It’s the Little Things

iuYou may or may not know this about me depending on our relationship, but I am a cookie monster. I love cookies. Very often at night before I go to bed, I will eat five (yes I said it) five Oreo cookies with a big cup of milk. A few nights ago, I was sitting up late, as I usually do, watching Rev. Samuel Rodriguez on television. I had opened my package of Oreos only to find there were only three cookies left in the pack. (Frown emoji here.)

Rev. Rodriguez was preaching about being thankful. His main point was that thanksgiving precedes the miracle you need. His Scripture passage was the story of Jesus feeding thousands with the loaves and fishes, and how He gave thanks for the small bit of food the apostles were able to glean from the huge crowd that was present. He didn’t look at them and laugh sarcastically as I might have done and say, “Really, what do you expect me to do with this?” Jesus simply gave thanks, then the miracle came. Boom! There was suddenly enough for everyone, and twelve baskets to spare. (You know the story.)

iu-1I am always an active listener, and this message hit home. I held my three cookies up before the Father. I said right out loud, “Father I choose to be thankful for these three cookies. I will not complain about the two cookies, I will be thankful, very thankful. Thank you for three wonderful Oreo Double Stufs. I watched the ending of the program and went to bed with a thankful heart. I thought the miracle manifested in the contentment that settled over me at the moment I changed my outlook, but no, there was more to come.

We live on family land. It is homestead property inherited from my husbands Grandparents. One of my husbands sisters also lives on the same property about three quarters of a mile from us. As I was having my coffee the next morning, I saw her walk into our yard carrying a small grocery bag. It was one of those plastic bags that I could see through. She handed me the bag, and I already knew what was in it. Yes, you guessed it! It was a bag of Oreo Double Stuf.

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I said to her, “How did you know I love Oreo Double Stuf?

She said, “Janice (another sister-in-law who lives sixty miles away) told me. I was in the store and they had these on sale, buy one get one free. I only need one, so I decided to bring you the other one. Janice told me ‘be sure to get Double Stuf because that was the kind she liked.'”

This might seem like a little thing, but it was huge to me. This showed me the truth of God’s Word once again. It renewed my faith in the miracle of thanksgiving. Most important of all was the fact that this screamed to me, “Father, loves you! Father cares about you and your Oreo cookies!” It was as if God Himself had wrapped His arms around me and given me a big hug. I could almost hear His voice say, “I saw your thanksgiving. I love you, dear!” This could be the end of the story, but it is not. There was more a day or two later, God turned one hundred dollars that we needed for serious reasons, into two hundred dollars which was abundance for us. I was thankful for the provision, but didn’t really make the connection until I was putting my tithe into the collection plate at church the next Sunday.

It was then that the Lord whispered to me, “That’s the Double Stuf!” I knew then that God had not only provided the cookies, but was the double provision for our financial need. I have been encouraged by the Lord Himself to remember to be thankful for the little things. I hope this blog has encouraged you to do the same.

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Walking in Alignment

I have been doing a lot of thinking about walking in alignment with God. Alignment is such a beautiful word. It means arranged in correct or appropriate relative positions. Walking in alignment with God begins with getting our thinking aligned with His.

Walking in alignment is not following a list of rules, not even the Ten Commandments. Ignoring the rules, living as though they don’t exist is not the answer either. When we think too much about rules, frustration sets in because we have all missed the mark. Romans 3:23 tells us that all have sinned (missed the mark). Another way to say this would be,  “Everyone has fallen out of alignment. ” When one ignores the rules long enough, they fall into the deep ditch of a ruined life. We delight in the law of man, “To will what is good to me.” Our heart desires to do the law of God, but I see that it is impossible. There are those who come to realize that they can not fulfill the desires of God so they fall into despair. They try their best, but don’t expect to get very far. Staying in alignment is simply too difficult.

Having recently read the six Biblical books summarizing the lives of the kings of both Israel and Judah, I could not help but notice how God judged the success or failure of each king with one of two simple statements. “He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord His God,” or “He did not follow in the ways of his Father David.”

When viewing David’s life, it is easy to see that he did not live in perfect alignment with God at all times. In truth there were times when he was far off the mark, but in the end, His life became the line by which all other Kings were judged. That baffles the mind. He was an adulterer, and a murderer; he counted soldiers when he was told not to count them. David’s final salvation was due to the fact that he knew that  being in alignment with God was the goal.

The goal has not changed. The cross did not alter or remove it.  The goal is to be in appropriate relationship with God at all times. To achieve that goal, each one of us must embrace it with his whole heart. No one ever wins gold without embracing the desire to go to the Olympics and win a gold medal. Although each Olympian, desires perfection, in the end of things standing on the gold medal stand celebrating one might very well be able to outline the errors on the journey to the victory. The fact remains, that each Gold Medalist established as a life goal to stay in alignment with the specific elements required by his sport. Thus the Christian will never hear the “Well done good and faithful servant,” unless he makes it his life goal to remain in appropriate relationship with God. Those standing on the podium of victory when asked how they felt, what they thought always say the same thing,”I can’t believe it.” So it is when we aim for victory in spiritual alignment. We know it will  not be our effort that brings us to victory.  Yet we understand that without willingness to be in alignment with Christ, we will never wear the victor’s crown. This is the great paradox of grace. I can not reach victory without God, and I certainly can not reach victory without me. The one who endures to the end will be saved. I offer my desire and my will. He offers His grace and fights for me every step of the way.

Be alert. Know when you are drifting out of alignment. When driving a car, it isn’t easy to notice the wheels are out of alignment unless you are driving. The experienced driver is always the first to know. He feels the vehicle pulling to the right or to the left. The passenger may be totally unaware of a problem in the alignment.  Consider this, if Christ is the driver of your life. He is going to know that you are sliding off center long before you realize it. You might be sitting in the passengers seat of your own life just watching the other cars pass by without even realizing you are getting closer and closer to a wreck each day. This is not because Christ is a poor driver, but because you are not in alignment with Him. It is your desire and will that is pulling you off center.

It is my glory to be helpless. It is His glory when others know I am helpless, but see me in victory anyway. It is at that moment that everyone in the crowd of witnesses knows absolutely that God has taken over, because I have surrendered all. I have allowed Him to pour so much of Himself into my life that my actions and thoughts are little like my own, and much like His. Everyone looking on elbows the person beside them and breathes the same sentence, “That has to be God.” When I am asked how I accomplished alignment, I breathe the same sentence, “I don’t know; it had to be God.”

Hofner-Johann-Baptist_The_Little_Shepherdess.ComparisonThere must be one additional idea here. Walking in alignment allows you to accelerate, cover more ground, move uphill more easily, and bring others with you. When you submit your will and your way to Him, it’s like walking on air. The grass is greener.  The air is crisper and cleaner. We get the feeling that we can accomplish anything.  Careful, cheerful heart, always remember, like David did, that He took us from watching the sheep and gave us rule over something grand.  Without alignment with Him, however, we are only a shepherds.

The God Cycle

I wrote part of this story as a post on my Facebook page, but I have decided that the whole story must be told. Since I have not written here in a while, this is the place for it.

I have seen God work in cycles in my life so many times. Sometimes these cycles are so wonderful and unexpected that they need to be shouted from the rooftop. Cyber space is a ways above the roof, but it is a great way to spread His glory.

The first week of June 2013, my husband, the Senior Pastor of our Church announced to the congregation that the Lord had dealt with him about giving the first Sunday’s offering in total to another pastor in our city. God had been specific about the particular person, but the name was not shared with the congregation.

Everyone in pastoral ministry knows that the offering on the first Sunday of the month is generally the largest offering of the month and goes toward the paying of all the bills for that month. It is not different in our church of about 60 people. The offering that day was $1800. It was sent to the other pastor as God instructed. We praised God that at the end of June, all the bills had been paid. It didn’t seem like there was any impact on the month of June at all. We praised God for His goodness and put the matter out of mind.

Also during the month of June, an agreement was made with another Assemblies of God Church, New Hope International Christian Center, to allow them to lease our building, and share their Sunday evening service with us. They would be totally in charge of the Sunday evening service, and we would interpret for the Deaf and simply attend their service. This was a sacrifice for us, and a blessing for us at the same time.

Their pastor had been working out of his home, and we agreed to allow him to use the empty office in our office building. We promised that there would be a remodel prior to his moving in on August 21st.

July came and at our church that means fireworks sales. There has been a long- standing tradition that the church runs a fireworks stand in our parking lot each year. It is a major fundraiser, and the only fund raising we do outside of regular offerings. Since we have been pastors of CCC, these funds have been used for updating our old buildings, last year the foyer, this year the church offices. I’m not sure why I haven’t done it in previous years, but for some reason this year as we were working to set up the fireworks stand, I stood in the stand alone, and prayed that God would help us to sell absolutely everything that came into the stand. On July 4th, at 8:00PM every item was sold. Every shelf was empty. There was nothing left. As far as anyone could remember, this was a first time event.

On July 6th, the renovation of the office building began. Our office used to be a small house about 1,100 square feet. All the floors were stripped, new paint would be put on the walls. The first day into the project, the pastor of New Hope, Pastor Eric Angeles, came with people from his church to assist us. All the furniture had to be moved out into a U-Haul truck so the flooring could be done.

He brought a gentleman from his church, who volunteered to help. Not only did he volunteer to help, he took one look in the restroom and offered to be responsible for the remodel of that room including striping the wallpaper, and purchasing new fixtures. His costs and assistance totaled well beyond $1000.He was so gracious and generous, and just a wonderful person to be around.

In an effort to keep his identity anonymous, I will not give the details of his business, but in an effort to give God glory and reveal His Cycle, I will say that after making these contributions and applying much sweat to the job, the following week in his profession was a week of unexpected profit. So much so that we were all amazed.

I continue to be amazed at the way God works among his children. I shouldn’t be because I’ve seen it all my life, but I still receive great joy at His handiwork. This series of events at our church is just mind-blowing for me.

On the day that the last rug arrived for the office, the same day my husband and I agreed that there would be no more expenditure in the office. God showed up to show His love cycle one more time. Here is what happened.

A couple of weeks ago a man who drives a truck for a business asked to park in our church parking lot over nights. He comes around 9:00P.M., and leaves around 5:00AM so he is there during hours everyone else is gone. He lives near the church and his truck was too big to be parked in the street.

That last day, he came in the office to say thanks for letting him park there. He said that the company he is working for is getting rid of a storage warehouse full of office furniture, and that they had told him he could take what ever he wanted. He asked if we would like him to get anything for us.

He started naming different items that were available. We were just talking today about our mix matched office chairs, but had decided not to spend extra money for that. There are six chairs in the outer office, and they are covered in four different fabrics. We told him we would love to have six chairs in the office that all matched. He said,  “No problem.” He promised to get them for us. God is just amazing!

This man has never attended our church. He lives in the neighborhood. We have been reaching out, and I believe that God is using these relationships for His glory. I’m praying that he will become part of our Kingdom family. Pray with me. This would make the God cycle perfect. We give to him a place to park. He gives to us six new chairs. God gives to him eternal life!  It’s beautiful!

Mighty Oaks of Little Acorns Grow

Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin, to see the plumb line in Zerubbabel’s hand. Zachariah 4:10 

Everyone loves a grand opening! Throw up the banners, blow the trumpets, get the helium balloons! The truth is however, that most grand openings are in reality grand re-openings, or grand new locations.

Almost every endeavor of life starts small. Think of the first McDonalds Restaurant. It was not big or fancy, yet hundreds of thousands of them have been built since. A mom and pop restaurant became the largest food chain in the world.

From the Scripture above we see the truth about small beginnings. They thrill the Lord. The Lord who sees the end of a thing from the beginning (Isaiah 46:10) delights that the thing He desired, and determined will finally have a start. Someone has finally heard, and acted in faith to begin, against great opposition.

Not only does God delight in the beginning, but God also delights in the one who’s faith rises up. God thrills at the man or the woman who sees the vision of the a thing, and without seeing the end, puts his hand to the labor to co-labor with God so that God’s vision is accomplished.

Sharing a dream with God is one of the most exciting prospects allowed man on this earth. When God sees the man rise up and begin, it is one of the most exciting prospects in Heaven.

God’s Kingdom work is almost always accomplished through the faith and vision of a man or woman. This is how God loves it! This is how God designed it to be. Father God, like any father loves doing projects with his children.And is the kind of Father who gets even more excited when the project is a victory.

Consider David. David shepherded a flock of sheep before he shepherded a nation. The older brothers may have left the “dirtiest and worst” job for the baby of the family, but God was well aware of what a fine job David was doing. God knows the truth. The time David would spend with the sheep was simply David’s small beginning of God’s dream for the future of His beloved son, and beloved people, Israel.

This week I read a quote, which upset me a little. It went something like this, “If you build a dream, the dream will build you.” This just didn’t line up in my head with Scripture. I read of Joseph’s dream, and it was God given, not Joseph designed. It was God who built the character of Joseph as well. Joseph’s dream came to pass because it was the prophesy of God in Joseph’s heart. Success was the direct result of the provision of God in Joseph’s life.

Don’t take it upon yourself to manufacture your own destiny. Allow God to build it. He is faithful to give the dream, and faithful to cause the dream to come to life as you believe, follow, and obey Him. With God in the lead, all small dreams end in amazing fashion.

A Strange Vision of Jesus

God talks to people who want to listen. My greatest desire is to hear Him. I have learned that He is totally aware of all my listening styles. At the same time, sometimes He stretches my listening style.

He uses so many ways to speak with me, and I have come to realize that I must be looking and listening at all times, because I’m never sure when He will speak, or how He will speak. I know, however, that whatever He communicates is of the utmost importance and must be understood.

During my years of pursuing God, I’ve realized that He was serious when He said His ways were higher than mine. One way that God speaks to me quite often is through what I will call flash pictures. This happens most often when I am alone with God. Suddenly, I will see a picture open up before my eyes, like a camera flash. Just as suddenly as it appeared it is gone.

Today, I had such a revelation from God. I was in my regular intercession time. Suddenly a picture opened. It was Jesus. I saw Him in His earthly appearance rather than His glorified appearance. He was revealed from the waste upward. The strange thing about this revelation was that Jesus was holding a hand saw like a carpenter would use; it wouldn’t have been so strange except He was chewing on the teeth on the end of the saw. Then the picture was gone.

I have learned to ask God what things mean. If I do not understand the message being given, then I need to ask for clarification. I learned this from studying the prophets in the Old Testament. Today, I was shocked at what I had seen, and didn’t even try to figure out what it meant for myself. I just looked up, and said,  “Father, what did that mean?” The answer came as a voice, not audible, but crystal clear and succinct.

He said, “Jesus will remove your sharp edges.” The interesting thing about revelation is that when it comes my natural mind always responds with the same statement, “Of course! Duh! Why didn’t I figure that out for myself?”

Another result of the God interpreted revelation is that is hits a mark in me and answers all my questions. It is so, “Boom!”

It is easy when God reveals something like, “Jesus can remove your sharp edges.” to immediately begin to wonder whom this message is for. That might be especially true if you are involved as the minister of a church or a group of some kind. Holy Spirit has taught me to take it to my own heart first.

God will not do through me, what I have not allowed Him first to do in me. So today I talked to God about my sharp edges. I asked Him to help me find the path to discipline without injury or transformation without pain. Personally, when I was a child, I always tried to self-discipline, so I would not have to suffer parent discipline. I always thought of discipline as an embarrassing proposition that I would just as soon not have to face. If I could discipline myself, my parents wouldn’t be forced to deal with my issues. I had wonderful parents and their discipline was always given with the perfect balance of seriousness and mercy. My problem was that gnawing feeling inside that I had been less than I wanted to be. I had shamed myself, and had disappointed them.

As an adult, I know that self-discipline isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. I have to agree with Joyce Meyers when she says, “Let’s face it, most of us do not have the discipline to say no to a hamburger.” I have learned that it is the grace of God that works transformation in me. Something else I have noticed. I don’t have that shameful feeling with God, that I had with my parents. When He told me I had rough or sharp edges, I knew He was right, but I also knew He was not there to shame me. He was there to change me, and had the power to do so.

With parents, they are really powerless to change us. They are forced to punish or encourage us to a point that we desire to change. With God, when we submit to His grace filled work in us, we are transformed. No more sharp edges. God I submit.

Abide in Me

As some of you may be aware, I have recently read, “With Christ in the School of Prayer,” by Andrew Murray. I was inspired to improve my prayer life because of this book. I took it to my prayer room, determined to put into practice step by step the principles within. I looked again at the first page of the book, the preface, not Chapter 1. When I read the words, what stood out to me were the words that I’ve read in the Scriptures many times, “Abide in Me.” I am very familiar with these words, and usually I have thought of them in relationship to Christ. But in the presence of Holy Spirit, I had asked that He teach me. He immediately made these words, abide in me, so much broader than I have thought of them before. John 14, 15, 16, and 17 flooded my mind. I meditate on these passages often, and have for many years.  I thought of the assurance Jesus gave His disciples, “If you have seen Me, you have seen the Father.” I thought further of His conditional promise, “If you keep my commandments, the Father will abide in you.” All these thoughts raced like lightning thought my mind the way thoughts do when Holy Spirit is speaking.

Suddenly, I heard the voice of my Father, “You haven’t even begun to understand what abiding in Me means.” I thought about that, and of course, I couldn’t argue. (I mean, He is God after all.) I realized how superficial my meditation on that phrase had been, though I had read it hundreds of times. My prayer went up once again, “Holy Spirit, please teach me about abiding.”

I realized almost at once, that my abiding had to begin in the Father, just like Jesus’ abiding did. As Jesus walked on the earth, He constantly walked in communion with His Father. Often He separated Himself from the crowds, and even from the twelve to go to a private place to speak with Him. I thought about John 5:19 “So Jesus explained, ‘I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself. He does only what he sees the Father doing. Whatever the Father does the Son also does.

I had to examine myself. Have I ever done anything that I saw the Father do? Then I backed up…do I even know what the Father is doing? I have to admit, were someone to ask me, “What is the Father doing right now.” I wouldn’t have a clue. It is one thing to understand what Jesus said, it is quite another to practice the same.

I had my main prayer topic for the day assigned. I begin to speak to the Father of abiding in Him just as Jesus did. Now I have grasped His point. It is not enough for me to obey the commandments so Father would abide in me. I should desire to abide in the Father as well.

I waited before God. My Spirit began to desire Father. I asked Him, “Father, how do I abide in You, so I can see what you are doing?”  I received the most amazing answer. God said to me, “Remember when I breathed the breath of life into Adam?” “I exhaled my spirit life into Adam, and inhaled his spirit life into me.” I always know when I have thoughts of God in prayer, because they boggle my own thinking. I told Father God, that this was too much for me to understand yet, but that I would think upon it. These words are hard to comprehend. How would that be? Were there other Scriptures which indicated this truth. I must research.

God so desires to teach us His way. His thoughts are high above our thoughts. Often when we are learning in the School of Christ, the Holy Spirit or the Father, the information is too complicated for our immediate comprehension. That is the grandeur of the God we serve. “He is past finding out.”  I will, however continue in my search until I know Him more. I do have one more sense in all of this. I have a deep seeded feeling that abiding in the Father is not mostly about doing. I suspect it is more about experiencing and being.

“Father, show me Your glory, I want to walk in Your presence like Jesus did.”

The Secret Touch of Jesus

When I was a little girl, I memorized lots of Scripture. My mother was responsible for most of it. She established a Saturday rule at our home. The rule went like this. Saturday is preparation for Sunday day. When I woke up on Saturday morning my siblings and I had certain tasks to complete before we could play outside or watch Mickey Mouse Club on television. Yes, this was the 50’s. I was not abused. Quite the opposite, we had a wonderful family life.

 What chores did I have, and how did they pertain to the secret Jesus touch? The chore list went like this, “Make your bed, brush your teeth, take a bath, wash your hair, read your Sunday School lesson, and memorize the memory verse. When all this is completed Saturday fun can begin.  One Saturday, I memorized Matthew 5:14 and 16 “You are the light of the world, a city set on a hill that cannot be hid.” And then, “Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father which is in Heaven.”  I didn’t have the full understanding of these Scriptures, but they burned in my heart, and burn still to this day.

 I believe deep within my soul, that I was made to be a blessing upon the earth. I was created to live Jesus in my small corner of the world. For many years I have believed that where ever God sends me it is my responsibility to be His representative on the earth. For a long time, I thought this simply meant to live right and be a good example of Jesus. I thought I should be kind, say “Please and thank you,” obey my parents, go to church, read my Bible, pray, and witness when I had the chance.

 Later, I learned there was much more to the journey of letting my light shine before men. As a college student I found it meant purity, when free love was popular. (It was the 60’s now.) I learned to filter the things I put in my mind. Light does not shine through a dirty globe. During these years, I think most of my spiritual life was playing defense. I learned how to defend my heart from darkness. That was a good thing! It was who I wanted to be. I found myself during these years. I was no longer my Daddy’s little girl, I had decided to be a Christian not because it was what my parents did or wanted for me, but because it was who I wanted to be. I learned to sacrifice for my faith, and not to be intimidated by worldly friends. It was a growing time. I was not perfect during these years, and I’m sure that at times my parents were concerned as I sorted through choices, but I knew there was steady increase in the wattage of my Jesus relationship during these years.

 The next years were years of development. It was time for marriage and family building. I believe these were years to review the source of my light. As I taught my own children to love Jesus, my love for Him grew exponentially.

As I experienced the death of my beloved father, I learned that in the darkest night the light of Jesus shines brightest.

 During our years of ministry, I often read Matthew 5:14-16. I studied them and restudied them. I talked to the Lord about them, and prayed about them. During this time, I remember a song that impacted me, “Go Light Your World” sung beautifully by Kathy Troccoli (1995). I sang this song many times, and to this day nineteen years later, it is still on my iTunes play list.

 I was thinking about this one day. I had learned many things about this concept of being a light. I had learned that simply by walking into a room and changing the atmosphere there because the light of Jesus in me had walked in the door. I begin to look for this effect. I would purposefully enter places that before I had defended myself against. Let me explain this. Earlier, when I was in the mall shopping and walked past one of those dark stores, I was almost afraid to enter. I did not want any dark thing to attack me. During this time, I caught hold of the truth that the light in me was far more powerful than the darkness in the stores. I began to go in, and walk around in the recognition that Jesus had just entered that dark place, and His light was shining. I had spiritual authority to bring His presence there for the good of the persons there who were trapped in darkness, and perhaps had never seen the light.

 Shining has become an adventure. I know now, that the Spirit of Jesus Christ helps people, even if I do not have a chance to witness to them. Just being near me, can be a shadow of Peter experience for someone in the dark. I began practicing what I call the “secret Jesus touch.” I thought, if just being near a person could bring the presence of Jesus to them, how much more would touching a person do. Now, I make a conscious effort to touch strangers with the full intention of allowing the light of Jesus to flow through me to them.

I’m sure you might be thinking, this girl is just weird. Maybe so, but I believe I can see the difference in the people I touch. “How does this work?” you may ask. “Don’t people get angry when you touch them?”  Actually no. I’ve never had a single person react in offence at being touched with the secret Jesus touch. Truthfully, the opposite has been true. They seem strangely drawn to me. 

 How to Give the Secret Jesus Touch

 When: After you have prepare yourself. Pray ask the Lord to shine through you. Ask Holy Spirit to flow through your hands, your face, and your voice.

 Where: My favorite places are at drive thru windows, and restaurants. Service people work very hard at what they do. They are under-paid, and under- appreciated. These people often have for some reason or another lacked opportunity. Look at their faces, they are paid to be friendly, and smile, but often behind their eyes is great sadness. At times they work in an environment that is full of petty bickering and competing.  These people need the secret Jesus touch.

 Method: At the drive thru, there are three opportunities to bless people. The first is at the automated order machine. There is a human behind this machine. Often because the machine is not of the highest quality, we experience frustration as we make our order. Ask Holy Spirit to give you patience with the person behind the machine. It is not his/her fault that they can’t hear you well.

Sometimes the person has an accent making ordering difficult. Don’t be judgmental, relax and let the Jesus shine come out in your voice. When they complete your order on the screen, bless them. How? Simple words and a kind voice, “You are great at your job!” You have blessed them. Remember the touch of the Lord is spiritual as well as physical. This also prepares them for the next step.

 The second opportunity to bless someone is when you pay for your order. Remember how James 5 speaks of the laying on of hands for healing, and of the effectiveness of the prayer of a righteous man or woman? When I hand my ATM card or cash to the soul at the first window, I do not hold it on the end to avoid a touch. I lay the card on their hand so my hand touches theirs. I do not slap their hand, it is just a tiny touch, but it is intentional blessing from the Lord through my hand to them.

 I drive on thanking the Lord, and praying for the person at window 2. The pick up window is much easier to touch the person than the pay window. They reach out to you and hand you your cup. You simply make sure your fingers touch theirs as you receive the cup. Jesus shared a cup with his disciples. Remember that cup as you share the passing of this cup. Let the blessing of the Spirit of Jesus flow through you to this one, one more time.

 These are the briefest of opportunities, but if I believe, my faith will bring about a blessing to these persons who may need it desperately. 

 Tonight, I realized that if I can teach you to give the secret Jesus touch to others, I can multiply my light. Go light your world!

Facing the Giant in Your Life

I Samuel 17

God’s manifest presence is displayed on the battlefield not on the sideline. If you are a football fan like I am, you know that every pro team has 52 players. They can list that many players, but not that many players actually get into the game. There is one group of players that only practice. They get beat up on by the great players week after week as they scrimmage. They practice hard everyday. On game day that group of men do not even suit up for the game. They do not have the opportunity to run out of the tunnel. The group that actually suits up on game day, gets to run out of the tunnel. Every one cheers for them. No one is thinking of the guys that practice with them at all.

Of the group that runs out of the tunnel, only 12 get on the field at the same time. There is offence and defense, and special team. Some players are great, and they are hungry to play. They want to play offence, defense and special teams. If they are great they ask the coach for more playing time. I would hate to be a pro player who sits on the beach all the time watching the other guys play.

In the church there are people who fight devils, and there are people who sit on the pew, the beach. There are people who are in the game, and there are people who are sitting watching the game. This game, however, is life and death…eternal life and death.

In the spiritual life, when people leave the service and go home, there are some  who are in the game and go out and fight devils for the Lord, and there are others who do nothing but sit all week waiting for next Sunday.

God’s manifest presence is displayed on the battlefield. In the football game all the glory happens on the field. There is no glory that happens on the bench. Everyone claps for the guys on the field, not the ones sitting on the bench. I’ve never seen one sports-caster say, “Look at number 15 sitting on the bench. Isn’t he the best bench sitter you have ever seen? He looks so powerful there! Let’s give him a hand.”

Likewise heaven applauds those on the battlefield not those sitting on the pew.
There is a story about this in the Bible in I Samuel 17. The Philistine army came against Israel. Saul sat and watched them ridicule God. David went out and did something about it. Saul was waiting for a warrior to step up and volunteer. God is waiting for a warrior to step up and volunteer.

Can you face God’s enemies? God’s enemies are not easy to overcome. In the same way with David and Goliath, Goliath was not easy for David to overcome. In fact, it required a miracle of God for David to kill Goliath. If David had been operating in his own skill or his own power, Goliath would have killed him.

The whole army of Israel followed their leader. Every day Goliath came out in
His booming voice and yelled out from the mountain top to the valley below, “Hey, Saul! Send someone out here to fight me.” Goliath was a giant, but he also had 5 brothers who were giants too. You can imagine how many big sons there were in that army.

My husband is 6’2, and I am 6’. We produced two sons both 6’7. When our boys were teenagers and still living at home, our family was quite a sight. When the four of us walked into a restaurant or a grocery store every eye was on us. I always heard people say, “Whoa, look at those tall people.” I felt like a giant. Children in stores would say, “Momma, look at that lady, how tall she is.” The Mom would shush the child, but she always looked. It was normal for us to hear that. Tall people produce tall children.

When Israel’s army looked at the Philistines they were thinking, “Wow! They are all giants.” Most of the original twelve spies who scoped out the land of Canaan, reported that compared to the giants Israel looked like grasshoppers.
Goliath came out each day to boast how the Philistines were going to wipe Israel off the earth. Goliath mocked the fact that Israel was small in stature.

The Bible says that Saul was head and shoulders taller than all the others.Goliath taunted and taunted day after day.He mocked their God over and over, and the tallest trained warrior, experienced in war, their King, wouldn’t step up and fight for his nation or for God.

God manifests His power right in front of a giant. When you are facing a giant situation in your life, go and face it with courage with trust and faith in God. Know that this giant is bigger than me, but the presence of God is between me, and that giant situation. I will step into the presence of God that is there.

It requires that we do something. David had to do something. He had to step into the presence of God that was between him and Goliath. We say, “I don’t have time.” We say, “I would go fight Goliath, but honestly, I’m too busy; I don’t have time.”We sometimes say, “I might get hurt, if I try to fight a giant.” We might think, “I will lose my friends.” David had brothers in the army of Israel. David had seven brothers in that army that could have gone with him. They could have said, “We don’t think you will win, but we are going with you. We will support you in what you are doing for God.” They could have, but they didn’t.

David experienced the manifest presence of God out there; they didn’t. The saw joy of David’s victory and rejoiced in it, but they did not experience the glory of God. David did. They didn’t even notice that the presence of God was out there. That was the difference between them and David. David knew God!
David knew the presence of God, he knew what it was, he knew how to follow it, he knew to go into the presence of God. They knew about God, but they didn’t know Him.

God is on the front line of the battle not sitting and watching. Sometimes people say, “One day, I will become a warrior of God. One day I will.” Then they sit and wait, and wait, and wait, and they become 30. They are still waiting and the senior pastor has not died or retired yet. They keep waiting and they become 40.  Waiting has become a habit. They realize then that the Pastor is strong. And the Senior pastor becomes 70, and he’s still going strong because he is operating in the manifest presence of God. They become 50 and the senior pastor becomes 80 and they are 60, and they have not yet done anything for God. This is not a good plan.

Sometimes what God and that senior pastor are waiting for is for someone to step up beside him into the presence of God. They are looking for someone to recognize the presence of God and have the courage to step into it. They want someone who will stand there fighting and stay there as long as it takes.

As long as everyone stays seated and waits and waits and waits no one will be chosen. Waiting people like this wonder, “Why I haven’t been chosen yet?” It is because they have not become a warrior yet. Look at yourself. Is there blood on your sword? Have you been sitting on the beach? Or, have you been fighting giants?

Some of the basic ideas of this blog are from one of the chapters in a book I have read titled, LIVING IN HIS PRESENCE the Immanuel Factor by Dave Earley, Chapter 8, pp. 101-103, ISBN 0-7642-0070-4. I highly recommend this book.

The Visitation

About six years ago as I sat in my living room reading my Bible, praying and watching God TV, I had a visitation. I have been cautious about sharing this because I realize many people are leery of stories about visitations from God. In all honesty, although I could never doubt that it was real, and that it transformed me from the outside in to the inside out, still I wondered why I didn’t hear other people talking much about have a similar experience.

In addition, I hadn’t even noticed anyone in the Bible having such an experience either. Because so many Christians especially preachers tend only to believe an experience, when the Word of God validates it, I shared my experience only in “safe” environments.

I am a Word person through and through. I study the Word. I memorize the Word. I have read the Bible through and through many times. I have studied and read many different versions of the Bible, and even took four semesters of Greek to better study the Word. Having said that, I am also a person with a fiery soul, and as I have studied the Word of God, and the experiences of His people I have realized one thing. Many of the great men and women of the Bible had experiences with God without have any validation of the Word at all.

Moses had no sacred Scripture that showed him an experience someone else had with God in which God burned a bush, or opened a sea. These were prime experiences, which preceded the written Word. Joshua experienced the fall of the walls of Jericho as a prime event. Daniel experienced the lions’ den as a prime event. One could go on and on. What about the New Testament were there prime events there? Many of the event in the life of Jesus were indeed prime events. There is no Biblical record of anyone turning water into wine for example prior to Jesus at Cana. For Peter, Andrew, James and John, the draught of fishes was certainly a prime experience. After Jesus left the earth, the upper room experience was certainly prime. Although Jesus had told them that Holy Spirit would come, there is no Biblical record that they would feel wind, see tongues of fire, or speak with other tongues.

Today, changed everything for me. It is Resurrection Sunday, and a message my husband shared with the people in our local body gave me the Scriptural validation for my own experience. He spoke of Mary having a God encounter with Jesus at the tomb. He presented a beautiful description from Scripture about how Mary ran to find Peter and John, and how Peter and John ran to the tomb to see for themselves. Mary’s experience was prime. Peter and John ran because they doubted Mary’s spoken word and had to see for themselves.

My experience happened like this. As I sat weeping before the Lord, Bible on my lap, suddenly I felt three powerful beings come into the room. There was so much power I began to shake, and breathing was difficult. I would gasp for a deep breath, only to blow it out just as quickly. There was simply more power than I was used to experiencing. They approached me and stopped about a foot in front of my chair. I knew it was God. In my spirit, I could see God the Father to the left, God the Son in the Middle, and God the Holy Spirit to the slightly to the right. I did not see God with my physical eyes, nor hear an audible voice, although I have heard the audible voice of God on one occasion.

God the Father began to speak, He told me many things. His wisdom was over whelming. This conversation was for me personally, and far too precious for me to share. After Father spoke, then Jesus began. His perspective was so different from that of Father, His word choices more earth-like. It was very clear to me that Jesus had shared the human experience, and that Jesus loved me as much as Father, but in a different way. His voice was different. In the case where Father spoke with such great authority, not proud, but completely self-assured; Jesus spoke more like a husband would speak to his wife. It reminded me of the way my husband spoke to me shortly before we were married. He spoke of the dreams and visions that he hoped we would accomplish after we were wed. Holy Spirit was the third to speak. He was reassuring. His words built my faith, and encouraged me to move forward into all that Father and Jesus had for my life. He assured me that He would stick close. He spoke of the power that was at my disposal were I to listen to His voice, and learn to obey immediately no matter the cost, or the environment, or the resources, or the opinions of others. He spoke of beginning without seeing the end, but beginning in faith.

The conversation continued. I’m not certain how long they stayed. It seemed that time stood still. I know this. From that day on, I have always been able to clearly define who was speaking to me, whether, Father, Jesus, or Holy Spirit. From that day on, I have had a greater appreciation for the work of Holy Spirit. I speak of Him always by His name, Holy Spirit. I stopped using the determiner, “the” with Holy Spirit’s name except in the context of the gift from Holy Spirit, which carries His name, or in the context of His full title, “God the Holy Spirit.”

Today, as my husband taught the body in Norwalk, he read Genesis 18. This is the story of the three who visited Abraham? He bowed before them all, he fed them all, he called them all LORD for they are one. None of the three disputed the title, or the worship, or the gift. God appeared to Abraham that day with one purpose in mind to talk to him about his life.

I believe God appeared to me that day in the same way for the same purpose. God wanted to talk to me about my life. The bonus was a benefit that will last a lifetime. I know God better than ever before. I love Him more than ever before although I’ve loved Him since childhood. I have been forever changed. God is so much more personal to me, and I have a greater connection with Father than before, and Holy Spirit has remained very near as my constant companion. I was astonished that day to zero in on the truth that although Holy Spirit is God, and omnipresent, He has accepted a 2000 plus years assignment for my benefit. Had He grown tired of searching the earth to find those who would surrender their hearts to Jesus, I would not be saved. His mission is every bit as important to my eternal destiny as was the mission of Jesus. I know that if I endure to the end, it will be because Holy Spirit has never left me from the moment, I believed Christ to this day. I know Holy Spirit will be here everyday until Jesus comes.
I’ve learned to give Him His due honor, praise and recognition and to appreciate Him more than ever before.

I feel comfortable now sharing my God encounter because I know there is solid evidence in the Word that is undeniable. Why didn’t I ever notice that before. I know Genesis 18 well. I read it again and again. I think today on this Resurrection day, Holy Spirit my guide opened my eyes so I could relate my experience with the Word. Perhaps Holy Spirit enjoys giving gifts on Resurrection Sunday. I was the recipient today. Thank You, Holy Spirit.