What Season are You In?

We just finished a season of celebrating Americas Independence. However, just like the rest of our lives during this pandemic nothing was normal during this 4th of July. No parades, no fireworks, restrictions on family and friend gathering’s, even the reason’s we celebrate the 4th were being challenged and trying to be changed. What I’ve noticed is the anger that is permeating our country over the symbols of our Nation…our Flag…our Statues…our Monuments, and even our Nation’s Colors. Folks, our national symbols, just like all our lives, represent the good, bad and ugly we all hold. As we’re reminded of all they mean in our lives and don’t try to eliminate or deny the negative, and painful parts, but allow them to be changed, we mature and grow into a better place. My heart is that by reading this blog we’ll embrace and not eliminate or deny the painful parts of our past. By embracing ALL that has taken place in our lives and in the life of our nation, and allow change we create a TESTIMONY. A great story, that is always born out of testing. Our testimony is really each of the personal tests we’ve faced in our lives. Test’s always ask us a question to which we give an answer. As our lives get tested mistakes seem to always occur. These wrong responses tell the truth about who we are and who our nation is and what needs correction and change. It’s when we understand our wrong responses that we have an opportunity to crossover and step into the right response allowing change.

To help us understand the season we’re in let’s look at the life of Joshua. He found himself also in a season of change. He had to wait 40 years for an entire generation to die before he and Caleb got to step back into and receive the promise land God said was theirs (Josh. 1:1-3). But before the promise was fulfilled they had to battle a flooding Jordan River (Josh. 3:5). It seemed to overflow all it’s banks throughout the harvest season. Why is it, God seems to always create a battle for us to fight before we get the blessing? I believe it’s two-fold: He wants all the credit for the miracle that’s about to happen and second, I believe He knows it takes overwhelming circumstances to get our attention and desire change. It’s in the heat of the battle, we get to learn about the character that IS or ISN’T in us. The Jordan River was their battle, a flooding river 140 feet wide, with a normal flow of 4 miles an hour but now is raging at 10 miles an hour running over it’s banks.

So what was Joshua’s battle plan, we see it in Josh. 3:5, First, he told the people to CONSECRATE themselves, so God could do His wonders on their behalf. Consecrate means to make or declare something for a particular purpose. To dedicate something for a divine purpose. When we’re fighting our battles maybe we need to take a time out to see clearly God’s purpose and not our own. Second, Joshua asked the priests to carry the Ark of the Covenant to the edge of the Jordan River (Josh. 3:15). And as they stepped into the flooding river it stopped. I believe, we’ve got to step before anything in our lives will stop. Unfortunately, we want things to stop before we ever take a step. It was the first step that allowed the priests to walk out into the middle of the river (our battle) and STAND on dry ground (Josh. 3:17) as the Israelites marched by seeing the priests with the Ark, high and lifted up. 40 years earlier, a generation could’ve marched across that Jordan River and claimed their promise land but they got accustom to God’s provision instead of His promise. They became satisfied just living with His provision, (the way it is) instead of fighting for His promise, (the way it should be.)

Season’s of change won’t be easy….nothing good is ever easy. God never called us to easy but if we learn to step and stand what’s available for us will be better. The reason… He’s still on the throne. You and our country might be in trouble but Gods still on the throne for your life and the life of this country. 1 John 4:4, “Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world”….You can’t stay here, you’ve got to move. We don’t have to be stuck in our story, satisfied with only provisions when there’s a promise awaiting us. Psa. 27:4, “ONE THING, have I asked of the Lord, that I will seek after, that I may dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” King David tells us his one thing, but What’s your ONE THING? What’s the one thing you must desire most of all in your life to allow change and true freedom in your story?….We need to remember, we have a PROMISE to walk into. A promise that at one time was alive but now? But now it needs to hear, Deut. 4:29, “BUT FROM THERE…you will seek the Lord your God and you will find Him, IF you search for Him with all your heart and soul.” It’s from there, you walk into your promise. But Where’s there? Where ever you are. Where ever there is for you. We need to be a SEEKER of THERE”S. However, sometimes the “there’s” take a waiting period. Joshua/Caleb had walked into their promise 40 years earlier but had to wait, yet both of them kept their promise alive. Psa. 37:34,”Wait for the Lord and keep His way and He will exalt you to inherit the land, you will look on when the wicked are cut down and destroyed.” Isa. 40:31,”Learn to wait and you’ll have renewed strength to mount up on wings of eagles, your going to run and not be weary, you’ll walk and not faint.”

Question: Are you caught in a season of change and struggling to understand and move through it?

Key Thought: Remember crossing into your Promise with a STEP and than a STAND isn’t easy but if you have a Joshua heart and proclaim what he did in Josh. 24:14-15, “Now therefore fear the Lord and serve Him in sincerity and truth. Put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the Jordan River and in Egypt and Serve the Lord. But as for me and my house we will serve the Lord.”

The Father’s Heart found in a Faithful Man

I just recently retired from 22 years of being a middle school PE teacher and coach at both the middle and high school level. I was often asked, “how could you do that for 22 years, do you really like teaching middle school kids, you must be crazy.” To which I responded, “No, you must be called and love it”. You see I love being a Father and that is what’s needed most in the middle school years. But a father is often the missing link in many families. I know in my own experience that was the case. During those early years my dad was an absent father working swing shift at Weyerhaeuser Company until he retired. But by that time, I was long gone having moved out of the house and living on my own. I knew my dad loved me and my 3 brothers but in mine and my brother’s lives, he wasn’t around. The younger two brothers got more of his time because of those retired years. It was then that I started seeking out father types and men that would fill that empty father role in my life. I’m sure I’m not the only male that missed the mentorship of a father in their lives. Hopefully this blog will help in healing some of the pain and disappointment you’ve felt your whole life.

Let’s look at our Heavenly Father’s Heart that’s totally described in Psa. 91:9-10, where it says, “If you make the Lord your refuge, if you make the Most High your shelter (a place of trust), no evil will conquer you, no plague will come upon you.” And verse 14, “The Lord says, I will rescue those who love me. I will protect those who trust in my name.” This Psalm brings clarity to what a man’s heart need’s to look like as a father in the lives of our family. Let’s look at how earthly father’s fulfill this example. It’s found in the role of a man as a… PARENT.

P-PROTECTION…Eph. 6:4, “Fathers, do not provoke (deliberately stimulate an emotion)your children to anger by the way you treat them. Rather bring them up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord.” I’m not convinced father’s understand the significance they play in being an umbrella of protection (shelter) for their children. Do you know the neighborhood you live in? What kind of friends your son or daughter have at school, home, even church? Look and See if that umbrella isn’t leaking. Using parental discernment, are you missing open doors to the enemies tactics to destroy your family. Are you asking yourself, am I missing teachable moments to invest wisely in your child?

A-AUTHORITY…Here’s a word we’re struggling with today in America. Rom. 13:1-2, tells us that, “we are to be subject or submit to governing authority. For all authority comes from God, and those positions have been placed there by God”. Notice the word position, we so often get stuck on a person and not a position. We need to teach our children to differentiate between “person” and “position”. I’ve heard far too many times, “I can’t respect the person I’m suppose to look to for authority.” This attitude clearly states the lack of understanding between the person with all his/her imperfections and limitations, and the position God has given them whether it be a father, a boss, a pastor or a policeman. We submit to the position that God has called them to and not to the person. Do we truly trust God with all authority in our lives?

R-RESPONSIBILTY…Pro. 22:6, “Train up (direct) your child onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave (depart) from it.” We are to raise up our children in the way they are to go…that doesn’t mean to teach them to stand up and demand their rights but rather stand up and yield their rights. Let me explain. The President of a local bank once shared with me that he raised his four boys with this motto: “You don’t have rights, you only have responsibilities. As you take on those responsibilities, then you get the right to have a privilege”. I don’t know about you but I’m taking that advice to the bank:) In summary if we teach our children to demand their right’s we’ll promote a rebellion. If we teach our children what their responsibilities are we’ll promote a revival. Proverbs 29:15 says it well, “To disciple a child produces wisdom but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother.”

E-EDUCATION…Who or what is educating your children? Do you realize almost a quarter of your child’s life is spent under the influence of teachers. Today’s teacher plays a significant role in each child’s life. Make sure their investment in your child isn’t greater than yours. Do you understand a child’s day is split into 3 nearly equal parts: 8 hours of sleep, 7 hours watching or playing on Device’s, and 9 hours of going to school. Look closely at the word device, what do you see? If you said vice your correct…VICE, (the grip of a bad habit). Deut. 6:7, 20:18 both say the exact same things, our job is to share the Word of God over our children. “You shall teach them diligently to your children , and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down , and when you rise up.” His word should be shared and taught every part of their day, from the beginning to the end of their day.

N-NURTURING…One of the best ways we can nurture our children, (the careful encouragement and growth) with a strong sense of right and wrong is keeping our promises. Many father’s have made promises to children and for whatever reason, (and many are legit), have failed to keep them. This failure of broken promises has hindered the nurturing process in our children. When we break our promise we will always violate their trust in us and others. Our talk should always match our walk. Doing what we say, when we say it and knowing why we’re saying it will always validate our walk. In Numbers 30:2, we see Moses speaking to the Israelites saying, “If a man promise’s by making a vow or making a pledge, binding himself/herself under oath, you must never break it.” Let’s be committed to always fulfilling our promises (vows).

T-TEACHING…It literally means, (the action of understanding a course of direction). One critical course of action fathers need to teach their children is WORK and accomplished by a fathers example. It’s one of the most beneficial skills a father can teach…good old manual labor. For many, work has become a four-letter cuss word…and yet the Bible is filled with a mandate to work. It’s how we provide for ourselves, our families, and the Body of Christ. But even more important, work provides us with the opportunity to learn the Father’s Heart in how to serve. Our children need to learn how to serve other people and not be served all the time. In Ecc. 10:18, “Laziness leads to a sagging roof, idleness leads to a leaky house.” Our body, mind, and emotions are designed to work. Work has proved to be great therapy for many kinds of problems, including problems with children. It will take care of sagging roofs and leaky houses in all our lives.

Question: Have you experienced the Heavenly Fathers Heart in your life with security and trust and or do you feel fatherless with anger and lack?

Key Thought: As we draw near to Him and His love we then will be able to draw near and love one another. Every father’s heart has to begin with experiencing God’s Heart in their life. I hope reading the character qualities of a Faithful Father challenges you to improve in all areas of being a Parent. Be a Hero, we all have them and perhaps need them in our lives. I know our children need them so lets become a hero to our families, our children and to our wives. Happy Father’s Day!

Take off the Blinders

Recently, I posted a prophetic word on an incoming tsunami given by a Godly prophet from Australia, with the following sub-title. This is a Prophetic Word that I believe will take the knee off our necks and allow us to breath again. As we intercede for our hurting world, we pray that same knee will bend at the Altar of God. After it’s posting many believers responded with Amen and encouraging words but one sister in the Lord took an offense with what I said and the timing of how I said it. This blog is about my action and reaction to the tone deafness and disrespect she thought I had toward black brother’s and sister’s in Christ and how the phase, “take the knee off our necks” has such a painful meaning. She said, “please show me where a knee is on your neck. Show me where your life is treated with such wanton disregard.”

My response was immediate as I said, “I’m so sorry, please forgive me for offending you. I thought a figurative example of knees that kill can end up at the Altar of God. Where those same knees can bend at an Altar of forgiveness and repent to find salvation. Isn’t that what we’re all about anyway.” Her term, “wanton disregard” hit me hard and I was instantly reminded of Saul of Tarsus (Acts 9), a violent murderer of Jewish Christians. A man that hunted down Christians and delivered them up to die. A man that had his knee on the throats of Jewish believers in Christ, taking away their breath…..and then with a flash of light on the road to Damascus, Saul was knocked off his horse, laying on the ground, blinded. Falling to the ground Saul heard a voice saying, “Saul, Saul why are you persecuting me?” His response was “Who are you, Lord?” I am Jesus, the one you are persecuting! Now get up and go to Jerusalem. I thought how many of us need to be knocked off our high horse and fall to the ground. Realizing, we’re all blinded by our prejudice, I don’t care what race or culture you are. A prejudice we don’t even think we have or a prejudice we think we have a right to have. A prejudice that is covered over with our preconceived opinions and self-serving bias. The truth is we’re all prejudice and our behavior is showing it’s true color in the day we’re living. We need an Ananias to show up in our lives.

At the same time God was speaking to Saul, He was also speaking to a believer named Ananias saying, “Go to a man named Saul.” Ananias response was, are you kidding me God. Saul’s, the arresting officer authorized by the chief of police (priests) to arrest anyone who calls upon the name of the Lord, and You want me to go and pray for him? He’s the one that has put his knee on our neck’s, arresting and killing as many as he catches and You want me to go to him? God’s response is interesting, I have a plan for him, his life has a purpose. He is a chosen instrument of mine to carry My name before a Gentile world. But he will feel pain, the same pain he’s caused my people in the things he’ll suffer. After hearing that word, Ananias departed and found Saul, laying his hands on him saying, “brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road, has sent me so you my regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” Aren’t we all thankful for a God that has mercy and grace for all the disadvantaged and the privileged alike. I believe that in God, there are no accidents. (Rom. 8:28), All things will and do work together for good to those that love God and are called according to His purpose. That’s why He chose the man Ananias to be the first thing Saul’s eyes would see as he started his New Normal (life). The Hebrew name Ananias literally means, The Grace of God. The first thing Saul saw when he opened his eyes was, the Grace of God.

I totally believe the only thing that will transform us from our prejudice is the Grace of God. It was God’s Grace that touched Saul’s life causing scales to fall from his eyes. And so it is with us…it’s God’s Grace that will touch and change our lives. It’s God’s Grace that will remove our blindness and allow us to see again and love again. We’ve got to see an Ananias standing in our road and allow him to touch our hearts. If we want to rise up off the ground we’re laying in and walk again we all need to embrace His Grace. It’s only His Grace that enable’s you to be His true Disciple and live in righteousness and holiness, to minister and fulfill your calling.

Question: Have you ever looked at your own heart to see if you have pain and hurt from being violated from someone who had no concern for you or your belongings? And because of that pain are causing other’s to feel the same pain and hurt in how you act and react to what has been done to you in the past?

Key Thought: It’s God’s Grace that is needed for us to walk through this pandemic of pain and prejudice. His unmerited favor is what we all need to remember and embrace during this time of crisis to release the scales off our eyes and see clearly what’s happening to our world. Every good thing begins and is fulfilled in God’s Grace. Let’s remember how His Grace has personally ministered to our lives so we’ll know how to minister to others.

Call the Repair Man

We’re half way through 2020 and everything that could be shook has been shaken in America and through out the world. It seems every area of our lives and how we think has been altered. Our old normal ways of acting, thinking and talking have taken on a new normal. One that causes us to look deep within to see if any thing in us needs to be changed. The world wide pandemic, economic instability and social chaos has caused a collapse of everything we thought once stood strong in our lives. Our walls of comfort, safety, strength are all being broken down.

As we entered 2020, America seemed to be “Great Again”, like a great wall rising…But suddenly, a breach occurred in this great wall causing a “Great Shaking”. The word breach comes from the word “Perets,” which means a gap or break in a wall. It’s to break forth, break open or break down. Today, we are seeing this happen all over the world but especially in America. The question I have for all of us is, “What is our responsibility in dealing with this breach and How can it be rebuilt?” First, let’s admit the great wall wasn’t that great at all. What appeared to be strong had many flaws. We’ve come to realize our strength, comfort and safety can’t be built on our own opinions, bias or prejudice. This shaking has caused us to take a good, long look at ourselves and how far we’ve fallen from God’s commandment to “Love Him and Love one another”. 1 John 4:20, “If anyone say’s, I love God and hates his brother, he is a liar.” This lack of understanding is the reason the shaking has been so devastating.

So what should our response be? Let’s look at Ezek. 22:30, “So I sought for a man among them who would make a wall, and stand in the gap before Me on behalf of the land, that I should not destroy it, but I found no one.” A man who would…stand…before Me on behalf of…What an amazing statement of what’s needed today in America, as we humbly come before the Lord as intercessors and stand in the gap as we pray. It’s the intercessor that stands before God on behalf of others. They have always had two responsibilities “to make a wall” which suggests repairing the breach caused by an enemy, but he would also “stand in the gap” or plug up that breach against the enemy throughout the rebuilding process. What America needs now are intercessors that know how to live, 2 Chron. 7:14, “If my people will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” Repentance is what America needs most of all. It’s in a repentant America that Isaiah 58:12 can be lived out, “God will rebuild the old waste places, raise up the foundations of many generations, and be called the Repairer of the breach, The Restorer of paths to dwell in.”

Question: As you’ve had everything in your world shaken, have you asked God and yourself, “what I’m I suppose to do?”

Key Thought: God’s desire is to restore and repair all that’s been broken in our lives without ever leaving or abandon us in our sin. He never gives up on us in our fallen state. Instead, He will always rebuild our ruins, His way not our way, that’s the kind of God He is.

Rain Is In The Forecast

As we stay in a place of preparing, during the 50 day grace period, between Passover and Pentecost, let’s look at three amazing scriptures: Joel 2:23, 28-29, Acts 2:17-18, Isa. 44:3-4. Each speak of an outpouring of rain, as they talk about the former and latter rains, the spring and autumn rains that pour out on dry ground producing an abundance. I recently read an Israel Newspaper dated, Feb. 20th 2020, that the area of the DEAD SEA, a desolate wasteland erupted into a floral wonderland. The paper recorded, because of the enormous amount of rain, a stunning display of flowers appeared in a land considered some of the most harsh on earth. It was the first time in history that a super bloom of vegetation has occurred in that area. Seeds that have laid dormant in a desert for years have sprouted showing life.

As the Holy Day of Pentecost approaches (May 29-31), we know the Apostle Peter spoke to the 3000 Jewish people using Acts 2:17-18, that an outpouring of the Holy Spirit had just happened. He told those listening, this was a fulfillment of Joel 2:23, where the former rain, literally the Promise of the Father, which Jesus asked them to wait for, fell on them during the Feast of Pentecost. In Joel 2:28-29, we notice a latter rain is coming and will again come with a new outpouring of the Holy Spirit. As in the former outpouring of Pentecost, experienced by 120 believers in an upper room, the rain will be full of power, authority and new life, once again given by the Holy Spirit. Today, like the disciples 2000 years ago, let’s wait for the Latter Rain, the second outpouring of the Promise of the Father, where we again will experience the same power, authority and new life the Spirit will bring to our DEAD SEA’S.

Many during this pandemic might be in a very dry place in their life. Where it feels like your living in a desolate wasteland, much like your own Dead Sea, literally known as the lowest point on earth. Your asking, What’s next for my life? It can’t get any worse. I’m here to tell you when it’s the darkest in our lives, that’s when the Light of God shows up. A God that is seldom early but never late let’s us experience hard times. Sometimes it takes the devastating disturbances in our lives to stimulate a seed to blossom. I encourage you to seek the outpouring of His Spirit on your life and touch your desolate, dry ground and make it flourish with a super bloom. Prepare to receive your Latter Rains as you read Joel 2:12-13, first, turn back to Him with your whole heart, that’s found in the spirit of repentance. Second, rend your heart and not your garments. Rend literally means to tear apart, split or divide as a sign of grief and despair. It means we first need to recognize where we’ve turned away from the things of God, and to be cut to the heart in sorrow, asking forgiveness. You see when the Israelites turned away from God in sin, to show how sorry they were, they would cut their garments. Showing their desire to change, they would tear their clothes, more concerned with how they looked on the outside to the people instead of turning to God and dealing with their heart. They failed, like so many of us to realize, all God really wanted them to do was to change their hearts and not their clothes. Lastly, Joel say’s, return to the Lord for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, with great kindness. He wants to love you and not harm you and fulfill your life. Rom. 2:4-5, tells us it’s God’s kindness and patience that lead’s you to repentance.

It’s time for a new explosion of wildflowers and a fulfilled life. It’s time for the barren looking landscape in your life to change. The areas that seem dead and haven’t produced anything in the last year, it’s time for your Super Bloom to happen as you EXPECT to RECIEVE the Latter Rain. It’s a focused expectancy that will allow you to receive your blessing. In 1 Kings 18:43-44, Elijah asks his servant to look 7 times for a rain cloud, since there had been a severe drought in the land. The servant’s reply to Elijah was, “There is Nothing!” Those weren’t words of expectancy. Perhaps he should’ve said “Nothing Yet”, now that’s expectancy. The very spirit Elijah had as he said, go again, 7 times, on the seventh time the servant saw the promise of rain and came back saying, “Behold a little cloud.” We’re living in a time of a small cloud but the rain is coming, expect it as we move into Pentecost.

Question: Are you existing in a desolate, dry place in your life and need a rain to fall? Are you even aware of the dry places in your life or have they become your new normal?

Key Thought: During this 50 day period of grace as we head into Pentecost, let’s believe and expect the Latter Rain to fall on all the dry places of un-expectancy in our lives. As we wait, remember Joel 2:12-13 and come back to a loving God with a heart of repentance. Without repentance, we remain in a DEAD SEA. It’s your time for a Super Bloom to happen in your life.

How Do You Like Losing?

Acts 1:14, tells us the disciples were all in the upper room and were in one accord as they prayed about one final issue that needed dealing with…Judas and his act of betrayal. I’m sure they were all offended, angry and wounded by a man they thought was a part of their team and wondered how could this have ever happened. Verses 16-17, show us he was chosen by Jesus Himself, as one of the 12 and as a disciple shared in the 3 years of ministry they all had together. We know in the Gospels, that the 30 pieces of silver Judas received, to lead them to Jesus were thrown at the Sanhedrin’s feet when he realized he couldn’t force God’s hand, to destroy the Roman control over the Jews. The Sanhedrin seeing it as blood money, bought a desolate field of property and called it The Field of Blood, known by all the inhabitants of Jerusalem. Verse 20, “For it is written in the Book of Psalms: Let this dwelling become desolate; Let no one live in it and Let someone else take his position.”

All of us have experienced betrayal at one time or another in our lives. Where someone or something you trusted and believed in let you down. Often our response is to get even by causing the same pain that you felt. Betrayal can only lead to desolate places of despair. The place we enter and have a tendency to dwell for a long time. It’s what can kill and destroy the living things in it’s presence, our relationships, our future and our dreams. Betrayal has the power to captivate our lives and become our permanent dweller. What it will always buy, is a desolate, empty, lifeless place, our personal Dead Sea.

When we’re dwelling in betrayal we too lose the oneness the disciples had always felt with each other and with Jesus. The reason for this is when trust has been violated by betrayal, trust becomes extremely difficult to experience again whether it is with other’s or our heavenly Father. Look at what Jesus say’s to His disciples just before the betrayal takes place, (John 17:22-23), “The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one. I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one.”

Betrayal is more than being deceived and lied to by people, it is also when we’ve suffered a loss and lose something of value as we have in this Covid-19 pandemic. Betrayal can become the most devastating loss a family or person can experience. It can shock us into a desolate place, if we allow it. During this pandemic we’ve seen it produce life-altering changes in the graduating seniors missing all their pomp and circumstance, our businesses and financial futures devastated. We can’t even grieve those we’ve lost in a normal way. Not to mention, that spousal abuse and suicide are both on a steep curve upward as people deal with their sense of loss and by taking an offense.

Our world is asking, “Whom can I ever trust again? How is that which I’ve lost going to be restored again? What can I believe in again?” These questions are what each of the disciples were asking themselves as they waited for the Promise of the Father, the Pentecost that was about to happen in their lives. They decided to let go of the betrayal of Judas and believe again in the Promise of the Father as their oneness was restored, built on trust.

Question: Have you ever been betrayed, and in anger and pain tried to get even? Have you ever felt the despair of betrayal when someone or something was taken from you?

Key Thought: When betrayal comes knocking on your door, and it will, when someone or something is taken from you, let’s make sure we respond the right way. Instead of anger and the pain of retaliation, let’s embrace hope and trust as we wait for the Promise of the Father, found in Pentecost and receiving the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. Letting go of the pain of betrayal we will move on and experience the restoration and renewal that’s found in the power of His Holy Spirit.

As We Leave; We Can Receive

As we’re moving through this 50 day grace period preparing for Pentecost and the Promise of the Father, it’s vital that we do not stay stuck in our “old normal” ways of life. It’s important for us to understand during this time, that things have to change. This 50 day period should be a training ground where true motives are exposed by His light. It is a time of testing, to see if our hearts are in the right place in response to our families, our marriages, our future and the government and it’s decisions concerning Covid-19. But most of all it’s been a time of trusting. Do you really trust God, that He knows and cares about what’s happening in your life. There’s been such a shaking in our old ways of life that a New Normal has taken over our lifestyles. Though God didn’t cause this virus to happen, He sure is using it in our lives. It’s like having a threshing floor experience, that’s making us look at all our old lifestyle issues that have us stuck in our story. It’s causing us to realize we have to leave the OLD before we can ever move into the NEW. For us to have our breakthrough moment, we first have to surrender to God’s threshing floor. Whether it’s the beating of the crop against a stone to separate the grain from the chaff or yielding to His winnowing fork (tool like a pitch fork) and be thrown into the wind causing our dry, scaly, protective casing that covers the precious wheat grains to be broken away. Which ever way it is, God will use it to get us to a place where we can be used to build His kingdom.

We are truly being shaken, but even in the midst of this world wide tidal wave-surge of “forced change,” the fact remains, many of us resist change. Why is that? Perhaps we haven’t understood the value of, “letting go and leaving,” the old ways of our life. In Acts 1:6, the disciples had to let go of knowing God’s timing for a new kingdom as they heard Jesus say, “It is not for you to know the times and season.” The disciples had to experience, a letting go, of all their old lifestyles, their dreams and now even Jesus as they watch Him ascend to heaven. His last words to His disciples, are wait for your New Normal (Act’s 1:8) found in the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. Haven’t we all asked the same question’s, Lord, when are you going to answer my prayers? and where are you in my time of need? Jesus answer is the same, “wait and receive power, when the Holy Spirit has come upon you.”

It’s by letting go of the old and coming into agreement with His purposes, that we receive our new. Our letting go is always found in our repentance. Psa. 51:10, repentance that creates a clean heart and renews a right spirit in all of us. Let’s believe we are a new creation (2 Cor. 5:17), “the old has passed away behold all things have become new.” It’s our time during this pandemic to put off the old self (Eph. 4:22-24), “which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires.” It’s time we start renewing the spirit of our minds by “putting on the new self, the one created according to God’s likeness.” That’s the power of Pentecost, as we agree with His word that divides the soul and the spirit and discerns the thoughts and intents of our hearts (Heb. 4:12) we receive His power and authority.

Question: Are you holding on to your old to tightly and resist letting it go?

Key Thought: It’s time we let go of all the old in our lives so the New Normal, found in the Pentecost of our lives can be experienced. As we rest and wait we come into agreement with His plans and purposes for our lives. It’s then we experience His goodness as He leads us into repentance. It’s in our repentance that we can truly leave the old and enter the New.

What Are You Waiting For?

2020 has been an interesting year for all of us. When it started most of the prophet’s were saying, it will be a year of “A Double Portion of Blessing” and used the Hebrew number 20 as their springboard. 20 in the Hebrew language literally means complete or perfect waiting period. They said it was going to be a doubling of clear 2020 vision watching God fulfill promises, purposes and the plans that were spoken over our lives. However, what we have experienced so far is a blurred and discouraging period of time. During this New Normal, I’m hearing God say, we need to adjust our focus and seek His heart to see what He is really doing. We have just left the Passover season which Messiah fulfilled with His death and resurrection creating a New Covenant for all of us. Presently, we’re midway through the 50 day grace period that precedes Pentecost and the outpouring of His Holy Spirit. This period is intended to prepare us to receive the fresh anointing of His power and authority. So the question is, “What should we be doing in preparation for His outpouring?”

To find the answer let’s look at Acts 1:4-5. After being together again, Jesus speaks a very important word to His disciples that all of us need to hear during this pandemic. He said, “Do not depart from Jerusalem, but WAIT for the PROMISE of the FATHER. John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” The baptism of the Holy Spirit, isn’t the true definition for Pentecost, though in many churches that hold the title of Pentecostal believe its the act of speaking in tongues, a heavenly, angelic language that honors God. Pentecost, literally means “the Feast of Weeks, 7 to be exact.” It also is known as “The Feast of 50 days, hence the term Pentecost.” The key to this entire scripture is to wait. TO WAIT FOR THE PROMISE OF THE FATHER. Why would Jesus ask them to WAIT? Perhaps He knew better then they, that they weren’t a group of men that waited easily. To wait, means to remain ready for a reason, to delay any action until something happens. I believe, waiting is a test. A test of, will you trust God enough to stay steady without moving on your own agenda’s, to see if God will finish what He’s started and promised in your life. . Acts 1:6, reveal’s their heart, “Lord will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” This shows us the disciples didn’t understand what they were waiting for and totally missed what Jesus had said about the soon coming baptism of the Holy Spirit. Jesus response in vs. 7, “It is not for you to know times and seasons which the Father has put in His own authority,” shows us and the disciples, that waiting for God’s timing as He fulfills His promises and not our own expectations and agenda’s are the true key to waiting.

Question: How many times has this been our response, pushing our own agenda’s, during this pandemic? Missing the Promise of the Father found in the baptism of the Holy Spirit by not waiting on His leading?

Key Thought: As we Shelter in place in our homes, are we waiting for the Promise of the Father that’s found in the leading of the Holy Spirit. It’s in this place that the Holy Spirit can adjust and empower us as we learn the true art of waiting, which leads to repentance. Where we turn from our own agenda’s and return to trusting in God’s timing and fulfillment of His promises in our lives.

The Testimony of a Sunrise

A testimony is defined as a declaration, that speaks as evidence or proof of something you’ve experienced. To me a sunrise is such a testimony, every 24 hour period of time the earth turns toward the sun, as it does we experience dawn, (a sunrise). But in this same 24 hour period of time, darkness occurs as the earth turns away from the sun. The earth is now dwelling in its own shadow. It is in the turning that we experience either sun light or darkness. Turning, is defined as a change of position, so that we’re facing a different direction. In our lives we should be always turning. But for many, we’ve gotten stuck in our darkness, we’ve stopped turning.

Our personal darkness occurs when we turn away from His presence, His truth, His love and end up dwelling in our own shadow, the shadow of our turning. When we’re stuck in our own shadow we fail to see clearly. Deception clouds up our ability to see and know the truth of situations we’re experiencing. The only way out of the shadow of deception is to continue to turn toward the sun. We break free from the enemies lies by turning. We break these strongholds through repentance, that’s defined as turning back to what you knew as truth.

It is interesting to note that each of the four accounts of the Messiah’s resurrection contains a word that speaks of the dawn, the sunrise. The Son rose from the darkness of death and turned death to life, hope from hopelessness, love from lovelessness and created a way where there is no way. Because of this truth we can make the sun arise in our lives by turning to the light. It’s then the light will break through your darkness (Psalm 57:7-8, Psalm 112:4), “Light dawns in the darkness for to the upright (those that our not stuck) he is gracious, merciful and righteous.”

Question: Are you living in your own shadow, stuck in your story, believing the lies your enemy is telling you?

Key Thought: We need to realize that turning should be apart of each of our lives. It should be done early every morning as the birds sing and wake us up. Lam. 3:22-23, tells us, “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” It’s time to create your New Sonrise in your life.

What Path Are You On?

As I’ve studied Psalms 23:3, I’ve loved how God restores our soul by leading us in the paths of righteousness. It’s a picture of rescuing a lost one. In Hebrew, “Restoring my Soul”, literally means, to “Bring Me to Repentance.” What good is it to have what verse two talks about, green pastures and still waters when you have a black soul and constantly live in troubled waters? If the Good Shepherd is going to restore us, He first has to lead us back from the somewhere or the someplace, we’ve walked off too. His goal today, is to lead us back to a right path, His path, a Path of Righteousness.

What path are you on? To answer this question, we first need to understand what the word PATH literally means. It has a two-fold meaning. First it’s A Place, a course of direction, and Second it’s, A Behavior, a course of conduct. Do you realize our behavior can lead is to places we should’ve never gone. You see, attitude’s can become open door’s that lead us down wrong path’s or door’s that open to a right path where His Righteousness can be found. It’s all in how you look at the path, each path always has it’s own destination, that is the critical issue. The nature of the path may be easy or difficult, however this shouldn’t be our focus, we should focus on the destination and where it’s leading us. (Pro. 4:25-26), “Let your eyes look straight ahead, and your eyelids look right before you. Ponder the paths of your feet and let all your ways be established.” We need to become people that ponder our paths and think carefully about all the decisions and directions we’re taking. We’ve got to stop judging every path in our lives by what they look like or feel like and start seeing and realizing where they’re taking us. Those easy and smooth roads could lead you over a cliff and those tough and rocky ones to the very place you’ve meant to be all along. (Psalms 25:4), Make me to know your ways, O Lord: teach me your paths.”

Without His leading, our path quickly become dark, causing us to stumble. (Pro. 4:19), “The way of the wicked is like deep darkness; they do not know what they’re stumbling over.” But with His leading, it is bright. (Pro. 4:18), “But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, which shines brighter and brighter,” were we will run without being hindered or stumbling. The conclusion of verse 3, “For His Name’s Sake”, has lasting impact on the total verse. If we desire restoration of our soul and being led down paths of righteousness we need to live our lives to display the Glory of His Grace. For as He leads, He honors His Name by leading us in His strength and not our efforts. (2 Cor. 4:7), “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.” Today, find your path, a Path of Rightousness.

Question: How many paths have you wandered down and is the path your on right now leading you in the right direction and destination?

Key Thought: This pandemic has resulted in a new normal. Our old normal has lost it’s way and given us paths we’ve never walked down before. This new normal, with its new paths should cause us to ponder our lives and it’s new directions. Let’s carefully think about the path we’re taking and chose well so all our ways will be established. The way we choose well is found in Pro. 4:20. ‘My son, be attentive to my words; incline your ear to my sayings.