Let It Rain
Well, good morning! I sit with my computer at this very early hour thanks to the crashing thunder that felt like an actual punch to my chest. With the rain pouring and the storm covering the city, I could feel a smile growing on my face, an anticipation that has been growing. Let it rain, let it cover this city. Lord, the seeds that you have been planting all of this time, let them begin to sprout up from the ground.
The wheat is growing during this time. The people, now sitting at home have the ability to be growing in relationship, drawing closer to God right now, listening for His Word. His people can be filling themselves up within His Word and His presence, worshiping Him day and night without fear. This is the time that has been set aside for His church, His bride. This is the time for us to position ourselves in Him. God is good and He did not send this foul sickness, but won't He use it for His good? He isn't surprised by it, and in knowing that, isn't there a preparation in hearts that has already been taking place?
How many feel like they were created for such a time as this? How many can feel their faith rising, that the continuous rain on us during this time is watering that small seed and that mustard plant (tree) is beginning to grow out of the ground? Can you feel the electricity in the air?
Matthew 9 is such a great reminder. So much happens in this chapter, it begins with healing the paralyzed man, while forgiving his sins. The next thing we see is Jesus calling Matthew, the tax collector. Once we grasp the fullness of that choice, we see Jesus on his way to heal a daughter and a woman steps in and receives healing by the faith she has to reach out and touch his robe. While dealing with the woman, the daughter dies, and yet, Jesus wakes her from her slumber. Next, he heals the blind and mute. That is the first 34 verses, leading up to this next passage.
Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”
Jesus called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out impure spirits and to heal every disease and sickness.
These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: “Do not go among the Gentiles or enter any town of the Samaritans. Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel. 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.
Jesus showed them, Jesus talked about it and then Jesus sent them to do what he was doing. The workers multiplied. (after he told them to pray for the workers, he sent THEM as the workers) The workers were given identity and authority and they were given a specific plan of action.
I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”
We have been given the keys to the kingdom. Jesus told the disciples to teach others what he had taught and shown them. We have been given the same authority and identity. We have been given the power to bind and the power to loose. We have been told to go and proclaim the kingdom of heaven is near. We have been told to heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse leprosy and drive out demons.
When this quarantine ends, (YES IT IS GOING TO END) are you going to be ready to harvest what has been growing? Are you going to be ready to partner with God, and take your city with Him by your side?
The more I pray, the more certain I am that our eyes have moved and our prayers need to shift back into place. We keep asking God to do EVERYTHING. We keep praying for revival. We keep praying for a great move of His Spirit. I keep seeing that revival is the direct response to the people of God getting into that quiet place with him, filling up to overflow and taking it out into the world. Revival is the response to our overflow. We must be right with God. We must reposition our eyes to Him, and let Him direct our paths instead of us creating the perfect formula. He has positioned us to lean in, take a rest in Him, reposition ourselves back into rightness and to then take it back into the world. A world that needs hope, a world that needs something that doesn't change, SOMEONE who doesn't change, yesterday, today or tomorrow. A world that needs to be released from the bondage of fear and anxiety. A world that needs people filled with the Spirit, living out their identities, not for themselves, but for the Glory of God to be seen and known.
We keep asking God to do a lot of things. My question is, what has God given you the authority to do, and are you doing it? We complicate things, Jesus said, take nothing with you, and go and do what I have shown you. The message hasn't changed. Leave your programs and your plans behind, and just take the good news that Jesus is still reigning on the throne, and He loves us enough to die for us, and even more, to give us a new life in Him that lasts an eternity.
Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.
What is He telling you right now? If you are having trouble hearing through all of the noise, pick up your Bible and read only the red letter words. What are you going to do?
Peace in Worship
This has been a week that no one could have dreamt up. Driving home from work on Thursday (where there were 4 additional people besides myself, out of nearly 100) It was eery to see all of the empty parking lots, empty roads, the quiet sitting over the roads. Surprisingly, I saw more families walking along the sidewalks than I think I have ever seen on a Thursday evening.
This is a time of very few answers, but many questions. This is a time that we need to take a breath and maybe just maybe, we turn off the news. Maybe just checking it once or twice a day will begin to help with the level of anxiety growing over homes. Many areas are under restriction and are requested to not leave their home, sooner than later, I expect to have that same restriction where I live. It has me thinking about how I am going to fill the quiet of my home.
God has been showing me the importance of true worship over the past few years, growing in importance and volume, especially these past 3 or 4 months. There is something that happens when you take a group of people and lead them in worship. If you were to talk to each individually, they may have different denominations, different ways of doing things, but when you lead them in worship, everyone is suddenly looking up, with one eye, one voice, to the ONE God. I have seen it happen time and time again. I have seen a room of very different women all come into agreement as they worship. I have seen rooms full of people come into perfect unity as God was being lifted up and exalted. The temperature of the room changes, the weight of his presence comes in becomes noticeable.
A friend of mine got on her Instastory this week and talked about the weight of other's fears mounting pressure that she could feel, and as she spent time worshiping it all fell away. It is something that we forget sometimes. When you take the time to look at God and acknowledge who he is, it changes everything. When you raise your voice and heart in worship, HE comes and changes you.
Thankfully, in the world we live in right now, you have more songs at your fingertips, ready to be played and sung over around the clock! Spotify, YouTube, Amazon, just to start....find some songs that speak to the Holiness, the Oneness, the Goodness of God. Acknowledging WHO he is, and sing them to him.
There are more verses about worship than can be contained in a single blog, Psalms is full of calls to worship, I have gone back and forth on which to use. Isaiah 6:3 and Revelation 4:8-11 are what keep coming to mind today.
Each of these living beings had six wings, and their wings were covered all over with eyes, inside and out. Day after day and night after night they keep on saying,
“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God, the Almighty--
the one who always was, who is, and who is still to come.”
Whenever the living beings give glory and honor and thanks to the one sitting on the throne (the one who lives forever and ever), the twenty-four elders fall down and worship the one sitting on the throne (the one who lives forever and ever). And they lay their crowns before the throne and say,
“You are worthy, O Lord our God,
to receive glory and honor and power.
For you created all things,
and they exist because you created what you pleased.”
What are you listening to during these times? What songs are you playing? What are they speaking to your heart?
Awakening our Faith
Wow! What a time to be living. Just a few short weeks ago our world looked much different. The stock market was reaching record highs, unemployment was at record lows. And in a moment, our entire world is now at a stand still. It has left me thinking about a lot of things. Some people are watching stock prices fall and they are realizing their plans for the future are getting smaller by the moment. Some people are watching reruns of sporting events due to the sudden stop of all things sports. Las Vegas has shut down the strip for the most part and all "gathering places" are becoming restricted. We went from knowing nothing but freedom to suddenly having our freedoms being dictated, day to day. Schools, churches, work, ect…
The thing about all of this, the part that keeps my pulse at the normal rate and my blood pressure in check is that I know I am not promised an easy life. I am not putting my faith into earthly establishments, but I am keeping my eyes on God.
Several years ago I spent a lot of time digging into Matthew 8:23-27. Jesus gets into a boat with his disciples and they begin to cross the lake. Jesus was exhausted and fell asleep. There was a violent storm that suddenly over took them, waves flooding the boat, yet, Jesus slept. The disciples woke Jesus up screaming "Help! We are going to die!" Jesus reprimanded them and then he rebuked the storm. My prayer was to have peace to sleep through the storm. My prayer was to find that peace that would allow me to go to sleep even in the midst of a storm. (Jesus was actually already asleep when the storm came, so my prayer needed refining, and don't you know that the Lord brought just that.)
As I prayed over this scripture and prayed for the peace that surpassed all understanding, the faith to deal with the storms, and the ability to sleep in the midst of the storms around me, God gave me Jonah 1.
Jonah 1:4-6 New International Version (NIV)Then the Lord sent a great wind on the sea, and such a violent storm arose that the ship threatened to break up. All the sailors were afraid and each cried out to his own god. And they threw the cargo into the sea to lighten the ship.
But Jonah had gone below deck, where he lay down and fell into a deep sleep. The captain went to him and said, “How can you sleep? Get up and call on your god! Maybe he will take notice of us so that we will not perish.”
Jonah went below deck and fell into a deep sleep. Jesus had already fallen asleep, prior to the violent storm developing. Both Jonah and Jesus knew what to do to calm the storm, and both calmed the storm. The question then becomes, where do these storms originate, and what kind of authority do we have over them?
The storms brewing today, are we asleep and being awoken to deal with them or are we running away from the storm and trying to sleep it away? What does it look like to wake up and take authority over the storm? What does it look like to say "be still" and know that your words have the ability to quiet the waves and wind?
There are a lot of people who are stirring up with winds and waves, creating panic and worry. There are a lot of voices pushing fear and panic. There is one voice that quiets everything, even the most violent of storms. There is a whisper of a voice that can pour peace over the questions and the "what-ifs." It seems time to remember that we need to take the time, make it a priority to listen for that voice.
This time can be seen as hardship, or this time can be seen as a gift. The distractions are growing smaller. Time with family can be time spent on your devices or it can be time building a deeper relationships, actually TALKING and eating together. This time can be time spent praying together and corporately, bringing God back into some of the areas that He may have been pushed out of. This time can be spent looking for ways to take care of others that may not be able to do as much. Checking in on the elderly, those with big families, those who are single parents. Share a meal, share a conversation. Take time to see people again. Take time to be present. There aren't so many things to keep us occupied, it is now a personal choice. Will you take the time to refocus your eyes?
I am expecting to see a great bounce back in the next few weeks. All of the busyness will have the opportunity to come back and take over our lives again. This is a time to rest. This is a time to reprioritize. This is a time to take a breath and remember that it isn't just about us. Are we ready to speak to the storm? Are we ready to find our voices and our faith? Jesus said it only takes a speck of faith (size of a mustard seed) to move a mountain, how much will it take to move a virus? How much faith will it take to unite a city and a nation? How much faith does it take to see the beginning of a movement growing in our cities?
During the next few weeks of "isolation" what will you be doing? We are in a season of awakening to use our faith. How can you flex your faith?
I am a wife and a mom of two and a prayer warrior. I love Jesus and love wrestling with the Word of God and finding how my life fits into His story.