Follow by Email

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Part 1 of Taking Your Positon: The Art of Sinning

Monday, January 14, 2013


1/14/13

Take Your Position (Part 1)
The Art of Sinning

My (at the time) 4 year old daughter received a beautiful Bible for Christmas. I had promised her when she began reading we would get her a “big girl” Bible. She was so thrilled to open her purple “leather” Bible that had her named engraved in silvery letter on front. Now we are committed to help the little ones "hide the Word in their hearts..."
I was reading to her Genesis Chapter 4 and it was discussing the offerings both Cain and Abel brought, and the Lord’s response to them. Genesis 4:6-7 says, “6 Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why are you looking so sad? 7 Do what is right. Then you will be accepted. If you don’t do what is right, sin is waiting at your door to grab you. It longs to have you. But you must rule over it.”
Such a simple and straightforward way the Lord spoke to Cain. He addressed Cain’s anger, his sadness and told him how to be accepted and told him also a warning of what would happen if he continued to allow his burning anger, jealousy etc to reign. We are not under the old covenant of law because Jesus, The Lamb of God offered Himself. Praise God! But sin is still something we must overcome.
Romans Chapter 6 goes into wonderful detail about being slave to sin or a slave to righteousness that leads to holiness. A meaty chunk in Romans 6 says this, “12Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its lusts, 13and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. 14For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace. 15 What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? May it never be! 16 Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness? 17 But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed, 18 and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness. 19 I am speaking in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness, resulting in further lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness, resulting in sanctification.  20 For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. 21 Therefore what benefit were you then deriving from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the outcome of those things is death.
I want to focus in on verse 17 But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed. The apostles taught, people received and the Spirit transformed. I have heard some wonderful teaching on having something legally and having something experientially. Those who confess Jesus is Lord, believing in Him, His work at the cross, and His death and resurrection, have a legal standing before the Lord. They no more belong to the devil and they inherit eternal life. There are promises in the Lord that are ours legally, but have we taken hold of them experientially, by obedience?

Legally- adj. Of, relating to, or concerned with law. Experientially- adj. Relating to or derived from experience.
In short to walk experientially is to walk in the promises, to experience the promises. Our legal standing will never be taken from us. There was a legal agreement made between you and God because of our mediator Jesus’s blood signed our covenant; our names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life; it is our legal position. However, it is possible to never take hold of promises of the Lord because of our walks. This is often times a confusion point for grace versus works. We are saved by grace alone; there is NOTHING we can do to earn it. But there is now a journey for us as Christians. Attaining a life that the Bible speaks of is something we walk. Where is our experiential position in the Lord? How does this echo in eternity?
We must know and understand we live in a spiritual world, with a very real and spiritual enemy. Satan hates us; he knows he can’t have your salvation but what he then goes after is your inheritance of promises; both in this life and for eternity. If he can trap you, paralyze you, blind you with anger, bitterness, lust, jealousy, pride, addictions etc then he knows you will not live a fruitful life in the Lord while on this earth. You will have minimal impact in the Kingdom, and he knows when you come before the Judgment Seat of Christ (not the White Throne Judgment) when we are rewarded according to your works while on the earth that we will fall short of what we could have had.
2 Corinthians 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.
Matthew 16:27 For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.
Practicing sin is very different than sinning. As we walk in the Lord, we WILL sin. We will lose our tempers, we will have bad thoughts, we may be jealous, manipulate others, victimizing ourselves, struggle with a hidden or secret sin. But if our response when we do sin is acknowledging it as sin and asking the Lord for forgiveness as changing our choices, even if we slip several times God sees our heart attitudes and works with us in it; disciplining us and refining us and we will have areas of sin we have truly overcome experientially!
It’s so clear to understand the natural effect of practicing something; eating right, exercising, studying, a sport, a hobby etc. We all know the saying, “practice makes perfect”. Now let’s apply that to sin.
Practicing something means you aim to get better at it. The practicing of sin can be the honing in of skills like cutting people with your tongue, manipulating others to get your way, lying, cheating, boasting, even fear by not taking your thoughts captive and making them subject to Christ. But it’s never dealing with the sin; it is instead making it stronger by practicing it., making excuses for it, blaming others for it; whatever the tactic it's never dealt head on with.  Just as a muscle gets bigger and stronger so will what you practice. If you practice righteousness, you will overcome. If you practice sin, it will overtake and imbalance your life and you will find yourself not living a victorious life of the promises of God, but instead a life of frustration, failure, broken relationships and repeating cycles.
As God continues to illuminate those areas, point His finger on something  what do we do with it? We can see our own cycles by the same "problem" but with new people or new circumstances. Do we cry and complain to God how hard it is, how He doesn’t understand? Bargaining with Him; if He would give us “so and so” we would then do “such and such”? Or do we yield and even if it hurts, is difficult or we don’t understand, we still obey?
That is a life of overcoming! The rewards are not only for this lifetime. They echo in eternity. I will discuss that more in the next article but I want to encourage today the life on this earth. We as Christians are an example whether we want to be or not, or think we are or not. We are examples of who God is, we are to be His lights for others, we are to point to Him. Today if you would get before the Lord in a time of silence would you examine your hearts and allow God to speak to you?
To glorify God means to correctly represent Him to the world. We will all continue to sin and fall but to humble ourselves and confess our sin and allow change in our hearts we will glorify God. It’s a continuing journey. Are you walking forward or are you standing in opposition to God, refusing to yield your life? Simply stating the promises of God will not produce the fruit, but the walking in obedience. Simply stating your "legal" stance is not enough, faith without works is dead. Walk it out experientially. Overcome.
Lord, we need you. We thank You for the work that You have already done at the cross so that we can walk in the promises. Help us today Lord to be broken before you, if there is any area in our lives of “practicing sin”, please reveal it to us. Lord we desire to correctly represent You to this world and to others in the Body of Christ. Give us an understanding of overcoming and the promises we can have in this life and in eternity. In Jesus name, Amen.

Friday, March 18, 2016

TORNADO CATEGORY 5



June 25, 2015

Tornado Category F5. I am always so impacted by families searching through the debris after such a disastrous storm, trying to find something recognizable and salvaged in the splinters that were once their homes and lives; their normal. I always think of daunting the task would be. Where do they even start? Will it ever be cleaned up? Will this place they once called home be home again, with backyard picnics, Christmas mornings and family dinners. As they rummage through piles they might find a family heirloom, maybe just a picture they had, a stuffed animal, but its something. They hold it dearly as a treasure.

This week I have been praying and I feel the Lord gave me this picture. In seasons of our lives we have storms, crazy storms that we all learn to weather. But every once in awhile we are caught off guard by the category F5. It can tear through our lives and devastate in such a way that there are causalities and hopelessness. In the midst of the storm the focus and thoughts are only basic survival. But when the storm subsides the focus turns to the aftermath; the cleanup and rebuilding. Where do you begin to pick up the pieces and rebuild?

My heart was heavy as I thought about this and I imagine so many F5s that have wreaked complete havoc on marriages, relationships, business ventures that seem to have ended in broken dreams and complete loss. But as I saw this image in my mind playing out while praying, I saw the beauty in searching and finding the treasure amongst all the broken debris. Maybe the little treasure is a memory of why you fell in love with the person you now seem to not be able to stand. Maybe the treasure is a promise of God you have for a child you have no earthly reason to believe will turn around, maybe its the treasure of a dream and talent you had, a passion. Maybe it's the strength for yourself to still breath, still smile after a loss of a loved one
, or your child's smile if they have lost. Even if all has seemingly been lost, find and search out the treasures in the wreckage. Allow God the time to heal. Yes the cleanup requires work and is exhausting and costly; its timely and requires a different perseverance than what was happening in the midst of the storm. It has to move from basic survival mentality to restoration mentality.

If you have been with a F5 that has devastated, look for the treasures in the mess, remember "why", and roll your sleeves up to be ready to rebuild, putting God in the center to guide, bring peace and comfort. He will often times bring those "clean-up volunteers" alongside of us to shoulder the pain, the work, the mess. I thank God for those helpers who have shouldered with me; in prayer, service, laughs and tears.

Friday, March 4, 2016

JAGGED LITTLE ROCK

December 18, 2011
Last night I woke up in the middle of the night and couldn't go back to sleep. Over the years I have learned that there is something special to this as it is a time to be quiet before the Lord. I have purposed my sleepless nights won’t be in vain, so instead I pray, read my Bible, worship until I can fall back asleep. When I am awake at night by myself I always remember Psalm 134:

 1Praise the Lord, all you servants of the Lord
who minister by night in the house of the Lord.
2Lift up your hands in the sanctuary
and praise the Lord.
3May the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth,
bless you from Zion

I am reminded that I can serve as a minister even in the night, unto the Lord. I have found myself very often woken and praying in the Spirit or in intercession for another. I will lift my hands in the middle of the night and praise my Lord. It’s in these times I hear more clearly from the Lord.

My prayer times often goes like this: Praise and wonderment about His good works, pleading with Him to allow me to hear Him, confessing my sins and even the things I am not sure of, praising Him.  I ask Him to make in me a clean heart and to expose my own motives to me, to show me my errors. I pray for others as they are laid upon my heart. I ask for correction for myself, I ask for discipline. For over the years I haven’t just learned to KNOW His truths but to LOVE them…even the hard ones. I realize it does me no good to pretend to myself or become stiff-necked. It’s far easier to just accept correction.

So last night I am asking, “Lord what are you doing w/me?” I then see a jagged rock, a little jagged rock. It has sharp edges. I ask the Lord, kind of sad with what I am seeing…”Is this me Lord?” Then I see that same rock in a river with flowing waters. As I watch I see this jagged rock flowing with the river, bumping and knocking into other jagged rocks. As time goes on and this rock keeps flowing with the river, the rock begins to take on a different form. Its sharp edges get knocked off, it becomes smoother and round.

I was impressed with the understanding that this rock needed two things for it to change. One, it had to have the flow of the water, and two it had to have the other rocks crashing into it, bumping it around for the rock to change.

Then my eye caught the sight of  other rocks; they weren’t getting crashed into or bumped around or flowing in the river. These rocks had settled into a pool of nonliving water, like a bayou or swamp. A bayou branches off the main river and it is boggy and stagnant, with such little flowing water that it seems to be standing still. The rocks in that bayou were comfortable but coated with mossy slime. The bayou rocks were not in danger of crashing into others, they weren’t being displaced. I asked the Lord about this. I understood that in our Christian walk we are being transformed more and more into the image of Christ. The flow of the Spirit is a never ending flow. But being in that flow is painful, it’s messy, its unsure at times. But that is the way the jagged edges are taken off the rock. It must be in the flow and it must be bumping into other rocks. This is how God chooses to change us.

But the rocks in the swampy waters were nice and settled. They had gone through enough tumbling in river they had once been flowing in. But somewhere along the flow they got off and settled into comfort. They know what they know... what they know…they have settled that. And although once flowing in the fresh waters they no longer seek the ongoing flowing truths of the Lord (I am not talking about initial salvation here, for in that we are to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling…to be sure we know). They won’t budge. Perhaps they believe they know all they need to as if they have arrived at the complete understanding of the Gospel. Or maybe they think since they don’t understand it, it must not be God. These slimy rocks miss out of the fresh word of the Lord. They miss out on the move of the Lord because they don’t recognize the flow of the Spirit. They speak of the moves of the Lord in past tense and wish for the good ole days.

I have heard time and time again, these same rocks speak that God is going to do a “new thing”. Yet they themselves never receive it because they judge that the new thing as an “added” thing because it doesn’t fit into their dusty old teachings, rather than understand the “new” thing is an opening of the eyes of the plan of the Lord, that was established from the beginning of His time, that we were once blind to. For it has its appointed time. It’s not the adding to scripture but the unveiling of it.

There were always forerunners for these moves. They were “out of season”. In hindsight we can look back and note moves of the Lord through Martin Luther, the Pentecostal movement, the charismatic moves. But in their time the bayou rocks spoke against it. The rocks were used still in the place they settled. They spoke the truths of the Lord. God used their gifts and allowed them to stay where they wanted. But the sad thing is for as much as they recite with their mouths the words of Philippians 3:12 Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. Their hearts are far from that.

There is a new move of God on the horizon; there is always more to learn, to hear what the Spirit is saying. We have a choice. We can get into the river, knowing full well we are not going to control the flow of the river and also knowing that we are going to be shaped by the smoothing effects of the bumping and crunching of others. God knowing the process is painful yet asking us to trust Him. Or we can settle into our little bayou; feeling confident of not “getting hurt”, preaching the truths of the Lord, He revealed in the time we once were in the flow. His truths are absolute. But in that place of security comes the risk of missing out on the fresh water flow.

I thanked the Lord for putting me in the river, for showing me He is refining me. I thank the Lord He asks me to let Him be in control, knowing that I am in unfamiliar territory and am going to get bumped around. However, as this happens, as long as I don’t decide I have had enough or think I have arrived and don’t get off in the stagnant water of the bayou, I can trust that I will have the eyes to see and the ears to hear what the Spirit is saying. I thank the Lord for carrying me in that river and for showing me that He cares about this little jagged rock.

Brothers and sisters if this speaks to your heart, be encouraged to know the Lord is all about refining you. It’s not a clean cut formation; rather it takes time and the experiences in this life that give room for correct response and most importantly the flow of the river. It’s the laying down of control and the idea of jumping into a comfortable little bayou; out of the raging waters of the river. Sometimes those waters are more calm, but then there are times that they are like flood waters. Or if you feel the Spirit is prompting you and telling you to come back into the flow of the Spirit, don’t delay. That bayou may have been “safe” and with a comfortable certainty but dear friends it’s a settling. The Lord is calling you out today. That is His invitation. Jump in, don’t simply put your feet in, or get in waist high. Get in and submerge yourself fully. I pray this blesses.



Saturday, August 22, 2015

The Christian Walk of Fear and of Faith


Happy Birthday to my dear youngest son, Benjamin Eli; "the son of my right hand"; a promise and one of the greatest tests of my faith in trusting in God....no matter what.


(Benjamin's adventures)


 The Bible says in  Hebrews 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

 After a very painful, back labor filled, 22 hour homebirth of my daughter Annabella, who weighed in at 10lbs I was nervous to go it again 17 months later, without being in a hospital with pain meds. Mid-way in my pregnancy I felt the Holy Spirit direct me to do just that and yet came with this instruction a very somber feeling of something bad going to happen. I sought the Lord daily for comfort, a word, a reassurance. I didn't get any of that. Just a simple instruction that I was to have this baby at home and each time the same daunting feeling swept over me. We had not really settled on a name but what was in my heart was Benjamin Elijah, named after the Bible heroes of faith. Yet, I wouldn't dare tell anyone this or even allow myself to name him that because Benjamin's mother Rachel had died during child birth and with the impending doom feeling I had it was like I was speaking a self-fulfilling prophecy. So we called him Harlen West while I was pregnant :-)
(one month before he was born was already 8lbs)


 The weeks carried on and with it the secret I held in my heart was something bad would happen. Why, Lord? Why are You asking me to have this child at home when something is going to occur? Why are you asking me to put my child's life or my life on the line when I am the mother of 4 other children that need their mommy? I pleaded and asked for answers, a promise, but none was given. A few months before delivery I began writing "good-bye" letters to my other children, husband and family. They were written with tears pouring out of my eyes, my heart wrenched. I knew I would not disobey God....no matter what, and that in my mind meant possibly to death. He wasn't answering my "whys", no promise of good outcome, but the simple command to have this baby at home. One night as I was writing the Holy Spirit very loudly said, "stop writing those." I tried to argue and explain how cruel it would be to leave my family with no words. But the simple answer was "no".

 As I cried out that night I was reminded of several things

1.) God's ways are not our ways, His thoughts are high above.   (Isaiah 55:8)

2.) It is impossible to please God without faith. (Hebrews 6:11)

3.) 2 times in the Bible did God miraculously part the waters for the children of Israel to go through. The first was with the Red Sea. Pharaoh and his army was after them and Moses instructed to lift his staff. The waters parted! They walked through on dry ground. They had no where else to go, they were afraid and cried to Moses and God delivered them and took care of their enemy, when they saw this they "feared the Lord and put their trust in Him and Moses, His servant. " The second time was much different. They had been through testing, trials, discipline, many miracles and after 40 years finally going to enter the Promised Land. But this time they were given instructions. The ark of the covenant, carried by the priests were to go through the camp and go before them. A measure of 2000 cubits was to divide them from the Ark. This time no Moses, no raising of the staff and going performing a miracle BEFORE they had to act in faith. No, this time the priests had to put their feet into the raging waters of the overflowing waters while carrying the ark. It was AFTER this act that God parted the waters and dry land appeared, as the priests stood in the midst of the Jordan they all passed through in safety.

 As we grow in our walk and ask God to use us, to be glorified in our lives our walks of faith and acts of obedience according to faith should grow too. So that night I felt assured that no matter what, God is the King of kings, the Lord of lords, that He had a plan for my life and if that was to die in obedience than so be it. I had peace that surpassed all understanding and that didn't mean I lacked fear, it just meant that despite the circumstances I trusted in God.  I settled it that night. I still didn't have my answers as to what was going to happen, He wasn't parting the Red sea for me, but instead I was having to dip my feet in the Jordan River, but HE would go before me. As we walk closer to the Lord He stretches our faith, He may remove the awareness of His presence, stop giving us abundant confirmations around every corner. He may not "close the door" we are forcing open and instead allow us to flounder and struggle. What will we do? God allows us to see our response to Him. He allows us to see our faith. I still stole glances and gave lots of kisses and spent special time and made sure my family knew I loved them. I laughed and cuddled and prayed.

 My due date came and went, now realizing this baby was HUGE. So huge my nerves were compressed and my leg would go out. I was in pain, I was having labor that would last days and then suddenly stop. I was exhausted and all the while I had this little baby that never...I mean ever...stopped moving and flipping. Going breech even up to a week before he was born. One morning I awoke early to feel different. Today was going to be the day. I woke Dhyan up early to go steal away and have breakfast with me and Annabella. I ate breakfast fully in labor without telling Dhyan, until I got to the point where the contractions were taking my breath away and I couldn't talk anymore. I finally told him, "Ok I am in labor".


(Due date, 40 weeks...no baby)

 On the way home the rain was falling gently, it was a "cooler" morning. Starting to get excited we called the midwife and she was already at another birth! That wasn't suppose to happen. I didn't even care, I would have this baby no matter what.

 Fast forward through all the laboring details, my wonderful sister in law, who is a doula was attending to me, as well as my husband. The midwife came just in time for pushing; it was time for delivery. Baby came out textbook, his head was faced down and perfect....then he flipped. He completely turned while his head was delivered to a complete posterior position. I could not deliver him. I pushed, I was pulled out of the water. The clock was ticking as the entire mood of the room changed. This was serious. Double shoulder dystocia. I yelled to everyone to start praying. The pain was immeasurable as I felt like my back was breaking. My midwife did so much of her training in Belize with high risk pregnancy and no doctors. In her training she had come across dystocia and began doing the "regularly taught" methods, but her mentor stopped her and told her that doesn't help and can cause damage. She showed her how to safely deliver the shoulders by folding the baby like a taco and pulling out. I liken that pain to a medieval torture chamber, getting pulled apart or something quite dramatic! Just under 5 minutes had passed with the baby a lack of oxygen. His cord was wrapped around his neck and had been compressed in the birth canal. He was purple. He didn't cry but as he was laid on my chest I knew everything was ok. Everyone else wasn't so sure, but I knew God's peace. He finally curled his little lower lip down and cried. It was the most precious, beautiful cry ever.

 10 pound 8 ounces, 22 1/2 inches long! Let me say that again, 10 and half pounds of almost 2 feet long baby!! He was the size of a toddler (well practically)! His birth was a miracle. It was especially a miracle because he suffered no nerve damage. In cases like this in a hospital the outcome is usually very different. It is the fear of doctors and midwives, its a medical emergency. Often times involves resuscitation, NICU stay, episiotomy, broken clavicles on baby, nerve damage, blood loss for mom, and even death.


(miracle)

 The drama was over and baby was ok. NOW the enemy of my soul was on overtime. Baby was not named Harlen but I couldn't bring myself to name him yet. "Benjamin" brought with it fear of me dying. The baby was ok but I was pretty weak, lost blood, in pain and felt "off". Still I was silent. I would wake up at night and my heart was beating so slowly which scared me because I have a resting heart rate of 80, it was instead 40. I didn't tell anyone, not even my husband as I wasn't emotionally prepared to explain to him the last few months of my faith walk. On the 3rd day the midwife came to check me and baby out again and told me, "Okay I have to send the paperwork in...we need a name." My husband and I looked at each other and I said, "Benjamin Eli Hatton". I wrote it down and fell asleep for a nap.

 I woke from my nap trembling. I was shaking so hard I was moving the bed. I felt so sick and feverish. I thought to myself I have mastitis. I crawled out of bed and left to the urgent care to get antibiotics. I went alone since the "swine flu" was going around and I didn't want the baby to exposed. The drive felt forever as I was so sick, I check in and they did my vitals. They were alarming. My resting heart rate was 160, my blood pressure was very low, I had a fever and couldn't stop shaking. Even in my heart I knew it was mastitis but in my silent time in the waiting room...often times I see those the "waiting room of life", I had time to think the "what ifs".

 What if I die now. I did name him Ben. The enemy was on overtime. "You're going to die, you see." As I am given an emergency blanket the doctor comes in and says, "We are arranging transport by ambulance to the ER....you know, because back in the day women would die like this, having babies at home...then leaves the room." ARE YOU KIDDING ME?? My sister appears from nowhere (she had heard I was down there by myself). I saw her and began to cry. We prayed and I was transported. Funny a man I used to work with in the ER was the paramedic and was very comforting. I told the docs I what I thought and eventually it was ruled to be mastitis.


(one week old next to his friend who was born 2 days after him)

 The battle against fear didn't end there though. It clung itself to me for years like a dark cloak that smothered me. Normal circumstances of regular sicknesses and bumps/bruises were anxiety inducing. Benjamin seemed to find himself in situations NONE of my other children ever had.  At 6 weeks old he began projectile vomiting daily...every single day until he was 8 months old, had to Xray and see why his chest was sunken in. At 8 weeks old he got the dreaded swine flu; so so sick. By the time he was 2 he had broken his arm, been electrocuted with an exit burn right under his heart, got stuck in a shopping cart and had to be cut out, near drowned in swim lesson, RSV, terrible bronchitis and croup were part of any simple cold. By the time he was 3 he was climbing and flipping and everywhere and fell on his head and cracked a tooth that needed a cap. It seemed if it could happen, it would happen with him. The fear in simply Ben existing and all the "what ifs" of impending injuries and illnesses were wrought with strangling fear. I would like to say God miraculously delivered me overnight and I don't struggle. But that's not how God chose to do that. Instead He has walked with me in the valley of shadow of death, holding me, refocusing me, teaching me to battle. I have not completely overcome but I can say I am an overcomer. Its not come through God parting the red sea but instead making me dip my feet in the raging waters. Fear does not control me.


(Ben found a piece of pipe and wanted to give it to his older sister as a ring)




 Happy Birthday to the sweetest, most grateful, kindhearted, giving boy I know. Thank you for being a warrior who fights for and enjoys life to the fullest. Thanks be to God who has written our stories and gives us opportunity to walk in faith.



(my warrior)

Thursday, January 1, 2015

"Don't be Chicken" January 1, 2015




January 1, 2015
2010-2014 have been very trying years in so many ways. Of course all years are filled with the good, the bad and the ugly, but if it weren't for the peace of God amongst the trials and “valleys of death”, I would lose hope. Toward the end of this year the Holy Spirit began heavily reminding me to be like an eagle and not a chicken. Chickens are earthbound, scratching and pecking always looking at the ground; not able to fly, their only perspective is from the ground.  They follow each other without even looking where the first one running is going, they just follow the commotion. When a storm comes they naturally run for cover in a confused frenzy.  Eagles, on the other hand, are heavenly bound and soar high. They see far beyond what is in front of them. They are usually solitary birds (yet can recognize his own, another eagle, soaring up to 50 miles away) and don’t follow any “flock” waiting for other birds to direct them. The same storm that leaves a chicken running for cover is used to the advantage of the eagle. They use the strong winds to lift them even higher, sometimes even above the low-lying storm clouds. As I watch my beloved chickens pecking at the ground I realize how much time they spend looking down, pecking around in a confined backyard. I don’t want to be a chicken. I know the things the Holy Spirit has revealed to me require that I have eagle eyes and to not focus in on my earthbound problems; seeing in the spiritual instead of natural, being eternal minded instead temporal. Instead I pray to be an eagle, not confined to seeing what is simply in front of, not hiding when the storm comes, but rather soaring in the storm. 

That is easier said than done. As the storms come in and rock my world and cause all sorts of doubt, emotions and the enemy seems to be taking territory it is hard to stand in that battle without running to retreat; crippled in fear. So as I go into another year of spiritual battle I can look and see the training. The difficulties, trials and flat out attacks that were meant by the enemy to crush, paralyze, steal, kill and destroy instead become the strength training tools. I  become more and more comfortable with my weapon and armor. I become wiser to how the enemy fights; his plans and schemes, I become more aware that I am no longer a soldier in boot camp training but rather a soldier who has done a few tours. I know what spiritual war looks like, I know to a fuller understanding now the prophetic word given to me decades ago from of having a forehead of flint (Ezekiel); a face set like flint (Isaiah). As I continually remind myself of what command the Lord has given, I am in a constant fight with myself to be spirit-led instead of leading myself from a place of emotion, seen circumstances or outcomes I expected to be different. A soldier of Christ therefore wars from the heavenly realm, because he/she has spiritual vision. Often times this sort of life is misunderstood, certainly by the world, but also by many of their brothers and sisters in Christ. This is the natural and narrowing walk as we draw closer and closer to Him.

2 Timothy 2:3 You therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. 4 No man that wars entangles himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who has chosen him to be a soldier.

There are many pictures and examples of these people in the Bible. They are known as the “remnant, overcomers, the 100 fold, Zion, the Man-child, Sons of Zadok, Holy of holies company,  first-fruits, Gideon’s 300, Elijah company, “those that come out of her”, etc. Each example is a Bible teaching in itself and foreshadows the small and faithful, uncompromising from each generation. These aren't super saints, self proclaimed "elitists", or big name preachers. These are common people, from all walks of life who simply love the Lord with all their heart, soul and mind. They hear the Lord's voice and respond.

The other picture the Holy Spirit has given me continually since 2008 is of Places of Refuge and Lighthouses. That, in this time, the Lord is making these simultaneously. As His hand of favor, protection and blessing is being lifted and judgment begins that He has a remnant that He will use as places of refuge or Lighthouses. I looked into the history of lighthouses and found two very compelling things that from a secular wording stood out as spiritually highlighted.  Lighthouses serve two purposes: they warn from danger and they bring into safety. Their light and their siren warn of impending danger. 

“They serve to warn the sailor of dangerous reefs beneath the sea or perilous rocky coasts on land, and to guide ships into a safe harbor or back out to sea. So the message of the lighthouse might be – STAY AWAY, DANGER, BEWARE, or COME THIS WAY. Every lighthouse tells the mariner, "This is exactly where you are"….Fog bells were used as well as steam whistles and reed trumpets and sirens. The sounds they gave out were generally low pitched and very mournful - almost like a wail.” (http://www.nps.gov)

I cannot help but hear the prophetic voice in the nature of the lighthouse. The mournful cry of impending danger has been heard throughout the land; the alarm has been going off and some are awakened to hear it, others are hitting the snooze button and sleeping in or ignoring the alarm.

I see 2015 as a continual progression of God’s warnings to a sleeping church and to a nation who has turned her back on God in an ever-increasing fast track that is exponentially propelling headlong into judgment. And yet in God’s mercy, grace and love He has always had a remnant. I pray this year those who are slumbering, or have accepted compromise, living as carnal Christians will hear the alarms and will turn back to God. Repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand.

Malachi 3:1 "I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come," says the LORD Almighty.



Luke 1:7 And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the parents to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous--to make ready a people prepared for the Lord."

Matthew 11:13 “For all the prophets and the Law prophesied until John.  14 “And if you are willing to accept it, John himself is Elijah who was to come.  15 “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”

Malachi 4:5 Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.  And he will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the earth with a curse.”

The spirit of prophet type, Elijah, will once again come before the Day of the Lord, for the same purpose that John the Baptist served. What an "odd, intense, fanatic" of a man he was, coming out of the wilderness, wearing camel hair clothes, eating locust and honey. He would not compromise the Word or the calling, he pointed to Jesus constantly, without self-glorification and his call was a call to repentance without mincing words. He was an alarm. He was a lighthouse pointing to THE LIGHT.

John 1:6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7 The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. 8 He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.



If there is a yearning in your heart as you read this, I pray you will allow God to move you to a place of truth. Truth in these times, in your calling and truth in allowing Him to place that uncomfortable finger on those places in your heart that He is calling you out of compromise, to live in HIS light and to become a vessel of His light shining through you in these darkening times. I pray for my brothers and sisters in Christ around the globe that may feel like lonesome eagles. I pray for your strength, your courage and perseverance, and thank God for where He has placed you to be an example. I thank God for strategically placing Lighthouses in this world, nation, communities. 

Thursday, November 13, 2014

WHATEVER YOU DO…

Tuesday, January 1, 2013


1/1/2013
WHATEVER YOU DO…

When a verse in the Bible comes alive to us, it changes our vision, our perspective and our life. As Christians we know this is true as we have seen the power of the gospel transform us. We are born again! Our spirits that were once dead are alive in Christ and communicate with God Almighty! I love when a verse that I have read pops out to me as if it is highlighted and all of a sudden I have understanding; godly wisdom that literally changes me.
Colossians 3:23-25 says, “Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve.”
I have heard this verse a million times, I grew up listening to scripture songs and I sung my little heart out to this verse. Something was deposited in my spirit and later in life came very alive.
I used to work night shifts in an emergency room hospital. I was an ER tech that was working on my nursing degree. For people who don’t understand working in an ER breeds a whole type of people, and those who work the night shift definitely are a different breed altogether. The hospital ER is actually ran by nurses, and the docs who come in are not hospital staff, they are contract doctors, at least in this hospital. Then there are the ER techs. They assist docs in procedures, do the dirty work involving poop, vomit, pee, blood etc, draw blood, put in catheters, cast breaks, transport patients, EKGs, hold teeny newborns in a crunched ball for Dr to do spinal tap, and a variety of  things specific to the cases that come in.  As an ER tech I truly saw the patients more than the nurses and certainly more than the dr. It was tiring, especially for me since I am a morning bird and not a night owl; 3 shifts of 12 hours, 7pm to 7am in a row. Meanwhile I had 3 small, homeschooled children at home that slept while I worked. I would return home and sleep a few hours and wake up to homeschool and do the duties of mom, wife, student and teacher. When my husband would return from work I would sleep an hour and then get up make dinner, kiss my family goodbye and head off to the odd world of night shift in the ER. I squeezed in my own studying and homework on days off. I lived in a buzzy feeling of semi-reality, off of redbull, coffee, bouillon cubes in hot water and fruit. My system was completely messed up and I felt like I was a sleeping person with automatic responses to things.
I describe all of that to give you a picture of my reality. It wasn’t glamorous, it was hard, exhausting, never-ending; a continuous cycle of taking care of people’s needs. I had to switch my realities from being covered in blood and rushing around with a team of nurses and docs for a 19 year old dying with his brains falling out of his head because of gang violence, yet still stopping to pray and hold his hand as he died, knowing soon a mother would be notified of her son’s death. I would hear and feel the crackles of broken ribs under my hands while I would be doing CPR on a grandma, as her family stood outside waiting with impending doom; again with every compression I was praying for the Lord to be there, speak to her, comfort her before she died. I would be the person left to wait with a family until death came for a father who just dropped while walking with his children. The family surrounding him, the docs letting them know there is nothing more they can do; the bells, chimes, alarms going off signaling life is running out. I just stood, quietly praying in the Spirit, knowing my Lord was with me and I was His servant interceding and standing as a representative of Jesus. It’s funny; they would look at me without words but huge questions in their eyes, not to the doctors for comfort. I would place a hand on the shoulder, make eye contact, and in those moments I knew that the realm of spiritual authority rested with me and not on the medical staff. So many other experiences that were so intense would then be left as I drove away, come home, peel my clothes off in laundry room to immediately wash away the night’s germs, blood and gore. I would then wake to making “froggy in the pond” eggs and toast, teaching about the different types of rocks, quizzing math facts, correcting grammar, and work on unit studies about medieval times. I was living a life of contradiction; a need for gentleness yet strength that was beyond me.
In seasons of life we juggle more than other times, this was one of those times. I prayed fervently while working. I needed His strength. One night it was slow, the nurses were sitting together on one side of the station, the doc on the other. I didn’t know where to go. There is often an unsaid tension between some of the docs and nurses, and I found the ER tech was the bridge. I knew if I sat down I would be making a statement, I also knew if I sat down I would probably fall asleep. So I worked. And as I worked I found myself singing, “whatever you do, do your work heartily as for the Lord, rather than for man. Knowing it’s for the Lord you will receive and inheritance, its Christ who you serve…” Then it hit me, the more I sang the more Gods plan was unfolding before me. Other verses came into my mind about if you do this unto the least of these you are doing unto Him, referring to Matthew 25:40. The light came on!
That moment I shifted from even caring about the accolades, the acceptance of my superiors, my pay, or fitting in. I cared only about my “employment” to the Lord. My heart was joyful. I made beds, cleaned blood, empty garbage, stocked medical supplies on the down time everyone else was sitting down for. I smiled and joyfully took vitals, and when patients did come in I served in my heart knowing it was for the Lord. Every shift was an opportunity for me to do unto the Lord, and truly understanding that it didn’t matter what I was doing but I did my best for God. I didn’t cut corners, I didn’t sit down, I didn’t complain because I knew I was accountable to God, He was seeing what I was doing and I cared about only pleasing Him.
Weeks went on, months went on and it seemed I was oblivious to the talk around me. I had a greater purpose, and doctors began requesting me in their stations and telling the head nurse that they wanted to only work with me. Nurses began thanking me for being so helpful and on top of things in the room and with the patients, and some even told me to stop because I was making them all look bad. I was completely unaware of what God was doing through me until one night I came in for my shift and all the nurses and other techs were looking at me and smiling and started saying things like “Wow, that’s pretty awesome”, or “very impressed”…I had no idea what they were talking about so I just went about my business and finally said to me, “You’ve made quite the impression.” I asked what they were talking about. They said, “Oh you didn’t read the bulletin board in the break room?” So when time permitted I went into the break room, almost embarrassed to see what was in there. On the bulletin board was a letter from the director of the ER going on about ME! I was so humbled by it all; he had been receiving letters from the ER docs praising me to him. I was so shocked by it, as I stood there I realized they were drawn to me because of Christ in me. The Holy Spirit began flooding my heart with understanding. At this point I felt the impact of working unto the Lord. I thanked Him and asked for further wisdom. It was at this time the Holy Spirit began speaking to me about the patients.
One night in particular stands out to me when I look at pivotal moments in my life. The Lord had been speaking to me about not continuing nursing school; in short to lay it down. I was struggling with this. I was set to obey the Lord and hadn’t told anyone at work yet. A doctor who requested me for her tech was chatting more with me. She was a very rough person, sarcastic and cutting, she cussed like a sailor and was feared by nurses and even other doctors but she was top-notch, never missed a thing and although feared she was greatly respected. But that night I got a peek to her vulnerable side.
As the night went on she began telling me how she was raised in a rich home with no parents there, ever. She was given every material thing she needed but no love. I felt compassion for her and just prayed for her as I worked that night. Something strange happened. She had gone to treat a patient with a hurt arm and diagnosed a sprain. I was then sent to him to wrap it and take vitals to release him. As I touched his arm the Holy Spirit spoke to me that his arm was broken. I didn’t know what to do. I needed to be submissive to the doctor, and was afraid of saying anything, so I quietly prayed, but I didn’t have peace in letting him go. I humbly went to the doctor and told her that I think his arm is broken. She looked indignant, surprised yet softened and now intrigued. She said, “Ok…I will order an Xray.” I went along with my duties, time passed and then she called me over to her. She let me know it was indeed broken and gave me my instructions for the type of cast I needed to put on it. I could feel her watching me. Hours went on and regular talk went on. Then arrived a man with severe pain. She ordered normal tests, nurse began IV and I needed to take vitals. Again, when I went to put my hands on him, the Spirit spoke to me, “Upper GI bleed.” My heart raced. Again I felt I need to just tell her. I was scared now. So I told her, I think he has an upper GI bleed. She hadn’t even begun his work-up! She looked at me with suspicious curiosity. Again she order tests, and ultrasounds according to what I was telling her. Hours later she called me over to her and told me I was right. She then paused to tell me she was going to keep her eyes on me. She went on to tell me I shouldn’t be a nurse that I should be a doctor.
It was then that I told her I was actually quitting school. She looked floored and almost angry at me. She told me I was making a mistake. I just smiled. She then asked if it was a money issue, and I am pretty convinced she was about to offer to pay for my schooling. I told her no, that I felt I needed to be home with my family. She looked dumbfounded but smiled. That was one of my last shifts there and it was the last time I worked with her.
The years went on and the lesson the Lord was intensely teaching me began to fade as homeschool became harder, life was getting “boring”. It seemed I fell into the lie that my everyday life of being a mom, wife and teacher was sucking the identity right out of me. I was cranky and everything was a chore. I began feeling entitled to be bigger, make something out of my life, and contribute to the household income. What I laid down years before I picked right back up.
Back to school for me, I was excelling and yet justifying my decisions to myself by saying it would maybe lead to us having enough money to then take greater part in ministry. I was accepted into the bachelor program at ASU and was a few weeks away from starting, the day I was going to purchase my books, the Lord spoke to me again.
He gave me a clear choice, letting me know that I could choose either thing. I felt I would be blessed in pursuing being a nurse. I didn’t feel like I would be disobeying Him or messing up my life, but then He said, “You can do this, but I have something better for you.” He told me I didn’t need a degree to be used in healing. Then my mind was flooded with how He gave me supernatural wisdom at the hospital. I cried and cried, literally brokenhearted. I wanted so much to trust the Lord. I wanted what He called would be “better” for me. I was realizing how hard I had made it on myself by picking up what I already laid down years before. Was all of this in vain? I was so close…again and now the Lord was offering me a promise I couldn’t see, didn’t know how it would look and it required faith and laying down any education or my own understanding. It would require me trusting Him to fulfill what He was offering as I wouldn’t know how to attain it. It wasn’t going to be a success I could measure with grades, promotion, or skills tests. It was going to be a complete reliance on the Spirit. I got before the Lord and cried and told I want His better way.
I would like to say it has been nothing but a miraculous and glorious time since that day; that like Peter, my shadow can pass by and heal people’s infirmities. It is not, but I hold fast to the promise in the Lord and at unexpected times I will lay hands on my children or my husband and the Lord has healed. I have many times past by someone and the Lord will speak to me problem. I just know. So I pray as I pass by, I have no way to prove anything, or any way of knowing if they were healed but I go back to my lesson He taught me in the hospital; “Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve.”
So now in my everyday life I live it intentionally. I serve Him by serving others. If its wiping a boogar nose, homeschooling, rubbing my husband’s shoulders, making dinner every single night of my life, cleaning toilets, holding a sick and vomiting child, helping a friend in need, writing, giving, taking a cart back for an older woman, helping a blind person in the store, listening to a weary fellow sister, making meals, going without, cleaning the kitchen, interceding for a dying man, and yes even the laundry, I do it for Him. I do it to serve Him and He will count it as righteousness to me in heaven.
Live an extraordinary life in your ordinary day. Because it doesn’t matter who sees it here on earth, He sees it all. My identity is not in what I do, but rather who I am. I am a servant of the Most High God and every single day He gives me is a gift to not be wasted. How can I glorify Him today…in my life? In my home? In my marriage? With my children? To the unsaved? To the hurt or lonely? I choose to live intentionally, no matter the season He has me in. Don’t accept the trick that you always are working to something in the future. It is here and now. Today counts, in WHATEVER you do, if you are doing it unto the Lord. This is a daily reminder, a practice I have to train in and fights against the definition of “success”.

Lord help us to serve You in whatever we do, that You'd reveal the riches to us in doing the "boring, menial, grunt, same old-same old, predictable jobs" as well as the other things You have called us to in our giftings. But that in no matter what we do, we would glorify You. In Jesus name. amen

Monday, April 7, 2014

SNAP SHOTS

June 2012
SNAPSHOTS

I grew up in a Christian home. I grew up in the Church. Christian behavior and love was modeled for me. My parents were not divorced; in fact they kissed and hugged and laughed around us. We prayed together as a family, we ate dinner at the table every night. My parents did not smoke or drink or cuss. We went to church, tithed, helped out the needy. They helped us with our homework and disciplined us. They gave us chores and limited TV and went to parent/teacher conferences. My parents put us in music lessons, gymnastic or ballet and were the proud parents that would cheer us in our part in the school play, no matter how big or small. They made us say “yes ma’am or yes sir”, and would not tolerate disrespect. In short I was blessed and privileged to have such a good upbringing. I had no clear reason to blame for my behavior and with such an upbringing it would be probably expected that I never would stray.

But stray I did during my teen years. I can look back on my life and shake my head at myself and as a parent now understand the pain, the confusion it can cause to watch your child rebel so strongly against everything you ever tried to instill. As an adult now, who loves the Lord with all my heart and truly earnestly try to serve the Lord in all I do, I cringe when I look back on some of the “snapshots” of my life. But in God's goodness He allowed me to stray, allowed me to wallow in my rebellion and come to the end of myself. He knows the end from the beginning; Philippians 1:6 "For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus." 

Snapshots: those moments branded into my memory; the good, the bad and the ugly. Those moments that have caused pain to others, those that I am ashamed of, those that have had life-long consequences, and those that don’t resemble the person I am now. They freeze you in time and to those who they have negatively affected that memory can keep you there; forever frozen in their mind.
In my straying years I can run through a reel of snapshots in my mind that play out a crazy, selfish, mean, lying, violent, foolish, arrogant, thieving, cheating, brash, failing school, controlling, drunk, seductive, self-willed Janette. Pretty much all the “do nots” in the Bible. Even as I write this, I blush and thank the Lord nobody else can see the thoughts running through my mind.
I also thank the Lord that He doesn't freeze us in our snapshots, like we tend to do as humans; to ourselves or to others. There is nothing I can hide from God. He saw it all and He grieved, yet He still loved me; as much as He does today when my snapshots would look very different.
I have been in situations where someone who I haven’t seen in decades still has an idea about me based from a snapshot. That feeling of humiliation rushes over me as I can remember why they view me presently solidified in time as the person who was mean to them, or broke their trust, or was the crazy girl that could out drink them, or watched me fist fight in a parking lot….or a whole lot of other possible flashes.
The Lord tests our hearts to allow us to see what is really inside of us. How much pressure can a vessel withstand before it cracks? How much heat does it cause to bring the dross to the top to refine it. He knows each one of us, the heart we have and the circumstances that will bring forth the ugly so we can see it as well and deal with it. Even if I surprised myself or those around me in the things I did, I never surprised God. 
My life as a Christian has been and always be a series of storms, tests, seasons to bring forth the change from glory to glory by the transforming power of His Spirit; a continual refining to be conformed to image of Christ. Will I accept His dealings when I am exposed to myself? Will I judge others before their time; freezing them in a snapshot? Oh Lord give us the eyes of the eternal so we may be gracious to one another, loving one another, bearing with one another, praying for one another, to not keep a record of wrong doing, to exhort, admonish and speak God’s word into each other’s lives. Oh Lord, as we all journey to come to the end of ourselves, help us to not have temporal eyes so that we may pray with Your power because we can pray by not what we see but rather what is unseen.