Kingdom Business

SEEK what first above all else? The kingdom of God.

WHERE is the kingdom of God? Inside each of us.

WHAT is in the kingdom? Righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Ghost.

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
Matthew 6:33 KJV

Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.
Luke 17:21 KJV

For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.
Romans 14:17 KJV

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God’s love

I first gave my life to Christ around the age of 11. That simply meant I chose to believe what the Word says about who God is and who Jesus is. Shortly after, I made the decision to be baptized, an outward declaration to the world of the decision I had made to follow after God.

Then as a teenager, probably starting around age 14, and into my 20’s, I fell far away from any kind of Godly life. That’s a story for a different time.

I was 28 when I rededicated my life to Christ and God. Those that know the story of the prodigal son just make it the story of the prodigal daughter and that was me. For those that don’t know the story, it simply means I was tired of living and doing things my way (because it brought nothing but misery) so I told God I was ready to try things His way again and that I needed His help.

I just turned 40 this past February so I’ve been growing in my faith for 12 years now. I would never want to go back to how I was living in that “middle” part of my life but it has only been in the past six months or so that I have had a revelation in my relationship with God that I didn’t even realize I struggled with all these years.

I’ve always believed and known that Jesus loves me. I’ve never doubted that. God on the other hand, I’ve doubted quite a bit.

God knows every detail of our lives and if you knew every detail of mine, you would see how hard it’s been for me to accept that God truly, relentlessly, constantly, loves me.

I don’t know the exact moment it hit me that I was not fully persuaded that God loves me but it’s been something I’ve been meditating on for quite some time now.

Over the years I would listen to messages or read my Bible on God’s love and God IS love and for some reason, without realizing I was doing it, I would always tell myself, “He may love everyone but not me. Not like that. Not constantly.”

I had somehow convinced myself that God was always kind of upset with me and if He was always kind of upset with me, He didn’t always love me.

This is how I was living my Christian faith. The entire time as I served at my church, as I tithed faithfully, as I prayed in the Spirit, as I talked to others about how God loved them…

I didn’t believe it for myself. I couldn’t accept that God would or could love me. I let past shame, self disappointment and doubt over shadow God’s written Word.

This past week, something clicked. I’ve been working on accepting God’s love for me and working to see Him as the Word describes Him and not what the world says about Him. Not letting MY past or MY actions determine who HE is.

I’ve had to immerse myself in completely opening up to God and letting Him love me. I believe this may be partially the reason he sent us a son who is now 15 months. I have gained a deeper understanding of my relationship with my heavenly Father through the relationship that is building with my son.

God looks at me and smiles and I see it now. He rejoices over me. He wants the best for me. He is on my side. He fights for me, not against me. He is the same God to me that He is for you. Let Him love you.

Zephaniah 3:17
The LORD thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing.

Avonlea

God speaks to me through dreams many times, always has. Probably because it’s the only time my mind is quiet enough to REALLY hear Him, ha.

I’ve had a few distinct dreams over the last year dealing with major life issues (mountains). God has shown me each time that I am the Victor, the winner, but only through Him, only by allowing Him to work through me. I won’t go into all the details but there have been spiritual struggles and dealing with things from my past that I thought I had dealt with when in fact I had just brushed (shoved) it all under the rug. So I have spent the last few years working on how I think. Reprogramming my brain according to His Word, if you will.

Last night, thinking about all of this, the first line of this poem came to me through mishearing some song lyrics. So I wrote it down. I found it funny at first because one of my favorite books/movies is Anne of Green Gables and the continuation of her story Anne of Avonlea. So unless you know those movies, this may not make much sense.

It’s written as a farewell to childhood/young adulthood/depression (the “bosom friend” in the poem) and embracing what it was instead of what I wish it had been. Letting go of the negative but holding on to all the dreams I had of what life should look like because it’s still possible.

Burn it down… God makes beauty from ashes when we relinquish the things that hold us back.

Maybe one day I’ll pick this poem apart and explain what each line means to me. It’s deeper than most would care to know.

GOD STILL HEALS

I don’t even know how to describe my Sunday. I’m laying in bed at 12:30 in the morning trying to process everything.

I’ve never had a day like today. There was heartbreaking news I received first thing this morning that broke my heart for a friend. Then an on time message at church in regards to some other things we are dealing with. A message that confirmed some of God’s promises for our life. Then more heartbreaking news after service. Then an evening service with a special guest minister who spoke something over me that I didn’t understand when he said it. I’ll get back to that in a minute. At the end of service I received healing that I’ve been believing God for, for a very long time. Then once home I found out my Aunt, who I just talked with a few weeks ago, passed on Friday.

The word spoken over me was from Psalm 30:5… weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.

When I heard the news of my aunt, I understood.

I promised God when I re-dedicated my life to Christ that I would always testify of His goodness. I don’t know what else to do right now except that. My aunt is no longer suffering and is healed and whole so I rejoice in that. As for the other heartbreaking news from today I can only trust and believe that God will bring something beautiful out of those situations more than He already has.

As for my healing, I watched my own left leg grow an inch and a half tonight. I was in the presence of God at the altar and a work was done there on a deeper level than I will go into here. But then, at the very end of service, I sat and watched a prophet of God pray for healing in my back as my heels rested in the palms of his hands.

You may have heard me mention before that around age 11 or 12, I had a mishap while cross country skiing where I got my skis crossed and fell hitting my tail bone directly on the spot where the skis were crossed. I truly thought I was paralyzed. I couldn’t move for at least 20 minutes and then forced myself to get up and walk, a very slow walk. I had other injuries after that including a bulged disc and some other issues over the years.

I’ve been to the chiropractor for years to get relief and preventative care. I haven’t been able to go these past few months because even with our new insurance, we haven’t had the money to cover our cost of the visits. I’ve been standing in faith that I’m healed even though in the natural I don’t remember a time I haven’t had some form of back pain going on. I don’t go by what I feel or see though, I go by what I know to be true in God’s Word and tonight that truth manifested.

As I sat back against the chair, straight as I could, when I put my feet in the palms of his hand, my left foot was about an inch and a half shorter. This was no surprise to me because I have not been able to stand flat on both feet without leaning to the right to balance myself out. So as he prayed… I will do my best to describe what I felt… It felt as if hands were wrapped around the bones from my lower back, in my hips, down my legs, to my feet, and pulled every which way to align everything as it should be. I even, not realizing it at first, pulled back against the adjusting and felt the pressure of it pulling me the other way. The work was in progress and there wasn’t anyway I could stop it if I wanted to because I was open to receiving my healing. I saw my left leg, with my own two eyes, grow (realign) an inch and a half. There were witnesses as well. There were others with back problems who were healed in the same way and I watched their legs reallign.

I knew when I stood up and walked, the healing was complete. When I walked across the sanctuary, I stood flat foot without having to lean to one side.

Then, on the way home, as I was talking with God and trying to process everything, I realized I could breath normally. God healed me of asthma tonight and I didn’t even know until I was driving home.

Two things: an obedient man is an instrument of God through which the Holy Spirit can operate. The healing comes from God, not the man, and we have to receive it. Second, the enemy comes to steal, kill and destroy so after healing he may try to bring symptoms back to get you thinking you weren’t really healed. Tell the enemy to shove it and stand on God’s promise of healing.

I still don’t know how to describe my overall day. There’s much in the details (outside of my healing) I’m choosing not to share and half of it isn’t mine to share anyways.

Pray for me and my family. My Aunt meant a lot to me.

Regardless of this up and down day, God is still good and the same today as He was yesterday and I can depend on Him tomorrow as well.

40 YEARS OF EXPERIENCE

I turned 40 today.

Know what I’m doing for my birthday? Laundry. I’m doing laundry.

I woke up like every other morning, thanked God for the day, gave our almost 1 year old son a bottle and snuggles, changed a dirty diaper and then stumbled into the kitchen to start breakfast.

After my breakfast of eggs and bacon and my son’s of egg and waffle, I put a load of towels in the washer and finished off the store bought banana pudding in the fridge. I have no plans to do anything special today. I don’t even plan to take a shower and get dressed. I have plans to finish laundry and get some cleaning done today. That’s my 40.

I remember turning 30 and thinking, “Well, this isn’t so bad,” and then a few days later my body started aching and hurting in ways it never had. The good thing about 40 is I feel the same today as I did yesterday.

I set a goal when I turned 37 to be in the best possible physical health by the time I was 40. I’m not exactly where I want to be, but at 37, that plan did not involve becoming pregnant at 38, giving birth at 39 and spending the past year not sleeping taking care of our son. He turns one in a couple weeks on the 24th. Me, my husband and our son all have February birthdays so this is, and will always be going forward, a celebratory month.

As a little girl, I had this dream that when I grow up I was going to be married, live in a 3 story house (blue with white shutters), white picket fenced in yard, the greenest grass one has ever seen, a white dog house with shingle roof and a big happy dog, two kids – twins – a boy and a girl named Alexander and Alexandria, the sun would always shine and a light breeze constantly blowing across the yard moving the tire swing ever so gently that hung from the single giant shade tree in the yard. I may be living in alternate universe now but some of those things came true in their own way…

In my teens, 40 seemed really old to me. For that matter, 21 seemed YEARS away. In my late teens and early 20’s however, the way my life was going, I never thought much of 40 because I honestly didn’t know if I would make it that far. My life was a mess and I had a hard time seeing past the end of my nose let alone what was in my future.

I was 28 when I rededicated my life to Christ and then later that year got married. There’s been a lot of work put in these past 12 years to get where I am mentally and spiritually. I have two college degrees (Bachelors in Science and Associates in Theology) and I’m a licensed insurance agent. I had accomplished things in my professional career by the time I was 35 that most aim to accomplish by retirement.

I was told in my early 20’s that I could, more than likely, never have kids. Well, ha! At 38, fresh out of work because the company I was Vice President of closed unexpectedly, I found myself pregnant. I did the math. Pregnant while I’m 38, give birth at 39 and have an almost 1 year old at 40.

I see how God carefully orchestrated all of this now. He knows me so well. At age 38 I had already had my career and accomplished much. I knew a big change was coming and could feel it in my spirit, but no clue just how much and what kind of change. I never thought I would switch gears to stay at home and take care of our son. My husband never thought he would be the sole provider financially in our household. The last three years have turned our lives upside down and inside out.

I was leaning towards switching careers at the time. I was wanting to pursue my life long dream of becoming a published author but I had no clue how to do that. Bills loomed and time was short. We thought I would go back to work once our son was born but one look at his face and I knew I could not entrust his care and the majority of his raising to a daycare facility. So, we put our faith in God.

This past year has been extremely financially difficult. Three different times they were coming to take our cars. But God. Many bills have gone unpaid and to debt collectors, but we are still believing God. We live in the same small (like 700 square feet), 2 bedroom house (where one bedroom is storage because there is no room for the stuff any where else) we were hoping to be out of years ago and have had to get very creative as to how to raise a baby, now almost a toddler, in such tight spaces. But God. There were days I had two notches of gas in the tank and no income soon enough to put any more gas in there. But God. Our son had digestive issues and required formula that costs $40 a can and going thru 2 to 2.5 cans a week. But God. There were days I opened the refrigerator door and there were pretty much just condiments hanging out in there. But God. Somehow, even without me working, we owed on taxes last year. But God. We used up every bit of savings and retirement to our name to survive the past year and a half. But God. Every day it has taken faith. Every day it has taken trusting God. Every day. Every minute. Every second.

Health wise it’s been difficult. Two different times for long lengths of time, my lower back went out to the point I found myself stuck in the floor, one time unable to move, with a 5 month old to care for (my husband was out of town at the time). I was dealing with bronchitis for a couple of months after an upper respiratory infection, healing from another one right now. Sleeping patterns have been all over the place with a colicky newborn with reflux issues. Almost a year and we finally get full nights of sleep on most nights.

We still aren’t completely back on our feet but getting there. God always provides. He always makes a way. Although, I did have many dark moments over the past year. I had many candid conversations with God because I had a hard time understanding how he could send a child into our lives and everything else seemed to fall apart. I was tired and pushed further than I ever thought I could be pushed. There were days the only thing that got me out of bed was my responsibilities as a new mother. I had no idea what I was doing other than putting one foot in front of the other. Some days are still just that.

We never shared openly, specifically, how difficult things had become and I’m debating right now as I type this if it’s too soon to be sharing now. I don’t believe so though. I believe someone needs some encouragement. I look back over the past two years and see how God provided and how our situation actually strengthened our faith and trust in Him. It has by no means been an easy road to walk but there is a purpose in it.

We are in the beginning stages of establishing a ministry God put on our hearts years ago. In this, we MUST rely on Him 100%, no wavering. These past couple of years have conditioned us to do just that. What satan meant for harm, God made good on. Those times when the refrigerator was empty, someone would buy us groceries not knowing how empty it was. The times the gas gauge was bouncing on “E” when we hit the church parking lot, someone would put a gas gift card in our hand after service. It was what got us home from church on more than one occasion. Our son has never went without his formula, or clothes that fit, or wipes to clean him or diapers to keep him dry, or toys to help him learn. We haven’t gone without. Because God.

This is nothing like I imagined my life at 40 to be like but I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I am nothing without God. I am nothing without Jesus. I don’t know if I have cried more this year in frustration at our situation or in the times when God showed up and showed out.

He put a Word in my heart at the end of 2018 that the best is yet to come. I don’t doubt. We have a lot of kingdom work ahead of us to care for the ministry that He has entrusted to us. I don’t believe I will ever go back to my previous career or a regular 9-5 job. I know I’m called to be the best mother I can to our son and raise him in the way he should go. We plan to homeschool as well. The ministry is a big undertaking and I am still whittling away on my first full book and pursuing that dream which will come to pass.

I’ve heard it said by a believer I respect that you should always be talking about 3 things, not necessarily with these exact words: what you’ve accomplished, what you are working on accomplishing, what you are going to accomplish.

I’ve accomplished quite a bit in my short 40 years here on earth. I’ve overcome sexual abuse and addictions, I’ve obtained two degrees, landed the best husband I could ever ask for, I’ve won design awards, survived losing my dad, worked my way up to Vice-President of a company, I’ve published four Bible workbooks and a poetry collection, I’ve birthed the most beautiful baby boy. I’ve kept my faith.

I’m working on finishing a 365 day devotional as well as my first book based on my life testimony and we are working on establishing our Unreachables ministry to reach a niche of people who are overlooked and let them know they are loved too.

Finally, what do I hope to accomplish? I have a new short term goal of being in the best possible health by my next birthday. I plan to finish up the book and start on the next along with publishing the devotional. We hope to be traveling for ministry with speaking engagements in a few years. We are believing to be in a spacious house for our son to grow up in and a fenced in yard so he can get a dog, soon. We plan to be debt free and financially able to sow into more ministries that we are in agreement with to help further the kingdom of God. Those are just a few things.

So, 40. Let’s do this. The best is yet to come.

 

Philippians 4:19

But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

FEBRUARY CHALLENGE

Around eight or nine years ago, my husband and I ditched cable.

When we first cancelled the cable, we went a few months without internet as well. We had just moved into our place and were in a financial situation where that money was best spent elsewhere.

It was strange to not have the television on in the background constantly when we were home. It was quiet. We weren’t sure what to do – stare at each other? Have lengthy conversations? It honestly took a couple of months to get used to it.

After five or six months, we had the internet turned on and subscribed to Netflix. We now have Netflix, Hulu, Amazone Prime and all the internet has to offer. We can pretty much watch what we want, when we want.

I realized something as we incorporated this type of entertainment back into our lives. We had to choose what to watch. There wasn’t just this big screen playing whatever was on the channel it was last turned to. We had to actively choose what to watch. I started to think about the things I put before my eyes. I felt conviction (not condemnation) over shows that I had watched for years and the type of images and information that I was absorbing through them. I started to question if I really needed to be watching certain things.

I would be sitting in a waiting room at the doctor or the dentist office and I couldn’t believe the things that were being discussed on TV during hours that young children would be playing in their living rooms as moms and dads went on about their day. I was shocked. I was appalled. I was saddened. This is the garbage I had been feeding on for so many years? How did I not see it before? How was I not aware?

DESENSITIZATION. 

That’s how. I had become used to it. It had become common to me. It wasn’t until I went without seeing and hearing those things on a regular basis that I realized what I was really feeding on.

Now, we have an almost one year old and since he was born, I have become hyper aware of what is on our television when he is in the room or what is on the radio in the car. I’ve taken to pretty much only listening to the Christian radio station so that is not an issue so much. What about that 20 minutes in a doctor’s waiting room where a daily talk show is on and they are speaking of things way too mature for his ears and eyes? In all honesty, from the few things I have seen in waiting rooms or Facebook videos of clips from current talk shows, they discuss things that really shouldn’t be in front of my eyes or in my ears either.

There are even cartoons that I will turn off because of imagery or words that I don’t find appropriate for him. He’s not sitting in front of a screen 24/7 by any means but the time we do allow for a cartoon, we (me and my husband) are responsible for what he sees and hears. I grew up on Sesame Street and was shocked to see a few skits where they pulled politics in. Really? Does a child within the age range of who would watch such a show need to be introduced to politics even if it is done with humor?

We want to raise our child to be a light wherever he goes. We want him to choose to see the good in people. We want him to make a difference in this world. These are his formative years and we are responsible for what he sees and hears. He will eventually know and see the harsh realities of the world. Our prayer and hope is that he sees them through the light of the Word.

As grown adults, we are also responsible for what we see and hear and more importantly how we react to it. Most of us mindlessly scroll through Facebook the way we used to flip through channels. Since I’ve been thinking about this, I’ve taken notice of a lot of negativity. Memes that are meant to be funny but in now way enrich my life. People who are constantly posting negative, derogatory words.

Proverbs 18:21 (KJV) tells us Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.

If we take this as seriously as we should, we would see these things that seem silly really do affect our thoughts which is where life and death begin. What we think we speak and what we speak we reap.

Proverbs 23:7 (KJV) For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: Eat and drink, saith he to thee; but his heart is not with thee.

Luke 6:45 (KJV) A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.

 

I challenge you, for the month of February, turn the television off. Listen to music or messages that are edifying, uplifting, empowering. No main stream music. No television, not even your favorite shows.  No social media (Facebook/Instagram/etc). Give it 28 days, not even a full 30, just 28 days and then see what you think when you go back to those things. If you don’t think you can handle 28 days, give it one week. Even a full seven days will show you the negativity you feed on when you go back to it.

Detox your mind from the world and its influence. Renew your mind as Romans 12:2 says. People say they feel far from God but it’s because they are closer to the world and not willing to get away from it for a length of time to allow Him in.

Romans 12:2 (KJV) And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Get blessed.