Harvest and You!

This time of year is beautiful for many reasons. Harvest time for crops is upon us along with leaves changing color, temperatures cooling and holidays coming up. While harvest in the natural signifies the gathering of crops, harvest in the spiritual signifies the gathering of the lost.

John 4:35, Do you not say, there are yet four months, and then comes the harvest? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes, and look on the fields, that they are white for harvest.

This morning the Lord was sharing about the harvest and understanding people. With our modern day technology, you might believe that every person in the U.S. has access to hearing the gospel. At any given time we can find excellent teachers, preachers, churches and messages on every topic. As I told the Lord one day, “the U.S.A. is without excuse.” He replied that I have judgment towards North America and in order to minister effectively in this nation, that needs to change. I immediately repented and asked for His heart for our nation.

God opened my eyes to see the plight of North America. People who are lost hear the voice of the flesh and the voice of the thief. All their decisions are made from this standpoint. Their knowledge and understanding is derived from their environment, experiences and peers. Unless prayer pervades the darkness over the lives of the lost, the thief will have his way. “The thief comes only to steal and to kill and to destroy.” John 10:10

You and I are harvest reapers. The Lord showed me that every believer qualifies as a connector between the lost and Jesus. Believers in Christ are the ones who carry the kingdom of God and His message of salvation through Christ. This message needs heard with the love and power of God demonstrated. How can we reach our neighbors, our state and our nation? Prayer will open up divine appointments and courage helps us follow through. May we see the lost as Jesus does and help them connect to the greatest love of their life! “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. ” John 10:10

The Aroma of Christ

2 Corinthians 2:15-16 For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing , from one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life.

My husband and I live in an area with strong contrasting aromas. One day you walk outside and smell Hershey’s chocolate, which comes from their factory 30 minutes away. The next day you walk outside and smell manure being spread over nearby farmland. Each aroma is distinct and attaches to a specific cause. The same is true with the aroma of Christ. The aroma of Christ is with us wherever we go representing the Kingdom of God. Question is, does our aroma represent Christ? Do we smell like Jesus or the world?

People all over this planet need Jesus. They are lost, hurting, in captivity and heading towards eternal fire. Since we carry the kingdom of God, their needs can be answered through you and I. Everywhere our feet tread, the Kingdom of heaven can be released. Awareness of God being with us and His desire to reach a lost world is crucial. It’s easy to run errands and pay no attention to anyone else. Tuning into the Holy Spirit throughout our day, however, will open doors of opportunity to reach people for Christ. Approaching others with God’s love and compassion releases a favorable aroma.

What do people come in contact with, when they meet us? Is it the love, joy and peace of the Lord? Or the anxiety, anger and stress of the world? This is what family members, work buddies and everyone else will notice. The aroma of Christ is first and foremost unconditional love, for God is love. Love values people no matter what culture, color or behavior. No one is beyond hope, no one is beyond redemption. We are called to love people the way Christ loves us.

Time and devotion unto the Lord will strengthen our Christlike aroma. If we are too busy to spend time with the Lord, we will smell like the world. Strengthening our spirit man with God’s word, worship, prayer, praise and thanksgiving will create a sweet aroma. We will smell like Jesus, releasing the kingdom and presenting people an opportunity to encounter their heavenly Father!

Blessings.

Thrive

This morning while taking a shower I was thinking about my schedule. My showers are lengthy due to my think time. The next three months have a number of major events including: helping two families move (our own grown children), a family vacation, a conference and an international missions trip. I thought to myself, “I will have to kick into survival mode.” The survival mode has a mindset of, ” hold on til the ride is over. I have no control over whats happening. “

The Lord broke in and spoke, “not survive mode, thrive mode.” I had to process that a bit. My shower just got longer. How often is the question, “how are you doing?” Met with, “well, I’m surviving. Hanging in there. Life will be easier after this is over.”

Life with Christ is lived out by faith and grace. We trust God and believe He will supernaturally intervene in our circumstances. Having much to do, can be done in rest and peace thereby accomplishing more in less time. I have seen this happen over and over in my life. Spending time with the Lord should be priority, even more so the busier we are. Martin Luther said, “I have so much to do that I shall spend the first three hours in prayer.”

Thrive means to: prosper, flourish, succeed, grow vigorously, improve according to Webster’s New world College Dictionary.

The Lord is telling us we don’t need to be in survival mode, that even in the busiest of times we can flourish. Growing and increasing in Christ continues for a lifetime. God will help us maintain our schedule if we keep our eyes on Him. Having much to do is not a bad thing, as long as time spent with the Lord stays on the schedule.

If busy takes the place of prayer, Bible study, and one days rest out of seven, ask the Lord for help to rearrange your schedule. Putting the Lord aside during your busy season, means your flesh will take over with striving, producing stress, fatigue, anger and burnout. Instead, may we stay connected in every season by following this word in John 15:4, “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.”

Psalms 1:2-3
But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night. And he will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither; and in whatever he does he prospers.

“What the World Needs Now”

A number of years ago in 1965, there was a song that went like this.

“What the world needs now is love sweet love, it’s the only thing that there’s just too little of, what the world needs now is love sweet love, no not just for you but for everyone…”

A love deficit covers the earth today breaking connections between God and man, husband and wife, parent and child and friend to friend. People are communicating to one another through social media believing their need for connection is met. There are scores of hurting people looking for “love in all the wrong places.”

1 John 4:19 “We love because He first loved us.”

1 John 4:8 “Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. ”

1 John 4:11 “Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.”

The ability to love God comes from God’s love to us. After loving God, we love ourselves. This may be tricky if we had parental issues growing up and lacked the love of our earthly parents. God’s love is perfect however, healing all the wounds of absent parental love. His love is not earned, based on performance or the result of good deeds. God loves us because we are His sons and daughters. He is our Abba Father. His desire is to have a personal relationship with all people and for them to experience His love, forgiveness, healing and freedom. Jesus will reveal Himself to you, simply ask.

We love God, we love ourselves, we love family and we love our neighbors. The Lord says in John 13:35 “By this all people will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” What does this love look like? How is it possible to love the lost and evil doers?

God’s love in us is capable of loving the unlovely. I recently heard a story of a Taliban leader coming to Christ. The minister reached him through love and he encountered Jesus. The power of love makes a connection to another man or woman’s heart. We love people through Christ and see them with His eyes of compassion, mercy, and potential. No person is beyond hope. No matter how deep the sin, forgiveness is available through Christ who died and rose again redeeming us from its power.

Let us walk in love, praying for all people and looking past their sin into their value as a beloved son or daughter of the Most High God. Their outward appearance is not ours to judge. We have not walked in their shoes or heard their story. Shame keeps them from entering a church therefore let’s be outrageous lovers and take Jesus outside the four walls and into the streets!

Africa Mission

I stared at the carefully cultivated hillsides while traveling into Uganda from Rwanda. The soil was dark and rich, the vegetation green and healthy. Workers in the fields were women swinging pick axes. There were no tractors, oxen or work horses. Thinking about the exertion on one’s back and neck almost created pain. Some women had their baby’s bundled on their back. Other small children sat in the dirt nearby. There are many homes without electricity and most roads are dirt, not pavement. It felt like backward time travel a couple centuries.

Our team of nine, led by Peter Seth Neuberger from Kashabba Tribe Ministries, came from Alaska, Maryland and Pennsylvania. Peter recently moved his family to Rwanda, from Tanzania. He is very familiar with the way of life there and was a superb leader. The mission in Rwanda was to train Pastors with open meetings at night. The mission in Uganda was to train Pastors in the day and have an open air crusade at night complete with tents.

Praise and worship in Africa has it’s own category. Dancing unto the Lord involves every body part moving! They know how to celebrate and rejoice! Often times we would see the dirt from the crusade ground turn into a cloud from the stomping of feet for Jesus! The women were dressed in brightly colored dresses, fancy shoes and the men wore suits to the crusade and church on Sundays. The last outdoor church service lasted a mere five hours including three and a half hours of singing and dancing before the speaker.

There was leading from the Lord to solidify Christian foundations. Our teachers spoke on: Love, A Healthy Church, Sonship, The Culture of Honor, The Fire of God, Forgiveness, The Feeding of the Five Thousand, Salvation, and Testimonies. After each teaching there was an altar call where people received salvation, healing or deliverance. The power of the Holy Spirit was evident and lives were transformed.

Everyone I prayed for with pain, was healed. I had a teenager receive Christ. Another teen was healed from intestinal worms. Some women received the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Others were slain in the spirit and many received deliverance. With the teachings on forgiveness, people were set free through forgiving. This is my passion, to see people encounter the love and power of God! All glory unto the Lord!

God captured my heart for Africa. I had encounters five days during this trip. The connections to Pastors brought invitations to return. My friend and I took a duffle bag full of handouts: three spirit-filled study Bibles, a thinline Bible, seventeen children’s books for a primary school, two soccer balls, baby clothes, lollipops and some items our leader needed. The team received gifts as well: African shirts and dresses, and we felt so honored! Now I have a dress for my return trip!

In closing, I encourage you to pray for nations around the world. God is moving and people are coming to Christ by the tens of thousands. If you have an opportunity to serve on a missions trip and see another part of the world, you will be blessed. I went on this trip to serve and I received much more than I ever expected. As you give away you will be filled, whether here in the US or in other countries. Stay full of the Holy Spirit and be a fountain of living water. Blessings.

Mark 16:15 he said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.”

Judgment

“Don’t judge a book by its cover.” This familiar phrase is used to tell us that there is “more than meets the eye.” We decide what to wear, what to eat, how to decorate our house, where to vacation, etc. all based on what is pleasing to our eyes. Our sense of sight makes many a decision for us. That’s fine regarding material things.

However, when it comes to people it is a different story. God choose David to be anointed King when he was still in the field watching sheep. Scripture tells us in 1 Samuel 16:7 “For the Lord sees not as man sees; man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” You and I are to look at the heart as well. We are called by God to love people, seeing their God-given potential, and encourage them in their life journey.

Judging the behavior of mankind is not our job. Look at the fruit of judgment: anger, division, pride, hypocrisy, criticism, discord, condemnation, rebellion, curses, chaos, and more. This is what we are seeing in our nation and not what God intends for His people. The love and light of God’s heavenly Kingdom cannot be released through one who judges, condemns and criticizes. Instead of activating the Kingdom of Light and blessing, the kingdom of darkness is called upon releasing curses.

The Lord spoke clearly to me, “judgment does not change the human heart.” The Old Testament is proof of that. As believers in Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, we have the Holy Spirit living inside of us to transform our heart. This is the New Testament advantage. External law in the Old Testament did not change the heart therefore did not change external behavior.

Our judgment upon people does nothing to change them and releases judgment on our own head. Matthew 7:1 “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged. And with the measure you use, it will be measured again for you. And why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank that is in your own eye?” Judgement is hypocritical simply because none of us are perfect. We have not walked in another man’s shoes. Speaking against another person whom God also created in His image is prideful, suggesting they are less than.

James 3:10 from the same mouth come both blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be this way.

Let’s be intentional about our words and pray according to the word of God which says in Matthew 5:44, “But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. “Your prayers aligned with the word of God, will produce a love for people. God’s heart for them will come alive in you. He may use your prayers to draw their heart unto Himself and rescue them out of their trouble. The eyes of their heart can be opened to receive the love Christ has for them.

Colossians 3: 12-14 So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity.

Achieving your Resolutions

I love this time where we can evaluate and make decisions on home improvement. By home improvement I mean look at ourselves, considering our person to be a home, and see how we can remodel. I have years of experience of making resolutions and seeing what works or not. My theory was: have about 20 goals for the New Year, and if only three come to pass I am still ahead of those who only went after 1 goal.

I no longer do that because to adopt 20 new somethings into my life is a bit extreme to say the least. If you can’t remember your list of resolutions it is kind of hard to fulfill. The number of changes any one of us can implement in a given year depends on a few things.

  1. Resolve.  New resolutions will take resolve. The motivation behind the resolution is connected to the purpose. If your health is deteriorating and you need to change your food choices, that is a strong motivator. Something has to be more than a good idea to motivate us to implement the necessary changes and follow through. If reading through the Bible in a year is only a good idea, it will not happen. New resolutions need purpose and commitment.

2. Planning.  Adapting your schedule to make room for your resolution is very important. Developing new habits are easiest if they have a certain time to be done. Devotional times are best developed having consistent times. Exercise follows the same criteria. Healthy eating will take time to research and try new menus. Your schedule will need adapted.

3. Prayer.  God knows best. He designed and created us and knows exactly how we operate. Often times we make resolutions because we expect the new year to give us a shot of adrenaline for accomplishment. While this may be true to an extent, I find that new operations are best followed through when we invite God to help us have endurance, wisdom and empowerment.

Give yourself some slip up days. Establishing new goals takes some time. Make your goals manageable and increase as you need to. New habits take time to make and old habits take time to break. Don’t be too hard on yourself.

I am excited for 2019! I am excited to see goals realized this year that have not come to pass prior. I bless you in managing your goals and may you experience fruitfulness!

Proverbs 16:3 “Commit your works to the Lord and your plans will be established.”

 

Do not Fear!

There is fear in the atmosphere.  Negative news sells and the media goes after the emotional response of anger and fear.  The bombardment of hearing and seeing worldwide catastrophic events can create fear which in turn creates immobilization.  The enemy of this world would like us to believe we are powerless and have no course of action.  However the Word of God tells us different.

Joshua 1:9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous.  Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.

2 Timothy 1:7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. 

1 John 4:4 …Greater is He who is in you, than he who is in the world.

Our posture is one of courage.  Courage which comes from knowing we carry the greater power as disciples of Christ.  Courage which comes from knowing Jesus came “to destroy the works of the enemy,” and likewise our mission.  We rise up in courage for the resurrection power of Christ dwells in us.  There is power in the name of Jesus and we are “more than conquerors through Him who loved us.”  Romans 8:37

Courage-the attitude of facing and dealing with anything recognized as dangerous, difficult or painful, instead of with drawing from it.  The quality of being fearless or brave, valor.  Webster’s New World College Dictionary

I am  conquering  all media fear through prayer.  If there is a hint of fear in anything I see on the news on read in the paper, I take it to prayer. If I don’t I will be angry, criticize and give fear a place.  I pray from a place of love for people and authority over darkness.  Listening to the Holy Spirit and praying His words releases heaven on earth and removes all fear.

Phil. 4:6-7 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 

 

 

 

 

Celebrate Your Life!

Celebrating your life sounds like an oxymoron given the times in which we live.  The evils of this world surround us and darkness is trying to overtake us.  Jesus says in John 16:33, “In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”

The following three reasons  for celebrating your life are just a smidgen of information regarding this topic.  I believe the Lord wants us to celebrate our life because He breathed into us at birth and takes delight in being our Father.

Celebrate your life:

1.  Because of who you are: 

  2 Cor. 6:18 “And I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to Me,” says the Lord Almighty.  Upon receiving salvation we immediately become a part of God’s family.  We are no longer slaves but sons and daughters living from the resources of heaven.  God’s love is unconditional, always there for us to receive.  Contrary to the standard of the world, God’s love is not based on performance.  He loves the newborn babe as well as the aged in the nursing home and everyone in between.  If God’s love was based on performance, many people would be disqualified.

A few years back the Lord spoke to me about my birthday.  He said, “why do you negate the day I brought you into this world?”  My birthday joy was dependent on what family and others would do for me.  Now I celebrate my birthday by handing out chocolate or whatever idea comes to mind.

2.  Because of what you can do: 

  Joshua 1:9 “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”  The resurrection power of Jesus Christ is within us.  This is a reason to celebrate, for with God we have supernatural power at work to help us do great and mighty exploits.  There are numerous examples in the Bible where God took an ordinary fellow and used them to accomplish His extraordinary purposes.  Moses led millions of people out of Egypt with a staff full of the power of God.  Joshua conquered the city of Jericho with walking and shouting.  David slew a giant with a slingshot.  Esther saved her people.  Daniel worshiped God in Babylon and survived the lion’s den. Mary had a baby supernaturally. The disciples operated in the power of God after receiving the Holy Spirit.  You too have the potential to accomplish beyond your own strength if God is calling you to the assignment.  Your potential is beyond your natural ability because of God’s divine assistance through Christ.

I was with my friend in India at a village church.  After preaching and laying hands on everyone, the Pastor invited us to a room where a woman lay on a concrete bed waiting to die.  There were flies buzzing around her. She looked very lifeless. My friend and I took turns praying and rebuking a spirit of death. We found out later that she totally recovered! To God be the glory.

3. Because of relationships:

We celebrate our relationships beginning with Jesus.  John 15:12 “My command is this: love each other as I have loved you.”  I celebrate Jesus and my salvation. Without the Lord I have no idea what my life would look like.  Think about all the people in your life who have helped you become who you are and give thanks.  We have parents, teachers, coaches, pastors, friends etc. who have been there for us. I celebrate those persons God used to help direct my journey. Then we all have our list of not-so-lovely people.  Keeping the right attitude and heart towards these ones, celebrating those who are different yet also created in God’s image will help keep us in divine alignment. Everyone is a work in progress.

I read a story of a prophet who was critiquing an actress and the Lord spoke to him and said, “I was going to use you to speak into her life, but I can’t now with your attitude.”  The prophet repented and God used him to share His mind with her.  Celebrating and loving people makes way for God to use us in their lives.  We are not their judge, but one demonstrating Jesus’ heart so they can know Him.

 

House Grace

It all started seventeen months ago when the Lord whispered, “get your house ready for sale.”  As exciting as that sounds, no one could have prepared me for the journey.  Living in a home for twenty-two years and raising four kids in the process, ample memories were formed:  Bible studies around our kitchen table, camping in the backyard with the youth group, cookouts, picnics, volleyball games, Superbowl parties, sleepovers, etc.  Our house was a place where people would come and leave blessed.

Once the kids grew up and left, the purpose behind a large home turned into more work and expense than needed.  The activities once held as a family drifted off.  Looking around at the accumulation of stuff was disheartening. Should I charge storage rates for my kids’ things left behind?

After the Lord spoke to my husband about selling the house, we  jumped in with both feet and started planning. The realtor walked through and made multiple recommendations. The renovations needed to market the house surpassed our expectations and increased as we moved forward. The more we repaired the more we noticed needing fixed. Our realtor connected us to a handyman who was able to complete every renovation.

It was a busy time cleaning out clutter, organizing, selling, donating and giving away our excess. When you have the storage room, you keep more than necessary. I even had treasures from my parents.  For nine months the task of  house prep took most of my time. My ministry was on hold except for prayer, study and a couple speaking engagements.

The grace of God was evident every day. I covered everything in prayer. There were still setbacks with the wrong order showing up or the timing of accomplishing repairs. We had unknown problems surfacing. “But through it all,” God was with us. We had grace (God’s divine assistance) with:

  1. endurance-keeping a good attitude despite the work
  2. finances-labor and materials
  3. selling items quickly
  4. our workers doing supreme work-we were very happy with work results
  5. the sale of the house-done in less than 40 days
  6. the home inspection-quick fixes
  7. the apartment we moved into-feels like a vacation villa

At the closing of the sale, we met the buyers. The entire process of preparing our home to sell, with all the updates, setbacks, and truckloads to haul treasures to storage was worth it, after seeing the excitement of the family who will take ownership. God brought us  the people He had in mind for our home. I am indeed thankful for God’s grace helping us navigate our house selling journey!

Blessings