Slave to the Masquerade

Dove & Sword Ministries

(Photo via Google Images)

Tis the season for masks, costumes, wigs, and face paint. Dressing up as someone else is loads of fun! My boys have totes full of costumes they have worn throughout the years. Pretending to be anything from a professional football player, a super hero, a storybook character, a pirate, or a clown.

They love parading around in these costumes and taking on the persona of their character for the night. Their voice changes an octave or two. Their walk and other mannerisms change. They begin saying things they don’t normally say. “Ahoy, me hartys!” But when all the paint is washed off and they exchange their costumes for their pajamas, they are just my little boys again waiting to be tucked into bed.

Yet, seeing my youngest dressed up like Spiderman shooting fake webs from his wrist makes me wonder…

How many of us…

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Sister Verna’s Harvest

Dove & Sword Ministries

octpumpkinpatch111-3 Photo via vixen-vintage.com

The air is a bit crisper, the days a bit shorter, and the leaves boasting a bit more color. Yes, fall is upon us. So, in honor of my favorite season, I’d like to share a harvest-time illustrative story I wrote teaching the biblical principle ‘faith, not works‘. Enjoy!

***

I see a field and I buy it. Boy, this woman is already oozing virtue! Quickly, I run through a mental checklist making sure I have everything I’ll need. Hoe? Check. Tiller? Check. Seed? Check. Compost? Check.

Yes, I believe that’s it! God has called me to cultivate and I am so excited to show the Lord the harvest I’m going to bring in! He’s gonna love it!

Well, it may not be as good as Sister Jane’s. But, I mean… who can compete with that? Really!?! I’m sure if I had a nice big, fancy…

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Sister Verna’s Harvest

octpumpkinpatch111-3

Photo via vixen-vintage.com

The air is a bit crisper, the days a bit shorter, and the leaves boasting a bit more color. Yes, fall is upon us. So, in honor of my favorite season, I’d like to share a harvest-time illustrative story I wrote teaching the biblical principle ‘faith, not works‘. Enjoy!

***

I see a field and I buy it. Boy, this woman is already oozing virtue! Quickly, I run through a mental checklist making sure I have everything I’ll need. Hoe? Check. Tiller? Check. Seed? Check. Compost? Check.

Yes, I believe that’s it! God has called me to cultivate and I am so excited to show the Lord the harvest I’m going to bring in! He’s gonna love it!

Well, it may not be as good as Sister Jane’s. But, I mean… who can compete with that? Really!?! I’m sure if I had a nice big, fancy tractor and all that expensive cultivating equipment my crops would yield like hers too!

Okay, back to the task at hand. Shew! I haven’t even broken ground and I’ve already broken out in a sweat. Focus, Verna! But just looking at all this barren ground around me makes this task seem so daunting! Where to start… where to start. Oh! I almost forgot! Brother Tom’s “How to Manual.”

Step 1: Find a spot. Well, I’ve already done this by purchasing a field and all. Moving on. Step 2: Prepare the soil. Dig and churn all packed dirt approximately two feet down.

Wow! Two feet down, eh? That’s pretty deep. So, I may not have a tractor like Sister Jane, but I do have a tiller. I cannot imagine how poor Sister Pam does it with her little hoe. Bless her heart!

Alright, God. This isn’t so bad. Me and my trusty little tiller are breaking new ground in the name of Jesus! All for Your Glory!

— 8 HOURS LATER —

Oh, dear Lord! That was so hard! I’ve spent all day working and I still haven’t planted the first seed. The ground was so hard and I kept hitting rocks. Every time, I had to stop the tiller and pick up the rock and throw it out. Some of those rocks were so heavy.

God, I ran parallel lines and then perpendicular lines. My back aches and my hands are covered in blisters. All I’m saying is I hope You bless me with a tremendous harvest after all this effort I’m putting in.

—THE NEXT DAY —

So where was I? Here we go. Step 3: Add compost and mix it into your dirt. Well, I’m not really excited about this step. I went to my local farmer supply store and the only fertilizer they had left was a mixture of cow manure, horse manure, and straw. I just now opened the first bag and the stench is awful!

— 4 HOURS LATER —

This is so disgusting! I can’t even scratch my nose or wipe the sweat from my brow without getting poop on my face. God, are you watching? You better turn this into the Promise Land ’cause I’m surely not seen any promises being fulfilled yet!

—DAY 3 —

Step 4: Hoe your row. Now, this isn’t so bad. Gotta make them straight though. There will be no crookedness in my path. Only perfection!

Now on to Step 5: Plant your seeds. Finally! A step that seems productive. I picked out the best seeds too… Pumpkin seeds!

I know, I know… Sister Sara, said I should’ve planted something more practical. Corn, tomatoes, beans. “Verna, get something to feed the hungry,” she said.

Well, don’t judge me until you’ve had my pumpkin pie. It’s the best in five counties! I really could live off my sweet pumpkin pie. God’s gonna be so proud of me!

— 5 MONTHS LATER —

Oh, the sweet aroma of pumpkin pie! I just made the first one of the season and I’m going to sit down and enjoy every last bite! I’ll share the next one, Lord, I promise. But just looking out my kitchen window at that glorious orange patch of goodness blesses my soul! Lord, I know it has to bless Yours too. Glory to Your Name!

***

REFLECTIONS – WHO WAS LORD OF THIS HARVEST?

In this story, Sister Verna is focused on her works and fully believed the fruit of her labor would be pleasing to the Lord. Throughout, we see her walking in self-righteousness, jealousy, and competition with a lot of complaining and boasting.

She followed man’s plan and never asked God for His plan. She even chose the seed of the harvest after what she thought was good according to her flesh and missed God’s seed of the harvest which brings life into all who partake of it. In the end, her reward was no more than the pumpkin pie she devoured all by herself. Sister Verna got fruit, but it was by her own hand, not the Lord’s.

Dear friends, God calls us all to cultivate. His cultivation always produces the fruit of the Spirit and transformation into the image of Jesus. From glory to glory.

Why was Abel’s offering acceptable and Cain’s rejected? Remember, Cain was a tiller of soil. His offering was brought forth by works. However, Abel was a keeper of flocks. His offering was a blood offering; a representation of the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus Christ. So just as God rejected Cain’s offering of works, God will reject any cultivation brought forth by works. God is looking for a representation of Jesus.

The soil is our hearts. The seed is the Word of God. Our cultivation comes through repentance, prayer, worship, growing deeper in our relationship with Jesus, and sowing His gospel into the hearts of others. What does your harvest look like? Remember, you will reap what you sow…

***

“For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.” –Galtatians 6:8

“All our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment.” –Isaiah 64:6

“For by grace you have been saved through faith; and not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.” –Ephesians 2:8-9

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Kingdom Deposits are Eternal Investments

'This is your third withdrawal this week... how about a little deposit once in a while?'

Photo via jantoo.com

What does your spiritual bank account look like? While you may be surviving on enough, God wants to bless you with more than enough. While you may be thankful you’re not bankrupt like many in the world today, God wants your account to be filled to overflowing.

Who doesn’t want that, right? I’m all in; just tell me where to sign and what to do! Haha, I hear ya!

The key to having a full-to-overflowing spiritual bank account is to make regular kingdom deposits. Jesus said in Matthew 4:4, “Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.”

When we deposit the Word of God in us, we allow His eternal, life giving truths to resonate within us. When we have these truths within us, then we can cancel out the lies of the enemy as soon as they are spoken. The lies will not take root! The thief comes to steal, kill, and destroy and we must not allow him to rob our bank account.

Allow me to illustrate this…

God creates all life with seed. Even your new life in Christ “for you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and abiding word of God.” (1 Peter 1:23)

This scripture, as well as, the parable of the soils found in Matthew 13 explains that the Word of God is the seed. Then John 1:1 tells us Jesus is the Word; therefore, we can make the correlation and conclude Jesus is the seed.

We know it is the seed that gives genetic structure for which the seed will grow into. Identity is in the seed. And we know Satan’s greatest desire is to destroy the seed. Think about it… homosexuality, abortion, the widespread identity crisis epidemic. Satan wants to either keep the seed from reproducing, destroy the life of the seed, or distort the truth which brings out the purpose of the seed!

You want this truth to really hit home? Dear reader, what did Satan use in the Garden of Eden to tempt Eve? It was fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. What does fruit have in it? Seed. What was he sowing in her? A false seed that was planted in his lies. She ate the fruit, the seed was sown, the lie took root, and you know the rest of the story.

Remember, each tree bears fruit after its own kind so its extremely important which seed we allow to take root. For everything true and just, Satan has a counterfeit. Not everything that tickles the ears is of God. We must pray for discernment about that which we allow to be deposited into our account. Amen?

Do you know why Satan wants to rob us so badly? Remember, he was kicked out of heaven because he wanted to be like God. God kicked him out for his pride and gave him dominion over the earth with no power thereof. And then God made Satan watch as He, our heavenly Father through Jesus, made man in His very own image.

You see, that’s exactly what Satan wanted! But God gave it to us upon Creation, and now Satan hates us because of who we are. And he will stop at nothing to spiritually bankrupt us, thus preventing us from being transformed into our fullest potential through Jesus! He wants what we’ve got!

But there’s good news! We are overcomers by the blood of the Lamb and the Word of our testimony! The truth sets us free! And what is the truth? It’s sharper than any double edged sword – it’s the Word of God.

So we make kingdom deposits, planting the seed of God’s Word within us which speaks forth our identity as children of God created in His image. Then we cultivate that seed through prayer, fasting, seeking Jesus, fellowship with other believers, and all things associated with spiritual growth, and what happens? We bear much fruit.

And God is such a good Father! His interest plan upon our investments is out of this world! Blessing upon blessing, favor upon favor! We will begin reaping where we did not sow and our cup will overflow with the goodness of God! So much so, that we will be able to pour out into others. Praise Jesus!

I’ll leave you with one final note: We pull out of our deposits, but God pulls out from His substance. However, when our deposits take root, they become our substance. These deposits transform us more and more into His image and, when cultivated, will produce much fruit for His kingdom.

Blessings to you, in Jesus name! May you bear much fruit for Him!

Michelle

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The Verdict’s In and You’re Guilty! But Wait…

o-judge-facebook

The law of the land has been violated and charges have been pressed against me. Horrified, I study my hands as I stand before the court. Watching as blood trickles down from my palms to my fingertips to the table from behind which I stand awaiting my sentence.

“How did this happen? I didn’t kill anyone,” I hear myself say.

And yet here I am, awaiting my verdict on the charge of murder. The judge asks me once again to recount the events that happened on the night of my ‘acquaintance’s’ murder and once again I stammer my answer. “I…I…I don’t really know what happened. He just made me so angry. I… I… felt my blood boiling over and I could have strangled him with my bare hands. I could’ve. But I didn’t do it… I didn’t do it.” I repeat that final line with total exasperation.

Totally spent from pleading my own defense, I look up at the judge who’s staring through his narrow spectacles back at me. “Well,” he replies while matter-of-factly scanning the paper he holds. “The law states that even if you harbor anger against your brother, you are guilty before the court. Therefore, I declare you guilty of all charges with a sentence of death.”

I crumple in a heap. “God!” I cry out in desperation. “Help me!”

***

Time Out! Is this for real???

The answer is yes. This is the verdict when we look at the Law which is all the commands of ‘To Do’s’ and ‘Thou Shalt Not’s’ found in the Old Testament, summed up nicely as The Ten Commandments.

But Jesus takes it a step further in Matthew 5:21-22. He says, “You have heard that the ancients were told, ‘You shall not commit murder’ and ‘Whoever commits murder shall be liable to the court.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court; and whoever shall say to his brother, ‘Raca [Worthless],’ shall be guilty before the supreme court; and whoever shall say, ‘You fool,’ shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell.”

Guilty. That’s what the Law makes us. We all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. What’s more is through the Law, I serve the same death sentence for a parking ticket as one who committed murder. Sin is sin in God’s eyes and James 2:10 says, “Whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for [is guilty of] all of it.” That means a 99% is a failing grade! Wow! That’s harsh!

Wait just a minute now… There’s good news! Back to our story…

***

As the officers approached, handcuffs ready to take their prisoner, a well-dressed gentleman entered the back door. “Judge, allow me to be his advocate,” he said while approaching the bench.

I looked up with amazement. Who is this man that he would plead my case? I’m just a dead man walking. The events that quickly unfolded thereafter, I may never understand.

This man, my newfound advocate, turned out to be the son of the Judge. He did not argue my innocence. He knew I was guilty. But instead, he declared his own innocence and then asked to take my place. To serve my punishment. To die in my stead. That I might live. Not only live, but walk away a free man. Totally free.

What love was demonstrated as I watched the officers take their new prisoner in the handcuffs originally intended for me. The blood disappeared from my guilty hands and now appeared on his. Now, he bore my guilt and my shame.

I was there when he served his sentence of death. The one meant for me. I was the reason for his execution and part of me died when he died.

For three days I mourned. For three days I pondered the love of that father and son for me, the guilty one. But on the third day, he came to me. It was my advocate, the Judge’s only son standing before me.

He was alive!

Speechless, I fell at his feet. But he lifted me up and embraced me. Shouting in celebration he proclaimed, “I have defeated death, hell, and the grave for you! And as proof that my sacrifice was acceptable by the Judge, my father, I have risen from the dead and am alive forevermore! I will advocate for you always and because I live, you live also!”

My heart swelled with love. No longer was I a slave to the hatred that once held my heart captive. Now I’m only captivated by him. My advocate. My savior. My friend.

***

The good news is the gospel of Jesus Christ! Jesus came and His love conquered all! Romans 5:8-9 tells us, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him.” Amen!

So, Jesus has freed me from the Law and He’s freed me from sin. Paul continues teaching us in Romans 6 that sin is no longer master over me because I’m not under Law, but under grace. “What then?” he says. “Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? May it never be!” This mentality abuses the extravagant grace of God.

Rather, because of Jesus, we walk in newness of life. Our hearts are bent towards God as His is towards us. Therefore, our obedience unto Him comes from love and devotion, not out of ‘have to’ legalism. The letter of the Law is no longer written on tablets of stone, but on tablets of human hearts written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life (2 Corinthians 3:3,6).

It is my desire that you walk in the fullness of the life God has planned for you. Free, free, free!

***

“I am a great sinner, but I have a great Savior.” –John Newton, writer of ‘Amazing Grace’

“Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin.” — Romans 4:7-8

“Grace brings about the obedience of faith.” –Romans 1:5

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The Makings of a Fine Wine

vineyard-grapes-home-slideshow

Image via terlatovineyards.com

In the past several years, I’ve noticed vineyards popping up here and there throughout my lovely state of Kentucky. Now, I’m no expert, but apparently those who are have determined Kentucky’s limestone-based soil and climate are perfect for growing a wide variety of grapes. From vine to bottle, they say, a good wine starts in the field.

So, I’ve researched this a bit and discovered it’s hard work! The work of a vinedresser is endless. First of all, pruning is essential to producing good grapes. The dead canes need to be cut off in winter when the vines are dormant. You see, the dead canes will not bear fruit so they must be removed. The dead branches are then gathered and burned. This pruning process gives room for new, healthy shoots to grow which will bear fruit.

Then, through the growing season, the vinedresser trains the branches. Gently, he combs the branches, untwisting them and positioning them so they have optimum exposure to the sun. The leaves blocking the sun from the berries must be thinned. Clusters that will never ripen evenly need to be broken off. Why? Because they only steal the life of the vine from the good clusters. In addition, the vinedresser cuts away excess showy foliage to concentrate the life of the vine into the best berries that will make the finest quality of wine.

You see, pruning goes on for the life of the vine.

Also I discovered, best wine is produced with a little bit of stress on the vine. Grapes are the only crop that need to be stressed to enhance the flavor. When a good vinedresser waters his vineyard, he pours water just beyond the reach of the roots so they stretch and and grow deep in search of the water.

Essentially, the fruit is richer and the wine is full of character and grace when the vine is stressed enough to produce deep roots, the shoots are pruned, and the clusters are thinned.

Learning these vital details about tending a vineyard make Jesus’ parable about the vine and the branches come alive. Look at this with me. John 15:1-2, 5-6 says,

“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it, that it may bear more fruit… I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit; for apart from Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch, and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned…

Jesus says it right here – in order for us to bear fruit, we must be pruned. The Holy Spirit reveals to us what needs to be cut off in our lives. You know that feeling you get when you know you’ve sinned. That’s the Holy Spirit leading us to repentance. And true repentance cuts that branch of sin off our lives.

Furthermore, it’s God the Vinedresser who trains us and places us in the best position in order that Jesus is glorified in our lives. He thins our showy foliage, which is our flesh (i.e., our own agendas, pride, self-righteousness), so that we will see more of the Son and so that the Son may be seen in and through us.

Lastly, it’s the stresses of this life that help us realize our need for a Savior. These cause us to dig deep in search of the Living Water. Producing deep roots of faith. Then we become firmly established in Jesus Christ and our fruit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self control) is full of character and grace.

Just like a fine wine.

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How is Faith Perfected?

six seedlings growing from soil

Photo via iamharmony.org

Hebrews 12:2 tells us Jesus is the author and perfecter of our faith. Our faith begins in and through Him and as we grow in Christ, He will perfect our faith. Therefore, our focus is not how we can increase our faith, but rather it’s how we can grow in Jesus.

“Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance, and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you may not grow weary and lose heart.” –Hebrews 12:1-3.

This scripture reveals 3 keys for growth in Jesus:

  1. Laying aside all that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles us.
  2. Run with endurance the race set before us. Never giving up, no matter how hard the journey gets.
  3. Fixing our eyes on Jesus. He is our goal, our example, and our leader. He goes before us preparing our path, setting our pace, and fighting all obstacles in our way. All we must do is follow Him, trust Him, and obey Him.

As we grow in Jesus, He will perfect our faith. The word ‘perfecter’ comes from the Greek word ‘teleiōtēs’ which means finisher. Jesus Christ gives us all a measure of faith. Matthew 17:20 compares faith to a seed. So when He plants the seed within us, He will finish the work He started. We yield to Him and He cultivates and prunes and perfects the faith He placed within us.

Do you realize this revelation takes away all pressure? Pressure to perform, pressure to always do the right thing, pressure to always say the right thing – all pressure – is lifted from our shoulders when we grab hold of this truth.

Have you ever felt this pressure? When my Dad was sick, I put myself under so much pressure thinking that if I prayed the right way or studied the word more or attended a particular church service that God would answer my prayers and heal my Dad. So, what I was doing was focusing more on what I could do to perfect my faith and what I could do to heal my Dad rather than what Jesus already did to bring healing to my Dad.

Faith cannot be bought. Faith cannot be earned. We cannot manipulate God into answering our prayers. Jesus paid the price and as we grow in Him we better understand His love and His will towards us which is always good. We trust and obey and rest in Him.

It’s not our perfection that moves mountains, it’s faith which is perfected by Jesus! It’s by faith we’ve been saved, not by works so no one can boast. And if we’re going to boast, let it be about Jesus because it’s in Him we live and move and have our being!

Zooming out from this scripture, we can see Hebrews 11, the chapter before our verses above. This is the faith chapter of the bible. All the great heroes of faith are mentioned here. Let’s look at a few examples.

  • Enoch – Wow! He must have been a man of great faith because he didn’t even taste death. He was just walking with God one day and up to heaven he went. Impressive!
  • Noah – Ah, the only righteous one in a world full of wickedness. But what about the time he got drunk and naked? I would think that’s some questionable behavior, don’t you think?
  • Abraham – The patriarch of faith, right? He was going to sacrifice his own son at the command of God until God faithfully provided a ram. But if I remember correctly, he lied about his wife Sarah saying she was his sister just so he wouldn’t be killed. Hmm…
  • Sarah – The mother of nations all because God healed her barrenness. But didn’t she laugh and mock God when He said her descendants would be as numerous as the stars? Naughty, naughty.
  • Jacob – The great deceiver who stole his brothers birthright and inheritance.
  • Rahab – A harlot.
  • Samson – A wild child.
  • David – Committed adultery and murder.

How did all these people make it into the faith chapter??? These people messed up. Big time. Just like you and me, right? These are real people with real problems, but they are listed in the faith chapter because they let Jesus finish what He started in them.

They took a risk. They dared to believe. They took a leap…
…of faith. And Jesus caught them, carried them, and placed them into their destiny! Jesus is the author and perfecter of our faith because He alone is FAITHful!

In conclusion, I want to show you a powerful illustration:

Imperfect faith —> Impossible

Imperfect faith makes things impossible. This happens when I feel like I’m responsible for producing faith. But when we take ourselves out of the equation…

I’mperfect faith —> I’mpossible

and we yield to Jesus, we get…

Perfect faith —> Possible

Jesus perfects our faith and makes ALL things possible! Amen!!!

“If you have faith as a mustard seed, you shall say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it shall move; and nothing shall be impossible to you.” –Matthew 17:20

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The Un-Walled Church

 

The earth is shaking and quaking. The times and events are culminating; the return of Jesus Christ is close. We don’t know when, but we know it’s close. The signs can be seen by those who have eyes to see. The groaning can be heard by those who have ears to hear.

And a holy mandate is being released to  all believers. For such a time as this we are called into this mandate. Know that who He calls, He also equips. No matter who you are, you are qualified to carry this mandate.

This is it:  The body of Christ’s last days mission is to tear down the walls of the church. The days of edifying one another inside the four walls of a church building is over. No more patty-cake Christianity with ‘I love Jesus, yes I do! I love Jesus, how about you!‘ pep rally church services.

Please do not misinterpret here. We should never forego the assembling together with other believers. Church is vital! It’s iron sharpening iron. It’s coming together to learn your strategic assignment against the enemy by knowing who you are in Christ. It’s a place of refuge and healing when we are wounded on the battlefield. Yes, church is crucial for believers.

However, now is the time for the body of Christ to edify the name of Jesus Christ outside of the church building also. Taking Jesus to the streets, the grocery stores, schools, the market place, restaurants, malls. We, as the body of Christ, are called to herald the gospel of Jesus everywhere we go!

God has given each of us a sphere of influence who need us – they NEED us – to step out of our comfort zones and share the hope of glory and love of Jesus with them. It’s time for us to no longer tolerate people in sin, but to love them out of sin!

To equip us to carryout this mandate, God is releasing a Holy Ghost invasion to the un-walled church. As love abounds for the unbeliever, gifts of the Holy Spirit will abound. The body of Christ will begin to operate in words of knowledge, gifts of prophecy and healing, mercy and giving.

As we lift up the name of Jesus, He will draw all men unto Him. Signs, wonders, and miracles will follow him who believes. There will be no doubt that He alone is God and many will come to know Him and be saved.

Will you rise to His holy mandate?

Let’s respond to His word by praying this prayer together…

Father, I pray for boldness that we will rise and carry this holy mandate everywhere we go. May we tear down the walls of Christianity and take Jesus to the streets. I pray for sensitivity to the Holy Spirit to know who and what to pray for.

Lord, give us faith to pray for the sick and see them made well – faith to pray for the hurting and see them receive the joy of salvation – faith to pray for those in bondages of addiction and see them set free.

Teach us how to operate the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Show us what these keys give us access to; what it really means to have Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

Prepare the hearts of those you would have us minister to. May the seeds we sow bear much fruit and may the name of Jesus be glorified forevermore!

In Jesus name,

Amen!

 

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Remembering Your Why in the Midst of Burnout

School is out, Memorial Day weekend is upon us, and our thoughts are quickly turning to pool side relaxation and backyard barbecues. I’m in! Who’s with me?!? But, as the hot sun burns brightly in the sky, so does the temptation of summer burnout drain our zeal and fervor. This year, let’s stop it before it starts!

Burnout. Using the fitness world as an example, how many of us have long forgotten our New Year’s resolutions now that June is knocking on our doors? We give up much too quickly saying, “Well, if I haven’t achieved my goal by now, it’s just not going to happen. Go ahead and add that scoop of ice cream to my cherry pie.” Haha! Am I the only one?

The struggle is real.

So, I’ve thought about it and I’ve concluded there are three syndromes to blame:
1) Short-sighteditis
2) Complacencemia
3) Idontphilia-likit disease

And you know what? All three of these “conditions” have the same root cause. The true culprit is taking our eyes off the goal.

As Christians, we can easily contract these diseases (and believe me, they are contagious, so be careful of the voices you listen to!). We are called to be the light of the world. But what happens when we feel like our light is no brighter than a lightening bug flying about on these soon-to-be muggy evenings?

The struggle is real.

The praises of God are to ever be on our lips, but what happens when discouragement comes and we can barely lift our heads?

The struggle is real.

What is the cure for this all to common ailment? Well, the prescription, of course, is a heaping dose of Jesus! I realize I sound corny, but it’s true. Only He can help us put things back into perspective.

Sometimes we get so caught up in the trees that we miss seeing the forest. Jesus gives us that heavenly perspective that brings purpose back into our lives. He focuses our eyes back on the goal. He reminds us of our why.

The ‘why’ is the reason we do what we do. We love because He first loved us. Even when others are unloveable. We praise Him because He is worthy. Even when it is a sacrifice of praise. We let our lights shine for all to see because Jesus is the hope of glory within us. Even the light of a lightening bug pierces the darkness.

So, if there is an area in your life where you are feeling burnout – an area maybe you’ve been neglecting for sometime, or maybe a dream lost in the yesteryears – remember your why. Reflect upon it. Let it ignite your passion to finish that work which He started within you. Jesus is the author and perfecter of our faith!

Meditate upon these scriptures below. May the word of God stir the waters of your spirit and rekindle the fires of purpose within you. There are great things in store for you when you keep your focus and keep pressing in! Even when it’s… One. Step. At. A. Time.

“Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Outdo yourselves in honoring one another. Do not let your zeal subside; keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, persistent in prayer.” –Romans 12:10-12

“The purposes of a person’s heart are deep waters, but the one who has insight draws them out.” –Proverbs 20:5

“Then the Lord answered me and said, ‘Write the vision and make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it. For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end – it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay.'” –Habakkuk 2:2-3

“I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” –Philippians 3:14

God always has perfect timing. Trust Him. Keep the faith. Keep your eyes on the goal.

Remember your why.

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There is a Ripple in the Clouds! Come Catch the Vision of Heaven!

I wish that everyone would catch this vision and experience the ripple of God’s glory pulsating throughout this land. Revival is happening now! This prophetic dream given to me one year ago is coming to pass today! Praise Jesus!

Dove & Sword Ministries

(Photo via Pinterest)

I had the most glorious dream last night! It was so sacred, it took me a while to even share with my husband. But from it, I believe God has given me a message to share with you today. So, here goes! I pray it ministers to you!

The dream began with me gazing into the clouds. It was a beautiful evening. My husband and children were there along with a few other people whom I didn’t recognize, but somehow I knew them in the dream.

Something in the clouds had caught our attention. The clouds had taken on the formation of ripples. There were several of them, and just like a ripple from a drop of water in a pool, each one began with a central focal point surrounded by a ripple effect. It was so captivating and intriguing.

We all desired to go the place directly…

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