Deeper Day 254: Birth Coach

As most of you know, I had home births with my babies. Yes, with Hannah I ended up at the hospital, but only after laboring a couple of days at home. So, when one of my sisters asked me to be with her during her labor and delivery, I was more than excited.

This was a moment that I had quietly been waiting for. The opportunity to walk another woman through this process is not only a privilege, but an honor. When I received the “It’s time!” phone call, I swiftly threw a bag of things together and headed toward her town.

From the moment of arrival to the moment of delivery, I was shocked at how seamlessly things happened. God gave me insight into every need she had, and her husband looked to me for cues and was completely attentive and willing to serve her too. All through the first prayer I prayed over her upon my arrival, to climbing on the bed with her to ease her back discomfort with my fist during contractions, to standing at the foot of the bed and leading her through each contraction, to the glorious moment when we saw the life we had been waiting to lay eyes on, felt like a miracle.

When the baby arrived, my first response was a loud sob that came out like a huge exhale and then I quickly recovered to take the pictures that you’ll never be able to take again. The first hold. The first scream. The cleaning up. The look of relief on the momma’s face. The very first family photo. What a treasure and delight those memories are to my heart. I only hope to have this privilege again.

A few days ago, God reminded me of those events, and when I asked Him why I was thinking of it He said, “In the same way your instinct kicked in during her labor, your instinct is now kicking in to walk My people through this season…Because you’ve been here before.”

Wow. Another powerful moment washed over me.

I have been here before. Not this exact situation, but this struggle with so much being unknown. The strain of not knowing if work will continue or if we’re to start over…again. The struggle of standing on promises even when nothing looks like it will ever happen. Yes, I know this place well. Oh, that my struggle would mean that yours would be shortened, but who knows…Only God.

All believers should be helping the world walk this season out right now. We know the answer. We know where to find peace. We know how to stand. We know how to talk to and listen to God. We are the ones who should be leading the charge through this crazy moment, but are we?

Honestly, some are, and others are noticeably living subject to the spirit of fear and death. The day has come when this question must be answered. Choose this day whom you will serve.

Prayer Moment: God, give me the courage to walk out this season with the boldness You have placed inside of me. Help me to prop others up, not tear them down. Help me to be a light and encourager, not a pessimist. Help me to be filled with more faith than doubt. I can only walk through this with You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

“Now fear the Lord and serve Him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your forefathers worshiped beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:14-15

Deeper Day 253: Wisdom from the Spirit

Today I ran across this scripture. I’ve read it many times over, but it really resonated with me today.

We do, however, speak a message of wisdom among the mature, but not the wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. No, we speak to God’s secret wisdom, a wisdom that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began. None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. However, as it is written: “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him”- but God has revealed it to us by His Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man’s spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit Who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us. This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words. The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned. The spiritual man makes judgments about all things, but he himself is not subject to any man’s judgment: “For who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him?” But we have the mind of Christ. 1 Corinthians 2:6-16

There is so much truth in this portion of scripture, it’s hard to know what to focus upon.

I have frequently wondered why it seems that so many people are acting from a blatant lack of wisdom. But here I am reminded that wisdom comes from the Lord, and the lost see it as foolishness. They can’t understand many things, so what are we believers to do? Continue to cave into their earthly demands and chaos? Continue to placate them by just going along to get along?

Absolutely not! If we have any love for the lost then we will set ourselves in a firm foundation of the Truth, and let our lives serve as an example to the world. It’s not about picket signs and pointing out sin in everyone around us. On the contrary, it’s about letting your life speak the truth. God in you will draw others to His heart and eventually repentance. You shouting them down will never work. You standing haughtily above and declaring they are vipers going to hell, isn’t gonna save their souls. But, as God told us, it’s His kindness that leads to repentance.

When I was living a wayward life, it wasn’t the accusers that led me back to Jesus, it was the ones who loved me in spite of my sin. It truly was. I had several key people enter my life and stand next to me. They simply and practically loved me. They were a huge part of my transformation, and to them I will always be grateful.

How does your life speak? Does it draw others closer to His heart?

Prayer Moment: God, help me to live a life that draws others to Your heart. Teach me how to love in action. Help me to maintain a humble heart as I share with others. God, only You can transform a life. Continue to transform me. Help me draw others to You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Deeper Day 252: PTSD to FAITH

The other day, I got some less than great news and when I heard it, I began to experience some physical responses and immediately felt anxiety. I was so irritated that I reacted this way, but the feeling was very real. Then I very clearly saw and heard the Lord say, “You need to turn your PTSD into FAITH”.

Such a shocking thing to hear. I don’t routinely use such language. I felt embarrassed to hear PTSD over myself, because I think it’s a very serious thing that mostly military personnel suffer from. How could my little life be likened to that?

Then I thought about it and realized that after years of walking out the same circle of struggle, I’ve developed a form of it. While walking out the minefield of life, we’ve had what’s felt like, an almost constant struggle with work related things. Uncertain employment, dry seasons of waiting, stretching times when working with challenging personalities, it’s all made me pause and ask, “Are we the problem or are You teaching us something?”

I would think it was us, except with every step we have listened to God and followed His prompting. We’ve asked Him to open the right doors and close the wrong ones. We’ve fasted, prayed, given and followed through every bit of it.

No, we aren’t perfect, but we have been willing to live a very different lifestyle than most. Completely dependent upon God and unwilling to take a step without His leading.

So, when God showed me the above vision, I realized that anyone can begin to believe a lie and when we do, it inevitably causes internal damage. My lie was that we will never get out of this season, and that we will never have a stable future.

Those are two untrue statements.

A while ago, God began to speak to me about Chris and he called him a “Joseph.” Not the Joseph that married Mary, but the Joseph who was sold into slavery by his siblings and was wrongfully thrown into prison before being called into his destined position of second in command of Egypt.

What I believe God was showing me was that Chris too, is destined for greatness, and we shouldn’t let the hard road there make us feel like that’s never going to happen.

There’s the truth. God is refining and working all things in His timing. When I lay hold of these promises, I can transition from PTSD to FAITH. That’s where I want to live, in FAITH. Don’t you?

Prayer Moment: God, please release the gift of faith over my life. Help me to transition from any trauma into full faith. Lead me to be victorious in all things and in all circumstances. I desire to be used by You and for Your purposes. I am Yours. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and He gives them to each one, just as He determines.   1 Corinthians 12:7-11

Deeper Day 251: I hear those dry bones rattling

Can you hear it? The sound of dry bones coming back to life! Can you feel it? The sound of troops assembling for the holy fight!

The stage is being set.

I figure that nobody can deny that the atmosphere on earth has changed a lot, but we have nothing to fear. We should really be excited, not scared. Do you remember the saying, “All bark and no bite”? Well, that’s essentially the devil’s MO. He can only do as much as God allows, and he (along with everyone who’s read the Bible) already knows Who wins this in the end. So, his main tactic is to take as many captive as he can and to create turmoil and chaos wherever he can.

That, my friend, is why those dry bones have started rattling. It’s time for an army to raise up. An army to stand up to the taunts and manipulations of the enemy. An army to help rescue as many from his deathly grip as possible.

It’s time for the church to arise and take our place next to the Son of God and move boldly. It’s time to stop apologizing for offending the enemy of our souls and to realize what is most needed is a steady line to be drawn. A line in the sand, so to speak. “Thus far and no further,” we must say.

May God arise, may His enemies be scattered; may His foes flee before Him. As smoke is blown away by the wind, may you blow them away; as wax melts before the fire, may the wicked perish before God. But may the righteous be glad and rejoice before God; may they be happy and joyful. Sing to God, sing praise to His name, extol Him Who rides on the clouds- His name is the Lord- and rejoice before Him. A Father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in His holy dwelling. God sets the lonely in families, He leads forth the prisoners with singing; but the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land. When You went out before Your people, O God, when You marched through the wasteland, the earth shook, the heavens poured down rain, before God, the One of Sinai, before God, the God of Israel. You gave abundant showers, O God; You refreshed Your weary inheritance. Your people settled in it, and from Your bounty, O God; You provided for the poor.  Psalm 68:1-10

Prayer Moment: God, give me the courage that this hour requires. Teach me how to stand as You would have me stand. Let me not be led astray. Let me not be destroyed. Rather, let me rise and stand. You created me to be alive and walk through this day and time. Teach me how to not cower to the mob. Teach me how to stand firm upon Your word. Teach me how to respond and not react. Show me how to be strong. Show me how to be gentle and strong. I need You every hour. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

May God be gracious to us and bless us and make His face shine upon us, that Your ways may be known on earth, Your salvation among all nations. May the peoples praise You, O God; may all the peoples praise You. May the nations be glad and sing for joy, for You rule the peoples justly and guide the nations of the earth. May the peoples praise You, O God; may all the peoples praise You. Then the land will yield its harvest, and God, our God, will bless us. God will bless us, and all the ends of the earth will fear Him. Psalm 67

Deeper Day 250: Quiet Place

Lately, I’ve been realizing that so much of the steely resolve I currently have is borne of the quiet place.

When I was younger, nobody would have described me as firm in any way. In fact, I was so afraid of everyone and everything that I just sat quietly a lot. I also never used to defend myself. I never spoke up when I was treated cruelly or unfairly. I was a punching bag for the dominant.

Then God…

He came into my heart and showed me that I too have value. You see, I could always see everyone else had value, but struggled so hard to admit that I too could have an opinion or be blessed. I literally remember the first time I prayed for God to bless me. For years before that, I had asked God to bless all those around me. I had fought for the future of others, in prayer. I had been a cheerleader for the dreams of those I loved but couldn’t imagine doing something like that for myself.

Then one day, God put it on my heart to ask for Him to bless me. When I first uttered the words, I could feel them hanging in the air. A Holy Spirit chill went through my whole body and I felt the pleasure of the Lord.

From that day forward, I have asked God to bless me every single day. Yes, I still ask Him to bless others, but I never overlook myself. Now I feel so certain about many things. I feel certain that He delights in me. He loves to spend time with me and I know I make Him proud.

You were made as a blessing to Him, why wouldn’t he bless you?

I wanted to take the opportunity today to encourage you to find your quiet place and then simply go before Him and ask for His blessing. He is willing. His arms are wide. He loves you.

The beautiful part about it all is this, when you begin to let Him bless you more and more, you’ll desire to see Him bless others more too. In fact, you’ll likely begin to seek out more ways to bless others. It’s a beautiful exchange.

God is so good. He’s so good to me.

Prayer Moment: God, today I lay aside all other thoughts and agendas and I simply come to you as a child and ask for You to bless me. Would You extend Your hand of favor and blessing over me and open my eyes to Your presence more and more? I long for You. In the quiet place I learn to know You better. God, please never stop revealing Yourself to me. I am Yours. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Who, then, is the man that fears the Lord? He will instruct him in the way chosen for him. He will spend his days in prosperity, and his descendants will inherit the land. The Lord confides in those who fear Him; He makes His covenant known to them. My eyes are ever on the Lord, for only He will release my feet from the snare. Psalm 25:12-15

Deeper Day 249: My Sheep Will Know My Voice

With so many loud voices upon the earth all the time, it can feel very confusing. It can sometimes be hard to discern the truth from a lie. It can be especially hard to discern a half-truth. Many moments lately have been covered with the sound of a half-truth…but you know the only way for it to be half-true, is if its other half is a lie.

I’m gonna let that little truth bomb lay on your heart for a minute and hopefully explode. As it explodes, I ask God to let it destroy any half-truths that you and/or I have been believing.

My husband has a really good analogy that he’s used with our children since they were very young. It’s a unique way to emphasize the power of a lie or half-truth.

He would say to the kids, when they lie or leave out part of the truth, etc. “Let me ask you a question. What if I go into the kitchen and make some brownies, would you eat them?” At this part of the story, the kids’ eyes would always light up with excitement. Then he would continue,” Now what if I put just a teaspoon of poop in them and mix it in really good. Would you still eat them?” Undoubtedly and without fail all the kids would moan in disgust and adamantly proclaim that of course they would not eat those.  “Well,” he continued, “that’s what a lie is like. Even if you tell mostly truth, if you add a little lie in it then it makes the whole thing bad.”

Now I admit I was taken aback the first time I heard him say this. There was such wisdom to it and even though it’s so obvious, I can tell you right now, most of us do not act so discriminately. In fact, recently I can’t tell you how many people have tried to force me to agree with large organizations or broad statements even though so much of what those groups or statements support is wrong. Not just wrong even, but detrimental to society and our way of life as a whole.

I won’t do it.

I won’t overlook a little poop just because of pressure. Poop is poop and I don’t want any of it.

What I do know however, is this, I belong to God and I know His voice. So, when faced with so much information all the time, when I begin to feel cloudy or confused, I will listen for His voice. When I hear it, that’s the way I will chose, and nobody will change my mind or guilt me out of it.

Prayer Moment: God, don’t ever let me get led astray by a half-truth. Keep my heart steady against the manipulations of this world. I will not bow down and cower to any man. I follow You, and You alone. Even if I am the only one left following You, give me strength to remain steady. Here I am standing for You and kneeling for no man. Guard me, Abba. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

My sheep listen to My voice; I know them, and they follow Me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, Who has given them to Me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of My Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.  John 10:27-30

 

 

Deeper Day 248: Going To Seed

In this season, God has continually given me a vision of a field and in this field, I am walking with my arms outstretched beside me and my fingers brush each stalk of wheat, the dead parts just shower to the ground. As I do this, I hear God saying, “It’s going to seed.”

“It”…is a more private issue, but the symbolism behind this vision is so relevant to all of us right now.

Going to seed: This happens when a plant, instead of using its energy reserves to make the leaves you want, starts to flower and produce seed. As this takes a large amount of energy, when a plant flowers, its vegetative growth usually stops.

This seems so relevant.

I bet many of us are going through seasons that feel like dying right now, but when we approach the “plant” of our life, we may see that we are starting to produce seed. I have felt for quite some time now that God is moving in our lives differently. Where many of us were once able to hide out and not proclaim our faith loudly, or stand for much of anything really, now it’s speak or lose the opportunity to have a voice.

Where we were once growing so much leaf coverage in our lives that we simply blended into the surroundings, now we are really standing out with our unique flowers and spreading seed to others.

Are you following my analogy?

The season of camouflage has ended. It is now the season of flowering and producing seed.

The only way to increase the crop is for a plant to go to seed. Likewise, the only way to increase the flock of believers is to stand apart and let your flowers show.

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed- a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.” Romans 1:16-17

We cannot be ashamed of the gospel. We must stand firm on our faith in Jesus, and also our faith in His protection by not cowering to the spirit of fear that is roaming the earth seeking those he can destroy. As the verse above states, “The righteous will live by faith.”

Prayer Moment: God, help me to never be ashamed of the gospel. Help me to always be bold in my faith. Never let me be found cowering in fear. Help me to always partner with faith. You are worthy and worth it. Thank You for Your protection and provision. I adore You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when He comes in His glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels. Luke 9:26

 

Deeper Day 247: Do You Feel The Rumbling?

There is a rumbling I hear. The sound of God moving upon the earth. When God moves even the mountains quake. Only what is eternal can survive the shaking. This shaking is breaking us free from complacency. This rumbling is the sound of labor pains upon the earth. God is birthing something.

With so much friction in practically every hemisphere of our lives right now, it’s impossible to deny that God is doing something. He is on the move.

Many people fear that the enemy is gaining ground, but from my perspective the enemy resistance is just a sign that God is making a move and the enemy doesn’t like it so he’s causing as much disruption as he can. That’s what he does. He causes chaos, spreads lies and deception, promotes darkness as if it’s light…and the list could go on and on.

When you begin to see the spirit of chaos and destruction moving, the first thing you should do is look up. Let God capture your full attention and then listen to His voice, and only His voice.

God is doing great things right now, and the enemy is trying to throw up daily smoke screens of distraction, so you miss it.

Children have been rescued from sex trafficking in large numbers recently. The elite pedophile ring is being exposed. Those are just two examples of the wonderful things happening in the midst of this fog the enemy is trying to spread over America.

We are not battling flesh and blood, friends. I’ve said it a lot already, but I’m just going to keep saying it.

We Are Not Battling Flesh and Blood.

Instead of that being a scary statement, I hope it is an encouraging one. “Why?” you may ask. Because when we know the nature of the battle then we have an easier time of discerning where, with what, and for whom to stand.

Take nothing at face value. Search the heart of each organization or catch phrase. Then be led by facts, not feelings. The enemy loves to manipulate through guilt. That is not from God. If you feel yourself following along with an anthem, you’d better check your own heart to make sure you aren’t just doing it because it’s easier than standing firm, or because you feel guilty. Neither of those is a good reason to follow the crowd. Remember how much trouble that type of mindset would get you in when you were a kid or teen? As an adult it’s just as detrimental, even more so sometimes.

Prayer Moment: God help me to make wise choices. Teach me Your ways and give me courage to stand with and for You at all times and in every situation. Lord, have mercy on America. Restore our innocence. Restore the truth to the hearts of our children. Open blind eyes and deaf ears, that they will see You and know You. Let my life continue to be a light in the darkness. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Eat honey, my son, for it is good; honey from the comb is sweet to your taste. Know also that wisdom is sweet to your soul; if you find it, there is a future hope for you and your hope will not be cut off. Proverbs 24:13-14

Tremble, O earth, at the presence of the Lord, at the presence of the God of Jacob, Who turned the rock into a pool, the hard rock into springs of water. Psalm 114:7-8

Deeper Day 246: The Center of my Heart

As I have recently been navigating some deep heart issues, I’ve been clinging to my Father even more than usual. Asking Him for His love and standing firmly upon promises He’s made to me. In certain relationships I’ve felt such a struggle to keep loving and to remain steady. It’s been a constant laying down of my will. It’s meant dying to myself over and over again.

This may sound like a terrible state of affairs, but I know a secret…this is such a good process. I’ve lived enough life to realize that this is where true character and depth of relationship with God is formed. In the refining fire.

As I was out exercising the other day, I was in deep conversation and constant vision with the Lord. As I ran, I could feel my strength being restored. As I worshiped, I could feel His thoughts overtaking my own. As I raised my hands and praised, my head lifted.

But You are a shield around me, O Lord; You bestow glory on me and lift up my head. Psalm 3:3

Then I saw myself in a vision, diving deep into the water and I heard God speaking. He said, “You are diving deep into the center of your heart.” As I heard this, I saw myself swimming down deeper and deeper, until I saw a door. I opened it and a radiant light burst forth from it. Immediately I was consumed with this giant light! Then I heard, “This is the glory of the Lord.”

Talk about a breathtaking moment.

In the center of my heart…the place many don’t ever dare to dive because there is so much to take in during the journey, I found God’s glory. Then I remembered this scripture…

To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. Colossians 1:27

As a saved person, I know that Jesus lives in my heart, so this isn’t really a stretch. It’s simply something I’ve never thought about in this way before.

Are you willing to allow God to purge your heart of all the obstacles between you and His glory within you? The reward is so great. The pain is worth the promise.

Prayer Moment: Search me and know me, God. I will always give You full access to my heart. I follow You and You alone. I won’t even let my own self get in the way. I lay down all my rights before You. I give You my heart. Release Your glory in, around and through me. I am fully surrendered. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

There is surely a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off. Listen, my son, and be wise, and keep your heart on the right path. Proverbs 23:18-19

Deeper Day 245: Double Standard

It seems that every day in many ways, I see double standards happening all around me right now. The ones shaming others for not masking, are themselves caught without wearing one. Those screaming about everyone being racist, using racist language and want to shame one race when that too is racist behavior. Politicians screaming about wealth distribution while living in mansions and everyone is wondering where all their money is coming from. Those that say, “My body, my choice” when it comes to abortion want to force masks and vaccinations on everyone. Those who demand equal rights want to close the doors of churches. It makes no sense, and it can begin to make you feel worn down unless you keep proper perspective.

Here is what is true, in God there is no confusion. God is not unbalanced and unfair. On the contrary He is just and a God of order.

When you begin to feel the pull of the stark hypocrisy and injustice what are you to do? These feelings and emotions are real. We must however, demonstrate that part of the fruit of the spirit that is hardest…self-control.

When the waves of insanity and injustice feel like they may just pull us under and cause us to drown, we must take hold of that which cannot be shaken…God.

Open your Bible and begin to read through Psalms and Proverbs and a whole new perspective will wash over you. Let’s take a look at these two verses:

Those who forsake the law praise the wicked, but those who keep the law resist them. Evil men do not understand justice, but those who seek the Lord understand it fully. Proverbs 28:4-5

And this:

When a country is rebellious, it has many rulers, but a man of understanding and knowledge maintains order. Proverbs 28:2

Reading verses like this should begin to help you see clearly which side you want to partner with on an issue, or what your heart posture should be toward others. The battle lines are being clearly drawn right now, it’s not about political affiliation anymore, it’s about God verses the anti-Christ spirit.

You know, when you begin to open up the Bible and read, you discover a few things…God is always present…God is always good…Nothing is new, He’s seen this all before…Nothing surprises Him.

When I open my Bible, I discover hidden hope and promises that I can only take hold of if I search it out.

It is the glory of God to conceal a matter; to search out a matter is the glory of kings. Proverbs 25:2

Prayer Moment: God, You alone are just. In You alone do we find hope. Thank You for covering my heart. Thank You for leading me to the truth. Give me courage to walk out truth. Guard my mind from lies. I place my hope and trust firmly in Your hands. In Jesus’ name, Amen.