When Visiting Bethel 

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We are still on the road so I am writing this up on my phone.  I’m not a gmfan of blogging from my phone…it’s usually messy.    And takes a long time.  

This weekend we visited Bethel church in Redding, California.  If you aren’t familiar, it is is difficult to describe other than, it’s a revivalist church, it’s a healing church, it’s a worship church; sime of the most beautiful worship music has come out of Bethel.  

Here is a link from a song they sang yesterday:  

Many people make pilgrimages to Bethel. Here are some things you need to keep in mind….

1.  Dorothy, you aren’t in Texas anymore (or the Deep South).  The people are nice people but you have approach them.  No one approached us as we stood awkwardly looking around needing help for where we needed to go.  I had to ask about childcare.  They get tons of visitors and I get the feeling they aren’t impressed.

2.  If you want a seat in the main sanctuarty, get there early.  The regulars come 30 minutes early and save seats for each other.  They will let you stand against the back walls during worship and try to grab a seat when it’s time to sit down but chances are you will end up in the over flow room.  

3.  They have four Sunday services.  If you make the trip, go to multiple services.  Different worship teams led at each service and they even played different songs.  My favorite worship time was the 10:30 service, worship was lead by Brian Johnson and Steffany Gretzinger.  On a side note, one of the worship leaders forgot some of the lyrics and told the media team he needed lyrics to the second verse on the back screen.  Everyone chuckled and continued to worship.  Loved this…this happens at every church occasionally and they are keeping it real.  

4. If you can only attend one service, I would go to the 6 pm service.  It’s not rushed so worship is long (over an hour) and Papa Johnson (Senior pastor Bill Johnson) spoke.  After the message, they offer ministry.  They had both a “fire tunnel” and a room to pray specifically for healing.  Take advantage of all the prayer you can get.  We took our kids through the fire tunnel.  They loved it and wanted to go again (I kind of wanted to go again too).

5.  They have childcare for the little ones for ok the services (from what I could tell).  When I picked up my girl from the morning service, they gave me a paper with a prophecy for her.  

I love this!  

6.  There are a lot of young people in attendance.  They are not very churchy. There were both young men and young women climbing over chairs to get to their seats. People would bump into you and not even notice…again, it’s not the South.  The culture is different. 

Main thing to remember….get there early!!! At least 30 minutes. 

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The DNA of your future

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I’ve often thought that David (talking about King David in the Bible…you can read about him in I and II Samuel) and Bathsheba were destine to marry and produce Solomon.   How they got together was one of the biggest scandals in the Bible.   You can read about it in II Samuel 11.  One of my recent posts was When the Enemy Uses your Strengths Against you.  I was thinking about how Moses’ calling to be a deliverer but how when he acted in his own time it was a mistake.  This is true of David too.  Of course, I have often thought that David should have been out of the battlefield with his army instead of hanging around the house bored.  My mother-in-law told her kids growing up (in Spanish…which I do not know), “Boredom is not from the Lord.  Go read your Bible.”  She also said excessive energy was not from the Lord….my husband knows his Bible very well.

Like David, our future is in our DNA.  David was very prophetic.  Prophetic people ALWAYS have to learn timing.  I’m not at all afraid to write a blanket statement like that.  Timing for a prophetic person can be a struggle.  I have often felt that God does NOT tell me things (like what’s next) until it’s time because if He revealed it too far ahead of time I would be off and running.  I once moved across 3 states in 6 weeks.  David recognized his future when he saw Bathsheba but instead of waiting until it was right, he took matters into his own hands.  He suffered the consequences of his actions too.

If you seek God, He will direct your paths.  It’s a promise.   See Matthew 6:33.   When God directs your path, you will often see where you should go before it’s time to move.   You can feel your future.  You can see yourself there.  I am not saying everything turns out the way you think or thought it would.  I am saying when you seek God and put Him first in your life, your future will be clear….and you will know it.  Be sure to seek Him about the timing of things.

 

Hopes and Dreams

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A few days ago the Hubs and I were having a chat with a friend of ours.  I would describe her as single with a desire to get married and have a family.

She said something that I’ve heard soooo, sooo many Christians say about so many things in their lives.  Don’t get me wrong, this young woman is a a woman of God (that’s like a godly woman but on steroids…which means she isn’t just reading her Bible,  her life is the Word in action) and I am not saying she is “wrong”.  And I’m not saying I know the intents of her heart exactly…in other words, she may have said it in this way but it wasn’t exactly how she meant it.  Basically, she said, “I would like to get married but I’ve really given that over to God and laid that down.”  She went on to describe a time when she felt she had put the whole thing on the alter before God.  To my ears it sounded like she had given up hope.  It pierced me because there was a time in my life when I almost gave up hoping for the Hubs.

God NEVER asks us to give up hope only to place that hope in Him that He is on our side and He is working in our behalf for our best interest.  Maybe we need to say that everyday, “God loves me, He is on my side and He is working on my behalf for my best interest.

When it came to marriage, the older I got the more picky I became.  I stopped dating people who I recognized as “not on the same path” as me.  If I went out with someone and I was not attracted to them, I didn’t go out with them anymore; those men became friends.  Why? Because my hope in Him and I believed that He had someone specific in mind for me.  I believe He knows me better than I know myself and He knows what I need and I what I desire.    I believe His Word which says, “You open Your hand And satisfy the desire of every living thing.”  (Psalm 145:16).

Sometimes, especially for those in ministry, it is easy for us to hope and believe and have enormous faith for everyone else but we somehow think that we get whatever is “left over”.  I vividly remember a trip I took to Christian International.  It was my first trip there.  I attended a Prophetic Training Class (level one).  It was an incredible week.  My faith was stretched and increased but the entire week, I “worried” about the prophetic ministry at the end of the week.  They place you with a team of seasoned prophets who  pray over and minister to you.  This is recorded and given to you to pray about and meditate on.  To be perfectly honest I didn’t think I was going to get a “good” word.  Which in hindsight I would say, any prophetic word (I am talking true word of God) is good by it’s very nature.  If I recall, I was the last person in my group to be ministered (which was confirming my “I get whatever is left” belief) in the prophets first few words he said, “God says you do not get what is left over…” (then I was crying)  And the word that followed was a great word that I still re-read from time to time.  Many people in ministry or perhaps not in ministry but just people who have had some rather tough times in life, feel as if they are an “after thought” with God or that God has some “thrown together, last minute” plan for them.

To these people I say, that same love of God, that same personal, specific, love of God you have taught about, preached about, written about, shared with others….it is for you too!  You aren’t last place, you are not an after thought.  You are the apple of God’s eye.   He has a special plan for you.  In fact, His plan for you is so good that it has taken a little longer to prepare.

“Laying something on the alter” or “Giving something to God” doesn’t mean you lose the desire or you give up hope on it.  It just means you believe God for it rather than attempting to “make it happen” yourself.  It means you still desire it and you believe that God loves you so much that He has a special plan for you.  It means you pray about it but you do not put all your energy and thoughts into it.  You stop idolizing the dream; the ideal and you walk with God.

If I had trusted what I saw in the natural in regard to “getting married”, I probably would have given up hope.  I went from a sea of fish (Austin, TX – very high “single per capita ratio) to a lake (Mobile, Alabama) to a little pond (in West Texas called Big Spring).  In the physical,  my chances were getting slimmer but with God…ALL things are possible! I met the Hubs in Big Spring, Texas.

Our current dream is to start our family.   I got pregnant and then I lost that baby.  That was two years ago.  We do not just “hope” we KNOW that God is working on our behalf in this situation.  We KNOW that He has promised us children.  No, I am not tracking everything.  No, I am not going to the doctor every month.  Yes, my eggs are getting old.  😀  Who cares?  Sarah had a baby when she was old….and I’m not old.

Do not let anyone rob you of your hopes and dreams.  Sure there are times when you put a dream on the back burner and wait for God. Don’t give up.  When you give up your hope, you are really saying you do not believe God loves you the way He loves everyone else.  And He does.  He has a plan for you.

Or maybe you believe God wants you to be miserable.  He gave you a desire for something so He could dangle it like a carrot in front of you and if you are “good enough”, “perfect enough” or “do enough” then He will work things out for you.   Does that sound like an abundant life to you?  Jesus, the Word made flesh (John 1) said, “I came that they might have life, and have it more abundantly.”  He came to fill us with joy.  He knows what brings a smile to your face and He loves seeing you smile.  He’s a perfect Father. You are enough.  Let me repeat that…God says, “you are enough”. He loves you where you are right now, today.  You do not have to “do” anything for Him to love you more.

Believe again that you are God’s favorite and He has incredible things stored up especially for you.  Timing is everything with God.  That’s why our obedience to what He tells us is especially important….so we will be in the “right” place at the “right” time.

Dream again dear readers.

Living on an Expired Word

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In my post on Monday (or was it Tuesday?), I used the expression, “Living on an expired word.”  That is such an inaccurate statement in some ways.  You could be “living on an expired word” if you still living on a fully fulfilled word from years ago.  The thing about a word (a specific prophetic word from God for your life) is even if it has come to pass, it can apply to new seasons of your life too.

I was talking to a friend of mine the other day and she had received a word and at the time it was being given, it was being recorded.  She took her recording and transcribed the word on to paper…she told me I had recommended this method to her years ago.  That made me smile because I still do that and I still have prophetic words from years ago that I transcribed so I could meditate on them and the paper is very literally falling apart.  The word is still good.  Not long ago (last month) I pulled that word out and read it again.

If you have been keeping up, one of my themes lately is God reminding me who I am….who He created me to be and the plan He has for me.   That is what one good prophetic word will do.

I don’t believe a word should tell me something new so much as confirm what God has already been impressing up on my heart or telling me Himself in my own prayer time.  A good word should confirm and affirm what you already know.

One of the lines from that word, given so long ago, said, “You are a woman of grace, a woman of substance and a woman of authority”.   Now that I know these things for sure, I have to live them out…that is my responsibility.  A word from God must be responded to.

My friend asked me how long do you wait for a word to be fulfilled?   My answer was “until”…you wait and you wage a good warfare (This charge I commit to you, son Timothy, according to the prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you may wage the good warfare -I Timothy 1:18).  In my mind waging a good warfare means you remind yourself and you remind God what He said.  He always keeps His word.

On the 4th of July we went out to see the fireworks and met up with some of our friends from our church. It was pretty crowded and one of the vehicles next to us was playing a Journey CD…not just one song but a while Journey fireworks experience.  What is interesting about that is 1. I knew all the songs 2. Now I have this line stuck in my head “Don’t stop believing”.

How fitting.  “Don’t stop believing”…hold onto what God has told you until you see it fulfilled.

You don’t have to stay in a dead place.  By that I mean you don’t have to live there forever.  Sure, we all have seasons in our lives but we don’t have to stay there.  And in those seasons we don’t have to lose faith. If you have been living in a dead place…where no word can grow, then something has to give.  You simply will not grow there.  Dry season cause a tree to put down deeper roots but deserts kill trees.  Consider if you are in a season or in a desert.

That first prophetic word that I have written down (I know I received other prophetic words in the past) also said that I had “been believing that I was just rolling dice and was going to get whatever is left.” That is what I believed more importantly, that is what I believed I deserved.   No matter what I was thinking, God had a plan and He had something in mind that was so much more than “whatever was left”.  While I am special, I am no more special than you are.  God has something incredible planned for you too.  Inquire of Him.  He will show you the way.

Get a fresh word because God has something to say to you today.  Whatever that word is, wage a good warfare with it.  Know who God says that you are and live up to it.

Dont’ be a Donkey

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For the back-story read this.  Emily asked if I would go into the subject of the prophetic being off course.  Here goes Emily.

First of all, I am not at all sure David was “off” in the instants of Bathsheba.  I believe several things led to his fall. 

  1. David was at the wrong place at the wrong time.  David was a warrior king.  He was a prophetic psalmist but he was definitely a warrior.  Tradition tells us that the springtime was the time for war.  The rest of his army was out fighting.  Why was David sitting at home?
  2. David was bored.  My mother-in-law says that boredom is demonic.  That may be taking it a little far but all of David’s mighty men were out fighting and he was sitting at home bored.  Boredom can lead to some foolish decisions.
  3. All of David’s mighty men were out fighting which means, he had no accountability.  Who would know? 
  4. There was also some assumption involved…he assumed without consulting anyone that his timing was right. 
  5. David clearly wasn’t spending as much time with God as he should have been.  (see #2 boredom…he had time)
  6. Last but not all at least, David’s pride began to show.  He assumed because he was king, he could have anything or anyone he wanted.  He assumed that because he was anointed of God that God would approve whatever David wanted.  He assumed that because God approved of him in general that God would approve of his unrighteous actions.  He assumed because he heard from God that he was special and could do whatever he wanted.

Interestingly, almost every one of these scenarios is common to those with prophetic giftings; pride being the most common issue.  (Pastors frequently fall into this one too).  Here is the thing, when you hear from God you begin to think that because He speaks to you, He approves of you.  Not necessarily. 

In general, those with prophetic gifts tend to be forerunners.  They (not sure if I should say “they” or “we”) tend to be agents of change.  Agents of change are often controversial and unwelcome. 

Just because God tells you something, unless He directs you to do something with it, wait.  Wait for further instructions.  Don’t assume He wants you to share it.  Don’t assume He wants you to do something….JUST WAIT. 

Cindy Jacobs wrote in her book, Possessing the Gate of the Enemy (I think…if not, then it was in The Voice of God) about how prophets and pastors often clash.  She said if you give a flock of sheep to a pastor and send him up a mountain, he will take years to arrive at the top.  He will stop to tend to every wound, bruise and scrape.  He will arrive at the top of the mountain with all the sheep in pristine condition.  Give that same flock of sheep to a prophet and send them up the mountain, they will arrive in record time but they will have lost several sheep and the ones who do make it the top are pretty ratty looking (these are my words…).  So God places both the pastor and the prophet together to so they will take the mountain in a timely manner with most sheep in tack. 

The prophetic gifting very often causes, as Ezekiel describes, a sense of “fire shut up in my bones”.  It feels urgent.  It feels like “I must say this or do this right now”  Or this must happen ASAP. This is why WAITING is so difficult at times.   This is also why we are all a part of the body of Christ and we all have different gifts and callings….it cause a balance of sorts. 

From the prophetic point of view, life can often feel frustrating.  We see and we know what should be or what will be but we just aren’t there yet.  At times we feel we are constantly pulling, pushing or prodding. 

Another thing Cindy Jacobs said in The Voice of God is, “Not every intercessor is a prophet but every prophet is an intercessor.”  What this means is, we often hear from God for the purpose of praying.  Old timers used to use the term “praying trough”.  I think in terms of “giving birth”  At times, the Spirit will place a seed of sorts in your spirit and you must pray until you see that word begin to bud.  Prophets must get back to their intercessory roots.  Instead of feeling frustrated and pushing, pulling and prodding…..PRAY.  (The Word also says to covent-desire and seek the best gifts- so if you want to prophesy, the best place to start is by becoming an intercessor).

As for the potential pride issue… I often remind myself of the account of Balaam and his donkey…keeps me humble.  When God wants to communicate, He can even use a donkey.  I don’t have to be donkey for God to communicate through me but if I am a donkey,  He can still use me.  However, it is a lot less fun for me when I am being a donkey.  Don’t be a donkey.

I welcome questions so feel free to ask.

A Message from the Lord

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Have you ever watched the Vegitales Jonah movie?  There is a very catchy tune when we meet Jonah, he sings a song called “A Message from the Lord”.  It’s all about getting a message from the Lord.  Have you ever had a time in your life when you really needed a message from the Lord?

I certainly have.  Once you hear from God, it becomes addictive.  You find yourself wanting to hear from God all the time, about everything.

In 2000, I visited a very interesting church/ministry in Destine Florida called Christian International.  The Bishop over this international ministry is Dr. Bill Hamon.  He has written many books and one series is on prophetic ministry.  Christian International has a school that teaches prophetic protocol and use of spiritual gifts.  It is all based on  Scripture.  (yes, I am a stickler for that). 

So I visited there in 2000 and received prophetic ministry.  What they do is pray/prophecy over you.  They record the message and give it to you recommending you pray over it and even share it with your pastor or spiritual leadership.  (Again, they are very cautious about recommending you run off and make big changes in your life based on the prophetic ministry you receive).  The Word I received was very good.  They woman who ministered came back and said, God will provide new transportation for you and the wheels will be good.

At the time I had just bought the red Jetta and was pretty happy with it.  On the drive home, I had a blowout near Houston.  I actually have had two blowouts in the Jetta (on on I-10 and one on I-65).  In general it has had some wheel issues – it has very nice aluminum wheels that seem to cause the tires to leak.  It’s a constant thing.  At one point over the years, I acquired a new bike and thought maybe that was my “new” transportation.  Weirdly enough, the tires on the bike seem to leak air too.  (as always, this is going somewhere).

Then there is Dennis.  Several years ago, Dennis had a Saturn.  It was in good working condition and he felt God lead him to give the car away.  He fought it.  He thought he would sell it instead.  The long and short of it, he gave the car away and walked everywhere for about 6 months.  Later, a couple from our church in Big Spring, gave him a Ford Truck.  It was a 92 and had been a ranch truck.  He drove it for over two years and this past August, he told me he felt God leading him to give the truck away.  This would mean we would be a family of three (my sister-in-law was living with us at the time) with only one vehicle.  When God asks you to do something (as Matt Brock would say) you don’t write Him a memo asking for details…you just do it.  So Dennis gave away the truck.  Six weeks later, our car broke down.  A lady Francis from our church gave us a ’85 Capris which we drove while our car was being fixed.  The Capris has some issues of it’s own.  (It needs some work).  We fixed the Volkswagen and were back to one good vehicle.  We knew we needed something knew.  We started looking at Jeeps.  Dennis has always wanted one.  I’ve had opportunities to purchase the vehicle I wanted so it’s his turn.  We have had some reservations about purchasing a vehicle.  We attended Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace class and he is all about buying with cash.  It’s a good plan but we were going to break the rule.  Then I unexpectedly lost my job.  So we didn’t need a second vehicle.  Sort of.

Lately, the Word I had received eight years earlier was coming to my memory.  So I started reminding God of His word.  Isaiah says God’s Word is never void.  He said it and He will do it. 

A few days before Christmas, my mom called and asked if we could go somewhere with her on Tuesday.  We said sure.  (If someone you trust wants to take you somewhere, go!)  So she tells us the day of, we are going to Mammacitas (Mexican Food) for lunch.  My dad meets us there and my sister, brother-in-law and nephew.  We thought that was the big surprise.  They live over 200 miles away and we do not get to see them as much as we would like.  Plus, my sister is having a baby and we wanted to find out what she is having.  They planned it all very strategically so we wouldn’t see them arrive.  My sister gives me and my mom a little present to open and tells us to open it at the same time.  My moms gift revealed the gender of their baby.  My gift was a piece of paper…a title.  It took me a few minutes to figure it out.  They GAVE us an Expedition.  A slightly used, fully loaded, Eddy Bauer Edition Expedition.  We still cannot believe it.  We were blown away.  My sister, Jenny, tells me at one point that the tires are very good, they were very expensive.  God is in the details.

Jenny and John are two of the most humble people we know.  They have been BLESSED over the years with some nice things.  I have witnessed them tighten their belts during lean times yet never slow down their giving.  I’ve seen them give and give and give…not just to church but to people they know; some believers and some unbelievers – where  ever they see a need.  They are destined to succeed and to be richly and abundantly blessed because they always demonstrate the heart of a servant.

There is more to this story.  When Dennis gave his truck, he had several people at his job ridicule his decision.  He never had the intent of sharing with them all the details of why he gave it but they kept asking him.  One co-worker told him he was stupid to give out of his need….that you should only give out of your abundance.  That co-worker told Dennis, “Don’t ever ask me for a ride.”   Dennis says this gift was a “Blessing slap” from God; so unexpected, so lavish we couldn’t have  imagined it.  It is a testimony of God’s faithfulness to provide exceedingly abundantly above all that we can think or imagine or ask.

Graham Cooke

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On Friday night we headed out to Church of the Hills in Cedar Park to hear Graham Cooke.  That hour and fifteen minute drive through Austin was totally worth it!!  And thank you Church of the Hills for bringing in such a dynamic man of God.

Graham (he’s really not into titles – he lives in California these days and seem very laid back) spoke on personality vs. persona.  Personality being who we are to those around us; our outward self.  Persona being who we are in the heavens; who God says we are.  He said we must begin to listen to who God says that we are so much that we begin to manifest that in the physical.  There are so many things that we do and say that do not line up with who God says we are.

When God tells you who you are He does three things

  • Elevates your status
  • Gives you legal authority
  • Gives you permission to overcome

He used the Example of Gideon. (You can read the whole account in Judges 6)

God said three things to Gideon.
“The LORD is with you, you mighty man of valor!” 
“Go in this might of yours, and you shall save Israel from the hand of the Midianites. Have I not sent you?” 
“Surely I will be with you, and you shall defeat the Midianites as one man.”

He said too many people never say who God says they are…as if telling others who God says they are is prideful.  He says this is false humility and a spirit of religion.  We should be declaring everyday who God says we are. 

When David went out to meet Goliath, he walked on to the battle field knowing what God had already said about him.  Graham said, “David could have said to Goliath, ‘I got a word from Sam and he said I am going to be king.  I’m not king yet.  So today is not my day to die.  It sucks to be you.'”  The point is, live in the Word’s that have been declared over you.

As Christians we are not called to judge (not each other…only the enemy and his work).  We are called to be ambassasadors of reconciliation; reconciling others to Christ.  Accountability is not about judging others it is about reminding them who God says they are and that their actions are not aligning with who are they are called to me. 

Identity is a combination of your ccalling, your favor and your authority. 

Once God tells you who you are, you can only go forward in that.  God doesn’t listen to excuses.  Once He tells you who you are He will only speak to you in that persona.  When we give God excuses, the only response we will hear is the “N” word:  Nevertheless.

Graham Cooke wove a great message.  The Sunday message is  here on the Church of the Hills’ website.  Everyone who lives in the Austin area should listen to it, he gave a powerful word for the region.  Stay tuned…. we are reading his series on becoming a warrior.