Thinking on paper

Into everyone’s life something random must fall. This is where my random-ness falls.

Mustard Seed Faith

Jesus: Because you have so little faith. I tell you this: if you had even a faint spark of faith, even faith as tiny as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, “Move from here to there,” and because of your faith, the mountain would move. If you had just a sliver of faith, you would find nothing impossible (Matthew 17:20 VOICE).

The other day the Lord spoke to me about mustard seed faith and I’ve been pondering the exchange. He asked me “What size faith do you have?” I’d like to believe I have great faith, but when He asked me that question, I realized I did not. You see, I have been praying for a few personal things a number of years now with no sign of my prayer being answered. This, the Holy Spirit showed me, is not because Papa isn’t interested in answering my prayer. It is because He is interested in my professed and private level of faith.

Image courtesy of: https://pixfeeds.com/images/8/327116/1200-484263883-mustard-flowers-with-seeds.jpg

I want to move mountains, I want to rival the apostle Paul and the prophet Elijah in faith level, I want to see Jesus do what only He can do. However, I won’t if my faith isn’t at least mustard seed size. This is determined by the thoughts between my ears that escape from my lips. I have come to believe there is great wisdom in Psalm 141:3 “Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips (NKJV)”. If I am not professing my faith and belief in Papa keeping His word, then I am professing doubt and unbelief. The Holy Spirit showed me, very gently, how I have been sabotaging my own prayers.

Hebrews 11: 1 tells us that “faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen“. Papa wants to grow my faith, He wants to see me move beyond allowing disappointment and discouragement to take root and into a level of seeing my personal petitions come to fruition. It is not unheard of, it is not impossible. He can move mountains and so can I, with faith as small as a mustard seed.

I write this as an encouragement. Papa has never, ever failed me and I know He never will. He will answer my prayers, and I will no longer speak doubt over them. He loves me, He is for me, He is my greatest cheerleader. He wants to show me how to move mountains, and He will show you too!

What are you believing for? What size is your faith?

Trust Is Power

The other night I was listening to the TV before falling asleep. The Duracell commercial was playing as I closed my eyes so I wasn’t paying much attention, until the tag line. “Trust is power.” It gripped me in that moment; I have not been able to let it go.

I’ve been in a season for a bit now where the highs and lows have been extreme. There has been a lot of tears, discouragement and disappointment, yet also laughter, joy and a realization that I’m not all alone. I would be lying if I said I have enjoyed every moment. A lot of it has sucked and sucked to the point where I’ve wanted to drive very far away and never come back. I have felt forgotten at times, overwhelmed, unappreciated, used, etc. But…trust is power.

You see, people will fail, disappoint, overwhelm, use, abuse, and ignore me. But God never fails. He always knows right where I am and what I need, and I find then that I’m not alone.

Trust is power. The enemy has been wreaking havoc lately and, frankly, I have let him. I lost sight of who I trusted in the moment of human weakness, but that one tag line from a battery commercial was the thing I most needed to refocus and recenter.

Trust truly is power. We are children of God! We are more powerful because of our trust in Him for He never fails, never forsakes and never leaves us on our own. He has our back and He knows what our future holds. The devil knows this, so he will do his best to cause us to question our trust in God and waver in our walk.

Not today, Satan. Not today.

Trust is power.

And those who know Your name will put their trust in You; For You, Lord, have not forsaken those who seek You (Psalm 9:10 NKJV)

But as for me, I trust in You, O Lord; I say, “You are my God.” (Psalm 31:14)

Believing Our Words

06716d14a5e50e76ff84a12b669ad104-prayer-request-so-true.jpg I’ve had a recurring thought pop through my head lately, to which I’ve become more attuned and attentive. It has taken a few different shapes and gone through many iterations, yet, it has the same base. Do I truly believe the words I sing in praise/worship songs and those I confess from Scripture? Do I have them so ingrained in my heart that when I open my mouth I know those words are true and faithful? Scripture is filled with examples of the power our words hold, as well as admonitions and teachings on how best to use our words.

In the beginning Papa created the world by speaking it into existence. He spoke. He saw. power of wordsHe declared it was good. He created man in His image and His likeness, which means we also have the power to create with our words. Proverbs 18: 21 tells us death and life are in the power of the tongue and we will eat the fruit of it. It is very important we understand the words we choose are the words which shape our very atmosphere.

I am not writing about our word choices. What has so captivated my attention is my belief, or unbelief, in what I am declaring. My faith in God and His word. Words are declarations and decrees. Praise and worship songs, prayer, regular conversations, secular songs – all are declaration and decrees. What is it I truly believe when I lift my voice and sing?

tumblr_n0bxmuL9fb1swm1iso1_400As a church, when gathered in worship or when alone, do we believe the words we are singing? Are they making an impact in our hearts and lives? For example, when we sing “Nothing shall be impossible
Your kingdom reigns unstoppable
We’ll shout Your praise forevermore
Jesus our God unstoppable” (Unstoppable God, Elevation Church) are we actually grasping how unstoppable He is? Do we fully know that nothing is impossible with Him? Or, are we simply singing along because the words are in front of us and we aren’t really paying attention to what it says? Another example is Break Every Chain. In this one, we are declaring the power in the name of Jesus to break every chain. Are we understanding the depth in these few simple words? It is easy to become caught up in the snappy beat, or the heart-tugging melody, yet miss the richness and power of the lyrics. The opposite is also true, we may not care for the melody or beat and therefore, completely miss the powerful message of the words.

What I’ve been thinking about recently has been convicting. The Holy Spirit pointed out my deafness to my confession through song because of familiarity. The same of prayer. Don’t ever discount those dry places and seasons – they teach a lot! I lost the beauty and vision of God when I stopped paying attention and simply put myself on auto-pilot. I had a crises of faith, I suppose you could say. Since He spoke so sweetly to my heart about this, I have had a renewed interest in what comes out of my mouth and my attentiveness to it. Do I still have fails? Yes. I’m not perfect, but I’m perfectly human and divinely loved. I pay closer attention to the words I sing; and I believe He is who He says He is, He does what He says He will do and His Word is living and powerful and never returns void. I believe what I am declaring through song, through Scripture and through my word choices.

Do you believe?

 

Back to Eden

By Thomas Cole - http://www.the-athenaeum.org/art/detail.php?ID=8417, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=182975I have this amazing friend who, because she thinks out of the box, challenges me to do the same. Once, while out for coffee, she asked me “What was Adam’s sin?” and I had to think. The most common answer is he ate of the forbidden fruit, which is true. But, is that actually the sin? Other’s would say he didn’t stop Eve, even though Scripture tells us he was with her when she ate the fruit. Also true. Before you suck in all the air from the room and get ready to charge me up, bear with me. I promise, I am going to a deeper level with this.

Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth” (Genesis 1: 26-28 NKJV).

Perhaps Adam’s sin was not that he ate of the forbidden fruit, but that he forgot he was already like God.  He may even have lived eternally had the fall not occurred. Scripture tells us God made man and woman in His own image, according to His likeness. God breathed life into Adam. I believe Adam was no stranger to the supernatural while in the garden. After all, God walked with him and Eve in the cool of the evening; they were able to look upon His face and take in all His glory. I’d imagine some supernatural capability would be needed there. I wonder what they talked about, but that is for another day! Adam was also given the immense responsibility to name each animal (Genesis 2:19-20). Since there are so many animals, I’d like to think he had supernatural ability in that too! All in all, they had it made in this spectacular garden with God.

The serpent was the shrewdest of all the wild animals the Lord God had made. One day he asked the woman, “Did God really say you must not eat the fruit from any of the trees in the garden?”

“Of course we may eat fruit from the trees in the garden,” the woman replied. “It’s only the fruit from the tree in the middle of the garden that we are not allowed to eat. God said, ‘You must not eat it or even touch it; if you do, you will die.’”

“You won’t die!” the serpent replied to the woman. “God knows that your eyes will be opened as soon as you eat it, and you will be like God, knowing both good and evil.”

The woman was convinced. She saw that the tree was beautiful and its fruit looked delicious, and she wanted the wisdom it would give her. So she took some of the fruit and ate it. Then she gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it, too. At that moment their eyes were opened, and they suddenly felt shame at their nakedness. So they sewed fig leaves together to cover themselves (Genesis 3:1-7 NLT).

Part of me wants to believe animals could either a.) speak in our language, or b.) Adam and Eve could understand the animal language and converse with them as well. I’m willing to believe option b; how else could Eve understand the serpent speaking to her? The point is, she did. But, she really flubbed her answer, didn’t she? God never said they couldn’t touch it, He simply told them not to eat it. Now, Adam was with her, so why didn’t he jump in to the conversation? We don’t know if he did, or if he didn’t, Scripture doesn’t say. But, he was with her. She added something to God’s directive regarding the tree in the middle of the garden and the serpent, being the shrewdest of all the wild animals, took advantage of it. He added a lie of his own: You won’t die!” the serpent replied to the woman. “God knows that your eyes will be opened as soon as you eat it, and you will be like God, knowing both good and evil.” (vs 4-5)

God created us, not only in His image and likeness, but with free will. He challenges us, but they are only as difficult as we make them out to be. Adam and Eve were given a simple command with a simple reason. But, they forgot who they were and believed a lie, and they fell.

Since my friend asked me the question above, I have been meditating on the creation story. I believe the tree with the forbidden fruit was a downgrade and demotion for Adam and Eve. This is speculation, but it would seem the reason for God’s command regarding the tree was that He did not want them to also carry the burden of the knowledge of good and evil.  They were already like God by His creation, they walked in and with the supernatural, supernaturally provided for, able to walk with God and gaze upon His face. They had everything going for them, He blessed them and showed them favor. I’m even willing to guess aging wasn’t a factor for them either, since the Tree of Life had not been denied them. When God said they would die if they ate the fruit, He was right. They were already like God, they didn’t need fruit to make them so and because they disobeyed, they paid the price. They were booted from the garden, lost the personal fellowship with God along with His health and wellness benefits. To make matters worse, blood was shed to provide clothing for them, and aging began. They had become outcasts. God still cared for them, but now they

When God tells us something, He is not going to complicate it, He is not going to make it more than it is. He’ll make it understandable. Our responsibility is to heed His voice and direction through obedience, keeping to the simplicity He established. We must know that we know that we know that He always has good in store for us, no matter what we see in front of us. We must discern the voice of the Spirit from the cacophony of voices we hear daily, and we must never, ever, ever forget who we are!

Shalom 🙂

Matthew 28:19-20

Matthew 28:19-20 VOICE

Making a disciple is not the same as “getting someone saved”. It is teaching them in the way Christ taught us, it is mentoring them, sharing life with them, and then freeing them to multiply the same way. It involves spending time with that person or group on a continuing basis, and growing together. You know, like raising children within a family. Jesus didn’t simply seek and save the lost, He left a heavenly blueprint on how to do it.

It behooves the Body to become more disciple-focused rather than salvation-focused. There are many willing and ready to learn and few who will stay and teach. Will you devote yourself to discipling someone? Raising spiritual children is just as rewarding as raising a child. 󾌵

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Praying Victoriously

I’ve recently had somewhat of an “aha” moment; when I say recently, I mean within the last few days. I love how Papa is always teaching me and connecting dots I felt had been left hanging. Years ago someone said to stop reciting our problems to Papa, praying from the place of victory instead. When our situations or issues are black and white, it is easy to know the victorious position. However, when the things we are praying for are somewhat obscure, it can be difficult to understand what victorious outcome we should seek because we never want to manipulate the hand of God.

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In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. He existed in the beginning with God. God created everything through him, and nothing was created except through him. The Word gave life to everything that was created, and his life brought light to everyone. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it (John 1:1-5 NLT).

In my “aha” moment, it was almost as if Papa said “Finally, she gets it!” I believe to pray from the place of victory is to declare God’s Word over and into every single situation. Not just a flippant nod to Scripture, but dig into it, break it down and speak it out. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you find a Scripture applicable to what you are praying about, and then declare it. Our enemy has no ground left to stand on when we occupy our space with the authority of Papa’s Word.

But Jesus told him, “No! The Scriptures say…” (Matthew 4:4a NLT)

Our greatest example of how to execute this is Jesus Himself. When He was in the wilderness being tempted by Satan, His replies were “The Scriptures say”. This was not only an example of how to resist temptation but also how to pray victoriously. We’ve been given blueprints for victorious prayer and it is all right before us in Scripture.  Whatever situation or circumstance we find ourselves in or even when praying for someone else, there is a Scripture that is applicable and can be declared over it. Papa’s word stands. “The rain and snow come down from the heavens and stay on the ground to water the earth. They cause the grain to grow, producing seed for the farmer and bread for the hungry. It is the same with my word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it (Isaiah 55:10-11).

Shalom!

Soapbox Rant part. 2

 In addition to my post yesterday, my heart breaks for the Church Body. We have allowed ourselves to become so fragmented, segmented and divided by the religious spirit and its cronies that we seem to have forgotten what it means to love one another. Modern technology is a wondrous thing, offering different mediums by which we can connect socially, educational opportunities at our fingertips, global news reporting, etc. All in real time, mostly. These are some of the positive things, but there are negatives. Much of what we can access may not always be true. Things such as editing for time/content, photoshop techniques, false reporting for ratings, writing opinion based articles and perpetrating them as fact, and the like are rampant and usually posted in prominent places. We need a very discerning spirit to separate fiction from fact.

There is no exact script for preaching the Gospel, nor is there a cookie cutter way to evangelize. Papa created us as individuals who react in different ways to different stimuli, and we perceive things differently from each other. This is part of Creation. All one has to do is really look at things and notice that though they are alike, a closer inspection reveals subtle differences. I’m convinced Papa loves variety. Based on this, I have always believed that since we are the Church and we have been given diversified individual gifts, our actual church houses will also be given these gifts. 

Papa gave us apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers (Ephesians 4: 11-16), to me it makes sense that we would have churches gifted in one or more of these gifts. Not every church is evangelistic, nor every pastor, we need churches that can be nurseries for the new believers, but then we also need churches that are meaty enough to strengthen us. As a body, we need churches flowing in all the gifts or even some of the gifts because we need to learn together how to walk this out and advance the Kingdom. This is how we grow! We must not be so judgmental about what one church does that we surmise it shouldn’t do. We are to be fruit inspectors, not crap talkers about other ministries. 

It is a form of pride the religious spirit stirs up, and it loves when we get all judgey about someone else’s ministry. Especially when modern technology feeds our negative attitudes about it. Keep in mind, technology allows for something called “editing” and the religious spirit loves to “edit” to the point all that’s left is the negative. And then it will parade its point so that the “moral and righteously angry” Christians grab hold and begin to tear others apart. It has essentially programmed us to focus on the negative and overlook the positive.

Church, we really need a heart shift. We must stop letting this spirit run rampant by stopping the spread of negativity about different ministries. It doesn’t matter what they do, they have to answer to God. If we don’t like what we find, we must take it to God in prayer, not defame them. We don’t know who these other ministries reach, but we know Papa didn’t make any junk. 

The only opinion that matters is Papa’s and that is good enough for me. 

1 Samuel 24: 6-7 “And he said to his men, “The Lord forbid that I should do this thing to my master, the Lord’s anointed, to stretch out my hand against him, seeing he is the anointed of the Lord.” So David restrained his servants with these words, and did not allow them to rise against Saul. And Saul got up from the cave and went on his way.”

Unity

I’ve been thinking quite a bit about unity, especially unity within the Body of Christ. I’m coming up on a year with the mandate to pray over jars of dirt from every states and unity has been one thing I’ve been praying for. 
For many, unity means complete agreement in every area. If we were made each to be unique and gifted in different areas, it is not feasible to believe we all must agree on every point in every situation. Our point of reference will always differ from someone else and our perception shapes our reality.

When we all agree on every point in every situation, we are not united, we are clones. The Body of Christ was not told to breed clones, we are called to make disciples. Too many people equate unity with absolute agreement.

I love how Papa reveals things to me. He showed me that unity is harmonious and He used a meal to do it. Imagine entering a dining area and you are greeted with the smells of well seasoned meat, aromatic side dishes and scents of sweetness. You then sit down and in front of you is the most exquisite banquet with a vast array of meats, fruits, vegetables, grains and wines. Every succulent morsel of food is a vacation for your taste buds. You savor every bite and you look forward to your next one. You taste of everything at the table, and you are delighted with all of it. The taste of the meal lingers on your tongue and is etched in your memory for some time after, and you are drawn to the memory often in hopes to sit down to it once again. 

Unity in the Body of Christ is like this meal, our differences come together to create something magnificent that reaches others and leaves a lasting memory. Our unique perspectives and talents were designed to work together, offering balance and seasoning to the calling Papa has given us to advance the kingdom of Heaven. 

Celebrate disagreements, they add flavor to relationships and challenge to the group-think mentality. Be unified, not cloned!

Shalom 🙂

Judging Books By Covers

book coverNever judge a book by its cover. You’ve heard that, right? I know I have and I know I’ve been guilty of it as well. When I was in grade school, we used to have to put book covers on our books for protection of the school’s property. Secretly, I think we all did it to make the contents of the book appear more palatable. Some students bought book covers, others, like myself, used paper bags. We drew all over them, doodled, scribbled, colored, we made them our own.

As humans, we have a tendency to look at others and judge them by outward appearances and behaviors. We will often overlook introducing ourselves to someone simply because how they have presented themselves makes us feel. We base quite a bit on our emotional response to others. First impressions are not always correct impressions. This happened when God sent Samuel to anoint the next king. Samuel went to Jesse as instructed and God rejected every one of Jesse’s sons presented to him, and he became puzzled as to why and asked if there was another son. “But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7 NKJV). Samuel learned from this that the heart of the person deems them worthy of what God has called them to do rather than how they appear.

Recently the Lord told me to stop judging people based on the outward and to pray for the heart of the matter. “Never judge a book by its cover, you will miss the hidden treasures within and the seeds I desire to plant. Every heart holds a jewel, and every jewel is revealed when loved. Love people as I love you and break the shell to reveal the jewel.” People desire to be loved, to be accepted, to be given more than one chance. They tend to act the most undesirable and vexing when they need to be loved the most.

When we put ourselves aside and pray to see the heart of the matter, Papa is so gracious to deliver and give us insight into the reason behind the behavior or appearance. Once He gives insight, He also gives the grace and capacity to love the person in the way to which they will respond. It is our judgement of the person that keeps us from seeing them the way Papa sees them. As parents, we always strive to see the best in our children; it is the same with Papa. He sees our potential and lovingly guides us towards it.

Let’s see the potential in people and look beyond the exterior they present to us!

Shalom 🙂

Do You Know Who I Am?

“…How may I direct your call?”

“I am ‘so &so’, do you know who I am?”  

   
This was my last call at work today. I groaned inwardly when I heard his name, and had to bite my tongue when answering. This is a customer who has a very high opinion of himself and is difficult to please, but after forwarding the call to the appropriate department it got me thinking.

It is important that we know who we are. As Papa’s children and heirs with Christ, we should have high opinions of ourselves; however, those opinions should never make others feel beneath us. We are overcomers, conquerors, world changers, joy carriers, royalty and warriors. We are partners with heaven and when we pray in sync with Papa, there is nothing we can’t do. 

Having a high opinion of ourselves means we don’t look down at people, it means we reach down and lift them up so they have the same high opinion of themselves. It means we speak into people’s lives by telling them who they are and how Christ sees them, and it means we put others before ourselves. The more we lift others up, the higher we, ourselves, will go. Higher heights and greater glory and we are meant to bring others with us!

Do you really know who you are?

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