You’re probably wondering .. who is this girl anyway?

You probably don’t know me.  In the grand scheme of things, I’m not anyone special.  Just some Christian girl from a small town in Wisconsin.  I hold no official church position.  I’m just a girl who feels an overwhelming presence inside of me to share the glorious things God has shown me.  Things that He is already putting in place!

Last night, our town hosted a Gospel night.  This is an annual event where a handful of Christian worship teams get together and give a concert to glorify Christ.  The teams consist of people from all different denominations and backgrounds.  The beauty of it was that for one night, we all put aside our swords and united together for the sole purpose of worshipping and glorifying Christ.  No one got caught up in nit-picking the organizations we belonged to, the beliefs we hold, and no one poked fun at the difference in how some worshipped quietly while others were more exuberant in their worship.  We were truly one body .. the body of Christ.

It never ceases to amaze me how when we focus on finding Christ in the situation, we can really see Him.  I seen Him last night.  Not just in the group as a whole, but in individuals.  The teenager playing guitar as his grandfather sang gave me hope for my own wayward teen.  Jesus was there!  And  Jesus peeked His head out in the little woman who stood behind a wall of stern insecurity telling us, the audience, that she would remind us to stand for the last verse.  I smiled as she then bravely squeezed her accordion to the glory of Christ!  I saw Jesus again as a group of woman wrestled with a faulty sound system having to start over and over again and finally, observably nervous, moved forward belting out their best voices all for the sake of honoring Jesus.

I don’t know what your conversion was, but mine was similar to what Saul had.  While many had told me about Christ throughout my years, it was a personal encounter with Jesus that stopped me in my tracks and changed my direction forever.  Despite my need to know, ‘who was right,’ Jesus put a man and woman in my path who would teach me that it was Jesus I needed to focus on listening to.  I am so thankful for that!  I feel grateful that I was allowed to grow and not just learn about, but truly experience Christ.  I feel grateful that God put people in my path that took the time to not only teach and nurture me about the importance of knowing Christ’s ways, but also allowed me the room to grow, make mistakes, and the grace to recover from my many falls.

I’m grateful for the voices that God has put on the pulpits I have sat before.  I’m thankful for the men and women of God who have spent personal time seeking the Lord because I have always come with a spirit of expectation to hear from God and I have never been let down!  I am thankful that God has used not just those on stage, but those in the audience to speak to me.  I am thankful that God has shown me the miraculous.  I’m thankful that He has taken the time to show me that the same miracles that happened in apostolic times are happening now!  I’m thankful that I was witness to my father getting delivered from drinking and smoking and coming out of a coma speaking of how he had been talking with Jesus!  I’m thankful that my little brother, who was skeptical of tongues being from the devil, called me and excitedly told me how not only did he speak in tongues, but that he prophesied!

I’m thankful that Jesus approaches people today just like He did back then … on an individual basis.  Yet, at the same time, He’s able to reach all of us simultaneously through the same message.  How does He do that??  He amazes me!  I’m thankful that He has shown me that He is orchestrating a beautiful symphony and drawing His church together.

I’m thankful for all the wonderful people God has put in my path.  I’m thankful for the godly husband God put in path to lead, guide, and protect me from mostly, myself.  I’m thankful for my Pastor and his wife and their faithfulness to follow Christ’s ways.  I’m thankful for their willingness to step in and offer a course correction only when it’s necessary, instead of trying to control my every move.  I’m thankful for the organization I’m a part of.  Not because I feel we are the only ones with truth, but because I recognize a group of men and women who understand that organizations are created to support Christ’s church.

I’m thankful for the voices of authority that have spoken from their pulpits.  I’m thankful that the messages I keep hearing are consistent with exactly what I saw last night!  A message of grace, mercy, and unity in the body of Christ!  A message of letting Christ take the lead.  A message that God is raising up individuals and giving them the strength, wisdom, and boldness to step out and act on the very gift that Christ has put in them!  A message that we as a church, are being drawn together in unity and that Jesus is the focus!

Jesus is coming!  There is no doubt in my mind!  Right now, He is drawing us.  He is raising us up … we, His bride.  He is tearing down strong holds and breaking down barriers that have prevented us from truly being one up to this point.  He IS raising up the five-fold ministry.  He is raising up intercessors and laying on the hearts prayers that will be prayed … and answered.  He is giving out visions and dreams of meetings that will take place, just like in apostolic times.  He is preparing hearts to receive messages of understanding and opening doors that before, seemed impenetrable.   His spirit is being poured out and people are experiencing miracles, signs, and wonders just like in apostolic days!  He is sending forth men and women of God and giving messages that will be heeded.  His message is being heard.  His message is being acted on.  His bride is being raised up and the gates of Hell will NOT prevail against her.

Last night was just a glimpse of what is to come!  I have to laugh a little because maybe you don’t do this, but I know I do.  I’ll put all this pressure on myself to ‘build the kingdom of God’ and to ‘get it just right.’  It’s times like this when I have to just smile and shake my head because I realize, Jesus really is pretty good at putting things together .. even above all my silly pressures and attempts to help Him.  Ha!  Oh, that’s right!  Almost forgot for a second … He is God!  🙂

Be blessed!

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The Healing Place

A couple of years ago, I attended a ladies retreat where there was a tongues and interpretation.  The room was filled with 2000 ladies.  I recall that despite that there were so many women in that room, I knew in my heart of hearts, that the message spoken was for ME.  Of course, when God speaks to the body, the message is for everyone.  Maybe its pride, maybe it’s arrogance, or maybe it was really just something that spoke in my soul that said .. I want this.  I want this message to be mine.  The message spoke of listening, really listening, to the ladies on the stage because God said … they had been to the healing place.

Of course, at the time, I didn’t really know what that meant.  What exactly was the healing place?  Was it a specific location?  Could anyone go there?  Was there a cost to go there?  Where do you even begin? …. So many questions and not many answers left me with a deep-seated desire to get to this place.  Despite that I was Holy Ghost filled and blood bought … despite that I had spent many hours at several alters pouring my heart out to God … despite that I had spent hundreds of hours in prayer … there were still things inside of me that I just couldn’t get away from.  I’m not even sure I can accurately put my finger on it other than to say that there were holes in my heart that hurt.  Things in my life that haunted me that while God knew, I somehow didn’t know how to let go of.  Some people put up walls and call it being free, others put on a smile and hide the hurt, I seemed to be plagued with my hurts seeping through at the altar behind unspoken words and sobs as my soul begged for mercy.  This was a couple of years ago.

I sought pretty hard for God after that.  I wanted the healing place.  I wanted to know what true freedom really is.  I found out that healing and freedom were none of the things I thought they were.  I thought that once I had reached that place, that it would be nirvana.  I thought that I would finally be able to walk around and not feel insecure.  I thought that I would finally be able to feel the joy non-stop instead of continuously having life frustrate me with challenges.  I thought I would always be able to handle every situation with a smile and calm and know that it was real instead of feeling that I was hiding behind a wall of pretense.  Nope … the healing place was none of those things.  Neither is freedom.

We had a guest preacher in today that spoke of the healing place.  He didn’t call it that, but that’s exactly what it was.  I’ve been there now, so I know.  He was talking about the healing place.  It’s the place where we are confronted with all kinds things that we never expected.  It’s the place where we are forced to face some of the most dreaded things in our lives.   It’s the place where you life seems to be falling apart.  It’s the place where you are certain, you can relate with Job.  It’s the place where you find out people will fail you .. even family.  It’s the place where you find the world will fail you.  It’s the place where you find out that yes, the church too will fail you.  It’s the place where you learn …. complete dependence on Jesus.

But it’s not just learning about being let down.  It’s also learning about trust and confidence in God.  Not just in God, but His ability to restore.  His ability to rebuild what He had just torn down.  His ability to work in others and regain your trust in those who may have let you down.  It’s about learning to depend on God for finances and health and trusting that even if it doesn’t look like you thought it should, God’s got it all under His control.  It’s about learning to fear the power of God and not take it for granted.  And somehow, through all of this, at the same time, He pulls you in closer and lets you see HIS heart.  I’m sorry, but if you want to be close to God, there is absolutely no way to do it without jumping in the fire.  You can get close and feel His heat, but until you allow the fire to consume you .. you will never get to the place where you see Him standing in the flames with you.

Please don’t be afraid of the healing place.  Please don’t be afraid or refuse to go through the valley.  If you look at your circumstances and think you might be there, please be encouraged.  It’s a frightening place but this is the place where you learn to discern the hand of God.  This is the place where you learn to discern God’s touch.  If you are looking at the fire and have been afraid to jump, be encouraged, He’s at the door waiting for you to ask Him to lead you through.

This is the place where you learn that God will truly never leave you nor forsake you.  There is so much beauty there!  There is so much that God wants to salvage from that place!  But He will only salvage those that want to be salvaged.  He will only rebuild those that choose to go through this process.  We, the church, have been blessed so much.  It’s time for more of us to be willing to enter in to the healing place.  There is a world out there crying out to God to show them just how real He is.  There is a world out there crying to see Him alive in others.  There is a world that wants to know the true blessing of serving a God that is alive and holy.  And there is a God who wants to guide you through this place to show you just how beautiful it really is … just how MUCH there is to salvage!

The healing place is where God teaches you to close your eyes and listen with your heart …… it’s only then that you hear the lost souls crying out.

You don’t belong here.

Before I knew Christ, I spent a couple of years as a bartender.  I never really felt completely comfortable in that environment.  Honestly, it was an odd place for me to be because I was never much into drinking.  However, I had gone through a divorce, was a single mom, and had started a new business.  I seen it as an opportunity to help me support my family and my new business.

I remember feeling sick to my stomach every time I was there though.  I remember the emptiness I felt inside as I’d watch people coming in to have a good time.  It wasn’t just the fact that they were drinking though.  I didn’t see alcohol as an evil unless it was in excess.  Watching the people come in having such a good time, and there I was … working, serving, and something inside me just didn’t feel right.  I felt like I needed to be home.  Like I needed to be with my kids.  But then, I was divorced, so there weren’t any kids to go home to anyway.  There wasn’t a relationship at that time either.  It was a very lonely time in my life.

I tried to make the most of it.  Somehow, I recognized that there were many other people in my same predicament.  They didn’t  have anyone at home and had this intense loneliness so it seemed that this was the gathering place to run away from the emptiness.  Oddly, when these lonely souls walked in and I had a chance to lift up their spirits with my friendly conversation and a smile, it somehow made my nights working there bearable.  Of course, those conversations were always early in the night.  As the night progressed, the scene would change to something very dogmatic and ugly.

As I look back, I remember a comment made one night by one of my local patrons.  He was a regular and his comment stuck  with me.  This was a young man who could have been my little brother.  I could tell he drank a little too much, but I really liked this kid.  I could see that he had a lot of potential.  I would often spend my time encouraging him like I was his big sister.  On this particular night, he was a bit toasted.  He had just been telling me his troubles and out of the middle of nowhere, he stops and looks at me and says, ‘You don’t belong here.’

Somehow, in the middle of his misery, he recognized something in me that I was really feeling.  I didn’t belong there.  I knew it, but my circumstances were such that I didn’t have many options.  It wasn’t but a year or so after that I was finally at a point where I could walk away from that environment.  Shortly thereafter, I had my encounter with Christ.

But this isn’t a story so much about me as it is about this young man.  I don’t know where this young man is now, but I’m fairly certain that he doesn’t frequent the bars anymore.  I know that by the time I quit, he had stopped coming in.  In hindsight, I believe that night Jesus stepped inside this young man’s soul and spoke not only to me, but also this young man.  I’m fairly certain that those words he spoke to me that night resonated within himself.  How could he recognize that I didn’t belong without seeing that he didn’t either?

I know now that this was a stirring in both our souls.  A stirring and a drawing from Jesus.  A stirring and a drawing to come out of the darkness and towards Jesus.  This is what gives me so much confidence in our God.  He doesn’t give up on us.  He shows up in our lives when we least expect it.  He teaches us the way of love.

He will never lead you astray.  It’s us who get ourselves lost along the way.  He knows just when to show up and tell us, ‘you don’t belong here.’

As the body becomes united as One …

I think that Preacher’s have a pretty cool position.  I’m not talking about the fact that they get to stand on the platform and do all the talking while everyone else does the listening.  Neither am I talking about the fact that they hold the power in the room.  I had an experience that showed me something entirely different!  I invite you to take a peek from my perspective ….

It was the end of May.  I was on my son’s last field trip that I would ever have the chance to be a part of.  We were at a local state park doing lots of hiking, exploring, swimming, boating, and all kinds of cool outdoor things.  The temperature was perfect!  The bugs weren’t too bad and the sky held a deep blue with a hint of storm clouds that were running to catch up with us.

The winds blew and without us even noticing,  the clouds snuck up on us and now dark grays loomed over us, doing their best to let us know … the storm was coming.  The teachers sent the kids to the bus and tried to delay in hopes that the storm would move on without us.  The delay went from 5 to 10 to 15 minutes and soon, those 60+ fifth graders were beginning to take on a life of their own … one that was rather cranky and annoyed to be sitting on a hot stinky bus.

I decided to check on my boy.  He was of course, in the back.  I took a couple of snap shots of him then headed back to the front.  I turn around and look at these kids and a few heads look my way.  That’s when one little guy looked me right in the eye, started motioning, and singing ‘YMCA.’  I was intrigued by his beckoning to interact, so I did the best thing I knew how … I did the YMCA with him.  Next thing I know, the WHOLE bus (except my son who is now shrinking in embarrassment) joins in!

I was a bit overwhelmed, nervous, and completely engaged at the same time!  While there were 60+ individual children on this bus, I was watching as they all had united as one … literally one mind and in one accord!  After YMCA, it was my turn to take the lead.  I began with ‘The wheels of the bus.’  Once again, we became one voice.  Truthfully, I was shaking in my boots, but this was truly a blast!  After this song, they once again took the lead and began to sing out and pound on the seats, ‘We will, we will, Rock you!’    I got that one on video!  These children were truly delightful!

Wow!  What a blessing this was from God!  I imagined that this MUST be what it is like for a preacher when he truly allows God to lead the service.  Sure, he comes prepared with a sermon.  However, as the hearts and minds of the believers begin to become united and the spirit sweeps in, the preacher then begins to interact with the Body of Christ with Jesus taking the lead!

I can only imagine how the preacher gets a glimpse of Jesus’ hands reaching in and caressing a heart here, or uplifting a spirit there.  I have witnessed my own Pastor as he is heading one direction and suddenly, he begins down a different path as though Jesus had just tapped him on the shoulder and whispered in his ear.  What an incredible blessing it must be to witness this!

I am so enamored by God!  He truly amazes me!  We think so much of what we do is because of our own efforts.  Hah!  Boy have we got a lot to learn!  I think it is really cool that we have a God that is so interactive and truly teaches us how to live and enjoy the many blessings He provides!  We haven’t even scratched the surface to all that He has prepared for us!  WOW!

 

 

What’s a vision for anyway?

Have you ever had a vision from God that left you with a boost of enthusiasm that a situation would change?  Or what about a word of faith from someone else delivered with such confidence that surely you thought, it was going to happen?  Then, despite these prophetic moments, circumstances seem to reveal a slightly different path?

Maybe it left you thinking … just what was the vision for anyway?  Was this God’s way of teasing you?  Dangling a carrot out that you could never quite grasp?  Satan is surely there to point out all the depressing realities of the lack of prophetic fulfillment, isn’t he?  Or worse, he widdles his way into your psyche making you believe that somehow you’re responsible for the success or failure of the vision.

So what is the vision for anyway?  Having had a few myself of late and living out some of the thoughts above, admittedly, I have wondered myself.  I took these visions pretty seriously, so was God just teasing me, making me look the fool, or was there something more God had in store?  Today, I had a thought that perhaps the visions are more like seeds.

The intention of the seed is to produce something.  In fact, it’s intention is to produce something very specific.  If I’m the one receiving that seed, I suppose I feel I have a responsibility to do something with it.  I really have a choice to either toss it or plant it.  However, irregardless or what I do with it, God is still in control of what happens to that seed.

If I never do anything with it, that doesn’t mean that seed won’t germinate.  As a matter of fact, things may seem to get radical before that vision ever takes on the appearance of looking anything like what it was designed to, but that doesn’t mean things aren’t happening.

I could toss it out the window and some bird gobbles it up, poops it out, and BAM!  It falls into a nice pit of soil complete with fertilizer becoming a 200 year old solid Oak Tree.  The point being, if God’s intention is to produce, nothing I can do will stop that seed from producing exactly what God intended it to be.

Interestingly, in botony the ‘radicle’ is the first part of the seedling to emerge during the process of germination.  The ‘radicle’ is the embryonic root of the plant.  So, in my effort to play on words, there really is a place for all this seeming ‘radicle’ behaviour of this seed.

But what is our part?  What do we do with this seed?  Our part is to treat that seed just as God intended .. to plant it in good soil, to water it, to protect it from weeds, and to make sure it’s getting plenty of sunshine.  And when all else fails because maybe we never really got the hang of gardening or simply found that the cares of life kept us from keeping up on the weeds, we trust that God really is in control of the end result of that seed.  Trust that God doesn’t give seeds to just anyone and if He’s giving me one, He will follow through on His intention of producing exactly what He intended for that seed.

And when things get a little radical, instead of freaking out that the vision won’t happen, trust that maybe, God’s working His magic in the embryo of the seed.

Why do we always expect these things to happen over night?  Sheesh!  Give growth a little time for heavens sake!  Will ya?  After all, if it were to happen too quickly, we might just start taking more credit for the result of that seed than we should and then we are in for an entirely different problem!

God’s got this, remember?  😉

Jesus went to Hell so we didn’t have to!

There is nothing like the infusion of fresh joy, excitement, and anticipation from missionaries coming in to visit your local church!  Wow!  Like John the Baptist being in prison, sometimes we need to be reminded that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the light .. that people are being healed! .. eyes are being opened! .. and that revival has come!

As I listened to his stories, the message I felt so compelled by was an unspoken message.  He never said these words, but it hit my heart like brick .. Jesus went to Hell so we didn’t have to!  The Bible is clear, Jesus died and went to Hell .. stayed there for 3 days .. He took the keys .. then He came back!   He came back and showed us how it is HE who gives life.  It is HE who revives the soul!  It is HE who looks at the roster of Hell and decides who makes the list and who doesn’t.

How many times have we allowed our spirits to be vexed?  How many times have we allowed Satan to take our focus off of the path of Life and pull us into the drudgery of  anger, wrath, apathy, loneliness, bitterness, and all kinds of other ugliness?  Remember the fiery furnace?

Shadrach, Mechach, and Abednego were sent to the fiery furnace because they REFUSED to worship anyone other than Almighty God Himself.  The God who delivers!  The God who saves!  So King Nebuchandnezzar not only heats up the fire, but has it heated seven times hotter than normal!  So hot that it burned up the very men who brought them there.  In goes the 3 men and this is my favorite part, check this out …

Daniel 3:27 ‘And the satraps, the prefects, the governors, and the king’s counselors gathered together and saw that the fire had not had any power over the bodies of those men. The hair of their heads was not singed, their cloaks were not harmed, and no smell of fire had come upon them.’

Not only that, but the King saw a 4th, ‘like as the son of the gods.’  Who was it that was there with these men, but Almighty God Himself!

Jesus really did do it all!  It is my belief that His revelation is simply this .. Jesus wants us to LIVE!  When we are cast into the fire, we are NOT in Hell!  He may use those situations to help rid us of sins, transgressions, or wrong thought processes that have attempted to attach themselves to us, but we don’t have to go to Hell!  It is our job to LIVE!

I can’t help but think that this must be what people see in a Holy Ghost, Blood bought, Redeemed soul!  They look at us and they see us, consumed by fire, yet untouched by the flames!  They look at us and they may see our faults,  our flaws, and our struggles, yet they are literally perplexed as they see our overwhelming joy!  And if they aren’t perplexed, then perhaps it’s because YOU haven’t gotten the revelation yet … Jesus died so YOU didn’t have to!

We are consumed by fire, but you know what, God promises LIFE!  JOY!  PEACE!  Yes!  We have things that need to change!  But the beauty of the fire is that God will perfect us.  When we get focused on the dead stuff God is burning off us, we lose sight of the LIFE that we have been granted!  Check your eyesight and if you need glasses, let my words be your lens!

We have God’s resurrection Spirit inside of us and the best part is that when we fulfill the prophesy of joy and focus our intentions on life, we begin to help other people realize, they were never intended for Hell either!  Step up into Life!

Jesus IS the way!  The truth!  AND the Light!

When you fully realize the Power you have in Christ, He leads you into ALL truth.  He will provide what you need.  If you haven’t seen that you need water baptism in Jesus name, He will reveal it.  If you haven’t seen the importance of receiving HIS Spirit, He will show you and provide it for you.  Your job .. turn towards Him with all your heart and be determined to not let anyone or anything get in your way from trusting that it is He who really is God.

Oh Glory!  Jesus, I know that you hear me, but I write this prayer out for the sake of those who are reading these words.  I pray that those that read these words would feel conviction in their Spirit and allow you to revive and refresh their soul!  I pray that my words would resonate within their souls and help them see, you desire LIFE for them.  I pray that you would distinguish for them the difference between their actions that cause death and those that give life!  I pray that you deliver them from the oppressive spirit of unworthiness and any other unclean thought of death that has plagued them.  I pray that you provide what they need and empower them to live in the resurrecting Spirit that you have so freely, and graciously shared with us that they might be a light to others around them.  In Jesus name, AMEN!!

Walking down memory lane

I love to read the scriptures!  Especially the book of Acts where you see the apostles doing all these amazing things .. healings, casting out of demons, eyes opened, lame walk, etc.  What an exciting thing to read about!  What’s even greater though, is experiencing these things yourself!

Witnessing and seeing lives changed!  Watching as the spiritual eyes of someone you love go from darkness to light!  Watching the miraculous power of God take a dead sinful human and bring them into a life full of joy!  To see the language and actions changed and watch a miraculous cleansing occur in a life that had been previously filled with drugs, addiction, alcohol and all sorts of corruption.  It is no wonder  to me that there is a miraculous joy that comes from those who have experienced this!

Or what about the other miracles that we may not always recognize, but are just as glorious?  For instance, the baby Christian who walked with frailty and fear taking step and after step towards Christ, despite the overwhelming odds against her.  Watching these baby Christians overcome struggle after struggle and grow up to be confident, bold Christians facing challenges that would turn our tummy all with a smile and twinkle in their eye.  Not with pride, but a confidence that says, ‘I know my God!  I know what He is capable of!  I am not afraid!  I am saved!  I am sanctified for HIS purpose!  And I am loved!  Oh GLORY!  I AM LOVED!  What an AMAZING feeling!’

What a glorious thing to see!  What a glorious thing to experience!  When I think of all the great things God has done in my life and the lives of those around me, I literally feel like jumping up and down because I think .. if this is only just a glimpse of what He’s done, I can’t wait to see what more He’s going to do!!  Seriously, the excitement can NOT be contained in this human shell!!   Oh my goooooooooddddddddddnnnnnnnnneeeeeeeeesssssssssssss!!!!!!!!!!!

Oh how we need to encourage and share our testimony with others!  Not just to those that aren’t saved, but to those that have begun the journey … to those who have stumbled .. to those who have fallen and lie stagnant .. to those who have forgotten the joy because they got caught up in the pit.  Especially in those moments where our fruit of joy is so fresh!  That juice of joy can be spilled over and shared with those who have become dry and thirst for God’s glory!

Please share you testimony with someone!  Remember what God has done for you!  Remember how amazed you were when the miracle was performed!  Allow your heart to re-experience the moment you caught His gaze and realized He had been looking at you the whole time .. He was just waiting, patiently for you to recognize Him there with a smile on His face, arms open wide!  Remember the moment where you realized .. maybe … just maybe … it was intended for YOU too!  Because it is!  This glorious joy … this AMAZING love … was meant for YOU too.

Do you remember?  He’s there .. waiting to take you down memory lane .. only these memories are the ones to treasure and cling to.  The building blocks of a foundation that started all with HIM.

Jesus loves YOU.  THIS, I know.