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Make Jesus Your Person

Make Jesus Your Person

Who is Jesus to you? When you think of Him, think about Him, do you see Him as something specific? I was at work one day when my best friend's mom sent me a text asking if we could get together for lunch. I remember thinking, whatever this lunch was about, I was never going to be the same afterward. I was right. During that lunch I learned that my best friend had been diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia. Life changed drastically after that. Over the course of the next 5 years, I spent time praying, bargaining and pleading that the Lord would cure her illness. One month after her 30th birthday, she went home to be with the Lord. I wasn't sure who I was going to be without my best friend. I felt like I had lost a limb, and I was heading into the future completely handicapped. The day after she passed, I walked out of work and I said to the Lord, "what do I do now? Who will be my best friend?" The presence of Jesus was so palpable, like He was walking right next to me as I headed to my car. I haven't heard the Lord's voice audibly that often, it's pretty rare that He speaks audibly to believers today because we have the Holy Spirit to lead us and guide us. But on this day, I heard Him audibly whisper to me, "Will you allow me to be your best friend?" I remember hesitating for a second before responding, because I knew the weight of what He was asking of me. I knew that if I said no, I would regret it for the rest of my life; but if I said yes, I would be moving into a future that would stretch me and test me. I knew if I said yes, that I wouldn't be able to plan my future for myself, and I would be submitting to the Lord whatever His plans are for my life and future. I knew it would be scary, and I knew I didn't have any other choice. I said yes. That yes has radically changed my life. A few months ago I was listening to a sermon one morning and the pastor was sharing a story of something that happened with his daughter. She had lost something and they couldn't find it, and the pastor was going to give up on the search when the Lord said to him, "are you willing to let this go?" In that moment, something that I had been praying about for months bubbled to the surface of my heart, and I said to the Lord, "I'm not willing to let this go!" As I said those words, I was suddenly transported in the Spirit to heaven. In the vision, I was looking at myself through the eyes of someone else, and I could see myself standing before the throne of God. I was wearing a crown of gold, dressed in silk finery with slippers of silk on my feet. The floor I was standing on was made of pure gold. As I looked at myself, dressed as a princess in the courts of heaven, standing before the throne of God, I realized that's how God sees me when I pray. He sees me as His daughter, His princess, His child dressed like royalty. As I watched myself through the eyes of another, a boldness filled me that I hadn't had before, and I said to the Lord, "Father, I'm not willing to let this go! I'm not willing to give up on this dream You have given me!" As I said those words I was suddenly in my own body, dressed in finery looking up at the throne of God. I knew I had a crown of gold on my head, but I didn't feel the weight of it. I looked down at my feet and the slippers were soft, they fit perfectly. I stood on solid gold, and the steps before me were made of pure gold. I looked up at the throne and it was completely shrouded in white light, yet I could discern through the light that the Father had a shape. My natural eyes couldn't see His figure, but my spiritual senses understood He had a form. I looked up at the throne and I said to my Father, "Lord, I will not give up this dream You have given me. I will stand and I will fight. If I have to fight for years I will do that!" As I spoke, I discerned in the Spirit that the Lord shifted His weight and leaned forward to hear me better. He cared about what I was saying. He desired to hear me. Obviously the Lord can hear me without me even saying a word! But He wanted me to know, without the shadow of a doubt, that He desires and yearns to hear from His children. He wants us to come into His presence! He wants us to pray, to talk to Him! He cares about what we have to say! I lifted my hand to the throne, and as I did I noticed my arm was covered in gold bracelets of different thicknesses, and there were many of them. My vision ended with me staring at these bracelets, and I knew it was significant but I didn't know why. And then I was back in my body, and the sermon was still playing. When You Make Jesus Your Person... Your life will never be the same. There will be hard seasons, because God will ask you to go places you've never been before. When you walk with God and you give Him everything, all of you, there will inevitably be a wilderness season that He brings you through while He's crafting you into the person He wants you to become. Yes, there will be hard seasons with the Lord. But there are hard seasons without God too, and it's much better to walk those difficult times with God. When you make Jesus your person, He also gives you an indescribable joy, a peace beyond anything our natural bodies can understand, and moments of incredible glory that far outweigh the hard seasons of life. Receiving a vision from the Lord is better than any movie man has ever made. Receiving a dream from God is better than any waking moment on earth. Receiving a word of knowledge from the Spirit is better than any novel we could ever read. And these moments of glory are what Paul spoke about when he said "And we all, with unveiled face, continually seeing as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are progressively being transformed into His image from [one degree of] glory to [even more] glory, which comes from the Lord, [who is] the Spirit." (2 Corinthians 3:18) When you make Jesus your person you will have the most glorious moments of your life. He will transform you and cause you to look more like Him, and as He does that you will get to experience incredible things from Him, from heaven. You will have the chance to hear His voice, experience His presence. You Are Royalty The Lord let me see myself as He sees me. When we pray, we are standing in the presence of our Father. We are royalty. Beautiful beloved reading this today, you are a prince! You are a princess! The blood of Jesus bought you the RIGHT to stand in the heavenly places with our Father! When you pray, you are dressed in royalty, crowned in gold and righteousness! (2 Timothy 4:8) You are dressed in silk, standing on floors of gold. And God shifts His weight to hear you better! He yearns to hear from you. He wants you to come into His presence and ask for what you need. He longs to hear your voice! You don't have to be formal about your prayers, you can pray whenever you have a need. As you wash the dishes, lift your requests to heaven. When you're driving your kids to school, pray for their day and for yours. As you clean the house, talk to Jesus as you would a friend. He loves that! I know for a fact that He does, because He asked me to be His best friend. And I know He wants to be yours too. And when you pray, pray with the knowledge that the Father yearns to hear from you. The Gold Bracelets I mulled these bracelets from the vision over and over in my mind throughout the next day. I asked the Lord over and over, "what does this mean? What is the significance of the bracelets?" As I was in the middle of asking the Father the next morning, a full 24 hours after I received this vision, suddenly God gave me a picture of a tree trunk. He showed me how the tree trunk has rings for each year, each growing season, and each ring shows the type of conditions that happened during that growing season. As He revealed this picture of a tree trunk and what it means for a tree, the Holy Spirit then explained to my heart, "each bracelet represents hard experiences and challenges in your life. The harder the experience, the thicker the bracelet. When you give your hardships to the Lord, He spins them into fine gold, and they adorn you." I immediately understood this to mean that every thing we go through has a purpose. Pain has a purpose in the kingdom of heaven. When you experience something extremely challenging, and you invite Jesus into your pain and hardship and walk that journey with Him, He shapes you and molds you and changes you until you are refined like gold. Your character becomes more stately and polished, and you come out of the challenging season with far greater patience and perseverance, strength and determination, beauty and loveliness. You end up walking taller and more assured of who you are, because you are more assured of who Christ is in you. It's a difficult process, with a worthwhile end. The Lord explained this all to my heart, but what He also wanted me to know is this: He knows everything that we have gone through and our difficulties are not cast aside. He ensures that we are adorned with our hardships, that we are rewarded for walking through painful trials with Him. He doesn't cast aside our tough seasons, instead He gives them places of honor and we wear them as a badge. How beautiful is that? How wonderful is our God? Today, know this: whatever hard things you have experienced are not for nothing. God has a purpose and plan for everything under the sun, including your difficult experiences. When you give Him your pain, give Him your wounds, He binds them up as a physician and heals your hurting places. "He heals the brokenhearted And binds up their wounds [healing their pain and comforting their sorrow]." (Psalm 147:3) Not only does He heal your broken heart and bind your wounds, but He does it perfectly. In fact, He does it so perfectly that in a year or two or three, you won't have any lasting pain or side effects, but instead you will look back at your painful memories with a fondness when you remember how Jesus was your God in the midst of your suffering. Perhaps today you aren't in a challenging situation, but maybe you went through something challenging in the past and never really got over it. I want to invite you today to let Jesus into that space with you. Talk to Him about your past and pain, and invite Him into that place in your heart that is holding onto the difficulties. He will fill your hardships with His grace, and you will get to see the goodness of the Lord. He will heal the places that are still broken. It's amazing what He can do when we let Him. My friend, make Jesus your person. Invite Jesus into every area of your heart, and ask Him to be your best friend. I pray that you will experience the unbelievable life and amazing grace that only those who have fully surrendered to Jesus know and understand. It's so worth it. With Joy, Jessica

Praying God's Favor, Benefits & Inheritance Over Your Life

Praying God's Favor, Benefits & Inheritance Over Your Life

I love using scripture as prayers. What an easy way to pray blessings and favor over our lives! This morning I was in the Psalms and these verses in Psalms 106 jumped out at me: "Remember me, O Lord, with the favor You have toward Your people. Oh, visit me with Your salvation, That I may see the benefit of Your chosen ones, That I may rejoice in the gladness of Your nation, That I may glory with Your inheritance. Psalm 106:4-5 (NKJV) I want to share with you the wonderful richness that is contained in these few verses written by David. Favor The word favor in the first sentence is the Hebrew word râtsôn, which means to delight, be accepted, favor, pleasure. It's derived from the word râtsah, which means to be pleased with, to satisfy a debt, to enjoy or be favorable, take pleasure. When the Lord remembers His people, He favors them. But it's not just that, He remembers us by being pleased with us, by enjoying us and showing His delight over us. To be favored by the Lord means that He grants our requests out of His kindness. We are given preferential treatment not because we deserve it or because we have done something good, but because He is good. I love that! I love that He favors me not because I deserve it, because if it depends on me then I will never get it right. I still fail even on my best days. But the Lord never fails. He is good all the time. When we ask Him to favor us, and it depends on His goodness, how can He not show us preferential treatment? I love it. Salvation The second line contains the word salvation, but I want you to see how this is written in Hebrew: yeshû‛âh. Does it look familiar to you? It's the Hebrew name of Jesus! Yeshua! Jesus is our salvation! He is salvation. The name of Jesus is hidden throughout the Old Testament in Bible verses like this one. David received a revelation of the coming Messiah, which is why he penned these words: "Blessed [fortunate, prosperous, favored by God] is he whose transgression is forgiven, And whose sin is covered." (Psalm 32:1 AMP) David knew that one day Jesus would come to the earth as a man. The Lord told David that through his line the Messiah would come. The Lord allowed David to understand that the death of Jesus would completely cover and forgive the sins of every man on earth. And David, with the full knowledge of what was to come, said blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven. Today, there is no condemnation for us as believers whatsoever. We are totally and completely covered and forgiven. It doesn't matter what you did this morning, it doesn't matter what you did yesterday or last week, you are covered by the blood of Yeshua. You are saved! Completely! But let's take a look at what this word, yeshû‛âh, fully means. This word means saved, deliverance, aid, victory, prosperity, health, help, salvation, save, saving health, welfare. What do you need today? What do you need from Jesus today? Do you need health? Then He is your health. Ask Him for health! Do you need help? Then He is your help! Do you need victory in some area of your life? He is your victory! Do you need prosperity or aid? He is both! Today, Jesus says to you, what do you need from me? Come to me and ask it of me, I am your salvation. Present tense. I am whatever you need. If you have a need today, Jesus is your answer, your salvation. Go sit at His feet and you will find He takes care of your needs. Benefit Let's take a look at the word benefit. In the original Hebrew it's actually the word ţôb, which means good. There's so much packed into this one word that I'm going to give you just a few meanings (check out the Strong's Exhaustive Concordance for the full list): good thing, beautiful, best, better, bountiful, favor, be in favor, glad, goodness, joyful, kindness, liketh best, loving, merry, pleasure, prosperity, wealth, welfare, well-favored. And that's maybe half of what this word encompasses. David says I want to see the benefits of your chosen ones. He's saying, I want to experience the best of what you want to give to those whom you have chosen. David was saying this in the context of Israel, because all of Israel is God's chosen nation. When Jesus came and died, He gave anyone the right to be grafted into this family, to become God's chosen ones. It's not that God doesn't want everyone to be chosen, He does. His heart is that ALL would come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9). The Lord doesn't want anyone to perish. He hates hell. He doesn't want any of His children to end up there. But for those of us who have chosen the Lord, who have accepted Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, we are now chosen ones because of the blood of Christ which covers us. As chosen ones, we get the good things of God! He gives us all of His benefits! We get His kindness, His joy, His goodness, His prosperity, His wealth, His welfare, we are well-favored. Amen! What a promise! Inheritance Finally, let's look at inheritance. Inheritance is the Hebrew word, nachălâh, and it means to inherit an heirloom or estate or portion, heritage, inheritance, possession. We know from the scriptures that the Lord gave His people land, and houses they didn't build, and vineyards they didn't plant (Deuteronomy 6:11). When David became king, God provided him with homes that he didn't have to build. (2 Samuel 5:11) I don't know what the Lord has for you as an inheritance, but I know this: we can pray the scriptures over our lives and He will answer His Words. Ask the Lord for your inheritance. Ask the Lord for your possession. When the Israelites were on the edge of the promised land, ready to go in, Caleb said this to Moses, "Let us go up at once and take possession of it; for we will certainly conquer it." And Joshua agreed with him. They were the only two of the twelve spies who understood that the Lord had an inheritance for them. They were the only two who spoke positively about their situation, who looked at the land and thought, "giants built these houses, planted these vineyards, dug these wells; look at how big our homes will be! Look at how grand our gardens are! What big wells we will have!" The other ten thought, "there are giants here! We are grasshoppers in comparison (Numbers 13:33)." They saw a negative outcome where Caleb saw a positive future. Can I ask you a serious question? What do you see for yourself? Do you see a Lord that loves you, that has chosen you, that wants to give you an inheritance? Do you see a Jesus who is your salvation, and will provide whatever you need to be saved from? Do you see a God who delights over you and wants to bless you and favor you with His goodness and kindness? If you don't, then change your vision of God. Change your belief of who He is. Don't be like the ten spies who die in the wilderness because they couldn't believe God wanted good for them, and would take care of their giants. Be like the two, who knew they would have bigger, better homes and gardens, and knew that if God had brought them out of slavery, He surely wouldn't bring them to the promised land only to kill them there. They were the only two who received the promise and didn't die in the wilderness. Be like the two. Who is God to you? Who is Jesus to you? May you see Him for who He is: your Salvation, your Goodness, your Inheritance, your Prosperity, your EVERYTHING! Pray this with me: Oh heavenly Father, my God, my Jesus, my Yeshua! Lord, I pray Psalm 106:4-5 over myself and my family. I pray these words over my life. Remember me, O Lord, with the favor You have toward Your people. Oh, visit me with Your salvation, That I may see the benefit of Your chosen ones, That I may rejoice in the gladness of Your nation, That I may glory with Your inheritance. In Jesus name, and by His blood which covers me and saves me, Amen Please note that this blog post includes affiliate links from Amazon. If you do choose to purchase something, I may earn a small commission – at no additional cost to you. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this post are entirely my own. Thank you for your support!

Prayer: Receiving The Secrets Of The Bible

Prayer: Receiving The Secrets Of The Bible

"For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding." -Proverbs 2:6 I'm working my way through the book of Daniel right now, and one of the things that hit me is how many times the word secret is mentioned. Have you ever had dinner or a coffee date with a friend where you're both so comfortable that you can reveal your hearts and souls to one another in a way that makes you feel connected? You are both so completely free to say the secrets within your souls, and isn't it a wonderous feeling? What trust you have in one another! It's so good to find a friend that when you get together, it's like a meeting of the souls. Secrets are revealed and there is no condemnation or guilt for doing so. We should all be so blessed to find a friend like that on earth! Maybe you're reading these words and you're thinking: "I used to have that once." Or maybe you're thinking: "I've been burned because of this type of friendship." Perhaps your thought is: "I have never had that. I am jealous of those who do!" Whether or not you have several friends like this, had one in the past, or have never had a friendship like this, there is a way in which we can ALL have this kind of friendship. Today, when you come to Jesus, you can reveal the secrets that lie within in the chambers of your heart. Jesus is this type of friend. My Bible says, and your Bible says, "Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. I will be found by you, says the Lord, and I will bring you back from your captivity..." (Jeremiah 29:12-14a) Jeremiah prophecies about the people of Israel being captured by Babylon, and their sons and daughters would be integrated into a culture of idolatry and wickedness. But, even in captivity, the Lord says call upon Me, pray to Me, and THEN I will listen to you. Seek Me and find Me, search for Me with all of your heart THEN it says I will be found by you. The way it works with the Lord, is that He never forces Himself on us. Never! He leaves the choice of a relationship up to us completely, and we must make that choice. So, make that choice. Make that choice every day. Daniel prayed to the Lord and asked Him to reveal secrets of Nebuchadnezzar's dream to him. Daniel asked! Do you want the Lord to reveal secrets and mysteries to you within His Word? Do you want to hear from Him? Then ask! One evening I was watching Wheel of Fortune, and I was mulling on this concept of receiving secrets from the Lord. As I was pondering this thought, thinking about how God reveals secrets and mysteries in His Word to those who ask, I said to God in my heart, "Lord, reveal your mysteries to me, Your servant. Reveal secrets to me like you did to Daniel. Reveal the amazing wonders within!" You know what He said to me? "Your Bible must be open first." I laughed so hard! He didn't say it to me in a condemning way. He said it to me the way a friend with a dry sense of humor would: He was being cheeky toward me but serious at the same time. The next time you open your Bible, pray for the secrets and mysteries to be revealed. When you open the Word, pray that the Lord would show you Jesus, show you His everlasting love toward you, show you Himself. Do you want Jesus to make you laugh? Ask Him to make you laugh! Usually when we say God has a sense of humor we are saying it ironically. We'll say something like, "I was never a patient person and then God gave me a difficult job/boss/marriage/child/friendship/etc. Now I'm learning to be patient. God must have a sense of humor!" That's not my God. He doesn't give us difficult circumstances because we need to be taught a lesson. Difficult things happen in this life because we live in a fallen world, and we have an enemy that hates us. That's why we need to have our Bibles open. This world is so fallen, and our enemy hates us with such ferocity, we can't afford to not open our Bibles. But perhaps you have your Bible open all the time, and you want more. I also want more. I'm hungry for Jesus, hungry for His glory. If this is you, then pray this prayer and watch how the Lord reveals the most amazing things hidden within His Word. Lord, blessed is Your name, the name of God forever and ever. Wisdom and might and power are Yours. You change the times and the seasons, and You give wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding. You reveal deep and secret things. Lord God, I pray for faith and wisdom and understanding like Daniel. I pray for understanding in all visions and dreams. Daniel had tact and counsel when he spoke, I pray for tact and counsel when I speak. Lord God, give me wisdom, power, might and understanding. Jesus, I am hungry for more of you. I hunger and thirst for Your righteousness, I hunger for secrets and for deeper understanding of your Word. I want to know You in a new and living way! Satisfy my mouth with good things, my mind with Your wisdom and understanding. I thank You and praise You. Amen Verses mentioned: Matthew 5:6, Hebrews 10:20, Psalm 103:5, Daniel 2:14, 20-21, 22, 23

It Is Finished

It Is Finished

What does the word 'finished' mean to you? Does it give you a sense of satisfaction? Does it calm your heart and relieve your anxiety? That's what it does for me. The dictionary definition of finished is ended or completed, perfected in all details, polished to the highest degree of excellence, accomplished. It's a complete word! It's absolute perfection. When we complete a task, it might not come out as absolutely perfect in every detail, or polished to the highest degree of excellence. When we do a project, it might be perfect, or as perfect as we can get it, but there's always something that could have been done a little bit better. When Jesus hung on the cross, right before He took His last and final breath, John records "Later, knowing that everything had now been finished, and so that Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.” A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus’ lips. When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit." (John 19:28-30) When Jesus says it is finished, He says it with absolute certainty and resolve that His death is, and was, perfect. His death is perfect in every detail, making it possible for every person who believes in Him to be completely redeemed and forgiven! For me, finished means I have been made complete in Jesus Christ. Finished means that I have been totally and completely forgiven. And so are you. Finishing The Cup Of Wrath The gospels mention that Jesus was offered three cups of wine. These are important parts of the finished work! The first one is mentioned in Matthew 27:34 "they offered Him wine mixed with gall (myrrh, a bitter-tasting narcotic) to drink; but after tasting it, He refused to drink it" and Mark 15:23 "Then they gave Him wine mingled with myrrh to drink, but He did not take it." In multiple commentaries it is said that Jewish women would mix myrrh with wine and give it to those who were crucified to help ease their pain. Myrrh, when consumed, is a narcotic that helps diminish some of the excruciating pain of the cross, giving those who are crucified a small sense of relief. It would have dulled the senses, helped decrease inflammation and pain, as well as blocked certain receptors from experiencing pain in the brain. In essence, they would experience a high. Most criminals who were crucified would have taken this drink to help relieve their symptoms! Jesus refused this drink because He knew the cost of the cross. He knew He must endure the entirety of our pain, our suffering, our sicknesses, our diseases, and the full weight of our sin and guilt. If He did not endure all, and had taken a shortcut to dull the pain, we would not be completely and totally forgiven today. When Jesus finished the work of forgiving us, He did it perfectly. There are times when we go through extremely difficult things in life and it will be tempting to dull the pain. In fact, there may be times that we choose to dull it, to cut out the emotional or physical pain that we are in. We might choose alcohol or drugs. Maybe we even choose prescription drugs instead of doing the hard work of retraining our mind and receiving the finished work of Jesus. It could be food that's the escape, or sugar. Maybe you workout excessively, or feel the need to moderate your food intake. It could be busyness, or seclusion, or actually hurting yourself to feel something different than emotional pain. Whatever your vice is, whatever your weakness is, I just want you to know this: Jesus died for it. Jesus took every single sin, every single thing you struggle with today, and it burned on the inside of Him so that you can walk in freedom. You are free! Jesus refused the wine mixed with gall (myrrh), so that today you don't need a vice in order to live your life. You don't need alcohol, drugs, starvation, over-eating, cutting yourself, prescription medications, or anything else that keeps you from coming to Jesus with your pain. Come to Him! Come to Jesus! Put your pain at His feet, and receive His joy, His love, His peace, His provision for your weaknesses. When you come to the Lord with your cup of wine mixed with your vices and let Him have it, He will exchange it for His perfection. Receive it. Tell Jesus you receive it. Tell yourself you receive it, and do that over and over. Lay down your pain over and over. Jesus took your pain and suffering and guilt and sickness almost 2,000 years ago. It has been paid. He not only took it all, He made sure He was conscious and aware of every single enemy that tries to keep us in defeat today. So, receive it! He paid for it. The Second & Third Cup The second time Jesus was offered wine it was because the soldiers cruelly mocked Him. It doesn't say whether or not He consumed this sour wine, just that it was offered to Him. (Luke 23:36) The third time He is given sour wine it's because He asks for it in fulfillment of the scripture: "They also gave me gall for my food, and for my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink." (Psalm 69:21) John 19:28-30 says "Jesus knew that his mission was now finished, and to fulfill Scripture he said, “I am thirsty.” A jar of sour wine was sitting there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put it on a hyssop branch, and held it up to his lips. When Jesus had tasted it, he said, “It is finished!” Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit." The fulfillment of the scripture that is mentioned in John is that of Isaiah 51:17 "You who have drunk at the hand of the Lord the cup of His wrath..." Jesus took the cup, He drank it completely. The wrath of the Lord is described as being filled up within a cup, and only when a cup is filled to the top would He destroy a nation. Did you know that? When Jonah went to Nineveh to prophecy their impending doom, the scripture says, "Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me." Their cup had filled, their judgement was upon them. Jonah didn't want to go because these people were known to be ruthless. They were wicked! He was afraid. He lacked courage. But you know what happened? They repented. They turned from their ways and repented of their sins, and they received forgiveness. Their cup emptied out because of their repentance. Today, there is no cup of wrath. There are consequences to sin, absolutely. There is still a natural law to this earth. When Adam sinned, he gave the keys of this world over to Satan and his angels. God gave Adam dominion over this world (Genesis 1:26), Adam and Eve gave it to the devil when they sinned in the garden. But Jesus, but Jesus, he took back the keys of dominion with His death. (Revelations 1:18, Matthew 16:19) He bought our freedom. When we receive the forgiveness that Jesus bought for us, when we receive the payment He made, we come under the grace that His death bought for us. His grace encompasses us and we are able to have every blessing in Christ Jesus. Jesus, on the cross, experienced every single pain, sickness, disease, weakness, vice, everything. The entire cup of God's wrath consumed Him like fire as He became our literal burnt offering to fulfill scripture so that you and I can know this promise to our very core: This is what the Sovereign Lord, your God and Defender, says: “See, I have taken the terrible cup from your hands. You will drink no more of my fury." (Isaiah 51:22) It Is Finished! John 19:30: "he said, “It is finished!” Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit." It is done. What do you need today? It is paid for. Completely. Not only is it perfectly paid for, it's overpaid. In the Greek, the word finished is teleō, which means to bring to a close, to finish or to end. Jesus brought to a close the covenant of the Old Testament, fulfilling the scripture that says, "Do not think that I came to do away with or undo the Law [of Moses] or the [writings of the] Prophets; I did not come to destroy but to fulfill." (Matthew 5:17) This means that today, there is nothing you have to do to earn your salvation. There's no sacrifice you have to make to atone for your sins, no guilt offering that must be given for you to not feel condemned. You are forgiven. There is no wrong you can commit that Jesus didn't already take on the cross! So don't feel condemned today, don't let your feelings get in the way of the finished work. Instead, change your mind. Change your thinking. Your thoughts dictate your feelings, so think right! Think on the finished work, think about the cross, think about what Jesus did for you, then you will feel joy, peace, and contentment. Teleō also means to discharge a debt, payment, to go over. Not only did Jesus completely pay off our debts, He went over the balance. It's like this: imagine that all of your sins and the ways you have messed up in your entire life accumulate to 1 million dollars. When you get to the throne of God in heaven after you have died (assuming you have accepting the Lord as your Savior), God looks at your name written in His Book of Life, and next to your name it says, "Debt Owed: 1 Million, Debt Paid: 1 Billion. This one is paid up." Then the Lord looks at you and says: "Welcome to heaven, my good and faithful servant." That's how great the blood of Jesus is for you and me. His blood is so perfect, so sinless, so awesome, that He didn't just cover the weight of all of our sins, diseases, angst, depression, loneliness, and fears, He overpaid the payment! By a lot! We can't possibly know or understand how great He is until we get to heaven, but receiving the overpayment every day, every time you mess up, reminding yourself you have been made righteous because of His blood, puts His sacrifice into right perspective in your mind. We need to do that. We need to have a right perspective to enjoy the full benefits of His death. He died so that we may live. So live! You Are Free Indeed If you have believed in the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior, and you put your trust in Him, then know today that you are free. You are totally and completely and utterly free from anything that torments you. You are totally and completely free from any enemy that haunts you. Seize upon this truth! I have a friend who lives in her feelings. Almost every time I talk with her she says, "I'm an emotional person, I can't help my feelings!" I used to be like that too. I remember a day when I was 24-25 years old and I cried out to the Lord saying, "Why can't I control my feelings! I hate having these outbursts!" It was some time after crying out to Him over and over that He brought me to the verse: "We are destroying sophisticated arguments and every exalted and proud thing that sets itself up against the [true] knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought and purpose captive to the obedience of Christ." (2 Corinthians 10:5 AMP) Did you know that living in your feelings is a proud thing? It is. It's pride to deny that Jesus has delivered us out of our slavery, out of our bondage to our feelings. It's not that feelings are bad, they help us live a fulfilled life. We cry when we are sad. We laugh when we are happy. We enjoy special moments and we are in awe when God shows up in awesome ways in our lives. But living in your feelings is bondage. When you live chained to how you feel, then you can't ever be rational, self-controlled or grounded despite your circumstances. And we destroy sophisticated arguments and every exalted thing. Do you know who has "sophisticated arguments"? The devil. And he goes around whispering lies into the lives of anyone he can destroy. Do you know what sounds like a sophisticated argument right now? "Make sure you teach your children that gender is neutral so that they may choose for themselves who they want to be." Or "men can play on women's teams and women can play on men's teams." Or "God is angry with you because of this {insert how you've messed up} sin you committed." These are sophisticated lies and exalted things that are set up against the true knowledge of God. When Satan comes at you and reminds you of your sin that you've committed, do you let him? Or when he tells you to live in your feelings and keeps you in chains to how you feel instead of to the Truth, do you just accept them for yourself? Don't! Stop letting him control you! The next time you mess up and feel the condemning guilt of it, take those thoughts captive to the obedience of Christ. What is the obedience of Christ? It's stopping that thought right where it is in your mind, and telling yourself, "Jesus died for this. Jesus was obedient to my God, and He went to the cross and gave up His life so that I no longer have to be tortured by this. I no longer have to live with the guilt or shame of sinning. I am righteous! Jesus overpaid my debt! It is finished!" And every time that the lies come, remind yourself of the Truth. Every time that you mess up, remind yourself that you are redeemed. Every time that you hurt yourself or believe a lie, remind yourself that IT IS FINISHED! And stop condemning yourself for your flesh. The flesh is what it is, it's flesh. It's fallen. But you, your life, your soul and spirit are redeemed. I said I used to live in my feelings too. I rarely do anymore. I feel things, absolutely. But I don't live in them. I don't let them control me. I have taken those feelings captive to the obedience of my Lord who paid for them dearly, paid for them with the blood that speaks of better things. Sometimes the flesh rises up, and for a few minutes or several hours, I will feel condemned or guilty, or sad or overwhelmed. When that happens, I remind myself I am dead to the flesh! Jesus has resurrected me with the words, "It is finished!" When I react out of how I feel, instead of trying (on my own strength) to be better the next time, I just remind myself of what Jesus has already done. I remind myself over and over that I am the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus. I remind myself that I have been sanctified and justified. Those reminders have changed the way I think. And every time the lies come, I remind myself again. That's how the flesh dies, and the Spirit gives me life. I don't remember how long it took, but one day I woke up and I no longer reacted to things the way I used to. It was a battle to renew my mind, renew my thoughts. I can't lie and say it was easy. When the Lord called the Israelites out of Egypt, out of slavery, He brought them to the wilderness and to the promised land. In order for them to get to their promised land, they had to go in and fight their enemies. In order for us to get to our promised land, our freedom from our addictions and vices, we have to fight our enemies. We have to go in and possess our promise! And today, possessing your promises begins in your mind. Jesus died, and with His final breath, His final words, He said "it is finished." He said that for us. He said that out loud so that John would record those words that we might read them and say, "my enemies are finished because of the cross." Today, your enemy must kneel to the cross. Sit down and write out your enemies. Find Bible verses that speak against these things. Hold those verses close to you, write them on your heart. Instead of being like my friend who declares out loud that "she can't help her feelings, can't help her emotions" giving her enemy a voice and power over her life; be the saint you are and declare God's Word over yourself. If you have a disease, find a verse about healing. If you suffer from self-harm, recognize the root of your hurt and find a verse that speaks to how loved you are. If you use drugs or alcohol to numb something, look at what you're trying to numb and invite Jesus into those places with you. Find a word you can hold onto that tells you about how wonderful you are. (Genesis 1:27, Psalm 139:14, Romans 8:1) I want you to hear this my friend, whatever your weakness, whatever your need, whatever you lack, Jesus says IT IS FINISHED! He says to you, I PAID FOR IT! It's done! Go somewhere quiet, go for a drive, read these words aloud, and then shout out to the heavens, "I receive it!" Whatever your battle is today, receive your finished work. Jesus wants you to honor what He did for you by not trying to earn it, by not trying to add to it, but by just surrendering to it, receiving it, and letting Him wash over you. He loves you with an everlasting love, a love that is eternal. He loves you so much that He died so that you could be with Him in heaven forever. Forever! He wants to be with you forever! Receive that love my friend, and we will be together forever with Him in eternity. With Joy, Jessica

Prayer: When You Need A Miracle

Prayer: When You Need A Miracle

"Every day holds the possibility of a miracle."
-Elizabeth David Praying when there's no answer, is hard work. It's also heart work. It takes courage and strength to keep praying. It takes perseverance and patience to keep going even when there is no reply. It takes dependence on God, and trusting that He knows what He's doing. It's in this process, in this season of waiting for God to move, that the real work happens. And it happens in us. I wrote this prayer while in the middle of writing Knock And The Door Will Be Opened. As I was studying the Word of God and writing this article, He gave me a prayer for those who are waiting on the Lord for their miracle. A prayer for those who are in the wilderness and wondering when, when will you see your Promised Land? Waiting is hard. I think it's harder than receiving a no from the Lord. We struggle to wait on Him, because that means we're giving up control of the situation. It means we're giving up control of the way we perceive our life should go, the way we plan for it to turn out. That's hard. But yet, God's Word says He is faithful, and His Word tells us to ask, seek, and knock. Beautiful friend, today don't stop asking from the Lord. Don't stop seeking His face, and don't stop knocking until He opens the door. Lord, today I'm not just asking for my miracle, I'm begging for it. I require you to answer me! Answer my prayer! Lord God in heaven, hear my voice! I won't give up. I won't stop asking for {name your miracle}. I so desire for You to give me what I need! No one but You can. Lord, I seek Your face, Your heart, Your will in this matter. If You have a different path for me, then change my heart's desire. If this is the right path, then lead me out of the wilderness. Bring me to my promised land! Father, I praise You. I praise You for Your faithfulness, I praise You because You are mighty to save, and You are with me. I praise You because You take great delight in me. Sing over me Lord! Hear my cry and sing over me! Father, I'm knocking on the door and only you can answer it. I pray the blood of Jesus Christ into my life, into my situation, and over myself and {name specifically what the blood must cover}. The blood of Jesus speaks of better things than Abel, better than any man who's ever lived, and I call on Your blood to cover me, cover my miracle, and bring it forth. In Jesus name, hear my prayer! Answer me! Give to me my miracle! Amen! “I am the LORD, the God of all the peoples of the world. Is anything too hard for me?"
Jeremiah 32:27 (NLT) Verses mentioned in this prayer: Matthew 7:7, Zephaniah 3:17, Hebrews 10:19, Hebrews 12:24

Knock And The Door Will Be Opened

Knock And The Door Will Be Opened

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you."
Matthew 7:7 Do you ever feel like you're praying and God's not answering? Maybe you feel even worse than that, like you're praying and God's simply choosing to not listen? I've felt that way. Many times before. But you know what? I've yet to see Him fail in His faithfulness toward me. I was meditating on Matthew 7 this morning and the Lord prompted me to look into the deeper meaning of this verse to discover the beauties within. This one verse holds the key for receiving answers to our prayers! I hope it encourages you to keep praying until you see God answer. Ask, And It Will Be Given To You One of my friends said to me once that, "maybe God cares more about you and that's why He answers your prayers more than mine." That one sentence hit a nerve with me, because God loves all of His children equally. So, I know this isn't true! However, there is one little verse in 1 Chronicles 28:4 where David mentions Judah being chosen of all the tribes. He goes on to say, of all the families of Judah, his was chosen, and then he says, "and among the sons of my father he liked me to make me king over all Israel." I love that verse. Do you want to be liked by God? I want to be liked by God. And that one verse has changed my prayer life and walk with Jesus. When we look at Matthew 7:7 in the Greek, the words for ask, seek and knock are in the present continuous tense. The way these words actually show up are, "ask, and keep asking; seek, and keep seeking; knock, and keep knocking." Doesn't that change your perspective completely? In fact, the Amplified Bible has it written the way we should understand it. “Ask and keep on asking and it will be given to you; seek and keep on seeking and you will find; knock and keep on knocking and the door will be opened to you." (Matthew 7:7 AMP) The word for ask is aiteo, which means to beg, call for, crave, desire, or require. It's a very strong word! When we come to the Lord and ask for something, He's saying beg for it. Crave it or desire it so strongly that you quite literally require that I answer you! That's what He's saying to us and to His disciples. When you ask for something from the Lord, do you come into His presence with meekness, wondering if He wishes to answer your prayer? Or do you fall prostrate before Him and beg Him to answer you? That is the one reason I believe that God has answered so many of my prayers. I can't leave the throne alone. Most days I live there. I literally refuse to leave God's presence and give up on my prayers! There are times when I go through seasons of doubt and wondering. I wonder if God hears me or cares about me, but then I remember this verse and it fuels me. Does it fuel you? If you have a need, and the only one who can answer it is God, then ask God to do it! Get to a place of total dependence that you literally require Him to do it! And don't stop asking until He either changes your heart's desire, or moves heaven and earth for your miracle to happen. The times when the Lord has blown my mind in the ways He has answered my prayers have been when I begged Him, when I literally required Him to answer me because I needed Him to. He loves this type of prayer. He's attracted to this type of prayer. He loves to be needed! Seek, And You Will Find The Greek word for seek here is zēteō. It can be meant in either a positive sense or a negative sense. In the positive form, it means to worship God. Seeking His Face, worshipping Him and following after Him is what this means. In a negative sense, it means to plot against. I find it interesting that there are wolves in sheep's clothing, doing this very thing in churches all over. They plot against God, seeking out places where He is worshipped to poison people against Him and bring down entire church bodies. This is why we need to be alert! Be aware of anything that goes against the Word of God. Zēteō also means desire, endeavor, enquire, require, and seek after (something). It's another strong word! When we ask for something from God, pray for something, we must also seek His face. Seek after His heart on the matter, and worship Him. Do you want to see God answer your prayers? Worship Him! There's a reason that the worshippers were put on the front lines of battle. There's a reason why worshipping God brings down our enemies! A few years ago God convicted me to stop listening to any kind of secular music. Not long ago, I was in the gym and there was rock music playing. After listening to it for a little while I found that I had more anger, more zest, and also, more energy to workout. Odd. After I got home I mediated on that feeling. Why did I have more energy to workout with secular music? Music that speaks of lust, getting revenge, cheating, violence? And then it hit me, because Satan has energy too - but it's not God's energy. Secular music glorifies everything that brings about death and decay. And that's why God asked me to give up. I missed it at first, but I've found that without it I'm more at peace, more at rest, more grounded and centered. If just not listening to worldly music can do that, how much more does praising and worshipping God change us? The same word for seek in Matthew 7:7 is used in 1 Peter 5:8: "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour." Satan plots against anyone he can eat, trying to make them believe lies, be anxious, and troubled in heart. But those who seek after God, won't have to worry about the devil. When we seek the Lord, He becomes our rear guard. (Isaiah 52:12) God protects our fronts when we seek Him, and our backs because we seek Him! When you pray and ask God for your miracle, don't forget to seek His face and worship Him for the God He is! Go before the Lord and desire Him, require Him to answer you, seek Him out and pray with all your heart. Knock, And The Door Will Be Opened To You The Greek word for knock is krouo, which means to rap, to knock. Pretty simple! So simple in fact, that I had to meditate on the word knock to get anything out of it. As I was pondering the word, thinking on it and mulling it over, the Lord showed me different pictures of people knocking. When you go to your friend's house, you knock knowing they want to open it to you. You might give a funny knock on the door, or a series of knocks that plays out a melody. There are also times when I feel like that with God! I'm cheeky with Him, I tell jokes and laugh about it, or I'll pray for something kind of silly and then smile at Jesus, feeling Him smile at me. Then there are knocks for emergencies. We've seen the movies, or maybe you've had an urgent knock on your door before. And sometimes that's how it is with our God. We knock with urgency, we yell out to Him, "answer me! This is an emergency! No one but you can do this!" And then there are desperate knocks. The knocks where you are crying, on your knees, with what feels like bloody fists and all you can do is put your palm on the door and plead with God to open it to you. The only words you have are tears and desperate sounds. And God asks that you give Him those knocks too. Don't Stop Asking, Seeking, Knocking You know those days when you wake up, and you feel like if a devil approached you, you could send Him straight to hell with all the faith you have in your heart? Yeah, those are good days. I have no trouble coming before the Lord and praying all day, asking and believing He hears me and wants to provide for me. But then there are days when it's hard to pray. The days when I've been asking for something for weeks, months, years, and yet there is still no reply. Those are the days when my faith fails, and it feels like every demonic principality has put a target on my back and they're winning. Those are bad days. On those days, I can barely summon a prayer. But my tears are a prayer. My sighs are heard from the throne of heaven. My desperate pleas reach His ears. And so do yours. In response to my friend who thinks God answers my prayers and not hers, all I have to say is keep asking and seeking and knocking. Get to a point where nothing will stop you from coming before the throne. I want to know my God with everything in me, and I want Him to know me. I want Him to like me like he liked David. And so, I have bad days, but then I wake up the next day and dust myself off, and move forward. I keep praying, worshipping, and mediating on the Word of God. It sustains me. It gives me life. It gives me hope. And it reminds me that He is faithful, and He hasn't failed me yet. When I hear of miracles happening to other people, I always think it can happen for me too. If God answered their prayer, He can answer mine too. Why? Because He's my God too. Is He your God too? Then when you hear of miracles happening around you, of God answering other people's prayers, remind yourself that He's your God too. Heaven doesn't have a supply issue, we have a demand issue. He wants to answer you, but you have to require Him to do it. Today, don't stop asking, don't stop seeking, don't stop knocking. When you ask, it will be given, when you seek, you will find, and when you knock, then the door will be opened and you will walk forward into your future of answered prayers. With Joy, Jessica

You Are Not Guilty!

You Are Not Guilty!

So don't let Satan deceive you into feeling guilty... Therefore there is now no condemnation [no guilty verdict, no punishment] for those who are in Christ Jesus [who believe in Him as personal Lord and Savior]
Romans 8:1 The Amplified Bible has a wonderful way of writing the scriptures and calling out the hidden meanings within the original Greek text. You know the phrase, “it was lost in translation?” This is especially true when it comes to many of us reading our Bible. Often the original meaning and phrasing gets “lost in translation.” This verse is one of those places where our English doesn’t pull out the full meaning of the original Greek text. But if you look at it in the Amplified, then we can see the true richness of what the Holy Spirit meant when he showed this to Paul. Starting with the first part, there is now no condemnation, no guilty verdict, no punishment for the believer. There is absolutely none! In the Greek, the word no condemnation is like a megaphone to say, you will never ever ever be found guilty by the heavenly courts ever again! There is absolutely nothing you can do, no wrong you can commit, that will ever separate you from God’s love. I want you to truly let that sink in. You are free from any sin you have ever committed, or will ever commit. God doesn't judge you! I think we have a hard time believing those words, that God doesn't judge us today as believers. Many, many pastors have messed this up by telling their sheep that "You are free from condemnation once you are saved, BUT when you come to the table, make sure you search your heart and submit your sins to the Lord before you partake." This makes you feel like you are unworthy, but the Bible says you ARE worthy because of the blood of the lamb. 1 Corinthians 6:11 says that we have been sanctified and justified. Jesus' blood sanctifies us and justifies us and makes us worthy to come before the Lord. His blood did it! His blood also covers you and gives you the gift of no condemnation forever and ever. All you have to do today is believe it. When the devil comes to steal this Word from your heart by condemning you for something you did in the past, don't let him. Keep this verse in the forefront of your mind, remind yourself that you are free from condemnation because of Jesus Christ. If he comes to attack you, look to Jesus! This is how you renew your mind and keep yourself free from feeling guilt over something in your past. Christ died to set you free from having a guilty conscious, honor His sacrifice by receiving it. The second part of this verse is the clause for someone to know they aren’t condemned. The only catch of not being found guilty in the court of heaven, is to believe in Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior. That’s it! And once you do, you will never ever be condemned, ever again! If you have put your trust in Jesus, and accepted Him as your Lord and Savior, then know that God is not angry with you. We can read about His anger in the Old Testament. However, did you realize that after Jesus died on the cross, God doesn't get angry with His people? Anyone who has believed in Christ, Jew or Gentile, will never receive God's anger ever again! The only ones who will feel His wrath, His justice, are those who do not put their trust in Him. But for the rest of us, He tells us beautiful things like this: Come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:16) Beloved, I pray that in every way you may succeed and prosper and be in good health [physically], just as [I know] your soul prospers [spiritually]. (3 John 1:2) For I will restore health to you, and your wounds I will heal, declares the Lord. (Jeremiah 30:17) But the Lord is faithful; he will strengthen you and guard you from the evil one. (2 Thessalonians 3:3) The righteous person may have many troubles, but the LORD delivers him from them all. (Psalm 34:19) When you supply it, they gather it. You open your hand to feed them, and they are richly satisfied. (Psalm 104:28) You may not always feel God’s love. You may not always have feel good feelings coursing through you, but this verse says that your feelings on this issue don’t matter. The Truth is, you are not found guilty for any past sin or wrong. No matter what. So even when you don’t feel loved, even when you feel condemned or guilty, know today it is not God who condemns you. Recognize the true author of those lies (the devil), and renew your mind in the Truth. His Word says there is now no condemnation for those who believe in Him. Today, take Him at His Word. When you feel attacked or condemned for a past wrong, come before the Lord and tell Him that you take Him at His Word. Tell the Father that you know you are not guilty because His Word declares it. And lay whatever guilt or condemnation you feel at His feet. Sometimes your conscience reminds you of a past wrong you committed. When something comes up over and over again in your mind, learn how to receive God's forgiveness, and also how to forgive yourself. I wrote an article on this very topic because when we know we've done someone wrong, we often have a hard time forgiving ourselves for our past mistakes. (Read Jesus Says You Are Forgiven!) Today, know it in your heart that you are blameless in God's sight. Come to His throne and ask for whatever you need, and He will hear you and answer you. Ask, and keep on asking until He answers your request. He hears you, and He will come to your rescue. Keep these verses in the forefront of your mind and remind yourself over and over that you are not condemned today. Shed any guilt you feel over the past at the foot of the cross, and walk forward in complete freedom in Christ Jesus. With Joy, Jessica

The Blood Leaves A Stain

The Blood Leaves A Stain

I was cleaning out my refrigerator one morning and in the back of the fridge, I noticed an old wine glass with a little bit of wine leftover in it. I knew it had been in there for a few weeks, completely forgotten. I pulled it out and poured the wine out. After pouring out the wine, I noticed a stain in the glass. I swished water around a few times to rinse out the stain. It wouldn't budge. The bottom of the glass stayed dark. I put the glass by the edge of the sink and thought, "the wine leaves a stain." Suddenly the Lord spoke to my heart and said, "The Blood leaves a stain." I love that the Father speaks to His children during every moments. He uses insignificant details in our lives to show us just how much He is listening. He cares about our very thoughts! The Hebrew Word for stain is the verb כתם (katam). This verb is found in Jeremiah 2:22. "For though you wash yourself with lye And use much soap, The stain of your guilt is [still] before Me [and you are soiled and dirty],” says the Lord God." (AMP) The stain of our sins, of our guilt, of our iniquities (which is the word used in many translations), leaves a mark. Sin leaves a residual trace in our bodies and in our lives. It's hard to remove the stain that sin leaves on us. But what the Lord said to me in that moment is that His blood also stains. His blood leaves a mark, a stain on our lives! There is nothing we can do to remove it or change it, it's simply there the day we submit our lives to Christ and invite Him to be our Savior. No longer are we marked by the stain of our sin. Now we can boldly declare that we are redeemed through the staining blood of Christ! There are many songs that talk about how we are washed with the blood. It's true. We are washed clean from our sinful stains. 1 Corinthians 6:11 (AMP) "And such were some of you [before you believed]. But you were washed [by the atoning sacrifice of Christ], you were sanctified [set apart for God, and made holy], you were justified [declared free of guilt] in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the [Holy] Spirit of our God [the source of the believer’s new life and changed behavior]." Whenever I would hear previous pastors talk about being washed, it was always in the context of coming to the table for communion. Often they would say something like this, "before you come to the table, confess your sins and let the blood of Jesus wash you clean." It always made me feel not good enough or worthy enough to partake of the blood. This teaching is not only incorrect, it's straight up dangerous because it makes you believe as though you must partake of the washing of your sins by first confessing. However, 1 John 1:7 says, "But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin." The word here for cleanse is in the Greek tense for present and continuous action. This means that once we receive Christ we are cleansed, and the blood continually cleanses and cleanses us from every sin, every evil thought, every evil practice, forever! The first part of this verse says "if we walk in the light as He is in the light." The if here means that we have come into alignment with Christ by receiving His perfect sacrifice for ourselves. We recognize that He is our Savior and we receive it. That's how we are in the light! We walk in the light by receiving Jesus as our Savior! And because we are now in the light, His blood continually cleanses us all day every day. Take a look at 1 Corinthians 6:11 in the WEY translation: "And all this describes what some of you were. But now you have had every stain washed off: now you have been set apart as holy: now you have been pronounced free from guilt; in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ and through the Spirit of our God." We have had every stain washed off and we are now set apart as holy. It is Jesus and His blood which makes us holy. His blood washes over us and leaves its own stain, the stain of holiness and of righteousness. When you come before the throne today in prayer, you can come boldly knowing that the blood of Jesus has left you stained with His righteousness and holiness. You belong in the presence of the Lord. Don't come before the Father wondering if He hears you or cares about you, come boldly with confidence because the blood of Jesus, which speaks of better things than that of the blood of Abel. (Hebrews 12:24) Did you see that? The blood of Jesus speaks. The blood of Jesus has a voice. The blood of Jesus declares that you ARE righteous! You ARE sanctified! You ARE holy! Don't spend today wondering if you are worthy to come before the throne. Know today that you ARE worthy. Jesus made a way and His blood speaks of better things. The blood leaves a stain and today that stain declares that you are made perfect in the Beloved. (Hebrews 10:14) Are you saved? Have you accepted Christ as your Savior? If your answer is yes, then know you are stained by the blood of Christ. All of the promises in the Bible are yours because of His sacrifice. Need healing? It is yours. Need faith? It is yours. Want a baby? It is yours. Just look to the blood, look to Jesus, tell Him of your need and it will be yours. Just as His blood continually cleanses you, continually come to Him with your need and watch as every need is met and every want is answered by the name and power of Jesus. Amen! With Joy, Jessica

Put Painful Toil & Trouble To Death

Put Painful Toil & Trouble To Death

So David said to him, “How was it you were not afraid to put forth your hand to destroy the Lord’s anointed?” Then David called one of the young men and said, “Go near, and execute him!” And he struck him so that he died. So David said to him, “Your blood is on your own head, for your own mouth has testified against you, saying, ‘I have killed the Lord’s anointed.’
2 Samuel 1:14-16 I was reading this passage when the Lord opened my eyes to the beautiful truths written in these words. On the surface, this chapter looks aggressive and sad. Saul had just died, and the Israelites were scattered from the battle against the Philistines. An Amalekite escaped the battlefield, and after killing Saul, brought his crown and bracelet to David because he knew David had been anointed the next king over Israel. David rewards this Amalekite by having him killed. What?? None of this chapter makes much sense! Unless you dive deeper into the truths of what the Lord is saying. I was hungry for the deeper meaning within these verses, and as I pondered on what was happening, the Holy Spirit revealed the secrets within. The Meaning of the Amalekite When the Israelites came into the land to possess it, there were giants of many tribes squatting in their inheritance. The Lord promised Abraham the land many years before, but because Abraham didn't go completely into the land of Canaan, his descendants had to fight to have their promised land. If Abraham had obeyed the word of the Lord immediately, Abraham and Isaac and Jacob, and the sons of Jacob, would have been living in their promised land right away! Instead, we see that Satan has brought squatters into the Israelites inheritance. Does that sound familiar? The Lord's scriptures say that we are promised good health because by Jesus' stripes we are healed. But maybe you have been robbed of good health. Has disease and mental illness, anxiety or depression, robbed you of many good years? Then there are squatters in your land! Maybe you suffer from poverty, or a lack mentality. You believe that the Lord doesn't want to bless you with a good paycheck from the work of your hands. You believe that He doesn't want you to have wealth. But my Bible says, "You know the generous grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty he could make you rich." (2 Corinthians 8:9 NLT) Are you living in debt with a poverty mindset? Then there are squatters living in your promised land! Every single tribe that Israel fought against represents an enemy that attacks us. Philistine means wallowing in the dust; it's a picture of self-condemnation. Midianite means strife. Every time the Midianites came to attack, there was strife among the families and people of Israel. So, what was the purpose of the Amalekites? The etymology of the word Amalekite means people that wring, people that lap. And the meaning of the Hebrew word Amal is to toil, pain, sorrow, weariness, wickedness. Amalek can also mean warlike. Saul's entire kingship was marked with painful war and battles. Not once does it say that while he was king the land rested from war. Not once! Is this your life? Every day, every month, every year is marked with battles? As hard as you try, it seems as though you're always at war? Your heart and mind are littered with the aftereffects from doing battle against the enemy? There is a better way! Do not be another believer whose life is a constant struggle! I don't want that for you, and Jesus especially wants to see you set free. When the Israelites came into the land, the Lord told them to completely destroy their enemies. God's heart for His people is that all their enemies would be gone. How do you do that? You go to war! Get into the battle! Not as Saul did, but as David did. Saul never completed the task of completely eradicating the enemy. David does. In 1 Samuel 15:2 we find a command that God gave to Saul. "Thus says the Lord of hosts: ‘I will punish Amalek for what he did to Israel, how he ambushed him on the way when he came up from Egypt. Now go and attack Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and do not spare them. But kill both man and woman, infant and nursing child, ox and sheep, camel and donkey.’ ” Remember that Amalek means warlike? Amal means toil, pain, sorrow, weariness, and wickedness? The Lord was saying to Saul, go eradicate this enemy which has caused toil, pain, and sorrow for my people. He was saying, they bring war against you. Kill them all, let none live, so that there may be peace in your land. Instead of obeying God's voice, Saul saved the best of the sheep, oxen, fatlings and lambs (1 Samuel 15:9). Worst of all, Saul spared Amalek's king, Agag. Instead of destroying the people who caused weariness and sorrow to the Israelites, Saul let their king live. The ruler of the enemy, Saul did not put to death. Yikes. How this looks in the life of the Christian today: "I suffer from anxiety and depression. Instead of combatting this enemy which has come against me to rob me of my life, I will take medication to lower the symptoms." The worst of the symptoms might be gone, but the king still lives within your mind. "I am easily angry, because my father or mother was always angry with me. I blow up at my children or husband, but then I am sorrowful and I apologize. I correct the wrong after the fact." Instead of holding your tongue, stepping out of the room and taking your anger to the Lord, you explode. But you always apologize! The people of Amalek might die when you say you're sorry, but the king is alive in your anger. "I can't seem to have kids. Maybe God doesn't want that for me." The king is alive and well, making you believe a lie. God says, "No one shall suffer miscarriage or be barren in your land; I will fulfill the number of your days." (Exodus 23:26) Don't let the king of your enemy live! Put it to death! Saul was immediately rejected as king after he disobeyed the command of the Lord. “The Lord has torn the kingdom of Israel from you today, and has given it to a neighbor of yours, who is better than you.” (1 Samuel 15:28) Don't let someone better take your place because you were unwilling to go after the enemy with everything you got. Pursue it and kill it until it's dead and gone from your life. Be Like David, Put Your Enemy To Death! Back to 2 Samuel 1, an Amalekite came to David with Saul's crown and bracelet. It was a demonstration of the changing of the guard, a changing of the kings. David asks the Amalekite how he knows that Saul and Jonathan are dead. He answers this way, "As I happened by chance to be on Mount Gilboa, there was Saul, leaning on his spear; and indeed the chariots and horsemen followed hard after him. Now when he looked behind him, he saw me and called to me. And I answered, ‘Here I am.’ And he said to me, ‘Who are you?’ So I answered him, ‘I am an Amalekite.’ He said to me again, ‘Please stand over me and kill me, for anguish has come upon me, but my life still remains in me.’ So I stood over him and killed him, because I was sure that he could not live after he had fallen. And I took the crown that was on his head and the bracelet that was on his arm, and have brought them here to my lord.” (2 Samuel 1:6-10) David then has this Amalekite killed, because he touched God's anointed, Saul. Earlier in 1 Samuel we see that God tells David not to kill His anointed. The Lord says to David, "touch not my anointed!" David lets Saul live. When you accept Christ, and come into the kingdom of God, you are under the Father's protection. You are His anointed. It's your choice if you want to live the way Saul did, allowing enemies to stay alive in your mind and in your heart and in your life. Or, you can live like David did, and put these enemies to death. The Lord protects His anointed, but if you allow squatters into your land, eventually they will kill you. Saul let the king of Amalek live, an Amalekite put the final nail in Saul's coffin. In verse 15 David kills the Amalekite. I was pondering this in my heart, telling the Lord it didn't make sense that David would kill the Amalekite for putting David's enemy to death. How many times did Saul pursue David to kill him and overtake him? How many times did Saul chase David through the desert until he had to literally leave Israel and live in enemy territory? Many times! And the Lord said this to me, "David put painful toil, sorrow, weariness and wickedness to death before taking the throne." In the desert, David learned to trust in the Lord. He started putting together His army. Do you know what his army consisted of? "And everyone who was in distress, everyone who was in debt, and everyone who was discontented gathered to him. So he became captain over them. And there were about four hundred men with him." (1 Samuel 22:2) Are you in distress? God can use you. Are you in debt? God can turn you into a warrior with wealth. Are you discontented? God can make you calm, happy, satisfied and patient. But, you must pursue Him. Pursue Jesus and He will turn your situation around. These men came to David because he was anointed to be the next king. They recognized him as the Lord's beloved. Pursue the Lord's beloved! Pursue Jesus today! He will change your mind, change your heart, change your life and bring you from poverty into wealth. He'll bring you from a place of distress into a place of delight. Pursue the Beloved! He will change you! Before David took the throne he put his enemies to death. While living in Ziklag he raided entire villages of Geshurites, Girzites and Amalekites. He left none alive, but killed them all. In Ziklag, in enemy territory, David learned to kill the enemy. Are you in enemy territory today? Has Satan come into your home, into your mind, and into your heart to rob you of your peace and joy? Has he robbed you of contentment and satisfaction? Has he robbed your family? Put him to death! Pursue him until he is dead at your feet! How do you do this? Do as David did. Pursue the Lord with everything you have. Pursue Him in the desert and in the wilderness. Pursue Him when you are in enemy territory and behind enemy lines. When the water dries up because you're under the hot desert sun, drink from the Word of God by opening your Bible. When the food is gone because there is no manna in the wilderness, feed on the Word of God by listening to sermons. When you're behind enemy lines and Satan has you surrounded, fight back by worshipping the Lord and listening to praise music. Fight the enemy with the Word. Fight the enemy by listening to inspired sermons that build your faith. Fight the enemy by praising God in the storm. This tactic is how we pursue the enemy, hunt him down, and destroy him. Pursue the enemy with everything you have, and watch as he falls at your feet. The enemy can't remain alive when the Beloved is in your life. Kill The King! Saul let the king live, even though he killed everyone else. Satan will try to convince you to let the king live, that it's ok to keep a few enemies alive as long as most of them are dead. When you think about reading your Bible to feed on Jesus, the devil will sneak in and say something like, "that sssssounds boring. Maybe we could read a novel instead? That will liven up your depresssssed heart...." (Emphasis on the s's cause he's a snake). When you go to the gym to workout and pause before turning on your workout playlist, thinking that a sermon or worship music would be a better option, he comes and says, "you won't get a good workout in with THAT music...." When you start scrolling through your podcast list to find a good sermon, but instead listen to the enemy say, "you don't know much about this topic of politics...maybe listen to it?" Don't let the king live! When the enemy comes to steal the worship song, to steal the sermon, to steal your time reading God's Word, take it back! Ignore the enemy and pursue the Lord! Do you have an issue today? Do you have an enemy that is squatting in your promised land? Pursue the King of Kings, and watch as your enemy fades away before your very eyes. Saul pursued David and tried to kill him. David didn't even end up having to fight Saul. Saul's own enemy took care of him. Saul allowed the king of toil, pain, and sorrow to live. A lowly servant from the tribe of toil, pain, and sorrow ended up killing him. Any time you let an enemy live, it will end up killing you in the end. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, maybe not for many years. Eventually though, your enemy will catch up with you and overtake you. David didn't have to lift a finger against Saul, because Saul's own enemy killed him in the end. In fact, Saul begged his enemy to kill him! But David saw the Amalekite for who he really was. Toil and pain, sorrow and weariness, are enemies of the Lord. David made sure they would have no place in his kingdom. He put them all to death before stepping into kingship. When you feel like you need to work hard to receive the Lord's blessings, remember that God wants this enemy put to death. Learn to rest in the Lord instead of working for your blessing. When you are filled with sorrow and heaviness because of a situation, bring your sadness to the Lord and ask that He fill you with His joy. When you are weary from walking in the world, come to Jesus and lay down in His presence and just talk with Him about your struggles. He will strengthen you. David means beloved. Look to Jesus, to the Lord's Beloved, and He will put your enemies to death. You won't even have to lift a finger. If you have an enemy today, pursue the Lord with all that you have. Pursue the Beloved with everything in you. As hard as the enemy attacks, turn and attach yourself to God just as hard. The more you do, the more you will see the bodies of your enemies littered at your feet. Satan cannot live where the blood of Jesus reigns. Make sure Jesus reigns in your house. Make sure Jesus reigns in your mind. Make sure Jesus reigns in your heart. Invite Him into your areas of distress, debt, and discontentment. Bring your enemies to the Lord, and He will slay them for you. Amen? Amen! With Joy, Jessica

Entertain Thoughts From Above

Entertain Thoughts From Above

To entertain means to provide (someone) with amusement or enjoyment; to give attention or consideration to (an idea, suggestion, or feeling). When we give attention to the Lord, to His Word, by reading it and listening to it, we are entertaining Him! We are keeping Him in the forefront of our mind! When we do this, and we consistently show up day after day, He actually begins to entertain us. He begins to trust us with His goodness. His entertainment will come in the form of visions, dreams, being filled with joy and peace, and feelings from above. We experience good days (Psalm 34:11-12). We experience rest for our souls (Psalm 62:1). When we come to the Lord, He gives us good sleep! (Psalm 4:8) When we keep our thoughts on things above, God gives us beautiful adventures with Him. Because the desire of my heart is to be close to Jesus, I have experienced visions and dreams. When I am reading the Bible, God has revealed mysteries and secrets of His Word to my heart. I have had the joy and privilege of feeling the Lord smile at me. That only happens when I stay close to Him! When we choose to lay our heads on His breast, as John did in John 13:23-26, we will be given special revelations as well. Have you ever looked into these verses? All the disciples are eating at the table. They are enjoying dinner and Jesus can feel the betrayal of Judas coming. Judas must have had evil thoughts, evil desires emanating from His presence. The disciples were also arguing about who was the greatest (Luke 22:24). Oh! To have your friends arguing to each other about who is the best when Jesus is about to go like a lamb to the slaughter! But do you know what else we see in this passage? John, with his head on Jesus's chest. He wasn't worried about what was to come, or even concerned about what Jesus was saying about His impending doom. Do you know who was? Peter. Peter was immediately concerned about who would betray Jesus and became worried. He leaned over to John and said, "John! Ask Jesus who it is! Ask Him!" John leaned forward when Peter gestured to him, and then leaned back on Jesus. He asked the Lord who would betray Him, and you know what? Jesus told John. Our scriptures say that He answered. John figured out the secret to walking with the Lord. It's right in the verse preceding this one! John 13:23 "Now there was leaning on Jesus’ bosom one of His disciples, whom Jesus loved." John was leaning on Jesus because he felt loved by Him. He knew Jesus loved him. John figured out the secret. Jesus loves him! Because John felt the Lord's love for him, he spent time with Him, he leaned on Him, and Jesus revealed secrets to him. Jesus Loves You! When you know how much Jesus loves you and wants to spend time with you, you begin to hunger to be in His presence. The more you come into His presence, without even realizing it, your behavior and actions will begin to reflect Jesus. And as you kneel before the King, He will open up His Word to you and it will become alive. Suddenly it won't be a book collecting dust on the shelf, it will be the living, breathing Word of God that breathes life into you. The more you come to Jesus, the more you realize just how much He loves you. John figured this out. You know, the only book that says "John, the disciple whom Jesus loved" was in the book of John! Matthew doesn't say that about John. Luke doesn't say that about John. Only John says that about John! John practiced God's Word. When he wrote down his name, John added "the disciple whom Jesus loved." Do you do that? Do you look at yourself and say, "(name) the one whom Jesus loves!"? Do you remind yourself that you are the beloved, worth dying for? Do you look in the mirror and say to yourself, "I am so loved. Loved enough that Jesus bled for me. Loved enough that Jesus took on all my sins. Loved enough that because He took my place of judgment, I am able to take on His righteousness!" Do today what John did then. Practice remembering that the Lord loves you. HE LOVES YOU! This is how you entertain thoughts from above. Be Hungry, Not Condemned If you ever feel guilty or condemned for not reading the Bible, or spending time with the Lord, recognize where those thoughts came from. There has been an erroneous teaching from the pulpit that the Holy Spirit convicts you with guilt if you haven't read your Bible for awhile. It's not true! The Holy Spirit convicts us yes, not with guilt, but with hunger. Guilt and condemnation are straight from the pit of hell. Any guilt or condemnation you ever feel for not spending time in the Word comes from Satan, and not from the Lord. Because my Bible says this: "There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus." (Romans 8:1a) You are not condemned! The devil condemns you and guilts you with thoughts like, "bad things are happening to you because you haven't opened your Bible....God hates lazy Christians who don't give attention to His Word....you haven't gone to church in awhile, God is angry with you." When this happens, ignore it! They're not your thoughts! And they're not God's thoughts either. I now see the conviction of the Holy Spirit to read the Bible for what it truly is, hunger. I become hungry for time with Jesus. I become thirsty for the living water that quenches my soul. His Word is my bread! If I haven't opened my Bible for a day or two, I can feel the tug on my heart to open it. One night, after a long week, I was watching a tv show with my husband. As I was sitting there, I felt a tug on my soul, and my eyes drifted toward my Bible on the shelf next to the tv. I remember saying to the Holy Spirit, "I feel your tug on me to open the Word. I feel it in my soul." And He responded to me, "I am tugging because Jesus is hungry to spend time with you. He misses you. He misses your friendship." Oh! Oh, how beautiful is our Lord's heart for me! For you! He is hungry to spend time with us! He thirsts for us to be in His presence! That, that is the conviction you feel. It's the Holy Spirit saying to you, "I'm hungry for more of you! Come be with me! I want your friendship! I want your sweet communion! I want to hear from you, to hear your prayers, to hear you heart! Come be with me and listen as I talk to you and fill you up to overflowing. My heart literally beats for you. Will you come listen to it?" When the conviction comes, say yes to Jesus! He longs to spend time with you and hungers for your presence. Will you give it to Him? As you spend time in His Word, your thoughts will begin to flow with His thoughts and His ways. You will find that instead of remaining stuck in earthly muck, you are lifted from the mud and set in Heavenly Places with our Lord Jesus. Entertain thoughts from above. Read your Bible. Listen to inspired sermons. Commune with Jesus. He loves you, and He hungers to be near you. With Joy, Jessica

Trust The Lord In The Wilderness

Trust The Lord In The Wilderness

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight."
-Proverbs 3:5-6 Trusting the Lord and His ways, how He's leading us, can be really easy when we're going through a promised land, or when everything is working out well around us. It's easier to hear the Lord on the mountain-top, and it gives us a false sense of pride that our trust in the Lord will never waver because clearly we're good at this whole walking with God thing! But what happens to our faith when we go through a wilderness season or dark period? That's what God wants to know. He wants to know if we can follow Him in the valley. He wants to know if we'll remain faithful to Him when things get hard. The truth is, our trust tends to wane when we are led into a wilderness season. Maybe we're faithful at first. Maybe even for some time. But when days lead to weeks, which turn into months, which lead to years, do we give up? Or do we press on? God's curious what our response will be. Often we grow weary in the wilderness, and then we say things like, "how long Oh Lord?" "Have you left me here to die?" (Actual words written in one of my journals). Because trusting God when the path before us isn't laid out out with clarity is really, really hard. God Anoints David In 1 Samuel we find that David receives the anointing of God to be Israel's future king. In 1 Samuel 16 God says to Samuel, "“How long will you mourn for Saul, seeing I have rejected him from reigning over Israel? Fill your horn with oil, and go; I am sending you to Jesse the Bethlehemite. For I have provided Myself a king among his sons.” The Lord is saying to Samuel, stop holding onto the past! It does no good to stay stuck in what was. See where I am moving now, and move with me. He says the same thing to us today. Don't live in the past or rush forward to the future. See where I am moving now, and move with me. "So it was, when they came, that he looked at Eliab and said, “Surely the Lord’s anointed is before Him!” But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” -1 Samuel 16:6-7 The Lord doesn't care what you look like, what you wear, what you do, how much money you make, or how qualified you believe yourself to be. The Lord looks beyond the outside appearance and He searches the heart. He says, "are you teachable? Can I mold you? Do you seek Me and My face? If I put pressure on you and lead you into the wilderness, will you abandon Me there?" Because God wants people who will follow Him no matter what. He doesn't care about your qualifications, because He changes the unqualified and makes them qualified! He doesn't care about your bad habits, because when we spend time with Him, our bad habits are replaced with His ways. In the next few verses, all of Jesse's sons pass before Samuel, "And Samuel said to Jesse, “The Lord has not chosen these.” (v10) Finally they bring in David. What's interesting is that no one in David's family thought David would be anointed as king. They didn't call him along with his brothers to pass before Samuel. They didn't even bother to bring him in from the fields where he was tending the sheep! Even Jesse, David's own father, didn't go get him to line up with his brothers! Do you ever feel like that? Like your whole family has passed you over? Or maybe you feel as though you were passed over your whole life? Don't discount yourself just because the world has decided something specific about you. God looks deeper than the outside appearance. God looks into men and women, into their hearts and souls, and says this is my chosen one. "And Samuel said to Jesse, “Are all the young men here?” Then he said, “There remains yet the youngest, and there he is, keeping the sheep.” And Samuel said to Jesse, “Send and bring him. For we will not sit down till he comes here.” So he sent and brought him in. Now he was ruddy, with bright eyes, and good-looking. And the Lord said, “Arise, anoint him; for this is the one!” Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers; and the Spirit of the Lord came upon David from that day forward. So Samuel arose and went to Ramah." -1 Samuel 16:11-13 God looked at David and saw a young man who would be willing to follow Him no matter the cost. When David's family looked at him, they saw a shepherd boy who talks to sheep. He was skilled with the harp, he probably played music to the sheep. He likely spent time worshipping the Lord while playing music in the fields! That is what God saw. God saw a young man with a heart of worship. God saw a teenager with courage, who had taken out lions and bears to protect his sheep. (1 Samuel 17:34-36) God saw a youngster who made Him his best friend. While the world looks at the outward appearance, God looks at your heart. Do you worship Him? Spend time with Him? Talk to Him? Pray with Him? When you choose Him, He chooses you. He anoints you, and He appoints you. God's heart is that all would turn to Him, and that He would be able to use everyone and their gifts for the kingdom. But not everyone is willing to sacrifice their comfort to live for the Lord. Will you be the one who chooses Him so that He can anoint you? The Choosing Leads To The Wilderness God anointed David and that caused him to gain favor before God and men. He played the harp in Saul's presence and evil spirits fled. He picked up stones from the stream and planted one straight into Goliath's forehead. He married Saul's daughter and became a son-in-law to the king. He was favored. Something happens though when you are anointed by God. There is suddenly a target on your back, and you become Satan's #1 enemy. David's name means beloved, and when God calls you His beloved, you can bet the fiery darts will start coming. Satan hates anything that God loves, so you can guarantee he will turn people against you, and send his demons after you. David felt the heat of Satan's hatred. Our Bible says, "Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour." (1 Peter 5:8) Satan prowled around the people near David and found men who were filled with pride and conceit, who were jealous that God had chosen and anointed David. He turned Saul and Saul's army against David, and they chased him to the wilderness. David fled to the Wilderness of Ziph to escape his oppressors. When God chooses you, there will be time spent in the wilderness. God brings His chosen people to the desert to protect them, and to teach them. The preparation, the learning, the strengthening, happens in the desert. While David was hiding in Ziph, hunted and chased by Saul and his men, the Ziphites betray David and tell Saul where he is. "Is David not hiding in the hill of Hachilah, opposite Jechimon?" - 1 Samual 26:1 Hachilah means dark, dull, unclear Jeshimon means wasteland, wilderness, to be desolate If we are faithful in our walk with the Lord, we are promised that we will end up in a wilderness season. People may betray us, and we might feel hunted down by our enemies. We start walking one way and it's dark and unclear. We start walking in the opposite direction and we find that it's a wasteland, filled with desolation. Because what we don't realize, is that God is preparing us for the beautiful promise on the other side of our wasteland. God gave David the wilderness to prepare him for kingship. He changed his identity from one of a shepherd, to one of a king. He molded his character, molded his heart, and shaped him to be a man not only after His heart, but with the ability and strength to lead His people. God cares about your ability to trust Him. He cares about who you are. He wants to know, if I call you, and I lead you into the wilderness where you start to learn My ways and to hear My voice, will you diligently rise day after day? Will you still put on your worn out shoes and pick up your tired feet to follow the dark path? Because the characteristics that qualify us are born in the wilderness. The Wilderness Is The Land Between If you feel the anointing of God on your life, or that you have been given a dream or a vision to do something, but the way is unclear and enemies hunt down your life, take heart! You are not alone in your battles! The Lord Himself goes before you, shelters you and protects you. You can confidently say that, "A thousand may fall at your side,
And ten thousand at your right hand;
But it shall not come near you.
Only with your eyes shall you look,
And see the reward of the wicked. Because you have made the Lord, who is my refuge,
Even the Most High, your dwelling place," Psalm 91:7-9 It's unpleasant I know, but the wilderness is an important part of the journey. When God chooses you for an assignment and gives you a dream, He will be faithful to fulfill it. Believe Him. Make Him your refuge and hide yourself in the shadow of His wings. Trust in the Lord. Trust Him in the wilderness. The wilderness prepares us to be safe stewards of the promise He has anointed us with. He can't give us the promise He has for us if we aren't faithful to Him in the preparation. The Israelites were led out of slavery to the promised land. They were given a dream, a new place of rest, a new way of life. God told them, no longer will you live in slavery! I am freeing you from your bonds! Experts say that the crossing from the land of Goshen (Egypt), across the Sinai desert to the promised land, can take as little as 11 days. The Israelites could have been in Canaan in less than 2 weeks! Sadly, we find that almost every single person died in the wilderness except for Joshua and Caleb. Why? Because they could not shed their slave mentality. Only Joshua and Caleb believed the words of the Lord that He was bringing them from slavery to a land filled with milk and honey. Only two men in all of descendants of Abraham took God at His Word. The Wilderness is the land between your former way of life, and the new life God has promised you. You can't get to your new promised land, to the dream that God has given you, without first journeying through the wasteland. The wilderness journey is where God removes your old way of thinking, and replaces it with His ways, His thoughts, His truths. Your work, your job in the desert, is to believe God and take Him at His Word. Your job is to remain in His presence and trust Him. It will take effort to keep God's promises at the forefront of your mind, because Satan will come to steal them from you. It will be hard to remember you are anointed with His oil for a specific purpose because friends and family will attack you. Keep yourself in the presence of God and the wilderness journey won't last forever. Take God at His Word and you will find that soon you are possessing the promised land. Don't be an unbelieving Israelite with a slave mentality! Don't let yourself die in the desert! You, the Lord's beloved, you were called forth from your mother's womb (Jeremiah 1:5), and God has a purpose and plan for your life. (Jeremiah 29:11) God's plan for you is not that you would die in the desert, but that you would persevere through the wilderness to take possession of the promised land. When you grow weary don't turn away from God, but tell Him how tired you are. He will strengthen you and uphold you with His mighty right hand. (Isaiah 41:10) God is faithful, and He will lead you through the wilderness to the land flowing with milk and honey. Put one foot in front of the other, and keep your eyes fixed on Him.

Jesus Says You Are Forgiven!

Jesus Says You Are Forgiven!

But have you forgiven yourself? One of my favorite stories in the Bible happens between Jesus and the woman caught in adultery. What a look at the real heart of God our Father! Instead of listening to the priests about her wrong-doing, he stooped down to write on the ground. He tells the crowd, let him without sin be the first one to throw a stone. They all leave, starting with the oldest (because it's the older ones who know their sins best!) to the youngest until none was left. Then Jesus stands up and says to the woman, "where are they? Did no one condemn you?" Because the fact of the matter is, we have ALL sinned and fallen short of God's glory. None of us has the right to step up to the plate to throw a stone at another human, because none of us is worthy to cast a rock at someone else. And yet, the one person who is worthy, who is without sin, even He doesn't cast the first stone! Jesus Says, "Neither Do I Condemn You!" Straightening up, Jesus said to her, “Woman, where are they? Did no one condemn you?” She answered, “No one, Lord!” And Jesus said, “I do not condemn you either. Go. From now on sin no more.”
-John 8:10-11 (AMP) Jesus came not to abolish the Law or the Prophets, but to fulfill it. (Matthew 5:17) He didn't remove the law from its place on this earth, which means it's still around. If you want to try and live by it, go right ahead! Take a look at the commandments and laws written in Exodus, Leviticus and Deuteronomy and live by what's written. But if you want to live by them, you'll have to provide your own sacrifices for your sins too. The beauty of Jesus' coming is that He fulfilled the law for us. He didn't get rid of it, He laid down His life as the PERFECT and ULTIMATE sacrifice for us. So that every year, we don't have to bring a lamb to the temple to atone for our sins. And we don't have to bring the burnt offering (Leviticus 1; 6:8–13), the grain offering (Leviticus 2; 6:14–23), the peace offering (Leviticus 3; 7:11–34), the sin offering (Leviticus 4; 5:1–13; 6:24–30; 8:14–17; 16:3–22), and the trespass offering (Leviticus 5:14–19; 6:1–7; 7:1–6) to the temple anymore. Jesus is our perfect atoning sacrifice for every single thing we can ever do wrong! But, we have to receive it. Jesus stood up and asked the woman if anyone condemned her, which I think He did on purpose so that she could say, out loud, "No one, Lord!" He wanted her to realize that she was not condemned by anyone. That no one was able to throw a stone at her because no one was worthy to do it. And then, the most wonderful words: "I do not condemn you either." (AMP) This, this is why Jesus came to fulfill the law for us. God says, I have seen my people try to live by the commandments for thousands of years, and no one can do it. Even the most dedicated kings and prophets in the Bible couldn't live sinless in and of themselves. Jesus came to earth as a baby, grew into a man, so that He could truly say to us that He knows what we suffer on this earth. He knows what it feels like to be rejected and broken. He knows what it feels like to be hungry, to be poor, to be happy, to be sad, to have friendships, and then to have those friends turn their back on Him. He knows. And He lived sinless and absolutely perfect. But Jesus also wants us to see the Father's heart in His response. He says, I don't condemn you. And after His death on the cross, the Father no longer condemns you (Romans 8:1-4). Jesus laid down His life so we can come to the Father and KNOW that He no longer condemns us for any sin we have ever committed or will commit in the future. When we receive the gift of no condemnation, and allow the truth of Jesus' words to reign in our hearts and in our minds, we will live free from guilt. Satan can come against us with our sin, friends can come against us, family can condemn us, but Jesus says I DO NOT CONDEMN YOU. Hold fast to this truth! When you do, then what the world has to say about you or what the devil levels against you, won't matter! Because the only thing that will matter is what God says about you. You are forgiven! It is only when we grasp this truth, and receive our gift of no condemnation, that we can go and sin no more. The days when I keep God's forgiveness in the forefront of my mind, are the days in which I have zero desire to sin for any reason. Why? Because freedom comes when we realize we are set free from the law. There is nothing you have to do. Just receive. Jesus didn't turn and say to the woman, "Wonderful! I'm so glad they didn't kill you. Now in order to earn my forgiveness I need you to serve me and work for me." No, He said I don't condemn you. And then He said, "From now on sin no more." In order for the woman to stop committing adultery, she needed to know Jesus didn't condemn her. It's the same for us. We need the revelation of Jesus's forgiveness in our lives for sin to lose its hold. Sin thrives when we feel condemned. Sin thrives when we feel guilty. Sin thrives when we think we can work for our own forgiveness. Sin dies when we say, "I can't do anything but look to Jesus. Thank you Jesus for not condemning me." Sin dies when we let go of our guilty conscious. Today, God says to you, I do NOT condemn you! Jesus Forgives You, Do You Forgive Yourself? Perhaps you're at a place where you've received forgiveness for a wrong-doing, and you know without a doubt that you are forgiven, but for some reason that event keeps coming to your mind. Maybe it's that you know you were at fault and you feel the weight of that. You realize you aren't condemned by God, but your own heart is aware that you did something wrong. I've been there. I remind myself over and over that I am free from guilt and condemnation. Jesus died on the cross for my complete and total forgiveness. Yet, a scenario or circumstance keeps popping up in my in mind. When this happens, I realize that I need to also forgive myself. Jesus doesn't condemn me, but I can still condemn myself. Because deep down, I know that I committed a wrong against someone else or against God, and the result of sin is shame and guilt. It's a natural consequence written into the foundation of the earth. We feel guilty when we do something wrong! So, when the enemy comes in to accuse me, or my own heart accuses me knowing I screwed up, I come before the Lord and I forgive myself. It's as simple as this. Lord, I know I am forgiven by you. Before I even sinned, you had already forgiven me! But Father, I know I wronged (person's name), and I admit that. Today, I forgive myself for hurting (person). (Your name), I forgive you. I forgive you for messing up. (Your name), I forgive you for not knowing better, for not recognizing what you were doing was wrong. I let go of (name your mistake), and I move forward in freedom. I am free of guilt, free of condemnation. Jesus doesn't condemn, neither do I condemn myself. I am forgiven! And I forgive myself. Amen Sometimes I do this while I'm in my Bible study, sometimes I go to a quiet place with my heart before God, and sometimes I look in the mirror as I utter the words. It's important that we receive God's forgiveness, but also that we forgive ourselves and let go of our mistakes. It's the only way we can step forward free from guilt and condemnation. How Often Should We Forgive? "Then Peter came to Him and asked, “Lord, how many times will my brother sin against me and I forgive him and let it go? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered him, “I say to you, not up to seven times, but seventy times seven." (Matthew 18:21-22) In this verse Peter is asking Jesus how many times he should forgive his brother when he does something against Peter. Brother here can be changed out to family member, friend, stranger, enemy. When someone wrongs us, Jesus says to forgive them 70 x 7 times! The number 7 is a fascinating Hebrew number. It is the number for completeness, and it also means rest, wholeness, being ripe, order, stability, and holiness. What Jesus is saying here is that the number of times really doesn't matter, but that we need to forgive that person over and over and over until we've completely let it go. This verse can also be applied when we do something wrong and feel guilty or condemned. Receive the Lord's forgiveness as often as you need to, and forgive yourself in the same way. As often as your sin comes to mind, forgive yourself just as often! This is how we let go of our past mistakes and move forward into our future resting place with God. The real importance here is our heart. When we forgive and let go, then we don't allow bitterness to take root in our heart. Bitterness causes our hearts to grow hard, and a hard heart is an unbelieving heart that cannot enter God's rest. (Hebrews 3:7-12) So forgive until it's complete. Forgive until you find yourself whole and at rest. You Are Free! Choose today to let the past go. God doesn't hold it against you, so don't let it define you. Satan would love to keep you in bondage to your past mistakes. If he can keep you in chains to it, then you will continue to walk in bondage. But if you learn the ways of our Jesus, that He doesn't condemn you, then you will move forward in freedom. Has someone wronged you? Forgive them. Have you sinned? Receive your forgiveness bought with the blood of Jesus. See your bonds covered by the blood and forgive yourself. Today, you are free from your past failures. Know it. Believe it. Receive it. Walk forward in freedom, and see how God turns the bad things from your past to work for good in your future.