My “Neighbor”

Love your neighbor as yourself. Romans 13:9

 
When I close my eyes and think of my child hood the deepest memories of Christmas come flooding back.  I see her…I affectionately called her “Neighbor.”  Her real name was Connie Lee Jones.

As a child I wanted to buy my mom a gift for Christmas but as a family who was already beyond poor I didn’t have a nickel to my name.  That didn’t stop me however because as God would have it… sitting right beside the home I grew up in was a buy, sell and trade antique shop called Buffalo Prairie Trading Post owned and operated by Connie Lee Jones.

As a little boy who could barely see over the glass counters that displayed treasures from all over the world. I would bring in a trinket or toy straight from my toy box and ask Connie “How much for this?”  She would think and look at the item and look back at me and look at the item and then would give me the fair price.  I can still smell the shop.  I remember the sound of the Christmas bells hanging on the door when I would walk in and she would always have a plate of Christmas cookies.  I didn’t have gloves but would pull off the socks that covered my cold hands and after hearing the amount of money I had been given to spend I was SO excited!  I would then spend the next hour looking throughout her entire store for just the perfect present for my mom for Christmas.  Surely THIS would make her happy and give her the JOY she needed.  I would walk the floors of that old creaky shop so long Connie would eventually shut the “Open” sign off and lock up just to let me browse.  I would holler from the back room “How much do i have?”   She would lovingly remind me. Finally after finding just the perfect gift I would lay it on the counter and then she would spend the next fifteen to twenty minutes wrapping my treasured find.  The “just perfect gift” with brown paper and ribbon for my mom! Out the door I would run in the snow making a bee line for my house.  I remember the snow, the moon and the glowing Christmas tree through the window of the old broken down trailer knowing that this gift that I held would truly give my mom the best Christmas ever.  I lost complete contact with Connie over the years and then just last week, I found out my child hood “Neighbor” passed away on the exact same day as her birthday.  Tears, laughs, memories came flooding to my mind that only her and I shared and the reminder from the Holy Spirit that She is now spending Christmas with JESUS this year.  I love you Connie Lee Jones!  Thank you for giving me and my family so many sweet Christmas memories. No more buy, sell or trade for you. You’re in a mansion filled with all your hearts desires. The songs you spent hours writing to your Savior you can now sing to Him face to face. Say hello to my dad will you?  Love you my sweet friend and see you soon, I know you’ll be waiting for me.

 

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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 …

 

 

Emmanuel, God with You

Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us. Matthew 1:23

Emmanuel God with us…

Emmanuel God with YOU.

God is with you right now as you read this.  His love and thoughts of you is why your heart is beating.  With every beat and breathe He is saying, “I…love…you. I…Have…A…Plan. Do…Not…Fear.”

In your brokenness and your concerns and all that keeps you up at night He is with YOU.

You may have even recently said, “Why does everything seem so broken?”  You may think it’s broken but what IF the Lord is saying, “That which you think is broken is actually falling into perfect place to give you all that you’ve prayed for.”

God is with you.

God sees your tears. You’re not alone, He knows you by name, knowing even the number of hairs on your head. He is concerned with every detail of your life.  All that matters to you, matters to Him.

If God was to open your eyes to the spiritual reality around you right now you could not take in the awe and the splendor.  You would see the warring angels standing at attention guarding you and His very presence surrounding you as you go about the most mundane tasks.

He would say, “Child, Fear Not, if I’m with YOU then WHO can be against you?”

Tell Me your worries and cares and then listen.  I desire to give you counsel and peace that passes all understanding. I desire to work alongside you to harvest dreams for the New Year.  I want to make sure that all of My promises come to pass at last. Remember Ephesians 3:20…

“I am able and willing to do EXCEEDINGLY more than you can possibly imagine or even dream.”

So speak to the STORMS and say HUSH!  Tell FEAR to leave and REST in my PEACE! Be still and KNOW that I AM GOD!
After all Emmanuel God is with YOU.

10 Things I’ve learned in this Election Year!

1. People matter, friends matter and family matter MUCH more than being right or wrong.

2. Praying in the HOLY GHOST will produce more results for America, “the land that we love”, than sharing on social media just the perfect article/post to stick it to them.

3. We need to “agree to disagree”, walk in LOVE…the enemy divides but God unifies, reconciles and restores.

4. We can be SINCERE but still be sincerely wrong.

5. Conversation is the key to educating NOT throwing people away like they don’t matter just because they don’t have your belief system. Never ever throw people away, throw expired milk and rotten vegetables away but not people.

6. What you set your mind on…you become.  Some have joined a political cult by being consumed and your driving friends, family and yourself CRAZY! Go for a run or a walk. Find something to laugh at, eat some ice cream or watch a comedy. We get it you’re a passionate patriot but your starting to scare all of us, even your dog.

7. Let LIFE be your leading cause. ALL lives matter!  Every child deserves a birthday! Aren’t you glad someone chose life for you? Let LIFE always be your focus, your cause, what you’re most passionate about.

8. When we as Christians start using our voice, thus our lives, to talk about someone else’s past we are leaving “God’s Camp” and moving over to the “Enemy’s Camp.”  Remember he is the “accuser of the brethren.” They could have repented and your bringing up something God’s already forgiven and forgotten.

9. Love is a FACT when LOVE is an ACT.   PRAYER is the KEY but we also have to put boots “on the ground.”

10. IF you messed up, “Welcome to the club!”  Thank God we have an advocate with the Father and His name is JESUS.  We can repent and honestly, humbly, ask friends and family for forgiveness. Stay in LOVE the holiday’s are coming.

THIS ELECTION YEAR mirrors the spiritual war taking place in the heavenlies. Everything in the natural is the result of something in the supernatural.  Remember as JESUS followers we are citizens of Heaven seated with Christ first then we are American’s! Above Republicans and Democrats we are American’s!

No matter what happens going forward remember JESUS IS LORD!

Stay with God!

Take heart.

Don’t quit.

I’ll say it again: Stay with God.

Psalms 27 13-14

Our land is in need of healing. It’s time for us to get off our high horses and hit our knees in prayer. The truth is that our prayers, more than our politicians, will determine the course of our nation. ~ John Bevere

 

I Love You More…

I don’t know who this is for?

I don’t know how broken you are?

I won’t even try to understand what happened.

It’s hard to breathe.

You have even said, “Is this real life?”  (SIGH)

I want you to know desperately right now in this VERY MOMENT that GOD sees and

HE ~ IS ~ WITH ~YOU!

His name is Emmanuel…which means GOD is with us!

So beloved friend … GOD IS WITH YOU!   You’re not alone. He’s holding you now.

The power and the presence of the Holy Spirit is yours for the taking, just reach out and

feel His embrace. 

He may very well choose to fall on you in power and do a supernatural operation on your heart right now…or He may send friends from near and far to text, call and show up just simply to be His hands and feet…TO LOVE ~ TO hold ~ TO embrace.  You’re never truly alone. Don’t buy the enemy’s lie that you are. It’s not true. Don’t believe a word of it.

I’m praying right now for the eyes of your understanding to be enlightened.

That right now YOU would know the HOPE of your calling and to understand how deep and how wide and how high IS HIS LOVE for you. May He OPEN your eyes to the SPIRIT and allow you to see the WARRING ANGELS standing and guarding your every move.

YOU ~ ARE ~ NOT ~ ALONE! 

You never are.

YOU ARE LOVED!

He is with you. Emmanuel….

“Fear not, for I am WITH YOU; Be not dismayed, For I am your God.

I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with my 

righteous right hand.”    Isaiah 41:10 

 

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.

The Other Side Of The Wall

I was driving home several years ago after a very long day at work.  I shut off the radio and began praying, much better use of my time.  I started praying the same old prayer I have prayed for years.  “God USE me. Please USE my life.  I want to change the world for You.”

As I arrived home and walked to my front door in the dark.  My neighbor who has barely spoken two or three words to me asked for a moment to chat.  He chased off his girlfriend and another neighbor by saying, “I need to talk to KC alone for a moment.” Thoughts raced through my head wondering what he wanted to say to me?  We exchanged a little bit of small talk about his car we were standing by and he seemed to finally muster up the strength to utter these words, “Would you happen to have a Bible I can have?”  Shocked, I gasped and smiled with laughter in my voice repeating his request, “You want a Bible? Bro, I can hook you up.”  He went on to share how life was rough for him right now, that he had no job and suffered with back problems…the list went on and on.  I listened.  I prayed. With compassion flooding my soul from personal experience in my own life I shared stories of God’s provision and how He keeps His promises.  I went home and as promised came back to give him that Bible.

Here’s my point in sharing this moment in my life.  We are asking God to send us to the nations…”Oh Lord, SEND ME!”  It’s a great prayer and don’t stop praying it but here’s the deal…God is just wanting you and I to look up.  LOOK!  Follow your heart and your eyes to the person nearest you.  In my case it was just talking to the guy on the other side of the wall.  You don’t need a pulpit or a ministry title for God to use you. You don’t need to be a graduate of a Bible School.  He wants to use you NOW.  Today in your family, in your workplace, in your neighborhood!  Invest in one person at a time and watch God truly use you to change this world.  Jesus said YOU are the light of the world.  Turn the light on!

“Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.”   Matthew 5:14-16 (MSG)

PRAYER:

God today give me Your eyes, Your heart to see the needs around me. I pray they see YOU in me. Let me be sensitive enough to know when to reach out. Let me be your hands and your feet today.   I know this day has purpose.  Let me be someone’s answered prayer. In Jesus name.

 

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