Don’t Give Up!

No matter what has happened or is happening, be aware of the living, loving Father who watches over your life with every beat of your heart.  He knows the wrong’s the hurts and hurdles. He knows the plots the schemes and the traps. He sees them all and says to you, “My child, DO NOT be afraid! Though sorrow may last for a night my JOY…my COMPLETE supernatural JOY will reach down from the heavens and wrap you in the morning light. Yes, many have come against you, many fiery darts of the enemy.”

But your Father says…“I will hold you!  I will carry you!  I will strengthen you! Do not be afraid!  I have seen all and in My time…in My way it will all make sense.  As of today this moment in time walk by faith AND NOT SIGHT take My hand!  I know you don’t understand but trust Me when I say I love you with an everlasting love and THIS IS NOT THE END!  You’re my child! I love you.  I have purpose for you. I have given you the sword of the Spirit. The power of the Holy Spirit and the authority in my name!  You will walk and not faint.  You will run and not grow weary!  I say REST.  Rest in My grace that is your place. Those dreams those desires…Yes, everything will come to completion as you trust in Me. This IS NOT THE END. SO LAUGH AND BE JOYFUL!  SO SING AND SHOUT THE VICTORY! Together with Me WE WIN!”

For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.  So we fix our eyes on what is seen, but on what is unseen.  For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.  – 2 Corinthians 4:17-18

God will bless you If you don’t give up when your faith is being tested. James 1:12

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Listen

Life is a daily classroom of teaching and instruction, if we are willing to listen and follow through. My most recent lesson was simple, profound and forever life changing. Here’s the lesson;

Don’t ignore the prompts and nudges from the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is not only the Comforter but the Great Teacher and Guide.

I woke up absolutely consumed with thoughts of a cousin who was currently in the intensive care unit.  It was a cousin I had never been really that close to but that really didn’t matter at the moment. All that mattered was him!  I had to go see him, nothing was more important.

It wasn’t a still small voice giving me an instruction. It was just an impression in my spirit—a knowing that something wasn’t quite right.  I reached out to one of his children and asked, “Is your dad saved? Has he made Jesus the Lord of his life?”  She said “I’m not sure.” I told her we have to make sure. Let’s make sure together!

Everything I expected upon arrival at the hospital was present the grief, the pain, the tears.  His face is still in my thoughts right now as I type this.  The way he held my hand when we prayed and how he wouldn’t let go. The way he said “I love you too.” It is all still very heavy on my thoughts.

Sadly he had been shown “religion” his entire life and not a “relationship” with a living, loving Father. The church had failed him but I was driven to remind him that Jesus would never ever fail him. I asked him the greatest question you could ever ask at his bed side, “Have you ever made Jesus the Lord of your life?”  His answer was solid and truthful, “NO.” My response was. “Would you like to?” His answer again came solid and truthful “YES.”   I asked him to pray a prayer with me and he repeated the prayer with his children and grandchildren surrounding the bed.  He repeated every word strong, fully aware and fully sincere.  It was in that moment that the presence of the Lord came and heaven touched earth.  When we finished that prayer my cousin said something that I will never forget as long as I live he said, “We did it!” I sobbed! He said it again, “We did it.”  It was almost like he knew how God had pushed me all the way to his bedside.  That he was hanging on for just this moment in time so that now he could move on with complete Peace that he had made Jesus his Lord!

At 11:00 a.m. he was born again from above, translated out of Darkness into the Kingdom of God’s dear Son. Saved! Safe! Secure! Forgiven!

At 5:08 p.m. the same day he was Home in Heaven.

Since his passing I’ve been emotional, unable to focus and changed. Just changed! I’m thankful for the Holy Spirit, thankful for an open heart, thankful for a God who answers when we call, thankful for JESUS who defeated death, Hell, and the Grave.

THANKFUL.

On the way to the hospital that morning the enemy had flooded my mind with several lies.  Thoughts that ran in my mind; “You’re going to minister? Your own life is a hot mess!” I could almost hear Satan’s mocking laughter.  “Someone else will do it, another minister is sure to be at his bedside.”  ALL LIES! NO ONE was there.   And if we all had waited for our lives to be perfect we wouldn’t have a church or ministry on this planet. We are all broken and that’s the exact reason why we need JESUS!

Life lesson:

When God whispers a name to you, when you can’t get that person off your mind and heart, RUN to that person. God has a reason for those promptings. Don’t assume someone else will help! God’s speaking to you! You’re not here to just live and die. You are here on assignment from Heaven to fulfill Gods plan. You are not a human being having a spiritual experience you’re a spiritual being having a human experience! This is not our home.

Who do you have on your heart right now? What’s God saying? Obey! God’s on the move and God wants to use you today.

Listen.

Then I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?” Then I said, “Here am I. Send me!” Isaiah 6:8

When you have JESUS you have everything!

When you have JESUS you have everything. He’s with you, right now in this moment. 

I’ve lived enough trips around the sun to learn firsthand that He is the one and only one who keeps His promises.  He is the Promise Keeper. Not some promises, but He uses this word over and over in the Holy Scriptures, it’s a word I’ve grown to love it’s the word “ALL.”   ALL of his promises are “Yes!” and “Amen!” He heals me of ALL my diseases.

The righteous person may have many troubles, but the LORD delivers him from them all. Psalms 34:19

In the greatest loss or disappointment when you awake to what seems a nightmare there is a deep knowing that someday, somehow God will make sense of all this. God will have the last word.  The scars, the wounds the hurts that have been hurled your way. God will make sense of it all.  The Promise Keeper shouts, “Hey YOU, (insert your name here), I’ve begun a good work in YOU! I will continue that work until the day of Christ.” So little by little and day by day, His mercies are new every morning and He is transforming you into a masterpiece fit for the Master’s use. His use!

So when your feet hit the ground in the morning instead of being steered off your destiny by a text or a call or a distraction, set up from the enemy to cloud your mind, dig deep into planting your face right in His. Face to face with the One who can fix it all, heal it all, restore it all, and make sense of it all!  

The Promise Keeper says, “If you seek me you will find me if you draw close to me I WILL draw close to YOU.”

That’s a PROMISE from the Holy of Holies, from the Author and Finisher of Your faith. It’s a PROMISE from the Ancient of Days.

So right in the middle of the chaos and confusion, you will have CHRIST which is TRUTH, which is LIGHT, which is PEACE.  It’s yours just for the taking!  Remember wounded warrior you’re not alone, never truly alone and Abba has all you need for all your days including this one.  When you have JESUS you have everything. He’s with you right now in this moment and ALL always means ALL!  Just breathe, He’s got this. More importantly, He’s got YOU!

Prince of Peace

Peace…

“For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”   Isaiah 9:6 (NIV)

I don’t know about you but I know about me and the above verse is healing medicine to everywhere I hurt right now.

Taking a holy pause and thinking deeply about each of these words…COUNSELOR, FATHER, PEACE.

– Counselor, while confusion swirls and darkness seems to be hiding around every corner.  The counselor of all counselors who made you and knows you better than you know yourself awaits to teach, counsel, instruct and guide. We just have to listen and obey.

– Father, He is the FATHER who knows YOU by name.
Does He really hold every tear we cry? Yes, yes He does.  You’re not alone, the one who placed you here for such a time as this sees, cares, and knows ALL. He AFFECTIONATELY loves you like a father loves his child.

Do not worry, God did not create you to abandon you.

– Peace, that thing that keeps you up at night or haunts you first thing when you awaken, the situation that you have no control over…The PRINCE of Peace whisper’s HUSH to that raging storm. Many Christmas Eve’s I’ll go visit my grandma who lives in the country.   As I leave her house I always take a moment to stand in the middle of the gravel road that winds down to her house and there I look up.  No city lights, no noises, just the cold crisp air and stars upon stars.  Sweet holy peace. The silence and the majesty of God Almighty as He lights up the sky with twinkling lights, sweet Heavenly Peace…that’s my prayer for you this Christmas.

May you lovingly feel the embrace of your Heavenly Father while He whispers instructions on what decisions need to be made all the while being flooded by supernatural peace that passes all human understanding. Peace is the gift of believing in a Mighty God who hears and answers prayer.

Peace, peace, heavenly peace …

 

 

LIVE TODAY IN ALL CAPS!

Psalms 51 verses 12-13 say that David has just blown it… He has sinned.  He has messed up BIG!  We see however that he is running back to God and this is his prayer…

“Father, Restore unto me the JOY of thy salvation” and then … ”I will teach transgressors thy way and then sinners will be converted into you.” 
NOTICE…When do they do this?  WHEN THE JOY OF THE LORD is RESTORED unto YOU!  THAT is WHEN YOU ARE THE MOST EFFECTIVE for the Kingdom of God.

Now do you see why the enemy fights so hard to steal it?

Joy is Strength!

JOY is a TRUE Spiritual FORCE.

Nehemiah 8:10 SAYS…THE “JOY” of the LORD is your strength. When the enemy wants to pull you down he goes after your Joy first.

You might be saying, I hear you but man…I’ve got issues…my family has some issues. Listen, we ALL DO!  If you don’t think you have issues then “that’s your issue!”  I’m sharing that with a bit of sarcasm but actually that does seem to be “the issue” for some folks, they believe they are reaching perfection.

John 15:1  JESUS said: “I have told you this so that MY joy be in YOU and your JOY may be COMPLETE.  IN LIFE you will have good times and bad times.”  But then JESUS said…”I want my JOY (my strength) to be in you and your JOY to be complete.”

We don’t base our JOY on our circumstances WE base our JOY on the WORD OF GOD!


Hang on to your joy; don’t let the enemy or anyone steal it.  It’s the strength you need to be most effective and to finish your race with JOY.

A LOVE Letter

Imagine the Lord saying this to you right now…

“I am the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End, The First and The Last. I started all this and I’ll be the one to have the last word, you can count on that.

As in your life when trouble falls on you like rain, do not fret or have a care.   Remember I make rainbows from storms!  I make beauty from ashes!  I make what seems to be the end a fresh new start. Deep sorrow may last for a night but JOY comes in the morning!”

“The righteous person faces many troubles, but the LORD comes to the rescue each time.”  Psalms 34:19

Each time! Every time!

So today…don’t be discouraged or down but hold your head high. Look around and see not only the physical blessings I’ve given you but the spiritual blessings as well.  You’re seated with Me in heavenly places.   I’ve given you all authority to overcome all evil. I’m with you and in you through the Holy Spirit. The same power that raised Christ Jesus from the dead lives deeply and richly in you.

You are more than a conquer.  Don’t look back and panic.  I am the one who holds time together just as I hold you.

All good and perfect gifts come from Me and you will see that the greatest days are ahead. Keep planting, keep serving, forgive and forgive some more.  I’ll see to it that you reap a harvest of everything you could ever hope, imagine or dream. Oh yes! A truly grand place of MORE.

More peace!
More power!
More healing!
More hearing from Me in this very hour!

I will work with you to pour out my Spirit beyond measure.   People will run to be in My presence and leave changed…not just for a week or two but for a life time. The same goes for you…spending time with Me is the key to that place of intimacy. It’s where I’ll build you up and I’ll make sure your gift is in full operation. Make a determined purpose to know me and you will see that the greatest days are ahead for you.  In every action and in every day I’ll be with you telling you what to do. I’ll give you the Spirit of seeing and knowing. You will see it and then do it.   You will need to listen and it will take time to learn but be still because in that hour I will give you the power to fulfill all your dreams and desires as you delight in Me and walk out My will.

No demon can stand in the presence of the one who carries My name…JESUS! Speak the name Jesus, the name above all names.  Throughout your day then Listen and Obey!  And above all love.

Love, love, love it’s your best weapon against the enemy. It confuses his plan and no weapon formed against you will stand.   Yes you’re the head and not the tail you’re above and not beneath you’re the body of Christ moving and reigning! Preparing a way for Me!

Hurting? You need this!

Did it cut you to your core? Shatter your trust?

It’s bad enough that you were hurt—deeply—but what’s worse is that it lingers.

Perhaps you’ve found it harder to get up in the morning. Your smile has waned. It’s harder to laugh. The light in your eyes has dimmed. And, you find it harder to trust…anyone…

Friends and family have noticed. And you’ve heard their concerns.

“It seems like you’re not as happy as you used to be.”

“I’m worried about you.”

“We miss the old you.”

But you? You just wonder exactly how much longer it will hurt like this.

You’re not alone. I know because I have been there. No, I don’t pretend to know your exact circumstances. But if you’re anything like me—when you start thinking or talking about what caused your pain—you find that what has settled gets stirred to the top. And before you know it, it feels like it happened just yesterday.

Here’s how I get back on my feet. I hope it will help you.

1.) God is ever faithful. Man will Always let you down. God Never ever will. There are no perfect people. Keep your eyes on the One you CAN always trust: Jesus—the Author and Finisher of your faith. Hebrews 2:2 (The Message): Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!

2.) My identity—and yours– is not found in others. Our identity can only be found in our Heavenly Father who calls you “beloved,” and loves you far more than you could ever wrap your mind around. Grab a Bible (the all-time best seller—there has to be something behind that my friend), and discover who you are in Christ. A few places to start are John 1:12; 1 Peter 2:5; and 1 Peter 2:9-10.

3.) Guard your heart. Even if you have been sorely wronged. The very issues of life flow out of your heart. That’s the way God created us. Cry out to Jesus…tell Him everything. Ask Him to cleanse your heart. And then—brace yourself, this is the hardest part—forgive. I’ll say it again: FORGIVE. Not for their sake but for yours. This is where healing begins. Proverbs 4:23 (NIV): Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.

Pray for those who hurt you. 

Bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. ~ JESUS (Luke 6:28)

4.) You and I will not be accountable to God for how they behaved. The onus is on them. I am only accountable for my heart toward them. As are you. Forgive. Release the hurt. Move on. Life is too short. Don’t waste it being hurt. I know it’s hard. Yet remember….

5.) God is your victorious Warrior, and He alone will have the final say. 2 Chronicles: 20:15b (NCV): The Lord says this to you: ‘Don’t be afraid or discouraged because of this large army. The battle is not your battle, it is God’s.

When one is hurt, sometimes the tendency is to run from the church. If you find yourself doing this, you’re running in the wrong direction. Make a U-turn, and join with fellow believers to further the cause of Christ. Give God a chance to turn your hurt into something beautiful. Your journey there—and back—will most assuredly be someone else’s answer to prayer. You’ll catch their glance, you’ll see the light in their eyes has dimmed, and you’ll know…

People don’t determine your destiny; God does. His plan for you is greater than any you could dream on your own. Every morning, when you put your feet to the floor, trust in him.

Let’s Talk About It!

I’m no spiritual giant.

I’m no Billy Graham.

Someone once said, “We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.”

I get that.
I always have.

Ever since I was a child, I have been very sensitive to spiritual things.  I have always felt God’s presence with me.

I had a dream the other night. I was standing on a stage in a filled-to-capacity theater. I told the crowd, “If God would open your eyes for just one-half of a second to see what hell looks like you would all be evangelists for life.”

Then I woke up.
I laid in bed the rest of the night, eyes wide open.

Pondering eternity.
Pondering heaven.
Pondering hell.

There is a one-hundred percent chance you and I are not making it out of here alive.

Yet, today I am consumed with paying bills, dealing with family issues, wondering if I am a good father…or a good husband. Are we taking a vacation this year?

I will tackle all these…one by one.

Which brought me to consider, should we not all be compelled to spend at least the same amount of energy with an inward compassion about the destination of our soul?

And those of our family?
And those of our neighbors?
And … our co-workers?

Even the majority of unchurched, non-spiritual individuals believe in heaven or an afterlife.

But, what about hell?
Hell is just as real as heaven.

So what am I going to do about it?
What are we going to do about it?

It starts with love. Pray for someone today. God will show you just who to pray for, if you ask.

Then, pray earnestly for them by name, requesting God to open the door to conversation.

Then be bold.
And be strong.
And just ASK.

After all, we talk about everything else with people.
The weather.
Politics.
The highlights from last night’s game.

What if, with compassion-filled eyes and love on every spoken word, you asked…

Have you ever turned your life over to God?
Do you know how easy it is to have Jesus as your Lord and Savior?
Did you know He will accept you just as you are?
Would you mind if I pray with you?

No need for religious language. No “what church do you attend?”

A plain and simple, “Jesus changed my life. Did you know He can do the same for you?”

Now GO.
Someone is praying for you to speak.
Someone just called on God for help.
You can be answered prayer.

God wants to use YOU.
We have the honor of sharing the greatest story ever told.

Love has a name. That name is Jesus.
Healer.
Deliverer.
Savior.

And He just as real as you and I.

Jesus was moved with compassion and healed them ALL.  Matthew 14:14

God Bless America, Land that I love.

Founding Father John Adams, to his wife Abigail on July 3, 1776:

“(Independence Day) will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires and illuminations from one end of this continent to the other. From this time forward forever more. You will think me transported with enthusiasm but I am not. I am well aware of the toil and blood and treasure, that it will cost us to maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these States. Yet through all the gloom I can see the rays of ravishing light and glory. I can see that the end is more than worth all the means. And that Posterity will triumph in that days’ transaction, even though we should rue it, which I trust in God we shall not.”

“It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible.”
– George Washington

“It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded not on religion but on the Gospel of Jesus Christ.” – Patrick Henry

“Freedom is the last, best hope of earth.” – Abraham Lincoln

2 Chronicles 7:14 – If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

Proverbs 14:34 – Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people.

“I speak as a man of the world to men of the world; and I say to you, Search the Scriptures! The Bible is the book of all others, to be read at all ages, and in all conditions of human life; not to be read once or twice or thrice through, and then laid aside, but to be read in small portions of one of two chapters every day, and never to be intermitted, unless by some overruling necessity.” – John Quincy Adams

“We have been assured, Sir, in the Sacred Writings, that ‘except the Lord build the House, they labor in vain that build it.’ I firmly believe this; and I also believe that without his concurring aid we shall succeed in this political building no better than the Builders of Babel.”
– Benjamin Franklin (From the debates at the Constitutional Convention, June of 1787)

“I therefore beg leave to move that henceforth prayers imploring the assistance of Heaven, and its blessing on our deliberations, be held in the Assembly every morning…”
– Benjamin Franklin, 1787 Constitutional Convention

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
– Thomas Jefferson, The Declaration of Independence

“I believe with all my heart that standing up for America means standing up for the God who has so blessed our land. We need God’s help to guide our nation through stormy seas. But we can’t expect Him to protect America in a crisis if we just leave Him over on the shelf in our day-to-day living.”  – Ronald Reagan

“And finally, my fellow Americans, may every dawn be a great new beginning for America and every evening bring us closer to that shining city upon a hill…My fellow Americans, on behalf of both of us, goodbye, and God bless each and every one of you and God bless this country we love.” – Ronald Reagan

“Freedom prospers when religion is vibrant and the rule of law under God is acknowledged.” -Ronald Reagan

Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people he chose for his inheritance. Psalm 33:12

We Win. No Matter What!

We all need Victory in some area of our lives; God wants us to live a life of Victory.  Be encouraged today that we can’t have Victory without a few battles along the way, and we all have them.  You are not alone!  You may be in a battle right now at this very moment, hold your head high and declare these promises over your life and situation.  Remember the battle is not ours but the Lords and he is our Victorious warrior.  We are on the winning side.

The Lord your God is with you, the Victorious Mighty Warrior who saves.  He will take great delight in you; in his love he will calm all your fears.  He will rejoice over you with singing.  Zephaniah 3:17

Proverbs 21:31 – The horse is made ready for the day of battle, but VICTORY rests with the Lord.

Deuteronomy 20:4 – For the Lord your God is going with you! He will fight for you against your enemies, and will give you VICTORY!

1 Corinthians 15:57 – But thanks be to God, who gives us the VICTORY through our Lord Jesus Christ.

1 John 5:4 – For every child of God defeats this evil world and we achieve the VICTORY through our faith.

2 Corinthians 2:14 – In the Messiah, in Christ, God leads us from place to place in one perpetual VICTORY parade.  Through us, he brings knowledge of Christ.  Everywhere we go, people breathe in the exquisite fragrance.

I’m praying 2016 is the year of Victory!  Not only for my family but yours, in every area that matters to you! God delights in every detail of our lives, be confident that everything that matters to you right now, matters to him. With him, we win!