Do you need some new weapons?

Praise and Thanksgiving brings Faith and Substance into the Emptiness of the Impossible.

Worship calls forth what isn’t as if it were because hope doesn’t lie in the ability and the possibility of the natural realm, but in the ability of the God of the supernatural in the spirit realm!

Abraham believed and worshipped the…

“God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did; who, contrary to hope, in hope believed, so that he (Abraham) became the father of many nations, according to what was spoken, “So shall your descendants be.” And not being weak in faith, he did not consider his own body, already dead (since he was about a hundred years old), and the deadness of Sarah’s womb. He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform. And therefore “it was accounted to him for righteousness.” Romans 4:17-22

I heard a testimony the other day that proved this truth.

A woman shared that her and her husband were having difficulty conceiving. They had tried for years and even sought help from physicians, only to face disappointment month after month, year after year.

Then, they decided on a different strategy, they picked up some new weapons. They began to Praise and Thank God for the baby they believed God would bless them with. And along with their praise and thanksgiving they put their faith into action. Each month they once again faced disappointment they went out together and bought a baby toy or another baby item as evidence of their faith; they were walking this journey by faith, not by sight!

Faith must be put into action!

“But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead? Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar? Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect?” James 2:20-22

Because, now, is always the right time to bow down in worship!

Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” Ephesians 3:20-21

I guarantee that the time you spend down on your knees in Praise, Thanksgiving, and Worship of God has greater value than any amount of time spent in any other way!  

Worship empowers you and equips you with new weapons to step out in faith to fight your battle.

The couple who chose not to give in to despair and disappointment month after month, who chose not to speak negative words of doubt and hopelessness over their impossible situation, but chose instead to put their faith and hope in God, proved that God is able!

God is the God of the impossible!

When they chose to Worship God in the midst of their impossible situation…

When they chose to rise above the emotion of disappointment and despair month after month…

When they chose to Praise and Thank God with no evidence of the desire of their hearts…

They fought with different weapons.

The weapons of disappointment and despair, the weapons of doubt and unbelief, the weapons of negative words, had no power over their circumstance. These only increased the ammunition of the enemy, making them powerless and leaving them hopeless.

They chose to exchange their weapons for the  weapons of Praise and Faith in Action..

Fighting with these weapons, their faith was rewarded, their prayers were answered, they received the desire of their hearts.

Today they have a baby in their arms…

For Nothing is Impossible with God!

Bowing in worship of God filled Gideon with courage and caused him to come up with a strategy that didn’t come from his own understanding. Gideon got up and went back to his army of three hundred with a declaration of victory from the Lord.

“He returned to the camp of Israel, and said, “Arise, for the Lord has delivered the camp of Midian into your hand.” Then he divided the three hundred men into three companies, and he put a trumpet into every man’s hand, with empty pitchers, and torches inside the pitchers.” Judges 7:15-16

Gideon’s circumstance hadn’t changed, but Gideon was changed. His fear was turned to faith.

His fear of God became bigger than his fear of his enemy.

Gideon was fully convinced his God was able to do what He promised He would do.

Gideon spoke words of life, the words of God’s promise, to the other soldiers.

Gideon walked in evidence of his faith as he placed  “weapons” into their hands…

Trumpets

Empty pitchers

Torches

Trumpets…Instruments of loud and mighty praise!

Pitchers…empty, available to be filled, breakable, for greater purpose!

Torches…light concealed, waiting to shine forth!

Not your typical weapons!

When you fight God’s battles you need to use His weapons of warfare.

“We are human, but we don’t wage war as humans do. We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments.” 2 Corinthians 10:3-4  

How did the soldiers respond to the items Gideon placed into their hands?

“Of what use are these, they have no power? What purpose could these things have in battle? We are soldiers, where are our swords?”

How did this couple respond when they first considered going out to buy baby items?

“That doesn’t make sense. It’s a waste of money. How will buying baby items cause us to conceive? Seeing those things in our home will make us more depressed!”

Why are God’s ways opposite of what we think? Why are they beyond our understanding? Why are they difficult to carry out?

Because its in our weakness, in our inability, in our humility we bow down. When we bow down we admit its not about us. We acknowledge that on our own we can do nothing. We become dead to self. Once we are at this place, we are right where God wants us to be. This is where He reveals His truth, He imparts His ways, and He provides His weapons so that we can rise up, encouraged by His promise, filled with His power, and ready to fight our impossible battle for His glory!

What weapons have you been using that haven’t been working?

If you feel as though you are losing the battles you are fighting perhaps its time lay down your weapons of worry prayers, doubt, and negative words. What you may have thought were the only ways to respond to your battle may be the very things the enemy is using to keep your battle raging. It is time to bow down in worship before God, and receive His strategies and His weapons with which to fight. The position of bowing in worship provides a holy space where an exchange is made. Your worry, doubt, and negativity for God’s power, equipping, and weapons to fight your battles and win the victory!

 

 

 

Bow in Worship!

“When Gideon heard the dream and its interpretation, he bowed in worship before the Lord.” Judges 7:15

Gideon’s FAITH became bigger than his fear!

Why did Gideon fall to his knees in worship?

Gideon was overwhelmed in the Awe of God…

“Oh God, I am overwhelmed how amazingly incredible You are and how loved I feel right now! You knew I was still afraid and You gave me the courage to face my fear and come down into the enemy camp. You brought me right here, right now, to hear these words! Your timing is incredible! Your love for me brings me to my knees!

 Gideon was humbled and surrendered…

“God, from the moment You called me out of the winepress You have promised You would win this battle. You promised victory that would show Your glory. Forgive me for my fear, my doubt, that kept me looking at this battle from my own perspective and relying on my own understanding. I am undone by the ways You have shown Yourself to me, I humbly bow before You in full surrender to Your will.”

Gideon was encouraged…

“Oh Lord, these words from the enemy prove to me You are the God of the impossible! If You are able to give a dream to one of the enemy soldiers, give the interpretation to another, just in time for me to hear… I choose to put my faith, my trust, in You alone! God, I choose to take my eyes off myself and of my ways, and I look to You with great expectation to see how You will fight this battle!”

Gideon was ready to receive God’s strategy…

“Lord, I have no idea of how we can win this battle, I have no battle plan to fight against these odds. But Your ways are so much higher than my ways, and Your thoughts are so much greater than mine. You have just proved Yourself to me that You are for me and though I don’t know what to do, my eyes are on You!”

Bowing in worship took Gideon from the fear of his problem to the fear of God. 

What brings you to your knees?

Sometimes the greatest battle is the battle between the worship of your problem and the worship of God…

How often have you found yourself “worshipping” your problem by the priority you give it in your thoughts and actions? You can allow your problems to become bigger than God in the ways you become consumed with thinking about a solution, worrying about the outcome, and becoming anxious about how it is affecting you.

Thoughts, worry, and anxiety show themselves in words and actions that give the enemy ammunition to use against you. As long as you worship your problem; as long as your PROBLEM is bigger than your faith, you won’t bow in worship of God, you won’t receive the courage to fight the battle, and you won’t experience the victory God promises you.

Worship of God is the evidence of faith, trusting in God alone…

Worship and faith please God, for He is worthy of all your praise, you were made to worship Him, and He is pleased by those who walk by faith, not by sight!

Worship and Faith work together…one inspires the other.

Sometimes stepping out in Faith brings an incredible answer to prayer that brings you to your knees in Worship!

And sometimes you need to fall to your knees in Worship in order to step out in faith and see the incredible answer to your prayer!

Gideon’s worship experience is an example of both;

He was brought to his knees by God’s incredible timing of such a powerful promise to him through the words of the enemy.

Bowing down in awe of God right there in the enemy camp brought Gideon great courage to get up in the strength and the power of the Lord to ready his men for battle.

To bow down in worship in response to the wonder of God is one thing, but to bow down in worship before you know the battle plan, before you begin to fight, and before you experience the victory is another story!

It goes against everything your flesh wants to do…but there is power in praise and it pleases God!

“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.” Hebrews 11:6

“Then Jesus answered and said to her, “O woman, great is your faith! Let it be to you as you desire.” Matthew 15:28

Worship and Faith makes the difference whether you experience the harm the enemy means or whether you receive the good that God intends.

Bowing in Worship of God causes Faith to rise within, humbles you to see your problem through God’s perspective, and causes you to get up with renewed courage and strength to live differently!

Gideon still faced a valley filled with enemy soldiers. He still had a battle to fight with only 300 men. But he was different. Gideon became the “Mighty Warrior” God called him from the very beginning!

God proved Himself to Gideon and Gideon chose to believe God. 

The Israelites were caught up in living as the nations around them. As long as they lived according to the ways of the world no one could see the glory of God, no one could see the miracles and wonders God had done in the past. They were living within the abilities and the customs of the flesh. But God says that His children have been created to live victorious, and to bring Him glory! God desired that the surrounding nations saw how great the Israelite’s God was! And this is still God’s desire, that His people live lives that reveal how great He is!

So, if you want to live differently, try something different.

No matter where you find yourself…

Whether you are in a season where there are no problems and your faith is strong, whether there is a problem on the horizon just beginning to grow bigger and bigger with every passing day, taunting you to fear, or whether you have allowed your problem to become bigger than your faith and are fully consumed with worry and anxiety…

I encourage you to bow down in worship, and be reminded that whatever season you are in you were made to worship!

Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:4-7

This simple, but profound song, often goes through my mind. It’s a good reminder that no matter what I’m going through, Jesus loves me, and because of that…

I will choose to bow in worship!

Jesus, Lover of my soul,
Jesus, I will never let you go
You’ ve taken me from the miry clay
You’ve set my feet upon the Rock, and now I know

I love you, I need you,
Though my world may fall, I’ ll never let you go
My Saviour, my closest friend,
I will worship you until the very end.      (Hillsong)

 

36th Wedding Anniversary

So, I had a blog all written and ready to post today, but as I celebrated my 36th wedding anniversary yesterday, the Lord began to prompt me to write about marriage. I was kind of hoping by this morning the prompting would go away and I could just publish the blog I had ready. But, as I spent some time with the Lord this morning He began to speak again…this time He reminded me of the verse…

“These older women must train the younger women to love their husbands and their children.” Titus 2:4

This verse has been somewhat of a mystery to me through the years. When I was younger I didn’t know who the older women were who I was suppose to learn from. I didn’t know exactly what kind of training God meant for me personally. I did have some women in different seasons of my life that were ahead of me, so to speak, who I could look to for wisdom and guidance, and I am thankful for all that I have gleaned from them.

This morning while I was meditating on this verse I asked the Lord about this…”who in my life has trained me to love my husband, to love my children?” What God said to me wasn’t what I had expected. He said it was my mother. It wasn’t what I expected because I always read this verse as someone other than family and because I had a different view of the word, “training”. But God showed me that is exactly what my mother did when she loved my father and when she raised me. Her faithfulness to my father, her love and submission to him, and her caring for him was actually my “training” for loving my husband. My mother’s love and care for me was my “training” to love my children.

Throughout my parent’s marriage they experienced some tragic situations and some ongoing hardships concerning their children. My sister was diagnosed with Spinal Atrophy at the age of 18 months. So with the combination of that diagnosis and an operation to correct her scoliosis, Sheryl spent her life in a wheel chair, needing total care. My bother miraculously survived a fall down Bushkill Falls at the age of two, but my mother heard his screams of “Mommy” for months later. I almost died at the age of nine from a bee sting.

All this to say, my parents had their share of difficulties in their lives, but in spite of these challenges they were committed to each other and to their marriage. This strong commitment came from their strong faith. They believed in God. They believed in God’s word. They lived according to God’s word.

Marriage is a covenant between husband and wife in the presence of God. It is a vow that is not intended to be broken…

“So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” Matthew 19:6

I grew up knowing this verse and believing that marriage is for life.

When the Lord showed me this morning that I received much of my training from my mother it caused me to so appreciate the example she set for me. I realized that it was her training; her love and her faithfulness to my father, and the stability of my patent’s marriage, that provided me an anchor to hold onto when I was being tossed and turned by the raging waves of life.

Mark and I didn’t experience such tragic things concerning our children, but we went through other types of difficulties that were meant to divide us and to break us apart. Strategies of the enemy came upon us that many would say were beyond hope. How could a marriage withstand such trials?

I believe it was this…

Mark and I were both raised to believe marriage is forever; for better or for worse, till death do us part. With this belief as our anchor God gave each of us the grace, power, and love to survive some of the most difficult situations a marriage can face.

What the enemy meant for harm, God intended for good!

The enemy’s strategy is to divide and conquer. When he attacks it is meant to steal, kill, and destroy. This is what he is doing in so many marriages and families today. It is one of his greatest agendas because of how it affects families and communities for generations.

The covenant of marriage isn’t just about the relationship between the two partners, but it affects generations, and it affects all those who couple influence around them.

Whenever a strategy of the enemy is thwarted those who win the battle come through stronger and wiser.

Whenever an anniversary comes around I am reminded of God’s amazing grace, power, and love! I know without God we wouldn’t be celebrating these years of marriage. I don’t take them for granted and I consider this wonderful journey in life with Mark to be an incredible blessing and one which I value greatly.

I am reminded too that I am now an older woman who is “training”my daughter how to love her husband and her children. The ways in which I love Mark; how I treat him, speak to him, the words I say about him, the ways I submit to his leadership, all these she is watching, observing, experiencing. She is being “trained” whether or not either one of us is aware. I pray that I “train” her to love her husband, and to love her children according to God’s word and that my “training” will equip her and give her a solid foundation so that when the enemy’s strategies come against her she will stand firm.

 

 

“FEARLESS1”

I began to panic as I realized I was lost and about to drive over the bridge into Paterson, NJ.

Growing up in rural PA it was culture shock to drive through the suburban streets of Bergen County when I married and moved to New Jersey. It was a real challenge and required a lot of courage to navigate Route 17. But city driving was something I avoided for over thirty years, with no intention of ever facing that fear.

One winter afternoon, as it was just getting dark, I was driving through Hawthorne with my daughter looking for a thrift store we wanted to shop at. I thought I knew how to get to the store, but somehow I ended up on the wrong road. When I saw the bridge in front of me that crossed over into Paterson and realized there were no more turns I could take to avoid going over it I began to panic. My fear increased as I drove across and once on the other side, once I was “in Paterson,” I was officially afraid and all I could do to help feel better was to lock the doors. As I was loudly expressing my fear I found the first place I could turn around and drove back over the bridge as fast as I could. I gave up looking for the thrift store and thankfully found my way home.

Fear keeps you in your comfort zone.

Later as I told my story of fear and panic to Mark and to others I was able to laugh at myself, but inside I never wanted to experience that again.

About a year after that terrifying experience a friend and I went to a ministry seminar that taught about sharing the power and love of God with others that we meet as we go about our day. After each teaching session they provided time to go out and practice what we had learned. The first time we kept it safe and went to a strip mall close to the church. But the second time we got into my car and decided to ask God where He wanted us to go. My friend really wanted to go into Paterson. She felt God was calling us to go there.

Paterson! No way!

But it must have been God, because I couldn’t even believe it myself as I agreed to go there. I told her I would only do it if she promised to use her GPS and told me where to go. Well, she did find directions how to get into Paterson, but once we were in the city, she had no idea of where specifically we should go. So since it was lunch time we looked for a place to eat. Well, if you’ve ever been to Paterson you will now there really aren’t many familiar eating places. We finally saw a pizza shop. Now, where to park? Thankfully God was gracious and there was a convenient parking place close by.

After eating our slice of pizza we asked God to give us a “word” to share with the girl behind the counter. We each felt we had something to encourage her with so we went to her and told her what God had to say. We only got a few words out and realized she didn’t understand English. But to our delight she went back and brought others who could interpret for her! There was something very rewarding about blessing her with a “word” from the Lord.

The return trip was successful and I was thankful for the way God “set me up” to face my fear, but it was only because my friend was with me and something I still wouldn’t want to do again.

There was something else that happened at that seminar. In hind sight, I realize it was very significant. There was a prophesy given about Paterson. How God was coming in new and powerful ways into the city of Paterson. I remember as I heard the prophesy given it resonated with my spirit. I didn’t understand why, especially since I had such a fear of being there. But it definitely made an impact in my heart, and I left that evening pondering the words, wondering what they meant.

Several months after that seminar I woke up with a very vivid dream. It was a dream that had an urgency about it, one that filled me with passion. I dreamt about having a cafe. A place where people could come to talk, share life, a safe and caring environment, and of course to drink coffee!

I didn’t know what to do with it, but it filled me with desire. I told my family, my friends, whoever I talked to about the dream.

Then again, several months later, we received a letter from a ministry in center city Paterson, Star of Hope. In their letter they told about some of the new directions they were moving in with their facility and one of them was to open a cafe! When I read the letter the desire from my dream rose up within me. I asked Mark about it and since we know several of the leaders that work at Star of Hope he set up a meeting to find out more about it. We found that the cafe wouldn’t be open for several months so I took an application to volunteer, not sure if this was what God had or not.

In my dream the cafe was a white “house” located on a street in a small town. Star of Hope looked nothing like that!

Life got busy. I rarely thought about Star of Hope. But, one morning I did. I found myself wondering what was happening there. I was sure it was opened by now. As God would have it…that afternoon I received a text from one of the leaders at Star of Hope asking me what I was thinking about helping out with the cafe. I couldn’t help but be amazed that I had just been thinking about it that morning. I even answered his text by saying, “funny you should ask me today!”

I knew God was calling me to consider helping out. It was June and I was about to help with summer day camp, so I told him I would pray about it and let him know by August.

As I prayed I was amazed how peaceful and even interested I was in doing it. One summer day I was in the area, Mark’s business is just 10 minutes from Paterson, and I felt the Lord prompting me to drive to Star of Hope. I kept trying to excuse it away, but I knew God wanted me to do it alone, and afraid. So, with my GPS set, I headed my car into Paterson. I was just crossing into Paterson when I looked at the car’s license plate in front of me and this is what I saw…

What are the chances that I should be behind that car, at that time, while driving into Paterson alone and afraid!

I felt like Gideon when he was told by God that if he was still afraid he was to go down into the enemy’s camp and listen. When he found himself beside the exact tent where the soldier had the dream and it was interpreted loud enough for Gideon to hear, he was in awe of God, and fell to his knees in worship!

I couldn’t get down on my knees in worship, but Oh my goodness, I was in awe of how incredible God is! God knew my fear, yet He loved me, and wanted to show me that He is greater than any fear that I face!

I will never forget that visual!

That license plate on that white car is forever imprinted in my mind!!

When I arrived at Star of Hope the person I needed to talk to about volunteering wasn’t even there, but God accomplished what He wanted to do.

He dispelled my fear of Paterson, and I have never been afraid since!

I did begin volunteer at the cafe and have driven into Paterson every Thursday since September. There is much I have been learning…too much to tell about now, but I am convinced, just as with my fear of working with teens…

that behind every fear lies an incredible opportunity for God to reveal His glory!