Saturday, November 19, 2022

Heavenly Coffee

 Would you ever drink a cup of coffee that had not been filtered? Of course not! Have you ever had a cup of coffee with grounds in it? It's nasty, gritty and bitter!

Ephesians 4:31-32 says, "Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. 32 Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you." (NLT)

So many who profess to be followers of Jesus don't read the Bible. It's so important for us to do this because it is the only way we can determine good from evil, truth from lies, and love from hate. Reading God's word is like drinking a cup of filtered coffee. It's warm and comforting, sweet (if you are like my husband who sugars it up) and may even have a bite to it. The Bible is much like a filter that we can process the world's "grounds" through. When we are renewing our mind daily through it (Romans 12:2), it helps us keep the grounds of bitterness, anger, rage, harsh words, and slander out. It only allows holiness and godliness to sooth our souls, and just like caffeine, keeps us alert to the schemes of Satan (and there are plenty of them).

Our minds are like the grounds basket in the coffee maker. If there's no filter, your cup of java is going to be gritty and bitter. But when you start your day with the truth of God's word (John 17:17), your cup will be sweet and smooth. Have you ever made a pot of coffee with the same filter of grounds? No way! This is what most of us do when we only receive the Sunday message and try to live Wednesday what we drank on Sunday. It's not the same.

So remember every time you make a pot of coffee, your mind is the basket, the Word of God is the filter, and the grounds represent life. Allow the Holy Spirit to pour into you something warm and delicious!

Sunday, June 5, 2022

Happy Birthday Church! - Pentecost Sunday, June 5, 2022


Today is Pentecost. This is the 50 days after the Passover celebration. But today is the birth of the Church. The day the Holy Spirit came to dwell not only with mankind, but in mankind.
In my devotional reading through the Bible this year(I'm reading the chronological version), it's no coincidence that I read 2 Chronicles 6. In this chapter, Solomon has completed the Temple and is celebrating the place that God's Spirit now dwells. 
“But will God really live on earth among people? Why, even the highest heavens cannot contain you. How much less this Temple I have built! 19 Nevertheless, listen to my prayer and my plea, O Lord my God. Hear the cry and the prayer that your servant is making to you. 20 May you watch over this Temple day and night, this place where you have said you would put your name. May you always hear the prayers I make toward this place. 21 May you hear the humble and earnest requests from me and your people Israel when we pray toward this place. Yes, hear us from heaven where you live, and when you hear, forgive." (2 Chronicles 6:18-20, NLT)
Today, we celebrate the Church, that is made up of people, where God's Spirit now dwells!
"Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, 20 for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body." (1 Corinthians 6:19-20, NLT)
Chapter 7 of Chronicles, beginning verse 1-3, NLT:
When Solomon finished praying, fire flashed down from heaven and burned up the burnt offerings and sacrifices, and the glorious presence of the Lord filled the Temple. 2 The priests could not enter the Temple of the Lord because the glorious presence of the Lord filled it. 3 When all the people of Israel saw the fire coming down and the glorious presence of the Lord filling the Temple, they fell face down on the ground and worshiped and praised the Lord, saying,
“He is good!His faithful love endures forever!” 
"On the day of Pentecost all the believers were meeting together in one place. 2 Suddenly, there was a sound from heaven like the roaring of a mighty windstorm, and it filled the house where they were sitting. 3 Then, what looked like flames or tongues of fire appeared and settled on each of them. 4 And everyone present was filled with the Holy Spirit and began speaking in other languages, as the Holy Spirit gave them this ability." (Acts 2:1-4, NLT)
Another non-coincidence look at the reference numbers of both of these scriptures. One from the Old Testament and one from the New Testament!
Praise the Lord!

Saturday, March 19, 2022

Fighting for the Promise

Over the past 3 months I have been reading through the books of the law and Joshua. I've discovered some things this time through.
When God gives a promise, it will be fulfilled, but it won't be a smooth journey. We'll have to fight battles along the way. God's people faced resistance quite often, but when their hearts were trusting the Lord, they always overcame. I think sometimes, we as followers of Jesus think life should be set on cruise control because if "Jesus takes the wheel" we won't have any problems. Of course there is an enemy that wants to steal, kill, and destroy us. (John 10:10) As I've followed Jesus, throughout my life, it's definitely been a struggle. He told us we would suffer, have trials and tribulations, but His promise to us is He overcame the world (John 16:33).
One of our greatest battles we will fight is our own will and doubt. Any time they got off track in disobedience, they lost. Whether it was fighting an enemy or it was in their own doubt of trusting God to lead them.
I also realized that some of the "do not's" they were given wasn't to deprive them. It was to clean up their way of thinking and being. I mean when one of the laws is not to have sex with an animal, means they were doing some crazy stuff in Egypt. Think about it, the Egyptian gods were half man, half animal. Maybe the thought was they could become or give birth to a god that would give them power. Hmmmmm.
I find today, we are living in a world much like ancient Egypt. There are all kinds of things going on that even many Believers have adopted. I'll be the first to raise my hand. I often look to the world for comfort and answers to my problems. Jesus is who I need to look to. When the children of Israel found themselves complaining against Moses, they were bitten by snakes and died. But God told Moses to form a bronze snake on his staff and have the people look at it so they could live and be saved. This symbolizes to me when Jesus hung on the cross so that I could be saved and live! 
I close with these portions from the book of Joshua. As we continue to live in this new world, it's a good reminder to learn from old history. 
"'But if you turn away from him and cling to the customs of the survivors of these nations remaining among you, and if you intermarry with them, 13 then know for certain that the Lord your God will no longer drive them out of your land. Instead, they will be a snare and a trap to you, a whip for your backs and thorny brambles in your eyes, and you will vanish from this good land the Lord your God has given you. 14 'Soon I will die, going the way of everything on earth. Deep in your hearts you know that every promise of the Lord your God has come true. Not a single one has failed!'" -Joshua 23:12-14 NLT
"'So fear the Lord and serve him wholeheartedly. Put away forever the idols your ancestors worshiped when they lived beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt. Serve the Lord alone. 15 But if you refuse to serve the Lord, then choose today whom you will serve. Would you prefer the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates? Or will it be the gods of the Amorites in whose land you now live? But as for me and my family, we will serve the Lord.'" _Joshua 24:14-15 NLT
Choose to trust God's promises. Fight to protect them, just as you would fight to protect something precious to you. It will be worth every conquered battle! AMEN!

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

It's Reigning, It's Pouring

Most of the time, I listen to Christian radio in the car. As I was singing along with a song about inviting the Holy Spirit to come, I started thinking about that. Thoughts about that idea were swirling around in my head. Of all the questions, my question was, "Wait a minute, the Holy Spirit is already here, why are we asking Him to come?" As I pondered on this, I realized what we should be asking is help us recognize that He's already here.

As I continued driving, I began a conversation with God about wanting desperately to see Him move and for His Spirit to reign. We, followers of Jesus, talk all the time about waiting for revival and for Him to move in a supernatural way. Much like the western portion of the U.S., we have been in a spiritual drought. We were in one prior to 2020, but now that we are heading into 2022, the Church seems drier than ever.  It's been challenging to get people back into the routine of attending church which is often discouraging for the pastor and those serving. I cried out to the Lord and said "Father, please rain upon us and saturate us so that we can feel your presence." It's then when I had that nudge from the Holy Spirit that said, "I have been reigning/raining." I thought "What? Where? I don't see it." I thought for a moment, well, if His Spirit is in us, and it's His desire to partner with us, then.... I heard Him say, "You are the the reign drops!" Each one of us carries His Spirit in us and as His children we are everywhere. Jesus said, "He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” (John 7:38, NKJV) That means WE are the ones who hold the spiritual water that we are so thirsty for. When we, who profess to follow Jesus, live as "light" and "salt" we should be the ones saturating the earth with the Good News of Jesus! 

I've been sitting with this now for a few days. The more I think about it, the more I realize it's possible for us to flood the earth with the Holy Spirit by walking in the fruit of the Spirit. As a native Californian, I'm used to living in a dry place and conserving water. As John 7:38 reminds us, we have rivers of living water that continually flow, we need to stop conserving the gift that we hold. I want to encourage you today, to open the flood gates of "reign" that dwell within you. Together we can pour out His Spirit and hydrate the dehydrated! "Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices shouting in heaven: 'The world has now become the Kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will REIGN forever and ever.'" (Revelation 11:15, NLT) I want to encourage you that YOU are His reign drop!


Friday, October 29, 2021

R.E.A.L. Women Devotional: The Spirit of Giving


I woke up this morning thinking about my online ladies gathering last night. We talked about experiencing God's power through the gifts of the Spirit. All of the sudden I felt like the Holy Spirit downloaded this thought. Mind you, I haven't even set foot on the floor yet. It was like it all came together.
We, the Church, are becoming desperate to see a move of God. We have this expectation of what we think it should look like. A large gathering of people, bowing, weeping, repenting, a mighty wind that keeps us from standing up. I know that God can do that, if He chooses. We see this happening is countries where people understand the supernatural and find themselves truly hungry for God. Personally, I don't think we are hungry here in the western world. Why? Because as a follower of Jesus, we're already filled up with what we need. Maybe we're a little too stuffed that we may even need a spiritual Alka-Seltzer.
Yesterday, I was reading Romans 15. This morning is when the Holy Spirit helped me understand something. Romans 15:5-7, 13 says this, "May God, who gives this patience and encouragement, help you live in complete harmony with each other, as is fitting for followers of Christ Jesus. 6 Then all of you can join together with one voice, giving praise and glory to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. 7 Therefore, accept each other just as Christ has accepted you so that God will be given glory. 
13 I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit."
The move of God we are so desiring is really hidden within us! That's right, Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 4:7 that we have this treasure (the Holy Spirit) in jars of clay (us). This means that we daily should be producing the fruit of the Spirit in our lives (Galaians 5:16-26). Instead of living by our fleshly nature, we live in "love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, and self-control." This is opposite of the way our natural responses manifest. This one is for us personally.
Then we've been given gifts of the Spirit to give away. First Corinthians 12:7 says, "A spiritual gift is given to each of us so we can help each other." These gifts are wise advice, special knowledge, faith, healing, miracles, prophecy, discernment, tongues, and interpretation. (1 Corinthians 12:8-10) Verse 11 says, "It is the one and only Spirit who distributes all these gifts. He alone decides which gift each person should have."
I realized this morning that God has given us the authority to activate this move that we so desire. It's by producing daily the fruit of the Spirit and corporately giving away our gifts of the Spirit to each other. When we surrender ourselves to this, the body of Christ should be saturating every corner of the earth! There is nothing He can't do when we obey these truths that He's given us. 
As I close, years ago when I was a children's pastor, I used fruit to explain the fruit of the Spirit. I used the different fruits as an illustration to the kids and that when we eat it, there is a filling that happens and when we eat them, they make us healthy: LOVE: grapes, enough to go around. JOY: watermelon, it's sweet to eat, even if you have to spit the seeds out. PEACE: banana, it fills you up. PATIENCE: orange, because you have to take time to peel it. KINDNESS: peach, because it's soft and juicy. GOODNESS: strawberry, it may be small, but it's filled with good things. FAITHFULNESS: apple, because they're always in season. GENTLENESS: kiwi, they're kind for prickly and soft so you have to be careful. SELF-CONTROL: pineapple, it's crown and outside is prickly and because you have to cut it with a knife, take your time. 

One last thought. It was fruit on a tree that Satan used to deceive the woman in the garden. God wants to restore the environment of Eden through us by His Spirit, through His fruit and gifts! We CAN experience God's power daily. If we want to see God's Spirit move, it begins with us living fruit-filled lives and giving away the gifts He's given us! In the powerful name of Jesus! AMEN!

Sunday, August 29, 2021

The Supernatural Body of Christ

This summer, we have been studying the book of Proverbs. I told Jeff the other day that it's probably a bit dangerous to be studying this book in the current world we live in. The more I read and study, the more my heart has become discerning of things. I'm not saying this to boast, I am saying this because God's Word is TRUTH! 
Over the past week, I have started reading the book of Acts. Years ago I wrote it down as an acrostic: A-Always, C-coming, T-to, S-serve, A.C.T.S. 
Jesus, throughout His time on earth, often told his disciples that the Holy Spirit was going to come after he left. In the second chapter of Acts, the people gathered in Jerusalem waiting for Him to come. When they were in "unity" He arrived in full power. 
Acts 4:13 says this about Peter and John, "The members of the council were amazed when they saw the boldness of Peter and John for they could see that they were ordinary men with no special training in the scriptures." I would say I am an ordinary woman with only a high school diploma. But the more I study the Word of God, the more I tap into Truth.
It is later in this chapter that caught my attention, verse 27 says, "For Herod Antipas, Pontius Pilate the governor, the Gentiles and the people of Israel were all UNITED AGAINST Jesus..." Then skip down to verse 32 and it says "All believers were UNITED in heart and mind. And they felt that what they owned was not their own, so they shared everything they had." Now I do know this is about sharing their material goods. But "everything" made me think of a movie that I had just seen on TV. I only caught the end, but it grabbed my attention. The movie was "Glass."
At the end, Glass, the narrator who is the mastermind behind the superheroes he created, says something that made me think about this verse and how it connects to our spiritual gifts when we are filled with the Holy Spirit. He says this: "There are armed forces that don’t really want us to realize what we are truly capable of. They don’t want us to know the things we suspect are extraordinary by ourselves are real. I believe that if everyone sees what just a few people become when they wholly embrace their gifts, others will awaken. Belief in oneself is contagious, when we give each other permission to be superheroes or we will never awaken otherwise. “ – The movie “Glass”
I had this lightning bolt moment after hearing this that the Holy Spirit prompted me to think about. First Corinthians 12:1-11 says, "Now, dear brothers and sisters, regarding your question about the special abilities the Spirit gives us. I don’t want you to misunderstand this. 2 You know that when you were still pagans, you were led astray and swept along in worshiping speechless idols. 3 So I want you to know that no one speaking by the Spirit of God will curse Jesus, and no one can say Jesus is Lord, except by the Holy Spirit. 4 There are different kinds of spiritual gifts, but the same Spirit is the source of them all. 5 There are different kinds of service, but we serve the same Lord. 6 God works in different ways, but it is the same God who does the work in all of us. 7 A spiritual gift is given to each of us so we can help each other. 8 To one person the Spirit gives the ability to give wise advice; to another the same Spirit gives a message of special knowledge. 9 The same Spirit gives great faith to another, and to someone else the one Spirit gives the gift of healing. 10 He gives one person the power to perform miracles, and another the ability to prophesy. He gives someone else the ability to discern whether a message is from the Spirit of God or from another spirit. Still another person is given the ability to speak in unknown languages, while another is given the ability to interpret what is being said. 11 It is the one and only Spirit who distributes all these gifts. He alone decides which gift each person should have."
If we want to see the power of God at work, then the Body of Christ has to "unite"! We need to stop working in our flesh and allow the Holy Spirit to take His place in our lives, bring us together as ONE body (not denominations) and give each other permission to be and use the spiritual gifts that have been placed within us. Yes, imagine the power in the Church if we stopped comparing ourselves and dividing ourselves on political stances and spiritual beliefs, but come together in unity and awaken the Church to the power it truly has in Christ! 
I felt the Holy Spirit direct me in posting this as we see today, there is much sadness and grief upon the whole earth. It is time for the Church to stop conforming to the world's system and step into the power we have been given by Jesus when He ascended to the right hand of the Father, through His Holy Spirit! I can't shout this loud enough. We can overcome, it's promised in the word. It just takes each one of us recognizing the power in us through the Holy Spirit to walk in our spiritual gifts and give each other permission to do so and stop envying each other, comparing to one another, walk in the gift we each have been given. We are called the Body of Christ for a reason, we each help the other function and fulfill the purpose of the Kingdom through these individual gifts! 

My prayer is you hear my heart and will start encouraging one another and build each other up as it says in 1 Thessalonians 5:11. As I said in the beginning, we as the Church need to "A.C.T.S." Let's rise up in UNITY using our gifts, AWAKEN other Believers by encouraging them in their gifts, and see the POWER of God at work in this sick and broken world, bringing salvation and healing to those who are perishing! WE NEED TO GIVE EACH OTHER PERMISSION TO BE SUPERNATURAL OR WE WILL NEVER AWAKEN OTHERWISE! In the name above all names, JESUS! 🙌

Friday, June 18, 2021

The Road That Leads to Life

 Today I turned 55! I cannot believe that I am actually this age. The past few weeks have really been a time of pondering the things I've accomplished in these 55 years. All I keep seeing is the speed limit sign which reminds me that I've reached my limit in the area of dreams and goals. I know that is not true, but there is something about this age that haunts my soul.

One of my goals in life was to make it to 50 without being on any kind of medication. I come from a family history of heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes. In my early 20's I decided to change that direction with diet and exercise. But after getting married, moving to the south (where the food is delicious, but not healthy), having children, and planting and pastoring a church, all of my good health issues went out the window.  Although there have been seasons Jeff and I would get back on the health wagon, but for the most part it's not been consistent. 

It really wasn't until I turned 50 that I began to pay attention to this area of my life.  I realized that it's more than just being in good physical health, it's about being emotionally and spiritually healthy.  You see, by the time both of my parents were 54, they both had had bypass surgery and defibrillators.  I watched them both go through this journey and deep within my soul, my goal was to bypass 54 without any heart issues. I know that I can only do what I can and it's about my genes and the plans God has for me.

It wasn't until I turned 50 that I realized I needed to deal with some "heart issues" and the "weight" that I had been carrying for so many years. It was not only scale weight, it was emotional weight of past hurts, forgiveness, and lost relationships. Especially as a pastor's wife, there are so many things I take personal in others processes, that I end up carrying that weight too. I discovered in the past few years that I am a person who needs unity and often times I can't control that. I especially feel this when I am unable to help them in their journey. One of my downfalls is that I am a people pleaser. If I can't please someone or make them happy, I feel I have failed them. That doesn't even sound right because the truth is, I'm not God. But when you give your life to serving others and you can't serve them fully, and sometimes they blame you, it becomes an issue in your life. Then you wonder if you missed God or didn't hear God right. I realize now that this is a scheme of the enemy to keep me from being who God created me to be and doing what He called me to do.

Looking at the past 25 years, I reached some of my goals. Goals like getting married, moving out of state, which in itself is ironic. At 25, when I was still single with no hope of marriage in sight, I had this plan that by 30 if I was still single, I'd move to Tennessee and start over. Why this is ironic is by 26 I was married and at 28 Jeff and I moved to Tennessee! So that was in God's plan. Another goal was having children, and specifically two, one of each. God worked that out as well as He blessed me with an amazing son, Justin and daughter, Jordanne. Being a wife and a mother was a dream since I was a little girl and played house with an imaginary husband and my dolls. 

But along the way, other dreams began to grow in my heart. Dreams of writing a book. On what subject? I'm still struggling through that one. I never dreamed of being a pastor's wife, but over time my dream has been to create events that speak visually and spiritually to the heart of women. There was a season that that dream was being fulfilled and growing, but due to unforeseen circumstances, those dreams got hijacked. Even now with our post COVID world, I am not quite sure how that will get re-initiated. 

As I began to start thinking a few months ago what 55 looked like, I realized that there are dreams that have been aborted and dreams that I just can't see how they will happen. I know as a follower of Jesus, that "nothing is impossible for God," but at 55, if they haven't happened by now, the question is, will they and how? 

It really was when I turned 50 that I decided that getting healthy emotionally was going to be key in my physical journey.  I really needed to deal with my stuff, unpack the forgiveness issue boxes that were stored in my heart, and begin remodeling my soul. I am often intrigued with the television show, "Hoarders."  Watching these people as they collect unnecessary items that fill their homes so much so that they cannot do basic things like, cook a meal, use the restroom, shower, or even sleep.  To some degree, this is what happens inside of us when we fill our heart with unnecessary hurts, pain, and regret. In many ways, I try very hard to keep the world around me in order because of the mess that I'm climbing over inside my mind and soul. The question like "what if I missed it" and the phrase "I'll never" seem to be what decorate the walls of my heart that I constantly battle in my mind on a daily basis. 

The day the Lord showed me that I was carrying too much emotionally and spiritually, I literally can say a weight lifted.  As I began to release seasons, people, hurts, disappointments, regrets, the physical weight began to come off as well. It was amazing at how that "demo day" began to change me from the inside out. The Holy Spirit began to reveal things all the way to my childhood that have shaped me and who I am today. He helped me clean out the corners of my heart that needed a complete remodel.

As I write this today, I am thinking about how I've learned to serve others dreams and call to ministry well, while setting mine on the shelf to work on later. To be honest, I don't even know what they are anymore because I haven't even visited the idea. I can't say either when I will know when it will be time for me to open these gifts that God has given me, but if I keep my eyes on Him, He will give me the go. Also, I can say that because of getting an emotional handle on my eating, I am still medication free! Hallelujah!

In California, the speed limit for most freeways is 65.  This is good news for this 55 year old woman.  That means dreams and goals don't slow down or stop here! This means that I can exceed from where I am now and that there's more life to be lived. My goal this time is to pay more attention to what the Holy Spirit is speaking to me, to obey Him without arguing, and to live with more intention and not miss a thing! 

I don't know where you are today or what you may be facing. Life can throw us all kinds of detours, road blocks, and accidents along the way. Trust me, I've definitely experienced all three and then some. But there is One who is constant and consistent. He's the "cruise-control" for everyday life. When we put our hope and trust in Him, He truly "works everything for our good" (Romans 8:28). He is the "same yesterday, today, and forever" (Hebrews 13:8).  And even better, "He knows the plans He has for you; plans to prosper you and not to harm you; to give you a future and hope" (Jeremiah 29:11). My prayer for you today is that wherever you find your self on this journey called life, that you would surrender your heart to Jesus and allow Him to lead you every day from now on. That He will turn your life around and you will live a life that is limitless because of where He will take you. In the mighty name of Jesus! Amen!