Disciple the nations.

It is peculiar that I sometimes start sneezing when my thoughts engage with Holy Spirit. Truthfully, it hasn’t happened for a while now. I am not quite sure when this pattern started, but I know that when it does happen, I am to slow down and hear what is stirring inside my heart.

And today, my sneezing happened.

Like most readers, I am on this quest to read the entire Bible in one year. I haven’t read all the scriptures, which may surprise some of you. I have read parts here and parts there, but not the entire Bible.

And as my readers may know, my eyes become tired quickly, and reading becomes difficult. So, I listen to the scripture as I read along. Before reading/listening, I asked for Holy Spirit’s wisdom to highlight some things.

According to the Bible plan I have committed to, today’s reading takes me to Genesis eleven, and verse six was highlighted: “… The people are united, and they all speak the same language. After this, nothing they set out to do will be impossible for them.

“Same Language.” They were using the same dictionary. Read the post on January 6th.

Everyone was on the same page, understanding words and having unity, and much could be accomplished, so God confused the language.

I can understand why God did that back then. But we need unity today. As a whole, we need to understand what each is trying to communicate if we are ever going to accomplish great things for the Lord.

My heart starts to cry as I ponder how an infant communicates with others. A parent’s desire to understand their child’s gibberish and cries can lead to trying everything to their knowledge to interact appropriately.

So why would I cry over something familiar in the parenting world? Because I see each of us as infants, desperately trying to communicate with one another.

Today, we live in the times of the New Testament. What makes NT people different from the Old Testament people?

The main thing that makes us different is that the Messiah has redeemed us and that we’re under the new covenant. We also have Holy Spirit living in us.   

The NT says we will be baptized and empowered in the Holy Spirit. The role of Holy Spirit is to uncover (pull scales off our eyes) to reveal the Messiah, to arouse a hunger, and to draw us to the WORD. Also, Holy Spirit gives us understanding and infuses boldness in each of us to move past the restraints of the enemy.  

Also, in the NT, we read that we are to be unified in Christ.  

We are told to disciple the nations of the gospel of Jesus Christ and the kingdom of God. If we define ‘nations’ as families, i.e., the twelve tribes became the twelve nations. We are to disciple our families.

So here is where I am going.

I looked at all the branches of my nation (family): children and grandchildren, brothers/sisters, brothers-in-law/sisters-in-law, nieces, nephews, and great-nieces and nephews. You get the picture. By teaching and learning the Word of God together, we become unified in Christ.

And as each person in my nation goes out into the “workplace” working long side of other nations (other families) but having a common language (the WORD of GOD) yet different dialects (pronunciation), what can we not accomplish?

Once we see each tribe (family, church) as one in Christ, communicating with each other using the same dictionary (the WORD of GOD), nothing we set out to do will be impossible. So, let’s get with our nation (family) and be unified in Christ.  

I want to reiterate that I am not getting lost in researching the web (blue letter bible and other tools) to accredit my thought process. Right or wrong, I am just sharing, not “shelving,” the conversations that stir my heart.  

Restored to go forward.

As I was in my quiet time before the Lord, prayer time, and communion this morning, I was reminded of one of those Holy Spirit-inspired conversations I had shelved, as mentioned in yesterday’s post.

I was grateful to Jesus and said thank you for restoring me to move forward. I thought about the original mandate in Genesis chapter one: take dominion and cultivate.  

What was one of the first things that Adam did after he was created in the image of God?

Side note: we don’t know what God looks like, but we do know that he created with spoken word: Let there be light, and there was light. So, we, too, have power in our words.

If we read in Genesis chapter two, verses 19 through 20, Adam named every animal, “whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name.”

Most of us know by now that our words are powerful. It is biblical. However, many beliefs and religions agree with this and found ‘power’ declaring into the universe and the return it has. But it is only because of this truth we are created in God’s image.

And if scripture is the absolute truth, then the words we speak have power. It either works as a blessing or as a curse. All words carry power. You can find scripture to back this up, but like I said yesterday, we all define things differently.

Without keeping the Word of God as our guide, we begin veering off in all directions.

Let me give you a senior to explain. I started making a quilt to give as a Christmas gift. I was excited to finish it, but as my vision became more challenging, I didn’t realize that I was using the wrong line to guide me, and I ended up sewing the back pieces together off by 1/8 of an inch from the pieces on the front side. You wouldn’t think that would make much of a difference with a simple throw blanket, but to my great discouragement, it did.

The front (original pattern) was four inches larger in width and length than the backside. This is like each of us; we all have our guidelines, but if not aligned with the original, we will never align together.

Secondly, I would like to point out that if Adam named all living creatures, that was its name. Then what are we naming our family members, neighbors, city, state, and federal officials?

Honestly, I have named people who hold these positions names that I know don’t align with TRUTH. I have named people by their behavior, behavior by my standards, which can be off just by 1/8 of an inch, instead of asking, “God, who did you design this person to be?” And declare from there.

Could our neighborhoods and cities be messed up because we only’ name’ the people who live or govern over them by what we see? Seeing them through the dark lens of the enemy. Instead of positioning ourselves in our redeemed positions and seeing God’s perspective?

This thought process led to asking the Lord to forgive my words and nullify each that does not align with TRUTH.

I don’t want to align my words with the accuser, making this world even more evil. No. I am restored to move forward. The original mandate is to take dominion and cultivate the Kingdom of God here on earth. I do this by using the original guide, The Holy Word of God, and calling things as they should be, not as they are.

Be alert and be present!

Just like the many ways we celebrate holidays and birthdays, we also start the new year differently. But the mindset of almost everyone is we start over. 

But instead of ‘starting over,’ which would mean throwing out the attempts made in the past year, let’s start where we left off.

Either it is improving our diets, sticking with new habits, being more positive with our words and thoughts, goals to read more books (instead of social media), or even exercising more.

I cannot speak for everyone, but I can speak for myself. I have attempted to improve in each of these areas but without consistency. 

You know the saying: two steps forward and one step back; one step isn’t quickly achieving the goal. But! We are moving forward.

Instead of looking at the past year as a failure, let’s see it as progress. Building on what small changes we have made will only encourage us to make more. Well, it does for me anyhow.

However, there are some things that we do need to forget about, like “family drama.” We all have dysfunction in our lives and have experienced some struggles in our relationships.    

In the Message Translation, Isaiah 43:19 states, ” Forget about what’s happened; don’t keep going over old history. Be alert, be present. I’m about to do something brand-new. It’s bursting out! Don’t you see it?

Going over old history, I believe, is the main reason family feuds don’t get resolved. We all can learn how to do better in loving one another.

I am not saying we all lay down and be door mats, allowing family to wipe their feet on us. Insight can be found if I honestly look at the situations that have caused ‘drama’ in my family circles. And for me, it generally means I had an opinion that doesn’t line up with my beliefs. Taking responsibility for my attitude releases my mental ‘rehearsing’ the drama, thus allowing honest conversation to grow naturally and bring resolve.  

So, as we step through the door of 2024, let’s take a moment to evaluate what things we need to build off of and what we need to let go of altogether.

Another small text from The Message translation: Colossians 3:2

Don’t shuffle along, eyes to the ground, absorbed with the things right in front of you. Look up, and be alert to what is going on around Christ—that’s where the action is. See things from his perspective.

We want to wish all our family and friends a Happy, Healthy New Year!

Let us all BE Present and Alert!! Great things are ahead.

Are you experiencing the fullness of the season?

We have had unseasonably warm temperatures, making it not ‘feel’ like Christmas. But with the snow falling outside and the living room lit with LED candles, I turned the fireplace on and sat cozy with a cup of tea and a warm blanket on the couch.

The atmosphere was set to experience the evening. I searched for The Nativity Story to stream through our television.

Then a question dropped in my heart: Are you experiencing the fullness of this season? Is it about the falling snow outside? LED tea lights? The fireplace glowing?  

As I thought about these questions and looked around at my surroundings, it may seem that the atmosphere was set, but not “really.”

I mean, the candles weren’t really glowing with a small flame dancing with the movement in the room. The fireplace “looked” as if it was burning but not three-dimensional, with the colors of heat dancing within the wood pieces in the dog grate (freestanding metal holder inside the fireplace opening). 

Pondering the question, I realized I hadn’t ever experienced this type of setting. I mean, with real candles burning and a real fireplace glow as it heats the room. 

Then I heard these words within my being: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Prince of Peace.

Then another question was dropped: Are you experiencing the fullness of The Messiah?

Wow, that’s a good question. Am I?

This past year, we (Bob and I) have journeyed down paths we have never walked before. We experienced The Wonderful Counselor when my mother passed away. The Prince of Peace when I got diagnosed with stage IV cancer. Immanuel (God with us) as I started chemo treatments. Jehovah Rapha (the Lord who heals) when my scans came back “Cancer Free.”

In these situations, we experienced one aspect of the Messiah but did not always recognize His fullness.

He is the Prince of Peace. But also, HE is the Mighty God, King of kings, and Lord of all.

So, as we come upon the day we celebrate the birth of Our Messiah, let us not think only of Jesus as a babe lying in the manger. But let us celebrate the FULLNESS of our Savior. And not just on December 25th but every day.  

From the sincerity of our hearts, we are very grateful for all the faith-filled prayers prayed on our behalf this year. James 5:15

May each of us experience the fullness of The Messiah this season and always.

Merry Christmas.

Pastor Appreciation 2023

Pastor: A minister of the gospel who has the charge of a church and congregation, whose duty is to watch over the “flock” and instruct them in the sacred doctrines of the Christian religion. www.websterdictionary1828.com

I believe pastoring is increasingly difficult as the worldview has infiltrated our way of thinking, and the biblical worldview is deemed prudish or, worse, evil.

I am 58 years old and haven’t had to put a line in the sand (so to speak) publicly. It has been my resolve to live my life based on scripture. However, in the past couple of years, I have had to stop and look in scripture for answers and publicly “speak up” about issues that affect me and my family, neighbors, and even the community I live in.  

I say all this to help us realize that pastoring is not popular. Yes, it is teaching the Gospel of salvation, the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. But pastoring is also about teaching us how to use The Word of God as a lantern to navigate the many issues we have in society today. It is about walking in love in every area of our lives, and God is love. And God has things to say about what is going on today. Trendy or not.

Ultimately, pastors teach us about God’s love and His heart is for all people to be redeemed. That is why He sent His Son, Jesus Christ (Jn 3:16). God wants to give back to us what was given up in the Garden (Ge 3) and the Kingdom of God here on Earth (Mt 6:10), which goes against what society has accepted in many areas.

So, Pastoring is a massive task if you ask me. Pastors have an enormous heart for us and future generations. Yet, pastors also have personal lives that they are walking out.

Think about when we set out to make a difference in our world. Letting the light of Christ inside us shine, and we get hit with opposition.

Pastors get hit with opposition as well. They have to go through it more publicly than we do because they are standing in front of us each week, which should remind us to lift our pastors (and family) in prayer daily.

So today, October 8th, I want to thank all the pastors who have been a part of my growth; I want you to know that I appreciate each of you. And you are greatly loved.