Would You Like To Change?

Now that I have had some time to rest and get myself back together I have been on a real journey or should I say adventure. I have followed the Holy Spirit’s leading and I have been learning so much!

I joined a prayer group on face book which then led me to reading a book called Abiding in Christ by Andrew Murray. This book was written long ago which was so interesting to me how some one from the 1600’s could still minister to some one today. I highly recommend this book if you are ready to surrender your life to Jesus and want to experience real change in your life.  I learned that abiding in Christ is the only way the Holy Spirit can do His work. It’s not up to us to make ourselves change. We only have to surrender and He will do the work. I have been practicing this for a few weeks and I have been so happy with my progress!

It just so happened I watched a movie called Before I Fall. This girl has to relive her last day until she gets it right. Getting it right meant loving people as they are. Noticing every detail of what is around you. Savoring what is right in front of you. Telling people you love them and giving people what they need in that moment. If you were living your last day wouldn’t you want the people that you had contact with that day to remember you in a good way? We should treat everyone in the day as if it is the last time we see them. You never really know when your last day will be. I realized while watching the movie that if I’m abiding in Christ I will make these right choices. I loved it when she realized what she finally had to do to get it right. That morning she said for the first time she wasn’t afraid, she knew exactly what she had to do. She knew how to live this day well. We should all be getting up with this attitude. An attitude of excitement! An attitude of love. She says something in the movie while she is going through a lot of days over and over, she says no matter what I do it doesn’t change anything or what happens. But the last day when she gets it right, when she knows how to live the day, it does change. When we allow ourselves to be used by the Holy Spirit and we are walking in the Spirit then we are a catalyst for change. We change things to make them better. I want to live each day as if it’s my last and do good, walk in the Spirit, change things around me for the better and I will leave a mark of goodness.

I saw another movie yesterday called The Last Words. It’s about a lady wanting her obituary written before she dies. She finds out she wasn’t liked very much. She spends her last days changing herself because she wants her obituary to be true to how she lived in a good way. The girl who became her friend in the movie spoke at her funeral and she said  some stuff but she ended it with, all we really want is to not be forgotten.

I feel the same way. I want to live in communion with Jesus, make a lasting mark for Him and know I did my best. I also want God to change me. I want to be more like Jesus.

I have been meditating on that also. Jesus desires us to change after salvation. That is the essence of this article I guess. I want you to want to change. I want to change. Because when we do we win against evil! We have to choose the spirit life instead of the flesh life. The spirit life is the lasting life. It’s the only way to change and the only way to stay changed!

Be Flooded With God’s Presence

This morning I have been drawn to learning more about prayer, of course, but also about sanctification. I have been thinking and learning about being aware of what I’m choosing in the moment. Yesterday it was brought to my attention the scripture that talks about what flows from the heart comes out of the mouth. Matthew 15:18, But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them. I realized how evil I really am. How our nature really is sinful and our natural inclination is to choose that. I realized how very important it is to be still and think through what comes out of my mouth. Today after reading about Centered Prayer, I read that silence is God’s language. He asks us to be still and know He is God. Being still in His presence is what it takes to allow the Holy Spirit to work in us. 

An analogy just came to me. We are setting up our above ground pool and we are still filling it with water this morning. My daughter just said to me to look at the pool, that it’s getting fuller. I said,” Yes, it takes time, but gradually it will be full.” God instantly showed me how this pertains to the filling of the Holy Spirit. The pool is being filled with a water hose and we all know how long this takes, right? So, if I’m only allowing a small opening for the Holy Spirit to dwell in me then it’s going to take some time to see the change. But if I can learn how to be still and open myself up completely to God, I could be flooded with God Himself, as it says in the Bible. Ephesians 3:19, 19 and [that you may come] to know [practically, through personal experience] the love of Christ which far surpasses [mere] knowledge [without experience], that you may be filled up [throughout your being] to all the fullness of God [so that you may have the richest experience of God’s presence in your lives, completely filled and flooded with God Himself].

I’m believing that through Centered Prayer I could do this. I want to be flooded with God Himself. I want my words to reflect my heart, my heart for God. I don’t want to reflect the sinful nature. I pray for God to keep me aware of the difference so that I will be able to keep choosing Him. Help me Lord, to choose You. You know my nature and even Paul spoke about how he does what he doesn’t want to do. Help me to do what I want to do and say things that are only pleasing to You. Help me remember Your presence is everywhere all the time. I am on a stage where You are my audience. I only want to be pleasing in Your sight, Lord. Amen.

Walking In The Light

I was put in an unexpected situation a little over a month ago. My mother in law was leaving rehab and my husband and I found ourselves having to be the ones to bring her into our home. He has other siblings but no one else would volunteer so since we follow the Lord, I felt God’s presence in this decision. I was happy to feel like I was doing something for God especially cause I knew I wanted to talk to her about Jesus. We said we would do this task for 10 days and then evaluate the situation from there.

We lasted 18 days taking care of her. Something I learned from her being in my house and having guests periodically was that I realized I was living in the light. The scripture came to mind, Live in the light as He is in the light. I explained to my husband that I wondered about that scripture in the past about what it really means to live in the light. I told him that it meant to me in that situation that I don’t have anything to hide.

I felt empowered by the Holy Spirit while she was here but during her stay I saw my husband slowly going down hill. When this happened I began losing it too. When I confronted his family and said we couldn’t do this anymore that my husband was dying we were laughed at and called names. I felt us drowning and they just pushed us deeper down. I had been praying for God to remove her because we couldn’t do it another day. In just a few days we had something happen with my son’s glass desk. It shattered! This happened when my mother in law was being brought back from an appointment. She wouldn’t allow my husband to see what happened. From all the stress that had already been building my husband lost it and called his brother to come get her. So her leaving was an abrupt occasion that we didn’t intend on happening.

When she left we were relieved but we got a lot of backlash from his family. We have been made to feel like hypocrites. They threw our walk with Jesus in our face. We have talked and we both have been feeling confused about the whole thing. We both have had to question our salvation and walk with Jesus. Through this past month I have lost my intimacy with God. I talked to my mom about it and explained that I know what I have to do to get back there but I can’t make myself do it. I thought getting back there was through writing, making my Bible Art Journals, reading the Bible, etc… But over the past couple days the Holy Spirit has revealed to me whats wrong.

It isn’t that we stopped taking care of her. I read in my Beth Moore book that if you pray for the cup to be removed and God does it then your in His will. If He doesn’t your in His will. I prayed for it to be removed and it was. Beth Moore emphasized that what is important is that we obey. I believe God gave us the grace for 10 days. I believe that was all we were meant to do. I couldn’t believe the ridicule we received for not being able to go longer. I dealt with feeling inadequate and not being Christ like. Although I gave her my all while she was here and loved her with God’s love, prayed with her and talked about her salvation and walking with Jesus.

So the distance I have been feeling is being caused by unforgiveness. I have been angry  at my brother in law for what he said to us and called us. I wouldn’t forgive him.

During her stay here I had found a book called The Daniel Prayer at Hobby Lobby and I bought it in hopes of helping myself pray for her. I read it some then quit. Well, prayer has been brought to my attention real big the past several months. Day before yesterday I was in my e mail and saw a message from Gateway but I was going to delete it but the Holy Spirit clicked it. It was something about a men’s Bible Study. I decided to click on it anyway. When I did, I looked in the margin and I saw the book I had bought The Daniel Prayer. It was offering a summer Bible Study with the book. I couldn’t believe it so I joined the face book group and began the study. Yesterday I was watching the videos and looking at the scripture they said to study. The scripture was The Lord’s Prayer. God showed me The Lord’s Prayer in a new light.

We address God for who He is, our Father and then we acknowledge He is holy. Then we agree with His will being done on earth as it is in heaven. I also agree with His will being done in my own life as well. When we pray “give us this day our daily bread”, we are asking for provision but also we are asking for a fresh word from Him for that day. Then when I got to the part about forgive me for my sins as I forgive those who sinned against me, I realized I had unforgiveness. I prayed and also told my husband that I’m not angry anymore and that I forgive his brother. I asked him if he was still angry. He said that he didn’t know. I explained to him that being in the state of unforgiveness blocks us from God’s blessings and we are only hurting ourselves. This is why we feel lost and we feel like God can’t hear us. I also said what it says in the Bible that we are forgiven by God and we don’t deserve it so we should forgive people even if they don’t deserve it. He told me he would pray. We both feel so much better now. I’m finding myself coming closer to God again.

My mom was telling me how she practices the presence of God the other day and I brought up Brother Lawrence to her and how I read his book Practicing The Presence. Yesterday I got an e mail from a woman whose blog I follow and she talked about this very thing and mentioned Brother Lawrence which I thought was so strange. I loved what she said. She said,” Seeing God is a choice. Brother Lawrence chose to see God in washing the dishes. Others just see dishes.” My mom told me you have to slow down and be aware of the choices your making because we are always making choices whether we know it or not. Make your self aware if your choosing God or not in everything you do. This keeps the enemy away. She told me all those feelings and thoughts I was having were from the enemy. So at the end of The Lord’s Prayer we are asking God to keep temptation away from us and protect us from evil. All we have to do is ask. We forget that a lot.

In this Bible Study Ann Graham Lotz said something so good. She said we should pray in the morning because the day hasn’t begun yet. She said you wouldn’t tune your violin after a symphony. So, tune yourself to God before the day. Be aware of His presence. Ask for Him to lead you, guide you. And also trust and believe.

This is what I have learned from the past month. I needed to share it and I hope maybe someone out there may need to hear it.

 

 

 

We Are The Grand Band

Recently we were at a band concert at the high school where my son plays the trumpet. As we were waiting for the concert to start an interesting thought came to my mind. The band was on stage before the conductor came out and they were all playing their own tune, doing their own thing. But when the conductor came out they were all at attention and quiet waiting for their instruction . When the conductor conveyed what song to play they were all in unison playing the song and it was magnificent!

Here is what I thought: God is the conductor of our lives. We need to sit at attention quietly each day and wait for His instruction on what we are to do for that day. When we start going our own way and we don’t listen to God we begin playing out of tune. When God, the conductor of our lives comes, we stand at attention and listen to His lead. We then begin to play out our life in unison with others who are following His lead and when we do this it produces for Him a marvelous song of praise that is music to His ears!

Life Song by Casting Crowns

Empty hands held high
Such small sacrifice
If not joined with my life
I sing in vain tonightMay the words I say
And the things I do
Make my lifesong sing
Bring a smile to YouLet my lifesong sing to You
Let my lifesong sing to You
I want to sign Your name to the end of this day
Knowing that my heart was true
Let my lifesong sing to YouLord I give my life
A living sacrifice
To reach a world in need
To be Your hands and feet

So may the words I say
And the things I do
Make my lifesong sing
Bring a smile to You

Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Let my lifesong sing to You

Pray The Psalms With Me, Psalm 2

Psalm 2 has 12 verses. It’s all about what I should do as a follower. I made confession statements that say I WILL do these things. This isn’t going to be in exact order of the verses 1-12 but it’s an interpretation of them as a whole. I feel that they spoke to me from God and this is my response back to Him.

I belong to Jesus first of all. Anyone who is a believer belongs to Him because God gave Jesus the earth and everything in it. I know I’m His. And knowing that I’m His there are certain things that I should want to do for Him because I love Him. What I’m writing is for anyone not just me but I will write it as for myself. You know that this applies to you as well. First I will serve Jesus with all my heart and make Him King of my heart. That means He comes first. There is no thing, person or activity that gives me more pleasure than being in His presence. He fills me up with His Holy Spirit and then I can do life so much better. As I make Jesus first in my heart I will remember Him in all my circumstances so that I can make wise decisions and wise choices. He keeps me on track. I will be pleasing to God. We should want to be God pleasers and not people pleasers. When we are following what the Holy Spirit has directed us to do we are pleasing God. I have an example of what it means to follow the Holy Spirit. I was walking in the parking lot of Target one day. I passed a young mom who just buckled in her baby but still had her buggy to put away. As I passed her I heard the Holy Spirit say, go back and ask to take her buggy so she can just get in the car with her baby. Remember what it was like when you were there? So, I turned around and asked if she would like me to take her buggy and she said yes, thank you! I felt good inside for helping her and I knew I was doing what God wanted me to do. This leads into the next thing we should be doing and that is surrendering our lives to God on a daily basis.I will surrender my life to God so He can be glorified. As witnesses for Jesus we should also be declaring Jesus is the Son of God and stand up for Him! When I find myself in situations where Jesus is brought up I will speak up for Him and not be silent! But we do so in a way that keeps the peace. I will  be a peacemaker. As I continually focus on Jesus, this practice actually keeps evil away.  When our minds are absorbed with what the Bible says about us and about our lives, evil has no way of gaining a foothold in our minds. That’s where evil starts messing with us, in our minds. If evil can get in our thinking then you give him permission to set up camp there and he will destroy your life, eventually, if he is allowed to stay there. You are the only one who has control over what your meditating on. I will choose Jesus! As believers we should have reverential fear and awe of God. When we have this heart attitude we will rejoice and be high in spirits! We will be high on life, on Jesus! This enables us to want to seek and trust Him more!

Prayer

Thank you Father for this insight! Thank you that in Your Word are the answers to the questions we seek! I praise You, honor You and glorify Your name on this earth so others who don’t know You will want to know You. You are good and I’m thankful I live under Your wing. Amen.

 

Are You Following Jesus Or Church?

When we are faced with questions as a christian and we don’t know how to answer them we need the Holy Spirit for insight, revelation, wisdom and understanding. I have been looking into the sin of judging and gossip lately and the Holy Spirit has shown me something I want to share. You know how churches are known for condemning people who are gay? And it is a hard thing, until the other day I understand how to respond to that. We are not the judge. We have been instructed by Jesus to love God with all our heart, mind, soul and to love others. He didn’t say to judge or condemn anyone. It isn’t our place to figure out anyone’s life. It’s between them and God. Only God knows everything about that person and knows their heart. God is the only one who knows sin and how it came to be. He only knows why each person has the problems they have. We can never begin to know everything. We are only called to love people. We aren’t suppose to sit around and try to figure it all out. We are only suppose to speak well of others, love them and lead them to Jesus. The Holy Spirit does the rest. We can’t save anyone. We just lead and the Holy Spirit does the work. I have learned that trying to be God was what Satan did and when we try to be God we are doing the same thing. It’s wrong and God doesn’t like it.

I am learning that there is a difference in following Jesus and following church. The church is people, not a place or building. Jesus’ Spirit is inside of us. We carry the light. Satan works where he has an opening, even in churches. This is why people are turned off to going to church. Since they see and feel corruption, they turn away and get even further fom God. These man made denomnations are not what Jesus wanted for church. He wants us to fellowship and worship together and spread the good news. Who cares how big or how many satellite churches you have. When Jesus threw the moneychangers out of the synagogue it was because they were tainting something holy with something common. He didn’t like money being a part of the spiritual.

I will confess something here. I was saved in my kitchen in August 2010 with the Gospel Of John on the computer. Jesus came to me and revealed Himself to me all by myself. I have allowed the Holy Spirit to teach me and guide me. He has manifested Himself to me because I ask Him to. He is experienced by me because I want to. This experiencing God is what makes a relationship with Him, not going to church. I am a true worshiper but I don’t fit in with church people and now I don’t fit in with the world. I guess this is how Jesus was. You see, there is the world that belongs to Satan and the so called church. Jesus even said of the church in His day that they were white washed tombs. Meaning they looked good on the outside but empty on the inside. I’m not saying all churches are this way, I’m just saying be careful about where you go.

Go About Doing Good

In my reading of the Mosaic Bible it is a prayer to do good. I recently watched The Shack movie and at the end they said every time we do a kindness the universe changes. I liked the thought of this. That even though I feel small if I show love and kindness it effects the universe. Our collective conscienceness is what the good things are effecting. We are all connected, so like a stone thrown in the water, the kindness has a ripple effect on the whole world. This thought and idea makes me happy and I want to contribute to the wholness of the universe.

Lent to Repent

Scripture reading for today is Luke 6:27-36. It’s talking about doing good to others the way you would want others to do good to you. Love your enemies. Give without wanting a return. Have compassion as God has compassion on us.

Ann says: Today I will thank God for every interruption of my list- as I’ll see it as a manifestation of my Lord.

We should be having an eternal perspective in our daily walk. Everytime we praise God, thank God, spend time with Him and serve other people we are creating what will not burn when we are standing in front of God. Every good act we do inspired by the Holy Spirit counts for something in God’s Kingdom. John Bevere says in Driven By Eternity that when we stand before God we won’t be judged on what we did but rather according to what we were called to do.

 

10

Living The Saved Life Is Worth It

In my reading today in the Mosaic Bible she is talking about really being saved or just having an intellectual belief. There is a difference between just saying the prayer and really being made alive in spirit through God’s grace. I know the difference because I have experienced it. I am learning through this Lent devotion that Christianity is about experiencing God and not just having knowledge of Him. I said the salvation prayer probably 3 times in my life that I remember but my life didn’t change in any drastic way. My Self was still the same. I still couldn’t understand the Bible. But when I had my salvation experience in August 2010 it changed everything. I had already known before this day that the old me was dead. I saw myself in my minds eye walking around my house with the old attitudes and I had a knowing “she is dead.” I experienced this myself and no one can take it from me. My salvation, my true salvation was at my kitchen table watching The Gospel of John some days after knowing the old me was dead. This was when I felt the presence of Jesus and He made known to me that He is ALIVE and REAL. He revealed to me that He knows me and poured His love into me. I felt that unconditional love and couldn’t help but say ” I love you” back. This is something hard to explain to the natural mind but its like another reality opens up to you and you see the Truth in your mind. This is the difference between saying a prayer and experiencing Jesus. 2 Corinthians 5:17,Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! John 14:21, Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.”

Lent to Repent

The scripture 1 Corinthians 9:19-27 is talking about running this race of faith. Paul is saying how he conforms to the people he is trying to convert while still being true to Christ. He wants to win his eternal prize. He was doing what he was called to do, not for earthly gain but for eternal gain.

Ann says: Repent of wanting to be called christian but not wanting to pay the price.

This is the part of salvation that is hard for people to get to the point of doing. It’s easy to receive salvation but hard to live it out day by day. When I first started I had satan say to me: ” Do you really think you can keep this up?” He tried to put doubt in me. It was a bumpy ride going to and fro in the beginning but I am maturing now in my faith and becoming more stable. The reason for this, is the dream I had about Jesus. Here is the link to my dream. After waking up He told me not to run away again. I have been faithful to stay and see where God leads me. I am so thankful that I listened and obeyed. God has shown me so much these past 4 months and I am a better person because of obeying His call. Luke 1:46-49,  And Mary said,“My soul magnifies the Lord,47     and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,48 for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant. For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed;49 for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name. I feel the same as Mary. The Holy Spirit doesn’t give up on us. He is with us through it all and everything is happening the way it’s suppose to.

 

 

following-jesus-isnt-an-easy-road

Wait! The Light Is Bursting Through!

Psalm 34:3, O magnify the Lord with me,
And let us lift up His name together.

Let’s praise God and honor Him. Speak of all the ways God is good and holy. And even though we are sinful God made a way for us to fellowship through Jesus. We should be praising and raising His name up everyday, everywhere! God, help me remember everyday Your grace toward me! Help me share with others the wonderous things you are doing in my life!

Trail to the Tree

The scripture is about when Jesus was buried in a borrowed tomb and the two Mary’s were waiting outside the tomb.

Ann says: Today, wait. Sit at the tomb and wait on the Lord. Trust when all is dark. Believe when the stone is rolled in and sealed. Carry a stone in your pocket and remember: there is hope. Wait and have faith in the coming Resurrection, glorious light erupting on black horizon.

When our sins are ever before us, meaning when we come to realize we are sinners then we find ourselves waiting to see what will happen next. Where do we go from here? We need God to rescue us. I experienced this but at the time I didn’t realize what was happening. Before my salvation experience I was aware of my sinfulness and I knew I didn’t deserve anything that I had. I thanked God for everything and this was the beginning of my salvation. It was over a period of a month or two that this happened. I was led to read the Bible and then had an urge to know more about Jesus. I watched The Gospel of John and realized Jesus was choosing me to follow Him. I repented and asked for forgiveness and fell in love with Him. He made His presence known to me in this moment. I had new life! Salvation isn’t something we can “make” happen, it’s the power of the Holy Spirit that raises us from “the dead” in spirit to new life. The same power that raised Jesus is the same power that raises us. When things look dark just wait and the light will come bursting through!

 

 

I-will-wait-for-the-Lord-my-sould-waits

Already In Heaven

Since earth is a replica of heaven, in a sense I am already serving God as if I were in heaven. Because I’m born again, I ‘m now a citizen of heaven. I like looking at my life in a way that makes it feel meaningful and purposeful. I have been reading Driven by Eternity by John Bevere. This book makes you think in detail about life and also when you stand before God. It came to me today that I’m already a resident of heaven and what I do here, I do in heaven. John talks in depth about what heaven will be like according to scripture and it has come to me that it’s a lot like here only a whole lot better. We will joyfully work for the Lord and we will want to work and serve for His glory.

I knew when I first got saved that my eternity began that moment, so why wouldn’t I begin living as if I’m already in heaven? When I cross over from this world, earth, to the next, heaven, it will just be a continuation. Some one said something to me the other day that makes a lot of sense. He said,” Do what you would do if God was watching you, cause He is.” It’s simple but we complicate it with do’s and don’t’s. The foundation is believing Jesus is the son of God, that He died and after 3 days rose again and is now seated at the right hand of God the Father. We build from that foundation, our lives. Some people stop at believing and they never build anything of eternal value. Me, personally, I want to build my life up in Christ. It says in the Bible that God wants us to become Christ-like. This is our spirit’s work while we are here. The power of the Holy Spirit works to bring our spirit into Christ-likeness but the Holy Spirit can only do what we allow because we have free-will. Your life on earth can be heaven or it can be hell, it’s your choice. It comes from the choices you make but also the perspective in your mind. John Bevere’s book helps you have eternal perspective. He opens your mind to the fact that this life on earth is not all there is. I choose to be open minded and look to eternity for a future with Jesus and all the people who have followed Him.

There is a segment of a book I’m reading I want to end with. The book is Hungry For More ofJesus by David Wilkerson. He is talking about the work of the Holy Spirit giving us a foretaste of the glory and love of Jesus while we are still here. I believe this is what happened to me that brought about my salvation. I never could put it into words but the way David does is the closest to what I experienced. “The Holy Spirit rolled back Heaven and they experienced a supernatural manifestation of His exceeding greatness. He gives us “a little heaven” to go to heaven with- a whetting of our appetites. He opens windows of Heaven and lets us look into the glory that will be ours. We get a taste of His holiness, His peace, His rest, His love- and we are forever spoiled for this earth, because we yearn for the fullness of what we have tasted.”

I listened to a sermon recently on Eternal Over Temporary by Kyle Idleman and I have included it here. It’s only 30 min long and has a very important message. Pay attention to the beginning because he wraps it back around to the start and it’s so awesome!

https://www.southeastchristian.org/sermons/get-over-yourself/eternal-over-temporary/