Heart of God

Yesterday morning brought one of those unusual God-moments, a touch of love in the midst of my human nonsense. Some will think I am a nut. I am a nut. A nut for the Savior Who loves me no matter what mess I make!

My dietary health has been a challenge the last couple of years. As a result of long ignorance on the diet/immune system connection, my digestive system suffered at the hands of an often unhealthy diet. I’ve been trying to do better since I realized the cause, but admit it is a struggle. Old habits are hard to break.

Yesterday morning I woke up late, and in my hurry I wondered if I could eat cold pizza for breakfast instead of making myself something healthy which would take longer. Wallowing in guilt over that decision, I gingerly asked the Lord if He thought it would be okay for me to eat just one piece of cold pizza.

I heard His Spirit say in a rather formal manner, “I will authorize it… one piece.” I was a little surprised He answered at all, to be honest, and moreso over the permission. Amazed and relieved, I started munching on a slice of cold pizza with my coffee.

After a few bites I thought, this would be better if I heated it! So, I turned on our countertop griddle and attempted to heat the half piece remaining. As I ate the freshly heated half, so much better than the first, I thought to myself, I really want to heat another piece and I’ll just call it breakfast and lunch!

Another guilt wave hit me. I knew the Lord had only ‘authorized’ one piece. But knowing I was going to do it regardless, shamelessly petitioned Him for grace anyway. Again, I was shocked at the generous reply in my spirit, “eat it with your homemade dressing”.

My homemade salad dressing is extra virgin olive oil and apple cider vinegar with spices. That type of vinegar is an excellent detoxing tool. I was surprised and thought, what a good idea! And I was grateful for the grace even though still ashamed.

After pouring some dressing into a little cup for dipping, I went to return the container to the fridge. Before closing the door, I heard the Spirit say, “more”. So, I drizzled more into the cup and headed back to the fridge again.

A second time, I heard the Spirit say, “more”. I obeyed, but as I looked on the growing amount, perhaps a full half cup at this point, I wondered how on earth I was going to eat all of that dressing. Oh no, did He want me to drink it? Detox drinks are made every day with apple cider vinegar. I cringed at the thought. It would serve me right for cheating with pizza for breakfast!

When I finally sat down with my second piece of hot pizza and half cup of dressing, still feeling bad about myself, I struggled to soak as much dressing as I could into each bite. It seemed to be going nowhere fast. I dreaded being convicted to drink it, so I knowingly cheated, pouring the whole amount all over the pizza, most of it dripping off onto the plate. My hope was I would have an excuse to throw it away when I was finished eating!

More guilt. I had become completely nonsensical! Working every angle to get around what I feared would be the Lord’s condemnation and anticipated punishment.

Can you relate? How many times do we do exactly the same, in all types of situations, trying to maneuver ourselves around God?

By this time, I vaguely realized if I’d just cooked myself a couple of eggs, it would have taken less time than all the pizza manipulations! Still more shame washed over me.

When finally I took the last bite and gave up wrestling my conscience over breakfast, I looked down at the plate and saw something that made me gasp… and laugh.

There swimming in a pool of wasted olive oil, vinegar and spices was a blob of pulpy tomato sauce in a very distinct shape. It had oddly formed a perfect heart, looking all the more real with its bright red, fleshy appearance.

The little, lifelike heart in the midst of the mess I’d created whispered a clear reminder of the very real heart of God, of His wish for me to chill out and rest in His love. I laughed and laughed over His cuteness in the midst of my ridiculousness.

He knew the amount of dressing would be overwhelming, knew exactly what I would do… saw all my manipulations, and still waited for the perfect opportunity to show His heart and encourage me not to take myself so seriously.

Now, I know some people think, there is no way God does anything like that. Perhaps you grew up being taught God is as black and white as the words printed on the pages of your Bible. Maybe some stiff adult convinced you He is austere, He doesn’t play! Well, I’m here to tell you, you need to think again!

I’ve seen God’s humor so many times over. Think of how silly and playful so many of us are, we humans. He made us in His image, remember? So, He has a sense of humor, too. Only, unlike most humans, His is combined with purity and love. It is never sarcastic or mean-spirited, and He doesn’t pull pranks. His humor is sweet, cute and innocent.

God knows life has enough difficulty. I believe He interjects moments of humor to give us joy and help us lighten up. Just like how we crave those times with our closest family and friends, I think the Savior wants to share moments of love and laughter with us.

Open your mind, and get to know another side of God today. Draw near to Him, surrender to His love and pray for His Holy Spirit to fill you. Then, watch for Him to give you messages of love… to play with you in ways that let you know He is with you, that He loves you… that you can relax in His presence.

He is just that personal… and extraordinary.

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How Do We Save America?

Long before this blog began over a year ago, and many times since, I have found myself mourning, weeping, crying out to God for America. For some reason, He has pressed into my soul an urgent passion on behalf of what was (and in His eyes, I believe, still is) His country.

As a nation, we reflect Him less now than we did a century and a half ago, when writers like Herman Melville and Alexis de Tocqueville were declaring America distinctly and almost universally “Christian”.

But we still house the majority of God’s people, having the densest population of the followers of Christ/Messiah, Yeshua. So, the influx of non-believers, and the secularization of our culture and laws has still not changed the fact the most Christians in the world live in the U.S.! This land is God’s land, it was founded upon Biblical principles and the hope of religious freedom.

The blessings of being God’s land are obvious. Richest nation in the world, abundant resources, country that has most reached a helping hand to those in need and taken in the majority of the world’s refugees…

But we are slipping, are we not? Many ask why, and in my experience, many believers want to continually point fingers at non-believers. ‘It must be their fault, they come with their pagan ideas and worldly values and are voting out our laws which were based upon God’s Word.’

Maybe that is a little of it. But the greater truth we do not want to face is, churches and people who also call themselves Christian have allowed their teaching and values to become severely diluted with the world’s values. Christian pastors and priests, and parishioners have allowed their churches’ teachings to stray far from the Word of God!

This past Sunday, I attended a service where the speaker did little more than give a speech worthy of a social/political rally instead of a message for God’s people in His house. To be honest, it smacked of rebellion, and I did not hear the name of Jesus except at the end of one prayer. I was more than appalled, and found myself doing spiritual warfare praying during the service, going so far as to rebuke a spirit of revolution that is spreading in our land like a wildfire from hell!

My precious friends and co-believers in Christ, remember the words of Jesus when He said in Matthew: “If your enemy compels you to go with him one mile (carrying his load), go with him two.” (Matt 5:41)

The message of Christ in the New Testament is peace and humble service, not rebellion and revolution! The people of God do not need to ‘rise up’, they need to fall upon their knees in repentance to the Lord, fasting and prayer!

When ministers stand up and teach the whole truth in the Word of God, and we as believers respond and become clean, surrendered to the Lord and filled with His Holy Spirit… then we will be ready to move forward as a mighty army, NOT to war, but to LOVE the non-believing world as Christ loved us. And then, maybe then, who knows what God might do in our land?

JOEL 2:12 “Therefore also now, says the LORD, turn to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning: 13 And tear your heart, and not your clothing, and turn to the LORD your God: for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and may change His mind on judgment. 14 Who knows if He will change His course, and leave a blessing instead?

15 Blow the trumpet in the land of God’s people, observe a holy fast, call a solemn assembly: 16 Gather the people, call out the congregation, assemble the elders, gather the children, and babies; let the bridegroom go forth of his chamber, and the bride out of her closet. 17 Let the priests, the ministers of the LORD, weep and let them say, Spare Your people, O LORD, and give not Your heritage to reproach, that the heathen should rule over them: saying in the midst of the people, ‘Where is their God’?

18 Then will the LORD be jealous for His land, and pity His people.”

Scripture from: Strong, James. A Complete Bible Reference Study Library (4 in 1): [Illustrated]: KJV Bible (with blogger edits to modernize and clarify), Strongs Concordance & Dictionaries, Lexicon Definitions, and Bible word index (Kindle Locations 83503-83529). Bestbooks. Kindle Edition.

American Restoration Begins In Us

If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from Heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. II Chronicles 7:14

The solar eclipse that traversed across America today had many Bible teachers warning us for weeks. Would it be the day of Christ’s return? Or, more soberly, of God’s pending judgment, if our nation does not turn from the downward slide away from God and His principles? To those questions, I honestly admit I have no answers.

But, what I want us to do is stop for a moment and recognize the core truth in the profound promise above from II Chronicles 7:14. Notice, God did not say, “If all the pagan will turn from their wicked ways, I will heal their land.”

God said, “If My people will do these things… humble and purify themselves and seek Me… I will forgive their sin and heal their land.” If only the people of God do what we are called to do, then His healing and restorative grace falls upon our nation!

My friends, we do not need everyone in America to come to faith and repentance in order to save our country! We so often get caught up blaming non-believers for turning the culture away from God and destroying our nation. But the truth is much simpler and closer to home.

It begins in us! A pure and faithful body of Christ is healing for America. And just as a strong Jerusalem was good for ancient Israel, a strong America is good for the entire world.

May God restore His people… and thus America, and bless her once again. May He continue to use her as a beacon of hope and refuge to people around the world until He returns. May He lift up the hurting children of God all over the world, and make His people worthy to welcome their Savior in the final day.

You and Me Time

Do you have a relationship that is extra special in your life? A spouse, friend or family member, someone you make time for just because you enjoy the relationship and are blessed by it? How does it feel when you have not seen that person in a while? Something is missing, you feel out of sorts or lonely, perhaps… Have you ever had the thought or made the statement to that person, we need ‘you and me time’!?

This morning, as I rose to face the challenges of the day, I said to Jesus, ‘Lord, I don’t know where to begin.’ He said back quickly in my spirit, We need you and Me time.

Isn’t that amazing? He is so personal and loving. He knew the thing I most needed to settle my busy mind and sort my day was to sit in fellowship with Him. I needed to soak in His calming presence and our loving relationship. And He needed it, too. We don’t often think in those terms, but He desires our presence maybe more than we desire His.  He craves ‘you and Me time’ – those loving moments together!

So, with His prompting, I poured a steaming cup of coffee, grabbed my laptop and curled up on the sofa. The first thing I did was play a few worship songs. Godly music so quickly saturates the atmosphere around me and makes it holy. As I respond to the words, and use them to love my Father, Savior, and welcome His Spirit, His presence surrounds me with unconditional love and joy.

Reading and pondering His Word are the next step. It doesn’t have to be more than a verse or two. But getting Scripture inside us arms us against the assault of lies that constantly come from the world every day. Truth from His Word keeps our mind wise to the enemy and lights our steps.

Another thing I do is talk to the Lord, and listen. It is so common to think of prayer as mainly a one-way street. But it is actually a conversation.

When we learn to walk surrendered and filled with the Holy Spirit, we begin hearing the Lord speak to us. To grow our ability to hear Him, we must regularly embrace quiet… and listen. Over time, we begin recognizing His voice. He loves to surprise us at times how clearly His Spirit whispers words of love and guidance into our soul.

So, have you had your ‘You and me time’ with Jesus today?

You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore. Psalm 16:11 NKJV

Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends. Revelation 3:20 NLT

Praying for America, City on a Hill

14 `You are the light of the world, a city set upon a mount is not able to be hid; 15 nor do they light a lamp, and put it under the measure, but on the lamp-stand, and it shines to all those in the house; 16 so let your light shine before men, that they may see your good works, and may glorify your Father who [is] in the heavens. (MATTHEW 5, Young’s Literal)

Father, You are great and the source of all blessing and power! We praise You today and bring our nation before You with urgency and humility.

America has surely been a country You have set ‘upon a mountain’ to the world, unable to hide, shining the light of Christ round the whole earth, always reaching a helping hand to those in need of refuge and rebuilding.

Please set Your face against every enemy within and without our nation that wishes to turn us away from You! Defeat every foe and revive Your people in this nation.

More, restore Your nation, that we may continue shining for You, that the world will see our good works and glorify You!

In the powerful name of Jesus, and in full surrender to Your Holy Spirit, we ask these things.

All praise and glory be to Him who gives the uttermost part of the earth for our possession! (Psalm 2:8)

Amen.

And your beginning has been small, And your latter end is very great. JOB 8:7 YLT

The Burden of Pride

In my youth, I remember hearing often the comforting verse, cast your cares upon Him, for He cares for you (I Peter 5:7). The word care was understood to be some type of burden. At the time, in my young mind I thought a burden was only something that caused worry or sorrow.

This morning, the Spirit showed me that pride is as difficult a burden as worry. Maybe more difficult. Pride can be a lion ready to shred others at any provocation.

How quickly do we take offense to the slights of others? All it takes is a short drive down the road to bring out my lion. “She cut me off!” “He raced too fast around me, how dare he!” Pride lurks so close to the surface, it takes next to nothing to have it springing out, claws extended!

Yet, traffic offenses are mostly impersonal. Strangers cutting us off are nothing compared to someone familiar getting in your face and yelling at you in front of others. To fight off the lion in those moments and find grace and forgiveness is truly tough.

What do we do with this care, this burden that could become an out-of-control beast? Paul said cast it upon Christ. The word translated cast in I Peter 5:7 could mean either place it or throw it in Greek. The lion of pride is surely one that needs to be thrown! Don’t wait, or it might catch you with its claws in the process of trying to take someone else out.

The next time you are wounded by someone, and the burden of pride comes roaring out like a lion, throw it quickly upon Jesus! Let Him dissolve it into peace, reminding you He understands pain and humiliation very well, and let Him restore your spirit by filling you with His.

The Center of Land of Promise

Day before yesterday, I let Faith and Fasting friends know I published a book called, Land of Promise. I had to return today to share something that happened yesterday because I’m still shocked by it!

First, know this book continues to surprise me every time I read it. That sounds nuts, but it is true. I know God gave me the information, led me to the research and opened my eyes to things in Scripture I’d never noticed before. But, it is a diversion from very traditional interpretations of some things.

At the heart of it, I believe this book is a realignment onto the center of Scripture: Christ. He is the center. A few teachers/scholars over the years have tried to make the center of the Bible the nation of Israel. But, when we make Messiah the center, the rest of Scripture unfolds correctly.

Okay, now for the really, really strange thing that happened yesterday. I was re-reading the book in my Kindle app. Kindle let me know I was at the 50% mark, exactly halfway through the book.

Guess what I read on the middle section of the middle page of the book, something which I certainly did not/could not have planned! It was this:

“The most important thing I can say is… the Bible is not Israel-centered. Israel, meaning the earthly land. Rather, the Bible is Christ-centered… It is the testimony of how He related to His people, all of His people – Israel of God – before and after the cross. When we get the center point of the Bible wrong, we get everything out of focus… And our interpretations of Scripture suffer because they are faulty from the foundation.”

The weird thing is, that text was something I added at the last minute before I published  the book. I had no idea I’d placed it in the exact center until yesterday. My jaw dropped when I saw it.

I’ve noticed from the beginning the Spirit of God was all over this, it was His project. I pray His people give it a chance although it will challenge long-held thought for some.

I’ve priced the book very low because I just want people to read it. If you know someone who cannot afford it, the ebook can be loaned for 2 weeks by anyone who has purchased a copy. Available on Amazon.com, the ebook is $2.99 and the paperback is $6.99 (link below).

God bless!

https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_2/130-8699910-6316044?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=land+of+promise+garcia