“Who is the man who fears the Lord? He will show him the way he should choose. He will live a good life, and his descendants will inherit the land. The secret counsel of the Lord is for those who fear Him, and He reveals His covenant to them. My eyes are always on the Lord, for He will pull my feet out of the net.” Psalms 25:12-15
These verses from Psalm 25:12-15 are so great!
This is why the Bible says that “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Proverbs 9:10). The fear of the Lord actually means, “reverential awe” (reverence: deep respect and honor). We stand and live in the deepest honor and respect of His awesome love and wonders!
Verse 14 of Psalm 25 says that those who fear Him will receive his secret counsel. This is the wisdom that is given and spoken of in Proverbs 9:10. Jesus walked in the secret counsel of His Father during his time on earth and we can do that too. We can live in WONDER rather than in “wondering and confusion.”
Psalm 25 promises that as we live in this deep reverence and awe that we will be shown the way we should choose and we will have a good life (that will be passed onto our children). It also guarantees that he will rescue us from any snare our feet get caught in. This is COVENANT and cannot be broken!
I am continually asking the Lord to help me to live in a greater awe, reverence, honor and respect for him in EVERYTHING I do— that this would be the standard that I uphold.
I am asking today, “What in my life is usurping the awe and reverence? Where do I need to lift up the standard of the fear of the Lord in my life?”
These are the question that align us with the Holy One and his secret counsel…his wisdom and his ways. It’s good to ask the Holy Spirit to search your life and to find the areas that lack this standard of awe and honor. Then ask for his help to make the adjustments so that you have all that he desires to give to you today and every day to come!
It brings him such joy to answer us and to align us with the outpouring of his love, counsel and covenant blessings. What joy it is to be loved so deeply and to walk in a standard that honors God and reaps a harvest of blessings!
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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During this time of Purim, I have been meditating on the Book of Esther. As I have read this book over and over again. The part that has stood out to me more than any other part begins in Esther 2:15.
“Esther was the daughter of Abihail, who was Mordecai’s uncle. (Mordecai had adopted his younger cousin Esther.) When it was Esther’s turn to go to the king, she accepted the advice of Hegai, the eunuch in charge of the harem. She asked for nothing except what he suggested, and she was admired by everyone who saw her.
Esther was taken to King Xerxes at the royal palace in early winter[a] of the seventh year of his reign. And the king loved Esther more than any of the other young women. He was so delighted with her that he set the royal crown on her head and declared her queen instead of Vashti.” Esther 2:15-17
After the twelve months of beauty treatments, each virgin was to pick what they wanted to wear and adorn themselves with before being brought into the king’s chambers. But Esther decided to deferred to the counsel of the king’s trusted official, Hegai, who would know what the king truly desired. She wore only what he suggested; rather than clothing herself with what she desired, she clothed herself in the King’s desire.
This is what I have felt that the Holy Spirit has been doing with the us in these days. The Holy Spirit is like Yeshua’s trusted official to mankind (though so much more- He is One with the Father and the Son). He knows the desire of our King. The bride has been longing to rid herself of all “her choosing” so that she can be fully clothed in her Beloved’s desire; just as Esther was clothed in nothing except what would fulfill King Xerxes desire. When he looked upon her he fell deeply in love with her and took her as his queen; placing the royal crown upon her head. I believe that as we yield to the desire of our our King, settling for nothing less, there is a crown of bridal (queenly) authority that is placed upon our head. His bride will go before the King and she will receive favor– even to the point of being used to reverse evil decrees that have been put in place.
The desire to please our King has been awakened like never before in His bride. There is a holy desperation to rid our lives of any other thing- except His desire. Every other name is being removed (even our own names). We long to take His name as our identity and our crown.
“There I will give her vineyards back to her and make the Valley of Achor (Trouble) into a gateway of hope. There she will respond as in the days of her youth, as in the day she came out of Egypt. In that day- this is the Lord’s declaration– you will call Me, ‘My husband,’ and no longer call Me, ‘My Baal.’ For I will remove the names of the Baals (Masters) from her mouth; they will no longer be remembered by their names.” Hosea 2:15-17
Isn’t it interesting that these scriptures are from Esther 2:15-17 and from Hosea 2:15-17? Esther is presenting herself in purity to become a bride and Hosea is redeeming his wayward bride so that she can be made pure.
There is a bride being prepared, to stand as an Esther before her King and there is also a redeeming of every wayward place that has sought out other “lovers” and become enslaved to their name and harsh rule over her. God is redeeming His bride so that she will be clothed in His desire alone and reign with Him in purity and authority. She is taking His name and every other name (Baal or master) is being removed from her.
As we are in the time of Purim, let us ask the Holy Spirit to instruct us how we are to clothe ourselves. Let us lay aside our thoughts and be clothed with His desire. Let every name but His be removed from our lives so that we become “His desire.”
“I will give them a desire to know me and to be my people. They will want me to be their God, and they will turn back to me with all their heart.” Jeremiah 24:7
“Clothe and adorn us, Holy Spirit, in all that our King desires. May He be our whole desire and may we be ‘His desire.’ We long to turn back to You with our whole heart. We will call you ‘Husband’ and we thank you for removing the names of Baal from us and redeeming us as your own.” Amen
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.
“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:11
Now more than ever are we seeing so many believers in Yeshua experiencing what I would call a “crisis of faith.” This current crisis will do one of two thing; it will either usher those who wrestle to the point of surrender into a unshakable faith or some will abandon the faith by which they were saved. My constant prayer is that not one person would abandon their faith.
I believe God has allowed this crisis, not to hurt his people but to shake the shakable areas so that we can recognize them and yield them to the firm foundation of our God.
Most of the Christian church in America has had at least a moment of disillusionment, disbelief and even a spiritual crisis as 2021 has begun. Of course we do not know what tomorrow will hold but we do know who holds tomorrow. If these days of shaking or crisis have done anything for me (personally), it is to bring me into a greater surrender and dependency on who HE is rather then on how he does things.
Even the current “prophetic crisis” can turn eyes from the man (or woman) who has become known as a prophet to the One who created him. I sense a holy jealousy in the heart of God for a bride whose eyes are fully fixed on his. A bride who will put her faith and assurance in who he is more than what he does. A bride who doesn’t turn her face away when life doesn’t look like what she thought it would. A bride who has no other “lovers” but her beloved Jesus. This does not mean that we do not have prophets but that we do not elevate them to the point that they are exalted in any way.
So, maybe the question isn’t so much to be focused on if the prophets were right or wrong but rather it should be, “Who is the bride’s faith, loyalty and focus upon?” I am not saying that there is not to be accountability in the prophetic but there also needs to be a personal searching of individual’s hearts if their faith was more in a prophetic voice or a desired outcome than in Christ alone.
We have not seen tomorrow, therefore we do not know what is ahead or what only God can do. We know that, without a doubt, some details and timings were wrong but we do not need to loose faith in God or despair because those who see in part got parts wrong. As most of my readers know, I truly believed that the president would be re-elected and although I never prophesied a second term or a re-election by January 20th- I surely thought that it would happen and was not secretive about that. Does that cause me to loose faith? No, because my hope, assurance and faith is not in my thoughts or the way I believe something will play out, but my faith is in Christ alone.
During my brother’s illness with Covid during the month of January. Many people wrote to me and encouraged me with notes, prayers and even declarations that he would “live and not die.” Some even saw visions of his healing. Yet, on January 21st he died in the arms of his wife. Should I lose hope or judge those who sent me notes saying that they saw God healing him? Never!! God fully healed him and he entered into the fullness of joy that day. Their words were not wasted because they strengthened my soul through the day and night battle that we were in. In Christ, death has lost its sting and there is only victory.
I cannot tell you what is ahead for our nation, our world or even my life. I don’t know for sure if even greater crisis will come in 2021 or if a miraculous turnaround will suddenly appear. I tend to lean toward both being present simultaneously but both not looking anything like we’d expect. So what do we do? We put our faith in the absolute, unfailing love of our God! We surrender (let go of and repent for) every place of resistance, rebellion, idolatry, anger, unforgiveness, bitterness, unholy justice, wrath and hatred. We stop pointing fingers at others for what we chose to believed and we fix our eyes on the One who is faithful and true. We humble ourselves before the Holy One and we join with heaven in declaring, “Worthy is the Lord!” He is sovereign and his dominion has no end. God has not been shaken— we have! Now we must put every shaken area upon the unshakable foundation of the Rock of Ages.
If you are in a crisis of faith then this is a gift to you so that you can cooperate with the Holy Spirit to shore up those areas of crisis and replace them with Christ. In the midst of my grief about our nation, the place that we live (in the Washington DC region), my brother’s death and so many more things— I have found that the one sure thing is JESUS! He is more than enough to believe in, hope in and put my full assurance in. He holds every answer in his hand and has not turned aside from any prayer of faith that was prayed or that will be prayed. His ways are higher and he is calling us to a higher place. A higher and purer faith. An unshakable faith.
Crisis can take you to the place of “Christ is…” Christ is absolutely faithful, absolutely holy, absolutely sovereign, absolutely beautiful, absolutely worthy, absolutely pure, absolutely powerful and absolute LOVE.
Let your crisis take you to this revelation,
“Then I saw heaven opened, and a white horse was standing there. Its rider was named Faithful and True, for he judges fairly and wages a righteous war. His eyes were like flames of fire, and on his head were many crowns. A name was written on him that no one understood except himself. He wore a robe dipped in blood, and his title was the Word of God.” Revelation 19:11-13
I was taken into a vision where I saw a man standing in “today” (the now) but his soul was in yesterday and tomorrow; he was absent from where he was actually standing— in the NOW. His focus on yesterday was keeping him stuck in regrets and disappointments and his obsession with tomorrow was drawing him into heavy burdens, dread, and fear. As I looked at him I could see the Lord calling to him to come and enjoy the day He had planned for him; a day filled with grace, joy, love and peace. It was a table set before him with such detail and love. But, he had become so accustomed to not living in the “now” or even in the day that the Lord had given him that he had lost his peace and his joy. He had not enjoyed the delicacies that were set before him for a very long time.
Then I saw the Lord go into his yesterday and wash away the pain, the regrets and the disappointments that had clung to him like a cold, wet garment.
Then I saw the Lord go into His tomorrow and He sent forth angels to prepare the way to bless and prosper him in all his ways. He then washed the dread, worry and fear from him with a peace that surpassed this man’s understanding.
Tomorrow’s table had no provision upon it because the Lord had not set it for him yet.
Then He wrapped him in a clean, white garment and drew him back into today. As this man left his past and entrusted his tomorrow to the Lord’s perfect care he was able to enter into the amazing grace that the Lord had set for him that day. This man began to laugh with joy. Relief from the sorrows of yesterday and the burdens of tomorrow flooded his soul while peace, rest, and a lightness filled him like a long, deep breath.
The Lord is resetting those who have been dealing with great anxiety, depression, and fear. Allow Him to minister to the pains of yesterday and the fears of tomorrow while drawing you into the beauty of today.
This is a work of His Spirit that He is doing even now. Stop and take the time to be with Him; allowing Him to do this deep work within you. There is such peace and rest in abiding trust. There is amazing grace that sets you free from having to figure it all out in your own strength. There is joy in the surrender as you put your faith in His perfect care.
“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7
“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matthew 6:34
STAY IN THE NOW!
Ask the Lord to remove your soul from the regrets of yesterday and the burdens of tomorrow. He has gone before you to prepare a future and hope for you so you do not need to worry.
He has prepared a table for you today and it has everything you need for the day. Does a mother set out food for her family that is to be eaten tomorrow? No, it will spoil if it’s set out before meal time. She only puts out what is for now. God does the same for you. You were never supposed to live on yesterday’s spoiled food or sit at tomorrow’s table that has not yet been set for you yet. There is so much to enjoy today—enter into your now!
(This was written one year ago on 2/10/2020…good advice for 2/10/2021 as well!)
The words, “Testing 1, 2, 3, 4” are most often heard when a person is doing a microphone sound check. It is to check clarity, levels and balance. So, it was interesting to wake up hearing these words. It is like a heavenly sound check is taking place. I then heard these words from the Book of James, chapter 1, verses 2, 3 & 4,
“2 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, 3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 4 And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”
I wonder if too many of God’s people are trying to figure out what is going on by gauging the world around us? I hear statements like, “This is what I heard but this is what I see.” I surely understand and I get why there are questions, concerns and confusion. Personally, my world has been altered on so many levels but then I remind myself of Bible story after Bible story where absolute defeat turned into a greater victory than expected when the narration of events was written by God and not man. Here are just a few…
Young Joseph was given a dream and a coat of many colors that promised him authority, honor and favor but the promise did not play out like Joseph thought they would in his young mind. God’s narrative quite honestly seemed at best cruel and harsh; betrayal, slavery, isolation, abandonment, false accusation, imprisonments— but then the promise came to pass. The journey looked nothing like the dream but the outcome was so much greater and saved a nation in a time of great famine!
Then there was Moses. He went to Egypt as a deliverer of the Israelites but I guarantee you that each time he told Pharaoh to “Let my people go!” and the Israelites labor was increased and plagues came upon the land that they most likely not only questioned his authenticity but also did not view him as a deliverer. I imagine the accusations against Moses and Aaron were numerous. But God’s narrative once again played out much differently than even Moses expected. Not only were they delivered but their enemies were defeated.
Let’s not forget Lazarus! He was a personal friend of Jesus; a family friend where he found a home. Basically, Lazarus was an “insider” and counted among Jesus’ inner circle. When he gets sick his sisters know what to do…go get Jesus! Surely he will not let his personal friend die. He will come quickly and heal his friend. But no. He delays and almost seemingly strolls without any urgency to the home of his friend. He’s not only late, but Lazarus has been in the grave for days. The pain felt by all is real and raw. The questions of “where were you” and “if only you had been here” were intermingled with such deep grief. Yet, once again our God was not late but He was narrating a different story than anyone understood. The natural was not going to dictate the sovereignty of God or His ways. Although Lazarus was dead and it appeared final (nothing could be done)— then Jesus showed up and spoke, “Come forth!”
Last, Jesus came through a virgin birth, lived a sinless life, healed the sick, gave sight to the blind, fed thousands with only a small lunch and raised the dead. His disciples knew He was their long awaited Messiah. They had such hope, such promise and so much confidence in Him. They had seen the miracles and watched power flow from His hands. They knew that victory had come into a world of oppression. But then their precious Jesus was arrested, betrayed, beaten, crucified and put into a gave. Can you imagine the grief, the shock, the confusion and the questions. I am sure that there were many moments of great division as His disciples and followers tried to figure out what had just happened and who was at fault. I would imagine that there were fingers pointed at one another and accusations made. Pain often looks for a reason or for “what went wrong and who is to blame?” It was not a pretty sight…where had love and unity gone? But then the third day came…God’s narrative once again prevailed in the greatest victory known to mankind happened in the greatest moment of division and despair.
Here we are again…
2021 has begun with what many are perceiving as the greatest defeat they have seen in their lifetime. An increasingly horrific global pandemic, oppression and evil manifesting like the plagues of Egypt, economic ruin for so many and the shock in America upon a church that prayed, repented for the sins of their nation, humbled themselves before the Lord and walked in faith regarding what they heard the Spirit speaking to them…then the opposite happened. But even when the narrative on earth looks nothing like what we thought it would— does that mean that we have been defeated? It surely looks like absolute defeat (for our freedom, for the unborn, for our children, for our safety and for righteousness to prevail). But God…
In this place of what appears to be contradiction to our faith suddenly fingers are pointing at one another, people are in pain, in grief and in confusion. They are looking for someone to blame or clinging to the narrative that they thought would occur. But God’s narrative always has a deeper work to be done.
What if the “testing of our faith” is upon us so that we become steadfast, complete and lack nothing? Maybe in the midst of emotional turmoil and deep grief we should stop trying to figure out the Almighty and begin to “count it all joy” that our faith is being tested. Maybe we should stop pointing fingers and instead raise our heads so that we see the face of God. Maybe…just maybe, a much deeper work is being done.
For me— my personal losses and pain is bringing up dross that needed to be removed. Places that I didn’t even know that I had held unresolved issues have suddenly been uncapped so that I can be washed and purified by His blood.
This is my “sound check” moment. It’s like God has put a stethoscope to my heart and is saying, “Testing, 1, 2, 3, 4.” I believe this is happening for all who are willing. He’s clearing and purifying the sound of our hearts. He’s balancing and aligning us to His heart, His ways and His pure sound. He’s removing every obstacle that blocks the pure sound of His good news and perfect love.
This is our James 1: 2,3,4 time. Let us count it all joy and then watch a greater victory than we ever imagined come forth as we see a bride without spot or wrinkle emerge. We have not been defeated…we are having our faith tested and it is time to allow Him to make every adjustment needed.
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In seasons of pain, loss or waiting it is easy to get stuck in only what is before our eyes. After all, isn’t there a saying, “Seeing is believing”? In my life and in the life of most believers— what we see is rarely a true gauge for what God is doing.
God is always working in the place of “beyond what we can see.” I love the one stanza in the popular song, Way Maker, that says,
Even when I don’t see it, You’re working Even when I don’t feel it, You’re working You never stop, You never stop working You never stop, You never stop working
Many years ago when my husband and I were trying to adopt our oldest daughter (she was a baby at the time), it seemed that every where we turned we hit a dead end or obstacle that was too big to cross over. But we had clearly heard God’s voice again and again saying, “This is your daughter.” Even some of the strongest believers we knew doubted as they looked with their eyes at the impossibilities that laid before us month after month. One day the judge on her case told me with much force, “You don’t have a prayer!” But…that is exactly what we had! Then, two months after we lost her, the case was closed and she was to go to another family…God, who never stops working, did a miracle and overnight she was in our arms as our daughter! We couldn’t see Him working— we didn’t even know if He was working…but He was working and it was in the place of “beyond what we can see.”
That doesn’t mean we didn’t weep. We wept with a grief that we didn’t know was possible. It doesn’t mean we didn’t grapple with wondering if we had not heard right. We truly had to question everything about how we heard God. It doesn’t mean we didn’t waver in our faith. When the case was closed on us, we completely lost faith…not in God but in what we thought we heard.
But, behind the scenes this was happening,
Even when I don’t see it, You’re working Even when I don’t feel it, You’re working You never stop, You never stop working You never stop, You never stop working.
Our Way Maker was working! Once again many of us find ourselves in a similar place. Very little that my eyes see make sense. Most of the “seen” contradicts what I thought I heard about so many things. The current losses seem to far outweigh any possible victory. So, in this place of waiting, wondering, and wrestling I will remember that He never stops working (even when I cannot see it).
As I am writing this little post of encouragement (yes, even to encouraging my own soul), my husband walked into the room with a cup of coffee for me, in a mug that I don’t remember owning, that says,
“Be still and know…” Psalm 46:10
Once again He speaks in personal and mysterious ways…His still, small voice silences the fears and calms the waves…
“Be still My daughter. I am not finished yet.”
And so I let down all of the self protection that wants to guard my heart, I weep again but in renewed hope and I cling to the One who has never failed me.
No matter what you are facing or what your eyes see— He never stops working. His promise in Jeremiah 29:11 is still true!
“For I know the plans I have for you” — this is the Lord’s declaration — “plans for your welfare, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” You may have woke up this morning feeling pain and deep sorrow but the Lord’s declaration is that He will give you a future and a hope. You may not “see” any hope but that is where our Way Maker makes a way. If you are “in the land of the living” and you call upon His name then this promise is for you. For those who have passed out of the land of the living (and called upon His name)— they have received the fullness of their HOPE! It’s an eternal promise.
Do not despair to the point of losing hope. We are “prisoners of hope” that will hope beyond what our eyes can see.
“Come back to the place of safety, all you prisoners who still have hope! I promise this very day that I will repay two blessings for each of your troubles.” Zechariah 9:12
“Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.” Hebrews 11:1
When God speaks a promise to me, through His still small voice, through a prophetic word or through His written Word, I access it by faith.
This amazing gift of faith is the key that opens new realms of experiential peace and joy. Faith is a three strand cord in my life; believing, receiving, and rejoicing. When God speaks, first I believe it as truth, then I receive it as reality, and then I rejoice because I am confident that He will do it.
This world, in its unredeemed state, teaches us to “wait and see” before getting overly excited about much of anything. It trains our thoughts to become skeptical about things hoped for or promises made. We are told to expect the worst so that we are not disappointed. It is a culture that throws ice water on those who have childlike faith. Unfortunately, I see this even in the body of Christ. Many have become skeptical about the promises of God. It is time to see your faith fully restored! God is restoring the assurance of faith to His sons and daughters.
Someone recently said to me that they were “sure hoping” that what they were standing in faith for was actually God. I immediately responded by telling a story from when I was a young believer.
I had been growing in the Lord and was beginning to take big steps of faith as I heard His voice, but then would become fearful that my “faith” was based merely on my desires and not truly His voice. I didn’t trust my hearing! These thoughts would steal my peace and joy because they stole my confident assurance. One day the Father sat me down to have a “Father/daughter” talk (I love those moments). He said,
“Daughter, a good parent is always watching over their little ones. They know where they are, what they are doing, saying, and wanting. Children love to tell their parents their desires; just as you do with Me. Do you think I am unaware of what you are thinking? I know what you are believing for and it is up to Me, as your Father, to make my voice known to you. Stop worrying about what you are believing for and have faith that I will not let you go astray. It is MY job to make sure that you hear My voice and no other. Have faith in My ability to make sure that you hear Me and follow Me.”
This was such revelation to me! I was young and spending way too much time worrying about “getting it right,” rather than having faith that He would make sure that I heard Him and would be taken to the right place. Such peace and joy came as this burden was removed. My prayer life changed from often agonizing pleas for His help to confident praise of His goodness, protection, and love. I was able to take His hand and simply walk forward, knowing that He was leading the way.
The enemy will always try to hit faith with fear. It will often come with the words, “Did God say that?” That question alone is the doorway to fear that will rob you of assured and confident faith. This question is like the enemy inviting you to sit you down and have a counterfeit “father/child” talk. If we sit down and entertain this question then peace and joy is robbed. Moreover, faith and trust in the confidence of your Father’s care for you is turned to doubt and being double-minded.
John 10:27-30 assure us that we will hear His voice,
“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. I and My Father are one.””
We are His sheep (His children and most valued possession). He makes sure that we hear His voice so that we can follow. The enemy cannot snatch you out of the Father’s hand, but he will surely whisper questions that will attempt to steal your peace.
It is the Holy Spirit’s job to make sure that you hear His voice. If you have heard Him and are standing in faith for a promise, then know that He has taken your hand in it and will lead you.
Don’t get stuck on the details of the promise (how the journey will look) because rarely does the journey to our promise look like what we thought it would. And more often than not the fulfillment is much better than we believed for! Many times my interpretation of something has added details and presumptions that were not accurate. It has been vitally important in my life not to begin to doubt or fuss with turns—or even setbacks—that appeared opposite of the promise. As I remain in confident assurance I always find myself in the manifest truth of Ephesians 3:20,
“Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” My “details” would have left me lacking but His path always has taken me to even greater joys and heights!
Twenty years ago I was given a postcard with a verse on it that hung in my home until recently, when I gifted it back to the person who originally gave it to me. The verse is from Philippians 1:6,
“…being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.”
He began it and He will complete it! In YOU! I am the most unlikely person to live the life that I’ve been living for so many years. I was such a fearful child who had almost no confidence, felt insignificant and thought my life would be a train wreck. Then Jesus came in and I just stand in awe as I see the work that HE began and is completing in me.
It’s time to get happy, to stand in awe, to live in confident assurance and to rejoice in the victories that He has promised even before they are seen. If He has shown them to you then they are sure! Take His hand and know that He will make His voice known to you. Put your faith in Him even more than any promise because HE IS THE PROMISE! Every promise is realized as you have faith in Him.
“Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out! “For who has known the mind of the LORD? Or who has become His counselor?” “Or who has first given to Him And it shall be repaid to him?” For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen.” Romans 11:33-36
(This article was written three years ago today but it is so appropriate for now.)
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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.