Faith

NO CHURCH, KNOW CHURCH

How many of you feel lost without corporate worship, weekly gatherings, and deeper interaction? How many long to pass the Communion plate and enter His presence together? With the lack of church meetings, have you found Him on your own? Have you opened your Bible? Hosted your own worship time? Prayed? Taken Communion? Or has no church left you empty? We need to change the language from NO church to KNOW church. YOU are the church as He dwells inside of you. If we can only find His presence, hear Him, and enjoy Him in the company of others, perhaps we know church more than we know HIM! It’s time to buy your own oil by learning how to go after Him in the secret times when no one else is around. When you starve yourself, your body will eventually stop giving you hunger pangs as a way of survival. When you eat, you become hungry. It doesn’t matter if you FEEL like feeding your spirit; we do it anyway SO THAT it creates a hunger for more. We read our Bible, pray, worship, and take Communion, which increases our desire for more. If you are waiting for the hunger to kick in, you could be waiting for a long time. Dive in today and start eating. 

HERE’S THE KEY – When corporate gatherings start happening again, there will be an explosion of His Spirit because you will have oil in you to burn! Don’t wait for the church to start again so that you can enjoy someone else’s fire – get your own – today!

CHILDLIKE FAITH

It never ceases to amaze me how much children actually have the Kingdom right, and we have it backward. In the natural, they are the ones that get afraid and automatically cling to their daddy for protection. Yet it is when parents are partnering with fear and refuse to go to the Father that creates the greatest hindrance in the family’s spiritual health. Fear is a LIE used by the enemy that prevents us from holding our Father’s hand and trusting Him to protect us. So instead, be childlike and jump in His lap!

LET GOD MOVE!

There was a time God brought my daughter through some deep healing of trauma where I almost called 911 because she couldn’t breathe. The breakthrough brought such freedom that it literally changed the direction of her life. God was removing something in her heart. We once had a family meeting that was so messy I wasn’t sure any good would come of it. It brought forth the biggest breakthrough with the children’s father, and they have had a growing connection ever since. God was building something. We pulled Lauren from school halfway through the year, one of the hardest choices for her to make. Looking back, she learned some life lessons that shaped her identity and cemented her worth in Him. God was shaping her. Another child made such a big mess when she flat out rebelled against counsel and was playing with fire. She tasted it and decided it was not for her, and in the midst, God gave her the keys to help set other children free. God was building something in her. What’s my point? My point is that as parents, we have been crying out for God to move and act on behalf of our families. We have cried out about gender issues, sexual exploitation, the media that fills their minds, the attack on parental authority, lack of character, bullies, sexual perversion, promotion of sex, sex trafficking, online predators, threats to our parental rights, and on and on. LET GOD MOVE! We can’t cry out one minute, and the moment He moves, partner with fear. We have to stay in faith just as much TODAY as we did when we were crying out. God knows what He is doing. The world is messy right now, but that doesn’t mean God isn’t working. You are feeding faith or fear whenever you open your mouth. Whatever we feed grows. Either we can sit and call out every detail of the process in fear and worry, or we can zoom out and SPEAK and DECLARE the truth about who God is. Messes do not mean God isn’t working. Often, God allows the mess to be seen before He steps in. 

SHIFTING YOUR FOCUS

Learning to shift my focus is what really helps me in times of earthly stress. Say it is a money issue. I do not focus on the need for money to come in (which would seem the proper response). Instead, I focus on His goodness as my Husband. When I need something, my eyes and faith aren’t on the end result, but on HIM. Instead of praying, “Jesus, I need x-amount of money by Thursday. Please send the money.” I focus on, pray, and declare, “God, YOU alone are MY Provider.” See the difference? One keeps our eyes on the lack/need, while the other keeps our eyes on Him. The latter is the place of FAITH and REST. God whispered to me years ago to “enroll them” (meaning my kids at a Christian school in CA). That is all He said. Nine months of fear and doubt followed. Worry was on one side, and God’s gentle whisper on the other – I had to choose which one I was going to partner with. After I sold our house in Colorado, said my goodbyes, and drove four children across the country, the school called to say there wasn’t any room for them and asked what my plan B was. At that moment, my entire world could have crashed. I thought about the question and realized there was NO plan B because I wasn’t striving to make plans happen. I only had what God told me. My eyes weren’t on them getting into the school or not; my eyes were on GOD’S GOODNESS. He told me what to do, I did it, and whatever He had for us would be good because He is a good Father, Husband, and Provider. A week later, the school called back to say there was room for the children. Of course, there was; God told me to enroll them. Do we have a plan B when circumstances squeeze us? Either God is good, or He isn’t. Either He is our Provider, or He isn’t. Either He is love, or He isn’t. We can’t pick and choose when we want to take Him off the shelf and when we want to put Him back on it.

DOES GOD STILL SPEAK TODAY?

Before you can teach your children how to hear their Father, you will need to align your thinking with heaven. First, you have to resolve the following question in your heart – does Father God speak to His children? If He does, you must stand in faith that it will happen. If you don’t believe His voice is for today, then you are walking in doubt, and that alone is an earmuff that blocks your hearing. If you do not believe that He wants to speak to you as a parent, then you will have a tough time acknowledging when He is speaking to your children. Often, we expect God to get our attention by screaming at us, and THEN we will believe He speaks. While He can do anything, typically, it is our faith that allows us to experience the Kingdom. John 11:40. 

Let me give you an example: A child learns in Sunday school that Jesus wants to speak to him, and he BELIEVES it. He goes to bed that night and asks Jesus to speak to him in his dreams. He wakes up the following day and runs downstairs to tell his mom that Jesus took him all over the world and showed him that he would go before a king and tell him about Jesus. The mom says, “Ha, that is a wild dream, all right, but you can’t really go around the world like that.” The child declares, “No, Jesus took me. I saw Him, and He told me I would tell kings about Him.” Mom smiles and assures Junior that kids aren’t allowed to see kings for they are too important. No matter how much Junior insists it is real, Mom teaches him about reality. The child walks away, partnering with his all-knowing mother, and pushes the silly dream aside. These are generally the kids who are most hardened to the Christian faith down the road because they tried it and felt burned. Guess who the enemy uses the most to put earmuffs on a child? Yep, the unbelieving Christian parent. What if Mom responded, “WOW, Buddy, that is amazing. I believe Jesus speaks to us and can do it while we sleep because He never sleeps. I believe He created you to be a powerful mouthpiece for Him and that He has plans for your future far above your wildest dreams. How about you draw me a picture of your dream?” 

Which parent do you want to be? Go ahead and spend a moment honestly processing your belief. Does God speak to His children today? 

A – Absolutely! 

B – I believe but haven’t experienced it.

C – I haven’t seen it, so I don’t believe it.

D – I was taught He doesn’t speak.

THERE IS MORE!

Take a moment and picture how incredible it would be to be in Hawaii. No, seriously. Stop right now and think about a trip to paradise. The mere thought of the ocean mist, bright sun, and warm sand – sounds like heaven. Now, picture yourself on the balcony of the high-rise hotel on the beach. Pretty cool, huh? What if you were to walk down to the sandy beach with a relaxing book and sit under the sun umbrella? How about strolling up and down the shoreline, flirting with the cool waves against your warm toes? Better yet, picture yourself knee-deep and enjoying the waves splashing against your body. Swimming out deeper and jumping in the waves is an experience like no other. If you venture out just a little further, you can snorkel and see some of the most fantastic fish swimming. Still, does the wonder of the ocean end there? No! There is even more! When you learn how to surrender to the mercy of an oxygen tank, you can stay immersed under the water for quite some time and enjoy the outstanding, breathtaking beauty that is not available for those seated in the safety of their hotel balcony. While the mere thought of being in Hawaii right now is a good one, God wants us to know that there is MORE of Himself waiting to be discovered, and these depths in God far outweigh any beauty we may find on earthly soil. The only person to ever reach the vast depth of the Father was Jesus. For the rest of us, we can stay on the beautiful yet comfortable, confined balcony or allow the Spirit to draw us deeper and deeper. No matter where you are at right now, know there is MORE! The goal isn’t to be air-dropped into the middle of the sea and claim that we have arrived. Doing so ill-equipped would be not only dangerous but also foolish. The goal is the JOURNEY! God finishes and completes our faith, and it is our job to allow Him to lead us one step at a time. Philippians 1:6 is your anchor! 

Now, link this analogy to parenting: Can you picture how drastically different our parenting will be based on where we position ourselves? Those on the balcony will have a different parenting mindset than those who parent from the ocean’s depth. 

Through the different seasons of your life. Are you gradually moving deeper and deeper, or are you having continued visits between the same few safe and familiar locations?

KINGDOM AUTHORITY

My sweet friends empowered their children to take a stand against sickness and release peace over their bodies and homes. Kingdom authority is yours – use it. This builds your child’s personal faith as they get to not only witness but experience God move.

FINDING MY HUSBAND

We became a solo family two weeks before Christmas. I went to bed Christmas Eve but woke around 2am thirsty. I don’t need much sleep but getting out of bed for a glass of water was out of the question. The thirst persisted. I finally got up and stumbled to the kitchen, where my feet hit the standing water from the dishwasher that had leaked. I was so thankful to have found it then, as it would have ruined our hardwood flooring and seeped into the basement had it been left for Christmas morning. I cleaned it up in the dark, sat on the kitchen floor, and wept. There was no way I had an ounce of energy left in me to wash dishes three times a day for five people. I felt so alone and overwhelmed. I told God I wasn’t stupid but honestly didn’t know who to call to repair it. An electrician? A plumber? Another wave of tears came as I embraced my hopelessness. I wasn’t even sure I knew where to buy a new one. Home Depot? Did Sears carry them? My husband would have known with ease how to handle this situation, but he wasn’t there, and my cluelessness was reducing me to another wet pile of tears on the kitchen floor. I suddenly remembered the verse that talked about God being my Husband. I dried my tears and said, “Okay, YOU are now my Husband. We have a problem with our dishwasher. What are You going to do about it?” Three days later, I ran the dishwasher, and it never leaked again. A place in my heart was created that Christmas for God to become my Husband, my faithful, know-it-all, can-fix-it Husband. I no longer operated in spiritual singleness. FAITH is the wedding band that activates His power, peace, and solutions in my life.

POSTER CHILD OF HIS POWER

I was raised in the church, so I assumed I was going to heaven, but my near-death experience proved I didn’t have a heart connection with Jesus. It was scary. My mom died while I was in a coma, making my recovery process even more difficult. I was so sick the plan was for me to go to a nursing home to wait for my new kidneys and liver. I received hundreds of greeting cards during my three-month hospital stay, but one stood out. It read, “With God on your side, you will never have to be alone.” At that moment, I realized I had missed the boat and told God I wanted Him. I warned Him, though, that my heart was shattered into a gazillion pieces, and I wasn’t sure even He could put it back together again, but I wanted Him to try. I told Him I needed a real, living, and powerful God, and either He was real, or He wasn’t. If He was, I wanted to be a poster child that He was real. A deep peace came over me for the first time in my life. A few days later, the doctors told me I no longer needed dialysis three times a day, and a few days later, they removed me from the kidney transplant list. The following week my team of doctors, who had followed my care from the first day, came to tell me that I was going home because, much to their surprise, my liver was ‘suddenly’ healed. My God is indeed real, living, and quite powerful!!