Friday, July 14, 2017

Mirror, Mirror



MIRROR, MIRROR on the wall.......who's right after all? 

Oh, the god of pride and arrogance that we have bowed down to so many times. 
 
As C.S. Lewis called it in his writing of Mere Christianity, "The Great Sin," pride.  The Bible has much to say about this god.  In Proverbs 8, it says He hates pride and arrogance.  In chapter 11, it says "when pride comes, then comes shame."  and in chapter 13 it says "By pride comes nothing but strife."

Now, I'm not talking about the pride of hard work and values that we as Americans have shown to be an important part of who we are (but be careful, that in itself can become your god).  I'm talking of good old-fashioned stubbornness.  You become the god of your life- deciding the judgement and outcome.  God's word is correct in saying "By the mouth of a fool is a rod of pride." Proverbs 14
 
This god of pride wants to build a wall higher than Jericho around you, never allowing for sweet surrender to the Holy Spirit.  The reflection in this mirror is self rather than the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit reflects love and God's love covers a multitude of sin.  The reflection of self shows Pride. Pride has a dark side that leads to bondage.  Chains that are shackled so tight, it hurts to move, but to admit that might be painful.  My friend, the more you refuse to bow to pride, those chains will break loose as they did for Paul and Silas in prison. (two people who were definitely wronged) 

I'm not dismissing real hurt.  I'm not dismissing the fact that you could have been completely innocent and undeserving of the outcome.  Who's right? Who's wrong? Who suffered more punishment? Who apologized and who didn't?

I have plenty in my life to show that I've aloud this god to enter my heart and take up residency.  I am strong enough now that I can share something that I was even too prideful to speak of until the last several years.   The unthinkable, the worst nightmare a child could think of...the robbing of my innocence.  I was wronged on so many levels.  TWICE. By two different grown men within weeks apart.  One was a friend of my dad's and the other a total stranger....a dad of the neighbor girl that invited me over for a sleepover at her house.  This all happened while my parents were going through a divorce and my mom was in Oklahoma looking for us a house.   So, the enemy built on that tragedy and he introduced the god of pride. I held that in until I was 18 years old.  Nine years of holding that in did a lot of damage to my soul....thank the Lord I came to know Him or I would be a real mess today!!!

                                                 THIS REFLECTION BROUGHT PAIN
For me, I became so prideful that I would do whatever I could not to cry, to show any feeling (good or bad).  To show feeling would make me vulnerable and out of control and I vowed never to be vulnerable again.  Can you see the darkness already closing in?  If I felt myself about to cry about anything in life...I would go running (literally....and I hate running) because crying showed weakness and weakness meant I would hurt or get hurt.  Can you picture how hard this was on my marriage?  This was a vicious cycle that brought out anger.  I wanted to blame my dad for not seeing the shadiness in his friend asking me to spend the night.....I mean what grown (single) man asks if a nine year old can spend the night?  I know it was 1979....but come on! I wanted to blame my mom for leaving us with my dad (in California) while she went to find a house in Oklahoma.  As stupid as it sounds, I even wanted to be mad at my sister for not spending the night with me that night because I know she would have punched that guys lights out! (my older sister is just bold like that) but she had no idea.  As horrible as it sounds, I was angry at God.  I never blamed Him, just questioned.....lots and lots of times. Through many of nights as a grown, married women waking up crying...I questioned God.  I pleaded for Him to take the imagery away.  I asked him to wipe my mind clear and the feelings that rose each time I started to think about it. 

I could easily look in the mirror....and say "I have every "right" to be prideful and not share a drop of my emotion with anyone!"  or....I could look in the mirror and say "Holy Spirit, I don't understand. That was incredibly painful for a little girl, but I know you give me strength. I know you have a plan for me and that ALL things work together for good to those who love Him"  The first response leads to destruction, the second to freedom.

                                                THIS REFLECTION BROUGHT PEACE
The light bulb went off for me when I realized that I had no control of what happened as a child but I allowed the enemy to steal way more of my spirit for many more years.  That just seemed like a waste.  What a waste!
 
"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." John 10:10

God  had great things for me but my prideful (hurting and stubborn) spirit needed to surrender to Him before I could receive.  It doesn't matter whose right.  It doesn't matter if someone doesn't apologize.  It doesn't matter if I have EVERY RIGHT to hurt.....what matters is a life completely and beautifully surrendered to God.   I let Him be God.  He will handle any wrongs how He sees fit!

All those years of me being in pain, I realize He took that on himself on the cross....and I'm just one.  He took on the entire world's pain and sin.  So that I could be FREE.  So why would I waste one more day of giving my emotions to the enemy?

Let the only thing you see in your mirror be the Holy Spirit at work! 

Lord, set the captives free! 
The Mrs. Pastor

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

The Sunrise Moment



"....morning by morning he wakens me and opens my understanding to his will." Isaiah 50:4

The rising of the sun has so much power and truth for the believer.  First, it represents His creation and the boundaries He put into place.  A time that represents the beginning of the day.  It also gives hope and purpose for another day. 

While I was on vacation, I took this picture.  Sunrise on the beach is at the top of my list as one of the most peaceful places to be.  Sitting in solitude on my towel, facing the breathtaking miracle of the ocean and continuing to be amazed of the power. The power of the waves and that it has a limit on shore where God spoke it to be.  The power of the life under that ocean and the depth that even the most brilliant of scientists could not explain and the power of the sun, another creation spoken into existence by His words, rising slowly and yet so majestically that you can not look for too long because your eyes can not handle it (yes....I know, it's bad for you).

I'm lost in the moments, taking in each breath of the salty air, wishing this moment could last forever, when the Holy Spirit gently, but oh so strongly, speaks to my heart....."I give this same sunrise to you each morning".  And in the most respectful way, I reply "but Lord, I don't have the ocean."  In His most consistent nature, He speaks The Word over me,

"As I passed Elijah, I was not in the wind, I was not in the earthquake, and I was not in the fire....but in the sound of a gentle whisper" ( ref: 1 Kings 19)

I close my eyes and feel tears rolling down my face and feel the same presence I do everyday at every moment.  You see, the sunrise moment, as beautiful, powerful, and peaceful as it is, isn't about the large mass of burning gas that glows in a mesmerizing way.  It's about a specific moment that the Lord set to awaken His people to understanding His will for the day.

"Great is His faithfulness; His mercies begin afresh each morning." Lamentations 3:23

"For you examine us every morning and test us every moment." Job 7:18

"It is good to proclaim your unfailing love in the morning, your faithfulness in the evening" Psalms 92:2

"and each morning and evening they stood before the Lord to sing songs of thanks and praise Him."
1 Chronicles 23:30

"Satisfy us each morning with your unfailing love, so we may sing for joy to the end of our lives." Psalms 90:14

I must challenge you with a question? How can we start our day without being in His presence?  Without seeking His face and filling ourselves with His word?  I didn't put a time limit on that because He wants to meet His children morning, noon, and evening. 

If we can make eating breakfast, taking a shower, brushing our teeth, getting our lunch packed and getting dressed a priority.....then we can have a sunrise moment with our God.  We can renew our mind in the morning and renew it again before we sleep. 

And if it helps.....think of it like your clothes.  The word of God is your clothing.  You are clothing yourself with His word and if you forget that moment.....well, just consider yourself naked!!!!  Its like that bad dream that you went to school in your underwear....LOL!

When you are clothed with His word, you are prepared.  You are given many opportunities throughout the day to apply the word, to share the word, to be a game changer in someone's life!  And allowing God to be a game changer in your life. 

Be intentional to have a sunrise moment every day!

In His Presence,
The Mrs. Pastor


Saturday, March 4, 2017

Just DONT Take a Bite !!!!

Let's go there for a moment.....you become vulnerable with your emotions. Your heart is a powerful part of your daily living.  It's the source from where our passion and compassion come from.  It moves us and drives us with energy, excitement, and focus. Relationships are built, movements are created, and people are inspired to make incredible changes because the influence of the heart.

 On the opposing side, things can go terribly wrong.  You  are presented with an apple.  This apple is toxic.  It represents everything that wants to block the good plans in store for you.  You are discerning enough that you can feel that something seems sketchy but you are drawn to hold the apple.  Now that you are holding the apple, the emotion is heightened.  Some would say, "There's nothing wrong with holding the apple" and I would have to challenge them and say YES! That means it's one step closer to you taking the bite! 

In the story of Snow White, the beautiful Snow is vulnerable in her emotions and holds the apple.  While she is holding the apple, it gives the enemy time to speak to her....to woo....to entice with words that speak to her fleshly man.  You see if the enemy can get to our fleshly man first and that fleshly man is bigger and stronger, he will crush the spirit man!



So Snow HOLDS the apple.  It is placed perfectly in her hands to raise to her lips.  Do you see the ownership here?  The enemy didn't stick that apple in her mouth....SHE RAISED IT TO HER LIPS WITH HER OWN HANDS!   She took the bite!  Then the story reads: (from My Princess Collection Books)

"Something was wrong. I felt dizzy. Then, I couldn't stand and I fell to the floor.  The apple made me fall into a long, deep sleep."

Poison puts you into a long, deep spiritual sleep.  It paralyzes you from progress, from moving forward, to His personal best for your life.  What apple is being placed in front of you at this moment?

The apple of procrastination
The apple of offense
The apple of jealousy
The apple of bitterness
The apple of laziness
The apple of greed
The apple of depression
The apple of irresponsibility
The apple of defensiveness
The apple of being in control
The apple of distrust
The apple of lack of faith
The apple of worry
The apple of self
The apple of anger
The apple of pride
The apple of hidden sin
The apple of insecurity
The apple of negativity
The apple of giving up in your spirit

All of these apples are very real.  His word says:
"They will eat the fruit of their ways and be filled with the fruit of their schemes." Proverbs 1:31

The message reads like this:
"You wanted your own way-now lie in it; Don't you see what happens, you simpletons, you idiots?"

There is no condemnation here. We've all held the fruit.  We've all been enticed and taken action to take a bite and we've all fallen in a long, deep sleep.  BUT THEN

Our Lord, our Savior, our Friend, our Father.....kisses us with a kiss of grace.  He awakens us to true love.  He holds us in His arms and reminds us that His Spirit is inside of all those who believe.  He gently and lovingly corrects and teaches us from His word that is living and active.  He gives us strength to reject holding the apple.  He holds your head up to tell you there is no shame in holding the apple or even taking a bite but He wants you to have a teachable heart and be corrected.  He is the GREAT teacher and has high expectations for His children.  There is no shame in that!

The only eating you need to be doing is from His word!

In His Grace,
The Mrs. Pastor

Thursday, February 9, 2017

The Dipping


One of my favorite things to watch at Disney Parks, is the creation of food through the view of the outside windows.  These professionals have mastered the art of taking ordinary food and turning it into a piece of art by simply dipping it into chocolate or wrapping it in some type of fondue.

This simple act of dipping changes things as it does for our spiritual lives as well. 

Lately, I've been drawn to the verse in Romans 7:15 MSG
"What I don't understand about myself is that I decide one way, but then I act another, doing things I absolutely despise."

I get so frustrated at myself for doing or saying things I loathe.  I think negatively then speak it, Ugh! I am quick to respond in a fleshly, stinky way, Ugh!  I paralyze myself when I know I should move to action, Ugh! I doubt, Ugh! I take a bite of offense, Ugh!

Can I get an Amen?

We can't be too hard on ourselves because there is reason behind this, but reason with a solution!
If you continue reading on in Romans, it tells us that nothing good dwells in us, in our flesh (that's not very encouraging is it?). 

This is why mankind needs Jesus, because we need His grace and mercy and His word.  His word is the "dipping" process if you will.  When we read, study, and apply His word to our lives we are walking in His anointing, his "dipping".  He takes something ordinary and creates  something special.  He adds His grace and mercy to this creation because we live in a fallen, broken, sinful world.  Grace and Mercy don't excuse sinful actions, it just loves and grows us through it. 

When I am preaching, teaching to 2nd graders, parenting my children, communicating with my husband, relating with my friends....all these require God's supernatural anointing. I have nothing good in me without God! 

So daily, I seek His face.  Daily I read His word.  Daily I apply it.  Daily I hear His voice to correct me and don't see that as a bad thing.  Daily I ask Him to reveal qualities in me that need to go and ask for His forgiveness.  Daily.  This is all part of the "dipping" process. 

Speaking the Word over you: (from Romans 8)
I pray over my friend at this very moment.  I thank you that you gave them the Holy Spirit to help do the impossible in their lives. 
I pray that every moment that they are reading your word they are diminishing the ways of the flesh and being empowered by the Holy Spirit.  I pray that throughout the day they set their minds on things that please the Spirit and cast down the things of their flesh that are toxic....even their reasoning of the mind.  Show them that what sometimes seems reasonable to the world is not reasonable with You.  Remind them daily that if they live according to the flesh they will die. That is truth and it is in your Word!  Anoint my friend so they can be prospering in every area of their life! In Jesus Name....Let it be so, AMEN!

Jumpin' in for a Dip,
The Mrs. Pastor


Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Set Apart



Why do things get complicated? Why do WE complicate things?

You are reminded today that YOU are set apart.  There is much in that statement.  There is a purpose, a promise, and a responsibility on your part. 

You were created to be in a relationship with Him (purpose).  That is a choice though.  That means some will not choose that option, so that requires more from you (responsibility).  God uses YOU to bring people to Him with your words, actions, and relationships.  When this is in motion, there is blessing (promise).

But some of us get caught in a fog of our "to do list" doing and forget that we are SET APART.  We forget what that means and the power behind that! 

"Do this because you are a people SET APART as holy to God.  God, your God, chose you out of all the people on Earth for himself as a cherished, personal treasure."
Deut. 7:6

We know this verse is to the Israelites, His chosen people, but if you read further it confirms this is also for us, for those "who love Him".

vs.9
"Know, recognize, and understand therefore that the Lord your God, the faithful God, Who keeps covenant and steadfast love and mercy with those who love Him and keep His commandments, to a thousand generations."

Things get messy when we aren't being used for our set apart purpose.  When we get too close to the thinking and doing of this world, we are not "set apart".....just "part". 

God has put inside each of us gifts and talents but not to use for our benefit or for us to brag how good we are.  The gifting and talents are merely an avenue to reach a certain group that only you could connect with.  That's why it is so important to be responsible.  Be responsible with your words, your thoughts, your actions, your duties, your time, and even your social media.  

Let's put it in elementary terms:
A vacuum was created to clean up dirt. period.  Not to dust or do the dishes.  It's purpose is powerful.  If you don't believe me, try being without one for while....you feel NASTY! 

A flower was created to reflect the beauty of its creator and yet it is set apart for a greater purpose of pollination. 

Now, what happens when something that was created with purpose, set apart for a righteous purpose is not responsible or veers away from what it was called to do?  The answer is destruction.  A fire was created for warmth or a source of energy to keep things in motion but when used irresponsibly can cause destruction and even death. 

I am reminding all of you that are second guessing where you are at or what use you have.....YOU ARE SET APART!   Maybe you got a little side tracked and it became about you.  Maybe you started looking and thinking exactly like the world.  Things got messy and confusing and now you see the destruction in that.  Your responsibility is to keep it about Him.  This will be difficult in the culture we live in today.  We are surrounded by "self" promoters, hostile issues and people, lovers of pleasure, rebellious to authority, haters, easily offended, and paint followers of Christ as the "evil one".  This seems impossible, right?   BUT WITH GOD....all things are possible.

Your focus is not on all that.  Your focus is the job at hand that God has given YOU.  A purpose set apart for Him.  He is big enough to handle all "that".  You be responsible with what He's given you. 

I leave you with this blessing: (promises straight for His word in Deut. 7-8)
As you are watchful to follow His word, may you live and multiply and go in and possess the land which the Lord swore to give to your Fathers!  As you are being used for His purpose may your land be plentiful where you eat food without shortage and lack nothing in it.  May you see how God is using you and call it "good".  When you veer away and start to look too much like the world rather than His image may you receive His correction.  May you know in your mind and heart that as a man disciplines and instructs his son, the Lord your God disciplines and instructs you. 

I love His word!
The Mrs. Pastor








Saturday, December 10, 2016

I Want Something Easy....

Picture this:
Teacher puts students in small groups and each group is working on a different skill.  They are with partners of all skill levels to allow for help, communication, and most of all growth.  One student, working quickly to match definitions with words , gets very frustrated when the teacher passes by the group to check on their progress and points out some errors.  The student pops up and says, "I want to go to another group....I want something easy!"

You can imagine my mind spinning......that will preach!!!!

I'm not the only one that recognized this to use as an example.  Mark Batterson in his book The Circle Maker  (Chpt. 8) writes of a study done between American and Japanese children in first grade.  Each of the groups were given a difficult puzzle to solve.  The researchers weren't interested in who could solve the puzzle but rather how long they would try before giving up.  The American children lasted on average, 9.47 minutes and the Japanese children lasted 13.93 minutes.  This lead the researchers to conclude that the Japanese children weren't necessarily more intelligent but simply tried harder. 

I can't help but think this is a common response of our human nature....to want something easy....to focus and have hope for 9.47 minutes.  I'm certainly not one to throw stones because I naturally want to gravitate toward easy and comfy.  That is until about two years ago....

We were at a ministers meeting and the Lord did what He does best.....SHAKE ME!   In the most loving and gentle way of course.  I was at war with myself.  I knew what He had called me to do, I understood my gifts and talents, I recognized my role but the problem was.... I wanted easy. 

I knew my calling to preach but I hesitated being side by side with Steve because I was overwhelmed in the preparation time it took,  I made excuses with my lack of ability with technology, and lastly I didn't want to cripple Steve's teaching ministry.  If I were to preach, it would need to compliment him and I wasn't confident I was up to the task.   Then the Lord spoke very clear to me and asked for my obedience and promised He would take care of the "time"....since He created time in the first place. :) He also would be patient to teach me how to feel comfortable on the Mac computer but to keep my focus on the message and the anointing.   He also gently reminded me that He called both Steve and I and that the ministry is not "performance based" but faith based. 

That has revolutionized my preaching ministry.  I honestly don't look for any praise or words of affirmation from anyone.  I study, prepare, pray, deliver the message, and leave the rest in God's hands.  I walk away from the pulpit and praise the Lord for the opportunity to be used by Him and ask Him to continue to grow me for His Kingdom.  I'm not saying it's "easy" now but definitely more natural.

But if only ALL things would be as natural with obedience.  I have an area that I long for the day to be "easy".  It's the one thing that is at the top of a resume for all ministers wives..... being relational.


This is where I'm like the student in my class and ask the Lord, "Can you put me somewhere easy...you know where I don't have to make conversation with everyone?"  "Lord, I'm just not good at it." 
I can relate to Moses in Exodus 4 when  he told the Lord  "I'm not very good with words. I never have been, and I'm not now. I am slow of speech and tongue." AND the Lord has a reply as He always does, "Who made your mouth?"

Now don't get me wrong....if someone comes up to me and makes conversation....I can do it!  And when I am having conversation with someone....I'm genuine.  I really am invested in what they are saying.  I care.  But to go beyond that in a big group I literally tense up.  Which is crazy because I can get up in front of a large crowd and preach my guts out but can't work a crowd.  If people knew how difficult this was for me they would be shocked....but I push myself past "easy" and know that the Lord  will patiently grow me and honor my obedience if my heart and attitude are in the right place.  If I'm doing it grudgingly because I "have to"....it will be wasted efforts and painful to perform and even watch. 

What are you demanding of the Lord to be "easy"? 
 Your marriage?
Your children?
Your job?
Your dreams?
Your health?
Your finances?
Your ministry?
Your prayer life?
Your weekly schedule?
Your confrontations?
Your spiritual growth?
Hard hearted people?
Forgiveness?
Your gifts and talents?

We need to stand on His promise in Hebrews 10:36
"Patient endurance is what you need now,  so that you will continue to do God's willThen you will receive all that he has promised."

and Philippians 1:6
"And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns."

 You might not be able to relate to me and my difficulties but you have something. We all do.  Are you running and hiding from something because it will require much of you?  Are you putting something off? Are you focusing on the outcome rather than the present-tense of doing.  Does it seem like too big of a sacrifice...not easy enough for you?  Go ahead and challenge yourself to push past the 9.47 mark....to go beyond....way beyond.  To not give in to "easy" but to strive for obedience and faithful endurance.  Even though the scripture in Luke 21:19, when seen in context,  is referring to persecution, I believe all scripture is applicable to our lives.  " By your endurance you will gain your lives."
Our enemy, the devil, is using "easy" to stop us from being in God's will and being used in powerful ways.

Push against easy,
Mrs. Pastor

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Will You Be Silenced?

Yes, today is an important day in history. However, this post isn't only about what will be taking place at the poles from 7a.m. til 7p.m., it is about your voice every day, ever minute, 365 days a year. 

Since the beginning of time, the world has tried to silence us. 2000 years ago, they killed people for having faith.  They put people in prison. They placed their bodies on stakes and used them as lanterns in their garden.  They cut off heads and put them on platters to shut them up and even hung them on a cross, naked for the world to see.  Today, in some countries, those extreme things still may take place.  Here in America, they call us names, they write nasty things about us on social media (with the wide range of expanded, intelligent vocabulary they have), they create laws that take away our freedoms, they use media and entertainment to paint a picture of believers as hateful, close-minded, ignorant people.  They want to silence you......and for some it's working!  They believe the louder they speak...the more we will be shut down and that very thing could happen if CHRISTIANS DON'T WAKE UP AND BE HEARD! We don't have to be loud and belligerent to be heard. 

Apparently, 1/3 of America has already chosen to be silenced by not registering to vote.  The next 1/3 are registered but choose not to vote.  They say, "it doesn't make a difference."  They say, "this won't fix the problem."

Do we only use our voice when we see the immediate fruits? 

Is this how we view prayer?  "I can't see anything changing, so why do it?"

There was a man named Daniel who was threatened with his life to be silenced.  They wanted to shut him down....so they created a law (see, nothing new under the sun).  If anyone was caught praying to anyone other than their king, they would be killed.  Did Daniel have to be loud and make a scene? No, he stayed true to who he was and what his loyalty was to his God. 

"When Daniel knew that the document had been signed, he went to his house .........He got down on his knees three times a day and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as he had done previously."  Daniel 6:10

He was not silenced.  He was not moved by the outcome. He did not say "it doesn't matter anyway, it's a law now".  HE CONTINUED on and gave thanks.   And what happened?  The entire situation turned around!  It took ONE MAN people!  We should not allow it to be said anymore that "my voice doesn't matter anyway"  !!!!

That isn't the only example.  There were two men named Paul and Silas.  They were in prison (for their faith).  They used their voice and began to sing hymns to God....

"suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison shaken.  And immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone's bonds were unfastened." Acts 16:25-26

AND THE JAILER GOT SAVED!  Two men, with a voice!  In what looked like an impossible situation. 

I could give many more examples, but I try to keep these blogs short and to the point yet powerful. 

God is going to have his way regardless. 
Psalm 46:10
"I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!"

You get to make the decision to be a part of His plan by using your voice,  your actions, your prayers, your living out loud for Him.  And we don't choose to look at the outcome as our deciding factor.  Whatever happens in this election.....whatever happens with the state questions....whatever happens in education....We will remain faithful.  We will not be silent. We will stand on 1 Peter 2:15
"put to silence the ignorance of foolish people."

AND 2 Corinthians 11:10
"As the truth of Christ is in me, this boasting of mine will not be silenced...."

I close today with the words of Elijah, who was not going to be silenced.....

"Let it be known this day that you are God"....in the United States of America,
The Mrs. Pastor