I hear the Spirit saying that now is the time to “shed the old skin of false identity.”
It is time to allow the Lord to put your true identity upon you. You were created in His image and carry within you His Spirit to do great things. If you are living under an identity that bring you shame, distress, insecurity or self-hatred then you are not living in His image or His design for your life.
I know someone, who for many years, denied their call as a leader and as a man of influence. During the years that he denied his true identity he found that within the church he felt virtually invisible. He also continually found great opposition in what he was doing in place of the call of God on his life. He was living an identity that no one could really recognize because it wasn’t who he truly was and what he was living just didn’t fit him. Finally this man allowed God to do a deep work in his life and he stepped out of the false identity, that was based on lies he believed, and into the true identity and call that God had for him. It was an immediate transformation for this man. All of a sudden he was visible and God quickly restored all that he was created to do. He began to walk in favor and authority, as well as fulfillment.
When we live in a way or an identity based on the lies we have believed it downgrades our lives and causes the favor that we were created to walk in to dissipate.
There are men and women throughout the world who do not know Christ but understand their true identity and they experience great favor and success but their success has an emptiness on it that always leaves them striving for greater success and fulfillment. When we know our true identity and are walking with Christ as our Savior we experience favor, success and fulfillment…as well as peace.
If you recognize that you are living a false identity that has downgraded your life and causes you to spectate life more than truly live a joyful and fulfilling life; then now is the time to shed that old skin. It’s time for your upgrade!!!
First, renounce agreement with every lie that you have believed and then ask God for His truth regarding your life. In faith believe and agree with what He reveals to you. Agreement will begin the process of stepping into your true “you”. Then begin to occupy your new and true identity by taking steps to walk in it.
Now is the time for the sons and daughters of God to arise in truth, favor and authority. Now is the time for you to arise and be the reflection of the image of Christ that you were called to display to the world.
Now is the time! Let the “true you” arise for all to see!
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“If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it.” Matthew 16:25
There are so many things that we try to hang onto— afraid to lose what we think that we need. We are living in a time that shouts, “Protect your life! Protect what belongs to you.” We need to exercise such discernment and we need the wisdom of God to navigate these days. I fully admit that after the death of my brother in late January (from the virus) that I spent a good two months pulling back— mostly to grieve but also because I watched him suffer so much that I had to work through some very real fear. There was an element of trauma that it left on my soul. I began to hesitate and count the cost— which was shocking and even disheartening to me.
I began thinking about when Jesus was arrested and Peter was gripped by a very real fear of losing his life— he ran through the streets in panic and confusion trying to get as far away from the threat as possible. When asked if he was a disciple of Jesus, he denied even knowing him— why? Because of the fear of losing his life. And yet the result of denying him probably brought more pain and agony than if he had given up his life. He was deeply grieved and disheartened by what he had done.
I am always so moved by Jesus’s response to Peter the first time they came face to face after his resurrection. While Peter had returned to fishing (for fish rather than men) Jesus waited for him to return to the shore as he cooked breakfast. After the meal he asked Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?”
He calls him Simon rather than the name he gave him, Peter— why? Possibly because in Peter’s shame and facing the death of Jesus he had returned to his old identity. He returned to boats, nets and fish. Therefore, Jesus is about to call him back to his true identity and purpose. He begins by addressing his old identity as “Simon, son of John.”
He asks him three times if he loves him— the same amount that Peter had denied him. Each time Peter answered with, “Yes Lord! You know that I do.” Then Jesus exhorts him, “Tend my sheep.”
The interesting fact, that is not well understood, is that when Jesus asks, “Do you love me?” He is using the Greek word for love, “agape.” This is the highest form of love. Yet, when Peter responds to him saying, “You know that I love you.” He uses the Greek word, “phileo,” which is a brotherly love that is more conditional (lesser form of love).
The third and final time that Jesus asks Peter if he loves him, he also uses the “phileo” form of love. When Jesus does this, Peter realizes that the Lord is revealing that Peter has loved him with a conditional love that has wanted to maintain his life. The Lord once again responds with, “Shepherd my sheep.” Why? Because a true shepherd will lay down his life in agape love for his sheep.
Jesus is not condemning him but revealing to him that his “brotherly or human love” could not do what needs to be done or even live in a way that will do what Jesus has just done— lay down his life for his sheep.
The phileo love could not support a “life laid down.” Like Peter, many of us have had to come to the end of our human love, strength, and even our beliefs that we will never shrink back. It is here, in this place of weakness and failure, that we can ask the Spirit to let his agape love flow through us and have victory over our phileo love. This is a work of the Spirit, who restores our true identity, our call and our hearts.
As we know, in the end Peter not only was a shepherd of God’s precious sheep but he too laid his life down as the agape love of his Holy Spirit strengthened him to do.
It is easy to say, “We lay it all down” until we come face to face with actually doing that. I have been convinced that I have and would lay it all down because I have left home, family, personal desires and even what I considered safety to follow him many times. Yet, in the moment of looking at, “Could I lose my life?” I hesitated. I had to look at the condition and form of my love.
Is my love phileo or agape? There is no condemnation in this question but rather an invitation to come up higher and to surrender my love for his. The question momentarily took my breath away but was immediately followed by, “Shepard my sheep.” This restores his commissioning and his faith in who he is in us.
So, how do we lay down our lives when we realize that we have phileo love? We must understand that his Spirit lives in us. His Spirit fully possesses agape love— the highest form of unconditional love (that holds nothing back and has no need for personal gain). We then allow our lives to be a conduit of his agape love that lives within us. We recognize that in ourselves we are limited to phileo love but in him we are consumed with agape love.
We cannot lay down our lives wholeheartedly without doing it by the Spirit. Peter had made passionate declarations of how he would never leave Jesus before his arrest. He was not lying but did not realize that in himself the best he could give in his own strength was the conditional phileo love that would always come up short.
Because the Spirit has come to live within believers, we now can allow his agape love to do what we could not do. Our flesh may fail but his Spirit in us will prevail. “Not by might, nor by power but by my Spirit.” This is what the Lord says and how we can lay down our lives.
As we recognize the greater need for absolute dependency on his Spirit, in everything we do and all that we lay down, we will overcome the phileo love that has limited us in so many ways. We lay down all dependency on “self!” We surrender even the best intentions and the most passionate declarations to yield to his Spirit, who can do what we cannot. We let the true Shepherd live through us and lay his life down through us again and again.
“By your Spirit— I lay my life down!”
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“…these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God.” 1 Corinthians 2:10
For many days I have been hearing a groaning in my spirit that cries out to His Spirit, “Oh, reveal the depths of God to me!”
In response I feel a swell of the Holy Spirit releasing revelation and encounters into the depths of God. It feels like we are being ushered from the “outer courts” of His heart into the “inner courts.” I believe that many are about to encounter and receive revelation of the depths, heights and width of His love— which contains deep compassion, waves of healing, freedom, wisdom from above and an ability to surrender that lifts us to places in the spirit that we never even dreamed of going to on this side of heaven.
The Spirit of God has searched the depths of the Father and Son— and now He lives within us with that revelation that we can experience. There is a birthing that is taking many from living according to the soul, with occasional spiritual experiences, to living out of their spirit (where His Spirit dwells in us). Our souls will align to the depths of His Spirit which will cause everything to change.
I just keep hearing our beautiful Holy Spirit say, “Come in, come into the depths! Let me submerge you in the depths of the unlimited love of God.”
This is a fresh baptism in the depths of the love of God! It has resurrection power in it and on it. Every dead place will come to life as you yield to this submersion. We were never meant to live in a divided state of being— split identities of sons and orphans that leave us longing for sonship but still eating from the crumbs under the Father’s table when we’ve been invited to come as sons and daughters to eat of the best of His bounty.
We say, “Yes, Spirit of God. Baptize us anew and afresh in the depths of the love of God! We yield to the submersion of our lives into the inner courts of the heart of God. Do what only You can do and resurrect us into sons and daughters that no longer live as orphans.”
I woke up recently with these words singing in the background of my mind,
“Day and night, night and day let incense arise…”
It is my deepest cry that our God receives the incense of worship, prayer, our deepest affections, and fully surrendered lives every moment of every day. There is truly no better place to live than in the place of being a “burning one” who, through surrender, has become one with the One who gave His all.
As I heard these words what rose up in my spirit were the words, “And Don’t stop! Don’t give up!”
It was like a shout from the hosts of Heaven to His people on earth. The incense of your life is affecting the atmosphere. As you allow the scent of Christ to rise from your life, it releases an incense that brings heaven to earth and causes demons to flee. God in you and pouring forth from you shifts the atmosphere and releases the supernatural into the natural world around you.
He is worthy of it all! Let your praises arise today and do not hold back. Let no one and nothing stop you from releasing the incense of praise. Don’t stop! Don’t be stopped. This is the way that you move into alignment with heaven. Fill the earth with His glory.
The angels are even now taking down the enemies that have come against you. Our Warrior King has gone out to fight for His inheritance. Your position is to let your “incense arise”.
“But you will not even need to fight. Take your positions; then stand still and watch the LORD’s victory. He is with you, O people of Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid or discouraged. Go out against them tomorrow, for the LORD is with you!” 2 Chronicles 20:17
Be still and watch God bring forth victory after victory. Don’t stop, for God is mighty in battle and He deserves the glory and honor that will come forth from your life. You are the testimony of his unfailing love and mercy.
We all know that hope and faith is only needed for “what we do not see.” It is what keeps us moving forward, it is what helps us overcome and it is the wind that carries us into tomorrow. As believers, our hope and faith are found first and foremost in Jesus. We hope in His promises and we have faith in His everlasting love that will never fail us. Hope and faith are both with us and before us through our beloved Savior— they give us vision in our “today” and “a vision” (that brings expectations of beauty) for our tomorrow.
Hope and faith are easy to access in times of joy and light. In those times we lay down at night bathed in the pleasures from the day lived and we wake up the next morning in a joyful hope for even greater pleasure in the day that lays before us. Yet, sorrow, grief and unexpected hard times can come and when they do it can feel like you’ve lost yourself in a dark wilderness. You wake up and wonder how to find the pleasures that you had just yesterday and the expectations of pleasures that you dreamed of for your tomorrow’s. This unexpected sorrow can come through many sources— loss, lack, hope deferred, crisis or even just the atmosphere around you. Suddenly, in the midst of hope and faith you can’t find vision and everything become disoriented.
January 1st, 2021 became the beginning of a time of disorientation for me. It began a fierce 24-hour a day battle in prayer for my younger brother’s life that lasted 21 days; then I watched his beautiful body was lowered into a grave. At the same time, many in our nation were grieving, others were losing loved ones and isolation was taking a toll on the younger generation. Being a “feeler”, these things can really touch your soul with deep emotions. I am also a “glass half full” person, therefore my hope and faith were not shaken but my soul suddenly became downcast and disoriented.
The other day I had an appointment with the eye doctor because my natural vision has become very blurry and disorienting (a bit like my emotional and spiritual vision). When the doctor was finding my prescription she commented that I must be having a difficult time with things because one of my eyes is extremely nearsighted and one of my eyes is extremely farsighted (this is unusual). I was quite surprised and assured her that it has made my vision quite challenging. When she found the right lenses for both of my eyes and let me look through them, it was like coming out of the disoriented place and finding clarity.
This natural condition began to speak to me regarding my spiritual condition. In the natural I have always enjoyed perfect vision in both eyes. I could actually see further than most people I knew. This has been true spiritually as well. As a “seer” my vision is one of the things that I enjoy the most. I love to see God, I love to see His perspective and I love the “unseen” realm. Honestly, it is often more clear to me than the natural realm. What joy this has brought to my walk with God! When my physical vision began to change it was hard but I always knew that there were glasses or remedies to clear my sight. Yet, when 2021 began and suddenly my spiritual sight had changed— a deep struggle came with it. I couldn’t see clearly close up or far way. For a seer to lose vision is devastating. I wondered if there was a remedy for this?
Then the Spirit began to talk to me about how I needed new sight for the new age. Just like I am dealing with “aging natural eyes”, I need new lenses for a new time and age. Things have shifted and I need a “stronger spiritual lenses” for these days. His eyes must be the lenses that I look through to have vision and clarity for today and for tomorrow. Hope and faith are the frames but His eyes are the lenses.
“For we walk by faith, not by sight,” 2 Corinthians 5:7
My faith has had to increase and my hope fully found in Christ alone; not governments, earthly freedoms, comforts or even the people around me. When I look into His eyes I see beyond the temporal and begin to grasp the eternal. There, I find the window to the eternal and I am comforted and strengthen. Through His eyes I am able to come to the realization that my brother and all who have “died in faith” see with absolutely clarity now. They no longer are searching, striving or stumbling but they have eyes that have beheld our eternal HOPE. There promise of a future and hope is fully realized!
I have begun to understand that we do not have to wait to begin to have the beautiful Holy Spirit adjust our eyes to behold Him or to see the eternal realm. Our eyes are being adjusted to see beyond the world around us, see beyond the chaos and see beyond the heights we have know in order to grasp the eternal. I am still going in and out of clarity but I am learning to focus on His eyes so that I adjust my vision to see as He sees.
It is easy to see what has changed in the world around us. Darkness has covered the world and we have begun to adjust our eyes to see pretty clearly in the dark…but God is adjusting our eyes to the LIGHT— the Light that is eternal!
Another interesting thing that happened with my natural eyes is that I was having a hard time with light. All light sources were causing what I’d call “light flares” which were once again distorting everything else. During my eye appointment, the doctor put a plastic object over my eyes with tiny pin holes in it. She asked me to find a pin hole and look through it to the letters on the chart across the room. As I did that I suddenly could see what was before me. All of the letters came into focus. It was like a beam of light that gave me a portal of focus. This can happen when eyes have astigmatism which is when the front surface of the eye or the lens, inside the eye, is curved differently in one direction than the other. I believe that God is clearing up an spiritual astigmatism that has caused us to have a divided focus. His eyes are like that pin hole— the narrow way that brings clear and undivided focus.
Hope and faith will be the pathway to find His eyes which will open up the eternal. Heaven will be opened up before us as the cares of this world fade into the background. I believe we also need to refocus our thoughts. Philippians 4:8 says this,
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”
The media, even Christian media, often is highlighting the darkness and demonic agendas that are being established as laws throughout the world. Wars and rumors of war fill the air with fear and dread– replacing hope and faith for some. Yet, God has given us instructions on where to focus our thoughts. It is a beginning place that will lead us to His perspective and His eyes…which are windows into the eternal.
Do not fear if you have lost clarity or focus. Ask our precious Holy Spirit to be your spiritual optometrist that will correct your vision and adjust your sight for the days that we are living in and the true hope set before us— which is eternal and unshakable. Jesus has sealed our hope with His blood— giving us a secure faith.
“Because God wanted to show His unchangeable purpose even more clearly to the heirs of the promise, He guaranteed it with an oath, so that through two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to seize the hope set before us. We have this hope as an anchor for our lives, safe and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain. Jesus has entered there on our behalf as a forerunner, because He has become a high priest forever in the order of Melchizedek.” Hebrews 6:17-20
Turn your eyes upon Jesus!
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Today could have been a real emotional train wreck. “Could have been” are the key words in this sentence. If you follow my writings or my page then you know that 2021 has been nothing short of painful and hard for me. I have wrote about how unfamiliar this place that I am in is to me. It is like a deep gorge that I unexpectedly fell into and now have to walk forward (while disoriented) until I come to the end of it. Then, to add a bit of a “spin” to my already disorienting senses, I received some news today that once again has the potential to change a big part of my life. In the first moments I began to feel sick inside and then I stopped and remembered the lessons from past moments that had the potential to steal my peace. I stopped and asked the Lord to help me and I heard His Spirit say,
“Remain in my love. I have surrounded you in my love today and my love will surround you every day to come.”
I suddenly realized that I was beginning to grieve something that hasn’t even happened yet. I was leaving today and concerning myself with tomorrow. Through all of life’s ebbs and flows there has always been a gift of grace given to me in the moment that I had to walk through a change or transition. When we remain in the moment that we are in, allowing the love that we are continually surrounded in to fill that space, there is peace and grace restored. Yet, when we move into the “yet to come” and the assumptions of what that will look and feel like, we get outside of God’s grace and timetable, forcing us to pull on our own strength and limited understanding.
I have hesitated writing during this season that is personally so difficult for me. The past five previous years have been “mostly” beautiful and writing from that place was a great joy. Writing from a vulnerable place and from this place of grief is hard and it risks misunderstanding by my readers. But, I felt that the Lord asked me to write through the pain and to learn deeper truths from the pain. This is not my first time in the “Valley of Baca” (Trouble) but it is yet another opportunity for me to apply all that I learned on the mountain tops and valleys of past seasons so that I can see Christ established in me all the more. My prayer is that my journey can help others.
If you are in a mountain top season; gather fruit, drink deep of the cool rivers of refreshing and listen to the voice that is clear. If you are in the hill country enjoy the grace of the abiding and steady growth. And if you are in the valley gorge let faith cause you to step forward into the unknown, let the clear voice that you heard on the mountaintop echo into your silence, let the testimonies of old prophesy to your hope– and get still enough to let His love envelope you. In every one of these places and seasons…above all else, REMAIN IN HIS LOVE.
His love is the one sure thing in every place and every season. No matter what lies ahead, His love will be there. No matter what is happening now, His love is with you. No matter what lies behind, His love covers it all. You can move forward as you are held tight in the grip of His everlasting love. His love will never fail you or leave you in want.
Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me. “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. John 15:4-5
Remain in His love and watch what beautiful fruit your life will produce in every season.
Have you ever gotten lost on a walk or on a drive? I remember when I was about 20 years old, my husband and I had just moved to Baton Rouge, Louisiana (where he was attending college) and I needed to go grocery shopping after a long day at work. It was dark and I didn’t know my way around the city (this was in the days before cell phones or GPS). I had gone to an area of the city that was unfamiliar to me to shop and when I was done I took a wrong turn (in a wrong direction) and suddenly was I was absolutely lost. I didn’t have any coins for a pay phone and honestly didn’t know who’d I call anyway since my husband was at a night class and I didn’t know anyone in the area.
As I drove, looking for anything even remotely familiar, I began to feel panic— would I ever find my way home. I wasn’t in the city limits anymore and couldn’t even find my way back to a populated area. I had gotten off the “beaten path” and was lost and scared. After over two hours of frantic driving I finally found a familiar landmark and my way back to the college. When I arrived I got out of the car and walked to where my young husband was waiting and when I saw him I just fell in his arms weeping— I had found home— in his arms.
2021 began a bit like this for me personally. It felt like I walked out onto my favorite path but somehow turned a wrong corner and ended up in an unfamiliar wilderness with no path, no way to communicate, no sense of direction and completely alone. Quite honestly, I was disoriented and felt a bit of that old “panic” that I’d experienced when I was lost as a 20 year old in a strange city. I just wanted to find my way home.
I began spiritually and emotionally trying to find something familiar or a sign that would lead me back to the path that I knew— the path home. I would go through each day with varying degrees of numbness, grief, longing, surrender, weeping, etc. Nights were the worst because even the beautiful “God dreams” that accompanied my sleep had become nights of bad dreams. I’d wake up even more disoriented.
Finally, I remembered the words that are told to most young children by their parents, “If you get lost, stay still and I will find you.” So, I stopped trying to find my way home— the way back to the intimacy and the “home” I’d known. I stopped and got very still, waiting for my Father to find me where I was (am).
“Instead, I have calmed and quieted myself, like a weaned child who no longer cries for its mother’s milk. Yes, like a weaned child is my soul within me.” Psalm 131:2
I finally stopped long enough to remember that God has never left me or forsaken me— so I stopped looking for a way out of the wilderness and am now finding him in the wilderness. I am drinking of him and learning to “calm and quiet my soul” in his arms.
It is just like that 20 year old who found home in the arms of her young husband, I am finding home in the arms of God, even in this unfamiliar and strange place. There is not much else in this place but he is everything that I need. The verse that comes directly prior to Psalm 131:2 says this,
“LORD, my heart is not proud; my eyes are not haughty. I don’t concern myself with matters too great or too awesome for me to grasp.” Psalm 131:1
I think that I had begun to concern myself with matters too great and too awesome for me to grasp. They began to be like a “master” over me. I had to humble myself and become like a child. I had to get still and remember that, “He is God.”
He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” Psalm 46:10
The matter of the nations had become to great for me to grasp. The matter of life and death was too awesome for me to fully comprehend and so God brought me into a wilderness place to show me “home.”
“Therefore I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the wilderness and speak tenderly to her. There I will give her back her vineyards, and will make the Valley of Achor (Valley of Trouble) a door of hope. There she will respond as in the days of her youth, as in the day she came up out of Egypt. “In that day,” declares the LORD, “you will call me ‘my husband’; you will no longer call me ‘my master.’ Hosea 2:14-16
The wilderness does not “feel” good but as I have discovered a few other times in my life— this “Valley of Trouble” is usually a door of hope that restores my soul and ushers me into a place of greater abundance. But, we must embrace it rather than fight against it.
Running frantically when you have lost your way only gets you more lost. This is where we must stop, get still and know that he is God. He is with you in the wilderness and he will feed you, hold you, restore you and deliver you from every area that has become enslaved to false “masters.” This is where you find him as “husband.” This is where you run into his arms and find home. Then, you will hear this,
“Who is that coming up from the wilderness, leaning on her beloved?” Song of Solomon 8:5
I think that all too often we take on things that “are too great for us to grasp” and they enslave us to a weight and burden that becomes a master over us. When we’ve done all we can do, it is time to get still and stand (Ephesians 6:13). Stand in who he is and stand in the arms of the One that created all. The earth is his and all that is within it. He is God— our partnership with him is in the context of “bridal covenant” not “slave and master.” That is where the enemy loses his footing and love wins.
Stop running…stop striving…stop panicking! Home is with you— right where you are. He is always with you so be still and let him hold you until you are fully restored— leaning on your Beloved!
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Grief is a quiet place that is filled with timeless memories, silent prayers and a stillness that only a few are invited into.
It’s an interesting place where “gifts” don’t seem to matter much and all the activities of normal life that filled my time now seem so unimportant. The veil between the temporal and the eternal becomes very thin in this place.
I don’t know if this is grief or just what God is doing right now but even my normal prayers fall short and all I want is to be totally surrendered. Silent surrender seems to be producing deep intercession— wordless but deep. I want to know Him as He is, I want to see His face and learn the intricate movements of His ways, I want to be like Him. Here in grief I find a deeper hunger for the truth of the words, “Be still and know that I am God.”
Rather than my confidence in Him wavering in this place of loss, it has shifted my confidence from what He will do, to a confidence in “Who He Is.” That is the ultimate victory. Understanding His sovereignty, gazing upon His beauty and pondering His eternal perspective consumes my thoughts and desires.
Some days I feel like a caterpillar going through a personal metamorphosis. It is hidden, quiet, still and yet change is happening in this place. Maybe the whole body of Christ is going through this and the grief of “what was” has become our cocoon? Maybe grief is a gift of grace to birth us into a new identity and new way of living? Maybe our tears are like the perfume that flowed out of the alabaster jar upon His feet.
I have always loved my family so deeply but in this place I only want to look into their faces and drink in the unique beauty God created them in. I want to sit next to my husband in silence and just know that he’s here with me. I want to embrace the people I love a little longer and honor others in a way that actually restores their souls.
I want to fully embrace the words, “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.” No more striving— no more want because I have everything I need in Him. There is nothing but Him that I can take with me when I leave this world so may He be my whole “want.”
I haven’t forgotten all that we did in 2020 to see our nation saved. It was beautiful and how honored I felt to be a part of it and to stand with nations that stood with us. When I asked my Heavenly Father about it, He just smiled with such a proud smile upon His face as He looked upon His faithful children. He will be exalted in the nations— that is the line that comes right after, “Be still and know that I am God.” We exalted Him and He received it all like a proud Papa. We danced, we repented, we wept and we shouted for joy…and it made Him smile— it wasn’t perfect but it made Him smile. My brother’s life wasn’t perfect but made Him smile— he knew he was perfectly loved. Your life makes Him smile and my “very imperfect” life makes Him smile. Perfect love looks good on us.
For me, 2020 was my year to learn the ways of “Be still and know that I am God” but 2021 has begun as a year to live what I’ve learned. I have become very still…maybe because of grief and maybe because of grace. Who He is has caused me to become still…HE IS GOD.
As we all know 2020 was a year of extremes. Many experienced extreme losses and at the same time many in the Church experienced extreme transformations. But, without a doubt, all of us were subject to the deep darkness of evil that was revealed and vile accusations that came from the evil one.
I saw a picture this morning of a woman who was returning from a long and treacherous hike in the wilderness during the winter months. She had scaled mountains, walked through deep ravines, crossed valleys and climbed over obstacles that blocked her way. She was muddy, weary but also so grateful for all that she had experienced, learned and overcome from the journey.
Then, in this vision, the Lord send angels to attend to her. First they removed her muddy boots and outer garments, then they removed the backpack off of her back. Then they ushered her into a warm home with a cozy fire burning. In this room there was a tub filled with steaming water and the rest of her garments were removed. She stepped into this warm tub of clear water and then the angels began to pour warm, clear water over her head. As the water ran down over her, it washed away all the residue from the long journey she had taken. The angels washed her hair, her face, her hands, her feet until they were washed clean. Then they poured oil over her to anoint her. This oil touched her heart and mind and softened it to keep it tender and sensitive (for she had seen things and experienced things on the journey that sought to harden her heart). Then they brought soft, white linens to clothe her in; including what looked like a towel or turban for her head. All of these garments were white but around the edges (sleeves, neck, ends and surrounding the towel/turban) were many words sewn in gold thread. As I looked closer I realized that they were scriptures from the Bible.
One of the scriptures was from Ephesians 5:26-27,
“…to make her holy, cleansing her with the washing of water by the word. He did this to present the church to Himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or anything like that, but holy and blameless.”
Another was from John 15,
“You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you.” (vs. 3) ““I am the vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in Me and I in him produces much fruit, because you can do nothing without Me.” (vs. 5)
There was also the verses from Hebrews 4:12-13,
“For the word of God is living and effective and sharper than any double-edged sword, penetrating as far as the separation of soul and spirit, joints and marrow. It is able to judge the ideas and thoughts of the heart. No creature is hidden from Him, but all things are naked and exposed to the eyes of Him to whom we must give an account.”
There were more but those were the three that I am aware of. I found it so beautiful that the first scripture in Ephesians is from the chapter regarding how a husband should treat his wife. Our Bridegroom, Jesus, was doing just that for his bride in this vision. He was cleansing her by the washing of water by the word. Then he was clothing her in garments that represent purity, fruitfulness, unity and the sword of his authority.
I believe that 2021 is beginning with a washing of his bride. All of the residue from the long journey of the past year is being washed away. We are being anointed with oil and we are being clothed in purity, oneness and the authority of his Word!
The Word of God is your sword and shield. More than any other time, this year you will need to be equipped with his Word as your weapon and protection. You must clothe yourself in the Word of God and saturating your mind in his Word (wearing it like a turban). His Word will cleanse you! In a year of even greater exposures; his Word will clothe you, cover your nakedness and keep you pure. His word will wash you and keep you joined to the true Vine so that you will produce fruit.
His Word will be a tent or canopy over your life, your family and your home (even your ministry or business). It will be warmth, water and fire for you. Begin each day by reading his Word and praying his Word over all that pertains to you. Declare it over your home, your city, your nation, and over all who sit in seats of authority. For his Word is a two edged sword that will separate the holy from the profane.
I heard the words, “My Word is your key to success and fruitfulness! My Word gives victory and triumph to all that it touches. My Word keeps you pure and gives you peace. My Word is your authority and it brings heaven to earth.” Let us saturate our lives and this year with the water of his Word! ———————————
Will you become a 2021 ministry partner? Journey with us as wewalk with nationsto see them become one with Christ and with one another. 2021 will be a beautiful demonstration of the bride walking in oneness with God.
I was thinking about how often people day dream of plans that are being made for a special day. We rehearse them in our minds, picture the moments that will make beautiful memories and even invite others into those dreams. I have been a daydreamer (and night dreamer) since I was a little girl and I would get lost in that place where hopes and dreams are played out with childlike wonder. Yet, often in this world (not always but often) they don’t quite reach the height of our expectations and desires. That is just part of life here on earth. Weather happens, sickness happens, losses happen, disagreements happen and now even pandemics happen. We learn to be grateful for what we have even if at times these moments fall short of what we dreamed.
As I was pondering these thoughts today (while dreaming about some upcoming holiday plans), I heard the Lord so excitedly proclaim to me, “Oh Honey, heaven will not fall short of your dreams— it will exceed your thoughts and dreams so immensely that you may just stop and stare in wonder for the first 10,000 years!” Then he said, “Did you know that every disappointment and dream that fell short on earth will be restored to you in heaven?”
Immediately I saw a vision of where the “things of earth” had disrupted precious plans and moments. I saw weddings that didn’t happen due to this pandemic, losses that came unexpectedly, times where rain poured upon your “parade”, pain stole your joy, babies that never made it into their mommies arms and so many other things. But they will all be restored! Your plans and dreams were not in vain! Heaven has held all of these things in it’s timeless and redemptive protection. Every tear will be washed away, all pain will cease and the ability to experience a never ending joy (that can never be obtained on earth) will be yours— and yours for all eternity.
Nothing is lost in Christ! It all gains in worth, beauty and value. We will never have to experience “living with loss” or “praising through the storms” again. The closer we get to Jesus, the more we gain perspective of the glory set before us. Our race here on earth can be much less than “perfect” but the One who purchased our entrance to eternal love and joy is at the finish line just waiting to embrace us!
I do find that even this short walk here on earth, with Jesus as my Savior, has surely exceeded my hopes and expectations— even in the midst of imperfect executions of plans or dreams. He still continuously surprises me with beauty that takes my breath away…imperfect beauty but beauty nonetheless. The perfect will come!
So, if your dreams have not quite gone according to plans or if you have had more than your share of losses— know this, he is holding all that appeared lost or stolen in his hands and they will not disappoint! Earthly redemption will not even compare to the redemption we will receive when we enter the place that he has been building for us since before time began.
Begin to dream higher and hope beyond this life. You will not be disappointed!