I Come To You in His Name

In less than a week I leave with a team from our church to serve the people of Guatemala. As I pray over and think about this trip, one phrase keeps coming to mind. “I come to you in the Name of the Lord.” Each time I hear this phrase so many thoughts flood my mind. Here are just a few.

The name of the LORD is a strong tower; The righteous run to it and are safe. (Proverbs 18:10, NKJV)

God’s name is a place of protection… (Proverbs 18:10, MSG)

We are going in safety and peace, because we are going in the Name of the Lord.

Then Peter said, “Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk.” And he took him by the right hand and lifted him up, and immediatlely his feet and ankle bones received strength. So he, leaping up, stood and walked… walking, leaping, and praising God. (Acts 3:6-8, NJKV)

…His name, through faith in His name, has made this man strong… (Acts 3:16, NKJV)

“And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name…they will lay hands on the sick and they will recover.” (Mark 16:17,18)

We are going with His healing power, because we are going in the Name of the Lord.

Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin. But I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel…” (1 Samuel 17:45, NKJV)

We are going with His victory and deliverance, because we are going in the Name of the Lord.

For “whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.” (Romans 10:13, NKJV)

We are going with His saving power, because we are going in the Name of the Lord.

…God is love. (1 John 4:8, KJV)

Jesus was moved with compassion. (Matt 9:36; Matt 14:14; Mark 1:41; Mark 6:34)

We are going in love. We will be moved with compassion towards the people of Guatemala and meet their needs through His supernatural power and provision, because we are going IN the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ!

Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor and gave him the name above all other names, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue declare that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the Glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:9-11, NLT)

Unity of the Brethren

I woke up with an ache in my heart this morning. I couldn’t shake a heavy feeling that seemed to hang over me. I went about my morning routine, but something was missing… peace and joy. My husband saw me and asked why I looked so unhappy. I hadn’t realized that it showed. It made me stop and search my heart to figure out why I was unhappy. Then the tears began to flow. It was because someone I love, a fellow believer had said some unkind things about other believers.

I don’t believe there is a denomination that has perfect wisdom regarding God and His ways. My experience is that each one appears to have revelation of one or more of the beautiful facets of our amazing and multi-faceted God. For all the revelation each one has I find that it’s like looking at one star in the sky, for the one that we see, there are billions more we don’t see.

Also, within each of those denominations there are believers at all levels of wisdom and maturity. Each one has its men and women of God that have wisdom beyond this world. Each one has the one who hears the message, but doesn’t really get the spirit and heart of God behind the message and makes a fool of themselves and brings contempt from other believers towards a particular denomination.

When I hear a believer say something unkind about another believer or another denomination my heart sinks. There are many things we may disagree on. There may be many differences in how we worship and serve our God. But we have one very important thing in common. No, not one thing in common, One Person in common… Jesus Christ.

Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron’s beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments; As the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion: for there the LORD commanded the blessing, even life for evermore. (Psalms 133:1, KJV)

Our Father which art in heaven Hallowed be thy name… (Luke 11:1, KJV)

Above all things have intense and unfailing love for one another, for love covers a multitude of sins [forgives and disregards the offenses of others]. (1 Peter 4:8, KJV)

Don’t look around and see the believer judging you or your denomination. Look within and see where you might not be loving others as He has loved you.

Search me [thoroughly], O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there is any wicked or hurtful way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. (Psalms 139:23-24, Amp)

Good Morning

I recently moved from the city to a very new neighborhood that for now is in the country. There are no buildings, tall or otherwise as far as I can see out my back windows… just a clear view of the horizon.

My very first morning in our home, I woke very early. I was too excited to stay in bed. I got up well before the sun. As I sat in my favorite chair in the living room I noticed something happening outside. The pitch black sky with tiny little dots like diamonds set in it began to change. Black was slowly becoming indigo and a deep, deep purple. Slowly the purple began to melt into a rich red and brilliant orange, but the main attraction was yet to be seen. I saw the brilliant colors but the sun was still hiding just below my fence line.

As I watched this amazing display, I thought to myself I don’t remember the last time I watched the sun rise. I sat on the edge of my chair waiting for what seemed eternity for the sun to peek over my fence, but even as the colors kept changing, still the sun remained hidden.

I’m sorry to say that I began to get a little impatient. I had a house full of boxes that needed to be unpacked. I didn’t want to miss this first sunrise, but it seemed to be taking its own sweet time. So, I decided to stand up on something to finally catch a glimpse of the sun and just as I was about to stand up, I heard God the Father gently say, “Wait.”

The Love of my life had spoken. So I sat and waited. The colors became even more beautiful. As I sat and watched a few scriptures began to drift around in my heart and mind.

Be still and know that I am God… (Psalms 46:10)

But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength… (Isaiah 40:31)

Just before God had spoken I was impatient to see the sun because I wanted to start unpacking. Slowly as the colors grew more and more brilliant, I found anticipation and excitement growing in my heart. I could hardly wait to see the sun now because of the joy bursting in my heart and then God said, “You can peek now.”

The sun shone so brilliant and bright my heart was thrilled, but I was only able to look for a moment and then had to turn my eyes from the flaming light. It was amazing. It was special. It was a very good morning spent with God.

We’ve been in our new home just short of a month now and I put temporary shades up throughout the house, but not on my back windows in the living room. Everyday I have gotten up before the sun. Every morning I sit with the One Who made the sun. Everyday as they sun rises I am reminded that He is God. Morning by morning I sit and wait as He renews my strength.

But For the Grace

Then Jesus, being filled with the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, being tempted for forty days by the devil. Luke 4:1, NKJV

For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Hebrews 4:15, NKJV

This morning the headlines were many announcing an evangelical preacher of a very large church resigning due to moral failings. Some reports indicated possible porn addiction and extra-marital affairs. These specific failings were not confirmed officially.

I saw the headlines and my heart sank. A family betrayed and hurting. A congregation, including this pastor’s staff, confused and hurting. I prayed for them and then I prayed for this pastor.

I think of the saying, “There but for the grace of God.” We hear it everywhere, but I don’t think it’s usually said with the true weight and meaning that this statement should carry.

I started this post with two scriptures that speak of our Lord Jesus Christ being tempted. He was tempted but did not sin. This was not because He was the Son of God. He laid down His divine nature and came to earth as a man. I believe the reason He did not fall under the weight of such great temptation was because of what happened prior to His entering the wilderness. “Then Jesus, being filled with the Holy Spirit…”

But He gives us more and more grace (power of the Holy Spirit, to meet this evil tendency and all others fully). That is why He says, God sets Himself against the proud and haughty, but gives grace [continually] to the lowly (those who are humble enough to receive it). James 4:6, Amplified

There but for the grace of God. There but for the power of the Holy Spirit to meet this evil tendency and all others fully. I think it’s important to realize that just as Jesus was tempted, we too can be tempted. If we think we have arrived at a place where we cannot be tempted, we may fail to humble ourselves and receive the grace that He is freely offering.

I don’t say this in judgement of this pastor. Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.

I share all this as a reminder to myself and to anyone who reads this, when tempted, humble yourself and receive His grace, His power to meet and overcome all temptation.

One final thing, Pastor Joseph Prince says that when facing addictions and reoccurring sins in our lives, to remind ourselves  out loud as often as needed, “I am the righteousness of God in Christ.” In the face of addictions and failings, it takes humility to press through shame and guilt to say what God says about us. This is an act of faith. It is by faith that it might be by grace. We humble ourselves with an act of faith and receive the grace that sets us free. Whom the Son sets free is free indeed.

We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin. For when we died with Christ we were set free from the power of sin. Romans 6:6-7, NLT

I Believe

What just happened? I’m so confused. I don’t know what to do. I don’t know what to feel. I’m angry. I’m sad. I’m numb.

No worries. These are not thoughts and feelings that I am experiencing now, but there was a time that I felt this way. After years of hoping and dreaming my dreams seemed to be finally coming true. Then things took a turn, a turn in the opposite direction. I was left devastated. 

I have always been a person with a strong belief system, especially concerning the Word of God. Yet, here I was confused, disappointed, and broken-hearted. Add to that some very strong medications that I was taking for medical treatment, I was not in a good place. I didn’t know what I believed any longer. The disappointment was too much. The pain was too much. I went numb.

I don’t know how to describe this other than to say it hurt to talk, so I didn’t. I was silent for days. Then slowly I began to climb out of the pit, but still I wasn’t talking much. I wasn’t saying anything about what I believed, and that was highly unusual for me.

A slight uneasiness started to creep into my heart. I felt like I wasn’t trusting God and that I was disappointing Him because I wasn’t sure what I believed any longer. I was going through a crisis of faith.

I finally ventured out of the house to attend a small ladies gathering at my church. Worship started. I went through the motions. I felt nothing.

The song we were singing was Nothing Is Impossible by Planetshakers. I was singing, but still numb. Then I heard the words coming from my mouth, “I believe, I believe/I believe, I believe in You.” Suddenly the words were not just coming from my mouth anymore. They were coming from my heart.

I was still hurting. I was still recovering. I still wasn’t sure what I believed. However, there was one thing I did know, no matter what I still believed in God. I realized that you can’t be afraid of disappointing someone you don’t believe in. I believed in Him and that would never, ever, ever change.

 But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. Hebrews 11:6

 I believe in You!!!

Following His Lead

Over twenty years ago, I sat in a little church in Texas. I was attending a small gathering for the ladies of the church. A team of people where there to pray for us. They were going to pray for us and then share the specific thoughts and visions that God gave them for each person.

I’m not going to share all that they said to me that day. Some words blessed me beyond measure. Some words left me wondering. One young lady shared with me the images she saw as she prayed for me. She saw me dressed as a nurse tending to the needs of people who had been wounded in a battle. She asked me if I was a nurse. I answered ‘no’. I truly had no idea what God was trying to tell me through that vision. I placed it on a shelf in my heart and left it there, not knowing what else to do with it.

Sometime after that, my husband and I sensed God leading us to a new church. Once there, I felt God leading me to join the hospital ministry. He also opened a door for me to join their healing school ministry team. Did I mention that at that time I knew nothing about what the Bible said concerning healing? Each week I said nothing, but just listened and learned. 

For the next fourteen years I worked in the healing ministry at that church. I even led the teams for the last three of those years. At one point I was walking down the hallway of a hospital ready to minister to yet another person in need of God’s healing power, when I suddenly remembered the vision that young lady had shared with me so many years ago. I may have not been a nurse in the natural sense, but I had spent years ‘nursing’ hundreds back to health with God’s Word and His power. I was walking in the vision even though I hadn’t understood it and had done nothing to make it happen. One step at a time He led me right into His plan for me.

Almost three years ago He led us to yet another new church. I have followed His lead one step at time while at this new church. Where are we heading? What’s the plan? I don’t know. What I do know is if I just keep following Him, one step at time, I will end up right in the middle of His plan.

Come, follow me… and I will make you fishers of men. (Matthew 4:19, NIV)

…He leads me… (Psalm 23:2, Amplified)

For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. (Romans 8:14, Amplified)

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11, NIV)

The Little Things

Many, many years ago I had a very interesting experience. I was just looking at the baby clothes at Dillards. Just looking. I wasn’t pregnant. I didn’t have any close friends or family who were expecting. I just like looking at baby clothes. I spotted this amazing Baby Dior outfit. It was so thick and soft, pure white with dark navy stars. As I admired it and dreamed of buying something like this for my own baby some day, I heard God’s voice. He told me to buy the outfit.

There seemed to be no reason to buy it other than God said. That of course was reason enough. I bought it and later that day He instructed me to give it to a woman who attended my church, a woman whom I had never met before.

I dropped it off at her home with some food, she’d just had a baby, but she wasn’t home, so I still hadn’t met her or spoken to her. Later I received a card in the mail from her thanking me for the food and thanking me for the baby outfit. She mentioned that she had seen one just like it before she had her baby only that outfit was white with gold stars. She said to God at that time that she wished the outfit came in blue. Not to be trite, but it was as though her wish was His ‘command’.

Last week I spotted some pumpkin butter at Calloway’s Nursery. I thought of a co-worker who likes anything and everything pumpkin flavored. I picked up a jar for him and a jar for us. This week as I arrived at the office I announced to my co-worker that I had a surprise for him. Before he saw what I had brought for him, he said, “Pumpkin butter.” How could he know?!

He said that recently he had told God that he needed to find some pumpkin butter locally. When he heard I had a gift for him, he just knew God had arranged for him to have his pumpkin butter.

Seriously God?! Baby outfits with blue stars, pumpkin butter? I have so many other stories like this that I could share.

I’ve been ‘mostly’ trusting God for a very big thing in my life. When He shows how much He cares about the little things in our lives, it makes me trust Him even more with the big things.

Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? – Matthew 6:26 NLT