movies, sports, whatever. These tags will help others who care about your topics find you in the Reader. Make sure one of the tags is “zerotohero,” so other new bloggers can find you, too.