You Already Know

lightning-mountain-silhouette_GyYQcDKdCurrently I am on the road and today I had the opportunity to worship at a church in the area I am staying. The Pastor gave a message that I not only know but that I needed to hear again simply because I had done exactly what the Pastor’s message was about.

This particular faith family is in a sermon series titled, “The Red Words,” and today’s message was out of John 15.

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.”

I won’t retell the sermon but will share what really resonated with me. He asked us if we truly know what staying connected to Jesus looks like. Are we truly dependent on Jesus or do we bring what we think we can do in our own power and ask God to combine it with his power and then expect God to move?

He went on to tell the story of Darlene Deibler Rose, who was a missionary in Indonesia, and was captured and imprisoned by the Japanese during World War II. Darlene was tortured repeatedly while in prison, she was hungry and exhausted. One day she began to crave bananas and as she looked out the window of her prison cell she saw a guard smuggle bananas to another woman prisoner. She cried out asking God for just one banana. The next day she received ninety-two! 

Darlene came to realize this truth; “What I needed to do was link my impotence to God’s omnipotence.” Darlene understood that in her weakness she could only depend on the unlimited power of God. She didn’t bring to God what she felt she could do in her own strength, she came to God completely powerless and trusted God’s power to work in her situation.

Later in the day I realized why this resonated with me, because I have been coming to God in the midst of struggles and bringing what I think I can do on my own and asking God to combine it with his mighty power. When I ought to come to him confessing that I am powerless to do anything apart from Him and that I am dependent on Him and his power to work in any situation in life.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9.

When we choose to stay connected to the Vine weakness is not a negative thing. Our weakness, our inability to do anything in our own power is when the supernatural power of God flows through us and spills into our life and our life situations.

Precious One, you are powerless but God is powerful. And that is something you already know.

Shalom!

 

Posted in Depending on God, Faith, God's Goodness, God's Word, Holy Spirit, Hope, Spiritual Health, Trust, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Not On My Watch

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I.LOVE.THIS.PICTURE! I love this picture because a gazillion times a day I can be tempted to forget who I am and Who I belong to. Who I am is Terese and I am a daughter of the one true King, ransomed by the blood of Christ whose Spirit lives in me.

But the enemy of this world, Satan, whose most obvious ploy is deception, would like for me and for you to think differently. Here on earth he is very subtle and cunning just as he was in the garden. He is antagonistic to the plans and purposes God has for your life. He tempts you to question God’s integrity possible causing you to doubt God rather than trust him more. He wraps his packages in charm and allure to gain your attention and confidence. He is the father of lies.

The truth of the matter is this.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. Ephesians 1:3

Which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms. Ephesians 1:20

And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus. Ephesians 2:6.

Every believer in Christ has been blessed in the heavenly realms with all spiritual blessings; the impact of heaven’s influence on a person or situation, and because of our faith in Christ we have been raised up with Him and are seated with Him at the right hand of the Father right now!

Precious One every time Satan attempts to knock your crown off, remind him, lest he forgets, Who you belong to and where you sit.

Shalom!

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God Speaks

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Not long ago I read something to the effect of God speaking only through his written word and implying that God does not talk to people on behalf of others or for the masses but that when He speaks to someone it is for that person only. This left me feeling very unsettled and because I am an internal processor it has taken me awhile to reconcile why I was feeling this way.

I believe, without any doubt, God speaks to us mainly through his word. That is why reading and studying his word is so vital to our spiritual health. But, I also believe God speaks to us in different ways; through dreams, visions, pictures and prayer. I also believe God gives us messages of encouragement and prophetic messages to be given away to others. He has done this through me many times and I always suggest to the one who is receiving a word from God through me that they take this spoken word to God and ask God what part of it is from him and what part of it can be tossed out, because many times my human-ness and my impressions can be mixed in with the message from God.

It is the hearer’s responsibility to be alone with God and pray about what was given. Oughtn’t we be doing this on a regular basis to begin with? Most of us attend church on Sunday or Bible study during the week, simply because one has been anointed by God to preach or teach does not mean we will ever get it right one hundred percent of the time, again, it is the hearer’s responsibility to go God and ask God for his discernment on what was preached or taught.

Paul gave these words of wisdom about worship in 1 Corinthians 14:26b.

When you come together, everyone has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. All these must be done for the strengthening of the church. 1 Corinthians 14:26b.

When we always imply that what God speaks to one person should be only for that person we negate the truth of God’s word. All of these things including prophecy, further in the passage Paul addresses prophecy, are meant to strengthen the Bride of Christ! Have they and are they currently misused? Yes, BUT it is each believers responsibility to go to God and ask for his wisdom, his discernment on what was spoken or taught. Let’s give each other the freedom in Christ and encouragement to seek the spiritual gifts Holy Spirit wants to lavish on us; gifts that are meant for the greater good of the entire Church.

Precious One, “Do not put out the Spirit’s fire; do not treat prophecies with contempt. Test everything. Hold on to the good.” 1 Thessalonians 5:19-21.

Shalom!

 

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Bountiful Eyesight

Autumn decorationFood is a staple of life. We need food to give us energy, we ought to eat to live not live to eat. Well, in my case, sometimes I do live to eat! I’m full blooded Italian and I love food! However, I know what my body requires and I try to stick to six smaller meals a day while at the same time attempting healthier food choices. Sometimes I fail at this and that’s okay, I give myself grace to choose healthier at the next meal.

Our spiritual health needs food as well. Our soul longs for and craves the truth of God’s word to fill it to overflowing. To satisfy that deep hunger to know Jesus deeply and intimately. To be consumed by his overwhelming love, to be lost in all of Who he Is.

God’s Word isn’t simply words written on pages. It is alive and if we choose and allow it, it will wrap itself around us like an old familiar coat and take up residence inside our heart. Knowing the truth of God’s word helps increase our faith and gives us the strength to stand and fight in prayer.

That is why Paul prayed over the Ephesians these words.

For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God. Ephesians 3:14-19.

He wanted the Ephesians and us to understand our supernatural knowledge, which is part of every believer in Christ’s inheritance. To know and rejoice in the love of the Lover of our soul.

Likewise, it is for the same reason that Elisha prayed for his servant, who when he awoke early and saw the army of the king of Aram surrounding the nation of Israel with horses and chariots asked, “Oh, my lord, what shall we do?” (2 Kings 6:15c). Elisha replied, “Don’t be afraid.” (2Kings 6:16a).

Then Elisha prayed these words.

 “O LORD, open his eyes and let him see!” The LORD opened the young man’s eyes, and when he looked up, he saw that the hillside around Elisha was filled with horses and chariots of fire. 2 Kings 6:17.

Elisha wanted his servant to see his inheritance in Christ; God’s mighty power and protection. I don’t know about you but I want to see God’s horses and chariots of fire, especially during a spiritual battle, instead of the physical reality of a situation. I want to be able to say, “Oh, I see what is coming and it is Greater and Mighty than what stands in front of me.” That, my Beloved, belongs to me and to you as believers in Christ.

Precious One open your eyes your chariot awaits.

Shalom!

Posted in Authority, Depending on God, Discipleship, Faith, God's Goodness, God's Word, Health, Holy Spirit, Hope, Identity, Inheritance, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

What Do You Do Well?

 

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This morning I was reading a blog and came across this statement, actually it is the title of the blog; “You’re Not Meant To Do What You Love. You’re Meant To Do What You’re Good At.”

This statement can be entirely true if you choose to leave God out of the equation. For me everything in life is centered around the core foundation of a deep, vibrant, consistent and intimate relationship with Christ. Everything. I think about some of our family’s recent struggles and wonder how would we survive without our faith in Christ? Because, even with faith, struggles are struggles, they are hard, they can rock your world and they can cause fractures in relationships. But with faith there is hope and the continuance of learning to trust God with all things.

In all fairness to the author I quoted, she does state that it is how we give and how we put our gifts to use. Whether she made this statement from a Christ centered relationship or not, is not clear from her article, however, I believe we are not only meant to do what we love but do what we are good at when we stay actively connected to Christ. Who is it that gives you to the passion to do what you love? Who is it that gives you the ability to be good at what you do? Who is it that gives you the gifts you have to give to others? Who is it that creates the opportunities to do those things that you are passionate about and do exceptionally well? There is no other answer than my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Many years ago, during a women’s Bible study, we were watching the weekly video teaching that accompanied the study and I thought to myself, “I want to do this.” “I want to teach God’s word to other women.” I had no prior inclination or desire to do any such thing and then God began to say to me, “Feed My sheep.” As God continued to tell to feed His sheep, he also began teaching me about his word, how to study his word, how to convey his word to those in a way that was understandable and the entire time, even now, he was molding me, shaping me into the vessel that would and can do this exact thing. Teach His word.

God has opened doors that no one can close and he closes doors I have no business even knocking on! HE has given me this passion, this joy, this desire to teach and HE makes me good at giving this gift to others.

Precious One, ask God to show you the gifts he chose for you before you were ever formed in your mother’s womb. Ask him create in you the desire and passion to give these gifts well. Ask him to make you good at these skills according to His will and to only, ever, use them for HIS glory and his kingdom.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28.

Shalom!

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Prayer Lives Matter

Screenshot_2014-07-09-11-41-40-1In the middle of last year I fell into a ministry slump. I was part of an amazing time of deliverance and was on a supernatural high for a few days, then suddenly it felt as if my life turned upside down. I repeatedly questioned God about his anointing on my life. Was I suppose to stay with my current faith family or was he calling me to move on? I’m sure you’ve been there before yourself, praying and praying and waiting for God to speak. He wasn’t saying yes and he wasn’t saying no, he just wasn’t saying. I think waiting on God is one of the hardest things to do and at the same time he was tearing things down, sifting and rebuilding. Teaching me things about myself that had to go so I would be prepared for the time of waiting to be over and a renewed passion for what he has called me too.

A few Sunday’s ago our Pastor gave a most excellent message on prayer and something shifted within me spiritually. The next day I began to experience breakthrough in many area’s in my life. One breakthrough would happen and before I could finish thanking and praising God another breakthrough was already on its way. In all my short sixteen years of living for Christ I have never experienced anything on this level.

Yesterday I was with one of my best friends, who is also my ministry and one of my accountability partners. We were preparing for the Fall semester of Women’s Bible study and talking casually about life, when she looked at me and said, “You’re back.” and I said, “Yes I am and it feels good!” I never really think about others seeing Christ in me or seeing Him because I have spent time with him, but she saw that all over me. She recognized the mantle of God’s healing on me and I was once again blown away by God’s astounding grace.

A year can seem like a long time from our human perspective but when we trust God and are faithful in prayer the blessing at the end of the waiting period is more than we could ever imagine.

Precious One, press in and persevere. You are never alone.

The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still. Exodus 14:14

I am back and can see clearly through the eyes of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen and Amen!

Shalom!

 

 

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Astounding Grace

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There are times in my life when the grace of God astounds me. I am in awe of God everyday, but then there are days…

My family and I came to know the Lord within months of each other. We moved to our current home 16 years ago and at the time were finishing leading the pre-school ministry at our former church, which is only thirty minutes away but the commute is a two lane road almost the entire way there and it remains the same today. We didn’t have a new church to go to, yet I was excited when our commission ended so we could look closer to home.

We weren’t believers in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior at the time but then something curious happened. My husband began listening to Calvary Satellite Network and he would come home and tell me about the things he was learning by listening to the Pastors. I took the proverbial ‘bull by the horns’ and ran with it. At the same time a friend had given me the first book in the “Left Behind” series and I could not put it down. The night I read the last page I prayed and told God I did not want to be left behind, I asked for forgiveness of my sins and asked Jesus to come into my heart. The next morning I was literally a changed woman!

Fast forward about seven years to when our youngest, who we know now suffers from a mood disorder, anxiety and ADHD, although she is a straight A student, came out of Children’s Church one morning and announced that we were all getting baptized. So we did and we began serving together as a family. Our older two are a year apart in age and when our oldest entered sixth grade I became an adult leader with our youth group. Those were some amazing years, working with the youth and pouring into them and watching our own children grow spiritually. When our daughter graduated from middle school I felt my time with the youth was done and stepped down. What I didn’t anticipate was my kids not wanting to participate in youth group anymore. Slowly, they stopped going to church and remaining involved. The same pattern happened with our youngest, although I held out hope that it would be different for her, this is the child, who at five, announced God was going to give her money to open a homeless shelter and she wanted to take in as many people as she could. I cherish that memory and still believe it lives in her heart because God put it there.

Through the years one of my fervent prayers is for my children to desire to have an intimate relationship with God. As time has gone on our oldest studied abroad and met her boyfriend, who was in the same program as she was but from a different university, our son met his girlfriend and we discovered the challenges of our youngest. And, through the years, my children have gone from rolling their eyes at me or walking away when I would attempt conversations with them about God and faith, to listening, conversing and sharing their thoughts and ideas, to once again asking for prayer. There are some kids who immediately find their own faith after they separate from their parent’s faith and there are some kids who go through great trials and tribulation before they find their own faith. That is how it has been for our kids, each of them has had a life event that knocked us all for a loop. But, as I reflect back I realize I wouldn’t have it any other way because I have been able to walk through these events with my kids and my faith and the best part is that I have seen and continue to see them grow spiritually.

Over the past year and a half  we have been consumed by the challenges of our youngest but life continues on. A few months ago our son’s girlfriend had a life event that caused our son to pray with his girlfriend and he led her to the Lord. Astounding grace! A few weeks after that she broke up with him and God has revealed how my son has turned to Him for help. Astounding grace! Recently our daughter’s boyfriend broke up with her and while she is going through the steps of grieving she commented to me that she still prays for him because she doesn’t want him to continue down the path of darkness. Astounding grace! Our youngest begins her Junior year of high school in little over a week. God has already shown me that he has gone ahead and placed in each day of her Junior year, exactly what we need. When I told her this she didn’t roll her eyes or comment negatively. Astounding grace!

Precious One, even when you don’t seem to feel or see God working, be encouraged that he is.

His grace is astounding!

Shalom!

 

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