Word and Spirit

The year 2018 marked the end of nearly 10 years of ministry service for me. I was a part of the worship team, in various roles, at my small home church in Detroit from 2009 until 2016 when my husband and I felt the Lord leading us to move to Florida to be near to His family. With time I joined the worship team at our new church and served there until the announcement of it’s closing in early 2018. During those almost 10 years I served in other areas too, mostly in leadership. Throughout this time, I was constantly asking myself, am I being led by the Holy Spirit in what I am doing or am I being led by my ego, fear, or lies?

I would like to say that most of the time I was indeed led by the Spirit in my actions but looking back now, after more than a year of just “sitting in the pews” I see that at times I was well-intentioned but perhaps misguided. When I think about some of the decisions I made while in leadership I literally cringe. But hindsight is 20/20, they say. I thought so strongly during those years that I knew what my future held and exactly where I fit into the kingdom. Since taking time off from serving in ministry I have questioned what my true calling is, where is it that God actually desires me to serve, where my motives throughout these years have truly been, and what my future in the kingdom is.

We become salt and light when we uphold the Scriptures and manifest the power of God with equal force.

Word and Spirit, R.T. Kendall

When I truly gave my life to the Lord and started actively trying to live for Him back in 2013 it started a trend of receiving “words of God” or prophesies over my life from different well-intentioned believers. As a “baby Christian” I drank in those words, wrote them down, thanked God for them, and truly believed they would come to pass. To be perfectly honest, I still did this as a more “mature believer”. Those “words” sustained my faith and my service because I just knew that they were going to come to pass even if I couldn’t see how. Looking back, I can say that less than a handful of those “words” were truly from the Lord and the most life changing word I received in that time that did in fact come to pass 100% was actually a word of warning which I sadly and regretfully ignored.

These experiences of mine have recently come to mind as result of reading R.T Kendall’s most recent book, Word and Spirit (Charisma House). In his book, R.T. writes about the silent divorce that he believes has taken place between the Word of God and the Spirit of God in the church and his belief that the two will, hopefully soon, be remarried in the last great move of God on this earth. Some people may argue that the Word and the Spirit cannot be separated but, as he explains, we can see for ourselves in the Charismatic and Evangelical movements, for example, how this has been the case now for many years.

…regarding the anointing. It should be what we want more than anything and what we aspire to more than any goal we can conceive…it must be something we pursue all of the time, every minute of every day.

Word and Spirit, R.T. Kendall

In the book, Word and Spirit, R.T. encourages readers to ground themselves firmly in the Word of God through reading and studying but also to seek for more of the Holy Spirit by asking for it (Luke 11:9-13), spending time with Him, and living a holy life – among other things – in order to prepare for and bring about God’s next big move. He describes how this move will appear suddenly when the church is in a deep sleep and how it will bring a restoration of the Gospel and a restoration of the fear of God as well as Islamic people turning to Christ and the lifting of the blindness on Israel.

Growing up more in the “Spirit camp” many portions of this book resonated with me, like the chapter titled, Prophetic Responsibility, where he warns that too many people in the church today will use the phrase “God said” when referring to a prophetic word they are giving someone. But did God really say? If I had been more discerning or more willing to test a prophet’s word against the actual Word of God, I may have saved myself years of striving and wrong thinking about myself and God. That is not to say that my service over the years was pointless or without fruit. I heard from God for myself many times and saw His faithfulness as a result in many ways throughout the years. But I will say that at times my faith was misplaced.

This book is a perfect follow-up to perhaps my favorite book of the year, More of God (Charisma House) also written by R.T. Kendall and released earlier this year. That book “coincidentally” came to me at a time when my new church was about to begin a 21 day fast with the theme of “More of God”. In a season of wondering if all my ministry work had amounted to anything and whether God really had a special purpose for me or if I was just another cog in the wheel of the church this book reminded me to return to my first love, the Father who runs to the prodigal child, and seek to Him rather than His benefits. Now with Word and Spirit, R.T. has challenged me to live full of the truth of the Word and the power of the Holy Spirit and to live in expectancy of this great new move that is on the horizon. I now look forward to witnessing what Habakkuk described as the filling of the earth with “the knowledge of the glory of the Lord”.

For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD as the waters cover the sea.

Habakkuk 2:14

Word and Spirit can be found today at your favorite book retailer.

How To Be Unpopular

Today I’d like to share with you two very intriguing books I recently read that both release today. (Happy book birthday!) Each of these books cover somewhat unpopular topics in Christianity today, in my experience. The first is the greatly expanded and revised edition of Signs of the Times by author Greg Laurie and the second is Popular in Heaven, Famous in Hell by author R.T. Kendall.

As you may have noticed from my previous book reviews, I enjoy reading books that challenge me, make me ask hard questions of myself or my faith, or push me out of my comfort zone. Both these books did just that.

I was eager to read Signs of the Times, the subtitle alone – What The Bible Says About The Rapture, The Antichrist, Armageddon, Heaven, and Hell – promised answers to questions I had always been afraid or embarrassed to ask. You see for most of my childhood I grew up in small, Hispanic, Pentecostal churches so hearing about end times and how we were in them was a regularity. I heard often that “Jesus was coming!” but I didn’t necessarily know what that entailed. As I grew up I read the “spooky” book of Revelation but honestly didn’t have that much understanding of it. I’ve never, in my 31 years heard a sermon or participated in a Bible study that explained the end times in a way that I could keep up with or understand – it seemed like my teachers always had such a theological base and understanding of these things that didn’t allow me to catch on or keep up with what was being taught. To be honest, I was expecting my experience with this book to be more of the same but my curiosity on the subject and my desire to finally grasp some understanding of what I always believed to be such an important part of the Word of God compelled me to give it a read and I am so glad I did. Not once while reading this book did I feel overwhelmed by its content or left behind(pun intended 😉 ) by the author. Instead, I felt informed and encouraged to further my study of this important and sometimes controversial topic. This doesn’t need to be a topic that we as Christians are afraid of or embarrassed about or wish wasn’t a part of the Word of God. The truth is, we are in fact in the end times – just because we may have heard it all our lives doesn’t make it any less true, it actually makes it even  more true because the time of Jesus’ return is drawing nearer. Greg makes this point so clear in this book which can be just as easily read and understood by a believer who is new to the faith as a one who has been in the faith for many years, and not to mention someone who may not even be a part of the faith–yet. It’s an unpopular topic in most circles but it is one we should be familiar with to say the least.

We need to be ready to go at any time, because the Lord will come for His own, and snatch us away in the twinkling of an eye.  – Greg Laurie, Sign of the Times

R.T. Kendall’s new book – also releasing today – Popular in Heaven, Famous in Hell was another I was not expecting to have the impact that it did on me. To be honest, my thinking was, “I don’t care about being either of those things, I just want to make it heaven” and R.T. addresses that exact thinking in one portion of the book. What I love about this book is that I believe it can speak to so many people in my generation and this social media age.  There are so many Christian “influencers”, bloggers, vloggers, podcasters, etc – most  trying to figure out the winning formula for more followers, sponsorships, and publicity or better put “popularity”. I’m one of them! We each feel like we have a message worth sharing(hopefully the message of Jesus’ saving blood) and we try our best to get that message out there and if we have to suffer by being popular here on earth so be it [sarcasm implied]. But in his book R.T. challenges his readers not to seek popularity here on earth but instead to seek it out in heaven through evangelism, turning from sin, standing firm in our faith, and simply pleasing God in all we do. He does make the point that sometimes as we strive for popularity in heaven we may, as a side effect, gain popularity here on earth but that should never be the focus of our service or we risk losing both.

As for being famous in hell, R.T. reminds us that hell is a real place and the devil is a real enemy. He warns us not to fall into the two categories of 1. focusing on the demonic all the time or 2. never dealing with it at all. He says, “…one should not be afraid of the devil…He is pitifully weak compared to almighty God. Do not be like some who have more fear of the devil than they do of God!” He warns that we should have a healthy awareness of the devil and his demons – but we shouldn’t go running around looking for demons to exorcise like the 7 young men in Acts 19 who tried to cast out a demon from a demon-possessed man “In the name of the Jesus whom Paul preaches” (Acts 19:13) and ended up running away naked and beaten when the demon manifested and overpowered them all. He tells us that the qualification for being famous in hell comes down to two things: having boldness and courage and having been with Jesus. That’s all it takes. And after reading his book, I believe him.

Some want to live within the sound

Of church or chapel bell;

I want to run a rescue shop,

Within a yard of hell.

-C.T. Studd

I’m thrilled that I got to read these books together as I feel they really compliment each other well. They each challenged me in their own ways to be unafraid of how the world looks or thinks of me and to live and embrace the complete Word of God, without fear or shame because it is the inerrant word of truth. Pick up a copy of Signs of the Times by Greg Laurie and Popular in Heaven, Famous in Hell by R.T. Kendall today wherever books are sold and come back to discuss. I’d love to hear your thoughts on each! Can’t wait to hear from you. 🙂

 

Each of these books were provided to me as advanced reader copies.

It’s Time to Get Desperate

I recently had the privilege to read an advanced reader copy of the new book written by best-selling author John Eckhardt entitled Desperate Prayers For Desperate Times(releases August 7th). What intrigued me most about this book was the premise that, using the prayer of Hannah as a model, we as believers could learn how to receive breakthrough in our own lives. We all know the story of Hannah: barren woman, taunted by her husband’s other wife, cries out before the Lord, Eli mistakes her prayers for drunkenness, God opens her womb, she dedicates her son, Samuel, to God and he is raised in the temple, she has other children, the end – right? That’s honestly how I always looked at her story. She was a woman to be admired for her persistence and faithfulness and she was definitely someone to emulate when faced with infertility issues or simply longing for motherhood but beyond that I never gave her story – or her legacy – much thought. Until now, that is.

He didn’t give us the stories in the Bible to put us to sleep at night. He gave them to us to build our faith in the impossible and so that we can declare, “If He did it for Hannah, Josiah, David, the people of Israel, and the blind beggar on the roadside, He will do it for me!”

What impacted me most in John’s discourse about Hannah was that her deep desire for a son lead her into such an intimacy with God that she was able to see what God was desiring for His people and do something about it. John writes, “For seventy years before Samuel came on the scene, Israel had not heard from God. Through prayer Hannah not only received what she wanted; she also opened a portal to the heavenlies.” BAM! Revelation bomb! And it didn’t stop there. Throughout the rest of the book John explained how desperation can be a tool that God uses to partner with us to bring His vision to earth, IF we will persist. Listen, I’m a woman who longs to see God’s glory manifested in the earth but I’m also a woman who struggles daily with discouragement, fear, and doubt. I am in a desperate season! I am desperate for God to move in my heart and help me find freedom so the thought that this season could be a time where God not only delivers me but makes me a partner in bringing deliverance to others had me literally pounding on my dining room table and shouting burden-lifting praises.

As you cross over from desperation to fulfillment, realize that what you have received from God is not just for you. Your time being perfected in the wilderness—the strength, faith, and boldness you received during that time—has prepared you to believe for that same level of increase, blessing, deliverance, and prosperity to be released in the earth. It is time to pray for more than just you and yours.

In Desperate Prayers For Desperate Times, John encourages his readers to stop being “spiritual wimps”, to learn how to fight during these seasons of desperation, to be pliable in God’s hands, and to get rid of anything in our lives that would keep us from the glory of God. He also warns readers not to take matters into their own hands and produce Ishmaels and Dans first rather than Issacs and Josephs; and I believe that’s a much-needed warning in these days of instant gratification. John speaks directly and honestly and the end result is a book that challenges and compels its readers to press in to prayer, tear down anything that hinders, and bring heaven down to earth. Seasons of desperation should not be something that we try to avoid or escape. In fact, I am now convinced that every healthy believer should have seasons of desperation in their lives – not desperation that leaves us wanting and in lack but desperation that wakes us up to persistent prayer and breakthrough not just for us but for all mankind.

Although we may go through dark seasons of desperation personally, as we put our eyes on God, we begin to see that the desperate times extend beyond us and into the whole world. As we continue in prayer, God will show us His compassion for the world, and our prayers will begin to align with His plan to not only have His glory manifested in our lives but to have His glory fill the entire earth.

What are you desperate for and how can I join you in prayer for breakthrough? I’d love to hear from you in the comments.

 

Her Perfect Work - Summer Book Club Part 1

Summer Book Club Part 1

Her Perfect Work - Summer Book Club Part 1This summer I’ve done something I have never done before. I joined not one but two online book clubs! I love buying books and having a nice sized home library but I’ve probably only read about 10% of the books I own. So I decided to make this a summer of reading. The two books featured in the clubs are How Many Times Do I Have To Tell You by Rachael Carmen and The Husband Project by Kathy Lipp. Let me tell you, these books are good! I love how the clubs are utilizing Facebook and email to keep all the participants accountable and engaged. So in this two-part post I wanted to tell you about each book and the impact they are having on me.

First, Rachael Carmen’s book, How Many Times Do I Have To Tell You (or How Many Times as we refer to it in the club). The tagline of the book is, “What God wants us to hear when we talk to our kids.” In the book, Rachael reflects on 68 different things we as mothers often say to our children and how God wants us to hear him saying those same things to us. The topics range from the cliché, “This is going to hurt me more than it’s going to hurt you” to the profound, “Please just trust me and obey.” So many times while reading I have felt the Holy Spirit taping me on the shoulder as if to say, “We wrote that part for you” or “Remember when this happened, you were trying to get through to her but we were trying to get through to you.”  Like in the chapter titled, “God Has Great Plans For You” where Rachael wrote,

Her Perfect Work - Summer Book Club Part 1

These few sentences hit me like a ton of bricks. They reminded me of the times I had become frustrated with Bella’s progress during potty training or how long it was taking for her to learn a certain skill in class. I came to realize that many times when I should have been enjoying and celebrating our day-to-day accomplishments I was just pushing through and longing for the day when all the “hard work” would be behind us. But that’s not how I want to parent. I don’t want to wait for the day that I can enjoy being a mom, I want to enjoy every day no matter what difficulty it may bring.

In the chapter titled, “Go Outside” I was reminded that at the end of a tough day the best thing I could do for my relationships and for myself was to step outside and let it go.

“Let the breeze blow away the chaff of the day, the stuff that doesn’t matter, the stuff that only serves to block your view.”

But I think the best lesson I’ve learned so far has been from the chapter titled, “Be Still.” I am a multitasker; always on the move and with a to do list longer than my arm but there are times when my little one and my Father need me to just sit with them and be.

“I can fold laundry and teach phonics simultaneously. But my kids love it when I put everything down and do nothing except sit with them. There will come a day when I can dust all I want. Now is the time for this mom to be still with her little ones and just snuggle.”

While reading How Many Times, I’ve received so much insight into how to be a more loving, patient, attentive mother as well as receiving deeper revelation as to what my heavenly Father expects from me and how he uses my daughter to teach me. I absolutely LOVE this book and I can’t wait to continue reading and learning.

In my next post I’ll dig in to Kathy Lipp’s book, The Husband Project, and share with you what I’ve learned about the other important relationship in my life.

 

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My Good Side

Her Perfect Work - My Good Side
Her Perfect Work – My Good Side

Because of the nature of this blog I write a lot about my faults and struggles. My heart in all my writing is to share with you how God is working in my sometimes messy heart to bring about the ultimate goal of my perfection and unification with the savior Jesus Christ. I want people to grasp the truth that on their worst day, when they can’t find one thing they’ve done right, God loves them and is working in them and that he’ll never quit.

With that said, I wanted to share my good side with you today. The side of me that is as deeply rooted in me as Christ’s love for me. The side of me that I love, that I can’t change and I would never want to. And that is that I absolutely love encouraging people and I have a very sensitive heart. These traits typically work together in my life and most of the time make me feel like my heart is exposed and vulnerable but I wouldn’t have it any other way. The easiest way to get me to befriend someone would be if you were to discourage them in my presence. My heart would instantly become heavy for them and I would find a way to speak uplifting words to them. I also have a sensitive heart to offense. I am quick to ask for forgiveness when I feel like I’ve hurt or offended someone. I never want anyone to feel down or upset. Many times I don’t even know what to say to bring up their spirits and in those cases I simply give them an attentive ear as they share their heart and pray to the Lord for their comfort.

These traits also take a lot out of me. Sometimes it takes me longer to get over an offense that someone committed against someone else than it would if that person had offended me. It’s at those times that I have to really concentrate on trusting the Holy Spirit to do his job of being a comforter.

I hope that when my time on this earth is up and others reflect on my life, they remember sweetly the times that I encouraged them with a word, a pat on the back, a special gift or even a simple smile. Because that’s one of the things I know I was put on this earth to do and I think I do it well.

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The Ugly Side of Me

Her Perfect Work - The Ugly Side of Me
Her Perfect Work – The Ugly Side of Me

Spoiled. Lazy. Controlling. Selfish. Bossy. Unforgiving. Uncaring. Self-centered. Greedy.

This is the ugly side of me.

The side I wish no one ever had to see.

Unfortunately, there are those who do see this side of me and they are the ones who are closest to me.

Primarily the ones who call me wife” and mother”.

Once, while listening to the radio program Focus on the Family, I heard a guest say something that was so true I was surprised I hadn’t heard it sooner. The guest said, ” I never knew how selfish I was until I got married and I never knew how angry I was until I became a parent.”  Wow. I couldn’t believe someone could so simply and accurately identify the biggest challenge I had encountered in marriage and parenting. I could believe even less that I was not the only one fighting this fight against selfishness and control. I never attended premarital or parenting classes but if these topics had come up in either then they would have been well worth attending.

There were many times early in my marriage when I thought my husband had made the wrong decision by choosing me to be his bride. There was a certain amount of baggage that I brought into the relationship but I truly thought I would be the picture perfect, loving, adoring, self-sacrificing wife he deserved. Needless to say, I fell short. Then, once I became a mother I foolishly thought, “Now I have it all together. I’m going to be supermom.” Again, I set myself up for failure and disappointment. Big time. It’s one thing when you let down someone who has chosen to be with you no matter what, but it’s another thing when you let down someone who has been chosen as a gift for you from God. This was my state of mind when I heard those words come through over the radio. Then came the realization that if the women on the radio was able to overcome her own selfishness and anger then there was no reason that, with the help of the same Holy Spirit, I could not also overcome.

I believe that for every ugly thing we allow to grow in the garden of our hearts a beautiful thing is being choked to death. Love for instance, can only grow where hate is weeded out. Self-sacrifice for selfishness. Freedom for control. Giving for greed. Something must die for something else to live. We determine which it will be.

We all have struggles in life and we overcome them in different ways.  I believe God designed my marriage to be a safe place where he can make my sins known and help me to overcome them. I believe this is a way he works for many people but not for all people. Some people are confronted with their ugliness when they enter a difficult workplace, a new school environment, during a financial challenge or even during a season of great success and accomplishment. God knows what’s growing and how to weed it out completely. We only need to trust him to do the gardening. I am a horrible gardener. When I go in to garden, I don’t have the patience to separate the good from the bad. I rip it all out and try to start from scratch. If I did that kind of gardening in my heart I would end up uprooting all the good that God was doing while hacking away all the bad leaving it a bleeding mess that ultimately only He could repair. My heart, my marriage and my relationship with my daughter, are each too valuable for me to be impatient with. I have to trust God to do the work. I have to give him full access and permission to do what needs to be done to turn the ugly into beauty.

Knowing that he’s the one at work, gives me so much hope. Because I know that when he does a job, he does it right. He’s making me into a better wife. He’s making me into a better mother. So now when he makes me aware of my faults, like selfishness and control I don’t have to feel shame or guilt. Instead I seek forgiveness from my loved ones, I repent of my sin and hand him the gardening tools.

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Boys

Her Perfect Work-Boys
Her Perfect Work-Boys

Summer is in full swing here in Florida and for me that means a much needed break from our homeschool schedule, daily visits from my 2 nephews Cy [7] and Eli [5], and a realization that I don’t have what it takes to be a #BoyMom (and I’m ok with that)! I used to long for a son, and up until a few month ago I thought I still might try for one but, for now, I am cured of that longing.  [After a cross-country move, the thought of diapers and breast feeding again after 6 years is too much like starting over again-again, but I digress.] Boys are something else! They are funny and creative and gross in so many different ways than girls (yes girls are gross too, just differently)! It’s so funny how what I wanted was not actually what I needed and what I needed wasn’t exactly what I wanted. I’m so glad God knows the difference and that he chose now to show me his wisdom.

I grew up in a home surrounded by women. It was me, my mother and my two older sisters. My mother’s ex husband was also in the mix for about 10 years but when he and my mother divorced he divorced me as well so that was the end of that relationship. I didn’t know who my father was until I was 16 so I grew up longing for a father or at least a brother but the closest I got was a goofy uncle who I love to death and 2 boy cousins who beat me up every chance they got, even though I was older than them. When I found out who my dad was I was blessed with 2 more older sisters and, finally, an older brother; but my father and brother both lived in different states so my desire for a close male relationship was left unfulfilled. Once I got married and my husband and I starting trying for a baby it was obvious, I wanted a boy! I believe that desire was fulfilled with my first pregnancy which ended in a miscarriage at 8 weeks. Months later, during my second pregnancy, I found out that I was having a girl and I was unexpectedly terrified. I’ve spent all my life surrounded by women [now including my 7 beautiful nieces] but, just like the stereotype, growing up without my father and witnessing abuses by other men towards women in my life had left me with issues when it came to men and issues with self-esteem and worth. I was so afraid of passing on those issues to my little girl. Six years into being a #GirlMom I’ve realized that God had a greater purpose by giving me the gift of a little princess. He has brought me face to face with so many of my issues and helped me to overcome them because He and I want the same thing, we want to raise our girl to be whole and  secure in her identity in Him.

I’m so thankful for the 9 boys that call me Titi (that’s, Auntie, for my non-hispanic readers ;-)) and the 1 on the way. I admire my brother and sisters (and in-laws) for raising such strong, respectful, loving young men. My heart swells when I see the brotherly love on display between my nephews. I don’t know if I could have done such an amazing job teaching little boys how to be good men but I’m so glad I have the chance to teach a little girl to be a good woman. Maybe in the future I’ll have a chance to do that. Who knows? But for now, I’m more than happy letting the boys go home every evening and snuggling up with my girl. Besides, I do have a #PuppySon and he’ll be a momma’s boy forever. 

 

 

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God said, “Go!”

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Her Perfect Work – God said, “Go.”

Five months ago I was on fire. I had plans. I had goals. I was on a mission. I was going places. Then all of a sudden God said, “Go!” But not in the direction I was headed, he sent me in a totally different direction…

Late last year I resurrected my  former blog, My Life as a Sacred Song. I was so excited. I had plans to write at least 3 posts a week building up to daily posts. In early January I began re-branding the blog, translating my posts for my Spanish-speaking friends, and preparing for a move to WordPress with a February 1st grand debut. But before that day could come, on January 22 to be exact, my husband asked a question that I quickly realized was prompted by the Holy Spirit. His question was, “Is it crazy that I just want to pack up everything and move to Florida?” My answer was a simple but heartbreaking, “No.” You see in the months (and to be honest years) leading up to that moment my husband had given his all – to work, to ministry, to me and our daughter – and he had gotten to the point where he needed more out of life than what he was currently getting. So I couldn’t blame him for having the desire to start over somewhere new even if I was content where we were. I had watched him move through life with little satisfaction for too long not to be supportive now that I had a chance to do something about it.

Before we could move forward with any plans we had to come before the Lord and ask for his direction. In my experience, if I ask the lord for confirmation of something he is pretty quick to respond but the swiftness of his response on this occasion literally took my breath away. I vividly remember, not even 48 hours after my husbands question, leading my church in worship when in my spirit I heard Him whispering to me, “I am leading you out from this place…everything is going to be ok here WHEN you go…it won’t be easy but if you trust me it will be worth it…” This was the first time I literally experienced gut-wrenching pain but in an audible voice I shouted, “I’ll follow you, even if it hurts!” However, even after that experience I still doubted. I said to myself, “Maybe I misinterpreted things. Maybe I didn’t hear what I thought I heard. Maybe I was mistaken.” I was in denial so the very next day He spoke to me again, even more clearly, this time through a YouTube preaching by Pastor Joann Rosario Condrey – God said Go! I can’t tell you how many things were said in that message that were precise and exact to my situation even down to her mentioning the song I was singing the day before while he was whispering to my heart. So from that moment on, in my mind, it was a done deal – we were moving across the country; leaving our church, our family, our friends and home in Michigan and trusting God to provide and bring us into a new life in Florida.

And he did, seemingly without warning we were on our way. Within a week we had rented out our home and within two we were moved out. In mid February my husband left to Florida to secure a job, which he did within a week of arriving. By the end of March, on my 29th birthday, we were approved for a town-home in West Palm Beach and on April 10th we moved in.

Just
Like
That.

Through all the stress and the tears, the doubt and the setbacks, God kept proving himself faithful but in the back of my mind I kept thinking about the plan I had. The beautiful new website sitting un-launched. The missed deadlines and the lost readership. I had to put my plan on the back burner so I could be there for my family, so that I could support my husband in the move and make sure all my daughters emotional needs were being met after being uprooted from the only place she’d known as home. And then finally, just yesterday, I felt the stirring again, I heard the voice again say, “Go! But not to a different state or city. Go forward with your plan! Go forward with your goals! Go forward on your mission! Go!”

So here I am on June 1st, well past bedtime, giving new life to this old dream. And I’m so happy. I don’t know where the journey will lead from here but with the experiences I’ve had with the Lord in these last 5 months I know that he’s got a bigger better plan than the one I have in mind. And I can’t wait to watch it unfold.

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For the Dreamer

Imagine for a moment that an angel appears to you where you are right now. Shining in splendor. Clothed in fine linen. Postured in authority. The angel speaks, “Blessed one, the Lord of heaven and earth; the Lord who punishes the wicked but spares the righteous has sent this message concerning you. You will go forth from this place and minister to the ones I send you to. You will proclaim my sovereignty across the land and by my word you will bring peace to the troubled soul. Now go fourth, for I am with you, says the Lord.”

I believe that many of you would react to an encounter like that by bowing down in humility and bawling your eyes out {if not just indulge me for a moment} and then when the time was right you would go forward and do what the angel commanded you to. Whatever challenges came your way, you could refer to that word spoken to you by the angel and be encouraged to do your part and trust in God to fulfill his part. Others may call you crazy, they may ridicule you and try to discourage you {like they did to Noah} but as long as you had the word of the Lord none of that would matter.

Now, imagine that instead of the angel appearing to you in the flesh he appeared to you in a dream. Do you think your reaction would be different? I imagine a small percentage of you would still go forward in faith, encouraged by the word but I imagine a greater percentage of you would say, “What in the world did I eat last night?” For the most part, we put a higher value on tangible experiences with the Lord than we do on dreams in which he speaks to us. As believers, we cannot discount that our God is spirit and he seeks out those who worship him in spirit so that we can experience him by the spirit.

In the word of God we find that many times he will deliver a message to his servants through dreams. Some of these dreams are symbolic in nature while others are direct and for encouragement, instruction or warning. Hands down the most famous dreamer in the bible is Joseph, beloved son of Jacob (Israel) but recently I have been impacted by the faith and courage of another, “less famous” dreamer; Joseph, son of Jacob (son of Matthan) adopted father of Jesus, our savoir.

Many times we look at the few verses about Joseph, husband of Mary, and think of him as a good man, an obedient servant but we rarely think of his as a dreamer of dreams. However, when the angel of the Lord appeared to him to tell him to take Mary as his wife it was “in a dream.” When he was warned that Herod was searching for the child Jesus, to kill him and that they should escape to Egypt it was “in a dream.” When he was told to take the child and his mother to Israel  it was “in a dream.” When he was warned that Archelaus was reigning in place of his father Herod it was “in a dream.” Over and over God spoke to Joseph through dreams and over and over Joseph was obedient to listen to the voice of the Lord.

For those of us who God speaks to by dreams in the night, we must be obedient to follow the instruction or heed the warning of those dreams no matter what it looks like to others. Because we dreamers are a special part of the body of Christ. We are among those who are blessed because we have not seen with our natural eyes the fulfillment of our dreams yet we believe that it will come to pass as He has said it. Dreamers have the ability to recognize that it is God is speaking to us {not last nights dinner} and act on what it is He has said. And it is our faith acted out through obedience that gives birth to the things of the spirit.

Joseph of the Old Testament made a way for his brothers to be saved from the famine that would come by trusting in and being obedient to the God of his dreams. Joseph of the New Testament made a way for all mankind to find their savoir by trusting in and being obedient to the God of his dreams. Now, ask yourself this question Dreamer. Do I trust in my God enough to be obedient to what he speaking to me through my dreams? Even if it looks crazy? Even if it doesn’t make sense? Even if my brothers hate me and rulers chase me down?

If you really are a dreamer then I think your answer is an easy, Yes! Because within each dreamer God has deposited a supernatural measure of faith and confidence that is activated by those dream encounters in order to produce a supernatural blessing for the body of Christ. So that just like the Joseph’s of the bible we can make a way for others to be saved.

Her Perfect Work - For The Dreamer
Her Perfect Work – For The Dreamer

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The Danger of Dismay

Her Perfect Work – The Danger of Dismay

As a homeschooling parent and a ministry leader I invest a lot of time, effort and most of all heart into everything that I do. I have big dreams and I expect to see them come to fruition. Last week however confirmed for me that with big dreams also come big disappointments. Now I know that can sound a little pessimistic but it’s an honest statement that reminds me that I shouldn’t be surprised when things don’t go according to my plans. Instead I should use those experiences to deepen my faith and push harder towards those dreams. The biggest threat to my dreams aren’t the circumstances that are out of my control but the state of dismay that can overcome my heart as a result of them.

Dismay means to cause someone to feel very worried, disappointed, or upset. Some synonyms are daunt, demoralize, dishearten, discourage, dispirit, frustrate, unman and unnerve. Looking at this list feels sadly like a list I could have written last week based on my own emotional state. I’m not the type to stay down for long but getting past these feelings has been a bit more difficult then usual. But after searching the Word for hope, now I think I may know why. When dismay takes hold of a heart it has the ability to take out even a trained army of fighters.
In the first book of Samuel chapter 17 we read about how the Israelites gathered at the Valley of Elah to fight the Philistines, however when the champion Goliath stepped forward and began hurling threats and insults to them the word says, “On hearing the Philistine’s words, Saul and all the Israelites were dismayed and terrified”(verse 11). What happened next is unbelievable. These experienced fighters lost all courage, all nerve and all faith that God was still able to give them the victory. For 40 days they sunk deeper into hopelessness as they listened to taunts of their enemy. Until David showed up with the truth of God’s word in his heart and on his lips and defeated Goliath, filling the Israelite army with courage once again, allowing them to pursue the fleeing Philistine army to their defeat.
You see David had the right approach in this situation. He faced the same threat as the Israelite army and heard the same insults but instead of  being dismayed he was filled with faith in God and courage enough to take on the challenge ahead. And that’s what I must do, that’s what you must do. If you have been demoralized – if the challenge ahead of you seems daunting – if your plans have been frustrated – it’s time to remember that the God we serve is a mighty God and that as long as we have submitted our lives, our hearts and our dreams to him then he will give us the victory in every circumstance.
Things won’t always go as planned but the only way to see our dreams come to life is push past the disappointment and turn to God.
Her Perfect Work – The Danger of Dismay

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