Rejoice

Acts 10:34-35 So Peter opened his mouth and said: “Truly I understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him.

Have you ever really needed or wanted something you’ve taken to prayer for months? Years? And then someone you know gets that very answer. But you’re still waiting. My husband and I have walked through this recently. One prayer time had me feeling a bit teary-eyed. Those around me have experienced healing, provisions, amazing blessings, restorations etc. I prayed for that and rejoiced in their answered prayers.

But I felt a twinge of pain..

If you can relate, I have a specific prayer for you this Shabbat. God has intimates. He rewards those who seek Him diligently. God has a promise.

Galatians 6:9 And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.

Spiritual and emotional maturity means clapping for others and rejoicing when they rejoice (see Romans 12:15.) God can bless you AND others simultaneously. Don’t get sidetracked by what God is doing for those around you. Whether He gives us a yes, no, or wait…it is in His great love for us.

We are ONE body and not in a competition. Refuse to get caught up in jealously, discouragement, or doubt of God’s character.

It’s sometimes really difficult to, but choose to rejoice in the Lord always (Philippians 4:4.)
The enemy wants us focused on our lack and desires so we don’t hear the Spirit’s voice for others. God wants us to bless those around us. God so loved the world that He gave. Give. Don’t worry about the getting. It will happen. Usually when you least expect it. ❤️

Shabbat shalom. 🌙

Remedy

**This is written by Jim Brandli. When my husband shared it with me, I wanted to pass this on so more could read it. God will nudge and nudge, and He is very long-suffering. In the long run, because He loves us, discipline will come. God loves us too much to leave us as we are.

(Original title) BROKEN BEYOND REMEDY

“A man who hardens his neck
After much reproof
Will suddenly be
Broken beyond remedy.”
(Proverbs 29:1)

All criticism is not the same.

Some is helpful.
Most is harmful.

If you want harmful criticism…
Spend your time on social media…

You will find that even if someone dies…
There will be people out there….
tearing the deceased to shreds.

What’s the point?

Nothing good.
Some people just love to tear others to pieces.

Finding a helpful critic is important…
If you are up for it.

Yes…you have to be willing to hear criticism
If you are going to improve.

Great athletes always are looking
To improve their game.

So they value helpful critics.

They will pay to have people come
and watch them play.
And then critique their game.
And offer suggestions for improvement.

About ten years ago…

I found out that a hall of fame bowler
Was holding training sessions at a bowling alley
A couple of hours away.

I was not a great athlete…
But I wanted to improve my game…

So I drove there.

I spent a couple of days learning how
To bowl the right way.

One of the first things the pro said to me was..

“You will never be any more than a 160-average bowler
Unless to get up to the foul line.”

His criticism was helpful.

He didn’t just look at my game and say…

“You will never be any more than a 160-average bowler.”

He said, “Unless….”

And then he gave a helpful piece of advice…

That I took.

Was that the only thing I needed to change in my game?

No.

It was the first thing I needed to change.
I wouldn’t get anywhere unless I made that change first.

I took his advice. And it helped me to improve my average from 160 to around 200.

Okay, now it’s time to get real…

Sports is one thing.
Your personal life is another.

Most of us don’t like to be told we are wrong.
I know I don’t.

We just want to live our lives…
And be left alone.

But sometimes we have issues.
And they need to be dealt with.

The guy in this proverb has a problem.

In fact, it appears that a number of different people…
Maybe even his friends…
Have talked to him about his problem.

It says, “After MUCH reproof.”

Each of his friends have pointed out the same thing.

Instead of getting up to the foul line…
His problem is crossing the foul line.

“Hey, buddy I hate to tell you, but you really crossed the line.”

What was his response to their advice?

Yada. Yada.
“Save your breath. I’ve heard it all before.”

The man hardened his neck.
He doesn’t want to hear it.
He’s not listening.

The last line is the result of not listening to criticism:

The man “will suddenly be broken beyond remedy.”

Not he will suddenly be broken.
But he will be broken beyond remedy.

The point of reproof in the first place…
Is to helpfully correct you.

Get you to see the error..
And to do something about it.

When a person is truly repentant…
He/she will be broken over his sin.

And he will humble himself before God.
He will confess his sins.

And God will forgive his sins and
Cleanse him from all unrighteousness.
(That’s the part only God can do.)

So a little brokenness is a good thing.

But the stiff necked person…
Won’t listen or change…

And because of that…

He will come to the place where he will be broken…
In judgment by God….

And that breaking will be past the point of fixing.
He will end up like Humpty Dumpty.

The good news is…

We are not past the point of fixing.

We all have a free will.
And we can choose to listen to those
who want to help us improve our game.

And through Christ….

Our game can be improved!

Praise the Lord for that!!

Speaking Your World

Genesis 1:3 And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.

Proverbs 18:21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.

Ephesians 4:29 Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.

Another quarantine blog. I’m getting something out here God spoke to me about.

Speaking your world.

No, this isn’t some mystical, new age concept.

God spoke the world into existence. We are created in the image of God (of course we can’t create as God can.) Even so, words have power. I have been internally chewing on this after a conversation with a friend.

Since this friend sometimes reads my blogs, and to respect privacy, I am withholding details. This chat was in part regarding fear and on speaking with excellence. We challenged each other. Afterwards, the phrase speaking your world was in my spirit.

What are we saying about God? Ourselves? Others? Are we complaining? Criticizing? Gossiping? Denouncing? What we say eventually becomes what we believe.

If there’s anything you’re addicted to or bound by, the Bible is the starting point. Memorize it and speak it out. Speak the truth about God, yourself, and others. That truth starts in His Word.

Do you want a life of victory, free from fear, insecurity, shame, and demonic strongholds? Choose your words carefully. Those that I know to be consistently successful, Christ-like, and fruitful speak excellently.

You can do all things through Christ who strengthens you. You can hear from God (again, that starts in the Bible.) You can overcome. You are more than a conqueror in Yeshua. God will see you through.

Start a new habit today. Speak out loud who God is, what He has done for you, and your gratitude. Invite Him in each day. Then, vocalize who you are in Christ, that you are favored, and that God is faithful. Declare life, healing, and hope in prayer about others.

Oh, if we only understood that what God asks of us is part of a greater plan too magnificent for words. May we be obedient to speak well and when God leads us to. We can literally bring salvation, hope, healing, restoration, and life to someone else.

Whatever that situation or struggle is, speak God’s Word in response. The sword of the Spirit will speak your world into existence. A victorious, loving, free, faith-filled, disciplined, God-honoring, life-giving world.

Spend 5 minutes a day meditating on God’s love and speak it out. It will change you.

The Table of Humility and Respect

Proverbs 19:8 Whoever gets sense loves his own soul; he who keeps understanding will discover good.

I was not intending to blog again until the fall, but I’ve had pockets of time where the Holy Spirit was nudging me to communicate. This is one of them.

Right now I’m on my second round of Covid-19 (I had it back in December of 2021 also.) So far, prayerfully, I am the only one who has it in the house. The first time it eventually hit the entire household except one of my sons. In my quarantine I have been praying, studying, searching, meditating, and doing some fasting (food isn’t as appealing when you can’t taste it.) Something happened this past week that got me seeking the throne of God for answers.

There’s a person that I call a friend and she has described me as that on numerous occasions. But they have repeatedly said rude statements and been very inconsiderate of myself and my family. My husband recently asked me why I would deem that behavior friendship worthy. It’s not Christ-like. We would treat strangers with more dignity. I remembered something my therapist said to me…

You teach people how to treat you.

What we say about ourselves and our level of self-worth, as well as what we allow, speaks a message louder than we could every utter in words. Who would purchase something from a salesperson who was saying depracating comments about the product? Or themselves? Maybe a few would out of pity, but in general most would think, if you don’t believe in it or yourself why should I?

Mark 12:31 The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”

Ephesians 5:29 no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church

I used to think that being humble meant being critical of yourself. At one point, I was apologizing for almost everything. Proud people don’t repent, and I didn’t want to be proud and someone God resists (see James 4:6, Psalm 138:6.) However, it got to a point where I was giving ammunition to the enemy. I would say something as a generalization when it wasn’t. Now I have a pretty healthy balance, but it’s taken time.

So what does it look like to sit at a table of humility and respect?

When does healthy boundaries cross the line to control or criticism?

When should we leave the table if disrespect is being served?

These are tough, thought-provoking queries. I will try to at least lightly tackle them with some answers that helped me. Maybe you can relate. Many of us have had friends that don’t act right. But when is mercy enabling? I’ll share my thoughts below for prayer and consideration.

Let me start by defining humility and respect, as well as their antonyms.

Humility: freedom from pride or arrogance.

Arrogance: an attitude of superiority manifested in an overbearing manner or in presumptuous claims or assumptions

Philippians 2:3-4 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.

Humility is having a modest estimation of our value and talents. It’s thinking of others, and not jumping to quick conclusions or assumptions without taking time for proper discernment.

Respect: high or special regard

Disrespect: to lack special regard or show contempt

Contempt: the act of despising; lack of reverence

Respect is treating something or someone in high regard. Their time, talents, property, feelings, and overall well-being are valued.

Luke 6:31 And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.

So, what do you do when someone says or does something, especially if it’s repeatedly, that communicates your well-being is not highly regarded? Everyone has bad days, but if it’s a pattern it needs to be addressed. There are verses people have used to excuse abusive behavior, but the Bible doesn’t give provision for being continuously mistreated. Torah (first 5 books of the Bible) is about preserving life and treating people right. That is God’s heart.

In my situation, I am observing Luke 17:3. A solid believer in leadership will be present when I address this person. If a friendship is to continue, boundaries need to be established. Because I am an easy going, calm person some people over the years have felt comfortable taking out their bad days on me and opening up about really personal struggles. I can and will handle a lot. I tend to overlook to a fault.

But, loving others also means loving me too.

Sitting at a table of humility and respect means basic benefit of the doubt is given. We are not jumping to conclusions easily and we aren’t in presumptuous sin. If we wouldn’t want to be treated that way, and if we wouldn’t teach our children to do that, then we shouldn’t do it either.

Boundaries show people where the open door is. Control is telling people it must be their way on their terms or the door is closed.

Establishing boundaries is telling people what is unacceptable, not telling people how to do acceptable behavior.

Bottom line, first communicate clearly. You can’t grow if you don’t know. Tell people what the boundary is and consider the other person’s feelings. Again, would you want to be treated that way? Would you teach your children to behave that way or accept that treatment?

Matthew 18 can be loosely followed. Try to reason with the person. But if they refuse to listen, there’s a place to shake the dust off of your feet (see Matthew 10:14). At least if/until there’s genuine repentance.

I am praying I handle this with wisdom. I am starting in scripture, asking God as in Psalm 51:10 to create in me a clean heart. I don’t cut out people lightly. I don’t believe God wants us to do that as His heart is unity. But sometimes, we need to step aside so the Holy Spirit can take over.

If you can relate, I pray God gives you a heart full of love, humility, and wisdom. Love takes the time to do it right. Mature, healthy people can properly confront and take confrontation well. They will seek scripture and honor the Spirit’s leading. If God has brought to your mind someone you’ve wronged or something that needs to be made right, don’t hesitate. Sometimes it’s much greater than you and the other person. You never know who might get ministered to because of them witnessing our obedience. The greatest way to parent with excellence is by example.

Be kind and merciful. Realize that on your deathbed you will have greater regrets over love withheld vs love given. I promise you that. However, don’t allow mistreatment and don’t mistreat others. Be humble when you make a mistake. Our goodness, even our best works on our best day, isn’t good to God. We all fall short (see Romans 3:23). Nevertheless, we still should run the race with excellence (see 1 Corinthians 9:24) and live like Christ as much as we can.

Choose wisely what table you sit at, but be gentle. Most people are exhausted and broken these days. When disrespect is truly being continually served, leave the table in love. Tell them why you’re leaving. Pray someday you can share a table again.

Father, I pray You help me and every reader to confront and receive confrontation in a mature, Bible-honoring way. Reveal to us what good boundaries are, and show us where we need to establish them or when it became control or assumptions. Help us make it right if we need to. Remove any pride we have in our hearts. We repent of idols and things we have put above You. Forgive us for manipulation or trying to do what only the Holy Spirit can. Give us a life-changing revelation of Your unfailing love, and help us see ourselves and each other as You do. We love You and thank You for Your goodness. In Yeshua’s name.

Renewed

2 Corinthians 4:16 So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.

January 2005

It is the final moments of my birthday. An old friend told me the other day she found a photo of me from 2005. I had just met my now husband at that point in life. At first glance, I marvel at how thin I was. It’s been a while since I’ve seen such low numbers on the scale. Back then, I loved Jesus. But I also was very preoccupied with image and fashion. There was a lot of healing I needed and carnality to be surrendered.

If only I looked like that now.

When I saw the photo, I admit that I internally sighed. Seventeen years later, 4 pregnancies, lines, wrinkles, stretch marks, scars later…is me in this moment. I’ve been through a lot since that picture was taken. I don’t even remember much of this captured snapshot. I think it was some Sunday evening Bible study.

Anyhow, I am currently thanking God for His faithfulness. Provision. Healing. Love. I am not twenty-something anymore. However, my inner self has been and still is being renewed day by day. I may have outwardly looked a little better then, but I still had a lot of internal ugliness. My husband and I joke that we brought Uhauls of issues into the marriage. Slowly, God has been unpacking, sorting, throwing out, and recycling some unnecessary stuff over the years.

Someone new in their faith recently asked me what I’ve learned most in my faith journey.

Read the Word, believe it, and do what it says. This is how you gain knowledge, wisdom, and develop discernment.

My pastor says that a healthy person of faith will have a great relationship with God’s Word, His Spirit, and His Church.

Accountability is so important.

Proverbs 13:20 Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.

I am where I am now because godly people along the way encouraged me to read His Word and do it.

As my birthday comes to a close, I want to leave you with some basic, old-fashioned wisdom.

Choose to be close to those who will direct you to God’s Word and His throne in prayer. Pick people that will answer by default, “This is what the Bible says…” There’s far too many believers accepting 2+2=4.5 as good enough. 2+2=4.

Period.

Just because there’s a 4 in the answer doesn’t make it right. There’s truth and then there’s lies. That’s it.

Satan will rarely tempt us by saying 2+2=1,000,000. He will say it’s 4.5…even 4.1. Truth laced with a little bit of distortion can be difficult to near impossible to detect unless we know His Word and follow The Holy Spirit.

John 8:32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

I pray we grow in love and wisdom each day. Someday we will have glorified bodies (see Philippians 3:21.) It’s good to take care of our bodies and present ourselves well as we are temples of the Holy Spirit (see 1 Corinthians 6:19.) However, what matters most is inner beauty.

1 Timothy 4:8 for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.

Proverbs 31:30 Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.

1 Peter 3:4 but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.

I am not getting any younger. I feel that truth. But my spirit is being renewed, refreshed, rejuvenated, and recharged each day. I sense the closeness of my Father’s heartbeat. I wouldn’t trade that for anything. I pray the same for you.

Legitimacy

God’s discipline proves our legitimacy.

Hebrews 12:11 For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

My husband received a prophetic dream from God. He woke up with a touch from the Holy Spirit he hasn’t experienced for almost 20 years. I’ll be honest, it was confirmation of something God was saying to me, too. This was regarding a couple we know. I believe I am not meant to disclose much, except to say discipline would be coming to them for their sin.

My heart hurts because of what I know. I’ve known for years everything they thought they successfully hid. Too many details.

The enemy was whispering, and they didn’t realize how they were actually being used. The Holy Spirit convicted and nudged for years, but they wouldn’t listen. This will be a difficult season we must be removed from.

Pride is a terrible thing. It’s what the enemy of our souls has.

James 4:6b Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”

When God nudges us over our sin, and we do not obey Him, the most loving thing He can do is discipline. Brokenness isn’t comfortable, but it is necessary to be a vessel God can work through.

God, may it always be about You. Always.

The Bad Doctrine Problem

Psalm 119:11 I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.

1 Timothy 4:6-7 If you put these things before the brothers, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, being trained in the words of the faith and of the good doctrine that you have followed. Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness;

My pastor said something in a sermon that really stuck out to me.

Bad doctrine equals bad behavior. -Peter Haas

The Holy Spirit highlighted that statement for me. Our sinful, dysfunctional, errant words and actions stem from lies and faulty thinking.

Self examination time.

Lies about God. Lies about ourselves. Lies about others. Falsity about this world, life, our purpose and value. When someone isn’t acting right, at its root is a bad doctrine problem.

The following are some common instances.

If you think God isn’t just and fair, or that He’s harsh and wrathful, you won’t believe God for vindication and repair. You won’t give grace and mercy because you haven’t owned that revelation. You’ll end up holding grudges, wanting revenge, being skeptical and critical. The “If I don’t do it then it won’t get done” attitude. Freedom comes from the Word. Memorizing it. Reading it daily. Knowing it intimately where it becomes a part of who you are and your throughout-the-day thought process.

Psalm 33:5 He loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of the steadfast love of the Lord.

Isaiah 30:18 Therefore the Lord waits to be gracious to you, and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you. For the Lord is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for him.

Luke 18:7-8 And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”

If you believe God’s love isn’t perfect, and don’t understand perfect love means perfect boundaries (another Peter Haas quote), you’ll end up in sloppy grace. I’ve had people tell me things like, “Yeah I know I’m bitter but I’ll get over it in eternity” or “I know I should do/ shouldn’t do this but God’s grace covers my sin so it’s ok.” Or that dangerous belief that there’s no hell, no devil, and the demonic realm isn’t real. Spiritual warfare is very real.

Ephesians 6:11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.

1 Peter 5:8 Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.

Bad doctrine.

A church leader once told me that it’s ok to be bitter and not live in unity but still be in right-standing with God.

Matthew 6:15 but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

Yes, boundaries are needed. But we are called to live in unity and at peace. And God takes it very seriously. Yeshua/Jesus died to reconcile a relationship. Scripture is clear.

Psalm 133:1 Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity!

1 Peter 3:8 Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind.

Romans 12:18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.

What about gossip? What if that “truth” isn’t completely true, or it destroys someone’s reputation?

Matthew 12:36 I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak,

Leviticus 19:16 You shall not go around as a slanderer among your people, and you shall not stand up against the life of your neighbor: I am the Lord.

James 4:11 Do not speak evil against one another, brothers. The one who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge.

What about Sabbath, feasts, or what foods we should eat?

Exodus 20:8 “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.

Hebrews 4:9 So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God,

Paul kept the Sabbath too.

Acts 18:4 And he reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath, and tried to persuade Jews and Greeks.

And Paul said to follow him as he imitates Christ.

1 Corinthians 11:1 Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.

The feasts were observed by the early church as well. See Acts 20:16, 27:9, 1 Corinthians 11:23-25, 16:8 for some examples.

Are the feasts “fully filled/fulfilled” through Jesus? No. They were not done away with.

Bad doctrine.

Levitucus 11 talks about clean and unclean foods. But then, what about those verses in the New Testament that make all foods clean?

Mark 7:19 since it enters not his heart but his stomach, and is expelled?” (Thus he declared all foods clean.)

Unclean things were never considered food. For example, does this make feces clean? Of course not. Why? It was never meant for us to eat.

And Peter’s vision?

Acts 10:13-14 And there came a voice to him: “Rise, Peter; kill and eat.” But Peter said, “By no means, Lord; for I have never eaten anything that is common or unclean.”

Look at verse 28.

Acts 10:28 And he said to them, “You yourselves know how unlawful it is for a Jew to associate with or to visit anyone of another nation, but God has shown me that I should not call any person common or unclean.

The Bible just interpreted itself, as it usually does. The vision was regarding clean and unclean people and God giving a call to reach Gentiles.

My husband and I know someone who has a huge temper problem. They don’t take it seriously and have said God has bigger things to worry about. I have always been a pretty calm person. It takes a lot to get me angry. This was especially disturbing to me. We cannot walk on eggshells with someone and expect a godly, healthy relationship at all.

Proverbs 22:24 Make no friendship with a man given to anger, nor go with a wrathful man,

Ephesians 4:26 Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger,

James 1:19-20 Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.

This blog would become a book if I tried to write out all possible examples. I think you get the idea here. When we believe a lie, our words and actions do not line up with the character or behavior of Christ. When we take any sin-lust, presumption, gossip, fabrication, greed, jealousy, pride, adultery, murder (including abortion), anger, bitterness, stealing, idolatry, not worshipping God His way etc it is embedded in deception.

Hebrews 3:13 But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.

Sin and deception go hand-in-hand.

I gave the Bible passage Psalm 119:11 to a lady new in her faith a couple of weeks ago. She doesn’t know scripture, has spiritual bondage, and trouble discerning God’s voice. The answer is simple. Know the Word. And do it.

Today, I am sharing this because God led me to. Whoever you are, wherever you are, whenever you read this….let’s pray together.

Father, we praise Your holy name. Your Word is the sword of the Spirit. It is a powerful double-edged sword that reveals our hearts. Give us the desire and discipline to study your Word and be good stewards of our time and gifts. Search us and see if there’s any wicked way in us. Help us walk in tune with Your Spirit and perfect will in every area of our lives. We repent of our pride. You deserve our full devotion. Help us lean on Your understanding more than our own. We desire to walk in wisdom and maturity. Holy Spirit, be our teacher, guide, comforter, healer, deliverer, and helper. You do not reveal to shame. Thank you Lord that You reveal to heal and restore. Lead us in greater intimacy with You each day.

A Party Rewritten

I will not be regularly blogging again after this until the fall. There’s other things I need to be devoted to. Social media will also be incredibly limited.

**There’s a few blogs I wish I could rescind. Unwrite. I have deleted those writings. For various reasons I do not stand behind them and regret sharing them. One in particular was called A Party of One. I am choosing to take a long pause with a rewritten version of this message.

Let me preface this by saying that blog was on a wounding my family experienced. I was careless in writing it, as even though I didn’t give names it was known to some who it was about. And all that does is bring embarrassment, serve out shame, and poison someone’s reputation. After some prayer and fasting, I’d like to say this instead.

To explain futher, I have been prayerfully going through a teaching series on forgiveness and God’s love. I desire to continue growing, learning, and reflecting Yeshua. One section stopped me for dead. It involved evaluating experiences. After all, going through stuff doesn’t mature us. Many people have trials-whether self-made or externally inflicted. But they aren’t growing. They’re ever-learning but never coming into the knowledge of the truth (see 2 Timothy 3:7). Always searching, never arriving. We need to know Him intimately, not just know information about Him.

You can’t grow if you don’t know.

I saw a story online of a dog tied to a fire hydrant with a backpack full of the animal’s favorite things. It was abandoned by an owner who could no longer care for their pet. Many comments from folks upset about the irresponsibility were listed under the article. Some were downright vicious.

Look, I get it. It was bad, and irresponsible…even cruel. The dog was crying for their owner when discovered. So incredibly sad. What a terrible rejection. There’s much better ways to handle that situation. When the dog arrived at the humane society, the manager of that facility was informed of the outpouring of concern. They responded by writing a letter to the owner on social media. It was compassionate, merciful, and truth was written with great love. I was really moved by how it was handled. Then I was reminded of this verse in my spirit…

James 2:13 For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.

No, we don’t just wink at sin. But how often is the prodigal met by the condemnation of the brother vs the love of the Father? I wonder how many instances there are where a prodigal headed back for home and turned away because of judgment, shame, or humiliation. Most people don’t need to be told how terrible, sinful, or limited they are. They need the life-changing soul-freeing love of the Savior.

And we can emulate the Father to the prodigals. We can be used as agents of unity, compassion, and healing. For those that aren’t a prodigal, but just messed something up, God isn’t waiting to yell at you. We shouldn’t be either.

What happened to my family that produced the blog from 2017 was very painful. It hit deep nerves with my husband and I in different ways. Some things were wrong. But I recognize that behind that instance was a messy dynamic in which my husband and I also caused hurt. We also did rejecting. We weren’t people who properly sought to help remove from their plate, or strengthen them through their ministry. They had needs and gave in their lack. That is from a loving heart. Love covers, not broadcasts. We were bitter. That was sinful. Speaking for myself, I repent.

I don’t know if they’ll ever read this, but since I’m certain they saw the previous blog, I’ll say it. I personally am sorry I asked you to fill my need when I should have sought God for that. And I should have been more sensitive and compassionate. I wasn’t given much grace and mercy in my foundational years, so I transmitted my pain. Sometimes, we can’t meet heavy needs because we don’t have it to give. I understand. I do. My husband and I have learned and have grown. We’ve received a lot of healing. Our desire is to give, lessen the load of others, and be a genuine, loyal support. We do that as we are able.

You didn’t get our best. We didn’t at times either. Everyone stands broken before the cross. I don’t know what life will look like in the future. But I know that we are all, in the end, walking each other to our eternal home.

My family misses you all, but I realize life can get so full. We all have our heart issues God is dealing with. One of the hardest things in life is relinquishing the false sense of control we think we have. I trust it all to the hands of the Father. We pray for you, celebrate you, and believe in you. I am proud of you all. It’s no small feat to serve God faithfully, and speak truth to a dying world.

Words carry more weight when there’s less of them. Words are so powerful (see Proverbs 18:21). Lord I pray my words will be modest, full of truth in love and tenderness. May we all walk in wholeness, faith, and with a sound mind-rejecting fear. Thank you God that You are good and You do exceedingly abundantly in our lives (see Ephesians 3:20). May Your Kingdom come, Your will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven.

Shalom.

Romans 8:37-39 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

Until There Isn’t

There’s safety in the multitude of counsellors….until there isn’t. I know folks that are trying to discern something and get wisdom through other people. That’s not necessarily bad. But we need to first go to the Bible. Someone that I know asked three different people if they should repent of a sin and make things right. When they came to me I said, “What does the Bible say?”

“Well, yeah, I know what it says but…”

They almost rolled their eyes at the question.

I’m serious here. If you’re looking for direction, it’s in scripture. The issue is people aren’t hungry for the Word, and lack the ability to rightly divide.

We will be like a little ping pong ball getting bounced around and hit all over the place if we are not grounded in the Word. Not every person with a title, is in relationship with Yeshua, or professes the name is emotionally and spiritually healthy. We must use the Word as a benchmark.

The flesh will fight against the spirit. Sometimes we need outside voices of wisdom. But first and foremost, we need to know scripture. I’ve found, in hindsight, 90% of the time in the past I sought counsel when I really knew the answer and was capable of finding it.

Get off of social media, the phone, online sites etc and get in the Word. The answers are there.

1 Corinthians 2:9-16 But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him”— these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. For who knows a person’s thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.

Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual. The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one. “For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.

Breaking Bread

Acts 2:45-47 And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.

I’ve been a believer for almost 30 years. I am a spirit-filled person. Let me tell you, I’ve seen some wacky stuff. I won’t give details as it’s not worth mentioning. It’s interesting…and sad to me that a lot of believers think the sign of God’s favor and the Spirit moving is tongues, visions, dreams, and financial blessing. That’s a small part of it. But in Acts 2:47 it says this…

And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.

This culture is so backwards. Here, people are more open to visiting a church building than they are another’s home. In many countries, folks would rather come into your home vs a building. We have adopted theatrics and forgot what being a church is all about. There is a cold love God desires to set ablaze.

Church starts after the service is over. We are the church.

I believe God measures our quality of fellowship and faith-walking by how well we break bread with others. God does not call us to love just in buildings and internet sites. He calls us to invite others in, get connected, help each other, laugh, cry, and serve God together.

We are not loving if we are not giving. God is love. And per John 3:16 God so loved the world that He… gave. Love gives.

There are no denominations in eternity. We are one body. I pray the church can once again see a revival of repentance and sincere hunger for truth.

Father, may we learn to break bread well. We desire to see souls being added daily. Help us to walk unified, ministering to others and sharing our blessings. Give us boldness to share the Good News of Jesus.