God’s Word

God’s Word by Jill Roleke

Why is it so much easier to say we believe the Bible is true than to actually put it to work in our lives? We quote 1 Peter 5:7 (NLT) that says, “Give all your worries and cares to God, for He cares for you,” but then we worry ourselves sick over things. We fret about our finances and our health but don’t bother to put it into God’s hands.

Do we need to dwell on hurts and offenses? Philippians 4:8 tells us to fix our thoughts on what is true and honorable and right and pure and lovely and admirable. According to 2 Corinthians 10:5, we need to take every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ.

Are we really doing this though?

I am just as guilty of letting my worries and hurts sway me when I should be asking God to be in charge of the situation.

I think sometimes we throw the Word of God around because we don’t want others to see our doubts or insecurities. We hide behind scripture instead of standing on it.

Many of us don’t even know what the Bible says. Sometimes what we think we know is not really what it says. The only way to remedy this is to actually read it and study it.

We need to hide God’s Word in our heart like the psalmist talked about in Psalm 119:11.  

Knowing God’s Word is important because it allows us to know the difference between truth and inaccuracy. How can we share scripture with others if we don’t even know it ourselves?

Knowing it is not enough though. Even Satan knows scripture. After all, he tried using it against Jesus himself. We need to believe what the Bible says is true. All of it. We can’t pick and choose what we think is true. As far as I’m concerned it either has to all be true or none of it is.

God inspired each word in the Bible. Everything that is there is in it for a reason. He does not make mistakes. Just because we may not like something in it does not mean we get to ignore it.

The Word of God is powerful! He created everything just by speaking it into existence! The power of His Word has not changed. It is a formidable weapon. That is why God gave it to us. I encourage you to start wielding it today!

Believe God’s Word. Stand upon it and see God work. You may be amazed at what He does!

Don’t Settle

Don’t Settle by Pastor Debbie Kitterman

I was jolted awake early one morning when I heard: “Don’t Settle!”

I sat up in bed, got my bearings and realized, no one was there.  I am not sure if I had been dreaming or a heavenly voice woke me up.  It really didn’t matter where it came from, I knew it was from the Lord. He was trying to get my attention and now He had it.

I laid back down and began to pray.  I asked the Lord what He meant and what He needed me to know about settling.  He then whispered gently to my heart like only a loving Father can:

“Don’t Settle.  Don’t you dare settle for anything less than My best and My will for your life.”

I didn’t realize I had been settling, but as soon as God whispered this message to my heart, it became crystal clear. I am going to be really transparent with you.  I had been settling. Ok, not just settling, but I was ready to quit. I was discouraged, frustrated, disappointed and ready to throw in the towel. It seemed like the logical thing to do.

In the months leading up to this, I had been bombarded with things from every direction.  It seemed my life had gone from a fast paced, yet straight road to a roller coaster. My son getting engaged, my dad’s failing health, my aunt being put on hospice, doors being opened for ministry, doors being slammed shut for ministry, and the list goes on.  Disillusionment set in and I began to question my calling, my identity and purpose. I began to listen to the lies and whisper of the enemy. The battle was intense and I was ready to settle.

That is until my early morning wake up call to not settle!  To not give up, to not quit or throw in the towel.  It did stop me in my tracks and while I didn’t immediately turn around, I stopped the downward spiral and spinning out of control.  It was enough for me to refocus on God and not my circumstances. It was enough for me to take a step back and realize I had been listening to lies and not taking my rightful position as a daughter of the King.  I hadn’t been practicing what I preach. I had not been holding onto the promises and prophecies God has spoken over me and about me. I had become weary of the battle. I was not standing my ground.

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” (Galatians 6:9 NIV).

Rick Warren says this about Galatians 6:9: “This is the law of the harvest: There is always a delay between sowing and reaping. You plant in one season, and you reap in another. God wants to see if you’re going to keep cultivating, planting, and sowing. If he sees consistency in your life, then the harvest will come. It will not come immediately, because it proves nothing if he does it immediately — no character development or stretching your faith.”

Do you find yourself weary or settling for less than God’s best for your life?  If so, stop. Take a minute to breathe deeply. Now, refocus – Not on your current situation and circumstances but instead on God.  Then ask God to bring back to your remembrance His plans, promises and prophesies He has spoken to you. Write these words out and then read and read them as many times as is needed, and as always pray.  Pray and ask God to strengthen you, to help you not quit, to not give up or throw in the towel, but to stand your ground.

Father God, we ask for You to show us the areas of our life where we are settling for less than Your best.  We ask for You to remind us of Your prophecies and promises. Give us strength as we stand our ground and trust in You.  Amen!

This Needed to Happen

This Needed to Happen by Shannon Tate

You’re going to have an accident here.

What?

An accident, here at this intersection.

Oh. Ok, God. Thanks.

I furrowed my brow as I listened to my mom unfold a series of events that led to her foretold accident at the very intersection she described. She was on her way to work one day when God told her about an impending accident. Mom, being a strong woman of faith, simply thanked Him and stored it back on her heart-shelf to examine later.

Two months later, the day came.

She was at a complete stop, waiting for the light to turn green when all of a sudden her vehicle lurched forward; the sound of metal crushing ripped through the air.

“What in the world?!” was my mom’s response to it all.

From her rear-view mirror she could see a small, tin bucket of a vehicle with a young man behind the wheel. Mom calmly got out, made a quick assessment of the situation and asked the man if he could follow her through the intersection and into the business complex parking lot so she and he could have a conversation. The guy agreed and puttered his vehicle the 200ft into the business complex.

When mom got out of her vehicle, she made sure that he was unharmed in the collision and cooly let him know that she called the police so they could take the statement and the insurance could take care of the rest.

“Oh, ok. Cool,” replied the guy and he nonchalantly walked back to his vehicle, got in the driver seat, and took off full speed in reverse.

Mom just stood there watching this kid in complete silence and utter disbelief as he rammed his beat-up lemon over a hedge, hastily brake to shift, then peeled out of the parking lot and onto the major roadway. The whole thing was rather comical to watch but also completely bizarre. Even the onlookers didn’t see that coming!

Half-stunned and half-amused, my mom asked God, “What was that all about?!”

“This needed to happen and I knew you would be able to handle this situation,” He said.

“Oh, Ok. Thanks,” was mom’s reply.

The police came and took mom’s statement and everyone went their separate ways. Later, mom got a phone call from the police saying the young man was apprehended and asked if mom wanted to press charges. She declined since there was no real damage to the vehicle and no one got hurt (thank you, Jesus!), save for the unsuspecting hedges that the young man took out.

As I sat there listening to my mom’s story, I got to thinking about God’s response to mom’s question that day– This needed to happen and I knew you would be able to handle…” I wondered what sort of need would prompt God for Him to orchestrate such a strange series of events. The only idea that I could come up with was this: God was answering a prayer for someone who must love this young man and for some reason, it had to be a vehicle accident with not just anyone. It needed to happen with someone who puts their entire trust in Him.

God is so awesome and totally an out-of-the-box thinker. Perhaps this car accident was exactly what needed to happen for the young man but He also needed someone who would keep their cool and have complete trust in Him through the process; “…I knew you would be able to handle.” And you know what? That made me think of my relationship with Father God. Do I completely trust Him to allow Him to use me as He sees fit? Do you?

It’s easy to trust God when the blessings are flowing in and you’re blessing others with your overflow. But what if being a blessing to someone also means taking a hit (literally in my mom’s case) if for nothing else, because God knows we can handle it and He’ll cover us through the process? Like I said, God is totally an out-of-the-box thinker.

Now, I’m not saying we should all pray for a car accident and call it a blessing for someone else or wish ill upon ourselves. Those are not the thoughts mature Christians should have. Instead, look at the situations in your life and ask yourself, “Is there anything that He can’t handle?” (Trick question, the answer is “No.”) Next, ask yourselves, “Is there anything I can’t handle without God?” If you hesitated to answer that question, then allow the logos words of Scripture to breathe the rhema word into your spirit and be sown into your heart:

2 My fellow believers, when it seems as though you are facing nothing but difficulties see it as an invaluable opportunity to experience the greatest joy that you can! 3 For you know that when your faith is tested[c] it stirs up power within you to endure all things. 4 And then as your endurance grows even stronger it will release perfection into every part of your being until there is nothing missing and nothing lacking.

–James 1: 2-4 (TPT)

13 I can do all things [which He has called me to do] through Him who strengthens and empowers me [to fulfill His purpose—I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency; I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him who infuses me with inner strength and confident peace.]

–Philippians 4:13 (AMP)

May God’s goodness in your life bring you fresh revelation in all things!

What A Mess

What A Mess by Kim Spahr

This has been the most difficult post to write. It’s partly because my desk is a mess and it’s partly because I am not quite at home in my office.  I have been here 3 years now and it still doesn’t feel like me.

On my desk is stuff. There really isn’t any room for a cup of tea.  I tried to start organizing this place but it hasn’t happened. There are pictures of my precious granddaughter that I don’t know what to do with and cards that my children have sent me for special occasions filled with sweet words they have written to me that I don’t know what to do with. I can’t keep them forever.  There is also a stack of DVDs that I have gotten a “good deal” on through the Friends of the Library that are not downstairs by our TV because I haven’t found the right kind of baskets that I want to store them in. People would argue I don’t even need to keep them because of Netflix (which I am totally out of the loop with). There are receipts that I thought I should keep that are obviously outdated by now.  My office needs a redo.

God says He can still speak to me in the midst of my mess.  My mess frustrates me and when I come home from work I don’t want to deal with mess. But we all have to deal with it sooner or later.  How about you? Is there a part of your life that is a mess that you don’t know quite how to deal with yet and the mess is driving your crazy?  Isn’t it so great that God can still talk to us in the midst of our mess and that things don’t have to be perfectly in place? Our lives don’t have to be perfect either for us to hear Him. Don’t think for a second that you have to get everything in order (be it a physical, emotional, or spiritual mess) before you can sit down and talk to God. The fact is He is always with us. Emmanuel. God with us.  That is His name. The world was a mess when He came as a babe and the world is a mega mess today and still He is here in the midst of it all. Hallelujah!

There’s a time to deal with mess (I am going to deal with my office this coming Saturday).  There is a time to be still in the midst of mess and know that He is Lord. Ever since Adam and Eve sinned, there has been a mess of some type and there will be until Jesus returns. We need His peace and it can only be found in Him. Take some time to rest in this coming holiday season and listen to Him talk to you.  It’s the holiday season that brings life to autumn and winter but boy how it can “come like a lion and go out like a lion” and we’re left drained and exhausted and needing a couple of days off from life to recuperate. Let’s take our cue from the seasons (and the bears) and rest.

My life verse is Matthew 11: 28, 29.  “Come to Me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”  

The Amplified Bible defines rest as relief and ease and refreshment and recreation and blessed quiet. Isn’t that what we are all looking for?  So let’s take some time acknowledging the presence of the living God with us and feel His peace enter our beings in every situation (I can feel the calm come over me just writing about it). Let Jesus lead you beside the still waters and restore your soul (Psalm 23).  Do you notice the word “rest” in “restore”? Hmmmmm……

Now there is a balance. There is a time to rest and a time to work.  Looking at my office I am either too busy or resting too much. Hmmmm.  Proverbs warns us numerous times about being slothful. Only you and the Lord know if it is one or the other. This mess isn’t going to disappear just by itself, but I do believe the Lord will give me ideas as I take time to give it to Him of how to organize all those pictures and what to throw away and what to keep.  He will help you to either get through the mess or to unravel it with His peace and strength. Hallelujah! He is good!

May the reality, the experience of the presence of God with you, Emmanuel, be inside of you this holiday season.  May you know the peace that passes all understanding. May joy of having Jesus as Your Savior fill you to overflowing. Amen!

Hearing the Written

Hearing the Written by Pastor Janna Plummer

I love texting. As a mom of 3 very energetic boys, I love being able to read a note someone sends me and respond when I have a second. Answering a phone, on the other hand, is nightmare. Did you know that children’s brains get remarkably clearer as soon as a phone rings? And at that moment, their desire to learn from your capable hands is overwhelming and therefore, they MUST ask every question that has ever entered their brain.  Yep, phone calls are awful.

The down side to texting, though, is that you can’t hear tone. You have no idea what inflection the other person is using or how they meant to say what they were saying.  It is a potential trap; hearing whatever we want to hear instead of the heart of the other person.

How many arguments have arisen out of a misunderstood text or email? How many hurts are buried in our hearts from a text or email that came out wrong?  

The same is true for the Word of God.  It is the WRITTEN word, open to interpretation with no tone or inflection. It can be read in any way that speaks to our hearts, which can be wonderful.

Unfortunately, that also means that when we read it, it can come out as harsh and unloving.  We hear the tone we are expect to hear or the inflections we hear every day, or in ways we would expect.

You are to set up boundaries all around the mountain and tell the people, “Be careful that you do not cross the boundaries and go up on the mountain or even touch the edge of it. If anyone so much as touches the mountain, he should be put to death. 13 No one is to touch the person or animal who crosses the boundary; stone them or shoot them with arrows but do not touch them. It doesn’t matter whether it is a human or an animal, it must be put to death.” But when they hear the long blast of the ram’s horn, then they are permitted to make their way up on the mountain.  Exodus 19:12-13 The Voice

At first, this sounded so harsh to me.  Don’t do this or die!! It’s just touching a mountain!! What is the big deal?

But then the Holy Spirit opened my eyes to the loving statement this truly was.  It wasn’t a task master commanding his people to obey every command, it was a loving Father warning his children against dangers.

The Israelites were new to this relationship with God and didn’t fully understand how it all worked. They didn’t understand that the God of Heaven was a God of mercy and JUSTICE.  

This mountain was God’s dwelling place, holy and sacred. If anything touched it that was unclean, and as a Holy God, He HAD to deal with it.  When we approach God, ALL of us is laid bare before Him. He must respond to what He sees. If our sins are not covered, God will give His judgement.  

Approaching that mountain unclean is asking for it.  But thanks to Jesus, He provided a way for all our sins to not only be covered but forgiven and removed so we can approach our Father in heaven.

So as parents, we want to warn our children not to run into the streets or play with sharp knives. We are not being unkind, we are trying to keep them safe.  And the same way, it was a loving Father trying to teach His children. It wasn’t mean, it wasn’t controlling, it was help.

As you read the Bible, what are you hearing? Are you hearing a controlling voice that being sounds like it’s being overbearing? Or are you hearing your loving Father trying to help you from things you don’t see yet?  

This week, I encourage you to seek out God’s heart for you so that you may hear how much He loves you!

How High?

How High? By Linda Heath

Thoughts from the Sermon on Sunday 9/2/18, Restoration Church, David Meyer

Have you ever heard the phrase, “When I say ‘JUMP’, on the way up you ask, ‘How high?'” I’ve never heard the version that has ‘on the way up’ inserted. That changed it a little bit so I didn’t have the full knee-jerk reaction I typically would have had. I have negative associations with this and wasn’t too thrilled to have the sermon start there. But I stopped to ask what God was telling me, or what He wanted to change in me, or what negativity I needed to release and let go. I was even prepared for tears, which usually seem to accompany the healing and letting go process.

But then I felt Him smile and He said, gently, “When I say ‘JUMP’ on your way UP (abiding in ME) ask Me how high you get to go! And I’ll take you higher than you ever dreamed!”

Wow. Loved. No condemnation. He was actually smiling! (Don’t ask me how I know this, I just do!) This really turned the whole idea upside down! The old message was “Do as I say, do it now, don’t question me and be quick about it”; filled with threat and condemnation. “Obedience is your duty! If you don’t obey you are SO in trouble!” Instead, this is an invitation; a beckoning. Obedience, rather than being drudgery, is the open doorway to The Great God Adventure! Come on up! Go higher!

Leave those things behind that hinder you, the sin or disobedience that tries to throw a rope around your ankle and hold you down. Kick it off! Step into the largeness of His love, revel in His peace, and jump in His joy. Find your purpose in His great heart, step into your authority as His child, and experience His life-changing power.

Explore your full inheritance. Expect the unexpected; expect great things from a God who challenges the imagination! Do you want to settle for safe? Settle into the known? Not me. Not any more. I don’t want to settle for anything less than what He’s willing to give me, all that Jesus died to provide. All of it!

Take me higher! I’m not holding back.

Did I hear “Jump”? Here I come, Lord, catch me!