“I’m so excited! I found them. I didn’t even realize they were lost, but I’ve found them,” I exclaimed as I pulled the old tarnished silver earrings out of the box! “Now, where is my silver polishing cloth,” I wondered? I found the cloth and began diligently rubbing the dull earrings with it.
After a short time the shiny bright silver came back to life. It began to shine and sparkle as if it were brand new. I couldn’t wait to put them back into use, so I quickly put them on so I could show my loved ones the—once favorite—earrings that had been lost.
As I was thinking about how to begin this blog, I remembered my lost earrings, and it became obvious to me what the Holy Spirit was leading me to say. I’ve been tucked away in Georgia at my secret little paradise for a week now. I came here to work on my fourth book. But, after struggling the whole first day just to write an Introduction, I finally relented and closed my laptop.
Sometimes we lose things, or put things away—out of sight. We may not even realize we’ve misplaced it until we happen upon it again at an unexpected time. God knew exactly what I needed this week, even though I didn’t recognize it at first. What I needed was personal revival. There were some things that I had “misplaced” and needed to find again.
As I began to spend time in prayer and worship, the Holy Spirit began to polish off the tarnish, and expose the missing treasures. Yes, ministers can get tired, dusty and covered with tarnish too. I started to realize that so often I ask God questions, but rarely stick around to hear His answer. So, I dedicated myself to listening this week.
I wrote down specific questions I wanted answers to. And, I praised and worshipped Him. I put my whole focus on Him. I prayed, I asked Holy Spirit to become my Teacher afresh and anew! I repented of complacency, and I vowed to listen more carefully as I read His Holy Word. And, do you know every single one of my questions were answered?
I also spent time reflecting on other things that had been misplaced in my life that needed to be renewed. He showed me that my joy was waning. Much of my joy comes from leading people to Jesus. Since the jails, and churches have been closed due to Covid, I have desperately missed being used by the Holy Spirit to lead people to Jesus, and help them receive the wonderful gift of the baptism in the Holy Spirit.
My joy has been tested in these trying times, as I’m sure many of you have felt as well. So, I asked the Holy Spirit to renew the fire and fervor of ministering to others. I used to be far more sensitive to His nudge to pray for people—wherever that might be. As, I have spent time praying in tongues, and asking Him to refill and renew me, He has certainly done that!
Last night I had to make a quick run to a little store not far from the cabin. I really didn’t want to go out, but I had an overwhelming urgency to go. While there He led me to two different people—complete strangers— to minister to, and pray with. Both of them with tear filled eyes thanked me repeatedly, and told me that was exactly what they needed. I was rejoicing on my way back to the cabin. What a wonderful blessing to be used to pour into the lives of others.
On my drive back to the cabin the Holy Spirit began to reveal even more to me than I had first realized. To be completely honest, I have been worried about what this next season of ministry would look like. But God revealed to me last night, that come what may, the harvest fields are ripe! People are desperate for love. We can offer our love, and that is a temporary fix, but when they discover the precious love of Jesus lives are forever changed.
I’ve been encouraged to speak the truth even more boldly than before because the time is short. We don’t have time to tip toe around the truth when lives are at stake. He’s also encouraged me to pay more attention to those around me. We always have open doors to minister. We will always have a platform to display God’s greatness, and His abundant love if we just pay attention.
And, last but not least, we must be doers of The Word. This is not time to hide and cower in defeat. We must stand up and fight for the souls of the lost like never before. We have to be obedient to His voice, and that often means we have to shut out the voices of this evil world so we can hear the underlying cries of desperation. These are just a few of the things He has spoken to me in my personal revival.
I feel encouraged, strengthened, refreshed, renewed and excited about what God is going to do next! I feel like a pair of shiny new silver earrings. Maybe you need to have your own personal revival. You certainly don’t have to run to a cabin in the woods to do it. Just set aside some time to listen. If you have questions, ask Him. But remember to listen. Listen as you pray, listen as you read The Word, and listen as you simply sit in the silence and meditate on His goodness. You will probably find some things you’ve misplaced!
The high and lofty one who lives in eternity,
the Holy One, says this:
“I live in the high and holy place
with those whose spirits are contrite and humble.
I restore the crushed spirit of the humble
and revive the courage of those with repentant hearts.
Isaiah 57:15 NLT
The Humbling of Christian America (Warning, I stepped all over my own toes here too, so don’t get mad at me).
You may be asking yourself, what is going on? Perhaps you thought when you went to the polls and cast your vote for a President who upholds our Christian values and stands against the slaughter of innocent babies, everything was going to be okay. Life would go on as normal, maybe Roe Vs. Wade would even be overturned?
I’m not ashamed to say I voted for President Trump because he supports our Christian values. And now, as the whole election seems to be falling into the hands of the opposite party I myself, had to ask, “God, what is going on?”
And, I heard the same thing I have been hearing for months. “It is time for the complacent church to WAKE UP!” For too long American Christians have had it easy. We could afford to grow complacent. As long as the government was attempting to uphold our Christian values, we could cast our vote for the “good guy,” and go on with our lives feeling as if we had done our part.
We have tried to depend on the guy in the White House to hold back sin in America, while we hang out in our comfort zones lifting the occasional prayer for our nation. It has been fairly easy for us. Outside of the random social media taunts and mockery, we haven’t faced a lot of persecution here in “Christian America.”
We have prayed for the persecuted missionaries and martyrs who have died for sharing the Gospel in other countries, but we have sat on our comfy couches and let sin take over here in America because it’s someone else’s job. We have become more obsessed with how many people we can get into our church pews, than how many souls we are getting into heaven.
We have stopped speaking Truth for fear of offending people and causing them to leave the church. But what good is it to have a church full of lost people on their way to hell? And we wonder why “the church” is powerless? Really?
We have banned the power of the Holy Spirit from most of our services, and wonder why everyone seems to be asleep. We can’t understand why attendance has dropped in our churches, but we have failed to see that our “cheap entertainment,” can’t compete with the worlds elaborate forms of entertainment. It’s because God’s house was never meant to be a form of entertainment.
Blame it on corruption, and deception from the opposite party (I’m not saying they are not involved) but who has allowed sin and deception to gain such a solid foothold in our Nation? We had one job—win the lost to Christ.
We have been busy building our own platforms as we have promoted a weak and powerless prosperity gospel. When did Jesus ever say, “Lift me up so you can have a fifteen million dollar mansion?” No, He said He was going to prepare a place for us, and in His Fathers’ house were many mansions. Will any of us ever see those mansions? Are we so shallow, and so lost that we have totally ignored the truth of a real heaven, but also a real hell?
I realize Satan is running rampant in our world because he knows his time is short. But, as he has upped his game, we have all but left the court! We have got to wake up.
Many people who know me well, remember what I said in 2016, “If Trump wins the election, it will be because God has pressed the pause button to allow Christians to step up and fight for a harvest of souls in the nation. I don’t think he will win a second term, because I believe God is giving us one last chance.”
Did we blow it? Has God decided to allow America to have the sin it has so desperately desired and accepted? Has He grown sick of our complacency? Has our stagnation become a putrid odor in His nostrils?
Perhaps this is our humbling. We have tried to do so many things in our own power without His help, and maybe He is showing us just how much favor we have had and have ignored.
From this point on things are going to be harder. Even if something happens to swing the election in President Trump’s favor. If, we are given another opportunity with 4 more years, what will we do with it? Will we just waste it?
We must develop a spiritual backbone. We have to speak truth in love, and we must do everything we can to reach the lost before our time is up. I believe Jesus is coming soon, but will He find faith (a spotless church) on the earth when He returns?
We must lift Him up. He alone is our Savior.
I want to see Jesus lifted high. He said if He was lifted up, He would draw all men unto Him. Who are we trying to draw people to? We are not the world’s Savior, nor is any man or woman on this planet. We must humble ourselves, and lift up the mighty Name of Jesus!
We must welcome the Holy Spirit back into our churches. Let Him convict and woo the sinner to come to Jesus. We must be truth speakers led by the Holy Spirit, not seeking our own popularity, but seeking to do God’s will. When we refuse to speak against sin, we are quenching the Holy Spirit’s power to convict people of their sin. Sin is conquered one soul at a time.
We must get back to holiness. Jesus said to “Be holy as I am holy.” We are chosen, set apart, called for a purpose, and equipped to be mighty warriors in a supernatural battle that cannot be observed by the human eye, but CAN be won by saints on their knees in prayer.
We must resist complacency, and stagnation. We have got to get out of our comfort zones. We will never see a supernatural move of God as long as we are sitting on our sofa’s watching programs that glamorize the supernatural powers of Satan. Greater is He that is within US than He that is in the world, but if we keep pouring the world in, we will push the GREATER out causing us to become weak.
We need Jesus. We need to be filled with the Holy Spirit, and we need to honor God with all that is within us. We have lost the fear of the Lord, and we must get back to a place of reverential fear for His holiness, and His justice. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.
I love you all. These words were hard for me too. I am as guilty as anyone. But, I believe we are seeing what we are experiencing in this nation right now, because God is trying to wake us. Let us heed His warnings. Let us hunger and thirst for His Word like never before.
Amos 8:11 NIV
“The days are coming,” declares the Sovereign LORD, “when I will send a famine through the land— not a famine of food or a thirst for water, but a famine of hearing the words of the LORD.”
There is a lot going on in our world today and we can experience a gamut of emotions from one minute to the next. I can turn on the TV and find myself laughing one minute, then flip the channel and become furious. (I won’t mention which channel). The thing is, we don’t have to let our emotions run our lives. The enemy likes to use our negative emotions to control us, but we can certainly keep him from getting the upper hand.
Since Covid-19 came on the scene, I have seen a few friends and family members paralyzed by fear, while other friends and family members seem unconcerned, or ambivalent. Don’t get me wrong, I know Covid is real. I know people have died, and I’m extremely sorry about that. I know people who have had it and became very sick and uncomfortable. I hate that too, and I pray for all who have lost loved ones to it, and all who become sick with it.
But, I also know that Satan uses fear to control us and to keep us from moving forward into the plans God has for us. As, I was thinking about those in my circle of friends who suffer tremendously from fear (over most anything) it always seems to be those who do not have a personal relationship with Christ.
You can learn a lot about a person, or group of persons just by listening to them talk. What does their speech tell you? Do they speak negativity, or do they speak words of positivity and hope? Is everything doom and gloom, or is there a light at the end of the tunnel? Do they seem to only see the worst in people, never having anything positive to say about them, or do they look for the good in people?
Do they seek to forgive the wrongs of others, and realize that all of us have flaws, or do they try to remove a speck of dust from another’s eye with a pitchfork? Do they fear death or look forward to a life free from pain and sorrow in an indescribable paradise with Jesus, the One who laid down His life for us?
It seems to me that those who thrive on negativity and feel like all hope is lost are typically overcome with fear. Those who focus on the here and now, and are deceived by the hatred and hopelessness of those who only seek to spread negativity, soon begin to imitate what they see and hear—fear and negativity.
Those who would rather stomp out Christianity, and live their lives in direct disobedience to the Word of God are not happy just to do their own thing. Why must they attempt to stop Christians from living their lives in the way the Bible instructs us? It’s because misery loves company.
And, because they have lost all hope, they hate us for having hope. When hope has been eradicated, only fear remains. But for the Christian who has put his or her hope in Jesus, it cannot be taken away from us. We live for something greater than our own wants and desires. We live for a Savior Who loves us, and knows us, and has numbered our days.
We don’t have to obsess about when that day will come, or live in fear of it because we know we will be with Him. And, when we have done all we can to make sure our friends and family know Jesus as their Savior, we can also rest in the fact that we will see them again in eternity as well.
I think Paul said it best.
“For to me, living means living for Christ, and dying is even better. But if I live, I can do more fruitful work for Christ. So I really don’t know which is better. I’m torn between two desires: I long to go and be with Christ, which would be far better for me. But for your sakes, it is better that I continue to live.”
(Philippians 1:21-24 NLT)
Paul had no fear of death. His love for Christ, and the purpose he had been called to, was far greater than any fear he could ever face. He desired to be home with Jesus! This was his greatest and highest goal. His eyes were fixed on the path Jesus had called him to. His trust was grounded in the knowledge that when he had accomplished all he was called to do here on earth, he would join Jesus for all eternity.
Paul knew his purpose. He knew his mission, and he refused to lose hope in his future. He was unmovable, and resistant to the enemies attempts to cause fear.
What do we have our eyes fixed upon? Do we know our purpose? Are we stuck in a repetitious loop of negativity? Have we lost our hope?
Or have we fixed our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith? Are we living a life filled with hope and longing to be with Jesus in our heavenly home, yet still focused on what He has called us to do in the meantime? Are we living a life in submission to Christ Jesus, or in submission to our fears?
Where have you placed your hope?
“For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing. (2 Timothy 4:6 NLT)
Since the day I wrote my last blog, I have been praying for God to reveal to me exactly what He meant by “a shaking” coming. I have wondered if it was literal as in an actual earthquake, or if it was a Spiritual shaking?
Today in my prayer time I believe the Holy Spirit answered my questions. I was writing these words as quickly as possible, trying to keep up with all He was pouring into me. My hands are still shaking, so I hope I don’t make too many typo’s.
I believe what He spoke to me today was very similar to my last blog, but I feel He has revealed even more. After He spoke to me, He led me to two specific passages. I will share those as well.
This is what I felt the Spirit was speaking to me:
I have given you a voice and a platform to speak my Word—a voice to speak warning and repentance. I will shake this nation and bring it to its knees if she does not turn back to God. The earthquake I have shown you will be literal and Spiritual. People will be brought low to recognize their need for a Savior. Pride and arrogance will meet judgment. Glass houses displaying mens works will be crushed so My works may be seen and My Father glorified.
I Am coming soon, and I Am coming for a people who love Me. I’m returning for those who would lay down their all to follow Me. I Am calling together a great army of humble warriors to gather My harvest. There is a remnant whose hearts and eyes are fixed on Me. They WILL see this harvest. They will be My carefully chosen laborers, and they will share in My joy in the fields of harvest. I Am coming soon, and My reward is with Me for those who will consecrate themselves to Me and follow Me with their whole heart.
I always ask God to give me a confirmation from His Word, so I picked up my Bible, and let it fall open. I looked down and saw these words. (I know some will say I’m taking the Scripture out of context, but I believe God speaks to us with a rhema word to us when we ask or need it.)
(Isaiah 13:13 NIV)
Therefore I will make the heavens tremble; and the earth will shake from its place at the wrath of the Lord Almighty, in the day of his burning anger.
I immediately put my Bible down, and flipped it over a couple of chapters, and this highlighted passage jumped off the page at me. I felt led to share it as well.
(Psalm 20:6-8 NIV)
Now this I know:
The Lord gives victory to his anointed.
He answers him from his heavenly sanctuary
with the victorious power of his right hand.
Some trust in chariots and some in horses,
but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.
They are brought to their knees and fall,
but we rise up and stand firm.
Pray and see what the Holy Spirit is speaking to you. We must be ready for whatever lies ahead. We don't have to trust in government, or politics, or any empty promises of any man. But, we will trust in the Name of the Lord our God!
I Feel a Shaking!
I believe there is going to be a shaking of great magnitude very soon. You may remember several months ago, I wrote a blog entitled Brace Yourselves. Even then, I sensed God was bringing a shaking. I kept hearing the word “earthquake,” but I wasn’t sure if it was literal.
Now, more than ever I believe there is going to be a shaking—a sifting of the complacent church, and church leaders so to speak. I’m sensing a revival of repentance like we’ve never imagined. Some of you have waited for years feeling as if you were just treading water and getting nowhere fast. God is about to supercharge your boat! Your nets are going to break because of the overflow that is coming. Because of your faithfulness, obedience to God, and willingness to speak the Truth, He is going to bring it to pass.
I’m not worried about who will be in office after January, 2021. God’s will always prevails. He is in complete control, and no matter which way it goes, it is part of His plan. That is also why I believe this shaking will be a revival of preparation. It’s a revival of repentance to prepare the bride for the arrival of the groom. There will be no stopping it. Complacency must go! No liberal ideology, or tactic of the enemy will be able to thwart the plans of God. We will see Him move like never before.
As an earthquake sends shockwaves from deep beneath the surface of the earth, and causes structures to be removed from their foundations, so will this shaking be. Those who have not grounded themselves in the Word of God, and have not been obedient to Him will quickly fall from their foundations.
Those who have served up helpings of greasy grace followed by sugar coated words of deception will be removed from their platforms, if they refuse to repent and turn back to God. Truth will prevail. Wickedness will be seen for what it is—a masquerade of deception held by Satan and his influences. Witchcraft will be exposed and defeated.
Those who have taken this quarantine time to build themselves up in their most Holy faith will see the strongholds of the enemy begin to topple like skyscrapers built on sand. They will find God as their refuge and place of refreshing. The feeble arms, legs, hands and feet of the church will be made strong, and flesh will once again stretch over the dry bones that have laid dormant. Jesus is coming soon, and He is coming for a spotless bride. We must clean our garments and have an abundance of the oil of the Holy Spirit to fill our jars.
Those who have embraced worldly idols, and continued in their sins will be covered in the rubble unless they repent. Conviction will come upon hearts like never before. Some will listen to the wooing of the Holy Spirit, and others will turn a deaf ear, but the Spirit of God will move across the land.
The weak, timid, and humble will be made strong and bold enough to spread the Word of the Lord with an unmatched anointing. People will be drawn back to the cross. The things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of HIS glory, and only in His glory. Competition and jealousy between leaders and ministers will cease for those who come to total repentance.
When every eye is turned upon Jesus, and only when we have laid down all our idols—then we will see Him use us in the way He has longed to for so long. Yes, I sense a shaking. Shake us and wake us to see what really matters, Jesus. It’s all about You, and what You have called us to do—to speak truth in love so that others may be rescued from eternity in hell.
Help us to repent of anything that would come between our hearts and yours. Show us the seriousness of the hour. We don’t have time to sit around playing church when the lost are perishing.
Anchor us in Your love, and help us to gather all those who will come into the Strong tower of the Lord. We love You Jesus, and we give You all the glory. Amen.
So many people talk about wonderful revivals in the past and how they are praying for revival now. And, that’s great, but there is only one thing that will bring true revival. Hunger for God—only the pure, authentic, relentless hunger for God will bring revival to our churches and our lives.
Many of you know that Covid has shut down our jail and prison ministry. I miss it so much. We often had revival in our jail services, God moved in power. Ladies were saved, healed, delivered, baptized in the Holy Spirit and experienced other miracles. I began to wonder why we often had such powerful services in jail, but we rarely experience these things in our churches.
I soon began to see what the difference was—hunger for God. When these ladies come into the services in the jail, they are not coming because it’s a fancy building with a bunch of modern conveniences. They don’t come because they are expecting expert musicians, and extremely gifted singers. They don't come to hear a dynamic speaker, or to be entertained. They don’t come for the coffee because we certainly don’t have any. They come for one reason only.
Many of them have come from painful backgrounds. They have experienced, abuse, abandonment, trauma, and other things that often lead to their endless search for peace and happiness. The terrible things that have happened to them and the search for joy and acceptance has caused them to run to every option Satan has offered them to ease their pain.
Satan’s options land them in jail feeling even more lost and hopeless than before. So, when these ladies come into the jail services they are coming because they are desperate. They have tried everything the world has had to offer them, and all of it has failed them and left them empty.
They come in with a hunger. They want answers to their problems, and peace for their souls. When Jesus see’s their desperate hearts pleading for love and acceptance, He pours it out all over them. And when they receive His forgiveness and ask Him to be their Savior that hunger only grows. They are hooked. They come to each service afterwards hungry for more and more of God. And as they continue to come hungry for more of Him, they continue to be filled.
But look at us. We come to church wondering what songs the worship team will sing. Will they be to our liking? Will the music be too loud, too soft, too high or too low? Will the temperature be to our satisfaction? Will the coffee be hot, and will the Pastor preach something that entertains us for more than five to ten minutes? Will we get out in time to beat the crowds to our favorite restaurant? And we continue this routine week after week.
Is it any wonder why so many people are absolutely sick of going to church? Yes, I said it, people are sick of going to church because they are going for all the wrong reasons. If we could ONLY realize that we must stop seeking God’s hand and start seeking His face—if we would truly HUNGER for His presence, and if we would tune out everything in and about church and come relentlessly seeking Him—then we would see revival.
God is not stingy with His presence and power, He longs to pour it out. But, He isn’t wasteful either. He shows up where He is truly wanted. He comes in power to the places where He is desired. He comes to people who are desperate for His presence. He comes to the Hungry.
Oh, that we would become hungry and desperate for Him and His presence! If we would only see that we are absolutely bankrupt without Him. If we would fall on our faces and ask Him to forgive us of our worldly fascinations, and repent for all the idols in our lives—If we truly want HIM more than anything else…Then! Then we will see true revival where people are changed for eternity. Are you hungry?
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.”
“For the bread of God is that which comes down out of heaven, and gives life to the world.” Then they said to Him, ‘Lord, always give us this bread.’ Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst.’”
When my youngest daughter, Hannah, was little I would take her shopping with me. After she got her “toy,” or whatever item she was in search of, she was ready to be done with shopping. I can remember how she would lay on the little bench inside the dressing room as I tried on clothes.
It didn’t take very long for her to start saying, “Mom, I’m tired and I wanna go home.” I’m sure part of it was because she wanted to go home and play with her latest acquisition, but she was also tired of going from store to store to browse. She wasn’t the least bit interested in clothes at that age. She became overstimulated by all the activity, and it was exhausting to her.
I can certainly relate. Maybe you can too. Today there is so much going on that can overwhelm and agitate us. Negativity abounds. If we turn on the television we are soon bombarded by information that distresses us, depresses us, and often just outright frustrates us.
We can sometimes become so absorbed with what we are seeing, hearing, and experiencing we find ourselves irritated, and we become increasingly bitter. When the division, violence, and total disrespect for God seems to spread like a brush fire it can be almost infuriating.
Then on top of that, we are dealing with a pandemic that just won’t go away. People are arguing daily about whether you should or shouldn’t wear a mask. Some people are carefree, while others are paralyzed with fear.
It seems like everyone wants to argue about something—anything. It’s almost as if there is a plague of disagreement, offense, and hate affecting everyone. It is a masquerade of manipulation and deception organized and imposed by Satan himself.
When we as Christians no longer want to share the gospel because we feel that we will never make a difference in lives that have become so deceived, we often want to tell God, “I’m tired and I wanna go home.”
I know I have certainly said it many times myself lately. I personally often wonder if I’m making a difference at all, and that causes me to become tired and complacent. I tend to shrink back and keep my mouth shut around certain people in order to avoid conflict or arguments.
Feeling as if we have been silenced can make a person feel indifferent to what is happening around them. I sometimes feel like I’m just tuning out the world. And, sometimes I just want to give up and say, “Jesus, YOU deal with them, I’m done!”
See how underhanded and manipulative Satan is? He knows exactly how to push our buttons. He is doing all he can to silence us in a time where all the loud obnoxious voices are drowning out the quiet desperate voices crying for help. And, they are out there.
So, even if we feel like we aren’t making a difference, we have to remember—one soul is worth it. One life changed, set free, and on their way to Heaven is worth it. One lost individual who misses hell is worth it! One person who becomes set ablaze with the Holy Spirit can reach a multitude in their own circle of influence.
We also need to realize when we need rest and refreshing. Only the Holy Spirit can refresh us and provide the strength to move us forward. We must get into the Word of God, and remember we are not the only ones who have gone through this. This is not a new tactic from the enemy of our souls. So we press on.
And, we must not get tired and give up. We have to be wise to Satan’s schemes. Its time to see his shenanigans for exactly what they are. And let’s give this short period of time we have left all we’ve got. Its time to rise up and fight the battle. We know who wins, and He is coming soon!
“He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.” (Isaiah 40:29-31)
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.” (Hebrews 12:1 NLT)
“No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.” (Philippians 3:13,14 NLT)
God In My Own Image
“So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” (Genesis 1:27 NLT)
When my daughters were young, I would read Bible stories to them and we would discuss them. There was one story in particular they both considered to be hilarious. When God gave Moses the ten commandments, and Moses came down from the mountain—after being gone for quite some time—he found the Israelites worshipping a golden calf.
This is how the conversation between Moses and Aaron went:
He said to Aaron, “What did these people do to you, that you led them into such great sin?”
“Do not be angry, my lord,” Aaron answered. “You know how prone these people are to evil. They said to me, ‘Make us gods who will go before us. As for this fellow Moses who brought us up out of Egypt, we don’t know what has happened to him.’ So I told them, ‘Whoever has any gold jewelry, take it off.’ Then they gave me the gold, and I threw it into the fire, and out came this calf!” (Exodus 32:21-24)
My girls were amazed at how Aaron could even say such a thing with a straight face. The fact that a grown man would say he threw gold into a fire and out came a calf amazed them. How ridiculous!
We think about this Bible story and wonder how Aaron could have dared to fashion an idol in the image of a calf, build an altar in front of it, and lead the people to present sacrifices to it. The thought is utterly absurd, especially when you take into consideration all the things God had done for them already.
I used to think if I had been there and actually saw God part the Red Sea, I would never doubt His existence ever again. So how could the Israelites see such miracles and then make a golden idol and worship it?
The sad—and scary—fact is many of us do the same thing. We may not physically fashion an idol with our hands, but we sure do try to make God fit into our molds of how we think He thinks, and what He considers sin to be. We have forgotten that He created us in His image and not the other way around.
This is why we must continually read the Holy Bible and remind ourselves of what God is really like. He has given us a clear picture of His character, His power, His Sovereignty and most of all His holiness. However, when those qualities don’t exactly line up with our fleshly desires, we tend to soften His edges and like putty in our hands squeeze Him into the molds of our ideas, traditions—or false interpretations—of what His Word says.
I recently posted a blog entitled, “Brace Yourselves,” in which I shared what I sensed the Holy Spirit was speaking to me. There was an overwhelming amount of positive responses and I give all the glory to God for that. However, one lady made a not so nice comment and it totally took me aback.
Quoting part of what I said in the blog she commented, “‘I am not playing games’... lol! We need to stop making God into our own image with our own vernacular.”
At first it upset me, but then I wondered what does she think the voice of the Holy Spirit sounds like? Does He only speak King James English? No, He does not. He speaks our language. He is a translator between God and man, so of course He speaks to us in words we can comprehend.
However, in her mind, God could only speak a certain way. But, why would the Holy Spirit only speak in King James English, especially since Jesus didn’t speak King James English Himself when He physically walked the earth? We can be sure that God never changes, but His voice is clear to all.
To say God couldn’t speak in our vernacular would also mean He can’t speak Spanish, Chinese, Russian or any other foreign language simply because we can only hear His voice in King James English, or any other way we have imagined Him to speak. So, how does He communicate with other parts of the world?
This is just one example of making God fit our traditional views of Him. Another example would be limiting our praises to only hymns, and vilifying contemporary songs of worship. Some presume to accept a God Who only likes hymns, and despises other songs of worship based on how they view Him. (i.e., If our taste is more suited to songs in hymnals, then God certainly must prefer hymns also.) We can become a stumbling block to others when we try to make God fit into our traditions.
Unfortunately some churches have created a God who approves of sins such as lying, stealing, cheating, and homosexual lifestyles. Their image of God condones and approves of fornication, people shacking up before marriage, abortion, and a God that has totally forgotten how many genders He created. This is almost as absurd as the calf coming out of the fire.
Sometimes people want to try to soften the blow when it comes to the Word of God and His absolute Truth simply to justify their fleshly desires. But we cannot change a God who has absolutely stated that He never changes. If we change our minds about Him we are guilty of creating and worshipping an idol—a God in our own idea or image of Him.
We simply cannot bring God down to our own standards. His Holy Word is the Standard we must live up to. There is no other way to live a life dedicated to Him. God has called us to be a Holy people striving every day to be transformed to His image, and not to be conformed to the image and morals of the world.
Anything we put before God is an idol whether that may be our preferences, our desires, an individual we admire, a hobby, sport or other interest. Not to say we can’t enjoy those things, but if they come between us and God—and if our focus is fixed on those things rather than God—it is an idol. We must continually watch for idols that sneak into our lives.
To know Him is to love Him. To love Him is to desire to be more like Him and not to replace Him, or try to change Him to fit our tastes.
“If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.”
(Colossians 3:1-5 ESV)
So many times we feel like we are racing to fulfill the dreams God has given us. We know what God has promised us, and we know He is Faithful, but we fail to recognize the miracles during the journey! If you are discouraged and tired of waiting because you haven't seen your promise come to life, release it. Don't give up on it, but release it to God's hand and His timing. Pay attention to the miracles on the journey. The valleys prepare us and give us the strength and the "right attitude" to stand on the mountains.
Nonetheless, waiting is extremely difficult. And sometimes it seems even when we are gaining momentum on our journey we can hit a brick wall and come to a complete stop. The sudden stop can be jolting, but it doesn’t mean the journey has ended. Here are a few ways to enjoy your journey as well as the pit stops!
First of all we need to remember, when God calls us to do something for Him, or places a dream in our hearts, it might not come to pass immediately. We can save ourselves a lot of frustration if we understand the appointing doesn’t always occur at the time of the anointing—or calling. Think about David. He was anointed as King when he was just a boy, but it was years later before he was appointed as King.
God doesn’t do this to frustrate us, but to encourage us to draw closer to Him and prepare for the task He has assigned us. Its like a roll of film. If it is exposed to the light before it is developed, the film is ruined. There is joy in the development phase even if we don’t recognize it immediately. Looking back now, I can see all the things God used to prepare me for ministry. At the time I didn’t realize it was Him preparing me because it was enjoyable. Look for joy in the small, but necessary training assignments! We have to remember we are also being developed, and God will let us know when its time to move into our appointed place. His timing is perfect!
Secondly, we need to understand that just because God has revealed our calling to us, He hasn’t necessarily revealed it to others yet. If you are like me, I felt it would take a lifetime to get speaking engagements. I became so frustrated because I knew God had a message for me to share, but I had nowhere to share it. No one had ever heard of me and so doors were completely closed to me.
I did everything to get invitations to speak. I sent out emails to pastors. I sent postcards and brochures to pastors telling them about my ministry. And guess what? Nothing happened. Out of 200 emails sent, I received maybe three or four replies, and they replied to say, “Maybe we can schedule something in the future.” I never heard from them again. It was hard. I was hurt, I was confused, and I even doubted my calling.
That’s when God said, “Stop! You have been trying to do it your way. When you let go, and quit striving to make things happen, I will open the right doors for you.” It was so hard to release it to Him. I felt I should be doing more to become noticed. When I finally stopped trying to get speaking engagements, I started getting invitations. Oddly enough, none of those invitations came from any of the churches I had contacted.
God knew which doors were the RIGHT doors, and great things happened in those churches and venues! Talk about miracles—God opened doors that I would never have dared to knock on in the first place! But, if I hadn’t released my desires to Him, I would probably still be sending out emails and waiting.
Thirdly, and probably the hardest to deal with is the sudden stop! This one has been particularly hard for me. Ministry came to a grinding halt when Covid-19 came on the scene. I can no longer go into the jails and prisons to minister. All of my speaking engagements were cancelled starting with Fiji, and trickling down to the very last venue.
It is devastating. I can’t even pray for people in Walmart because of social distancing! It has been one of the hardest things to endure. When you are an evangelist, and you can’t evangelize, you feel as if the air has been sucked out of your lungs. So, I’ve had to wait for Covid to dissipate and hope that doors will open again.
But there is still joy in the journey. It has helped me to become more creative in the ways I minister. I have shared messages online. I have spoken on Facebook Live for church services, and Teen Challenge, and I’ve been interviewed multiple times for podcasts, and other shows.
AND, I’ve used this time to examine my own heart and draw closer to God. My time with the Holy Spirit has been so sweet, and has enriched my life in ways I didn’t think possible. As I have prayed in the Spirit, I have felt absolutely sure that whatever comes my way, God has got me. I don’t have to fear the future, and I can expect to hear His voice when I pray—such sweet communion.
It might not be my ideal way to minister, but unfortunately times have changed. Ultimately, God is in control, and I know as I continue to draw close to Him, He will continue to make a way for me. And He will continue to make a way for you as long as you trust Him with your journey!
Even though I’m not a prophet—and I have stated that many times—I think I finally might have an inkling of how Jonah must have felt. Go with me for a minute.
Many of you know that I wrote a blog on June 15th, 2020 entitled, “Brace Yourselves.” I shared what I truly believe God spoke to me in that post. A little over a week later, a friend brought to my attention that another Assemblies of God pastor in Kentucky—Dana Coverstone—had shared some prophetic dreams He felt God had given him in a video.
She sent me the video, and when I watched it my jaw dropped as he repeated the same words “brace yourself!” I’m sure at this point, many of you have seen that video which has now gone viral. I didn’t know Pastor Coverstone, and he does not know me. To be honest, that was the first time I had ever heard of him.
Since then, I have seen multitudes of people going online posting response videos to his. My own website has been flooded with web traffic because of the similar message--brace yourselves. I have had many encouraging responses, some not so much. I can’t begin to imagine what has been said to Pastor Dana himself, but I wanted to jump on and share my two cents based on some of the videos I’ve seen circulating.
I’ve heard a lot of people say they don’t trust him because he’s just some pastor no one has ever heard of. They say he’s not a “well-known, or trusted prophet.” “Maybe if he was a seasoned prophet, or if he had sought the council of other well-known prophets first, he might be more reliable.”
Others say his video instills fear and leaves people with a feeling hopelessness. There have been well-known ministers who call themselves prophets with large followings that have also posted fiery rebuking videos toward Pastor Dana. Some have even gone as far as to call him a false prophet!
Still some people have said his video should have been an edifying and encouraging word, and “it should uplift you and make you, ‘feel good,’ if it is truly from God.” I could go on and on about all the responses this pastor has evoked because he shared a dream he felt that God gave him.
Not once did I hear Pastor Dana call himself a prophet. I didn’t hear him say, “The Lord said…” I saw a man who simply and humbly shared his dream. He did not ask anyone to evaluate it, or break it down or to rip it apart as it has been. He didn’t ask anyone for their opinion or tell anyone to share his video. But, many people did. Wonder why? Was it because he is a false prophet?
What was it in his message, that would cause someone to fall away from God? What Scripture did he twist to fit his agenda? If compared to the prophets of the Old Testament, was it more harsh than anything Isaiah, or Jeremiah said to the people of God?
Many of the things Pastor Dana said, bore witness with my Spirit. I might not agree with every word he said, but I will ponder these things in my heart. The test of a prophet is to see if these things come to pass. But, then we face another question.
Can or will God change His mind?
When God gives someone a word of warning, a message, a dream or even a vision to warn His people, there are few messengers who are jumping up and down to share it. It’s not a joy to be the bearer of bad news.
Take Jonah for instance. When God gave him a “not so happy,” message for Nineveh, the last thing Jonah wanted to do was hop the next ship for Nineveh with a bull horn. No, he hopped a ship for Tarshish to get away. Not only did he not want to warn the people of God’s impending judgment on them if they didn’t change their ways, we read later that He knew that God might even change His mind and not do what He had told Jonah to warn them about.
And guess what, that is exactly what God did. When the people repented, and urgently called upon God and gave up their evil ways—God relented. And Jonah was upset.
“But to Jonah this seemed very wrong, and he became angry. He prayed to the Lord, “Isn’t this what I said, Lord, when I was still at home? That is what I tried to forestall by fleeing to Tarshish. I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity. Now, Lord, take away my life, for it is better for me to die than to live.” (Jonah 4:1-3 NIV)
I have heard a lot of self-proclaimed prophets who are glad to hop online and share a good happy feel good message. Many feel safe and comfortable preaching peace and prosperity, but it’s not exactly fun to share the opposite. And, they tend to get upset when someone else shares a message that might contradict their happy message.
Anyone who has a good knowledge of the Bible knows that God does indeed warn His children. We also know that God can change His mind. We love to quote the verse:
“if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14 NIV)
We also know that Abraham was able to convince God to change His mind and spare Lot and his family from the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah.
So, here are my thoughts. You can throw them out the window if you want. Warnings serve to save and protect us. They cause us to draw closer to God, to ask for mercy, and repent from our ways. If Pastor Dana, or I am wrong in what we feel God is sharing, time will tell. Is it going to hurt you if you dedicate more time to seeking God’s face? Will it cause you any harm?
We know that if we are living for God, and serving Him with our whole hearts, there is no need for fear. God hasn’t given us a Spirit of fear. (2 Timothy 1:7 NIV) And, we also know Whom we have believed in and He is able to keep that which we have committed against that day. We can trust in Him.
But, if no one sounds the alarm many could be lost. I will re-iterate the fact that neither of us—Pastor Dana or myself—have called ourselves prophets. I can’t speak for Pastor Dana, but as for myself, I felt an urgency to share what God had shared with me. But, I was extremely cautious, and I prayed fervently before sharing it because it's not popular to share these kinds of messages. But, what if this warning is the spark that brings people to pray like never before and in turn brings revival?
Because, I don't know about you, but I DO want to see repentance. I want to see revival, and I want to see everything good that God has promised us for these last days to come to pass. I want everyone to know the peace and love of a Perfect Heavenly Father Who sent His own Son to lay down His life so that we could be with Him forever in eternity.
I don’t want anyone to perish. If we love like Jesus, our messages will not always be happy feel good messages. But they will stir us, and cause us to seek the face of God so we can be ready when He returns for His bride. Please don’t shoot the messenger just because they may not look the part, or sound like a professional prophet. And certainly, let us not rip each other to shreds when we need to stand together like never before.
But, pray and test all things.
Once again, I share this passage with you:
“We ask you, brothers, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves. And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all. See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone. Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies, but test everything; hold fast what is good.”
(1 Thessalonians 5:12-20 NIV)
The Sleeping Giant
This morning as I was praying, I felt like God showed me something. I have never had a vision—that I can recall—and I wouldn’t say this was a vision but more of a mental image. Once again, I’m not claiming to be a prophet, but these things are coming to me more and more urgently and frequently in the Spirit. So, I ask you to pray yourselves and see what you feel the Spirit is speaking to your heart.
This morning I had a mental image of a huge sleeping giant. It made me think of the giant from Jack and the Beanstalk. As the giant slept, I saw small groups of tiny people running around with ropes and chains and securing the giant to the ground until he was completely immobile.
He was still asleep, so he didn’t notice. But, slowly different parts of his body began to awaken. He began to notice he couldn’t move his leg, then his arm, and so on and so on. Though he was still asleep he began to become subconsciously aware of the resistance in his limbs and other body parts.
I believe the Spirit spoke to me and said the giant represented the church worldwide. We have been complacent for so long that issues such as homosexuality, adultery, abortion, hate, deception, twisted truths, normalization of sin and more have crept in and tied us down. The remnant has been struggling to get free, but the resistance has felt unsurmountable.
Discouragement has crept in because voices that have been faithful to speak truth have been disregarded, their churches poorly attended and ignored, while churches who preach prosperity and sugar coated sermons have been praised and have thrived. Many of the body parts are tired, and feel weak and helpless.
Next I heard a sound so loud it startled the sleeping giant, and finally woke him from his slumber. At this he jumped up breaking all the ropes and chains. As I pondered this, I believe God was showing me that something big was going to happen that would finally shake and wake the sleeping church. When the church awakens, it will be called to true repentance, break free and come up from the ground.
There was great celebrating as the giant began to dance around in freedom, and as some of the tiny people began to bow down, others began to run and hide. I believe this signifies the revival that will come when the church awakens and gets things right with God.
We will see repentance come first to the house of the Lord, and with repentance we will see revival as God moves in power bringing salvation to the lost. That is what revival is all about.
"Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God." (Revelation 3:2 ESV)
Also see "Brace Yourselves," my blog post from June 15th.
Would it make sense to mix together all the ingredients for a cake but never put it in the oven? Or, how about planting a huge garden and caring for it daily, but never picking any of its produce? Wouldn’t it be odd to buy a boat, but never put it in water?
These things all sound pretty absurd don’t they? But, we as Christians often do the same thing. Have you known of those who have given their hearts to Christ, but cease to seek His will or follow Him in His plans for their lives? I think we can all think of someone who has done that, and we may even be guilty of it ourselves.
We can’t just stop at salvation. That’s where our journey begins. God has given so many gifts to His children, and we would be missing out on so much if we stopped short. This is why I often emphasize being baptized in the Holy Spirit evidenced by speaking in tongues. We need the empowerment, and boldness the Holy Spirit brings to our lives. He also opens the door to other Spiritual gifts in our lives.
Today more than ever we need His power and boldness to do all God has called us to do. And, we need every Spiritual gift God is willing to give us to minister to the needs of others. My life has been significantly changed and enriched by the Holy Spirit.
I remember what my life was like before I answered God’s call, and He set me apart to do the things He called me to do. I thought I was happy going through the motions—church on Sunday, church on Wednesday and little interaction with God in the space between—except for when I needed or wanted something.
I was more caught up in earthly things than the purpose God had handcrafted for my life. But, when I decided to surrender everything to God and allow Him to take absolute control, things changed. I didn’t view life through the same lens.
Its like the old chorus we used to sing:
Turn your eyes upon Jesus
Look full into His wonderful face
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of His mercy and grace
When we decide to go ALL IN for Jesus, the things of this world have less impact on us. We are aware of God’s goodness, His mercy, and His power. The cares of this life fall to the wayside when we realize He is a Good Father, and His plans for us are GOOD, and exciting!
We don’t have to fear bad reports. We can rest in knowing that whatever comes, we are in His hands, and in His care.
When we go all in, we begin to see Him move in our lives and in our situations. The miraculous comes near. The truth rises up within us, and we can easily accept that the same power that raised Christ from the dead LIVES IN US. The Words of the Bible take hold in a powerful way, and we start to believe we can really DO what God says we can do.
There is nothing on earth more exciting, fulfilling, and miraculous than walking in the complete will of God. Life becomes so amazing that we can’t wait for each new day to see what Jesus is going to do next. It is such an adventure. But until we are willing to go ALL IN, we will miss the exciting adventures God has planned for us.
Are you living all in for Jesus today? If not, what’s holding you back? I encourage you to surrender all to Him and seek Him like never before. Your life will be so much more worth living!
“The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.” (John 10:10 NLT)
Let me just say I have one of the most loving and caring husbands on the planet. He spoils me rotten. As I began to write my second book he blessed me by sending me to a little fishing cabin out on a lake in Rising Fawn, Georgia for inspiration and time alone. For seven days it was just me, Jesus, and nature.
I was in awe of the perfection and beauty of the place. The cozy little cabin sits at the foothills of a majestic mountain. It was nicely appointed. Its decor was both rustic and luxurious. And a deck attached to the cabin extended out over the water for fishing. It surely provided the perfect place to cast a line in hopes of catching a prize-winning fish.
Before I traveled to this small piece of heaven in Georgia, I decided to look it up online to read the reviews. There were raving reviews about the fishing at the cabin. People boasted of catching Bass, Crappie, Catfish, and Sunfish right from the cabin’s deck. Even though I planned to spend most of my time writing, I decided to throw my fishing pole and tackle box into my Jeep before leaving home.
When I arrived at the cabin I looked down from the deck and saw fish of every size swimming below. So I decided to get up the next morning and try my luck. I awoke to an incredible view of the lake. Low clouds were drifting across the mountaintop, and as I viewed the beauty of nature I was in awe of God’s splendor in His creation. As soon as I had my morning coffee and prayer time I got my fishing tackle and anxiously baited a hook.
I expectantly cast my line out across the lake and waited patiently. Nothing happened— not a nibble, not a bite, nothing. I reeled in my line and cast again. Still nothing. I found myself casting repeatedly to no avail. I changed depth; I changed bait; I changed spots over and over again. I was having no luck at all. So I gave up and went back inside the cabin to write.
But a couple hours later I was drawn outside again by the beauty of the lake and the desire to catch a fish.
I cast again, waited, and still nothing. I continued the process so many times I lost count. However, even though I had no luck catching a fish, something compelled me to continue to cast my fishing line into the water and wait. It seemed that I was not going to catch a single fish.
“Why am I even trying?” I asked myself.
I read the reviews about the cabin. I read stories of the fish so many others had caught before me. And then when I myself came to the water’s edge I witnessed with my own two eyes multitudes of fish swimming in the lake. But I couldn’t catch a fish.
I was discouraged, but I know from experience that sometimes the fish just aren’t biting. And clearly that was one of those times. However, I also knew I had the all the right equipment, so I persisted. I continued to cast and reel hoping for the slightest tug at the end of the fishing line. And finally…I caught the fish in the picture above!
I wonder why it is so hard for us to persist in faith when it comes to spiritual things? We can be so determined in our dogged pursuit of earthly things; but when it comes to persisting in faith until we see God move in our lives and situations, many of us throw in the towel after sending up the first prayer.
Yet we have this assurance from the Bible:
“Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.”
Matthew 7:7-8 NLT
Why do we find it so hard to pray and believe we will receive what we ask for when God’s Word tells us to persist? We persist at far lesser things without any kind of assurance of receiving results. Let’s remember that our God is a loving Father, and He desires to answer us. But, sometimes He requires more than one little quick prayer. We must be persistent in our praying.
1 Thessalonians 5:17 "Pray without ceasing!"
*This modified excerpt came from my second book, No Limits: Embracing the Miraculous. Get your copy today!
Before I even begin this post, I want to make something very clear. I do not claim to be a prophet even though I do believe in the gift of prophecy.
What I do know is that this morning as I was spending time with God and praying in the Spirit, these words came to me with such an urgency I knew I had to write them down. I could hardly keep up as they were coming to me so fast.
1 Thessalonians 5:20-21 says this…
“Do not despise prophecies, but test everything; hold fast what is good.”
That is what I’m asking you to do as you read this. Pray to see if it resonates with your Spirit.
Behold a darker day is coming. My people have forgotten Who I Am. They have abandoned their first love, and turned to idols, yet they cry out for revival. I say brace yourselves for more disaster is on the way. Until lukewarm Christians are broken and turn their hearts back to Me, there will be no great revival. You go to church, play your games, and leave Me on the shelf on Monday morning. You will see a time so destructive that you would dare not leave Me anywhere. You will need Me every second of every day.
When you finally realize your need for Me, then revival will come. Cold hearts will be set on fire. But repentance must come first to the house of the Lord. Pastors and leaders will repent or be replaced. I Am not playing games. Heed My warning and turn back to Me.
Revival will precede redemption, but My works cannot be done amidst a dead and dry people. Fall on your faces before Me. Seek Me like never before with brokenness, and a contrite heart. When I see you have turned your hearts back to Me, and only Me, I will begin to move in your midst.
Lift Me up, not yourselves, and I will draw all men unto Me. Prepare your hearts, I am coming soon. Brace yourselves for the days ahead, and surrender your whole heart to Me before it is too late.
1 Peter 5:10 ESV And the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while will Himself restore you and make you strong, firm, and steadfast.
I pray that our hearts will be prepared and ready. I believe God’s judgment is coming to this land. Something has got to happen to change the direction we are headed in and cause people to RUN to the house of the Lord. Revival cannot come to this nation until those who call themselves Christians have completely turned back to God.
What will it take to wake us up, and get our focus back on God? We want to see a great harvest, but are our own hearts prepared to minister to those who will be rescued? Think about it. Are we lukewarm, or fired up and ready to do all God needs us to do in these last days?
I’m asking God to start with me. God, pull me from my own complacency, and break my heart for what breaks Yours. Draw me closer to You than ever before, and help me to remove any idols I have put before You. I realize I can’t be a part of the answer if I’m still part of the problem. Change MY heart, Oh God, and renew a right Spirit within me.
Lord help us all to draw near to You, to seek Your face, and allow You to plow up the hardened ground of our hearts.
I know it has been awhile since I have written a blog. I apologize. At first I was really busy and just kept putting it off—no excuse I know. But, in recent days I have been so bewildered I dared not open my mouth for fear of what would come out. But now that I have opened my mouth, hang on, it’s going to be a long post.
I have always been very careful not to share my political views on social media. I try my best to be a peace maker. And, just to let you know in advance, this post is not about politics either. It’s also not about Covid-19, and it’s not about social distancing, wearing or not wearing masks, bad cops, good cops, protesters, white privilege, black lives matter, blue lives matter, racial issues, vandalism, looting, stealing, killing or any of the thousands of other topics flooding the media today.
To be honest I’m sick of it—all of it. But, I’m not blind to it and, I can’t run away from it. Ignoring it won’t make it go away. So what can I do?
I can do exactly what I was called to do--love. Nothing more and nothing less will make any kind of lasting impact. Consider what Jesus said when asked this question by the Pharisees.
“Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?”
Jesus replied, ‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’
(Matthew 22:36-39 NLT)
People have always wanted a quick and easy fix to problems. Everyone on planet earth has problems of some kind. However, there is not one single problem that can’t be solved by following these two commandments. Love God, and love people.
But, this is the overall problem. We all have a common enemy. Yes, you may call yourself an atheist and completely dismiss everything I’m about to say. That’s fine you have the right to reject Jesus and the wonderful plans He has for your life. Your unbelief will not make Him cease to exist.
And, it certainly won't change the fact that two forces are at work in this universe. Jesus is perfect and has laid down His very life to give us freedom from the grips of evil and destruction. Satan on the other hand spends every minute of his existence planning your destruction. To me the choice appears obvious.
If everyone followed those two commandments, I shared from the book of Matthew, there would be no division—no crime, no hate, no stealing, killing, or envy. Everyone would just love Jesus completely--therefore there would be no sin. And if we loved each other as ourselves, we would always be concerned with making the lives of others better than our own. Sounds like Heaven doesn’t it?
The sad truth is, Heaven is the only place we will ever experience that kind of perfect society. We live in an imperfect world where Satan’s one goal is to separate us from the One—Jesus—Who loves us with a love that cannot be matched or even compared to. Satan hates us because he will never be able to have what we will have with Jesus. He threw it all away for pride, and envy.
So--rhetorical question--if you wanted to destroy the whole world and prevent people from going to Heaven, what would you do?
IF I could even imagine being that evil…
First I would distract those Christians who do love God and put Him first. I would do everything within my power to get their eyes off Jesus, and I would flood their eyes and ears with the most negative, divisive propaganda I could possibly dream up.
I would use all media outlets, newspapers, Hollywood, and everything else I could find to spread my destructive agenda all over the world. I would use fear tactics to keep people upset and worried so they would continually turn on their TV’s and tune into everything the media has to say. I would make sure they opened their laptops, and closed their Bibles. I would convince them that what they saw in the media was the gospel!
I would keep them distracted and make them forget that God’s Word says:
Isaiah 26:3 “You will keep the mind that is dependent on You in perfect peace, for it is trusting in You.”
Psalm 112:7 “They will have no fear of bad news; their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the LORD.”
Matthew 16:23 “But he turned and said to Peter, ‘Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.’”
Next I would do everything I could to divide people. I would use all my evil lies to bring in all kinds of offenses. I would cause people to believe that they are such awesome beings—even greater than their Creator—so they DESERVE every good, and extravagant thing for themselves. I would keep them focused on their own wants and desires, and I would cause them to be competitive toward one another.
I would make sure people were easily offended and quick to hate. I would make sure they took everything personally, and considered no one else’s wellbeing but their own. I would cause people to be envious of others and speak evil of one another.
I would make sure they believed they are so perfect and so important, the Bible and the law of the land doesn’t apply to them. I would convince them they both are too restrictive and they deserve to have anything they feel would make their lives better. I would convince them that sin is all relative, and the Bible is hate speech. I would do my best to make them forget the sacrifice Jesus made for them and the prize He has promised to those who finish the race.
I would cause people to hate those who trust in God and, I would convince them that Christians are against them, and therefore, I would cause persecution against Christians to flourish. I would cause the voices of hate to become so loud and persuasive, that Christians would choose to be silent. I would make sure Christians ceased to read the Bible, so they wouldn’t see Scriptures like these:
Hebrews 12:1-2 “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.
2 Timothy 2:24 (NLT) “The servant of the Lord must not quarrel but must be kind to everyone, be able to teach, and be patient with difficult people.”
Romans 12:17-21 NLT “Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.
Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say,
‘I will take revenge;
I will pay them back,’
says the Lord.
If your enemies are hungry, feed them.
If they are thirsty, give them something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap
burning coals of shame on their heads.
Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good.”
Then when I finally had people distracted and divided against each other for every kind of reason, I would sit back and laugh as I continued to pour out even more deception than the world could imagine. I would introduce all kinds of false doctrines, and heresies. I would send false prophets into churches so that even the elect would be deceived.
I would do my best to twist every Biblical truth I could. I would cause people to disrespect God in every way. And as everyone was distracted by all my evil schemes, I would offer a myriad of empty promises as a cure for their problems. I would make sure people were turning to drugs, and alcohol, and sexual perversion as a means of escape from their pain. I would lie to them convincing them that every sinful distraction is a means to escape.
Then I would convince them that their lives were worthless and meaningless. I would make sure they felt that no one cared or even noticed them. That would be pretty easy because, very few would notice them—I’ve got them focused on themselves after all. I would convince them that they were completely hopeless with nowhere to turn, and I would make them think God had turned His back on them. Then I would bring their sudden destruction.
Through all this people would be so focused on the meaningless and temporary problems on earth--in this quickly vanishing vapor of life--they would have no expectation or anticipation of Heaven and an eternity with a loving God. They would not even notice the words of the Bible coming to life before their very eyes:
2 Timothy 3 :1-5 You should know this, Timothy, that in the last days there will be very difficult times. For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred. They will be unloving and unforgiving; they will slander others and have no self-control. They will be cruel and hate what is good. They will betray their friends, be reckless, be puffed up with pride, and love pleasure rather than God. They will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly. Stay away from people like that!
I would create a smoke screen ensuring they would forget to watch for Christ’s return, and I would keep them so upset over politics, and other issues that they would talk about nothing else. I would make them forget that God is still in control. They would be so consumed with their own affairs it would be just like it was in the days of Noah.
They wouldn’t dare bother to share the Gospel and attempt to rescue the lost and perishing. I would convince them that Jesus would not return in their lifetime, or ever. Then, when we all least expect it, Jesus would return. So many souls would be lost, and--by my logic--I would have won!
1 Peter 5:8 “Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.”
2 Thessalonians 3:3 ESV “But the Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one.”
Now, please forgive me, because I said I wasn’t going to mention Covid, or racial issues. But, I’m going there.
I felt this at the beginning of Covid-19, and I believe it even more strongly now. Don’t get me wrong, I am NOT trying to predict the time or date of Jesus’ return. This is my own personal observation, and impression from Holy Spirit.
Because God is merciful, loving, faithful, and just; what if all these things have happened to prepare us? You see, most people see chaos and unrest. I see God sifting His people. When we were all ordered to stay home, most of us were locked in with our families. We spent more quality time together, and our busyness slowed down.
In my opinion, I felt as if we were given this time to get our houses in order. This was an opportunity to get closer to our kids and nourish their spiritual lives. It was an opportunity to examine ourselves and our kids to make sure we are all ready for Christ’s return.
I’m not saying God caused the Coronavirus, or the death of George Floyd. But, recently through the riots, and looting, and racial issues, the massive explosions of unrest, and the growing hatred between every race, color and creed. Maybe, just maybe God is shaking us up.
Perhaps He is bringing to the surface all of our thoughts concerning racism, division, resentment, and hatred toward our fellow man. We should take this time to examine our thoughts, and feelings toward all humankind. The Word of God says we must forgive, and LOVE one another, or we will not be able to enter Heaven. Think about that. Do we really love our neighbors as ourselves?
It doesn't matter who we feel is right or wrong. We must realize that not everyone is going to agree with us. Our way is not the only way. People can agree to disagree peacefully. But, we are required to love and forgive. Period.
I believe Jesus is coming soon. I believe we should examine our hearts and open our eyes. It’s not time to become frustrated and give up, but we should stand strong determined to thwart all the plans of the enemy of our souls.
1 John 3:15 Anyone who hates another brother or sister is really a murderer at heart. And you know that murderers don’t have eternal life within them.
1 John 4:20 If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.
John 15:12 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.”
Matthew 24:36 “But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only.”
1 Thessalonians 4:17 “For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.”
Luke 21:34-36 “But watch yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a trap. For it will come upon all who dwell on the face of the whole earth. But stay awake at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are going to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.”
1 Thessalonians 5:2 “For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.”
I know this post was long, but if you have ever listened to ANY of my words, please hear this. We must love one another, we must confess our sins, we must forgive one another, and we must be ready for Jesus’ return. Let us not be distracted, divided, deceived and ultimately destroyed by Satan.
I love you my friends.
Dr. Jana Lovelace is a Jesus-chaser, wife, mom, & Licensed Clinical Psychologist. Dr. Lovelace & her husband, John, have three beautiful children, ages 23, 7, & 6. She enjoys spending time with family, fitness boot camp, traveling, football, coffee, & design. She believes all things are better with glitter.
I am thrilled to say, I have just finished the manuscript for my latest book. At this point, I have no question as to why God led me to write about deception in the last days. There are voices of deception all around us, and we must pray for discernment continually. The Holy Spirit is our friend, teacher and advocate. He is willing to lead, guide and direct us if we keep our feet firmly planted on the straight, and narrow path and keep our hearts tuned to the Word of God—the Holy Bible.
We must certainly be on guard against laziness and complacency and make sure we are studying the Bible for ourselves, and receiving instruction from wise and godly counsel. Unfortunately, in this day and age, many people have become complacent and rely solely on others to hear from God for them. This is how false prophets enter into our lives and cause confusion. At other times we might want a quick answer and become unwilling to wait for God to reveal the right answer to us. So, we go looking for a quick answer from whoever is willing to speak an answer to us.
For example, when God first called me into ministry He did it in a dramatic way. The first time, He revealed my calling through a visiting evangelist at my church. In that case I didn’t believe the man at all. I even told the evangelist that he was wrong!
However, even though I didn’t accept his words at the time, those words stuck. I couldn’t stop thinking about them. And, when I did think about them it was as if I had a flutter of butterflies in my tummy. But, I still resisted the word because I didn’t think God could use me in that way. My doubts were strong concerning myself and my inabilities.
Then a couple of years later God confirmed that same calling through a women’s minister who was speaking at a local women’s conference. She told me almost the exact same thing the evangelist told me. This time I accepted her word from God open heartedly. It was a confirmation to what had already been planted in my Spirit. I didn’t hesitate to believe it even for a second. I knew it was God!
But, since God had now spoken to me through two completely different ministers, I wanted Him to keep speaking to me through other ministers. I started attending every women’s conference I could find in the hopes that someone would give me a Word from God. But, it didn’t happen. Not. one. single. time.
I began to pray and beg God to speak to me through someone else. That’s when He stopped me in my tracks and said, “You do not need Me to speak to you through someone else. You can hear Me for yourself!” That’s when it dawned on me! I wasn’t listening to His still small voice before when He was trying to gently whisper to me about my calling. So, He had to use other voices to get my attention and confirm those things to me.
Now, that I had started drawing closer and closer to Him, I could hear His voice through His Holy Word in the Bible, and I could discern that small still voice of the Holy Spirit for myself. I didn’t need to chase others around asking them to tell me what God had to say to me. If we become caught up in thinking we can only hear from God through someone else’s lips, we can easily fall prey to false prophets.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that God does not still speak through prophecy, and He has done so many times in my life when I needed a confirmation about something. But, we must not seek to hear from God ONLY through the mouths of others. And we must use discernment in every case.
I have had people who have spoken things into my life that I knew were not of God. And for that reason I am extremely particular (or careful) of who I allow to speak into my life. In fact I had one self-proclaimed prophet who started calling me every week saying, “Woman of God, God told me to tell you….”
Some of the things he said were so bogus and off in left field that I had to block him. I also tested the words he spoke over me. Did any of them come to pass? No. Did any of them resonate with my Spirit? No. In fact most of his words were in direct opposition to what God was actually speaking to me. Use discernment. Pray for discernment.
1 Thessalonians 5:19-22 explains this.
“Do not stifle the Holy Spirit. Do not scoff at prophecies, but test everything that is said. Hold on to what is good. Stay away from every kind of evil.”
Not only should we use discernment in what others speak over us, but we must also use discernment in our own understanding of what God is speaking to us personally. Sometimes our personal desires can become crisscrossed with what we think God is saying to us.
I have had desires in my own life that I have prayed for—like a faithful Christian husband—and when I fell in love, I BELIEVED God told me he was the one I had been praying for. It was not because God actually told me that, but because I desired that relationship for myself. I never had peace about it, because deep down I knew I was NOT truly hearing the voice of God, but I was hearing the voice of my own desires. It was no wonder that marriage ended in divorce.
Sometimes our own personal desires, wants, and wishes can become so powerful that we want to believe God is speaking those things to us. That is why we must make sure those things align with the Word of God. Is there anything that conflicts with His Holy Bible? Are we sure we are not assuming that everything we want is a word or confirmation from God? Does it bring peace? We have to be careful. The enemy also uses his influences to bring confusion to our minds, so we must make sure we recognize the voice of God.
For this reason, I’m also very cautious of people who continually say, “God told me,” at the start of every single sentence. Yes, God talks to us, but if we believe He is telling us every single move we, and others, should make we may be taking it to extremes.
Let us always be discerning, protecting ourselves from deception, distractions, and anything that would try to supersede the true Word of God in our lives. These are troubled times we are living in. We must have a sound and secure foundation, and we must be busy doing the things God has called us to do, not being distracted by words that would lead to confusion, or take us off the path God has called us to.
“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.” (1 John 4:1 ESV)
It’s been a few years now since God called me into ministry. I can say it has certainly been an adventure, and I had no idea what it would look like back then. When I look back now, I can see so much naiveté in myself and I’m reminded a lot of Joseph.
When we talk about the story of Joseph in the Bible, we often refer to all his hardships and trials and how God used him for greatness taking him from the pit to the palace. But, one of the first things I think about when I think of Joseph was his inability to hold his tongue.
As I have read about the dreams God gave Joseph, I have often wondered why He didn’t also give him the common sense to keep it to himself. But, then I have to remember how I felt when God called me. I was so excited. Not only did God put the dream in my heart, but He confirmed it multiple times. Having the dream and the confirmations made me extra eager to share my excitement with everyone else.
I only wish God had dropped an instruction manual in my lap with the call He had given me. Take a little free advice from someone who has learned the hard way—hold onto that dream like precious treasure and only share it with a few. I found that many people didn’t care to know, others won’t see it in you, some will think you are bragging or gloating, and still others will be just plain jealous.
I’m not saying that is the case with everyone. We all have God appointed friends who are happy to share in our excitement, but we probably shouldn’t go announcing it on the seven o’clock news just yet! And always be considerate of the feelings of others.
Joseph’s dreams involved him ruling over his brothers. His brothers were already jealous of Joseph because he was their father, Jacob’s, favorite. So imagine how his news kindled their fiery hatred toward him. If you’ve read the story, you know it didn’t go well. (pun not intended)
Discovering God’s call on your life is wonderful. It’s exciting, scary, humbling, and definitely something we want to share. But we must remember, we don’t always get to wear the crown as soon as we get news about it. David was anointed as King, but it was many, many years later before he would actually wear the crown.
Jospeh went through years of troubles and trials before he stepped into his position. In both cases, God was preparing them. We don’t know it all when God calls us. Yes, we know He does equip the called, but we must follow His lead. If we try to get ahead of Him, things will not go well. But, when we remain humble and let Him take control—in other words stay out of His way—He will place the crown on our heads at just the right time.
We don’t have to tell others about our calling or attempt to prove it. God’s power will be on display through us as we seek to bring glory to Him alone. And in His perfect timing He will lift us up in honor.
So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor. 1 Peter 5:6 (NLT)
What if Hillary Got Saved?
You are probably wondering what on earth this blog could be about with a title like that. I was watching TV when an interview with Hillary Clinton came on. They were asking for her opinion on Bernie Sanders and his probability of becoming President. (You can probably imagine how that went.)
I have to admit I do not get warm fuzzy feelings when I see Hillary Clinton. I have never been a Hillary fan, and her stance on abortion and other issues are particularly upsetting to me. I can’t count how many times I have turned the TV channel when she has appeared on my screen, but not tonight. Why?
Tonight when I saw her, I couldn’t help but wonder what she looked like as a child. I admit it was a strange thought. But, my heart always melts when it comes to children. I can feel the deepest compassion for young children, and I especially hurt for those who are lost or missing. Seeing missing children posters really cause my heart to ache. I tried to imagine Hillary as a young girl.
There’s no doubt that Hillary is disliked by many people in the world. It’s really hard to love someone with her actions, and policies. But, Jesus loves her. When He sees her, He sees her as a small lost and helpless little girl that He would love to rescue. Well, I found an internet picture of a young Hillary and posted it above.
We often see only what people allow us to see. We may see the most undesirable qualities in a person, and that can cause us to dislike that person immensely.
But tonight I looked at Hillary and wondered what happened to that young child? I know the young and innocent Hillary is still inside her. What has life dealt her behind the scenes? We can see everything the media has displayed openly, marriage problems, failures, lost election, and everything else has been presented, often showing this woman with a tough brave face.
Some may say she volunteered for the publicity. But, we still haven’t seen the tears that have fallen in her private moments. What fears has she felt? What pressures has she struggled with to be what everyone thinks or wants her to be. Maybe she has always aspired to be and do exactly what she is doing now. But, is she happy? Has she ever truly known happiness? Has she ever truly known the love of a Savior?
What if there was someone in Hillary’s life that just chose to love her? What if someone explained to her that no matter what she accomplishes in this vapor of life we live here on earth—it will never be enough. What if someone told her she was worthy of love without her accomplishments? What if someone could make her understand that there is a love and a freedom that cannot be bought, but is far more priceless than treasures or wealth?
What if Hillary got truly and radically saved? What if she actually believed that she was created by a God who loves her, and longs to give her a life worth living? What if she was finally free from all guilt and shame, and was able to let go of all her failures because she was truly forgiven? What if she understood that eternity is much longer than this lifetime on earth?
BUT, what if we loved people who count us as deplorable or detestable? What if we just tried to see the unlovable people we meet as truly lost children? Maybe we would find it easier to love the lost and share with them the only hope of peace, freedom, and new life that only Jesus can give.
So, yes, I pray that Hillary gets saved. I pray that one day, someone somewhere will get through to her with the love of Jesus, and help her find real life, real love, and real happiness. After all, if Jesus could save me, He can certainly save Hillary.
I clearly remember the day I was sitting on my couch panicking and praying that God would give me a clever and eloquent sermon for an upcoming speaking engagement. I would be speaking to thousands of people—many of them pastors themselves. Fear began to creep in, and I was afraid I would not measure up.
As I sat there with my nerves frazzled and my mind going in every direction imaginable something wonderful happened. The sweet and precious voice of the Holy Spirit whispered in my ear something that would change my whole outlook. He simply asked, “Are you willing to look foolish for Me?” I hesitated for a moment wondering exactly what that would entail. It’s not a popular thing to look foolish.
As I looked down at the Bible laying open in my lap, these two highlighted passages leapt off the page at me.
“For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.
Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him.
1 Corinthians 1:25-29 NIV
“And so it was with me, brothers and sisters. When I came to you, I did not come with eloquence or human wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power.”
1 Corinthians 2:1-5 NIV
After reading those words a definitive “Yes,” arose in my heart! I declared, “Yes Jesus, I am willing to look foolish for You!” As I went on to prepare my sermon, God gave me one of the simplest messages I have ever received for that congregation. It certainly wasn’t clever or eloquent. But, the Holy Spirit moved in power like I had never witnessed before. I stood in awe as the Holy Spirit swept through the congregation and performed absolute miracles. Out of a simple message devoid of human wisdom—one that many would consider foolish—God’s power was displayed.
There are still times that I long to come up with an earth shattering intellectual sermon that will amaze the hearers. I have to battle with my flesh often. I have to realize that being obedient is far more important than sounding like a famous theologian. I have to remind myself to be obedient to speak what God wants me to speak no matter how simple I might think it sounds. I would much rather speak with the Holy Spirit’s anointing and see a demonstration of the Spirit’s power than to rely on my own human wisdom.
As we move into the New Year, I have one question for you. Are you willing to look foolish? Are you willing to speak Truth when it’s not popular? Are you willing to totally rely on the Holy Spirit and rest in His wisdom rather than trying to prove your own intellect? Are you willing to lunge out in faith when it would be much easier to play it safe and save face? Are you willing to look foolish for Jesus?
I’m ready to see God move in power like He longs to! I believe 2020 will be a year of miracles for those who dedicate themselves to studying the Word and praying like they never have before. I’m not making a New Year’s resolution, but I’m making a promise to God to seek His face more than ever before; to look foolish and to do whatever it takes to see the lost and broken come to Him. I’m ready for an end-time revival of epic proportions. Jesus is coming soon. It’s not time to merely step out in faith, its time to leap out in faith! What will your 2020 look like?
I’ve always heard about Christmas miracles, and after watching many Hallmark Christmas movies I’ve seen countless fictional Christmas miracles. But, what happens when you really experience a Christmas miracle of your own—like I did today. Let me explain.
Rev. David Wilkerson has always been one of my favorite Evangelists. I’ve listened to his recorded sermons, and read some of his books. I always aspired to be a powerful evangelist like him and to always speak the truth with boldness like he did. He passed away in 2011, and I never had the opportunity to meet him or hear him speak in person.
However, I was extremely blessed to meet and become friends with his niece Julie Wilkerson Klose. And his brother, Pastor Don Wilkerson Co-founder of Teen Challenge, blessed me tremendously by writing the Foreword for my last book.
But, today something incredibly unusual happened. I received a phone call from Des Moines, Iowa. I assumed it was a telemarketer and didn’t answer. A bit later I noticed the caller had left a voicemail message. I was shocked to hear these words on the other end of the line.
“Hi, this is Steven. I have a bit of an interesting story for you. I found a book on a park bench and didn’t realize the meaning of it until I opened it and realized it is signed over to you from David Wilkerson, who is a famous evangelist. God told me to pick this book up personally. I found it on a park bench in Des Moines, Iowa, and I’d love to give it back, and maybe talk to you about a few things. I thought this was just amazing that I was told to pick this book up by God, and I would like you to contact me back.”
I can’t begin to tell you how puzzled I was. I’ve never had a book signed to me by Rev. David Wilkerson. And, honestly, if it had been any other author I probably wouldn’t have even returned the call. But, curiosity got the best of me and it wasn't long until I realized God was doing something miraculous.
When I called Steven back, we discussed a few things. He told me that after he found the book he looked up David Wilkerson on the internet and listened to some of his sermons. Then he looked me up and listened to some of my sermons.
Seeing we were both evangelists he assumed Rev. David had just signed the book and presented it to me as a friend. Little did Steven know, I had never met Rev. David Wilkerson. As our conversation continued, it was obvious that Steven was looking for something more.
As the Holy Spirit led me, I asked Steven if he wanted to give his life to Jesus. In the next few moments Steven prayed and surrendered his life to Jesus, and re-dedicated his life to following Him as his Savior.
But that was just the beginning. As we continued to talk it became obvious that God had also placed the desire to be an evangelist in Steven’s heart. We rejoiced together in what we believe God is leading Steven into next. I know God is working all things together for Steven’s good!
Steven texted me a picture of the book (you can see it in the picture above) and it is indeed signed to Rev. Donna Sparks along with the date January 26, 2008. I know for sure I never met Rev. David, and he never signed a book for me.
I tried to figure out if there was any significance to the date Jan. 26, 2008. Well, the date is my mother’s birthday, but the year, 2008, was the year God called me to be an evangelist. I didn’t even become Reverend Donna Sparks until 2014. Coincidence? Maybe.
I also wondered who this other Rev. Donna Sparks could be. And the more I thought about it, the more puzzling it seemed to become. This was surely a miracle! I don’t think the miracle in this story is that Rev. David Wilkerson signed a book to a lady named Rev. Donna Sparks in 2008.
No, the miracle of this story is that God led a young man to a book on a park bench in Des Moines, Iowa to learn of two evangelists—one of whom he was able to contact. And when Jesus led him to me, I was able to lead Steven to Him in turn. Salvation is always the greatest miracle.
Steven offered to send me the book signed to me by David Wilkerson, and I’m sending him my two books in return. I’m anxious to see what God has in store for Steven. And, I never cease to be amazed at the lengths our God will go to when it comes to reaching those who need Him. There truly are no limits to His love and grace.
Steven got his Christmas miracle. He is a brand new creation with a call to share Jesus with the world. And I got a book signed to me by Rev. David Wilkerson (ha ha ha). I think we both have a lot to be thankful for this Christmas!
Being a minister, I have had conversations with people who have told me some pretty outrageous stories. Go into a room full of drug addicts and you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. I could write a book filled with some of the wildest tales you have ever heard from my jail ministry alone.
But, I’m amazed that there are so many other individuals who will tell complete lies thinking you have no discernment whatsoever. You can’t blame non-believers who have no understanding about Spiritual discernment. But, what about those who should know better?
Of course in this day and age I have found there is a great lack of discernment not only in the world, but also in our churches. This is why so many people are deceived. The book I’m currently writing deals with deception in the last days. There is absolutely no question as to why Jesus warns us repeatedly in the New Testament about deception.
We hate to think that our Christian friends, or leaders would ever tell us anything that is untrue, but it happens. It only takes one person to be led astray, and they can spread untruth faster than a wildfire. This is why we must read and know the Truth of the Holy Bible, and pray for discernment—so we are not led astray.
There are also those who like to embellish things—a lot. They see no harm in over exaggerating a move of God, or telling people a great miracle has happened when none has really happened. They think they are doing no harm. In fact they may even think they are doing God a favor by exaggerating His great power.
But, God doesn’t need our help. We serve a God who is still in the miracle working business. We do more harm than good when we speak falsely about what He has done. First we damage our own testimony. Other Christians often have the Spiritual discernment to know if we are being honest or not.
Secondly, if the miracle is disproven—and if it’s false it will be—there’s a world of skeptics out there just waiting to discredit anything God does. When we embellish, exaggerate or speak untruth we just fuel the non-believers fire, feeding their doubt and disbelief.
We must use discernment. There are some people who will chase so-called signs and wonders all over the globe. I was reading a post earlier today in a group for Credentialed ministers where someone was asking about the legitimacy of the Bible in Georgia that is supposedly leaking oil. I’m not saying God can’t make a Bible gush oil, but I don’t see a reason for it.
I say this with the utmost love and respect, but I’m not going to go chasing gold dust, feathers, or random gems. However, I do hope to always be found chasing Jesus! He is the Only One worth chasing. And, He’s not running from us. He’s waiting for us to wake up and experience the real miracles He has called us to do.
I have seen Him do miracles right before my eyes. I’m talking about real life, doctor proven healings. I know what God is capable of doing. I’m convinced that when we experience a real and proven miracle, we cannot be satisfied with anything less.
On the other hand when we become deceived by unimportant distractions posing as miracles, we cripple ourselves from experiencing REAL miracles! I don’t know about you, but I only want the real thing! I want to see the sick healed, the leper cleansed, the dead raised, and demons cast out. Let’s stop chasing distractions, and chase Jesus. He will provide the real miracles, and we will never be the same.
“As you go, proclaim this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give.”
Matthew 10:7,8 NIV
I recently spoke for a women’s retreat in Alabama. I had been looking forward to the event for a long time. One of the reasons I was so excited about it was because of how God orchestrated the whole thing.
I was in Rising Fawn, Georgia at my favorite little writing hideaway working on my second book, No Limits. During my time there I was also doing a book-signing for my first book Beauty From Ashes at a local shop. It was a great weekend, and I loved visiting with the friends God had strategically placed in my life from prior writing trips in Rising Fawn.
The next weekend while at home, Sheila—the owner of the cabin—texted me and told me about a group of church ladies who were currently staying at the cabin. She said she had told them that I stayed at the cabin the previous weekend, and a few of the ladies recognized my name. She said, “You really need to call the cabin. They would be tickled to death if you did.” I thought she was nuts!
There was no way I was going to call and disturb these ladies during their getaway. Sheila insisted that I call and sent me the phone number. I went to bed that night with no intention of calling them. But, as soon as my feet hit the floor the next morning the Holy Spirit impressed upon my heart that I should call them.
Reluctantly, I went downstairs to my office and called the cabin. The first time I got no answer, so I assumed I was off the hook. Nope! The Holy Spirit insisted I try again. This time I got an answer. I shared a short greeting with them, a bit of my testimony, and then I prayed for them. Little did I know that God was doing something miraculous behind the scenes!
Two weeks later Jeannie—the group leader from the cabin—called and asked me to speak for their women’s retreat. She didn’t know when, or where, or how, but God had planted it in her heart and she knew I was supposed to be a keynote speaker. I said, “Ok, sounds good.” I didn’t know if they even had a clue what all this was going to entail, but I went with it.
As we were talking about what the retreat would be called, she asked if I had a suggestion? I said, “How about No Limits? That is the name of the book that I was writing while I was at the cabin.” She loved it. And, from that moment on, it was called the No Limits Retreat!
A host of other speakers were invited, worship leaders, musicians, panelists, a production crew and finally the gorgeous venue was picked—Shocco Springs in Talladega, AL. The No Limits Retreat was coming together.
Living three hundred miles away I wasn’t privy to all the things going on behind the scenes, but these ladies were working! I still had no idea what to expect when I arrived, but I was about to have my socks blown off! When I arrived at the resort I immediately felt the presence of God. This event had been bathed in prayer, and the Holy Spirit was definitely preparing the atmosphere.
Jeannie came to me before I took the platform and asked me if I was nervous. I replied, “Not one bit!” I knew without a doubt this day, this event, this moment had been 100% ordained, and orchestrated by the Creator of the Universe. He was here FOR US. I wasn’t worried about what to say, because I was only the mouthpiece. His was the voice that would be heard.
Over the weekend, I was tremendously blessed by each and every speaker. Only the Holy Spirit can arrange an event where each story miraculously and seamlessly dove tails into the next. It was absolutely beautiful. The power and presence of the Holy Spirit was so thick it was almost tangible.
As we stood in awe at the end of the last service, where Dawn Mason had just spoken, I felt as if the presence of God physically pushed me to my knees in adoration of Him. I knelt at the altar with tears running down my cheeks breathing in the goodness of all HE accomplished over the weekend. Only God can breathe life into an event of this magnitude.
Many women are comparing it to a Women of Faith™ Conference. But, I don’t. There was something very special about this retreat. Something sets it completely apart from any event I have attended or spoken for. There is a longing in my heart for next year.
There was a sweet camaraderie between ladies of all denominations whose hearts came together and experienced Jesus together as one sisterhood. This must be what Heaven will be like! Just reflecting on the event gives me a sense of homesickness. I am so glad that God knit my heart together with each and every lady involved in the No Limits Retreat. I love my sisters! We are the No Limits Tribe! Make plans to join us for No Limits 2020.
We recently watched the movie “Everest,” and one line from the movie really struck a chord with me! In one scene a man is talking about which one of them he thinks will make it to the top first. Another man says, “We don’t need competition between people! There is competition between us and the mountain!”
Sometimes even a secular movie can speak volumes to us on a spiritual level. They realized they had a common enemy—the mountain. Often there is competition between pastors, those in leadership, those involved in a particular ministry, or between denominations. What we often miss is the fact that we all have a common enemy! We don't need competition between people. There is competition between us and the enemy of this world—Satan!
1 Peter 5:8 (NIV) Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.
We are on the same side. We are all a part of the same RESCUE TEAM.
It's hard not to have a competitive nature—we are human after all—and competition just seems to be part of our makeup. We enjoy a pat on the back, and we like to be told we are doing a great job. (And sometimes we need that encouragement.) But sometimes it can go to our heads and we can become more focused on the praises of men than pleasing our Heavenly Father.
However, if we seek to glorify Christ by reaching the lost and pointing them to the One and Only HOLY God, our focus must come into alignment with His heart and His desires. When we put Jesus first, our own goals and expectations give way to what God wants. We must understand that He is God, and we are not.
I believe John the Baptist said it best:
John 3:30 (ESV) “He must increase, but I must decrease.”
Rejoice today in the fact that we as Christians are part of the most honorable and Spiritually empowered RESCUE TEAM on the planet! Ever seeking to bring glory to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, we stand firm and stand together against our common enemy! We are on the same team, with the same goals, and serving the same God!
1 Peter 5:8-10 (NIV) 8 Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 9 Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.10 And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. 11 To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.
In this impatient, rude and easily provoked society that we live in, its often hard to have happy loving feelings for people we come in contact with throughout the day. Media of most any kind seems to rouse social, racial, and religious tensions. Let’s face it. Our society has become riddled with hate.
I try to hold my tongue when it comes to politics. I know that arguing generally escalates the situation, and rarely if ever, changes the views of the opposing side. As the tension in this world continues to rise, it is extremely hard be overflowing with love and compassion for those who arrogantly oppose us and especially our Christian values.
It’s easy to lose our temper (speaking of myself here) and have less than kind thoughts about people who openly seek to suppress the message of the cross, and Jesus’ redemptive work. When someone says something hateful or degrading about our Lord and Savior we typically want to spring to His defense.
But, He doesn’t need us to defend Him. He didn’t call ten thousand angels to come and save Him from the agony of the cross, and He doesn’t need us to display hateful attitudes in an attempt to defend Him now. He is God.
Instead He has called us to love. Some days its harder to love than other days. Sometimes I have really hateful and disruptive women in the jail church services. I have had to bite my tongue many times. We often expect so much more from the lost than they are capable of delivering--inside or outside prisons walls. We have to remember…they are lost and in need of a Savior.
I’ve been praying for God to give me more love and compassion for the lost lately. I asked God to show me how to be more kind and loving. He instantly reminded me of an occurrence several years ago. I was living in Iowa and had stopped by my local dollar store to grab a few items.
At the check-out there was a dirty faced little blonde haired girl standing in front of me. Her clothes were dirty and ragged, her hair was unkempt, and she was standing there barefoot. She was counting pennies in her little change purse and placing them one by one on the counter.
My heart broke for this precious little one. Having a daughter not much older than her at the time, I couldn’t imagine this being my own child, alone, dirty, and possibly hungry. I quickly stepped up and paid for her things and told her to keep her money.
She smiled a big beautiful smile and said, “Thank you!” I hurried to try to catch her outside to see if I could get a little more information that might allow me to help her more. But, as soon as I exited the store she was long gone. I cried all the way home as I thought about the little girl. I couldn’t rest well that night wondering if she was okay.
You see it’s easy to have compassion on children. I wanted to scoop that little girl into my arms and just tell her how loved she was. I wanted to make sure all her needs were met, feed her, and comfort her. My heart broke for her and she wasn’t even my daughter.
As I was reflecting on this encounter that’s when Jesus spoke to my heart. He gently whispered, “That is how I see each person I have created—as a child. I too, long to take them into my arms and comfort them and provide for them. Even when they grow up they are still my children. And, I do not want them to be lost and alone.”
That hit me right in the feels! If we could only see others—no matter what age, or no matter how hateful—as that little girl in the check out line. If we could see them as God sees them; lost, confused, hopeless and in need of a comforter. If we could only see past the facade and into the depths of their hurting hearts. Then maybe, we could learn to love a little more like Jesus.
I’m praying to see past the hard outer shell, past the rage and hate, past the ungodly language and attitudes; and see the lost, hurting, confused, broken little child that Jesus sees inside them. Lord please help me to love them like You do—as a child.
Donna Sparks is an International Speaker and Evangelist. She is the Author of Beauty From Ashes: My Story of Grace, and, No Limits: Embracing the Miraculous.