I love how God gives us choices, and how He gave us each a free will. How many of us as a parent would want to force our kids to love us? How fulfilling would that be? What if we had to force them to hug us? Do you know that God does not like to force His children either to love Him. It's so much better when it comes from our own kids to say "Dad, thanks for helping me with that school project, I really love you." God is the one who gave us the free will, to choose just how close we want to be to Him. If we are satisfied with just a bit of closeness, well, He still loves us deeply. And if we want to be closer, I believe it really puts a smile on His face. But we are the ones who have to take that step. That is one thing He can't do for us. He will help us and put people and things across our path to encourage us, but we are the ones to choose and do it.
I remember back a time when He placed an idea of a new beginning before me. I was needing a new beginning. I was also hungering for more of God and more of His Word. That was back around 2008, and each day as I was getting ready for work, I listened to Andrew Wommack teaching on the radio and on TV. Back then, he was talking about his Bible College, Charis Bible College in Colorado Springs. They were getting ready to have an open house for new inquiring people. A seed was planted and the desire was growing. But the thought of moving out of state was really, out of the question. I had never done that before, and I wasn't in my 20s anymore. Each day as I listened, the desire to go got stronger and the desire to stay lessoned. And also each day, I would struggle in my mind with all the "What about this and what about that?" One day I sat in my chair where I would pray each day, and I talked to God. "Lord, what is going on with me?" and I heard Him say, "If I took care of all those things you are concerned about, would you go? And if the money was taking care of, would you go?" I thought a second, and I said a resounding "Yes! Of course I would." I heard Him say, "Consider it done."
The next few days, I was in a daze. Is this really gonna happen? Wow, this is really happening? At that point, if I would not have done anything different, I can honestly say, nothing would have changed. And I would have been miserable. But as my knees shook, I began to take steps, by faith. I told people. I even went to Colorado Springs, to go to the open house. And that sealed it. It was confirmation for me. I began to pursue what I knew God put before me. A new beginning, which was also bringing me closer to Him. If I told you that it was easy, I would be lieing. It wasn't easy at all to tell my parents, that their only daughter was about to move out of state to go to Bible College, to live in CO. I had to leave my job that was secure, with great benefits, to go to a place where there were no benefits. But something inside me was pressing me on. I had some good friends that helped me move and drove a UHaul trailer up to CO. for me. There were so many details and confirmations that were supernatural, it would take too long to tell you. But God confirms. I never would have began writing books if I didn't move. Because back then, I didn't know that God called me to be an author. I wrote songs, but that was it. And I can't say that Bible College was spectacular. Oh the classes and the teachers were awesome! But even there, God was dealing with me, growing my character and pruning me, so it was not a breeze at all. But it was the best thing and it was God's will for sure.
I am giving you some example of God's will for my life and ministry. It's not all about ministry. It's really about relationship. He was pursuing me, and I needed to respond to Him. Through all those years, I learned that He was my good Father. I learned to lean on and trust in Him, in His provision and goodness to me. Whether you have some major change in front of you or not, Jesus is waiting for you to respond to His call, and His love.
I recently went to the Men's Central Jail in Los Angeles. And my brother and I got to lead worship. One of the inmates spoke up and asked "How do you know when God is calling you?" It was a question then, that brought up an open conversation between the chaplain, us team mates and the inmates. This particular inmate was telling about how his sentence was lessoned from 5 yrs to 90 days. He kept questioning "Why?" I spoke up and said "God is showing you that He is good, He is real and that He loves you. Now it's your turn to respond." God is calling each of us. It's that still, small voice within our hearts, and it speaks to us that there is something more. That we were made for something more, than just living for our own selves. That someone values us deeply, and that is God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Relationship with God is the best thing that can ever happen to us. For He made us for that very reason. He has so much love to give, and He is inviting us into His world. We are not alone, and we are not forgotten. Inmates are not forgotten. He sees us. And He patiently waits for us to respond...respond to the Father's love.
Well this tradition actually starts at the end of the year, as in this past December of 2017. Near Christmas time at the end of the year, I always look forward to spending special time with the Lord, bringing a pad of paper and pen, I remininisce with Him of all the things that He did this past year. I make a list and add special events that happened, changes, spiritual things that I learned to bring spiritual growth, blessings, different ways that God may have used me. Any correction that He gave me. I write all the ways that I can remember. At first when I sit down, I think of how not much has changed. But as I start to remember and record, the list grows long. God does move in each of our lives. We only need to intentionally open our eyes and acknowledge it. Then after I thank Him and give Him praise for His goodness and all His wonders, provision, and yes, even corrections; I then take communion and have an intimate time of worship with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. I give Him all the glory. But the next phase of this special time, does not include New Year's Resolutions, like most people may do. Instead of this, I pray and see God's face, asking what he wants to do in my life this year? Search me O God, and open my eyes to the things that you may want to change in me, and my character, weaknesses. Unveil the truth that I so need to learn. Lead me in the right direction. The only way we get to be more like Jesus is by surrendering to the Lord, and allowing Him to change us. I may even ask for a special word, a theme for what He wants to do in my life this year. What do I need to focus on? So in other words, it's not the goals that I want to accomplish that I need to focus on. It's God's will for my life and my destiny that really matters. He knows best, yes it's true that Father does know best. And when we follow that plan, it will also make us the happiest. I wholeheartedly believe that God wants to be a part of all your plans, or maybe better put, is that we should want to be a part of His great plans!
For I know the thoughts and plans that I have for you, says the Lord, thoughts and plans for welfare and peace and not for evil, to give you hope in your final outcome.
Jer. 29:11 Classic Amp
The Lord encouraged and ministered this to me recently about seasons changing. And dear one, if you are looking forward to a change of season, be encouraged, for it's coming. Because seasons always change. That's how God made it. Nothing on this earth stays the same. Change always comes, for it's inevitable. Frosty winter turns into spring, and the birds start singing, as the flowers begin to bloom. And if you looked back on your life even this year, you might see many changes that happened to you. You just don't notice because well, your always with you. As you go through each day's activities and schedules and you may not see it daily. Just like when you have a small child and you are with that child each day, sometimes you don't notice the little changes in their growth. But someone else comes along that hasn't seen you both in awhile and might say "Wow, she has gotten so big!" God sees the changes, for he always brings good things. Stuff really is happening. Sometimes I will pull out a notebook and remember and write the changes. I especially do this every year at the end of the year. I remember and reminisce about each month and look back at all the different details of what has happened all around my life. From my family to my job, at church, at school. What have I learned this year? What did I go through? What did God accomplish through me? What are the many blessings that God poured out to me and through me to others? What healing happened in me? What freedom did he bring into my life and mind? Ask yourself these questions. Write them all down. Keep track of it. Sometimes we forget what God did and we forget to say thank you.
Trees are planted in one area normally and don't move.
But the tree experiences different seasons that can bring change to it's branches and fruit. Storms, sleet, snow, rain, hail and wind. If the tree is weak, it may break. If the tree is a tiny sapling, it may not make it through the winter. We are like trees in a way. Often times we tell God "Get me out of this trial!" We look for a way out. But that isn't really the answer. The real goal is to strengthen the tree, so that it can withstand any weather that is thrown upon it. The goal is not to escape our problems all the time. Yes God delivers us. But most of the time we have to face the trial and problem, and go through it to the end. We forget that the Lord is right there with us, seeing us through the end. The goal is to become strong in the Lord and in his power. The only way to do that is to draw closer to him, realizing that he is in you and you are in him. You are one. His strength is yours. As long as we live on earth, seasons will come and they will go. We must learn to abide and live in his strength, not our own. He wants us strong, so that we can raise our big huge branches and give cover to those that are broken and weak. He will use us to bring refreshing shade to those that are too weary from life, needing that desperate peace and rest. Our roots must go down deep into the rich soil of his love. The trees that get the most water are the ones that are the lowest, in the valley. That's where the water and the rivers are. We are planted right where God wanted us to be planted. Some wish they lived in another part of the world, others wish they were rich and lived in someone elses shoes. But God gave you your feet, to fit into your own shoes. Be content to be you, and to be the best you that he made you to be.
One that is loved so deeply and perfectly, that they will never be forgotten.
Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands... Isaiah 49:16
Through a divine appointment, I was able to meet one of the chaplains from the Men's Central Jail in Los Angeles. I met him at a casual dinner in Orange County. He happened to sit next to me, and we introduced ourselves, and exchanged information. A few months later, I received an email from him, saying he was putting together a small group to come into the prison and minister. I said yes, and the next thing I knew things started to happen. When it was all said and done, as one thing led to another, and the Holy Spirit began to lead, both my brother and I were set to go in together with our two guitars to lead worship and stay for 5-6 hours. It was smooth planning. I knew it was God. We had to send in a copy of our licenses and be cleared for that day. Years ago, I remember going into the jail to lead in worship. But this was different, because now the Lord had put me into ministry for inmates. We met on a Saturday morning. There was the chaplain, my brother and I, two other ladies and another gentleman. The chaplain gave us some basic rules and in we went. If you have never been to a jail, it is very intimidating. And one of the rules was to address every staff and deputy as "Sir." We had to leave our licenses at the front booth window and were given a badge. At no time were we to leave the chaplains side. And most of the day, we traveled in these freight elevators which were old, clanky and noisy, from floor to floor. Below is not the MCJ jail itself, but a sample picture that I found online.
We were told that the prison itself housed about 5000 men. That it was like a city in and of itself. They had their own hospital, and also it was connected to the courts, to where they have to be seen. Our wonderful chaplain took us to where the chaplains offices were, and led us to a book room, filled with books and tracks that they hand out to the guys. We then began to load up 2 carts, filled with Bibles and devotionals, many different books on the cross and the various subjects about the Bible. We packed our guitars in a closet for a service that was to take place later. Filled with anticipation, we headed back on the noisy, clanky elevators to the single rows, where the actual cells of the inmates were. I have done worship before in prisons, but have never been that close to their cells before. I wasn't sure what to expect! The chaplain had sent us a Youtube video about the prison, but quite frankly, it was pretty scary! Your talking about the heart of Los Angeles where the gang territories are. And some of the videos were filled with tattoos and colorful bad language, yelling and other sorts of activity. I'm sure it was true of some of the mods, but he took us to a few of the mods that were a bit more tame, and quieted down that afternoon. Or maybe it was a set up from God to ease us into this place and not scare the living daylights out of us. The first place we went to was a gay ward, where the inmates were housed in one huge room with bunkbed rows lined up in rows. I've never seen so many gay men in one place. You had to see it to believe it! The men were sure glad to see us, we were a sight for sore eyes, for they knew we were giving free things and books away. A few of the free items that were in great demand to inmates were small address books, date calendars, golf pencils, blank paper, puzzles and things to pass the time with. We weren't allowed to go in there, but could freely pass books thru a barred window. All you saw were hands held out thru the window. My brother and I noticed women in there. We looked at each other in question as to why on earth would they mix men and women so freely in this place? Right down to the hair cuts, body parts, feminine facial features and such. It was amazing, but later we realized these were no women, but transgenders. The chaplain asked my brother to pray for one of the guys thru the bars. The the chaplain yelled above the noise and inquired if any one of us spoke Spanish. I did, and the next thing I knew I was touching an inmate hand to hand, praying for him. My brother Ernic noticed how eager they were to receive our books on God and materials. Praise God!
We then moved onto another freight elevator and proceeded to a certain mod to pray for inmates waiting for us directly in their cells. Yes, we were able to go down their rows, passing each cell. On one side was a wall that had 4 flat screen TV's that were playing during the day while we were there. As we walked this aisle, on the other side was each cell, about 5 by 8 ft. Each had a small bunk, a metal toilet, a metal table and I think there was a sink. I thought to myself. I would rather bunk alone than with a cellmate, and that is good that they have their own space. Some wanted books and even prayer. Others wanted to be left alone. And they let you know it. A few prisoners were sleeping. A few were reading the articles, books, while some were writing letters. All different races and all different ages. I noticed one inmate had his walls lined with pics from different baseball teams. He had made murals somehow by glueing magazine and newspaper clippings together. It was an experience I will never forget. Its not a place that you walk into cocky or a know it all type of attitude, actually I felt very humbled yet compassionate, afraid and intimidated. There were so many emotions going on inside of me. I didn't say to much, but observed and handed out books and materials to those that wanted them. Many were very happy to see us and thanked us for coming.
Next stop was a break for lunch in which we made our way to another bottom floor where the employees and deputies ate. It was run by the inmates, and on this particular day being a Saturday, the cafeteria was fairly empty. I saw a wonderful fresh looking salad bar and loaded up my plate right there. It was a good lunch. The six of us visitors breathed easy and got to know one another. But we did have a schedule to keep, and were anxious to know which stop was next.
Our next stop was to make our way towards the prison chapel for a service we were to take part of with the inmates. It was a long and large room, with high ceilings, maybe 200-300 max capacity, not really sure. There were wooden pews and the stage was set up higher. My brother and I got our guitars and music and set up. We began to play and sing softly some worship songs as the guys began to filter in on their own from the different mods. That day we had about 30 or so. On any given day it varies, depending on if the deputies in charge allow them to come, or if there is bad behavior etc. We were told that at any time a lock down was possible, and if happened we as well would be locked down and have to wait till any situations were under control. But thankfully on this day all went well. We then had a great worship service. The guys really enjoyed the worship and we had an awesome time singing with them. We had passed out sheets with the words of the songs. You could definately feel the presence of God in that room. The atmosphere was one of joy and peace. There were many inmates who were believers in this chapel. We sat down after, and our chaplain took it from there. He did a great job preaching and teaching. The guys asked him questions. There was a freedom to converse. We all laughed together. We were supposed to be done at 3pm, but went on for another hour and the guys were totally fine with that. Once in a while, as the hall way double doors were stayed open, you could see some of the higher security inmates walk by with a guard. They wore an orange jumpsuit, and were chained, and at all times with a deputy. After the sermon, we were allowed to pray with some of the men. My brother Ernie and I prayed with an african american man who had a court case coming up. We linked arms all together, huddled and prayed.
For our first time, I believe it went pretty well. And I know we will be going back again when the time comes. I am quite thankful that God opened this door, so that I could not just engage with inmates thru the mail and doing Bible studies, but by face to face, bringing the light of God, His sweet love, smiles of genuine kindness and compassion, right into the prison cells.
(All of these pics are not the actual prison that we went to, as we couldn't take any cells or photos there inside, I took these off the internet as samples to give you an idea)
There is the everyday, there are our busy schedules, the same familiar routine and the ever longing for a new refreshing, a needed change for the better. I don't know about you, but this is what I have desired and longed for. Some people like the same routine, the feeling of doing the same thing everyday. Perhaps it's a safe feeling of security for them. That's great for these people, whatever makes you happy and whatever makes things click for you. But for me, I am one of those who have always liked change. And doing the same routine puts me in robot mode, and I hate that mode.
Well, most of our lives have that familiar schedule, including mine. So how do I cope with this since I am a unique person who thrives on change? The Lord has helped me and is still helping me. He is teaching me, and I am still learning to put forth this little strategy He has taught me from the Bible.
I really lean on and always go back to the scripture in Colossians 3:1-2:
If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on the things on the earth.
Here is a fresh example from even this morning. On my way to work this morning, I took the surface streets and hit every single light, which was so annoying. What should have taken me 20 minutes to reach my destination, took over an whole hour, due to road constructions, work traffic and red light signals. I did get impatient like anyone would. But then I heard this soft inner voice from the Lord, "Turn it around and come up here. Fix your mind on me. Set your mind on heaven and my presence and enjoy me." Now this does take some practice, and I don't mind being honest in saying I'm not perfect at it. But if you don't practice, you won't ever get there. So it's up to me to practice and discipline myself. It's either that or stay bored and aggravated with the morning traffic, and stay tethered to the world's way.
So how is this done you say? I will tell you how the Lord has shown me how to do it. It's the same thing as if the teacher puts an apple on the podium and explains how sweet and juicy it is, what a beautiful bright red and delicious color. Now the teacher says "Stop thinking about this apple. Now class, put your mind on something else." But you can't, because that darn apple is on the podium staring at you in the face. But then like the game goes, the clever teacher begins to exchange the apple for a bright citrus orange. It looks so sweet and ripe. The thought of the apple is gone bye bye.
So this game was the key of instruction for me. I had to take my mind off of the traffic and begin to let it wander to heaven up above. After all, isn't that really where my citizenship lies?
John 17:16 (Jesus said) They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.
Phil. 3:20 For our conversation is in heaven; from when also we look for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.
To see the face of Jesus and to picture Him before me. To envision myself even in heaven with Him, perhaps walking in the garden peacefully, or sitting by the river of life. (Rev. 22:1 You can imagine and envision many things from Revelation 22. This describes a lot about heaven) I then enter into conversation with Jesus and begin to just talk with Him. He is in heaven, but He also lives within me. I carry Him and His presence where ever I go. These thoughts take me there, and then the peace begins to flood my soul. His words comfort me, and His sweet, powerful love overcomes and stills my edginess about any traffic. I am wisked away by this rescuer of my heart. I truly believe this is one huge reason why God gave us our imagination. To dream and envision God and heaven. My goal as crazy as it may sound to you, is to live from there. To learn to carry His presence each day and always. I believe as I do this, I will be of some earthly good, bringing His kingdom down to earth. On earth as it is in heaven. We must therefore learn how it is in heaven. Because one cannot find peace on this earth. It only lies with Jesus.
Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. John 14:27
Through the finished work of Jesus, we now have citizenship in heaven and it is possible learn go to our home. I want all God has for me, and all that Jesus has paid the price for me to have. In His presence is fullness of Joy. This is the abundant life and it can be for you too...
Sometimes we can look at a very well known scripture and assume it's meaning. Like John 3:16. You begin to hear it and all of a sudden you stop in your tracks, "Wait, I know that scripture. Yes, I've already learned that one, I know it well." For God so loved the world...
Well I must admit, I have done the same thing with Jeremiah 29:11
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. (KJV)
This is one of those scriptures that we hold on to for comfort when we think of our future. God will restore us. I even have it in big letters on a banner that I've made with some nice scrapbook paper as a background. When ever I have needed encouragement for the future, I have looked at this to remind myself of God's plan and His unwavering goodness.
The interesting and clever thing about God's Word is that it's living and breathing. It's alive! And because of that fact, you can go back to that same verse again and again and learn
something different. A new facet, a new gem of revelation that you didn't see before. Yes, even with John 3:16. Give it a try.
As I pondered and repondered this wonderful and restorative verse of Jer. 29:11, the very last part tilted my brain abit. "To give you an expected end".
I have always seen that part as my goals finally coming to
pass! A break through in ministry, a prosperous and successful life, a bright career, my happy ever after! Has anyone out there ever thought the same thing? Are we speaking the same language? I have even thought at times "When the Lord delivers me from this evil and places me on top, on a solid ground of fame and fortune, that will be my expected end!
I can see now after recent revealing from the Holy Spirit, that this verse, is not speaking of any of anything like that. For that is a self centered view that is drawn from my thoughts and not God's thoughts. Let me explain more. Don't get disappointed, hang on a moment.
When you think about it, what it God's highest goal for us as His children? Very simply, it's family and closeness. It's being transformed into the Sons of God that know our birthrights and authority, through Jesus Christ. It's about relationship. And through the finished work of the cross and resurrection, we are one with Christ, with the Father and Holy Spirit. If that is really His goal then, can you see how dreaming and reaching for a successful ministry is way down on the totem pole of God's priorities? And even more of a twist, is that our expected end has already happened. It is finished.
Let's read it with that perspective in mind:
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil,
Didn't Jesus bring peace and protection through the new Covenant that He made with God? Which we get to enjoy and partake of in Christ by faith? God so loved the world, that His thoughts have been on us, that we would awaken to the plan of redemption and resurrection freedom through the obedience of His Son. He longed to bring back His creation, into His bosom and into His arms. He loves you and I, as a good Father should.
to give you an expected end.
that you and I would receive the redemption that Christ paid for and be transformed and mature into Sons that would take our place. Even creation is longing for this. And if so, how much more is God?
For the creation awaits in eager expectation for the children (Sons) of God to be revealed. Rom. 8:19NIV
Our expected end is to be a mature Son of God, living one with the Father. You can't get any closer than that. So, if we see through God's lenses into this scripture, we might also see something else that will give us great comfort. If we are having the right priorities in our thinking, we will find that being a mature Son of God has it's beautiful benefits. We don't draw close to God because of the benefits. We draw close to him because we love Him, and He loves us. But in that relationship, all is well. All needs are met. He is the love of our life, our delight. And everything we touch will be blessed, because we have put Him first. Thank you Father!
It is fun to meditate on God's Word. It's like hunting for buried treasure. And the Father has placed it there deep within the pages to find and to enjoy. Discover the basics of meditating on God's Word through this book I wrote. It gives the how to's in a practical and fun way. I even take you through different themes, where we practice meditating on love, healing, being blessed, being in Christ and freedom.
Jesus is our all, our beginning and our end. He is our final stop and final goal. And that's a beautiful thing indeed...
Come away from the world like we saw Jesus do...
And he withdrew himself into the wilderness, and prayed. Luke 5:16
The more we progress into these last days, we know by reading the Bible, that it shall grow more and more evil, but also the light shall grow brighter. We also know that the light dispels the darkness. Darkness hates light. And so we must be sure that our light is one that is so bright, the world will be able to immediately see the difference in us. What better way, than spending time with the Lord having His brightness rubbing off onto us.
It makes sense. What ever you spend the majority of your time on is what is gonna come out, in your thoughts first, then in your words and lastly in your action. Seeds planted produce a harvest. I remember back in the 80's the carrot juice craze. I even remember buying a juicer and joining in the craze. It was wonderful. I read back then about certain cases where people had some form of cancer and began to juice, especially with carrot juice to cleanse their system and wash out the toxins. I never knew anyone personally that this happened to, but I did read some cases. They said that they would juice pounds of carrots daily, and so much so, that their skin began to turn orange. This makes me think of what I'm trying to explain to you right now. If you live with the t.v. playing from morning till night, you are renewing your mind with that stuff. You'll go to sleep thinking about it. Everything comes in through our 5 senses. These are gateways into the soul. What we see matters, and what we hear matters. You might think "What's the big deal? I can control it."
It will matter when you try to spend that quiet, restful and intimate time with the Lord. You will find it's hard to turn off those thoughts you fed yourself with, and those pictures you saw during the week. If you fed yourself with anxiety and worry and fear. You won't be able to shut it off. The Lord is there, and He didn't go away. But you may feel far from Him, because it's you that went away. These times in which we live are so full of distraction, consumerism, road rage and you name it. We must protect and guard our hearts, our minds and what we see. No one can do this for us. I know because I have to do this for myself. These days it's been Twitter for me. I want to keep up with the news and how to pray for our government. But sometimes I can spend too much time online and need to put it down. Nothing is more important than intimacy with God. He is our life, our source and where our peace comes from. None of the world can give you peace or complete you. He is our rest. He accepts me and understands me. We get letters from inmates all the time that show us all different kinds of spiritual levels where they are at. They have to deal with a lot of junk! But then even there, there are some who have learned to discipline themselves and shut it out. They may put ear buds on and put worship music on to drown out the useless noise. I have some favorite inmates that write who are so positive and peaceful for Jesus. So as I hear this, with inmates in prison, I know it can be done.
As the days ahead come, the only way we can be sure to be a bright light with the love of God and His presence flowing through us, is if we have more of Him than we do of the world. The world didn't give itself for me, only Jesus did. The world doesn't care if I fall or fail, but Jesus does. Those that are so close to the Lord will be able to be sustained through any tough times ahead. And not only be sustained, they themselves will be a strong tower for those that are in need. That is what the Father wants. The goal is to have heaven flowing freely through our spirit, soul and body, so that what the world sees is Jesus.
Like the old hymn says "In the morning when I rise, give me Jesus...you can have all this world, but give me Jesus."
As we grow spiritually, I believe the Lord wants to teach us to learn to look to Him and keep our eyes there. That's where we find peace. We all go through stuff, for as long as we live on this earth, we all will be going through different situations and circumstances. That's life. But each of us can choose what we will focus on in those circumstances.
Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
The word "Looking" in the greek means to turn the eyes away from other things.
We are made up of spirit, soul and body. Each part has gates. The body has the physical gates of the eyes and ears, our smell, taste, touch and feel. If you were to stay in this phase, you would allow yourself to be affected always by what you see and hear. You would see a car accident and it would cause you to be distraught and distracted throughout your week. Our next phase is the soul gates which includes the will to rebel or obey, our emotions, imagination, our reason, conscience and subconscious. The subconscious is like a hard drive which stores all the past memories. Our conscience directs us to choose right from wrong. And if we stayed here and for instance were led by our imagination and emotions, and not by the Word of God, we would live our lives up and down, and soon be controlled by fear in every path. There is so much about the soul. But I just want to give you a quick overview.
But then lastly is our spirit. And the gates of our spirit are gates like worship, prayer, revelation, faith and hope, intuition and the fear of God, the reverence of God. This is where we were made to rule from. But in order to do this we renew our minds on God's Word, putting His thoughts, His Word into our minds, drenching it continually. This strengthens and grows us, bringing stability and a solid foundation to stand in any storm. We build a deep relationship with the Father God, and with our brother Jesus who is our friend and our husband, our King and our Lord. We soon come to know the Holy Spirit who comforts us, teaches us, leads us to be drawn to the Father, showing us all that the Father wants to say to us.
Things happen and disappointments will be, as long as we live here for these last days on earth. But as we look to Jesus and keep our faces turned there, He will calm us with His strength and love. And we will not need to be afraid of one thing, not one thing. Focused on His eyes, He will direct us and keep us steady.
An personal example that I can give you is some years ago when I had to go to the dentist. Like most people, it is not a favorite place to go for me at all! But I had to go, and I never expected to be in that chair for 4 hours!! With 2 root canals being done, so painful that I wanted to scream. The Lord was teaching me this exact thing I am telling you. He ministered to me so that day. I would not have been able to go through that time in the chair without Him. I saw His face in my mind and imagination. I only focused on His face so loving and so strong. He spoke to me in my spirit and encouraged me to stay on Him. What was 4 hours seemed much shorter because of looking to Jesus.
He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. John 15:5
But the person who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with him. I Cor.6:17
We become aware of His presence. He lives in us and goes wherever we go. So why not be more aware of that? A catholic monk who lived in the 1600's and lived in a Carmelite monastery in Paris, perfected this idea of living in the presence of Jesus. He had simple and one would think monotonous jobs in the monastery like washing dishes (one of my favorites) and fixing peoples shoes. People would come into his presence and right away would be in awe, for they would feel God's presence all around. When he washed the dishes, he would let every simple act give glory to God. There is a book out about His life and his quotes called "Practicing the presence of God."
I have learned and am still learning to do this. I am the dishwasher in my house, and each night there are plenty of dishes to wash and floors to mop and so on and so on. So as I come upon this each day, instead of dreading it and looking at the dirt, I look inward to Jesus. He is the one who became a servant on our behalf. I slow down and focus there, humbling myself, instead of complaining. It's not easy, and I didn't say it was. But we practice and practice makes perfect right? I encourage you to do this and to let His Spirit lead and guide you. As we do, we will see from our spirit and not through our physical eyes.
I love it when God confirms things that we are learning. For me it shows me I'm on the right track. So today is Feb. 27, 1918 and I just happened to check out today's devotion out of 'Jesus Calling". I would like to post that devotion to end this post.
Keep your eyes on me! Waves of adversity are washing over you, and you feel tempted to give up. As your circumstances consume more and more of your attention, you are losing sight of Me. Yet I am with you always, holding you by your right hand. I am fully aware of your situation, and I will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able to bear.
Your gravest danger is worrying about tomorrow. If you try to carry tomorrow's burdens today, you will stagger under the load and eventually fall flat. You must discipline yourself to live within the boundaries of today. It is in the present moment that I walk close to you, helping you carry your burdens. Keep Your focus on My Presence in the present. Jesus Calling Devotional by Sarah Young 2016
I know that is speaking to someone reading this and you are being so ministered to right now. This ministered to me as well. Keep your eyes on Jesus my friend, and you will be okay.
Desiring change in 2018? You don't have to go it alone. The Lord is your helper. When I have set some new goals and tried my best to keep them, I would realize finally that I left something out, when my goals failed. I forgot to ask the Lord for His help. I forgot to welcome and include His Word. Take for instance a very popular and familiar goal that many of us pick the beginning of the year, like "Losing weight," or "Getting back to regular exercise and healthy eating." Behind the scenes are the lies of the enemy that come against us so that these goals will for sure be sabotaged. One of his oldest tricks is that the enemy likes to make you think that his lies are your actual thoughts. That they come from you, and you only. And sometimes these lies and accusations go way back into our childhood. Remember that the Bible says When he lies, it is perfectly normal; for he is the father of liars. John 8:44 The Living Bible
It's difficult to begin something new when you have the old ringing in your ears all the time. Ever hear some of these common accusations?
You never succeed at this, you always blow it. This is for other people, not you.
This is the way you are, face it. It's too hard, there's no way you can do it.
You are too weak. You are nobody special, give up
The devil uses many of the same lies on lots of us. He has no new tricks, just uses the old ones over and over. Remember David and Goliath? The people were afraid of the giant, so they just assumed that they couldn't take him. And yes, they were right! On their own they couldn't. But we have God, and if we are believers then Christ lives in us, and we have every right to use and stand on His Word.
So before you try to conquer those goals for 2018 all by yourself, write out the lies that you hear, that try to defeat you before you start. Write them down. And I suggest that you do what is called a LIE BUST. For every lie go and look into God's Word and find the truth against that lie. Now you will have some ammunition. Write them side by side if you like.
Reject the old lies, and focus looking onto the truth. Here is an example:
This is this the way you are, face it. Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature:
old things are passed away; behold, all things are
become new. 2 Cor. 5:17
Your nobody special, give up. For I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Ps 139:14
Who cares about debt, buy it! The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want. Ps 23:1
Each morning, look at the truth, and picture your goals, see yourself achieving them with the help of Jesus. Ask Him to help you. Listen to yourself speak life. "These are my new habits for 2018. I will..."
Reject the lies and receive His truth over you. If you are a believer, then you are His child. Do you think that God the Father would not help his children? Of course He would. We must have simple faith and believe and trust Him. This is what you call a LIE BUST.
We must find the Bible verses to confront the lies and the old mindsets that we have had. If we don't do anything different, we won't have anything different. We must be sick and tired of the same old way. God is our greatest cheerleader and is more than willing to help us. The problem is no asks in faith. Begging and crying and whining is not asking at all. Jesus said,
These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. John 16:33
This makes you an overcomer! You have an overcomer living on the inside of you, Jesus. And He has made you an overcomer, a new creation. Your spirit is one with His spirit. When you look at your list, you should look at it with sheer joy, not fearful doubt. Joy knowing that he is on your side and you got this. Especially as you lean on him, His Word and His strength. Then when the achievement comes, all the glory will go to God! I'm not gonna listen to the old lies anymore. I am gonna listen to the truth. I am gonna think on the truth and see the truth and even speak the truth. It might not happen overnight, but it will happen. And knowing I'm not alone working on my goals is quite encouraging. We are loved and not forgotten.
For the Father himself loveth you, because ye have loved me, and have believed that I came out from God. John 16:27
I'm so glad we don't have to wait till we get to heaven to enjoy the company of Jesus, be refreshed in the presence of the Holy Spirit, and sit with the Father as He lovingly comforts us here on this earth, as we live in these bodies. Of course we learn to do this by faith. But by His goodness, He allows us to have these wonderful life changing experiences. Because He knows we need them in order to go through each day. He is our source of life. He is the one who fills our gas tank as it were. We run best on His love. And when we are lacking it, we desperately know it! We're grouchy, testy, there is a lack of peace, and we just know that something is missing. The flow of God's river of love is what is missing. This only comes by us spending time with the Lord.
In the same way you need quality time with your
spouse. When it's missing and you have your priorities off, you begin to know that something is off. But when you spend time together, talk, love, laugh or cry, there is a sweet nurturing that takes place, a filling up. You give some of you, and they give some of them. We feel taken care of and our love tank is good. It's the way God wired us. We need each other. Well, you start from the top. We need Him, and we need Him first. He has to be top priority. It's where we get our daily wisdom from, for all aspects of our life.
Sometimes I need a little help, and so I put some soft worship music in the background, even light a candle. I make sure I have some quiet time, and sometimes it's late at night, or early in the morning. I may read a bit out of the Bible to get my mind on Him, or just start talking and humbling myself, thanking God. Then I just talk to Him. But sometimes, much of the time, I just sit still, put my mind on Him. Imagine His presence all around the room, in me even. I imagine His arms out wide and I see myself hugging Jesus, or the Father, or the Holy Spirit who comes in as the breath and wind of God. I close my eyes and make myself focus all my attention on Him. He deserves all my attention, for He gives me all of his. I then drink of His peace. I breath Him in. The biggest thing I do is to enter into His rest, by faith.
There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his. Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief. (my note: many times we stop here, but it continues on...)
For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight; but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do. Hebrews 4:9-13
Three things I would like to point to here. 1. There is a "rest" for us. 2. The Word is also a person, Jesus. 3. Jesus is the one who did the work, and who does the work in us.
We try and we do and we strive, for what? To try some more. Just throw your hands up in the air, get your white flag out and wave it high, and say "I give, I can't do it anymore." Cast your cares on Him, for He really does care for you. He is the teacher. We are the follower. We are His workmanship. And when we work, He stops. When we rest, He works.
I receive of His love and His wonderful wisdom. Why is it so hard for us to receive? We have to learn to receive. We are told so much to give, give, give. How can we give if we're empty? This is the time to get filled up. And this source, this life giving river of life, just keeps on flowing, unstoppable it is always gushing from the throne of God. Just as in our physical body, we need water to live. When we are thirsty, we must drink water. So the same spiritually. When we are thirsty, we only can get the true water from true source!