God Meets Us In Our Hunger

Dear hungry friends,

How hungry you are, not just hungry for food, but HUNGRY to see what God has been doing in your lives all along. It has seemed like a wilderness for such a long time but God knows what he’s doing! I felt God lead me to fast ahead of the fast and I completed my 5 day fast yesterday. That way I could encourage you all with what he was doing and give you hope in the hard moments. This will be long. You may want to soak on part of it at a time. It took two weeks for me to have all of these “aha” moments. I did a lot of waiting on God. I asked. Then I waited. Then I heard. Repeat.

God will reach us anywhere if we seek him like this, not just during the Chasing God evenings (for my Vineyard friends), but wherever we seek him with all of our hearts. God started breaking down my walls before the fast. Now, I should explain. I didn’t have an awareness that I had walls, but I did have an awareness that I was not as compelled as I have been in the past to love on people. I loved people, but I know what it felt like to flow like an unhindered river of love and it just wasn’t happening every where I went, so I was asking God why? What happened to me?

I found myself feeling vulnerable and letting it happen. I consider myself a pretty vulnerable person… but perhaps I was wrong. Love hurts you know. It hurts. I’ve loved a lot of people in some crazy, deep ways. Are they all sending flowing love back to me? Guess. Nope. They fail. But also – I fail. Yes. We all suck at times. I had a little fit about it one night.

Very early the next morning I woke to the words of the song  “You Are Not Alone”.  I got up and curled up on the couch, turned on the song and tears began to flow. I left it on repeat. I couldn’t read my Bible or do anything. I had to just sit with God and let him heal me. No matter what I did, the tears leaked. I tried doing something, so at 6:30 a.m. I sat at my jewelry making project. No creativity came. I was blank – just leaking tears out of my soul. I think years of pent up sadness were leaking out. Things I’d “gotten over” were still hurting and held on to. I began to see them and confess them. I just sat and asked God, “Come and take it. Heal me.”

I entered a fast. It wasn’t my first fast, but in this one, God let me see that I had to surrender my will. I was HUNGRY, physically, and had to pray to for him to give me the food from heaven he gave to Jesus. He did. He’s so good. This has not always been the case on previous fasts, but on this one I was in pain, literally. But, I learned there was still pain in my soul. I didn’t really know why I felt alone, or why I felt sad, but the tears came and I was thankful that God was sovereignly taking over my emotions. God washed my soul with tears on this fast. He let out the sadness and the pain I couldn’t put my finger on.

My story will be different than yours, or course. The promises of God will become real in your life if you choose to endure, even just a little while longer. Put your lives in order. Choose to be steadfast. It’s time to let go of the emotions, the fears and hand them to the Lord. It’s time to open the wells of your heart and let out what has been buried. “If you will listen to my voice,” I hear the Lord saying, “I will lead you out of the wilderness and your ministry, your new life of action with Jesus will begin.”

God led me to Matthew 4 this morning and showed me the process Jesus went through just before his ministry launched. If you need hope on your journey right now, pay attention to the  model of Jesus’s life. He is the firstborn of many brothers and sisters in the family of God.

Here’s how Jesus launched. If we are like him, joining in his suffering and growing up into the fullness of Christ, where are you in this process? 

  • He went to the wilderness with no suitcases, no defenses, vulnerable and dependent.
  • He chose to live by every word that God spoke – no food for the flesh.
  • He went where there were no distractions, but the devil, of course.
  • At the end, Jesus decidedly declared to satan,
    “Worship the Lord your God and serve Him only.”
  • The devil left.
  • Angels came to minister to him.
  • He went to Capernum. He began to fulfill the prophesies over his life.
  • He began his life message, “Repent for the Kingdom of Heaven is near.”
  • He selected his new family of brothers. This would grow as more believed.
  • God had prepared them also, and they left all to join him.
  • Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people.
Don’t run from the process – Embrace it.

I share my story so you can know you are not alone and to help you YIELD to what God wants to do in you at this time. How did this start? In the last two weeks things have been “bubbling up” that I didn’t know were in me. I started paying attention to what triggered me. Things I thought I didn’t struggle with anymore were happening again. Yet what I realized was that there were remnants. God is looking for a remnant. (That’s a little pun for my praying friends 🙂 A holy remnant, so he’s bringing up our own remnants and showing us why they have been stuck there, behind our walls. This post is a testimony of some of the key things that bubbled up inside of me before and during the fastHere are the things that have welled up inside of me through this fast, and then, how I saw Jesus through them.

1) I realized something and confessed it…I had a longing  to be loved by people I love. I wanted to be loved back.

God showed me that Jesus didn’t get that for a season either. He still doesn’t get that from us in the way he longs for. In the Garden he asked his friends to pray and keep watch but they fell asleep while he interceded for himself to the point of sweating blood. When the soldiers came and as he hung on the cross his friends didn’t want to suffer with him. They could not let go of their fleshly lives. On the cross, while he hung there for others who were dying in their sin, he was alone. Have you felt alone? Know that Jesus understands.

2) Loyalty 

God spoke the word “loyalty” to me. What did he want to teach me about that?  How did I handle when people weren’t loyal? I hurt. I just hurt. I got over things, but I was made in the image of God and I was a jealous for the affections of my children. I let that out. I shared that I was hurt. I sobbed in front of my family and let them comfort me. Yes, there was some self-pity in there. It was a little ugly and selfish, but I needed to be known. Have you ever felt like that? Have you longed to feel known?

When I got it out, I was clear and I could hear. Then I realized I was not loyal either. I had been a bad friend on so many occasions. How many times had I grieved God when I passed a hurting person or said a harsh word. I repented to him and to my family. But it’s not all bad. God feels like I feel, but he loves anyway. God reminded me of Hosea and how he showed us his nature as a jealously in love God. God is jealous for us and we are made IN HIS IMAGE. He is jealous for you, for your loyalty and your love. We are so like him. Think about how he feels about you. He just wants you for his own. He wants your full attention, for you to be FULLY PRESENT and FULLY ENGAGED with him like a couple newly in love who have eyes only for each other. They can sit on the couch all night and be content because it just matters that they are together. That’s how our loving Daddy holds us in his heart. I love that kind of love. I was reminded that we love, because he first loved us. That’s what makes it work.

Of course we want loyalty, but we have to love unconditionally, like Jesus did, even when all those flee or just are too busy.

What stops that? Then God reminded me of the principle of judgement. When we have a judgement, it affects how we love the people we judge. It stops the flow of love and power. In addition to that, we have to be love conscious and not enemy conscious. Our enemy is not people. They know not what they do. The stumble around in disappointment wondering if God sees them, but if we see like Him, we will know their pain, that they long just to be loved and for something they can hold on to so they can rest. We are an unfaithful people, disloyal in so many ways.

3) God has emotions. We can have emotions and we can let them out.

Jesus wept.  Jesus is the exact likeness of the invisible God. If Jesus weeps, our Father weeps, his emotions come forth. He created us with all the emotions he has but he has no walls so he lets them out.

If he’s a jealous God he has emotion. He has longing. We see from the story of the Lost Son in Luke 15 that the Father saw his son from afar he broke down and ran. He RAN to him. No matter what his son had done, the longing in the Father’s heart was for him to return.

He needed his son home because he was a part of him. We are a part of God. His breath is our breath and he misses us when we are far away in a distant land. “Come home,” he says to us. I feel the pain of the Father in the story of the Prodigal Son as I imagine what it was like in the years his son was gone.  Can you feel the sobbing heart of the father as he sees the empty place at the dinner table, he’s crying inside… “come home”. Just come home.  Our father loves us that much. Nothing can stop him from embracing you when you come to him, even if your expectation are low, even if you expect just to be a servant, Papa God says… “NO! You are my SON! Bring him the best robe! Put a ring on his finger! Give him new sandals. Celebrate, MY SON is home.”

4) If you feel you have fallen short…

God has been freeing me of limitations I have put on myself, AND of the feeling of obligation. What I have felt like I have’t been able to do, God has been doing for me. I have only understood in part and grieved about what I could not know. This is why God says, “Be anxious for NOTHING but in EVERYTHING give thanks.” It’s hard to do that when we want to know when and how and why, isn’t it? He showed me last month that the seeds of prayer that I planted were in good soil. As I saw this in a vision, tears began to flow. Tears of thanks. Those tears fell on the soil and the seeds grew into beautiful sunflowers.

Post fast – Today God showed me HOW he had been filling in the gaps when I felt like I was not getting all the things done that I wanted to see done through my life.  I sobbed this morning as I saw the visions and dreams and words and prophesies come together in the form of a timeline, all interlinked. Revelation and understanding started flooding my spirit! The pieces began to come together all at once so I could see his goodness! God is alive and real and working on your behalf. He shows us the dreams of his heart but not all the details. I suppose this is so we will learn to trust him. Has he whispered that to you lately, “Do you trust me?’

5) We are one Body with many parts. You don’t have to do it all.

We are ONE BODY. Have you been doing your part? Have you wondered if you were? If you have been obedient in the moment to God, then be encouraged. He’s been working on the bigger plans and the house is being built. You may have felt like something had to be done, but you didn’t get to do it.

Sometimes we think what we see is our assignment. As an intercessor, I used to get really hung up on this. I’d see things and think I had to do them all. Thank God – NO! I was to pray them into being. Sometimes they were mine, but I wasn’t to carry the load of all that I saw needed to be done. As a mom, I feel that way too at times. No – we’re a family and families work together. Thankfully, God’s got resources and gives grace. He knows we are human. I have longed to write a book but have had many other things that seemed to get in the way. I was feeling like I missed the mark on that, but it wasn’t coming together.

Was it my time? As I write I am sitting with a book my dear sister in Christ wrote. I just came out! Her first book! It’s full of testimonies of miracles and how they flowed. Her journal entries are like many of mine. I felt such relief as I read it and thanks! I just kept thanking Holy Spirit for giving her those words. Yes, I could have written a book, but I could use her book on this topic to do so much! She did her part and I can do my part! I was so excited ( I write more about the story below.) What if God may have been using someone else who had time to accomplish the work you would have like to have done while you were doing what was in front of you. Let them get the credit for the good work. It’s ok. Let go of YOUR need to be known or to be celebrated. If you have been walking on the path with Jesus, then rest easy. What you have been doing matters to God. What matters is that people come to Jesus.

4) You are not unknown by God – A Picture of Intimacy with Holy Spirit

I know this is a lot of writing, so I ask you to take a deep breath before you read this part.

Pause….

Don’t be impatient. Breath in and out, relax, let your body go limp for a minute and invite the Holy Spirit to come. Wait for him. 

Now, read this word and meditate on it. 

Job 33:4 “The Spirit of God has made me,
And the breath of the Almighty gives me life.”

He is close. He is as near as your breath and is your breath. As your breath goes in and out of you, picture that breath as the presence of God, a cycle of how he works.

Breathe in…. and he is with you. He hears the whispers of your heart.

Then, breath out. He goes out carrying those prayers and making them happen.

He is an intimate God. He is a personal God. Your spirit is one with His Spirit. He says you are one, but YOUR connection to God is unique, because half of is YOUR DNA. One body, but many combinations of amazing uniqueness.

He hears every thought and knows you intimately. Even as we breath out, not all the air leaves. His presence, like oxygen stays in our lungs, keeps us alive while he works on our behalf.

As you inhale, He quickly comes back in, because we need more of him to live. This is the life cycle of our connection with the Holy Spirit. It is what keeps us alive. Remain in him. Take him in. Release some of him. Get more of him. We can’t live without that next breath and when we hold it in, if we TRY to hold it in, eventually we pass out, don’t we! We think we can hold back, but God just chuckles, I’m sure. Like a kid who threatens to hold his breath, we keep working to control our environment…Yet a wise parent with experience says, “Go ahead! I wonder how long you can hold it?!”  Like this child, who will eventually pass out and start breathing again so the breathing, the intimacy with God, can resume. No, we can’t fight intimacy with God, like we can’t fight breathing.

Today I listened to the song “He Knows Your Name”, thanking Holy Spirit over and over again for my friend’s book and the miracles recorded in it. The tears began to flow again. I saw all that my Papa had been working on to help the Kingdom grow through my connection with my sister, through her friends, and the through the people I had been ministering too and with. He knows my name. It doesn’t matter if anyone else does. 🙂 My Papa knows my name. He sees me. I don’t care who else affirms me or recognizes me; I only want to fulfill his purposes and see my Papa smile. I realize that that is all the affirmation I need.

My prayer this week has been “Deliver me from evil.” Now, at the end of this fast I pray, “Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”
Let it be so, Lord. Let it be so. Amen.

I hear this word from the Lord for you…

“Walk with me on the journey. I will enlighten your soul. I am coming to rescue you. I have seen and heard your heart and I have been fulfilling my promises. Don’t lose faith in Me, the Lord says. Don’t lose faith! No eye has seen, no ear has heard what God has prepared for those who love him and who are called according to his purposes.

For those you have been praying for, remember your own conversion. Remember how it happened. If you haven’t really given your life, now is the time! Give is ALL. Give all that you are, all that you have, all of you! That is what you will pass on to others, because, you see, that you will receive more if you surrender more. That is what you have to pass on to others, to your family. What you sow, you will reap. Not just the bad, but the good. Your children will inherit the good as well. You have chosen me and that example is your testimony. Lead by example and establish what your children will inherit, your physical children and your spiritual children. It will be like day and night. As quickly as night ends and day comes, what we’ve hoped for will happen.

Was what lost, will be found.  (Luke 15)

How do I know? Because God reminded of how it happened for me One day, long ago, I woke up in the pig pen and said, “What am I doing? This isn’t working for me?” I had been resistant, willfully resistant, because I hadn’t tasted and seen yet. I knew nothing else but what I’d experienced. But at that point, I had nothing left. I was empty and needed something more, so I said YES to an invitation that changed my life. I said YES. And in an instant, resistance left and I was a new person who God filled with purpose and hope.

REMEMBER! Remember your testimony. Remember other testimonies. That is how quickly God can move in the ones you love and for those you have HOPED for. Don’t worry a minute longer, just keep extending invitations. God will do the work in their hearts as they see where they are sitting.  Rejoice, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand. 

God is putting the pieces together for me today and it is bringing me such joy that I can’t hold back the sobs. “This is true worship.. Your life is your worship to God. When you fully yield to all of yourself to him, and let go of all of your pride, you will find him. I pray you will see how intimately connected all things are and how he has been working on your behalf from the moment of the cross. Let your joy be complete.

God has been working in us to show us our need for him. When we truly see our need, there will be worship that will attract the host of heaven and the glory of God. We will see like never before who our God is. Our beautiful, amazing, incredible God, who loves us like a Papa loves his babies and fights for them to the death.

From “You Know My Name”…

“…I’m walking in your victory, because your power is within me, no giant can defeat me, because YOU hold my hand. I don’t have to be afraid anymore.. YOU hold my hand! I’m so in love with you. I’m so in love with you!”

In Christ,
Anne Huffman, Daughter of God

Testimony of JOY: 

God will remind you of what he has shown you and show you what he has been doing. Years ago I had an encounter with God. He showed me an open blank book. I didn’t know what to do with it or why he showed it to me. I always assumed I was to write it. He said, “Pour  my blood on these pages.” Around that time, God was beginning to teach me about miracles and healing. I was getting so hungry for him. I journaled all that I saw and how it happened at that time. I was seeing the power of God in so many ways that I was just wrecked over and over again. I was so expectant and wanted to teach others how to live in the supernatural ways of God.

Then, we came to a new church and life got different. I really didn’t know how to fit in.  My life of street ministry and women’s prayer groups changed. It’s like moving to a new town and trying to figure it out. My husband went on staff as a pastor and I jumped into intercession for him and church. That’s who I am, an intercessor. I stand in the gap for people. Who were these people? I stretched and grew in new and different ways. My dreams of a book were set aside. There were people who needed deep healing, kids who needed teaching, a pastor husband and the church to pray for and it took TIME. In the doing and praying, there was little time for writing. I used to write all these cool testimonies of miracles and healing in my family journal. I never knew where to share them. I had some amazing stories in the works, but they were yet unfinished.

I felt guilty at times that I did not write that book. Was I disobedient? The accuser did a number on me at times. But, I could not turn away from the people in front of me who needed my attention, and then my family who needed more of my time too, and then our homeless guys we helped, who I wanted to keep loving on called me. My journal of testimonies got dusty. I just couldn’t write it down anymore. I wasn’t living anxiety about this.. I didn’t think… I knew I had to do what I was doing each moment. I’m pretty prayerful about my days.

This morning, God opened up a picture of a timeline to me and I saw how years ago he put someone in my life to walk with, a sister of my soul. We talked of writing often but neither of us had anything published yet. This week I learned that she had been putting all her journal entries together and published a book and now it was in front of me! I have a book in m hand by my dear sister’s name on it called “My Supernatural Life”. I felt such joy! Such joy! It was like holding her close and feeling known all at the same time.

We have this picture that we are like an Oreo. Two parts divided by the state line and about 35 miles.

Her book is so raw and simple. It’s just her journal, much like mine in some ways, but with different experiences and according to our unique place in life. She explains things with clarity though, each encounter is filled with detail so you can understand. Isn’t that what we all want, to be understood?

As I read her book of amazing testimonies of miracles, and of one mission we did together, I went back to MY journal and reread some of the amazing testimonies I’d recorded too. Two sides of the same story! Something started to well up in me and I understood something. What I hadn’t been able to do in writing all these testimonies down, God was beginning to accomplish through my sister!  There were things I always wanted to do and explain to people and she had done that. Relief filled my heart as  thought of all the people I could share this with who would understand ME better through HER writing. It would help train up those I was helping along the path.

I remembered that in Christ we were one body. My sister was doing what I couldn’t do while I had another purpose. Tears started to flow and I felt a sob welling up in my soul. What I dreamed of, she had done. I was so relieved. I saw how all the parts were coming together and what I could do now that my heart had been revealed through her words. There were like experiences, and new experiences, and things I have always wanted to put into words for people.

I thought of all the people who she sought out to teach her, some I knew and some I didn’t, and over the years, many of us sought each other out for knowledge and faith that could only come by sharing the testimony. Those were food for our soul!

Now, God is bringing us together in a movement. Some of us have felt stuck but God is saying “Come up here. It’s time for you to get out of the little place you’ve been holding up in and working. It’s ok to get out of the life raft and onto the boat. Tears well up as I write this. Jesus said, “Make my joy complete by being like minded, being one in Spirit and of one mind.” Philippians 2:2

Book Link: “My Supernatural Life” by Lisa Beth Adams

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Doing Big Things

So many of us think others are holding us back, yet it is our own fears that limit us. How do we get rid of them, quickly? God wants to show us the way to go. It’s not always our way, but he leads us in the right direction. This is a testimony of how God freed me from the fear of doing big things.

Is there some stretching, bending and yielding that has had to happen in your life lately?

What blocks us from doing the big stuff God wants to do in our lives? Have you ever wondered what it is for you? I admit, for a long time, I thought it was other people who blocked me, but in several years of allowing God to search my soul and show me my ways, I’ve learned that the only thing that blocks me is ME… through what I believe about me, others and the world around me.

As we tell our stories and bare our souls, our vulnerability brings healing to others, so I pray that happens through my writing. The truth is, that when we are weak, God is strong. I am so thankful for how God has been fighting for me lately. In the last week I’ve had some deeply hidden strongholds of my mind bubble up and expose themselves. These are mindsets that have blocked my path. They were small things that I tolerated, one choice at a time that became big things, and they had become a part of my identity that I accepted.

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Have you every heard words like “God is going to do big things in your life?” I always wondered why I didn’t like “big”. Big things overwhelmed me. I liked to be in a small church, where I could manage things in small ways. When I came to a big church, I felt so intimidated. When I felt like God was leading us to move a few years ago, we had a 2750 square foot house. It felt big. I just wanted an open family room, that’s all. But God has a sense of humor. He said, “Go bigger.”

“What?!” Yet it was clear, and move we did. Now THIS is me, or who I thought I was….. My idea of happy was a small camper that I could clean in 15 minutes and then sit down, rather than in a big, giant house. I liked things close. I like people close, in my grasp, where they couldn’t escape spending time with me.

I was a leader of many things in a smaller church, but when I moved to bigger churches, I didn’t know how to lead or where I fit in. I never got past “small” in my mind. I taught small groups, and occasionally, I was asked to speak, but I always seemed to hit a barrier or limitation when it came to doing what was prophesied over my life in a consistent way. God had me deal with myself in the prayer closet. I stayed in “the closet”, literally, the prayer closet for years. I needed to be in there!… to pray for myself! I helped lots of other people through my time in the closet and received many visions of what could happen, yet I never felt ready to do them.

I was intimidated by those who led big things well, yet deeply respected them. They had positions that took work to achieve. Often I figured they must to be more qualified, or more talented, or more able to coordinate things that I was. Or, I would feel a bit of shame that they just worked harder than I did. It surely was true in many respects. I had realized this fear the night before and was feeling anxious about what doing big things could look like in my life.

This Sunday, it was a lovely morning here in Indiana. A great morning to sit on the porch swing before church and pray. I opened my heart to receive some much needed wisdom from God. I was ready to write it in my new journal. As I sat down, this verse reference popped into my head – Psalm 34:6.

“In my desperation I prayed, and the LORD listened;
he saved me from all my troubles.”

“Troubles.. troubles”… The word troubles stood out to me and I prayed, “Ok Lord, what ARE my troubles?” Quickly, I heard “belief system”.  That’s it. “Ok,” I reflected. “So, what is my belief system? I’m listening.” I heard no more, but instead felt sure I was done “sitting there” and had to get up and go for a walk. I trusted God was going to speak to me “as I went”. I went inside to tell the kids where I was going, but instead Jack, my son, said, “Go for a walk mom.” OK. That was clear. So I headed out, asking God which direction to go.

I stood at the edge of the driveway, listening for how the Holy Spirit was leading me. Noticing my reaction to the nudges I was feeling to going right. “I usually go left,” was my initial thought. It was easier, because there was no sun in my eyes as I came back, but I felt the nudge to go right. Then I had a stupefyingly simple revelation, “I have sunglasses and I just found them this week!” So I went inside, got those and headed right.

I walked a mile and came to the end of my road. I had always turned back when I got there. I was a mile, after all, and usually seemed far enough, but I felt like I could not turn back. I had to keep going. It was a pretty busy road, not seemingly pedestrian friendly in my mind. Yet, “Go full circle,” came to mind. Now realize, we live in the country and so it’s not like going around the block is a small task. But as I looked right, I could already see the flashing stop light of the next turn. “That’s not so bad,” I reasoned, then, I have only this same distance to go on the next leg, and then I’ll be on an even shorter path. “I can do it,” I realized. What seemed to big now seemed doable to me.

As I turned right and walked down the highway there was a grassy edge, and I came to a pasture on my right where horses were grazing. Three brown horses walked toward me as I approached, as if they wanted to greet me. They stopped about 10-15 feet from the fence from the gate that divided us.

I looked at them.
They looked at me.

Time stood still for a moment as these three horses looked directly at me, into my eyes, and into my soul. “What is happening?” I thought to myself, as this was a completely new experience for me, with horses. There was a connection of souls happening in that moment. I was shaken and stirred and something was being mixed up and rattled loose inside of me.

What I haven’t shared yet here is that I know fear should not be allowed to master us in any way. It always come to intimidate us, but we must overcome it. Yet, there is, or was, one thing in life I have continued to admit that I was still afraid of, and that was horses. They intimidated me because they are big. As a child, I went to a birthday party and there was a horse there. I was tiny. That horse was big and powerful and could easily step on me and crush me if it wanted to. I remained in awe of horses and their power and admired them from afar, but never felt “one” with them in size or spirit until this moment. What I felt as I looked into the eyes of one particular brown horse was that were were equal in stature. We were “co-laborers” in creation. We each had a specific task in life and were made to work together, to respect one another. I felt that respect in that moment. He respected me, and I respected him.

As I continued to look into the eyes of that particular horse, the two others ran off. I asked God if this was something important he was showing me. At that moment, this powerful, elegant, brown horse gazed into my eyes deeply, nodded his big head once, and ran off.

I stood there. Amazed.

Horses are not what I thought they were, scary enemies, or a threat. They were kindred spirits whom God would speak through- to me! I felt known by a horse in that moment, and I believe I saw God’s spirit through the eyes of that animal. We were both a part of creation made to work together. Communication between us had broken down the barrier of fear that had always existed in me. I feared horses because they were “big”.

I’m not around horses that much, so this fear didn’t seem to make big difference in my life, but as I continued to walk, the pages of my life book began to open up. I began to see how the fear of “big things” came from this small root of fear. If that horse wasn’t really against me, then other “big” things may not be as intimidating either.

The journal I was beginning that weekend was titled “Dream BIG.” Starting the journal title intimidated me a bit. Just the night before I wrestled and struggled internally with a word of expansion that God seemed to speak to me. Was it a test of my reaction? I asked my self, “Do I dream big? Have I really? Do I allow myself?” The truth was that God has put big dreams that I had been afraid to act on. There were things I would allow to become interference and excuses for why I couldn’t do it now. It was true, that I couldn’t do it until I overcame this fear, fear of doing something big or that big would overwhelm me. Of course, in my own strength, big would be overwhelming. But, if God was the God of that horse, and of me, then we were both on the same team. I didn’t need to be afraid of what lay ahead. I realized God was freeing me now to a new level of capacity. This fear had taken up a big place in my soul and I was seeing how it was operating.

I went back to my porch swing and began to write. As I did, I paid attention to how I “felt” as I sat there… I was able, not less, not smaller than everyone else that seemed big and powerful. I was chosen for something special. You were too. I only had to listen to that verse and believe it. “In my desperation I prayed, and the LORD listened; he saved me from all my troubles.” ( Psalm 34:6, NLT) I thank God for showing me my “troubles”, or at least one of them. I have yet another to log as well. It is worth the journey to ask God to show us why we have limitations. We can assume it is all the enemy, but really it is what we believe. This verse has always been a driving force for me, “Abraham believed God and it was credited to Him as righteousness.” It’s not my performance that makes me sane, or saved, but it’s my beliefs and my confession. As I’ve been praying for more faith, like Abraham had, these types of revelations are unfolding in my life. I pray for you, that you let God unfold the mysteries of your life.

Open your heart and mind to hear. Ask God where your limitations come from. They are not from him, but often rooted deep inside our souls, buried and tolerated in some way we have yet to discover.

“This is the way. Walk in it. “

Isaiah 30:19-22 “People of Zion, who live in Jerusalem, you will weep no more. How gracious he will be when you cry for help! As soon as he hears, he will answer you. Although the Lord gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, your teachers will be hidden no more; with your own eyes you will see them. Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” Then you will desecrate your idols overlaid with silver and your images covered with gold; you will throw them away like a menstrual cloth and say to them, “Away with you!”

Jeremiah 29

“The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

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Matthew 26:39-41  Jesus is in the Garden of Gethsemane praying before being taken captive …

39…he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”

40Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Couldn’t you men keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter. 41“Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

The Lord has been speaking  this thought to me this morning, “You are going into dark places, but the light shines from within.” Remember the song, “This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine!” It’s easier to put our light under a basket with a bunch of other little flames hoping the light shines through the cracks and will draw people, but that’s not how Jesus modeled it for us. He was the light of the world. He left the perfect place of heaven and went into the place where darkness lurked around, where his people were lost and confused by  his enemy. He left…

I’ve been soaking, a bit reluctantly, in Jeremiah in this season. I admit that when I kept hearing “Jeremiah” when I woke up in the morning I wasn’t excited. “Jeremiah!” I told the Lord, “He had it hard. They strung him up in the courtyard and laughed at him when he spoke for you. Thanks for reminding me about him…. Yup! I’ll surely keep him in mind and be alert if you want me to say something difficult. Yet, I didn’t want to go into the book and soak on hard stuff.  But, then God got specific and started giving me specific chapters each day and they seemed to parallel what I was seeing around me.

Today I heard Jeremiah 29. For context, in Chapter 28, Jeremiah has rebuked a prophet named Hannaniah, who was not speaking for God. He had been saying,  don’t worry.. you won’t have to go into captivity as Jeremiah says, “In two years God will bring all the sacred objects back from Babylon to Jerusalem.”

“NO!” says Jeremiah. He rebukes Hannaniah. Paraphrasing, he said that Hannaniah had taken off a wooden yoke off the people and replaced it with an even harder one, iron yoke. Because they didn’t submit and humble themselves to a word the Lord spoke about going into captivity under Babylon, they were going to have to go anyway, kicking and screaming!

Sometimes we just want to stay put, don’t we! God called the king of Babylon “my servant”. The people of Israel wanted to stay separate. They believed nothing could touch them, because God was with them, but he was no longer going to be for them in their rebellion if they stayed in that place! Like the Israelites in the dessert after Egypt, they didn’t want to move. Even the captivity of Egypt would be better than the unknown of the wilderness, they whined. But God was in the wilderness leading them to a new place.

Jesus showed us how he handled his hard moment like this. In Matthew 26, it is Thursday evening and Jesus is in the garden praying. He sees the dark place he must go into and cries out in agony to his Father. “If possible, take this cup from me..” yet he submits. Not my will, but yours be done. His act of faith that God, his Father, our Father, knows what he is doing, paid off. One act of submission changed the fate of the world and brought hope to those who could never see beyond the scales on their eyes. He submitted and the deed was done in three days. Three agonizing days, yet three days. I’m glad he persevered, aren’t you?

We all have times we have to act in faith. We don’t need faith to do the same old thing we’ve been doing. The Jews had a challenge before them from God. They were told to do something that didn’t seem logical. God sent a young man named Jeremiah to announce the seemingly ridiculous thing they much do.

“Submit to God!”

At that time, every “prophet” the king surrounded himself with had been deceived. They spoke comforting words that made it seem comfortable and right to stay. Jeremiah came with a “now” word from the Lord. This is a paraphrase, so read the book of Jeremiah to hear this amazing story of perseverance by Jeremiah. He persisted in telling them of a hope of freedom they would receive if they submitted to God.

Listen up! God has a plan and it’s not what you think it is. You must humble yourselves and go where you don’t want to go! Even under a foreign king, GOD IS STILL GOD. He wants you to be humble and go and put you in a place where people will see what happens when my people are surrounded by darkness. God would be with them if they went into Babylon, but all they could see was what they knew and they didn’t want to go. Jeremiah casts a vision in Chapter 29. GO!!! Go to that place and thrive.

Jeremiah 29:4-8 “4This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: 5“Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. 6Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease. 7Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.”

Push your flesh to follow the Spirit! Go and do the new thing that God has for you. It may look very different than what seems sensible and historically has worked. God is challenging us to believe him, to set our old ways aside and follow His ways. If we want the answers to the prayers we have prayed, they come his way, not ours. Remember the old saying, “You can’t keep doing things the same way and expect different results.” This was the case in Jeremiah’s day, in Jesus’s time, and in ours. We like the thought of following him, and can deceive ourselves to thinking that we are following him because what we are doing looks good or sounds good. Sometimes there is only one voice speaking something different in a crowd of those who are ok with the same-old-same-old.

Where is he calling you? What is he really leading us to do? How many excuses will keep us in the wilderness when the offer of God is on the table, ready to be received. Come…

Psalm 34

8 Taste and see that the Lord is good;
blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.
9 Fear the Lord, you his holy people,
for those who fear him lack nothing.
10 The lions may grow weak and hungry,
but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.
11 Come, my children, listen to me;
I will teach you the fear of the Lord.

Go, thrive in the place he sends you. Do it God’s way, even if it means blind faith. Jesus said, “Without faith it is impossible to please God, because those who come to him must believe that he IS and that He is the rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”

There’s a step you need to take. What is it?

Perhaps you will start here… in bold worship..

Step into Grace Today

In the last 24 hours there has been such an increase of activity in the spirit. The  challenges some had yesterday attempted to discourage, but today there is a great grace for going forward, for moving out of the old and into the new. Grace, to me, feels like an opening to something new became wider so more could cross into good things. Run through it!

Go forward with Christ. Go to your prayer room or find a place to be hidden with him. Just step into His presence. He is waiting and ready. Don’t wait for someone to lead you. GO. Hide with him and he will meet you.

Then, submit –  Open the doors of your soul and let Him in. Invite him reach in, to uncover every stronghold that holds you back. Listen and follow his lead in every way. Let him capture your mind, emotions and your physical senses. Respond to even the slightest impulse of his Spirit and you will be touched.

AskShow me any stronghold – Now Lord.

Follow His lead in obedience. If you hear a name or see a face ask what you need to forgive them for and just do it. Don’t question. Then let him touch you and heal you.

Say “YES” to an invasion of your soul – God himself will search you and know you.

Pressing forward – Time to Run

When a runner stands at the starting line of a race he/she is focused on one thing, the goal. Put yourself there right now, at the starting line of a big race. I don’t care if you are a runner, or if you ever have been a runner before, imagine you are an olympian! Don’t settle for less! Bend down, get in position and line up. The gun is going to go off any minute. Where are your thoughts?

Where is your focus?  The Bible says that if our eye is single in focus that our whole body will be full of light.

Where are you focused as you squat down, leaned forward at the starting line, waiting for the gun to go off? 

I’m staring straight ahead; not giving attention to distracting voices on the sidelines, not thinking about what I did yesterday. I’m in the moment and I know my purpose.

“I will start well, run well with a good pace and finish well, and cross with great glory, because who goes to the Olympics to lose!”

Today, there are some of you who are stuck. You’ve felt complacent, lacking zeal, not sure if you can do the things ahead of you. Life has sucked you into it’s toilet bowl in some way. You know you don’t belong in there, because God has things ahead of you, but you can’t seem to get out of the bowl!

It’s time to put a demand on the door of heaven! Sometimes we pray nice prayers, begging prayers…. selfish prayers…. and pitiful prayers. Did you know that self-pity is a sin? (Read more here if you question me. ) Yes. It is a distracting sin! Yet we pray, “God why didn’t you do what you said you would do? Why don’t I feel equipped? Why am I not effective? I am miserable. I am depressed. I am disappointed…”

I want you to picture yourself right in the water of whatever toilet bowl you are stuck in right now and look up at the rim. Yell at God. He is waiting for us to say “WHAT DO YOU WANT!”

Well? What DO you want? Start shouting out what you really want. Don’t be pathetic about it either. Start small, but grow big until you ask for the most audacious thing you can imagine and that God would desire for your life. God is able to do exceedingly more than we can ask or imagine so just TRY IT. Go BIG! God is pleading with us to ask that question,

WHAT DO YOU WANT!”  

I did this recently and it changed my season from complacent to captivated.

Here’s what I prayed. I couldn’t stand myself any longer! I knew I was not as compassionate as Jesus was, because there were things that didn’t bother me enough to stop. I knew I didn’t walk in the faith of Jesus, because obstacles that didn’t really exist tempted me and distracted me. I knew Jesus was perfect love and perfect love casts out fear. I needed to look more like JESUS! – and He lives in me, so what was the problem?!

I got in position. I focused on Jesus. Set my mind on His image. The visible image of the invisible God. Yes… That’s what I want. I want those eyes, that heart, that faith, that zeal, that wisdom, that knowledge. I want what He already said is mine! I am not going to have any less. I am his bride and he loves me that much! I decided to demand that a rope of escape, of freedom, be sent into my toilet bowl of lack where I had let myself be immersed, because I was DONE! It was a lie!

Are you ready to get up and run? Feel free to shout this with me. YES! GET OVER YOURSELF. SHOUT! You’ll be surprised what it breaks off of you. Let the enemy know you are serious. Let God know you are serious.

My rant sounded something like this….

I WILL NOT STAY HERE IN THIS STATE OF LACK AND COMPLACENCY ANY LONGER! GET ME OUT!!
I’ll say it louder. I WILL NOT STAY HERE ANY LONGERGET ME OUT! God, I know you are there, so I KNOW you hear me and I am calling attention to myself now. I WON’T SETTLE FOR ANYTHING LESS THAN WHAT YOU HAVE FOR ME! GIVE ME EVERYTHING SO THAT I CAN GIVE OTHERS EVERYTHING YOU HAVE FOR THEM! If you don’t come get me out, I’m going to fly out of this toilet on jet power and I’ll show you what I’m made of. I will NOT be defeated. I am NOT made to lose and the enemy has no grip on me that you haven’t paid to CRUSH. God, do you hear me?”

(I saw a view of God relaxed, chuckling to himself, grinning, sitting back, and with a look of satisfaction on his face. He seemed to say.... “Now. THAT I can agree with. THAT I can work with. Pull her out.” 

Did it work. Yes. Was it bold. YES. Was is scriptural YES! Does God want humility to look like we are the doormat to heaven… NO. Humility means that this is not of myself. Unless I bang on the door of heaven declaring what I believe. I’m stuck in the toilet with the rest of the crap.

Phillipians 4:19 says, “19 But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”

and James 4:2-3 says, “2 You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. 3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.”

What I am asking for.. I am going to spend on God! far more like Jesus when I am not bound by doubt, shame, self-pity, unbelief, fear, hatred, bitterness and ungodly thoughts…

Am I going to enjoy freedom? Yes.
Am I going to be joyful? Yes.
Am I going to be generous? Yes.
Am I going to have fun? Yes.
Am I going to infect people with the love of Jesus? Yes!

I want to be contagious in a GOOD way, so God… get me out of this stuff that is dulling my true identity. Kick me in the pants so I have no choice but to go forward. Don’t let up until I believe everything you say about me and like it! Get me out of this toilet of the lies that I believe and every area that the enemy has held me captive, NOW!

THAT is not selfish. That is man – created for God’s glory.

Recently we had 6 days of renewal services in the evenings at our church. Each night I had a single picture. I saw myself seated on a horse and we were in full stride, running. I just heard the single word “RUN!” This is the time to run.  Many of us have been on a  leisure ride on a horse-driven cart with a group of people who may or may not have been getting off at our stop, or going our direction. It’s time to get off the wagon and get on the horse you were made to ride. You don’t need to be driven around on a path in a cumbersome cart wondering where the path is going and when you will get off.

NO! Ride your horse, in your direction, in your identity. You won’t be alone, but it will be different, empowering. You will ride and have more freedom to join with others who are running in the same way. When an obstacle comes, those you race with will cheer you on because they know how to steer and navigate through the woods you will go through, the streams you will cross and the ravines you will need to jump. When you fall, they will keep running, but yell, “GET UP!” and you will.

Matthew 7:7-11

– the words of Jesus, himself…

7 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. 9 Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? 11 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!” 

Jeremiah 33:3

“3 Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.”

It’s time to call, and expect an answer, because without faith, it is impossible to please God, for those who come to Him, must believe that He IS and that he is the rewarder of those who EARNESTLY seek Him.

What are you waiting for… Mount up…

Arabian Horses Walking in Pasture

We Flourish in Complete Surrender

Friday, October 7, 2016, we had a service at our church called, “Awaken”. When I go, I listen for the theme of what God is doing right now in the Body of Christ.

As I arrived, I pulled out my journal and heard the word “FLOURISH”.

As soon as I stood for worship, I felt the need to take a small step forward. I was in the front row and if I went far, I’d be way out of line with others. I took a tiny step forward and began to worship, not worrying about if I was a little “forward.”

Then I saw water rising up in two columns, “flourishing”. It became two walls of water and I realized it was the sea parting, like the Red Sea with Moses rose his staff. I was standing at the opening where the Israelites would have had to choose to go forward and trust that the walls would not cave in on them. The “line in the sand” was at the beginning. I realized that the Israelites went forward on dry ground, solid ground. As I saw this, the music echoed, “The Rock won’t move, the rock won’t move… on Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand,”

As I sketched this picture, I wondered how many people there should be. Just one. This message is for an audience of one, because this was an individual journey. The step I choose to take was an entry into the parted sea, into what God would give let me enter into if I just said, “Yes.” At the end of the tunnel I saw the words “The Promised Land”. Have faith for the Promised Land, step into it.

The worship progressed and the prophetic painter, Tim, finished a picture of a fierce lion! I returned to the vision and looked down the passageway created by the parted sea walls. At the end of the tunnel a huge, flaming lion’s face appeared at the end of the passageway between the columns of water. The face of the Lion of Judah, in all his GLORY, began to come forward through the parted sea walls, filling the passageway. Nearer, and nearer, approaching me as I stood there.

How majestic he was! How magnificent! How fierce his love!

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(Lion painted during worship by Tim Yearington)

He came through the tunnel toward me as I crossed the line to say “YES!” God is simply asking for our “Yes” and he will come get us and lead us like the flaming torch and the smoking fire pot that led the Israelites in the desert, yet we will NOT be in a desert. The sign at the end the the passageway said Promised Land. He is not going to leave us wandering in the desert any longer, if only we will take the step.

Genesis 46 flashed into my mind again as I worshiped. I stopped to read…

46 So Israel set out with all that was his, and when he reached Beersheba, he offered sacrifices to the God of his father Isaac.2 And God spoke to Israel in a vision at night and said, “Jacob! Jacob!”
“Here I am,” he replied.3 “I am God, the God of your father,” he said. “Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for I will make you into a great nation there. 4 I will go down to Egypt with you, and I will surely bring you back again. And Joseph’s own hand will close your eyes.”

Jacob took the step of faith and went to Egypt. His didn’t yet know that he would find his son there, ruling as second in command of all Egypt! He went in blind faith, knowing his need. When he arrived, he found that his faith was well rewarded. What was stolen from him was returned!

Joseph, the misunderstood dreamer, the one who was outcast and rejected by his brothers YET adored by his father, was now second in command of all Egypt. God himself lifted him up and recognized the gifts his brothers hated him for. Those who scorned him were brought low in humility and repentance before him. The dreamer was unmasked before their eyes. They had no idea who he was until that moment. They had no idea of the greatness of the gifts, or the purpose, in the little brother they mocked. In spite of what had been done, Joseph valued the unity of his family. He had mercy and forgave.

“Mercy triumphs over judgment…” sang the worship leader as I read this scripture.

God rewards faith. He rewarded Jacob. He rewarded Joseph. Have you had years of trial, loss and struggle, insecurity, or fear? In the midst of it, have you pushed forward, continuing to believe that God is faithful, no matter what you are experiencing? Or, have you wavered, lost faith and wallowed in the slop! No matter where you’ve been, it’s time to stand up, WAKE UP, and wash the scales off of your eyes. Get out of your cocoon, shake yourself free, and LOOK down at that line in the sand.

Jesus said, “When I return will I find faith on the earth?” Will he? If you are willing. Stand up. Take a physical step forward. Say, “Yes, Lord.”

Don’t look back.

There is no looking back allowed when we want to flourish. No dwelling on the old! If the Israelites looked back while they were in the middle of the parted Red Sea they would have lost valuable minutes and the waves would have crashed upon them as they closed down on Pharaoh and his army. Remember Lot’s wife as she was fleeing Sodom and Gomorra. Lot’s wife looked back. She was turned into a pillar of salt by the Lord. Don’t grieve for what you are leaving behind, just go!

The time is now to believe! Any affection Lot’s wife had for Sodom and Gomorra was misplaced. Don’t grieve over what should be dead! Don’t grieve for an old identity you were not meant to wear anymore.

When you step over that line, you will be choosing faith. You will go nowhere without faith. Choose overcoming faith. As in Genesis when Joseph was calling for his family to come and receive what he paved the way for, God is calling you to come and “step into” the path where he will roar over you with His grace. “I will go down to Egypt with you, and I will surely bring you back again.” He is with us. “And Joseph’s own hand will close your eyes.” What Jacob had longed for, God had heard. God does not forget the desires of your heart. What was lost long ago will be returned. God has not forgotten, nor has he been inactive. While Jacob grieved, Joseph was being prepared for what was prophesied long ago in those dreams. God returned what had been stolen with abundance added!

HAVE FAITH! Celebrate what you do not yet see! Look at the end of this story and take it as a word for yourself. God has been active in your life and your situation in ways you don’t know. He has been fighting for you, whether you were striving in struggle, or resting or believing or frustrated while He was doing it. He was working anyway. Some of us have just been spinning our wheels going nowhere worrying about the path we were on. God wasn’t worried!

You may not see what is ahead; you may only see the step in front of you, but step forward and say “YES, yes God, I’m all in.” Done? Good. Now, you have postured yourself to receive. You are standing in faith. He will show you the next step.

Let this word be a light to your feet and lamp to your path. Joseph didn’t know his future when he left to greet his brothers the day he was thrown in the pit. He didn’t know it when he got to Egypt and spent two years in the pit again! There were people who got in his way, like Potiphar’s wife, and became tools of the enemy in his life, but God saw it all and said “Watch what I’m going to do with that boy!” Now, don’t be surprised at what God will do with you.

At the end of the night of worship, Jesus came before me and handed me a treasure chest. It was open and filled with gold coins. Having seen this picture before, I asked the Lord “Why are you showing this to me?” As I looked, something new happened. Select coins began to levitate and full color faces appeared on them. I heard the word, “CHANGE”. Imprinted on the coins were some of the faces of those who’s lives I’d seen changed by Jesus. “These are my treasures,” He said. “Lives changed.”

When these coins, these precious ones, were put together they amounted to a treasure that were a King’s reward. His reward for the cross.  Each one had let themselves be submitted to the Refiner’s fire. Each one had taken the first step toward their Father God and now, they lived as His reward.

Take a step toward him. Adore Him. He will come for you, like the Lion of Judah that he is. He will come for you. Just celebrate where you are and believe God is faithful.

Jeremiah 29:13
“You will seek me and find me
when you seek me
with your whole heart.” 

Loving People You Don’t Like or Trust

One of the most powerful tools the enemy locks us up with is unforgiveness. He especially loves when we think we have forgiven someone, but deep down, we still don’t love them unconditionally. True forgiveness means that I now have compassion toward that person, in spite of what they did to me or to someone else. I want the best for them, even if they don’t want the best for me. It’s not just ignoring pain and saying the words, “I forgive you,” I have RELEASED forgiveness and my heart has changed. Jesus commanded, “Love your enemies and and pray for those who persecute you.” Sometimes we fall a step short of that and think that tolerating people is forgiving them, but true freedom comes through Jesus’s definition.

The devil loves when we think we’ve forgiven people but we haven’t. Why? It gives him a foothold. Remember that verse “Don’t give the devil a foothold?” Forgiveness includes unconditional love. Tolerance does not equal love. You will have to forgive, even when it hurts. This can be HARD – I know! People do hurtful things. For example, how does one love unconditionally someone who’s raped them, broken into their home, or a spouse that has called you degrading names? How does one love a parent who didn’t love back? Or how about a doctor who made a mistake and let your child die? Even loving the person in front of us in the grocery store who’s kids are wreaking havoc can challenge us some days?

Jesus will help us see differently if we ask Him. There are people who have hurt us, but we can love them when we look at them from the Father’s perspective.

“And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.” Mark 11:25

Forgiveness was a free gift we received at the cross and we are told to freely give as freely as we have received. We CAN choose not to, but there are consequences.

“… SO THAT… your Father in heaven may forgive you…” Forgiveness is important to God. Sometimes we are tormented by spirits (tormentors) because we have not forgiven. Read the parable of the unforgiving servant to see why forgiving is for OUR benefit.

Matthew 18 ” 21 Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him then? Up to seven times?” 23 “Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. 24 As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him. 25 Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt.

26 “The servant fell on his knees before him. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’ 27 The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go.

28 “But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii. He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he demanded.

29 “His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.’

30 “But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. 31 When the other servants saw what had happened, they were greatly distressed and went and told their master everything that had happened.

32 “Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. 33 Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ 34 In anger his master turned him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.

35 “So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses.” (emphasis mine) How many times can we read a section of Jesus teaching and miss the last point. If we fail to forgive as we have been forgiven, Jesus said our heavenly Father will do to us what the fate of this unforgiving servant received. “.. he threw him into prison until he should pay the debt.”

We must forgive others as (in the same way) we have been forgiven. There are theologies that blame God for “allowing” bad things in our lives but in the story above, who is allowing the torment? The one who would not forgive! He has brought it on himself and He can release himself when he learns to forgive. We hold the keys in this matter!

In the Old Testament the law had consequences for sin because God is just. The debt has been paid for our sin! But now we must not grieve God by not forgiving those He has forgiven. Now we have a mediator in Christ who stands before God on our behalf, but the Mediator, Himself, says that we must forgive or our Father will turn us over to the tormentors to learn a lesson. I want to learn those lessons FAST by searching my own heart for the residue, don’t you?

So often we look at people through the lens of our experience. Our hurt clouds our vision. Jesus hung on the cross and pleaded with His Father to forgive those who scourged him until he was unrecognizable. He saw people differently, even when they hurt him. Sometimes there are people we’d just rather avoid, who we just don’t really like.

How do we move past this and on to loving that person who seems so difficult? We need to change our glasses in our spirit through which we see the world. Would you like to be able to move past hurts? We’re going to try an exercise that may help…

Prayer tool for forgiveness and freedom:

Before you read this, prepare your heart to pray. You are going to ask your Father in heaven a couple of questions and wait for a response. Right after you ask a question, you may receive a picture in your head, hear a name or perhaps see or think of group of people. If you receive nothing, you either see everyone just as God sees them, or you may have something hindering your hearing skills. Jesus said, “My sheep hear my voice.” You should expect to hear God’s voice. If you don’t hear, step back and ask God to align your heart to His, show you any unconfessed sin, bring his complete rest upon you and take a deep breath!

God asks us to love as Jesus did. He loved those who people thought were unlovable.

Who could this be in your life? It could be an individual who doesn’t like you, one who believes differently, or someone you just generally don’t want to be around. This could be a person or group of people from another culture, or background. Forgiving and loving are tied tightly together. You could hold bitterness against any one, a group of people, or a type of person.

What if you looked at them from God’s perspective today, as if they were the masterpiece that you created – as Jesus looks at them. We are to regard no man according to the flesh – meaning by what we see, or through our filter of experience or opinions. Looking at people through the eyes of the Spirit means you see their original value as God intended it. This is the key to seeing them with complete love and acceptance.

Here we go…Quiet yourself. Read the question and then listen for the first thought that comes to mind.

Question 1: “Father God, Is there anyone or any group of people that if they walked into the room, I would be less than thrilled to see them?

Did someone come to mind? First – Repent out loud- “Forgive me, Father, for not loving this person, or these people as you love them.”

Question 2: Now, set your feelings aside. Open your heart to hear and let God show you a new picture of this person in your mind. You may see a visual, feel an emotion, or hear a whisper of His voice in your head. (His voice sounds like your own thoughts at times.)

Ask Jesus.. “Jesus, show me how YOU see (this person)?”

You may be shocked at what you’ve just learned. Was it better than what you thought of them? Did you gain some understanding? I hope so.  Now forgive that person completely and pray for them. Bless them. Bless them abundantly, aloud, and feel the freedom that comes in the process. (It is good for satan to hear us let go of unforgiveness. Then he must loose his grip on you. You have broken your agreement with his ways.)

Repeat this process until there is no one left! Most of us begin with more than one person we need to deal with, so let this become a regular practice.

Take is further! As you walk down the street, ask God, “How do you see that person?”  Start seeing the world from a new perspective. You may find that what He shows you is so amazing that you just can’t help telling them! As we humble ourselves, we become distributors of freedom.

Once you love them… You’ll like them too. You just won’t be able to help it!