Mirror

The lake looked like a mirror this morning as I sat looking out the window. There was no wind to push the water along, so it appeared peaceful and calm. Often our lives look this way. We’ve gotten used to the way things are and we are at peace with the status quo. We think God must be ok with the way our life has settled since everything is going so well. So, we’re surprised when a fish jumps in the midst of our calm waters and all we can do is watch the ripples begin to form on the mirror of our life.

calm-lake-mirror blogWhat happened? God happened!

I’m sorry if this is news to you, but God doesn’t like status quo. He doesn’t like our lives resembling the calm of a mirror-like lake. There is no growth or change when nothing is happening. So, He’s happy to send a fish to ruffle up our lives and get the water moving. His Kingdom can’t grow if all we’re doing is sitting and looking at the calm of our lives. So, don’t resent the fish God sends. Instead, embrace the waves that come into your life and thank God for caring enough to send you a fish.

But watch out for the geese that come crashing into your calm waters. These unwanted visitors can cause some real damage to the calm you have held onto, but God can use anything when He needs to get us moving instead of sitting and watching nothing happen. God knows they are coming and is waiting for you to ask for His help with the mess the geese will make of your life. So, don’t try to scare them off by yourself. Ask God for help. He’s had a lot of experience with unwanted visitors.

Deni

Encouragement for the lonely

Excerpts from “Abandoned”
When he walked out the door life was over. All her hopes and dreams, they left too. There was nothing left but a big empty house And a heart with hurts brand new.

A heart when its broken makes a terrible sound. One God actually hears far above. Like thunder and lightning, a raging storm, as the heart is slowly drained of its love. When she hit her low, the enemy waited To whisper “it can all be done soon.” He offered her comfort from all the pain if she would just quietly go to her doom.

 Loneliness is a painful way of life. One that separates us from others, making us a target for the enemy. It happens slowly, so we don’t see it coming until it’s too late. And then we don’t know how to get rid of it because a wall has been erected between us and everyone else. At least, we see it as a wall, and that perception is truth to the lonely.  

King David certainly knew loneliness. As a young man he spent days and weeks at a time alone with his father’s sheep. He had no one to talk to or share his thoughts with. His brothers left him alone out in the countryside with no company except for the sheep he was to protect. What a lonely existence that must have been for the young man. But, David knew something we should all take note of. He knew he was never alone. His God, the God of Jacob, was ever with him. David spent the lonely hours singing to his God. Talking to Him about the things that troubled him and thanking Him for all that God did for him repelled the loneliness that always threatened. God was his constant companion. Psalm 3:4 “I cried to the Lord with my voice and He heard me from His holy hill.” David knew God was always listening for his voice. He had only to “cry out” and God was there with him reminding David that He was near.

Paul and Silas spent some lonely time as they traveled and preached of the Lord. One night, after being beaten and thrown into the deepest darkest part of the prison, they once again experienced separation from the world. But they knew what each one of us must come to know. The Lord is always there. So, they opened their mouths and began to sing to the Lord.  

Acts 16:25 “But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God,” And just like He did for David, God was listening and He made thinks happen.  Release from loneliness is only a song away! God is listening to hear your voice. It is a sweet sound to His ears. Sing of His Glory. Sing of His Mercy. Sing of His unending love for you. You invite Him into your home, into your life, when you sing of your love for Him. You will never be lonely when He sits with you listening to your songs of love.

 So, when life turns and all seems lost it’s a lie from the enemy’s lips. For with God you are never ever alone, just be patient, let God your world tip. The pain will still be something to bear, but remember that God has your hand. As He gently and lovingly guides your way, dries your tears and helps you withstand.

~ Deni

LEARNING TO DANCE IN THE RAIN 

Have you ever been in a situation or had a problem that seemed to never end? Are you in one now? How do you handle times like those? Me, I use to worry and I’d try to find a way out. But, it never worked out right no matter how hard I tried, and sometimes I would just make things worse. Sometimes, I would have to go around that mountain (the problem) again and again because I wanted to do it my way.
Problems (storms) are going to come. But, it’s how you handle the storms that’s important. I think God looks not at our ability to wait for our storms to pass but how we act while they rage and we wait. 

We have all been through different storms – some of us are going through them now. We don’t go through them alone though, He is right there with us. I believe God wants us to grow through our storms. He doesn’t want us to become our storms or to become bitter and hardhearted. He has another plan for these times.

The Word says in Matthew 6:25-34

“Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? “So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? “Therefore, do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

The Word also says in Philippians 4:6 

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

I have by no means mastered this yet. But as my relationship with my Father grows through prayer and being in His presence, so does my faith that He knows what is BEST for me. Life isn’t about waiting for the storms to pass, because they may or may not take a long time to pass. It’s about learning to dance in the rain – while the storms are raging.

Having the peace that passes ALL understanding is not going to be easy, but with God all things are possible.

Ruth

The Pattern

If I were to ask you what do you believe is your purpose in life, what would you say?  
Since you’re reading this message, hopefully you would say prayer warrior.

But, praying isn’t the only thing warriors are to do in God’s Kingdom. It is an essential part, but sadly we would run out of warriors if new ones aren’t taught the art of their calling. So, teaching others how to become skilled in the ways of prayer warfare is essential. 

So, how would you teach someone to pray when they’re going through a storm?

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;”

‭‭Philippians‬ ‭4:6‬ ‭NKJV‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

1. Go to God in prayer. Take time and go again and again until your prayer is answered.

2. Pray in Supplication – asking or begging earnestly or humbly of God.

3. Thanksgiving – praise Him for what he’s going to do for you.

4. Request – Lord I am declaring this over my life in the Name of Jesus.

Your part is: to continue praying for the person or situation and asking God if there’s a scripture or something else you should share and for Him to show you the best way to minister to them so they get it.

How would you teach someone how to pray when they say they do not know how?

Go to Jesus, who is the greatest Teacher, for advice. He shared The Pattern with us so our prayers are effective and they get the desired results.

The Pattern: 

“Now it came to pass, as He was praying in a certain place, when He ceased, that one of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.” So He said to them, “When you pray, say: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven. Give us day by day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins, For we also forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one.””

‭‭Luke‬ ‭11:1-4‬ ‭NKJV‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

Sacrifice and Marriage

In today’s culture, sacrifice is deemed as something negative.  However, in marriage, it should be considered a positive thing. Think about the Hebrew definition of sacrifice:

The Hebrew word “zabach” means to slaughter for sacrifice, slaughter an animal (usually in sacrifice), to kill in sacrifice, to slay.  It is the act of giving something up as an offering to someone or something else. In the Old Testament, the sacrifice was made on behalf of the people to God.

While teaching a recent marriage class, everyone was asked to “Create a list of sacrifices you make in your marriage.”

I could readily write the daily ones, like driving so my wife doesn’t have to or watching a chick flick, etc. But what about the real sacrifices, the ones that cost you something? Like putting your spouse above all things, above all other relationships? Or above your wants or your needs? Remember your wedding vows, “Forsaking all others?” It really made me think about the things I am forsaking or sacrificing for the sake of my marriage.

And as I pondered these questions, I came up with three areas I felt were of utmost importance to us all.

  1. Time
    1. Spending time in prayer for your spouse instead of what you normally do. Covering your spouse, marriage and children in prayer is vital for the head of the household.
    2. Sacrificing the time, you would normally do things for yourself and instead, using that time to invest in your marriage. Invest is from the Medieval Latin “investire,” meaning “to clothe.” Now I say invest in the sense of clothing your spouse with Honor, furnishing or equipping your spouse with power or authority, to covering completely, to endowing with a quality to infuse.
    3. Don’t allow your children to be the main focus that consumes your time. They will grow up and eventually leave, what then? So many couples find themselves as roommates or worse yet, as total strangers when their children are out on their own. Invest in your marriage so your children can see what a biblical marriage looks like.
    4. Remember, the setting aside of self is key to a successful marriage.
  2. Your Mouth
    1. Often, we want to be right as opposed to being wrong. However, it is better to edify your spouse than to be right. How much more peace would be in our marriages if we were willing to stop worrying about being right or wrong?
    2. Proverbs 18:21 (NKJV) Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit. Speak life to your spouse. We often lose the simple words of encouragement to the hustle and bustle of work, kids and life happening.
    3. Take advantage of the time you have together and speak words of edification to your spouse. In Numbers 6 24-26 we have an outline as to how to greet each other. How amazing it would be to greet your spouse with this blessing.
      1. 24 “The Lord bless you and keep you; 25 The Lord make His face shine upon you, And be gracious to you; 26 The Lord lift up His countenance upon you, And give you peace.”’
    4. Your Eyes
      1. In today’s culture, we are bombard with all types of sexually seductive images and it takes work to shield your eyes from them. I’m reminded of the Sunday school song the kids sing, “O be careful little eyes what you see, O be careful little eyes what you see. There’s a Father up above and He’s looking down in love So, be careful little eyes what you see.”
      2. What you allow into your “eyegates” can adversely affect your marriage. For what you allow in is inadvertently allowing a sinful stronghold to be built. First glance, you think, no big deal. Second glance reveals a weakness and the third glance is no longer a glance at all.  You are actually opening your “eyegate” to lust and the sin that will follow.
        1. Jesus said in Matthew 5:28 (NKJV)” But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”
      3. Forethought for your “eyegates”: be proactive, not reactive, before you decide to look. What is your plan? We can often see things inadvertently, but what is your plan to overcome these situations? I often tell men how when I first started working out I was lifting weights that were a little heavier than normal and required me to have a focus point on the opposite wall. A few minutes into one of my workouts a woman stood right in front of my focus point and began her workout. I then took half a step backwards with one foot and found a new focus point, removing her from my vision. You have to know what you’re going to do when your “eyegates” are compromised. Be proactive and plan how you’re going to react, what you are going to do to clear your vision.

So, I challenge you today, to examine how you sacrifice for your spouse, your marriage, your time, your speech and your eyes!

 

Pastor José

Encouragement for the lonely

Encouragement for the lonely.
Excerpts from “Abandoned”

When he walked out the door life was over. All her hopes and dreams, they left too. There was nothing left but a big empty house And a heart with hurts brand new. A heart when its broken makes a terrible sound. One God actually hears far above. Like thunder and lightning, a raging storm, as the heart is slowly drained of its love. When she hit her low, the enemy waited To whisper “it can all be done soon.”. He offered her comfort from all the pain if she would just quietly go to her doom.

Loneliness is a painful way of life. One that separates us from others, making us a target for the enemy. It happens slowly, so we don’t see it coming until it’s too late. And then we don’t know how to get rid of it because a wall has been erected between us and everyone else. At least, we see it as a wall, and that perception is truth to the lonely.  

King David certainly knew loneliness. As a young man he spent days and weeks at a time alone with his father’s sheep. He had no one to talk to or share his thoughts with. His brothers left him alone out in the countryside with no company except for the sheep he was to protect. What a lonely existence that must have been for the young man.

But, David knew something we should all take note of. He knew he was never alone. His God, the God of Jacob, was ever with him. David spent the lonely hours singing to his God. Talking to Him about the things that troubled him and thanking Him for all that God did for him repelled the loneliness that always threatened. God was his constant companion. Psalm 3:4 “I cried to the Lord with my  voice and He heard me from His holy hill.” David knew God was always listening for his voice. He had only to “cry out” and God was there with him reminding David that He was near.

Paul and Silas spent some lonely time as they traveled and preached of the Lord. One night, after being beaten and thrown into the deepest darkest part of the prison, they once again experienced separation from the world. But they knew what each one of us must come to know. The Lord is always there. So, they opened their mouths and began to sing to the Lord.  Acts 16:25 “But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God,” And just like He did for David, God was listening and He made things happen.  

Release from loneliness is only a song away! God is listening to hear your voice. It is a sweet sound to His ears. Sing of His Glory. Sing of His Mercy. Sing of His unending love for you. You invite Him into your home, into your life, when you sing of your love for Him. You will never be lonely when He sits with you listening to your songs of love.

So, when life turns and all seems lost it’s a lie from the enemy’s lips. For with God you are never ever alone, just be patient, let God your world tip. The pain will still be something to bear, but remember that God has your hand. As He gently and lovingly guides your way, dries your tears and helps you withstand.

~ Deni

My Thoughts by Angie Vanek

The life that is empty will remain empty until you fill it with something that brings more than instant satisfaction, like turning to my friends will always be a failing, TEMPORARY solution. It’s easy for us to keep our eye on the hurt and disappointment that happens in life. Sometimes those fears and pains can become consuming and debilitating. Sometimes following God is harder than we expected or His way just doesn’t make sense. But the Lord says: “For as the heavens are higher than earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:9 NKJV
It’s kind of hard not to get caught up in ourselves. It happens, and our God is so good, patient and gracious with us. Matthew 18:11 reassures us that Jesus has come for the broken hearted (“For the Son of Man has come to save that which is lost.” (Matthew 18:11 NKJV).

When we take our eyes, our heart and our mind off His word, our hearts become confused, lonely and scared, or even angry. The Bible even tells us that; “For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there.” (James 3:6 NKJV) It can be difficult to turn around and seek Him, but the more you turn to Him, the more you will see Him working and the more understanding you will gain regarding where He is calling you. We weren’t meant to walk this journey alone and we certainly weren’t meant to try and lead it on our own efforts.

Jesus will ALWAYS be that fine line, the big line, the black, the white and the grey. He is the left and the right, the beginning and the end. He wants to be our EVERYTHING. He wants to be our all! Often the emotional disappointments we are wanting fulfilled are those same things God is desiring to hear from us. He wants to know our hopes and dreams, our joy and sadness, our hearts and our minds. He truly is a God who wants to be the center of our lives.

So, when you’re seeking ways to fill that void, that emptiness and any other emotion or physical gap…don’t forget God. So, when you’re seeking ways to fill that void, that emptiness and any other emotional or physical gap, don’t forget God is waiting, so grab your Bible! Have a God-chat, some prayer time or a God-surrendering fellowship with your brothers and sisters.

Angie

God’s Waterfall

How’s your day going? How’s your week going? Are you worried about your finances, your kids, your job? Or are you just weary? Maybe life has become too much.  I know,  sometimes I too get worried about the things that are swirling around me. Sometimes I come to the point of being so overwhelmed by the things that are happening around me that I just have to…STOP!!

So, I take a deep breath, close my eyes and I’m standing in a river with a beautiful waterfall. As I walk over to the waterfall I can feel the spray of the waterfall on my face. As I walk into the waterfall and let it pour over me, I look up through the waterfall and see my Father pouring His love over me and saying “I have you, it’s going to be ok.” I begin to dance, sing, jump up and down and just let the waterfall pour over me. My cares, worries and weariness fade away. I have been refreshed in the waterfall of God.

God knows our worries. He knows what keeps us up at night. He knows our every need because we are His children! The Word says in Philippians 4:6-7 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and mind through Christ Jesus.

sipisopisoGod gave me the vision of the waterfall during a time of tribulation when I needed Him so much.  Now, the vision is my balm anytime I need it. Do you need God’s waterfall of love poured over you today?  Go to the river and stand in the waterfall, dance in the waterfall and let the love of God pour over you even when the storms are ragging around you. Let God give you the peace that surpasses all understanding.

Ruth

Arise church!

I find myself more and more thankful every day for the Body of Christ. I see Jesus more every day too because I see Him in the lives of believers all around me. I see the awesome power of the Holy Spirit moving though His body; exhorting them, leading them, and infusing them with power to accomplish the establishment of God’s Kingdom on the earth.
1 Corinthians 4:20 (NKJV) For the kingdom of God is not in word but in power. The power and authority that God’s people are going to walk in, is, and will be, forever life changing, and that is something to get excited about!  

I am so excited to see 2017 unfold as the church comes forth in the giftings the Lord is pouring out upon His people. I believe the Lord will continually pour out His Spirit on those who cry out to Him, seeking the power and authority He so wants to give His church.

The Word says in Romans 12:6-8 (NKJV) Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.

It’s not enough to desire the gifts, but we must purpose to use the gifts once they are obtained. God, who has given us His gifts, is expecting us to go out under the power of them to impact a world that needs what we have even though they are not aware of it.

1 Corinthians 12:4-11 There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.​

As you hunger and thirst after God, He will give you all that you are in need of. When you walk with Him, in Him and for Him, and not for self, that is when we will see the manifestation of His power flow through the Body, which is you and me. Pray and seek to be used by God for the building and expansion of His Kingdom. There is so much to do, and God tells us the “workers are few”. If you don’t know where to go or what to do, seek the Mothers and Fathers and Sisters and Brothers God provides. They are waiting for you to come forth with your questions so they can help you discover God’s plan for you. The heavens are waiting for your declarations and decrees to come forth. But this won’t happen if you have unanswered questions holding you back.

I am expecting more signs and wonders and miracles to come forth in 2017. 

Arise church! There is much to be done and God wants to use YOU. Be encouraged for He is with you, you don’t go alone. He has placed you in His Body so the strength and encouragement of others is yours always.

~ Pastor Tammy 

No One Knew His Name

 3:16-17 (NKJV)

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes In Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

God lost His children not too long after He created them because sin built a wall between them.  But, God had a plan.  When the time was right He would send part of Himself to earth to be the sacrifice that was needed for the wall of sin to be torn down.  The world had been told for hundreds and hundreds of years that a Savior would come.  But, when the time came, all the signs were ignored because the Savior came as a babe, not a king.  Don’t you miss the signs of God calling you back to Him; to the safety of a garden built by God for His children.

No One Knew His Name

The babe was born for all mankind
But no one knew His name.
He left his Father, where He was King
and to earth as a babe He came.

Mary and Joseph had traveled so far
knowing Jesus was soon to be born.
With no room at the inn their choices were few
but the stable left Mary’s heart torn.

As Mary labored to birth God’s babe,
the angels a concert they gave,
to the shepherds, the lowly, the announcement came
as Jesus, in a manger, was laid.

Though shepherds came to pay respect
to the baby the angels proclaimed.
Bethlehem lay fast asleep
so nobody knew His name.

The Star shone announcing the birth,
the One foretold through the ages.
But the people were caught up in the myth they believed
the one told by priests and sages.

A great and mighty king would come
to vanquish their foes all around.
So they looked for a crown, a warrior, a king,
for the trumpets to give mighty sounds.

No one looked for the babe God had planned,
His Son who would one day become,
the sacrifice needed so sins are forgiven
and back to our Father we’d come.

The babe was born for all mankind,
but no one knew His name.
His road was set from birth to death.
It was the reason that He came.

To restore God’s children back to Him,
out of Love, for it brought no fame,
cause the world didn’t get why He was here,
and they didn’t know His name.