Joy for those who see

This week a customer came in, and as we were talking, he stopped and asked: “You’re a jubilant person, aren’t you?”

Looking at him straight in the eyes, I said, I hope to illuminate joy. There is so much to be joyful about; things are shifting.

Giving me a questionable smile, I went on to say; If we look at the world around us horizontally, we can get overwhelmed, fearful, maybe even angered.

But! If we look at the world from our position in Christ (citizens of heaven – Php. 3:20), we can see exciting things. God is moving, stirring in the hearts of many. We are living in exciting times!

The gentleman smiled at me and said; yes indeed!

Truthfully lately, I haven’t been as “jubilant” as I have in the past. The burden of ‘standing’ on so many issues can become overwhelming, not to mention making one feel they aren’t doing enough. 

Then Papa God made things simple to me as he dropped these questions in my heart:

“What stirs passion in you? What is that thing that keeps stirring in your heart to bring change? That is where I want you to stand, watch and see what I can do through you.”

I type this all out to ask you the same questions: “What stirs passion in you? What is that thing that keeps stirring in your heart to bring change? Whatever that is, that’s probably the area that God wants to work through you.

So be encouraged! God is moving and doing mighty things through the people that are called by His name. 

1 Samuel 12:16

“Now then, stand still and see this great thing the Lord is about to do before your eyes!

Mrs. Nolen

When I was a young girl, I would stay a week with my grandmother in the summer.  She was employed at the local factory that stitched seatbelts for the auto industry, so I would spend my days with Mrs. Nolen while she worked.

I remember having the best fun with her. We would spend hours watching the birds eat at her bird feeder as I talked. I am sure I was a nuisance talking as much as I did, but she didn’t seem bothered by me. 

Lunchtime was the best! She asked me what I wanted to eat every day, and I requested the same thing: cheese and crackers, please!! I was obsessed with those fancy round crackers and the individually wrapped cheese. Unfortunately, I grew up in a big family, so we didn’t get fancy foods like these. Mrs. Nolen kept two kinds in her refrigerator; Cheddar and Swiss, but I would always ask for, “Swiss cheese, please!”

Our afternoons, Mrs. Nolen would place a book on my head and tell me to walk around the room. And she was the first person to introduce me to a fingernail file. I had no clue how to use it when she handed it to me. With a puzzled look on my face, she snatched it back and mumbled, “I can’t believe she doesn’t know how to file her fingernails.” I am not sure if almond-shaped nails were the fashion then, but this is how she shaped my nails. The sound the file made on my fingernail gave me the willies. I thought it was gross, but she proceeded to tell me, “every girl must learn to do her nails,” and then she would paint my nails. One day they will be pink; the next day, they will be red.

            I hate to say this, Mrs. Nolen, but I still don’t keep up with “doing” my nails.    

It may not sound like fun to you, but it was such fun when I was a little girl. I am sure it was because I had her full attention, and we did ‘girly’ things. Having five brothers, I often ran around catching frogs and snakes; I was a little tomboy.

Even though I spent hours as a child with this woman and have many fond memories. If I were to walk into her home and ask for “Cheese and Crackers, please.”  She would probably yell at me to get out of her house and call 911 to report that an offender had walked into her house.

Of course she would! Because she wouldn’t know me. Just because I had a close relationship with her when I was younger doesn’t mean she would know me today. Right?

Matthew 7:21-23 New English Translation

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter into the kingdom of heaven—only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven. On that day, many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, didn’t we prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many powerful deeds in your name?’ Then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you. Go away from me, you lawbreakers.

I know, it seems strange to hear our all-knowing Lord say that he doesn’t know a person.  But Jesus isn’t referencing intellectual knowing here, but relational knowing. It’s also hard to read that Jesus would speak ‘unloving’ words such as these; ‘go away from me.’

It is true that the Lord loves and wants to have a relationship with everyone.

We know how to protect our own families by not inviting strangers into our homes. How much more would the Lord preserve His heavenly home by letting anyone in that HE doesn’t know (have a relationship with).

Did you have a close relationship with Jesus when you were younger, but it’s been years since you ate “cheese & crackers” with Him?

I know life gets in the way, so many things grab our attention. Responsibilities with our family, jobs, and community can muffle the knock at our heart’s door.  Though I want you to know He is still there at your door knocking.

Revelation 30:20 KJV Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come into him and dine with him, and he with Me.

You might be thinking, I don’t even know what to do to be in God’s will, or, I cannot add another thing to my busy schedule.

I used to think that his will was about “doing” good works. Honestly, I exhausted myself, striving to be “good enough” or doing “good.” I thought it was my ‘works’ that made me good enough. Unfortunately, I had it all wrong.

Ephesians 2:8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God not by works so that no one can boast.

Jesus himself explained it very simply to the disciples.

John 6:28-29 New International Version Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?” Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the One he has sent.”

To believe in the One (Jesus), we would need to know what was recorded in scripture about Him. And when we read scripture, it’s helpful to ask Holy Spirit for insight.

I can remember when I would read my bible and think I was reading riddles, and it didn’t make any sense to me. However, once I started to ask Holy Spirit to be with me as I read, scripture became alive to me.

John 15:26 Living Bible But I will send you the Comforter—the Holy Spirit, the source of all truth. He will come to you from the Father and will tell you all about me.

It was amazing that the verses that I read each morning gave me the tools to navigate through my day. I was encouraged, and I felt His love, and it made me hungry for more.

I will finish this blog by saying this: God is loving, and HE longs to have a relationship with us.

Jesus made way for everyone to bring us back into the right relationship with Him. Not only that but, Jesus sent the helper to us, Holy Spirit.

Do you hear the knock at your heart’s door? I want to encourage you to invite God in. Just start out eating “cheese and crackers” with him, and before you know it, He will fill you.

Psalms 107:8-9

Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for mankind, for he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things.

Unity does not mean uniformity!

This word, unity, has been stirring in my heart for many months now. Somedays, I hear it echo loudly, and then there are days it is only a whisper, but it keeps coming up.

And as surprising as it may seem, this word is misunderstood in many circles. I believe the reason that it is so misinterpreted is that the enemy knows the power of unity or agreement and wants to keep us (all people) divided.

It doesn’t matter the size of the division; it can be as in small circles of friends or big groups like businesses, communities, or even a Nation and everything in between.

1 Corinthians 1:10 NIV

I appeal to you, brothers and sister, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought.

In this verse, Paul is saying that we need to pursue unity within the church of Christ intentionally. Do not give place to divisiveness or competition. Instead, honor others, seek to be like-minded (in our belief in the Messiah), and recognize Jesus as the common ground for unity.

I volunteer as a mentor at a local ministry, and the woman I was teaching was telling me how she went to a concert of a Christian artist. She said, “it is hard to explain, I was around a bunch of people I didn’t know, but it didn’t bother me. It was like we were friends or something. I was okay with them jumping up and down, and they were okay with me dancing. It was like we were  connected.”

That connection is the spirit of God that is in each of us. It is the Christ in our brothers in sisters that reaches out to the Christ in us. We are united in and through Him. It is a miracle of the indwelling of Christ. But that doesn’t mean we look, dress, or even talk the same way.

We each have a specific niche, talent, or “gifting” that might not be another person’s favorite ice cream flavor (per se). We might communicate a bit differently, or we might like to wear jeans when another wants to wear dress slacks. All of that doesn’t matter. We can still be unified.    

Unity, in Greek, means oneness.

Oneness is defined in Webster as a combination or ordering of parts in a literary or artistic production that constitutes a whole or promotes an undivided effect. 

Think of a jigsaw puzzle. Each piece of the puzzle has a different shape from the other, but it creates an image when interlocked together.  Whenever I have done a puzzle, I would become somewhat overwhelmed looking at all the pieces.  Thoughts like: Where do I even begin, or, It’s going to take me forever to put this together, would echo in my mind.

                We all can be overwhelmed when something looks too big to accomplish, right?

But once I begin to separate the border pieces, I would be able to figure out how to fit them together. Slowly finding the details, the task didn’t seem so overwhelming. The different random pieces of color start to blend. Then suddenly I see it! The picture the creator of the puzzle intended the result to look like.

I write all this out to say; we look different, we have different shapes and sizes, but if we can stop looking at our differences and come together, the results would be amazing. It might look a little intimidating. We might not know where to begin, but let’s step out of our comfort zones and connect.

There have been many things being exposed in the world we live in that are evil. So many fronts we need to begin to unite to protect the innocents of our children. We can not fight all of these things by ourselves. However, we can partner and interlock arms with individuals that have already begun to fight (Purple for parents of Indiana).  We can share with our friends and neighbors the things that are being taught to our youth in public schools. We cannot put our heads in the sand any longer.

Prime the wells

A few days ago I experienced a very real heaviness on the people around me. It was so noticeable that I was instantly reminded of what Holy Spirit dropped in my heart back in 2018.

I was told; “Prime the Wells of Laughter.”

To prime a water well, so that the water can flow freely, you must pour water into it.

So, to prime the laughter up inside me, I had to laugh.

I know most people would say, what is there to laugh at, where is the joy?

I say: Look Up! Look past the darkness that seems to be taking control, and REMEMBER that darkness loses, defeated, done, FINISHED!

I know we all what to be updated on the issues of this country, and we should. But read, listen, watch through the lens of Jesus Christ!

In the movie, Short Circuit, they were trying to determine if the robot was alive. It wasn’t until the robot spontaneously laughed that they realized he was. Then the robot asked through his laughter; “I am alive, yes?”

Job 8:20-22 The Message “There’s no way that God will reject a good person, and there’s no way he will help a bad one. God will let you laugh again; you’ll raise the roof with shouts of joy, with your enemies thoroughly discredited, their house of cards collapsed.”

CHURCH ARE WE ALIVE! AND WE NEED TO LAUGH!

Holy Spirit I pray that you stir in the hearts of the believers and pour the victorious laughter from heaven into our mouths and let the Joy flow out!! And doing so, we become a bright light that dissipates the darkness, in Jesus’s name I pray, amen.

Denial

Do you know that old saying, ‘bury your head in the sand’ referring to denial?  I know full well about denial, and if you know anything about my story, you know that I pushed a part of my life so deep that I had a hard time believing it happened to me.

Yes, we use denial to protect ourselves, but we must find the strength inside to work through it. I mean, there has to come to a point when we need to face the thing that we fear, or it will control us.

But you may ask, what if we don’t know we are in denial? Yes, I understand that too. Again, if you know my story, the Lord had me on a journey in my healing. And I had to trust Him that it was going to be okay as we uncovered the layers of protection that I placed to safeguard my heart.  

We can be in denial about things, such as human trafficking.  Some might say what we hear, or read, is bogus and not reliable information. I mean, our culture isn’t that evil, is it?

I had a friend who doesn’t get sucked into the whirlwind of conversations that some people can consume themselves in. I trust her discernment in what she shares with me and know that it is probably something that I should take note of.

A few months back, she shared a video with me about the subject mentioned above. It was 30 mins long but I have to be honest, 15 minutes into it, I  had to turn it off. I was shocked by the information.

I had to move, get up walk away. Do anything to get my mind busy to silence the spoken words of evil exposed. I went to my bedroom to make the bed and gather dirty clothes to do laundry. And this was dropped in my heart: “Georgia, what are you doing?”

          I responded: “I can’t listen to that stuff anymore, Lord. I have to get busy and get things done around here.”

          The voice inside said: “You now know the truth, and you have responsibility.”

          I responded: “What can I possibly do about this issue?! I mean it so big and so dark! What can I do?”

          The voice inside: “What is it that you do?”

          “I intercede,” I said back.

          “Then that is what you do.”

So I did. My heart connected with Father God’s heart, and I prayed for that situation. I engaged my heart and my mind and saw my words. When I say see my words I mean to use my imagination to ‘see’ the angel armies coming to rescue these men, women, and children.

Ephesians 3:20-21

Now to him [God] who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his [Holy Spirit] power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

I understand there are many things in the world that we know in our hearts is wrong. We do not need to be a Christian, read the Bible, or go to church to know this.

But what do we do?

Close our eyes, pretend it’s not there?

No, we do what we do. If it is intercession, do it. If you have a testimony of how God has delivered you from drugs, share it with someone who struggles with addictions. If you have had physical healing, share your testimony, especially with someone who needs healing.

I once heard a sermon stating that the word “testimony” means “do it again” in Hebrew. When God does something for one person, it reveals his heart on the matter, and he wants to do it again.

So, please understand the power we have. We shouldn’t let the darkness of the world intimidate us. When we do it’s like saying that the darkness is above the name of Jesus, which is a lie from the pit of hell.  

Philippians 2:9-11

God exalted him to the highest place

    and gave him the name that is above every name,

that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,

    in heaven and on earth and under the earth,

and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,

    to the glory of God the Father.