Saturday, August 8, 2015
Back in February, I posted a prophetic blog called, "It's Moving Day" where I talked about the Children of Israel, and God's word to them to "get their supplies ready"(Josh. 1:11) since they would be crossing the Jordan to take possession of the land God was giving them.
Like the children of Israel, we've had to pack for several trips lately. And, I'll be honest. I really don't like packing. But, I really like getting away for vacation or rest, and the packing or "getting my supplies ready" is a necessary part of the preparation. It's really the same way with stepping into our promised land. God usually gives us assignments or ways we are to be preparing for the move into our destiny. It takes faith to do those assignments, because, I can guarantee you the enemy will be shouting in your ear that you are wasting your time.
It's important to understand that our preparation is actually the first steps of the journey. If you don't take those steps, you won't be boarding the plane. Or even worse, you might step into something without the necessary equipment you need to be successful once you arrive. Choosing to focus on preparing for a journey when you don't know where you are going requires faith.
It took me a while to figure it out, but God LOVES faith! He actually sets us up to be able to choose to respond in faith. Sometimes, when my circumstances look bleak and I still choose to respond in faith, I can feel His delight and pleasure. You see, He knows that nothing brings satan more pleasure than tripping up the sons and daughters of God, and causing them to falter, fall or doubt. When we respond in faith in spite of the roadblocks satan puts in our way, I think God is an extremely proud Father who is blessed by our belief and trust in Him.
More than once, during a particularly dark time, He has whispered the words to me, "Blessed are those who have not seen, but yet believe."(Jn. 20:29) Jesus was speaking to Thomas in this scripture. Poor Thomas. He went down in all of history as 'the doubter', or the one who had to see and feel the nail scars in Jesus' hands, before he would believe. But, haven't all of us at one time or another been like Thomas, where we had to see it to believe it? Jesus' response to Thomas was not condemning, but revealed again what delights His heart.....faith.
There is a reason that God told the Israelites as they were preparing to cross over into their promised land, to not let the Book of the Law depart from their mouths, and that they were to meditate on it day and night. Our greatest asset in the battle over our faith, other than His very Presence, is His word in our mouths and in our minds.
Have you ever noticed it's impossible to focus on two things at the same time? If we are focused on what God is saying, then we can't focus on what the enemy is saying. Choosing to speak forth His word takes it a step past meditation, where we are actually coming into agreement with what He has said and aligning our spirit, soul, and body with the Holy Spirit. There is power in this type of agreement.
I love taking walks in the evening. I enjoy praying out loud while I walk, and since it's dark except for the gentle light from the streetlights, my neighbors don't have to wonder if I'm crazy. To the casual observer it may look like I'm just getting some exercise. But, it's become lots more than that for me. For the past six months, it's become my time of declaring and coming into agreement with what I hear Him saying over my life and the life of my church body. This has been one of my assignments for this season. I've come to relish those times, and I've noticed that a definite strengthening takes place each time. My body may come home from the walk a bit more tired, but I find my spirit and soul are soaring and encouraged, and best of all, my faith level has risen.
I haven't received all of my promises yet, so faith is required to declare the things that are not, as though they were. I don't want to be like the Israelites who chose to grumble, complain and focus on all the impossibilities instead of believing God. Scripture tells us that the thing that kept them out of their promised land was unbelief.
I believe we're in a season of crossing over into promises, and the grace is available to cover and assist us all in the move if we will lean into His goodness, and choose to believe He is who He says He is. If you haven't been preparing for the move, it isn't too late. Ask Him to identify the promises over your life and what you can do to prepare to step into them. Place your hand in His and get ready for the journey of a lifetime.
Thursday, June 11, 2015
Growing in our understanding of our identity and our beliefs about God are important keys to praying more effectively. We will pray out of who we believe we are, and who we believe Him to be. If we believe ourselves to be paupers and our God to be angry, we will never have faith to pray prayers that accomplish much at all.
When Adam and Eve sinned in the garden, in a very true sense they gave up their ‘keys’ of authority to the enemy. God had commissioned them to rule and reign, but they were no longer able to do this. Then, when Jesus defeated satan, and the power of sin and death on the cross, in a very real way He retrieved our keys of authority and gave them back to us. He restored us to a place of authority.
In Matthew 16:19, Jesus tells His disciples, “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” This must have seemed bizarre to the disciples, and almost too good to be true. I can just imagine the amazed looks on their faces as they tried to wrap their heads around what Jesus was saying.
Now, over two thousand years later, I think we are still trying to wrap our heads around these words. Jesus has given us an incredible degree of authority and responsibility as revealed in this verse. He has given us the keys of the kingdom.
Imagine someone giving you a brand new car. They hand you the keys and say it’s yours to drive whenever you want. If you never actually go and put the keys in the ignition, the car will never go anywhere. In a similar way, we’ve been given the keys to the kingdom. But, we have to use them!
In my bible, Matthew 16:19 is cross-referenced with Isa. 22:22, “I will place on his shoulder the key to the house of David; what he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open.” In biblical times kings would wear keys attached to the shoulders of their royal robes. These keys represented their authority. These kings had absolute authority in their land. It is said that they would raise their right hand to signify a ‘yes’ answer and the door would be opened. They would raise their left hand to indicate a ‘no’ answer and the door would be closed. Our authority is similar to that mentioned in this verse. We have been given authority to ‘open doors’ and ‘shut doors’ in order for the kingdom of God to advance. We use our keys by making decrees and declarations in line with the will of Heaven.
We’ve been well aware that we are a royal priesthood as seen in I Pt. 2:9. But, somehow we overlooked the royal part and always focused on the priesthood part. The phrase royal priesthood would indicate that we not only have the role of a priest, but also that of a king.
The last twenty years we have seen hundreds and hundreds of houses of prayer spring up all over our nation. Many have focused on the priestly anointing, worshiping and petitioning God through worship and prayer. It’s been a beautiful thing. But, a new thing is springing up as God is revealing a fresh wave of our true identity in Him as the King’s sons and daughters who walk in His authority. Our role as royal priests is not only to worship and petition, but to declare royal decrees.
The key to the house of David is mentioned in Isaiah 22:22. David is known for his intimacy with God and his heart of worship. This is very significant for us as we began to understand our place of authority. Our keys must operate out of hearts that are rooted in worship and intimacy with the Lord. There is no authority apart from intimacy with Him.
It is no wonder that satan does just about anything to keep us from praying. He is well aware I am sure of the power of our prayers and would like to keep us unaware of our authority as sons and daughters of the King of Kings.
I am asking the Father for greater revelation of the authority He has given us through Jesus Christ. I am asking that He raise up an ever increasing army of sons and daughters who have sown into the secret place with Him, and are eager to take up their keys and use them to enforce the victory that He has already won.
Wednesday, April 22, 2015
I saw a picture during worship this past Sunday of the Tin Man from the Wizard of Oz. I remembered that when Dorothy and her friends found the Tin Man he was in bad shape. His joints were rusty and unable to move. In other words, he was stuck. He wanted to move forward but couldn't.
Many in the Body of Christ feel like this right now. The enemy has waged war against you on every side and you find yourself feeling hemmed in, unable to move. You feel stuck. You may feel that your options have been reduced and there are no solutions for you.
Dorothy took the oil can and began to apply the precious oil to the Tin Man's joints. It wasn't long until he began to move freely. I felt the Holy Spirit releasing hope through this simple picture. The oil of the Holy Spirit is available to be applied to every difficult situation and circumstance that has us bound and boxed in.
It is significant that Dorothy applied the oil that enabled the Tin Man to step into freedom. If you carry Jesus Christ within, then you carry the oil, and are a releaser of this very substance of the Spirit to those around you. As carriers of hope, you release the life and Presence with your words, love, and touch.
Tin Man wanted to go on the journey because he was in search of a 'heart'. As we release the freedom and life of the kingdom to those around us, many will find their true heart for the very first time. The oil that He has given us to share changes hearts. Hearts that were once hard, cold, and indifferent, become soft as He gently massages in the oil.
Remember how Dorothy and her friends all linked arms as they walked together down the Yellow Brick Road? I see the Body of Christ moving forward like this. It's like in Joshua 1:14b, when Moses had given them the instructions to "help your brothers until the Lord gives them rest, as he has done for you, and until they too have taken possession of the land that the Lord your God is giving them."
In other words, we are to not only seek to move forward and obtain our destiny, but, like Dorothy, we are to help those around us find theirs as well.
What is transpiring now is bigger than just a few people getting victory and stepping into their Promised land. This is a time of corporate breakthrough, and many moving forward in power, love, and unity, each stepping more and more fully into the plans of God.
The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the afflicted; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to captives and freedom to prisoners. - Isaiah 61:1
Thursday, April 16, 2015
All of this reminded me of Nehemiah when he sought to rebuild the wall that surrounded Jerusalem. Nehemiah had a vision, purpose, and God-ordained plan. But Sanballat, who represents the enemy in this story, began to oppose Nehemiah. It's important to notice how he opposed Nehemiah, because it is often the same way satan seeks to oppose us today.
Sanballat's language in Neh. 4:1-2 is condescending and meant to intimidate. You can hear the mocking in his voice when he says, "What are those feeble Jews doing? Will they restore their wall? Will they offer sacrifices? Will they finish in a day? Can they bring the stones back to life from those heaps of rubble-burned as they are?
But, the thing that angered Sanballat and his cronies the most was that the building of the wall continued to go forward and the gaps were being closed.(Neh. 4:7)
The "gaps" represent entry points or open places where the enemy can penetrate and come in freely to attack. I feel we are in a time of God 'closing up the gaps' and taking away the devil's opportunity to attack and harass us. It's an important time to walk hand-in-hand with the Holy Spirit as He guides us through whatever the process of 'closing the gaps' looks like in each of our lives. I think for many it can feel like upheaval, but it's important to stay the course right now and see the Spirit's plan through to completion. In many situations He is rebuilding foundations, so the old foundations have to be removed first. He is healing hearts and replacing lies with truth so that the enemy no longer has access to our hearts.
But, another thing that leaps out at me from this story is how prayer played a part in their victory over the threats of the enemy. Nehemiah was an amazing leader, and each time the threats came he didn't resort to his own ingenuity, but he leaned into God to receive his plans and strategies.The strategies were simple, but amazing, and involved a corporate effort and intentional care for one another.
In Neh. 4:13, Nehemiah shares, "Therefore I stationed some of the people behind the lowest points of the wall at the exposed places, posting them by families, with their swords, spears, and bows." And later he shares in vs. 17 how his builders were trained to work with one hand and carry a weapon in the other. What a great picture of how we are to move forward with the plans of God!
Earlier Nehemiah shared that the ".....People worked with all their heart"(4:6), and then they were taught the importance of warfare and prayer as they worked. It's a winning combination! As a church body, we are to shore up the exposed places and declare freedom and breakthrough for those who are in the process of 'closing the gaps' in their lives and families. We do this through our prayers and declarations that release God's kingdom into their lives.
In a city the walls represent peace, prosperity, and protection. As God's kingdom moves in, He establishes these things in our lives, our cities and our nations. It's time to partner with Him and work with all our heart to build what He is building. The gaps will not be closed and the walls rebuilt without prayer, and we must learn to wield our swords in sync with His Spirit.
Nehemiah had someone with a trumpet stay near his side. When he needed to gather the people and rally them to help one another build and fight, he would have the man blow the trumpet. I believe the Spirit is blowing that trumpet now through prophetic voices to rally those who will build, defend, and contend, for the sake of the kingdom.
In closing, here is a great word by LanaVawser of Australia. She is one of many prophetic voices trumpeting the rally call. http://www.elijahlist.com/words/textonly.html?ID=14482
Saturday, March 14, 2015
But, today I felt the Lord was inviting me to take a closer look, so I did.
Here is the scripture passage where the phrase is found:
"The days are coming," declares the Lord, "when the reaper will be overtaken
by the plowman and the planter by the one treading grapes. New wine will
drip from the mountains and flow from all the hills." Amos 9:13
As I took a closer look, I soon began to realize that this verse is a beautiful picture of the great harvest we all are anticipating. Because I had been so used to skimming over the verse without pausing to consider what all it involves, I took some time to try and picture everything.
If we are stepping into the season where the plowman overtakes the reaper, then basically it means that the harvest will be SO GREAT that the ones reaping, or bringing the harvest in will have a massive amount of work to do. It will be so great a harvest and come in so quickly that the one who plows up the ground for planting the next crop (those who pray and sow the seeds), will overtake those who are still gathering the harvest from the last crop. What an incredible picture!
But, it gets better. The next part of the verse was even more confusing to me. How could the planter of the grapes be overtaken by the one treading the grapes? There is no good explanation except that a SUPERNATURAL ACCELERATION is taking place where there will hardly be any time at all between the time a seed is planted in someone's heart to the time it will bear fruit unto salvation.
The last part of the verse remarkably exceeds the other two. New wine will actually"drip from the mountains and flow from all the hills", indicating an even greater level of supernatural involvement of Heaven coming to earth. It bypasses the planting and reaping process altogether, as the wine amazingly flows from the hills.
I've been around the church long enough to see lots of evangelistic campaigns come and go. These campaigns have been great and brought in a measure of harvest for the kingdom. But, I feel that what is coming will be so BEYOND man's abilities and efforts to produce a harvest that everyone will recognize it is a God thing.
So, what is our part to play?
First, we can partner with the Spirit of God to pray in the harvest that we all long to see. In a very real sense, we are like the ones sowing. As we pray, we sow seed into the harvest that will surely come. We acknowledge that apart from His coming and pouring out His Spirit, we will not see the fruit we desire to see.
Second, we prepare. Just like parents who prepare their nursery and home for the birth of a child, we should be anticipating the arrival of the new ones who are going to be coming into the kingdom. How will we take care of them? How will we disciple, equip, raise them up, and release them? We will need strategies from Heaven in order to steward well the coming harvest.
Third, we faithfully work the fields until the Spirit of the Lord comes like in Amos 9:13. There isn't any mention in this verse of sitting on the sidelines until this day comes. Those who are going about their daily work of plowing, planting, reaping and treading will most likely be the first to experience the influx of the great harvest. The miracles will begin to happen right before their eyes and through their hands.
I am reminded of a movie I saw years ago about the Amish community. When the harvest of one farm was ready, they would ring a bell that could be heard at a great distance. When men, women, and children from the community heard the bell, they would drop what they were doing and head to the farm to help gather in the harvest. This scene was such an amazing prophetic picture of the coming great harvest. It will take the entire Body of Christ partnering together to gather the harvest, because it will be so great.
Amos 9:13 is a picture of Divine blessing, favor, and acceleration. I am so stirred to partner with the Holy Spirit to see this season come where the the "plowman overtakes the reaper".
Holy Spirit fall on your church to arouse every heart to hunger for You and align with the plans and purposes of Heaven. Shore up every weak place, man every station, and raise up the sowers and harvesters to work the fields. May your new wine drip from the mountains and flow down from the hills.
Thursday, February 12, 2015
Though we are just halfway through the second month of the year, it seems like everything has moved into high gear. By high gear I mean that situations, circumstances, issues, relationships, etc. are being shifted and shaken to bring about the purposes of God in our lives. Things are moving quickly.
I was also reminded of the scenario where Joshua and the children of Israel were told that they were about to take possession of the land that the Lord had given to them. Joshua's instructions to his people were simply, "Get your supplies ready". In other words, we are about to move and you need to decide what you can take with you and what you should leave behind.
We are in a similar season now. God has been preparing many and positioned us to move forward to take possession of the land He has given to us. But, there are things that we can and should take into that land, and things that need to be left behind. We need to take with us a foundational belief that God is good, and a revelation knowledge of His love along with an identity that believes that we are beloved sons and daughters. We need to leave behind past failures, wounds, offense, unforgiveness, and broken relationships.
As we prepare to take the land, our stance is important. The children of Israel and those of Joshua's generation were use to being part of a military culture. War was common and so was wartime terminology. They understood it was a military move to take possession of the land.
The odds were stacked against the children of Israel. Every 'ite' imaginable was living in the land marked off for Israelites and they weren't planning on leaving.
And just like any time the great clan moved forward, they did so with the Ark of the Covenant ahead of them. The Ark of the Covenant was the very Presence of God in their midst. The people were given firm instructions to follow the Ark of the Covenant, "since you have never been this way before" (Josh 3:4).
Though we live in a totally different day and age, our need to follow the Presence is just as important. In fact, you won't get to the land He has for you without following the Presence.
If you continue reading in Joshua 3, you will find that the Lord reveals His battle strategy to the Israelites. They were to obey the Lord's commands and then He would drive out their enemies before them. God would do it, but their part was to obey.
This is much like where I feel we are today. The stakes are high and entering into our full inheritance depends on following the Presence and obeying Him as He leads us and tells us what to do.
I have never enjoyed moving or anything about the process. It is often messy, tiring, stressful, and can be very frustrating. It stretches us to our limits and causes us to have to deal with stuff we don't want to have to deal with.
For many, the heat has been turned up and the pressure is on to get rid of unwanted things in our lives. A dissatisfaction with the status quo is causing many to allow the light of the Spirit to put His finger on the things that will be excess baggage for the journey or hinder them from taking their land.
The last time my husband and I moved, I said I never wanted to move again. But, once we were settled and I began to enjoy the benefits of our new home, I was so glad we had moved. The new place made all the effort of moving totally worth it.
The story of the children of Israel moving into their promise land is a picture of God's heart for every believer. The Israelites had to leave their bondage behind in Egypt and put their trust in God to lead them into a land they had not yet seen. Stepping into our inheritance and destiny will take effort and our willingness to leave our bondage behind, all the time putting our trust in Him to lead us. The fulfillment of possessing our own promise land will far exceed the cost.
So, it's time to get our supplies ready. It's moving day!
Thursday, January 22, 2015
All of this got me to thinking about life, setting goals, and aiming to hit our goals. Just like my husband's trusty bow sometimes needs to be tweaked a bit in order to hit the target, we often need to tweak what we are doing so we can began to experience a greater level of success in actually fulfilling our own goals. You have probably heard the old saying, "He who aims at nothing is sure to hit it".
So, what does it look like to aim at our life goals? Aiming to hit our goals is really just the steps we take, whether big or small, in the direction of our goal. Something that has been incredibly helpful to me is to realize that small steps over time still get me where I want to go. Don't get me wrong. Big steps are good, too, but we often get bogged down or overwhelmed when we try to bite off more than we have time or energy to pursue.
For instance, right now my walk in closet that I share with my hubby is in pretty terrible shape. It's the one spot in my house that has the right to be messy. My closet over the holidays served as my hiding spot for gifts and quick wrapping sessions which I did on my ironing board that stands in the middle of the floor(yes, it's a large closet). There are several baskets of laundry waiting to be sorted through, and who wants to do laundry when you have family home for holidays? And last, but not least, there are shoes scattered all over the floor waiting to be reassigned to their super organized shoe box stacking system.
I'll be honest, I could spend several hours working on my closet, but I don't tend to have several hours on any given day that I could devote to closet organization. So, how can I move toward my goal of having an organized closet? What works for me is to make a decision to spend 10 to 15 minutes a day working on the closet until I have the task completed. If I miss a day, that's OK. Just pick it up again the next day. Each of those 10-15 minute cleaning sessions is 'aiming' at the goal of having a clean and organized closet.
This is just a silly example, but you get the idea. We have to ask ourselves some questions: what is my goal? And, what am I doing to move towards my goal?
I've experienced first-hand the frustration of unmet goals and unfulfilled dreams. That frustration helped push me to some practical steps that pulled me out of the unmet dream doldrums. Here are a few thoughts to ponder as you gear up for a groundbreaking year of breakthrough into your dreams:
Take some time to give your dreams the Prov. 16:3 treatment. Solomon wisely tells us, "Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed." Many times as we do this, our heart, motives, and methods are purified in the light of His Presence. You want Him to be the wind beneath your wings, so wait before Him for His methods, timing, and strategies.
Did you fulfill the goals you set last year? If not, why not? Be honest now. An ability to be candid with yourself is an important first step to getting started to achieve your goals.
Do you have a plan for fulfilling your goals? Just making some goals is not enough. Get practical and do some brainstorming about what it will take to actually reach your goals. Make a plan.
What steps can you take to achieve your plan? Sometimes our goals seem so daunting that we fearfully balk and refuse to move at all. Learn to take baby steps. Set small, realistic steps to take daily or weekly that will advance you forward in your plan to reach your goal.
Did you ask for any advice? Reaching out to ask for help can sometimes be intimidating, but once it's done, can also be one of the most powerful motivators. Talking with someone who can move you closer to your goal will make your goal seem more of a possibility. Some people choose to stay in the "dream" mode and never pull their dreams down to reality.
Did you read anything or listen to anything to grow in the area of your desired goal? Because writing has been an area of desired growth for me, the past two years books on writing have been at the top of my Christmas list. I have a lot to learn, and choosing to glean from the wisdom of others further down the road just makes good sense.
Taking some time to tweak the aim of your dream-fulfilling bow is time well spent. I believe God places His dreams in our hearts and delights in walking out the process with us to see us hit the target of ours and His dreams fulfilled.
Dream big this year and by all means AIM!
Friday, January 2, 2015
This morning I took a good hard look at the giants in my life. Not exactly a fun experience. But, I learned a few things as I pondered my response to these formidable foes.
Our giants reveal a lot about where God wants to take us in the Spirit. It may be hard to understand, but God uses and even allows the giants in our life to grow us up into Him. I always use to wonder why God allowed the giants to be in the Promised land. The Israelites had come such a long way and overcome so many obstacles to make it there, only to find their enemies inhabiting the land that was rightfully theirs. But, God in His wisdom knew that the process, growth, and change that happens in those who learn to overcome, is much more valuable than a piece of real-estate. He is after the glory-to-glory process that we eventually come to know as true riches.
We often find ourselves in similar situations. We finally make it to the land of our dreams, what we have prayed and fought for, only to find an inconvenient giant squatting on our land. It is in those moments that we are faced with multiple decisions. Am I suppose to fight? How am I to fight? What are the weapons I can use?
The truth is, we have a choice not to fight. But, a choice not to fight sends us on a return trip to Egypt, because essentially we again become enslaved. We have given dominion to an uninvited giant.
As I thoughtfully looked at the giants I am facing, I asked God for His battle strategy for this season. Though every giant may require a different battle strategy, I want to share a few of the things I heard Him say to me:
1. Your gaze is everything. Don't look to your own strength, ingenuity, or even spirituality to overcome your giants. Lift up your eyes to see where your Help comes from. I am the Maker of Heaven and Earth and I can certainly equip and empower you to overcome.
2. Don't forget that you are meant to be an Overcomer. Even if you have already fought the same enemy many times and lost, defeat is not your destiny. Look to me for new strategies. I do not set you up for failure, but intended victory.
3. Repent of unbelief. Remember that those who died in the desert did not enter their promised land because of unbelief. Unbelief often manifested in grumbling, murmuring, and complaining. Refuse to partner with unbelief and speak words of life and faith.
4. Pick up your stones. Just like I gave David a sling and five smooth stones, I will give you exactly what you need to overcome. Five smooth, primitive stones propelled by the wind of the Spirit are always more powerful than the best man-made devices or strategies.
I've never been one to look for a battle, or even enjoy watching one, but I know that I am created to be an Overcomer. Years ago I would have laughed if you had told me that God intends for me to be a great woman of faith. I didn't resemble that at all. But, the giants in my land have been a huge indicator to me that I am destined, and on my way to become a woman of faith. Though their mocking voices taunt with lies from the pit, a much louder voice resonates deep within, "Daughter of destiny arise! You were made for such a time as this. Lock eyes with Me and together we will bring down your enemies."
What giants are you facing? You, too, are destined to be an Overcomer!