Leaning On Your Beloved

By Kathi Pelton

Yesterday I was on a Zoom call and a beautiful discussion began regarding the words in Song of Solomon 8:5 that says,

“Who is this coming up from the wilderness leaning on her beloved?”

We shared deep things about how 2020 has brought the Ecclesia globally into a desert place where He is teaching her to lean upon Him once more.

As we spoke, tears ran down my cheeks as I not only embrace what God is doing today but also remembered these very words that completed a journey God sent me on to save my life 25 years ago.

Though I was already a Christian (even in ministry), I went through the darkest desert experience imaginable for three years. This painful and dark time, which felt like a tomb, concluded with the most amazing and beautiful resurrection where I heard those words spoken to me by the One who I learned to lean on in that desert time— my time in the tomb.

That three year time period began when the Lord spoke to me the words from Hosea 2:14 that say, “But then I will win her back once again. I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her there.”

Jesus took me by the hand to “win me back once again.” There was a great battle and wrestle for my life but Jesus spoke so tenderly to me in that desert place. He fought for me and He won me.

The next verse says, “I will return her vineyards to her and transform the Valley of Trouble into a gateway of hope. She will give herself to me there, as she did long ago when she was young, when I freed her from her captivity in Egypt.” Hosea 2:15

He had freed me from captivity when I came to know Him as my savior but once again He was going to use the “Valley of Trouble” to restore me and transform me. I was ready to go through the painful process of a metamorphosis that would change everything— transform me into who He created me to be.

I believe that His Bride is in a similar place here in 2020. God’s people have experienced freedom from captivity before but as 2020 began we were brought into a “Valley of Trouble” to be transformed once again. To have our vineyards and fruitfulness restored and to learn to “lean upon our Beloved” once again.

In the beginning of this year I discovered a song called “Lean Back” (by Capital City Music) that captured my heart so deeply. Right before Covid-19 began to shut down our nation I was literally playing that song on repeat every day and soaking in the beauty of His love. Then as we went into quarantine I would hear the words once again from Hosea 2:14, “But then I will win her back once again. I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her there.” It was, once again time to “learn to lean.” Here are just a few of the lines in the song,

— You’ve brought me here to rest
And given me space to breathe
So I’ll stay still until
It sinks in

— And I will lean back in the loving arms
Of a beautiful Father
Breathe deep and know that He is good
He’s a love like no other

— You will never leave
Your love sustaining me
Before I even knew
What love was

I knew that once again, we were being called back to first love. We were being given space in time to “breathe again” while the whole world was saying, “I can’t breathe!” His sons and daughters were being called into a rest that set us apart so that we could become a true resting place for the Lord (a dwelling place). The breathe of God was giving us life and first love.

“For the Lord has chosen Zion, he has desired it for his dwelling, saying, “This is my resting place for ever and ever; here I will sit enthroned, for I have desired it. I will bless her with abundant provisions; her poor I will satisfy with food. I will clothe her priests with salvation, and her faithful people will ever sing for joy. “Here I will make a horn grow for David and set up a lamp for my anointed one. I will clothe his enemies with shame, but his head will be adorned with a radiant crown.”” Psalms‬ ‭132:13-18‬ ‭

Here we are now, entering September, and I am still in that place of being set apart to fully learn to lean upon my Beloved like never before. I believe that many are. Though there is busyness all around us, there is still a place of rest and dependency that has found breath, life and first love renewed. I feel constantly undone by His beauty and goodness in the midst of such a contradicting time on earth. As people scream hate and act in violence, my soul has found “a love like no other.”

I deeply encourage you to yield to this time in the desert, in the “Valley of Trouble”, and let Him speak tenderly to you and restore to you all that has been lost. Then, you will hear the words,

“Who is this coming up from the wilderness leaning on her (or his) beloved?”

It is there that we will find rest and become a resting place— a dwelling place for Him.

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People and Nations Becoming Rooted and Grounded in Love

By Kathi Pelton

The Holy Spirit has had me praying for the body of Christ and our nation out of Ephesians 3, beginning with verse 16, for the past few weeks. Verse 16 says,

“I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit.” Ephesians‬ ‭3:16‬

What a powerful and wonderful prayer that we should all be praying for every believer. It’s such a Kairos time to see the Spirit of the Lord empower each of us with “inner strength” out of His “glorious and unlimited resources!” This is a prayer we should be praying over our lives, our loved ones and even our nations leaders who believe in Christ as their Savior. An inner strength is needed like never before in our lifetime.

Ephesians 3 goes on to say in verse 17,

“Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong.” Ephesians‬ ‭3:17

I see so many who are weary and feeling weak and yet this verse offers a solid solution for keeping you strong. As you are empowered by His Spirit with inner strength; which will produce trust in Him— then Christ will make His home in your heart. As your heart becomes a resting place for our Savior, His love will empower you and the roots of your life will go deep into the rich soil of His love. It’s a beautiful progression of inward prosperity and riches.

If trust in God is what causes Him to make His home in our heart then just think of what would happen if our nation(s) turned back to “In God We Trust!” God would find a home and a resting place in the heart of our nation once again. But often these restorations begin in the house of God (in His people first).

Let’s continue onto verse 18,

“And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is.” Ephesians‬ ‭3:18‬ ‭

This is so essential for God’s people! If we would pray that the Spirit would empower us to understand the width, length, height and depth of the His love then we would know what is needed and what the world is crying out to understand and experience. It says, “…as all God’s people should…” In other words, we don’t but we should! Often as you scroll through social media and observe much of what God’s people have to say, what you will quickly discover is that there are a lot of opinions and words without a depth of love— or without being rooted in love. What is prophesy or words without love?

“If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing.” 1 Corinthians‬ ‭13:1-2‬ ‭

The gifts of the Spirit without the love of God are just noise! There is already too much noise out there. What sets our words and voice apart from all the noise? Love! When we begin to be rooted in the love of God, which begins with trusting Him, then we release the sound that breaks through the noise! Love is the frequency of Heaven that shatters darkness, confusion and fear. It breaks through barriers and opens deaf ears.

Ephesians 3:19 goes on to say this,

“May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.” Ephesians‬ ‭3:19‬

There is an “experience that surpasses understanding.” When a person has an experience with the love of God— then they are forever changed! I can understand that “you love me” but the personal experience with your love will impact and change my life!

Men and women are made complete and “full of life” when they experience God’s love. But what does this verse also say? They will be made complete in His “power” that comes from God!!

I have been around Christian ministers who moved in a so-called power ministry and yet there was a great lack of love. Power without love is illegal! Almost all of these ministries end up falling away because we must be rooted and grounded in love to rightfully be empowered by His Spirit and to see others experience the life changing power that the love of God brings. Power without love will destroy both the user and the receiver.

Finally, Ephesians 3:20 says,

“Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.” Ephesians‬ ‭3:20‬ ‭

We love this verse!! The “more than we can ask or think (imagine)” is one of Christian’s favorite verses. But we must put it into context. This verse comes after verses 16-19. There is a progression that we cannot skip.

• Praying for His Spirit to empower us with inner strength.

• Trusting Him so that He makes His home in our hearts.

• Allowing the roots of our life to go deep in the soil of His love.

• Asking to understand the fullness of the love of God.

• Asking to experience the love of God since we cannot fully understand it.

• Asking the Spirit to make you complete with all life and power that comes from God.

• Yeilding to God’s mighty power to work in each of us which accomplishes more than we can ask or imagine!

I believe that these are key verses the Spirit of God wants prayed over our lives, our loved ones and those in leadership. Love shifts everything! It changes the sound, the narrative, the power to change the lives around us, the atmosphere and the world!

Let’s silence the noise and release the sound that has depth, width, length and height…the sound that is rooted in the love of God!

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WATCH AS THE CHAOS SENT AGAINST YOU SUDDENLY BRINGS YOU INTO DESTINY

By Kathi Pelton

-I wrote this a year ago but felt the Spirit ask me to re-share it with you. –

I was taken into a vision where I saw a swirl of fear, chaos and distraction being sent against many of God’s people. This demonic assignment was causing people to feel disoriented and disconnected. It came so fast and furious that it completely caught them off guard.

I’m from Northern California where the coastline is known for what are called, “sneaker waves.” These are very large and powerful waves that suddenly and unexpectedly come upon the shoreline. These sneaker waves a known for pulling someone from the shallows or a person walking on the rocks out into the turbulent sea.

This is an appropriate description of what this assignment looks like. It may feel like you were wading in the refreshing glory of God or walking with Him upon shores of grace—then, suddenly you are caught by a sneaker wave and are pulled out into the chaos and turbulence of the raging sea.

In this vision I saw those who were caught in the chaos of this sneaker wave struggling to reorient themselves. I saw their arms flailing like a person who was being pulled under and drowning. As I saw this I saw the Lord with them and heard Him speak these words,

“Stop fighting, stop flailing and let Me rescue you. Trust Me and watch what I will do.”

When someone is drowning, the worst thing that they can do when help arrives is to fight and flail in fear. As they rest and relax into full dependency upon the one who has come to save them, the rescue is far easier and much less traumatic.

The Lord is with you in the sea of chaos that has caught you by surprise. Relax and rest in His arms because He is right there with you. Fear may have been blinding you from seeing Him but know this; He is there to rescue and save you.

As the vision continued and I saw these people as they began to recognize the Lord’s presence with them. They began to relax into the peace that comes with absolute dependency upon His saving power. As they ceased striving and flailing, the sea of chaos that they had been drowning in suddenly became a wave that lifted them up carried them to the shore. Yet it was not the shore that they began upon but it was a shore of destiny. A wave of destiny brought them to a shore of destiny. A new place that they had not ever been to before.

So often God will use what the enemy has sent against us as an opportunity to get us further and faster to the place He has for us. This is happening for many right now. We all know from scripture that when the enemy comes in—like a flood— the Lord raises up a standard against him. It is the Lord that floods the atmosphere with His ways and will.

Years ago the Lord told me to be aware that the demons feed on fear and chaos. It is like a feeding frenzy for demons when the atmosphere is charged with the fear that produces chaos and robs men of peace. Then He showed me that when there is peace and trust in Him it releases an atmosphere that is complete confusion to the enemy. He and his army fall into absolute chaos and confusion— and they must flee! Peace and trust attract the hosts of heaven but chaos and fear attract the hosts of hell.

If you have been caught by a spiritual “sneaker wave” that has pulled you into its grip; threatening to pull you under and drown you— then now is the time to close your eyes and see with the eyes of your spirit. God is with you to rescue and save you. Enter into peace and trust Him in the turbulent sea. Watch the chaos suddenly become a wave that you were destined to ride to the new shores of glory where that which you’ve longed and waited for is suddenly before you.

“And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7

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Thank you to all of my faithful followers for supporting us in prayer and financial support at this time. We pray for you daily and are declaring that every storm sent against you would bring you to the shores of destiny!

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It’s No Longer Time To Survive But It’s Time To Thrive

By Kathi Pelton

I often think that we aren’t aware of when we begin living out of a 𝑠𝑢𝑟𝑣𝑖𝑣𝑎𝑙 𝑚𝑖𝑛𝑑𝑠𝑒𝑡. It is like an old default setting that was hardwired into our souls that we depend upon when things around us begin to be out of our ability to control them.

For me, I learned early on in life to be an expert at 𝑠𝑢𝑟𝑣𝑖𝑣𝑖𝑛𝑔. This did not serve me well when it came to issues of surrender or intimacy because the thought behind every surviver mentality is that there is something bad and tragic to survive. And I had a lot happen that reinforced that belief.

In my early years of walking with Jesus, I began to understanding that I couldn’t grow without letting go. I had to learn the difference between surviving and overcoming. Surviving kept me alive but didn’t allow me to thrive because it was rooted in trauma and self-preservation. The kindness and love of fhe Father began to teach me that overcoming was what He desired which is rooted in dependency and trust; not in me or my self-preservation but in full surrender and yielding to Him alone.

This was not an overnight process because the hardwiring to survive and the expectation of being left alone was at my core. It was a process of facing frightening times and deep fears and choosing surrender rather than protection. I had to allow my heart to risk loving and being loved. Surviving put a lock on my heart but overcoming was to open that door 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑔𝑜 𝑙𝑎𝑦 𝑑𝑜𝑤𝑛 𝑤𝑖𝑡ℎ 𝐽𝑒𝑠𝑢𝑠 𝑖𝑛 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑚𝑖𝑑𝑠𝑡 𝑜𝑓 𝑎 𝑠𝑡𝑜𝑟𝑚.

I remember when my family brought a foster baby into our home. I could feel my heart falling deeply in love with this little boy. Somehow I knew deep inside that he was only “on loan“ to us. I had a choice- I could merely care for him and survive losing him or I could open my heart and give him all the love he deserved and I had wifhin me to give. So, knowing that my heart would face incredible loss I gave it fully to him. For four years I loved that little boy with everything in me. It was so beautiful! Most days I’d lay down with him during his nap time and just stare at him, pray for him and tears would often flow as I overcame what I knew was coming. Sure enough that day came but through the terrible pain I had no regrets because I hadn’t held anything back. He would carry throughout his life all the love that I’d poured into him even if he didn’t remember me. And I would always have the memory and beauty of four years of loving the sweetest little boy. It’s been six years since then and I have no regrets. I learned to overcome so that I could experience deep intimacy rather than merely survive and experience only the shallow places.

There is a healing that is being offered by the Father that takes your hand and walks you into the deeper waters of surrender and trust so that you can experience the fullness of beauty, intimacy and encounter. Will pain still come? Yes, but you won’t merely survive pain but thrive in the midst of pain. Surrender has been the greatest gift because it allows me to 𝑙𝑒𝑡 𝑔𝑜!
In that place I find that I experience being held by the arms of my God when I feel like pain leaves me unable to breathe. His love and intimate presence becomes my breath and my overcoming strength. It is then that I thrive!

My life is so much richer from having loved when loss was a high risk. I’ve done that many times now. Actually, all earthly love (except for our love for Jesus) has that risk. But the choice is to self-preserve and hold back or to lay it all down and love fully knowing that the the 𝙊𝙣𝙚 𝙎𝙪𝙧𝙚 𝙇𝙤𝙫𝙚 will carry us through the times of loss and pain. I have always gained far more then I lost when I’ve given all of me.

It’s time to give 𝑎𝑙𝑙 𝑜𝑓 𝑦𝑜𝑢 to the One who gave all of Him for you. Ask Him to reset you to the default of an overcomer not merely a survivor. Again, overcoming takes dependency, surrender and letting go of control. It’s so worth rhe cost!

It’s time to thrive while you’re alive- not only survive. Holy Spirit come and do for us what we cannot do for ourselves. Help us to let go and find where you are in the midst of storms so that we can lay down with you…𝑙𝑒𝑎𝑛𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑜𝑛 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑒𝑣𝑒𝑟𝑙𝑎𝑠𝑡𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑎𝑟𝑚𝑠.


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Find Beauty In The Simple Things Again— “Rejoice Evermore!” This Will Restore Your Soul

By Kathi Pelton

The entire world realizes the seriousness of this hour as COVID-19 has created a health and financial crisis. Along with this, God is causing a deep sobering and refining in the hearts of His people as we navigate this landscape, facing issues unprecedented in any of our lifetimes. I personally have never experienced such a soul-searching time.

Then, yesterday as my husband and I watched the final episode of an HBO mini-series about John Adams (second president of the United States), a scene that occurred just prior to his death struck my spirit at a profoundly deep level.

Adams’ entire life had been dedicated to the very hard and real struggle to see his new nation founded and unified; he truly made great sacrifices for this cause. In his old age, after many personal losses, he began to despair as he felt he had paid too great a price. But in this scene, he was a very old man and was taking a short walk with his son. Suddenly he stopped and bent over, looking like he might fall. But he wasn’t falling but rather coming to his senses. He began to describe to his son the time that he stood before the queen of England and was amazed by the opulence of her crown adorned with 2,800 diamonds—including a 105-carat diamond in the front—and the beautiful jewels around her neck and on her hands. Then, as he was still bent over, the camera focused on what he was viewing; a tiny wildflower. With tears and deep passion he said, “All of the diamonds and jewels do not even begin to compare to the beauty of this one tiny flower.”

He then began to weep and laugh at the same time. This ninety-year-old man started to dance, grabbed his son’s arms, and shouted, (quoting the Apostle Paul) “Rejoice evermore! Rejoice evermore!”

The simple, pure perspective of creation and its Creator restored his soul. The “weight of the world” suddenly lifted off him and allowed the end of his life to be filled with simple beauty and joys.

As I watched this scene, tears filled my eyes and the Lord began to go to a new depth in me; but this depth was one of being restored to the child-like wonder of His beauty and creation. It caught me off-guard, even though earlier that day my husband and I were talking about pleasures we’d abandoned because we have become so serious about “seeing His Kingdom established.”

I am not suggesting at all that the sacrifices that we and others have made to serve our God are wrong or in vain, but I suddenly heard Him ask me, “Why don’t you paint? Why did you stop drawing and creating?”

My only answer was, “Well, how is that going to advance Your Kingdom?” As the words came from my mouth I suddenly knew that these simple talents and passions bring His heart pleasure— after all, look at how His artistry in earth’s creation brings us such pleasure.

Then I saw in my mind different scenes of our young grandsons rejoicing as they spend their days running through the tall grass with abandoned joy, or snuggling a neighbor’s kitty, or laughing as they run through a sprinkler. The Lord said, “Is their time wasted?”

I didn’t need to answer Him. Of course I knew that their joy and wonder brings Him great pleasure.

As all this unfolded, something began to be resurrected in my heart. It was the value that God puts upon the “simple beauties.” The tiny spring flowers carpeting the fields, the cherry blossom petals swirling in air like a snowfall, the sunrise and sunsets that paint our sky, and the birds singing songs that could be interpreted in the same words that John Adams sang as he looked upon the tiny flower, “Rejoice. Rejoice evermore!”

There is a deep work happening that is purifying our hearts and decluttering our lives. And yet, there is a resurrection of true wonder, beauty, and joy occurring as well. Let’s not forget to take time to experience His beauty by listening to the song birds, or breathing the aroma of a field of wildflowers, or stopping to look at the beautiful sky with someone we love. Take time to pick up those passions that were left behind and labeled “futile” as we viewed a world caught in the grip of sin and darkness. There is balance restored in understanding that we can be still, knowing that He is God, and we are not! In stillness we will find awe, wonder, and beauty again— which will restore joy to our weary souls.

There are times that it is proper for us to be deeply serious, and yet there are just as many moments that we are to enter into the simple beauties that remain; revealing His love in ways that restore our soul.

That moment, at the end of John Adams’ life, should not have just been a final encounter, but instead could have been thousands of small blessings woven throughout his life, so that the weight of his enormous responsibilities wouldn’t have caused such heartache in his soul. Let’s find the joy that has been woven through the landscape of creation and sown into the fabric of our lives through simple joys—painting, sewing, writing, photography, dancing, singing.

This time of alignment is also a time of balancing perspectives. We are not God, but we take things upon ourselves that set us up as “saviors.” The title Savior belongs to One, and only One. He already bore the weight of the world upon His body and gave His all for every person ever created. There is a rest and joy as we enter into the finished work of the cross and let go of the weight of a misplaced savior complex.

Deep is calling unto deep, but let’s not misunderstand that His finished work is the deepest truth we will ever embrace. Rejoice! Rejoice— REJOICE! He has overcome the world. Go out and spend an hour looking at a flower, or sit with someone you love and watch the sunset from beginning to end. Let beauty lift the weight from you and wash your soul with a resurrection of joy.

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Affections and Idols

By Kathi Pelton

As I was surveying the current state of the world around us, I was struck by the reality of the vast amount of distractions that have pulled on our “affections” prior to this Covid-19 quarantine.

From the activities of going to a restaurant for a meal– to seeing a movie– to shopping for one more thing– to attending a sports event(or watching one on TV)– we are constantly having our time filled with things that entertain and comfort us. Even Christian conferences, concerts and events have become a form of entertainment that has consumed the affections of many believers.

But suddenly they have all been removed. As I was pondering the issue of how all of these things that pull on our affections and how they have suddenly been removed I had a quick vision of idols falling. I don’t think that most people set out to or intentionally make any of these things idols but anything that exults itself above Christ or is vying for our attention and affections above God becomes an idol.

God, in His mercy, is aligning!

Prophetic voices have been prophesying “alignment” for a long time. We’ve been taking about the plumb line of God coming to align His people. It’s been happening on a small scale but not like we’d hoped or like we could see in the spirit. Now, suddenly it’s happening. We now can see the pull that these other things have had upon our affections— yes, even conferences and ministry events.

Are they bad? NO! Of course not. They are wonderful gifts but they were never meant to replace the personal, face to face time with our God. But if they become the focus of our affections that have replaced personal time with God and time in His Word then alignment is needed.

I remember when my husband and I had young children we felt to turn off cable and get rid of our TV because it had become a distraction to true face to face family time. The first week of its absence was like “going through withdrawals!” It had become the background noise in our home and it called for our attention to be turned toward it all the time. After that first week we adjusted and began spending greater quality time with God and with one another. Alignment took place in our family. We removed the thing that was becoming an idol because it was demanding our affections. Our souls wanted to be appeased which left our spirits malnourished.

As we go through this time let’s begin to take personal inventory of those things that have been removed that pull for our affections even more than God. We can repent and ask for alignment so that when these things are once again available we will live in alignment and balance. Let’s not have this crisis be a “mere moment” of sobriety from things that have become idols or distractions that have gained our affections above the Lord.

Ask the Holy Spirit to realign your priorities and the affections of your heart and soul. This truly is a moment in time that we are “coming back to our senses!”

I also want to encourage you to get face to face with your family members; those who are closed in with you! Let God rekindle the love between you and your spouse and let this be a time of restoration between parents and children. Share your hearts, carve out time that you walk together, play together, talk together and even heal together.

Let’s see our affections redeemed and those things that have become idols fall. Soon we will be able to eat out, see a movie, enjoy a sports event or attend a Christian gathering but let’s never again allow these thing to have a higher place then Jesus! May His throne in our private lives have the highest place!

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A Mic Drop Moment

By Kathi Pelton

Last night during our “Movement Night” at our church here in Fredericksburg, Virginia, Aaron Custalow shared such a powerful message. Toward the end of his message there was a moment when Aaron shares an encounter he had years ago where he had been striving to please God and running so hard for His Kingdom but it derived from a place where he was trying to “earn God’s approval” or to “return something to Jesus so because of the price He paid on the cross.” The things he was doing (preaching, praying, fasting) weren’t wrong but it came from a place of striving. God wanted his heart and for him to run with Him; not merely “for Him”. At the end of the encounter Aaron is taken to heaven and placed on the Father’s lap. He turns and sees Jesus sitting at the Father’s right side and He looks at him and says, “Aaron, I’m not mad about the cross!” (Mic drop!)

Those words penetrated the atmosphere throughout the room. How many sons and daughters in the family of God are striving but not in the grace and rest of Jesus but in a driveness to somehow earn what has been freely given? The works are good, the running hard is good but the motivation of the heart is not aligned with sonship and the absolutely free gift that Jesus gave us on the cross (we were the “joy set before Him”). When Aaron repeated the words that Jesus spoke to him, “I’m not mad about the cross” I could feel it penetrating hearts that had been striving with a sense of “I’m not doing enough!” My heart was more free to “strive to enter into His rest.” It felt like a moment of deliverance from striving.

Yes, we should give our all for the sake of His name and so that He receives His full inheritance! Yes, we should give our “yes” to all that He asks! But we do it to run with Him in joy, freedom and in rest. The price He paid did not come with a disclaimer or some small print that we forgot to read that said, “You still owe Me something.” It was and is free and HE’S NOT MAD ABOUT WHAT HE PAID! HE’S NOT MAD ABOUT THR CROSS!

These words felt like a trip wire for many returning to first love. Somewhere along the way the running after Him turned into our job or our work but we lost joy and passion. First love causes us to run but we don’t tire and we don’t leave His side. We just want to be with Him! He becomes our motivation and we do more than ever before but we don’t weary because we run from the place of “there is no where I’d rather be and no one I’d rather be with!”

When my husband and I were dating I hardly slept; I just wanted to be where he was! I’d work an eight hour day and then go to be with him and often at 3 a.m. we’d still be talking, holding hands and not wanting to leave each other’s side. When I slept I’d awake with my first thought being, “When can I see him, hold him and be in the presence of his love again today?” That is what first love looks like.

I could feel the atmosphere changing last night and I knew that it is just a taste of what is coming. A return to first love is coming to those who have walked with Him for many years and many new believers will come in as they fall in love with the One that the Church has fallen back in love with.

There is an atmosphere around a couple newly in love! It is alive, it is full of hopes, dreams, joy and it is single focused. When first love comes back upon His bride (His Church) in the way that I am seeing, it will a corporate atmosphere change. People will be drawn like a moth to the flame. We will run and not grow weary!

I find myself groaning in prayer often these days for a handful of things; two of them are for my heart of come into the fullness of first love once again and the second is that the motives of my heart are pure (purely devoted to Him). I believe that first love will cure the heart motives issue in many! We will do what we do because we just can’t get enough of Him and our thoughts are always on what brings joy to His heart.

Be encouraged! It’s as if the ceiling is cracking open and soon we will be under an open heaven of His manifest love. And remember; “He’s not mad about the cross!”

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His Secret Garden Is Being Unlocked In You

By Kathi Pelton

Years ago when our family still lived in California I would take long walks every morning. My route was the same each day and on that route I’d love to look at the beautiful yards that lined the streets. But there was this one house on one of the streets that had a yard that was full of weeds; overgrown and clearly never tended to. It always grabbed my attention as it stood out in such contrast to the well-kept yards all around it. One day as I passed by it I just stopped and stared at it for a very long time. I found myself lost in the potential that it had. I could tell that at one time someone had planted a flower garden within it but many years had gone by without a gardener to tend to it and now weeds choked out it’s once held beauty.

That day, as I stood there dreaming of what I’d do if it was my garden, the Lord spoke to me. He said, “Kathi, every person you walk by has great potential. Within each person is a secret garden filled with beauty was created to display different aspects of My image. Will you stop and dream with Me when you see a broken person that has not been nurtured or tended to with love? They are My secret gardens that I want unlocked.”

I knew that when He said “dream with Me” that it implied prayer, seeing beyond the natural, speaking identity, sowing into them and nurturing them. I said, “Yes.”

That “yes” began a journey of seeing with new eyes. I learned to look at people through the eyes of their Creator. Not one single person was ever created outside of His image and His beauty. Not one!

My husband and I found ourselves taking teenaged boys into our home that were broken, bruised and orphaned. These boys were so damaged that it truly took a revelation of “who God created them to be” to be able to walk day after day through their anger, their depravity and the brokenness that had become their identity.

One of our boys was easily triggered by little things in everyday life. His anger would come out with such venom that we needed a divine strategy of how to calm his pain. The Lord had shown me who he was created to be and even the plans for his life. He asked me to begin to speak that beauty over him in these moments of rage. The next time this young teen was triggered I looked at him and said, “Son, that’s not who you are! You are beautiful, kind, caring…” As I began to speak to “who he was” (rather than address what he was doing), he began weeping. He would let me hold him, calm him and restore him to peace. He expected someone to tell him who he had been taught he was (angry, unwanted, hateful, stupid, etc.) but what he received was a love that called him into his true identity. Today this young man is walking in that beautiful identity! The secret garden was unlocked and tended to with love and care.

This morning as I waited before the Lord I felt two things deep on His heart; one was how His people see themselves. The second was how His people see the broken (especially in the younger generation).

Far too often even those who know the Lord view themselves through their pasts or what the natural world has taught them. They see their weeds, their thorns, their hardened soil rather than partnering with God to unlock the hidden beauty (the secret garden) of who He created them to be. It is only when we believe that we possess beauty, value, potential and great purpose that we partner with Him to see it unlocked. As long as we can’t see beyond the weeds we will lose hope and become overwhelmed by the tangled mess. But God does for us what I did for our teen boys; He speaks true identity, beauty, purpose and potential. He invites His sons and daughters into the discovery of His image within them. When we allow our ears to hear the truth we begin to be transformed.

I often say that God has truly surprised me “with me!” Before knowing the Lord I saw absolutely no beauty and no potential beyond surviving and hiding behind masks. Every time I look at what the Lord has done in my life, I truly stand in awe because my “garden” was so locked up that I didn’t even know it existed. Finding “Him in me” has been the greatest treasure hunt! If you haven’t begun to find the treasure called, “You” then it is time to go exploring with the One who created you.

We must also begin to see beyond all the false identities, the masks that block shame, the confusion, and the shock of a world that has forgotten who they are and who’s image they are created in. We must ask the Spirit to begin to reveal His true identity that is beyond what is seen or being lived out in the world around us. Then we can pray, speak life, call them forth and unlock the garden within them.

The world is full of locked gardens but finding His image in them is the key to unlocking the true beauty. Though my initial reaction to that unkept yard was to look the other way or judge it as “unwanted”; the Lord used it to unlock a call on my life to see beauty beyond the natural sight in people.

God is longing to unblock our spiritual sight to see beyond the depravity and brokenness. He longs for us to see beyond the deceit and confusion. He wants us to speak life and to declare, “That’s not who you are! You are beautiful, valued, desired, longed for and deeply loved.”

Speak it over yourself and then speak it over a world (and generation) that has forgotten who they are. It’s time to unlock the beauty!

I want to leave you with the words I hear Him saying over you and over His created ones today from Song of Songs 4,

“How beautiful you are, my darling! Oh, how beautiful! Your eyes behind your veil are doves. Your hair is like a flock of goats descending from the hills of Gilead. Your teeth are like a flock of sheep just shorn, coming up from the washing. Each has its twin; not one of them is alone. Your lips are like a scarlet ribbon; your mouth is lovely. Your temples behind your veil are like the halves of a pomegranate. Your neck is like the tower of David, built with courses of stone; on it hang a thousand shields, all of them shields of warriors. Your breasts are like two fawns, like twin fawns of a gazelle that browse among the lilies. Until the day breaks and the shadows flee, I will go to the mountain of myrrh and to the hill of incense. You are altogether beautiful, my darling; there is no flaw in you. Come with me from Lebanon, my bride, come with me from Lebanon. Descend from the crest of Amana, from the top of Senir, the summit of Hermon, from the lions’ dens and the mountain haunts of leopards. You have stolen my heart, my sister, my bride; you have stolen my heart with one glance of your eyes, with one jewel of your necklace. How delightful is your love, my sister, my bride! How much more pleasing is your love than wine, and the fragrance of your perfume more than any spice! Your lips drop sweetness as the honeycomb, my bride; milk and honey are under your tongue. The fragrance of your garments is like the fragrance of Lebanon. You are a garden locked up, my sister, my bride; you are a spring enclosed, a sealed fountain. Your plants are an orchard of pomegranates with choice fruits, with henna and nard, nard and saffron, calamus and cinnamon, with every kind of incense tree, with myrrh and aloes and all the finest spices. You are a garden fountain, a well of flowing water streaming down from Lebanon. Awake, north wind, and come, south wind! Blow on my garden, that its fragrance may spread everywhere. Let my beloved come into his garden and taste its choice fruits.” Song of Songs‬ ‭4:1-16‬ ‭

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He Delights In Helping You!

By Kathi Pelton

During a past season of refinement that I was going through, I had began praying prayers that were not familiar to my ears. They were prayers that resembled begging— they sounded like the voice of an orphan not a daughter. Since some of my needs during that time stemmed from my own mistakes, unbelief and “taking matters into my own hands”, I felt deserving of the burdens that I was carrying. I found myself apologizing to God constantly and agonizing over the fact that I’d made some choices that brought about personal hardships. My prayers went from “Thank you Father…” to “Please help God…”

One night while I was struggling with guilt, worry and regrets over my predicament I began apologizing once again and praying (begging) this way, “Please help me God…” Immediately the Lord interrupted me. He said, “Daughter, why are you praying like an orphan when you are a loved daughter?”

I replied, “Because I acted out of doubt and unbelief and now I’m paying the price. I knew better!”

With such love and compassion He spoke again, “When one of your children make a bad choice, even when they knew better, do you withhold love or help when they truly apologize and need your help out of their troubles?”

I answered, “No, I run to their aid and comfort their hurting hearts. I restore them to peace, to sonship and purity. I don’t think twice about it!”

He said, “Do you not know that I am far more patient with you? Do you know that My love for you far exceeds your love for your children? And do you not understand that it is My delight to help you?”

That night my prayer changed! It went from begging God for help to thanking Him that He takes delight in helping me. My heart released the heavy burden of the responsibility for my failure. When I repented I was released from the burden and Jesus took it upon Himself. I allowed the rain of His love to wash away the guilt, the shame, the regret and the orphan spirit that had taken hold of my heart. He baptized me anew in His mercy, grace and love. He restored my place as His daughter.

Whether what you are facing is by the fault of your own choices or even merely by circumstances beyond your control— know this: He takes delight in both helping you and comforting you! You are His beloved child and His greatest longing is to be near to you, comfort you and help you. He does not want you to suffer under burdens that you were not meant to carry. Just as a natural parent would carry something too heavy for their child to bear or pick them up to carry them when they are too tired to walk on, so will your Heavenly Father. He far exceeds any human love or compassion— even that of a father or mother.

I awoke this morning feeling the depths of His love and compassion for those who feel separated from Him because of the grief of their own failings or choices. He longs to take from you all that you cannot bear. He takes delight in helping you and setting you free. Turn your words from the words of a beggar back to the words of one who knows they are a loved son or daughter.

When my kids come to me feeling broken and burdened, I drop everything to do everything I can to both comfort and help them. God is doing that for you right now. The amazing thing is that He has no limits in His ability to help and He knows exactly what to do to comfort you. As a parent I am limited in my abilities— He is not! He dispatched angels on your behalf , He opens the doors of Heaven’s storehouse, He comes as Comforter, Redeemer, Deliverer and holds nothing back.

Thank Him! Thank Him that He delights in helping you! Thank Him that He loves you and has taken you as His own child! Don’t beg but go to Him knowing that He takes great delight in you.

“The LORD your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.” Zephaniah 3:17

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Stay In The Now

Today, as I was praying, 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!

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