Tag Archives: abide

{in}perfection

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His shoulders slump and his head is down in defeat as he shares with me a repeated sin he committed. He looks frustrated, weary and condemned. I too am frustrated ready to pile on condemning words, until I felt a tinge of compassion fill my heart. I was reminded of the confessing cleansing conversation I had with a friend about my sins just minutes before.

By God’s grace, I knew it was most important to share with my son the spiritual heart of the matter, to tell him the truth about the Truth-Jesus Christ.

To be transparent and share my genuine compassion for his sin struggle because I struggle too. It was a holy opportunity to share the Gospel. To share the gift of forgiveness and mercy that comes through repentance towards God and faith in the cleansing blood of Jesus Christ. To share the freedom that comes by power of the resurrected Christ. To walk him to God’s throne of grace.
It was a chance to remind us we’re not perfect and we need a Savior. Any righteousness we have comes from Jesus Christ in us. We are to practice righteousness, press on to maturity, but only God will perfect us until the day of Christ Jesus.
I write this stone of memorial to remind myself, we must practice patience–with ourselves…and one another.

***

When I was a new Christian I was naive to think I would no longer make a mistake. I read  that I was a “new creation” and given a “new heart,”and though I “knew” I was not perfect, I made an expectation for myself that I should be perfect or I was a hypocrite.

This led me to great frustration and even condemnation because I couldn’t understand the continual struggle against sin I was dealing with, let alone the number of times I failed. What I see now is any holiness I have is CHRIST IN me. I have seen my flesh and it’s ugliness to the point I’ve doubted my own salvation! The redeeming part is that my flesh and sin remind me of my need for a Savior. This gives me compassion for those that struggle, beginning in my own family.

A fruitful life comes by a daily walk of abiding in the one who is perfection: Christ.

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Glorify God. Magnify Christ. Edify the brethen.


Light Shines @ The Vagabond Inn

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It was a cool dark morning when my kids and I walked toward the lobby of the Vagabond Inn. My eyes quickly darted away from the band of men in the dimly lit parking lot, whispering and staring at me with unlovely looks. Fear immediately gripped me, and the Holy Spirit reminded me,

“Perfect love casts out all fear…”

I was reminded I was not alone, God was with me, and I took my thoughts captive and asked Him to help me not to fear the men but allow God to love them through me.

As my children and I began fixing our breakfast, my husband walks in to tell me he had to leave for work and couldn’t stay to eat with us. He prays and hugs us good-bye.

Once he left the room, the silence was deafening and my heart was overwhelmed by the sadness, depression and darkness of the environment. I quickly took an inventory:

Five men outside, two men inside getting food, one sitting at a table eating….and in the far left corner was a young woman scribbling in a notebook. Her head was down and she was trying to be invisible. We sat at the table across from her and I prayed in my heart,

God, I know you have cleansed my heart, I know you have reminded me that while we were yet sinners You loved us by sending Jesus Christ…I know I have good news to share but I’m scared…can you help me to share Christ with a lost soul?”

Desperate for help, I looked through my phone for a song and find ‘Light of the World’ and I began to sing with my kids. We started worshiping softly and become progressively louder, drowning out the dark and depressing environment.

When the song finished, the silence returned but the atmosphere was different. A voice pierced through the silence,

“You have a beautiful voice.”

It was the voice of the young lady.

I want to disagree with her, but instead say, “Thank you.” I looked at the children and excused myself and they nodded knowing I was stepping out in obedience.

I walked into her sphere of life and introduced myself. She forced a smile and told me her name–J.

Her eyes are familiar to me…full of hurt, hopelessness, and shame, ready to burst.

I gently asked her,

“J, Do you have faith?”
“Oh yes, I do.” She responded defensively
“What do you have faith in?” I pressed.
“I believe in God, I talk to Him all the time. I gave my life to Christ when I was 11….”

Her eyes began to light up and she invited me to reminisce with her the goodness and grace of God in her life as a child. She shared how she completed the entire AWANA program and memorized a lot of Scripture.

I was so excited and pointed to my children and told her they too were in AWANA hiding God’s Word in their hearts just as she did. My children take this as a cue to come over, and she smiles at them. She shared with us the other things God did through her, like the time she went on a mission trip to build houses. She was coming alive as she spoke of God. My next question broke her,

“J, What are you doing here?”

Her lip quivers and she darts her eyes at the kids and back at me. My children sense the seriousness of the moment and return to their seats to finish their meal. She casts her face down and quietly mumbles that she came down to the lobby because the man she was with is still sleeping.

I didn’t mean to ask her why she was at the Vagabond Inn, but why she was in this town. I saw my question caused her to want to hide and I felt compassion for her. I reached my hand to hers and squeezed it tightly hoping love would flow through me to her. I opened my mouth,

“J, God’s Word is in you…all those years of memorizing in AWANA and God’s word does not return to Him void. You have given your life to Christ when you were 11 years old. You must remember nothing….’nothing can separate you from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus? NOTHING. Not even what you did five minutes ago.”

I continued,

“…do you mind if I pray with you?”

“Sure, I’ll pray with you….”

We hold hands and pray aloud.

When we finished our eyes locked on each other and I said,

“The Bible teaches us, “If we confess our sins God is faithful and righteous to forgive us and the blood of Christ cleanses us from all unrighteousness.” He has taken us out of the darkness into His marvelous light and we need to come back to the Light. God still LOVES you.”

Her eyes lit up with excitement and she bends down to grab two pieces of paper. As she unfolds them she tells me,

“I drew these last night and this morning as I was talking to God….”

I look at them as she gets water. They are drawn from a tortured and torn heart. It was evident she was in a spiritual battle.

She drew a line of demarcation and had light and dark contrasted. On one side she listed all her struggles and sins with a picture of satan and she’s crying.

On the other side there was light and beauty with flowers and a butterfly with words like love and happiness. She was smiling and happy and her hearts goals and dreams were listed in order.  Number one on her list was to have a lasting relationship with God and her family. She had the words “Get back” written in several places indicating she knew she was off the path and wanted to get back on it.

Suddenly I hear another woman’s voice ask her a question,

“Hey, was that you praying? Will you do me a favor, I want you to pray for me and my friend….”

I turn to look at her response. Her eyes widen and she looks astonished that someone would ask her for prayer, but she slowly nods and begins to walk away.

I walked over and stood next to J and saw two women and after introducing myself I tell them we will pray for them right now. One of them asks curiously,

“So that’s what you do? You pray? You sit here in the lobby and ask people if they need prayer?”

I smiled full of joy and said, “Well I’m not always here but I’m available to pray for, and with anyone willing. Jesus is the one that is always interceding for the saints.”

We held hands going to the throne of grace together. We cry out to God clothed in the righteousness of Christ, thankful for His forgiveness and grace and we ask for His help, His wisdom, His strength to be obedient daughters and walk in the Light.

When we finished one of them says, “AMEN! I became a Christian when I was eight and I have strayed far into the dark but someone has been inviting me to Church and I’m going back today!”

Like a giddy little girl, I lift my hands and praise God!!

As the two ladies left, J and I discussed her confessional drawings. She told me she wanted to get out of there. I admitted to her that I wanted to take her out of there. She asked if I would take her to L.A.

I told her I was going to Church and she could come with me and afterwards I could take her….but I stopped and looked into her eyes and asked,

“J, if I take you to L.A. what will you be doing there? Who do you know there?”

She drew back and casted her eyes down and says, ‘I know lots of people’ and if you don’t take me I will take the bus to get there anyway.”

I told her, “Thank you for being honest with me, I understand. But do you understand why I won’t take you?”

“Yes. You don’t want to be the one responsible for taking me into the darkness and if something happens to me you would be upset.”

“That’s correct. J, if I had my own place I would take you home with me. I have to pray and ask God for wisdom, I need to ask Him my role in this situation right now, and I need to be content with the role He has given me.”

‘I understand.’

We sit in silence for a moment and I remember I have some more ‘Bread of life’ to leave with her so I run to my car and write her a note and hand it to her. Before we say good-bye I reminded her of more Truth,

“J, God loves you so much, you are His workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works He has prepared for you to walk out. Your salvation is not just for you but for the building up of the Church. Didn’t you see that when the woman asked you for prayer? There are lost souls out there that need us to remain in Christ so we can encourage them to come back on the path of Light. We must continue to go to Church so that we can come together to stir one another to love and good deeds just as we did today.”

She smiles and her eyes show she understands. She says thank you, we hug and exchange contact information in hopes to keep in touch.

We had Church before we went to Church that day, and Light shined brightly in that Vagabond Inn: To. God. Be. The. Glory.

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******
I share this to encourage you. I am not perfect, there have been many times I’ve missed opportunities to share truth with the suffering because of my pride and self-righteousness.

The day before I met ‘J’ I was tested and sifted. I confessed to my husband my ugly thoughts about the residents of his temporary ‘home.’ I told him I was scorning them, looking down on them for the bondage they allowed themselves to be in….as I confessed, my heart was pierced with God’s sWORD:

“But God demonstrated his own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”

I meditated on ‘while we were YET SINNERS…”

That was me too. The only reason I was different was because of God’s grace. Instead of scorning them I chose to mourn for them. All of this was necessary to prepare me for the good work God would do through me this March morning.

There are a lot of hurting people in the world. They do a lot of things to escape the pain by numbing themselves with drugs, alcohol, and unhealthy relationships.

Some of these souls have never met Jesus Christ, and some have known Him and are prodigal children. They have tasted and seen The Lord is good but they have walked in the darkness so long they actually believe the lies of satan, “that God no longer loves them.”

Someone in your sphere of life needs to hear TRUTH: that God loves them, someone in the environment you are placed in needs to be encouraged to walk in the Light. Someone near you needs you to SHINE the LOVE and LIGHT of Christ to help them turn back to Him.

I have two questions for the children of God:

Will you scorn the lost or will you mourn for them?
Are you ready to share the hope that is within you?


A Change of Heart

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You begin life with a selfish heart.

Everything you say is right and everyone else is wrong. It needs to be your way, you hurt people with the things you say and do but don’t care. If they hurt you, you harden your heart and cut them out of your life pretending they don’t exist.

But one day after making another selfish decision it doesn’t “feel” right. You wonder what this “feeling” is about…maybe your conscience? You shrug your shoulders and ignore the “feeling,” sometimes escaping and using things of the world to numb your heart.

This “feeling” happens often enough you begin to see other things, like how your selfishness hurts others. At first you react indifferent as if you don’t care, but deep inside you do. You begin to see “ugly” in you. It comes to the point when you can’t handle it anymore and you wonder, “Can I ever change?”

You strive to succeed. You try to be nicer to people, try to say nice things, but your thoughts reveal the authenticity of your heart…”ugly.” You still press forward and begin to do charitable deeds to feel good about yourself but it never lasts.

But one day you’re introduced to perfection—Jesus Christ. You don’t know Him but you know about Him and You want to be like Him. He’s so loving, patient and kind, all the things you know you are not. You begin going to Church, reading the Bible and you try to be like Him but fail every time. In fact, the more you read the Bible, the more you learn about the Holiness of God and the more you see your “ugly” heart and your inability to love God and others.

You “pour” out your ugly heart and begin to “mourn” and weep about the “ugly” in you. You feel hopeless and doubt there could ever be a change in your “ugly” heart. and you want a new heart. You are overwhelmed on where to begin in this change…then one day you meet Jesus for yourself and are invited into a reconciled relationship to KNOW the One that heals hurts and hearts…the scales fall of your eyes and you see:

  • The only One that can change your heart is the one who created you–God the Father
  • The only Way to get to God the Father is to be reconciled to Him for all those times you cherished your “ugly” heart and hurt Him and others
  • The only Way to be reconciled to the Father is through Jesus Christ
  • The only Way to get a new heart is to be born again
  • The only Way to keep this new heart unstained by the world is to walk in the Light

The only Way to walk in the Light and be Revived is to place your faith in Jesus Christ:

  • Believe Jesus came to save you from your “ugly” not condemn you
  • Believe Jesus took the sacrifice for your “ugly” and it is finished
  • Believe Jesus reconciled you to God the Father
  • Believe you have been given the resurrection power to abstain from “ugliness”
  • Believe Jesus is praying for you
  • Believe God is faithful and righteous and will continue to forgive you of your “ugly” and cleanse you

So one day you give your “ugly” dark heart to God and He takes your heart of stone and gives you a heart of flesh and puts His Spirit in you, telling you the way to go and you begin to walk in the Light.

You know you are not perfect but believe God will complete the work He began you until the day Christ returns.

As you walk in the Light with your new heart you sometimes experience that same “feeling” and see “ugly” but now you don’t ignore this “feeling” and instead you daily pour out your heart to God and turn to Him and experience a new feeling a “burning.”

This “burning” is God refining you, making you more like Christ….isn’t that what you wanted? To be like Jesus Christ?  That is what our Creator, your Father wills.

***
*The “ugly” is sin

*That “feeling” about sin is conviction

*That “pouring” about sin is confession

*That “mourning” about sin is godly sorrow

*That “turning” from sin is repentance

*That “burning” of sinful flesh is sanctification making you more like Christ

A change of heart only comes through God by turning from your sinful ways to God and placing your faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ.

Repentance towards God and faith in The Lord Jesus Christ. Repentance and faith…is the lifestyle of a child of God.

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“Turn to Me and be saved, all the ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other.” Isaiah 45:22

‘”For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died; and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf.

Therefore from now on we recognize no one according to the flesh; even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him in this way no longer. Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation.

Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”

2 Corinthians 5:14-21


Declaration of {In} Dependence

Today America celebrates ‘Independence day.’ A day when we declared independence from the British empire.  The preamble to our Constitution reveals our desire to ‘form a more perfect union’ and ‘establish justice‘ ‘insure domestic tranquility…’ It began as a noble effort with the acknowledgment of God, our Creator; Somewhere along the way we began to declare independence from God too, telling Him we no longer wanted to be ‘under’ Him nor did we need His ‘help.’  We have decided to make our appetite our god and glory in our shame setting our minds on earthly things, not on the things of God.

For too many years I celebrated the Fourth of July without any regard to God.  I placed my hope and thanks solely in our political forefathers and our military instead of seeing them as ordinary people with an extraordinary God. I know better now.

Daily I declare my dependency on God, and ask you to join me.

We need God but we can’t go to God without coming to Jesus Christ. It is the cleansing flow of the blood of Christ that allows us to call God our Father, and gives us fellowship and sweet daily communion.

To be in Christ is the most perfect union–a union with God the Father by His Holy Spirit. Jesus is the One that holds all things together, apart from Him we can do nothing. He is the One who establishes justice and ensures all tranquility.

I am praying God sends revival to America, only then will America have unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.  We have ignored God for too long. Are you living in dependence to God or are you living independent from Him?In Dependence to God

God is not dead, He’s still alive and He is looking for contrite confessed hearts turned towards Him to cleanse and revive. Cry out to Him for your sins and the sins of our Nation Beloved and don’t stop…

“…now, will not God bring about justice for His elect who cry to Him day and night, and will He delay long over them? I tell you that He will bring about justice for them quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?” Luke 7:7-8 (Read Luke 7:1-8 for context)

“He (Jesus) is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.  For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him.  He is before all thing , and IN HIM all things hold together.” Colossians 1:15-17

I am the Vine, you are the branches, he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruity, for apart from Me you can do nothing.” John 15:5 (Jesus)


Daily Holy COMMUN{ion}

This is a picture when I was eight years old. The day I made my first holy communion but it wasn't until I was 33 that I really had my 'First' holy communion with God!

“for through Him {Jesus Christ} we both have our access in one Spirit to the Father.” Ephesians 2:18

Do you prefer communication or communion with God?

Communication’ and ‘Communion’ have similar definitions. The first is the ‘imparting or exchanging of information or news’ and the latter is ‘the sharing of intimate thoughts and feelings…’

Communication can be cold and distant, while communion is intimate and relational and results in fellowship.

We were made to have unbroken communion, or fellowship with God.  Fellowship, or Koinōnia means: “fellowship, association, community, communion, joint participation, intercourse.”

Spending time with God in Holy Communion is a privilege we can experience because of what Jesus Christ has done (Ephesians 2:13; Ephesians 2:18; Ephesians 3:12).

For years I tried in my own strength to communicate with God; I prayed, I wrote to Him in journals, I even ‘completed’ my ‘first holy communion’. However, it was not until I was still and stopped talking, and started listening that I heard God for myself and had my first Holy COMMUNion with Him.

My religion turned into a relationship.

It was no longer a one way cold communication giving God my wish list of things I wanted, but became an intimate communion and sweet fellowship with Him. I wanted to know God. The more I sought God, the more I saw He is Holy and I am not.

God’s holiness shone so brightly I couldn’t help but see my own sin and undeserving heart to speak with the Creator Himself. But grace. God immersed me with His grace, and I understood what it meant to say, “Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.” A phrase I memorized at eight to make my first holy communion.

In the Spring of 2009 my eyes were unveiled and I saw how the sacrifice and blood of Jesus Christ cleansed me from my past and current sins allowing me to draw near to God. I saw how the resurrection power of Jesus Christ gives me power to abstain from future sin.  That day I was taken out of darkness and put into God’s marvelous light, given a new heart and title of daughter–a privilege to call the Creator, My Abba…Father.

It was the blood of Jesus Christ that cleansed me and brought me near to God, and it is still the blood of Jesus that cleanses me and keeps me near God giving me the power to ‘master sin’.

No, I have not yet‘mastered’ sin perfectly but I know my role: I ‘practice’ righteousness and God ‘perfects. I am on a journey towards perfection called sanctification and my mind is catching up with how God sees me in Christ. I’m learning the faith, power and victory to master sin comes from God alone, He dispenses the seeds of faith, Bread of Life and anointing for each day, it is up to me whether I take it.

I have tasted the Bread of Life and seen for myself the Lord is good, faithful and righteous. I want this treasure of communion with God more than ANYTHING and I desire to be conformed into the image of Jesus Christ so that I may have unbroken fellowship with God the Father through His Holy Spirit to be used as a vessel of mercy and grace for His kingdom purposes.

I am learning we can’t have unbroken fellowship or commune with God if we are practicing sin; His Word says,

“If I regard wickedness in my heart, the Lord will not hear;” Psalm 66:18

He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion. How blessed is the man who fears always, but he who hardens his heart will fall until calamity.” Proverbs 28:13-14

I am learning to come to boldly to God’s throne of grace and begin the day in a God morning.  This is a discipline turning into devotion for me. With the many fatal distractions and noise in this world I am making it a practice to wake up early in humble prayer asking God to help me set my mind on the things above not on the things of this earth.  I am learning to cast all my anxiety on God believing He cares for me. I am also learning to put my agenda, expectations and ‘to do’ lists on the altar remembering my life is no longer my own. I am beginning to delight myself in my crucifixion allowing my death to precede His living breath.

This is something I must do every morning and I’m learning to do it more throughout the day. I welcome and cooperate with the Holy Spirit as He reveals and convicts me of any sin in my life helping me to confess and repent and walk by faith in His righteous ways. I am learning transparency is transforming and God heals what we reveal. God does not finger point or condemn me for my sin, but rather He is there to save me from my sin…even the future sin.

In seeking God’s kingdom and righteousness first I am learning about the things I do which grieves the Holy Spirit. When the Holy Spirit convicts me of what I am doing (or not doing) I confess my sins, repent (turn from that behavior and turn to God).  I call this daily devotion: Retreat, Repent, Restore, Revive.

  • I Retreat from all physical and spiritual distractions to be alone with God with the intent to be still and listen
  • God’s Holiness reveals and gently convicts me of any current sin and I confess and He grants me the sorrow to Repent
  • God Restores me keeping me from condemnation encouraging me I am to walk by the Spirit He put in me
  • God Revives me according to His Words of life and His Spirit; I am made alive and I am giddy to have personally heard from my Abba—not through someone else’s devotion to God or book, or blog but from Him directly. This intimacy and love I have for Him gives me a desire to obey Him.

In this daily practice I have been experiencing revival by His Word and I have been receiving His times of refreshing that comes from his cleansing forgiveness and grace. I am learning to walk in the fear of the Lord and the comfort of the Holy Spirit.

The more time I spend with God, the more I know Him. The more I know God the more I love and trust Him, that is how I am learning to abide in Him–I am learning to rest in His purposes, His ways and His timing.

Why am I sharing this stone of remembrance with you? It is as John said under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit:

“…what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, so that you too may have fellowship with us and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ. These things we write, so that our joy may be made complete.” 1 John 1:3-4

I am praying for you beLoved reader:

“The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit, be with you all. Amen” 2 Corinthians 13:14


Filled. {With What or Who?}

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{This is an entry from my prayer journal dated 7-23-13}
 
Abba, yesterday I experienced opportunities to bend and humble myself…I almost didn’t. Until I remembered what You are teaching me about revival. I need to die first—there must be a death before I receive Your breath. Your breath represents Your Spirit just as You breathed life into Adam Your breath still revives. Your breath is Your Spirit.
 
After writing this confession God gave me an illustration: The Balloon.
 A deflated balloon is like a humble and contrite vessel waiting to be filled: 

We must be emptied to be filled

The balloon can be blown up by human breath and be filled but once you tie it and let it go, it falls to the ground:

Blown up by human strength

Blown up by human breath = lacks God’s Holy Spirit Power

But filled up with helium the balloon floats up and goes where the wind takes it:
The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit."

“The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.” John 3:8

 
Then God told me to look at the word ‘helium’, and this is what He showed me:
 
HeLivesInUandMe. {He Lives In U and Me}
 
God is holy and can not dwell in vessels that choose to continually practice sin and want to remain in darkness. However, Jesus came so that He could take away the sins of the world and the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all unrighteousness and God can now dwell IN US!
I have been cleansed and know this to be true–He does live in me! I know my body is a temple of the Holy Spirit of God and I am not my own. I have been bought with a price, with the precious blood of Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit in me bears witness with my spirit that I am a new creation and a reconciled daughter of the King! Christ lives in me! I know, that I know, that I know!
 
I have been like a ‘fallen’ balloon for many years. Full of myself, possessions and money and mainly my own hot air. Even after being a Christian there’s a temptation to do things in my own strength and fill myself up but I’m learning to resist the temptation to help myself, defend myself, do it myself and instead acknowledge my continual need for a Savior…to deflate myself, empty myself, so that God can breathe His life into me and I may float and rest in Him yielding to the power of His Holy Spirit and go where His Spirit leads me.
 
I will no longer be like balloon on the ground because I know Christ lives in me and His love edifies and lifts however, the danger for me is resisting the Holy Spirit, where He wants to lead me.  Sometimes I can be filled with His Spirit but unable to float up because I am weighed down by a basket of burdens and lies:
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A basket of burdens and lies prevents flight…

God has been showing me what obstructs me from floating and resting in Him and I am learning to take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ and to lay aside the sin and encumbrances that so easily entangles me. I am learning to empty my basket of burdens by casting all my cares on the One who loves me and to continually confess my sins so I can live in Freedom in Christ.  God reminds me: Undo the bands of the yoke, let the oppressed go free, break every yoke. So I cut loose those bonds and rest in peace in Him.
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“…Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ says the LORD of hosts.” Zechariah 4:6

 
 This is what God whispered to my heart:
 
Arcelia, I am looking for hearts to dwell in. Places where I can demonstrate My power to manifest My love.  I am looking for worshipers that will bow and humble themselves, calling out to Me for help, I want to rescue you. You have been given access to My heart through Jesus Christ to have abundant life and you are free to go in and out but the green pastures are only found in Me.  If you want this life abundant you must crucify your flesh.  Your death must precede My breath in you.  I can not fill what is already full.  Empty yourself and I will fill you up to My fullness and work within you to accomplish My will to bring My kingdom on earth as it is in heaven.  I will go beyond what you can imagine, for my thoughts are not your thoughts nor are My ways yours…they are higher.  When you feel your flesh rising, humble yourself and call out to Me for I will rescue you, and you will glorify My name.  Stay in My love my daughter, stay in My love.
 
*Dear reader,
God is real and He still speaks! This is just one of many secret pearls He has given me and I prayed on whether I should share it with you because it’s so special to me.  You must know I am no one special, just a hungering one for Him that reveres Him. God rewards those who diligently seek Him and shares mysteries of His kingdom. But we can NOT hear God if we are entrenched in sin, or filled with ourselves or the things of this world. Most importantly we cannot have a relationship with God without Jesus Christ. He still is the WAY the TRUTH and the LIFE. It is through Jesus Christ we have our access in one SPIRIT to the Father! Turn from your flesh and any disobedience and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and times of refreshing will come! God is drawing you to Himself, won’t you be reconciled to Him today? He is speaking right now to the hungry one that has tried everything but still feels empty. Won’t you come and be filled with Him today?
 
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.” (Matthew 5:6)
 
 
Prayer:
“…I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the innerman; so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly beyond all that we ask or think according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.” Ephesians 3:14.21

Church @ A Chipotle Restaurant {God’s Giving, God’s Glory}

“…Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love Me?’ He said, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed My sheep.” John 21:17 

*I am sharing this confession not to boast about my sin. Sin is not a laughing matter, it actually makes me mourn. I share this to boast about my God, to testify He is alive and His Spirit still convicts the world of sin, righteousness and judgment and He uses yielded vessels to show His love. This true story is an example of how I willfully made choices not to grieve Him with my disobedience–even though it wasn’t first time obedience.

I like Chipotle Restaurants and I love God.

To love God is easier said than shown.  God says, ‘If you love me you will keep my commandments’ (John 14:15). God’s two greatest commandments involve the word LOVE so I’d say love is very important to God.  I’m learning love is an action, not a feeling–you can’t love without giving and this particular sunny California day God was about to teach me again about His love….

Before I left the garage of my Grandma’s house to pick up our lunch I prayed God would give me an opportunity to share life giving words to a hungry soul.  Twenty minutes later I was paying for my favorite meal and excited to return to my Grandma to share the goodness of this perishable food when God answered my forgotten prayer.  As I looked towards the exit door I saw a homeless man outside.  I quickly looked for another exit so I wouldn’t have to pass by him and be bothered when all of a sudden the Holy Spirit convicts me of my lack of love. God ordered my steps…He told me to go out the door near the homeless man: it was my choice to obey or not.  I obeyed. As I walked out he asked for change and tells me he is very hungry. Not wanting my food to get cold, and remembering I have no cash, I selfishly tell him I have nothing to give him and I walk away. I was wrong.

The Holy Spirit gently reminded me of the change in my wallet and the change of my heart. I turn back and excitedly say,

“Wait, I do have change to give you!”

He thanked me, and as I dug through my wallet I asked him his name. Joey. I asked Joey if he knows the Lord Jesus Christ. Of course he knows about Jesus Christ, he lives in America where the Gospel is plentiful, but after a few words about God I could tell he did not know God. Joey was hungry for more than perishable food. Joey was telling me about lent and said a few incorrect things. I shared with Joey about what God had been teaching me about a different type of fasting.  A fasting that happens as a result of being mournful and sorrowful for my sin and disobedience towards God when I become too distraught about my sin I can’t eat. I asked him if he knew about that kind of fasting? He shook his head. I asked him if he knew the love of God and shared the Word:

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16)

I went on to share what Jesus Christ says eternal life is:

This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent” (John 17:3)

Joey looks intently at me and says, “I met people like you the other day.”

I smile and respond, “Joey that is God sending you messengers desiring for you to be reconciled to God, to come back to Him. I know this to be true because I prayed to meet someone that needed to hear God’s words and God sent me you.”

With my eyes filled with tears I looked into Joey’s eyes and said, “Joey God loves you with an everlasting love and He forgives you and wants you to follow Him.” Joey’s lips quiver and his eyes begin to well up with tears threatening to burst.  I asked him if he believed that? He didn’t say anything. I told him I would pray he will believe and that God would send more messengers to him and I turn to walk away again and look around me. I begin to get angry at all ‘these people’ who have and don’t give…then God convicted me of the log in my eye and I mourned for my sin because I am ‘these people’ again God speaks to my heart:

If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘go in peace, be warmed and be filled,’ and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that? Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself.” James 2:15-17

But whoever has the world’s goods, and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him? Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and in truth” 1 John 3:17

Full of unspeakable joy I tell Joey, “God just told me to buy you lunch, come inside with me!” He is in shock.

What Joey didn’t know was this required me to die to self and walk in faith.  I didn’t have the money to buy this meal but I knew God told me. I shared James 2:15-17 with Joey and we walk up to the counter and I see the look of shock in the faces of the employees, some with disgust. I asked him to order whatever he wanted and he says, “Uh, just chips and salsa please.” I reply, “Is that all you want? You said you were hungry.” I realized he had never stepped foot in this restaurant before and the looks of the employees were distracting him so I ordered him exactly what I ordered myself following God’s command to love your neighbor as yourself. As I was placing Joey’s order I couldn’t help the tears that were streaming down my face–it was a mixture of mourning and joy.

The mourning was for my delayed obedience and for Joey’s spiritual famine…he doesn’t know Jesus Christ, the love of the Father, and the comfort of the Holy Spirit. The joy was for God’s compassion and forgiveness and that God chose me to show Joey His love.

When I get to the cash register the young lady takes my card to charge and another employee comes from behind and cancels our order and says, ‘It’s all taken care of.” I burst with the first thing in my heart, “Praise God! Thank you!” Just when I think I am finished God tells me to sit with Joey and give thanks and pray with him. Again, I die to self because I didn’t know where his hands had been and God was specific: to pray holding his hands. I obeyed. We sit amongst a crowded area and I pray as the Holy Spirit gave utterance. After we prayed I knew I was done because I was overcome with the peace, love and joy that filled my heart. I told Joey I would continue to pray for him as the LORD reminded me and I left a different person. The restaurant was silent as I felt all eyes watch me leave and I knew God was glorified in that place.

Jesus says:

Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 6:1)

I share this encounter with you to praise God with me and to testify of His LOVE. As I have confessed, my flesh wanted to walk the other way three times. My flesh wanted to:

  • Deny Joey money
  • Deny Joey God’s eternal food
  • Deny Joey perishable food
  • Deny Joey intercession
  • Deny Joey love

“My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever” (Psalm 73:26).

God’s Spirit directed my steps and it is His righteousness that deserves all the praise, honor and glory! God is glorified because it was His giving:

  • God gave His Son Jesus Christ to reconcile me to Himself allowing me to have a heart to love, ears to hear Him, eyes to see
  • God gave me His Holy Spirit, the comforter that teaches me and guides me in Truth and brings to remembrance God’s Word
  • God gave me the courage to obey
  • God even took care of the cost of Joey’s lunch!

I am a vessel. I desire to be a yielded vessel of God’s mercy, grace and LOVE. My faith was strengthened that day and I was no longer hungry because I had been filled.

Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has seen God at any time; if we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us.” 1 John 4:11-12

“Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.” 2 Corinthians 5:20

 “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven”. Matthew 5:16

**I realize there are people that will want to take advantage, and who knows, maybe that was Joey’s intention but God’s Word tells us only He knows the thoughts and intentions of a man’s heart. My calling is to remain connected to the True Vine and follow and obey the prompting of the Holy Spirit. I am not telling you to give anything, I am not the Holy Spirit, there is only One God and He is looking for yielded vessels to inhabit to pour out His love, I pray you are one of them**

 


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