Cloudy and I Know It

Last year was a bit “cloudy” for me. I went through a lot of transitions and experienced some high points and low points. Dreams were put on hold and others came to reality. My faith was tested and my walk with God wavered. Many people believe this myth that because you are a Christian, you won’t have struggles or you do not wrestle with your faith…this couldn’t be further from the truth. I say all of this to say that there were moments I was on Cloud nine. I was blissfully happy and nothing in my surroundings could move me in a negative direction. I saw clearly what life had in store for me and I was ready to dive headfirst into the vision I know that God has for me. Then there were other moments…

…life situations that I allowed to happen and life situations that. just. happened

…and they placed me right in the middle of the clouds and everything became a blur. All I could see was what was right in front of me and nothing made sense anymore. My heart became heavy, my mind stubborn to the Word of God, and I felt myself slowly falling away from God’s pleasing and perfect plan for my life.

Welcome to what I call life. We all have different life situations that will challenge the way we see things. Sometimes we allow those things into our life that we know are not for us…they could be romantic relationships, business partnerships, jobs, excessive social media, etc…and they slowly take our focus from being above the clouds where the vision is clear to suddenly being immersed in them.

Sometimes we allow GOOD things into our life, but it’s not the BEST God has for us.

What’s funny is then we try to justify our actions. We try to make the wrong right, or what we think is right fit into our lives. Let me tell you…it will not work! No matter how bad we desire our own wants, we know in the back of our minds something is off. I guarantee you the Holy Spirit splashed a huge warning sign in front of us at some point but we were so stubborn to follow it because we want what we want so badly. Then I’m sure you get frustrated with the struggles of life because you have no control over it. Well, at least I do. I had a situation that lasted nearly 8 months and it seemed like whenever I fixed one problem, the situation only got worse and was prolonged further!

I understand what it means to feel pain in areas of life that makes you wish you had a huge reset button. (How cool would that be to just reset life lol?!) You’re tired and your strength is weak. You wonder what the future has in store for you. You feel like no one else is going through what you are experiencing. Trust me when I tell you that we all have some giant elephant we are dealing with…some choose to try to hide it which only makes matters worse. Life is certainly not a fairy tale, but I know it is beautiful. It becomes beautiful in its own time. Only when we surrender to God’s will and perfect timing, will we be able to see the beauty above the clouds and even in them.

The serenity about life is that when we mess up…God is still faithful. God is not moved by our conditional behavior. The fact that I fell slowly into the clouds only made me aware how much more I need a Savior that loves me in spite of the filth. It was when I recognized my weakness and vulnerabilities that I could be strong in the Lord. I am not saying that you should accept your shortcomings as a way of living; we are called to be set apart and live a lifestyle that is pleasing to God. However, we are to accept our wrongs as lessons, make them part of our stories that we share with others, as to maintain an integrity and wholeness towards soundness and healing. True healing and peace comes from accepting all of yourself, even the parts you don’t want to; to recognize that you may be on cloud nine or in the clouds. That’s authenticity. That’s integrity. God can only transform what we authentically bring to Him…

Now that the new year is upon us and it is 2017, it is a great opportunity to see clearly what God has for your life. I am joining my church in our annual 21 day fasting and prayer this month which starts today. Why fasting and prayer? It is the most powerful spiritual discipline of all discussed in the Bible. We need our lives transformed! We need results and not talk! We need the power of God! Prayer and fasting is the answer to all of those. I’m believing God for clarity and a clear vision for 2017 and beyond. If you need to get out of the clouds, I encourage you to fast and pray so that your life can be used for Kingdom purpose. I will leave you with 12 things you can expect from a Fast from Lisa Bevere’s “You Are Not What You Weigh.” Be Blessed. Be Revealed.

 

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WHAT TO EXPECT FROM A FAST

Excerpt from, You Are Not What You Weigh, by Lisa Bevere

  • Fasting Creates a New Hunger -(Ezra 8:23) As the initial hunger pangs or longings cease, a new desire is formed.
  • Fasting Works Humility – (Psalm 35:13) – We feel our natural strength waning. In our weakness, we find ourselves more dependent upon God. It is turning away from what we can provide, and turning toward what God alone can give.
  • Fasting Increases Sensitivity to God – (Luke 2:36-38) Anna in the scripture could hear clearly what God was saying.
  • Fasting Chastens or Disciplines – (Psalm 69:10) David maintained his spiritual life by means of bringing his body into subjection.
  • Fasting Changes Our Appetite – (Acts 13:2) God often uses times of fasting and prayer to speak to the desires of our hearts, and to reveal his purpose and destiny for our lives.
  • Fasting Increases Our Capacity – (Esther 4:16) Fasting increases your capacity for self-sacrifice and imparted wisdom.
  • Fasting Brings Answers to Prayer – (Isaiah 58:9) A godly fast will bring answered prayer and it may come through his Word, or as a still small voice, or by a strong confirmation of what He has previously shown us.
  • Fasting Leads to Quick Healing – (Isaiah 58:8) The healing can be physical, mental, or spiritual. Even natural medicine supports this – many illnesses occur in the digestive system. A short fast gives our body a chance to refocus its energies on healing instead of eating. (Please consult a physician before undertaking a fast if you are ill.)
  • Fasting Opens the Door to God’s Protection and Provision – (Isaiah 58:8) God promised to be a guard before us and behind us. A fast renews your righteousness and sends it on before you. Then, as you give God the glory, He returns righteousness as your rear guard.
  • Fasting Looses the Chains of Injustice – (Isaiah 58:6) This fast has the power to loose any unjust chains that bind us. It is not merely for personal liberation, but it represents God’s desire to see us reach out and loose the ties that bind others, and remove the chains of oppression.
  • Fasting Frees the Oppressed and Breaks Every Yoke – (Isaiah 58:6) A fast is a time when we take our eyes off of ourselves and our own needs; and look around at the oppression and pain of others. In response, we learn to reach out in compassion and help – becoming agents of healing.
  • Fasting Motivates Us to Provide Food for the Needy – (Isaiah 58:7) You are not eating because of a fast, then you are free to share your portion with those less fortunate.

If you would like to follow the 21 day devotions for fasting and prayer, click the link below.

http://21days.victoryatl.com/

 

Lovesick Bride

Lovesick Bride Quote.pngWedding bells are ringing and engagement rings are blinging. Do you hear the sound of blissful laughter and celebratory music in the air? Can you see the joyful tears and the expressions of satisfaction from friends and family? You have waited and waited and the long anticipation of the “One” has finally arrived; and you are about to become “One” in the formality of the ceremony and in intimacy. What a beautiful sight….What a beautiful invitation….

Invitation? What do I possibly mean by invitation? I have a confession. As someone who desires to be married one day, I do not desire the wedding day as much as I desire the one I plan to spend the rest of my life with. There is a difference. I wonder if as a culture we have put so much emphasis on the wedding day, that we have actually failed to prepare to love and be loved by our spouse to be. It’s not too much to think that we as Christians have also done the same thing with our Bridegroom Jesus Christ. I was recently listening to a few messages by Damon Thompson and I was motivated to write this message that was on my heart.

You see, the wedding day is only an invitation to go deeper, higher, and into a more selfless life with the “One” you confess your love for. It’s just the beginning. It’s just the start to something beautiful and sacrificial. Yet, we have made the wedding day the ending. The result. The finish line. Thus, you have marriages falling apart because there was no vision, no effort, and no motive to go further than the day they said “I Do.” The wedding day is so glorified in our culture that we have shows called, “Say Yes to the Dress,” “Bridezillas,” and expos for Bridal shows. We have conditioned ourselves to value our “YES” to the dress over our “YES” to the Bridegroom.

It is no different in our relationship with God. As devoted Christians, we have become more infatuated with sacraments and religion than being in love with our King. We have loved our duties more than loving our Beloved. In essence, we have been saying yes to ministry, and yes to trying to save the world, and yes to our busy and ordinary lives, that we have missed the only “YES” that will set us free from it all…

We are closer to the conflict than we are to the ANSWER. ~ Damon Thompson

The ceremony lasts only a few hours, but the marriage is meant for a lifetime. We are so insecure about God’s love for us that we try to cover ourselves up with “BUSY.” We are flawed and imperfect people but God has such a furious and unrelenting love for us that when we finally get rooted in it, disappointments no longer matter. God’s thoughts toward us are filled with extravagant emotions of desire and this crazy love becomes the theme for our lives. It is never ending. It is never failing. It always protects, hopes, and trusts…

Be warned. There is a danger in not saying “YES” to the King. As Christians, we will have successful ministries and organizations, but the glory will not be given to the King. We glorify our efforts and grind rather than living in the grace that God has equipped us for being in covenant love relationship with Him.

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I love Queen Esther in the Bible. That woman right there was beautiful, bold, and brave. She was perhaps one of the greatest warriors in the Bible and I say that because she got close to the King. It was more dangerous for her to approach the King in His bed chamber than for her to go and swing her sword out in the public. It required more preparation to be found more favorable and irresistible to the King, than to just go and try to save the Jewish Nation on her own. She even said, “If I perish, I perish.” You just don’t walk into the bedchamber of the King…even as Queen.

She knew that her nation needed to be saved. Just as we know that our nation is in critical moments…new election, social and racial injustice is prevalent, domestic violence, human trafficking, and the list can go on and on….but Queen Esther chose to be irresistible to her King versus swinging her sword. She got so close to her Bridegroom that all she had to do was whisper to him her request and He moved without hesitation. Do we dare risk to get so close to our King Jesus that all we have to do is whisper for Him to move? Do we not understand that it is only YAHWEH that can save? How is the shouting working for you? How is the sword fighting working for you? How are your own efforts working? Could it be that our risk is getting so close to the King that all He needs is a whisper from us?

God desires our company more than we desire to further His cause. ~ Damon Thompson

I pray that we become LOVESICK BRIDES! That we fall in love with Him this fall more than we ever have. Let our hearts become in rhythm with His heartbeat and not the cadence of the world. Let us yearn and ache for His presence and be saturated in His kisses. I pray that we don’t ask for greater influence but greater capacity to feel God’s love for us! (Damon Thompson) It will be overwhelming, but He longs for the affection of our hearts. Let Him see us fully naked and transparent before Him so that we can forever become captivated by the fire in His eyes. We are called to be irresistible to the King. He is waiting for us to take our seat and authority as queens and brides so that He can give us what we desire. All we have to do is get close. All we have to do is whisper. We won’t get there because of our greatness; it will be because of the softness and yielding of our heart.

Just love the King. Just love the King. Just love the King. Be Blessed! Be Revealed!