Hut 1,2,3,4,

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“You are in the army now.” Let the words echo around your heart, your spirit and your mind. As a child of the King of kings, you have been drafted into the Army of God. In all honesty, you have enlisted for the duration of your life, whether it is 10, 20 or 40 years. You are and will be a soldier in His army. The great thing is you are in this army and the provisions are fantastic.

You have been given the perfect armor for the battles you will face. You are to gird your loins with the belt of truth – not your truth or your neighbor’s truth, but the truth of the Word of God. The deeper you dig into the Word, more strength your armor will be. The belt of truth is vital in this day and time. Then you get to wear the breastplate of righteousness. Thank goodness, we are covered with the righteousness of the Lord and not our own. The enemy will throw accusations, reminders of our failures and past trying to discourage and bring us down. Yet with the breastplate of righteousness, His righteousness we can see beyond our past. Our past has been covered by His blood and is in the past.

Next are your shoes of the preparation of the gospel of peace. Every step you make is ordered by the Lord and He will lead and direct your journey. Next grab up your shield of faith. This part of the armor covers our heart and is able to deflect the fiery darts of the enemy. Now the ‘darts’ aren’t like the small pointy darts of a board game. The enemy of our soul is launching intercontinental ballistic missiles, or in his case – inter-kingdom long range missiles. He is determined to bring each one of us down. But through the righteousness of the Lord is more powerful than anything the enemy could possible throw at us.

Your helmet of salvation protects your brain. How many times, have you been defeated by the words of another, or even words that you have spoken in your head? Or maybe your problem has been allowing your imagination to control your actions with all the “what ifs!” As you learn to put on your helmet of salvation, I pray that you also learn to allow the Lord’s truth to fill your thoughts. Now it’s time to pick up our sword of the Spirit and fight against our enemy with the Word of God. His Word is more powerful than anything that the devil or any enemy can bring against us. It’s not by our might or our power but by the Word of God. It’s not even our battle – the battle is the Lord’s

Defeat is NOT an option, and retreat is not an answer. You might fall, or even get wounded, and at times ‘friendly’ fire might get you. However, after a time of healing you will, can and must get back up, get back into your unit and pick up arms against the enemy once more. As you rise from the ashes of past failures or wounds, begin picking up His armor and prepare yourself once more for the battle. Isaiah 52:12 For you shall not go out with haste, Nor go by flight; For the LORD will go before you, And the God of Israel will be your rear guard.

Stand ready, stand prepared for battle knowing that the Lord will be with you every step of the way. He will direct your path and He will protect your back. Stand strong! For the Lord is mighty in battle!

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Praise in the Storm

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A pastor shared with us many years ago that who we are at home is the reality of who we are in the Lord. Talk about a statement that will make you stop and examine your life and heart; that one statement did. “Who I am at home is who I really am in the Lord!” We all put on our public face and want people to see us as a nice person, a good person who loves the Lord. Others should always see us as smiling and ready to face the world.

Yet, often we are facing problems in our marriage or on the job. Maybe there are problems at school or within your family. And like all people when we are facing trials, too often we allow the issues to affect our outlook and attitude. We struggle to maintain our composure to the world but at home it’s an entirely different thing. We might fuss and fume with everyone, or perhaps becoming moody and withdrawn. Others might become snappy or as they say in the south “they are ill as a rattlesnake.”

It is at those times that we need to press into the Lord more than ever. Why, because we need a touch from the Lord. We need to lay our burdens down at the foot of the cross and allow the Lord to minister to our need. And if we are honest with our self, need an attitude adjustment. Yes, just like we tell our children, we are in desperate need to change our attitude.

Life is often not fair. Things do not always go our way. We make mistakes, unwise choices, and face it – we can make the biggest mess of our life. Other times the hardships come through the actions of others. Many are like the prodigal and run this way and that and then when we are face down in pig slop we remember the goodness of our Father’s house. I have been there and if most people are honest; they have too.

But like the prodigal, we can turn and return back to the Lord. We can see His face and His forgiveness. And like the prodigal’s father in the Scripture, when his father saw his wayward son coming down that road, he ran! Picture that for a moment. But put yourself in that place. You have made all the right moves according to the world and yet you know deep inside that your heart is not where it should be in the Lord. You have struggled and slipped far away from the Lord. Now, you are at the end of your rope, you are struggling with life in general and you know you need to come home. You need a touch from the Lord. As you turn back to Him, He runs to embrace you. You have traveled so far away from where you were and where you want to be and He is running to you!

Will you return the embrace? Will you confess your faults, mistakes and sins and seek forgiveness? Will you face the truth that your choices have left you tired, filthy and stinking? Yes, look in that spiritual mirror and see the reality of who the Lord sees. Remember that no matter what we try to hide to others or even our self, the Lord sees the truth. Yes, He sees the truth and has known it for ages. He sees all those little nooks and crannies where we hide our secrets. And in spite of the truth, He runs to us. He runs to embrace us and welcome us back into His arms.

No matter what is happening, the Lord is still worthy. He is worthy of praise and worship for all the mercy and grace He has shown to us. No matter how bad things seem, He is deserving of every word and action we offer up to Him. Let your heart rejoice like Habakkuk in the face of adversity and become all the Lord desires for your life. Habakkuk 3:17-18 Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls: Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation.

Remind Me Again

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There are days when we just need to take time and remind our self just who the Lord is and what He is in our life. Yes, it is on those days when it seems like everything is against us. It is on those days that we have to look beyond our circumstances and look to the cross. We have to acknowledge the truth that He Is NOT hanging on that cross, nor is He dead in the tomb. Our God, The Lord we serve, Jesus Christ is alive and well, and He is sitting on the right hand of His Father in Heaven.

Think about the many blessing you have received through His boundless love. He has offered you the gift of salvation and redemption. He has sanctified you and set you apart for this time and place in history. He is perfecting that which concerns you. He is working all things out in His perfect timing for your life. He watches over you in love.

In the midst of a battle, He goes before you. He provides His armor for your protection. He is your rear guard. His angels encamp around you. Psalm 91:7 A thousand may fall at your side, And ten thousand at your right hand; But it shall not come near you. Through the enemy may attack full force, the Lord promises that the battle is His. No one and nothing can snatch you out of His hand.

On the days that flood waters seem to overtake you, He promises that you that they will not overtake you. They may swirl around you but truthfully you are in the palm of His hand and they will NOT win. Are you walking through the fires of life? He has promised to be with you and the flames will not burn you. In fact, He promises that you will come through the battle and you will not even smell like smoke. Nothing the enemy throws at you can come past the hand of the Lord. He hides you in the shadow of His wings. Yes, He is right there with you this very second.

Yea, it might be one of those days when you can barely stand but He has it taken care of. You might not see it, and at times you might not believe it, but you stand on His promises that He is faithful and true. He will never fail you and He will never leave you. Stand on His promises. Stand on His word. You are His and He is yours, both now and for always.

That First Step

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The Lord wants to use you. Right where you are! He wants to teach you to spread your wings, get out of your comfort zone and soar with the eagles. It will feel strange, but in the process you will discover a freedom you have never known before. Obedience will lead to a deep sense of joy and satisfaction that comes from listening to the Holy Spirit and following the path that the Lord has placed before you.

This new path may be in a direction you have never walked in before. There may be even some fear and trembling in those first few step, but obedience is better than sacrifice. Keep your eyes on the Lord and seek His face. You may even find yourself taking one step forward and two steps backward but often it’s like a little one learning to walk. They try to keep their balance wobbling back and forth. Then they lift that chubby little leg and place it in front and try then attempt it again. How many times have you seen a little one suddenly lose their balance and sit down on their padded bottom? But they don’t give up; again and again they make the effort to get this new trick down pat.

When the Lord calls anyone into a new area, the changes are sort of like that little one taking those first steps. Are you being called in to a music ministry? Don’t compare your voice to the woman in the choir. Just like a cardinal sound different than a sparrow; your voice is different than anyone else. Maybe you are being lead to teach a Sunday school class. Find your style and what works for you. You will never teach like anyone else and you aren’t supposed to. Your style will be uniquely yours.

Maybe the Lord is calling you into a deeper place of prayer. You have always prayed, but there is a deep desire to stand in the gap praying for the many needs you hear of every day. Perhaps, you are sensing more hunger to dig into His Word. You are praying for more understanding and insight. Go ahead and dig, dig deeper than ever before.

The Lord is moving on the hearts of many of my friends into new areas. One is moving into a new ministry helping others overcome grief. Several others are stepping out in faith to reach the homeless and outcast of society. Others are finding their place in a ministry that reaches out to the family members who are sitting in a cold, impersonal ICU waiting room or a hospice. Several I know are stepping out in faith and watching the Lord make provision for mission trips in faraway lands.

Is there a stirring happening in your heart? Then allow the Lord to keep stirring! Open your heart and spirit wide to all He is ministering. Listen for His call and take that first wobbling step. He is right there and will give you all the encouragement and guidance you need. Even know He is calling you to step out in faith and discover that freedom to be all He has called you to be

Never Too Late

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Have you ever felt like giving up on someone? You have talked to them until you are blue in the face. You have shared this and that, changed the words, switched tactics and yet NOTHING happens. It is like talking to a brick wall. How, just how can you get through to them? What else can you say, or do, or write or…

As a Christian, many of us have loved ones who have never had an encounter with the Lord. And as a Christian, we want to see those same loved ones come to the place of salvation. We want to see the change that only the Lord can bring to their life. Oh, to see them changed and renewed and on fire for the Lord. And yet, until now it just hasn’t happened. What will it take?

It might be a brother, sister, aunt or uncle or our best friend. Maybe it’s a niece or nephew. Our hearts ache even more if it is a spouse or parent. But when it is our child or grandchild, our heart’s pain is indescribable. The thought of a loved one passing without that gift of salvation is unbearable. “Maybe, if I say…” one more time.

The thing is, we have to face the truth that this battle is not ours. This battle is the Lord’s. It always has been, it is now and it will be tomorrow. He knows the desires of our heart, and He hears the cries of our heart. As deep as our love is for them, His love is even stronger than ours. Jesus was willing to lay His life down for them and He is not going to turn His back on them now.

Do you have a loved one that your heart cries out for? Don’t give up! Don’t let the enemy tell you it’s too late. Stand in the gap in prayer for them. Ask for divine intervention and send people to plant into their life. Pray for a tender heart and good soil. Pray for deaf ears to hear, and blinded eyes to be opened. Intercede and never give up, it’s never over until the Lord says “It is over!” Press in and pray that the Lord to move in the hearts of your loved ones.

Overcoing the Tricks

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Without question, the enemy of our soul loves nothing better than to hinder and destroy God’s people. He will use any method hoping to trip us up in our walk before the Lord. If we falter in our faith, does his laughter fill the air? When doubt fills our heart, or we become lukewarm, he probably dances for joy. There is no way determine his reaction, but we do know he comes to rob, steal, and destroy. That is his ultimate goal and he will try to achieve it by any means possible.

One method the enemy uses is fear. He whispers words of doubt when the Lord begins ministering a new direction in our life. Fear of the unknown, or of the possibility that we missed hearing clearly has paralyzed many a soul. Terror of making a mistake is another way the enemy uses to stop us from moving forward.

Another trick is to make us believe we are the only one enduring a certain trial. We are alone and lonely. No one could possible understand our feelings. Our loss is somehow different from others. The daily struggle we have is unique to us. No one else is walking in our shoes. If we are honest with our self – the feeling is no one else could walk in our shoes.

A huge deception of the devil is to throw our mistakes and failures into our face. “Look at what you did! How can God use you? You are worthless and good for nothing. No one will listen to a single thing you have to say.” Words like these has stopped many a discouraged soul into walking in the freedom the Lord gave them through the power of the cross.

The enemy longs to steal our joy. Joy is different from happiness. Happiness might come when you listen to the songbirds early in the morning. However, joy is an intense feeling of knowing that you are the Lord’s and nothing can take that away from you. In fact, part of the root word joy is to be “joined”.

You have been bought with a price, purchased with the precious blood of the Lamb. You are joined with your heavenly Father by the very act of repentance and forgiveness. Rest in Him today. Job 33:26 He shall pray to God, and He will delight in him, He shall see His face with joy, For He restores to man His righteousness.

Facing the Day!

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There are days when you just don’t want to get up. You don’t want the day to begin, or open your eyes to the light of day or face another day with the hardships, questions and pain of yesterday. There are times when they seem to run together into a blur without an end in sight. The minutes quickly turn into another day, week, month and at times a year. Just how much more of this can you take?

Yet, there are promises in His Word that tell us to “Hold on! Help is coming! I am right here with you!” It is easy to read but how do we apply them to our life. It’s even easier when you are speaking the words to someone else, especially when you are not walking in their shoes or on that long dark endless path they are traveling.
But, it is true! We can hold on to every single promise in His Word. He placed it there for you and for me. It is for YOU! Claim it as your own. Stand on His promises and let the truth of His word be applied to your heart, your life and your spirit. Not as some ‘all I got to do is say the word and its mine’ game; but starting it as fact and believing His word is the absolute truth.

Hold on! Hold on to the truth that you are His and He is yours. Hold on to the truth that the Lord will never leave you nor forsake you. Hold on that since the beginning of time, your Heavenly Father knew you and called you by name. Hold on that He is with you even now. Hold on and when you are tired, hold on some more. Be like the woman with the issue of blood and touch the hem of His garment. But if you have to grab hold of the hem of His garment and don’t let go!

Help is coming. He will answer your cry! Oh it might not be this minute or even this day, but He will answer at just the right moment and in just the right way. It might not be the answer you were expecting or even wanting but remember that His answer is the best one for your life. He never brings you anything second rate. Trust Him to bring the best. He desires you to have the best, not in earthly possessions but in Him and His Kingdom.

He is right there with you. He has never left you and He never will. Since time began He has waited for your birth. He waited with His arms opened wide. He waited for the day you would turn around like the prodigal and run into His arms. He waited for you to figure out that His love and promises are true and faithful. No one nowhere on the face of the earth will ever love you like He does. No one will ever provide for you in the same manner as the Lord.

Yes, the day may be hard and the path difficult, but stand on His promises. Don’t be afraid of what tomorrow or even this afternoon brings because He is already waiting for you there. Allow His love and compassion to surround you like a warm blanket on a cold winter’s night and rest. Rest in His perfect love; rest in the knowledge that He is with you and holding your heart in the palm of His hand even now. He catches every tear and places them in a bottle for safekeeping.

Yes, rise up! Rise up and face the day – not in your strength but in His. Rise up and declare to your heart and to the world – This is the day that my Lord has made- I will rejoice and be glad in it and in Him.

It’s Time

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The rain made it possible for the tears to run freely as she walked down the street. The pain inside was more than she could handle anymore. Or maybe it is the guy who is so frustrated and downtrodden that without even realizing it he slams his fist into a wall. The pain he feels is pale considering the pain in his spirit. Do you know someone like this? They walk in the pain of life every step of every day. Peace is nowhere to be found, yet they keep on walking.

Perhaps you are the one in the description. You keep the pain locked down deep inside because you don’t want anyone to know or discover your secret. The pain comes from different events that have taken place in your life. A betrayal, a broken heart, or a wrong choice and the resulting failure are part of your heartache. Yet, no matter how you turn or what you do, the pain is still constant and with you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week,

Oh, you might smile in certain situations, after all, no one can see inside that your heart is still breaking, You even manage to laugh at the right times and say just the right words, but inside you still feel like death warmed over. There is no end in sight to the agony and pain you feel. Where can you go and what will it take to overcome. You want; no you NEED to feel alive again. You need to feel; you want to feel like life is worth living. You want joy, peace, and a sense that you belong somewhere in this universe. It doesn’t have to be a big place but you want to feel something other than the intense pain you have carried for so long.

I wonder just how many of the Lord’s disciples felt like that before they heard the voice of the Master calling them. Peter was a hot-head, always ready for a fight. There was Matthew, a dirty tax collector, who was considered the worst of all sinners. Several were nothing more than fishermen; men who toiled constantly for a few stinky fish only to turn around and do it all again. Judas Iscariot, a man who loved his money and was known to occasionally slip a few coins in his pocket out of the treasury. Thomas, a man with many questions and found it hard to walk by faith. Some wanted a position to sit in a place of honor, one on the left side and the other on the right.

Yet in the midst of their life, they hear a voice calling “Come follow Me and I will make you a fisher of men!” The Lord didn’t wave a magic wand and make their life new and wonderful, without any problems. He made their life worth living, He gave them a drink of the living water and they would never be the same again. He gave them life and life more abundantly, oh not with the things of the world, like a big house, fancy chariot or nice clothes. But He gave them a reason to live and life everlasting.

He filled them with a desire to make disciples throughout their corner of the world. They were filled with a love and compassion for those around them. What once seemed like a lost cause as they stood outside the grave of their Master, became alive with hope after the stone was rolled away and they heard the words “He is alive! He has risen from the dead!” Sorrow turned to joy and hopelessness made a U-turn down the street named Life. Despair turned into hope.

You know, Jesus is still in the business of repairing lives today. He has risen and He is alive for evermore. The same changes He made in the lives of His disciples over two thousand years ago are still possible today. No one anywhere is outside His reach. Not you, me or the neighbor down the street, not the hardest heart, nor the worse drunk, or the prostitute, or drug addict are outside the reach of the Lord. Not even those who are in the depths of despair, or grief. Jesus said “Come, come unto Me ALL who are laden and I will give you rest.” He made that promise many years ago and those words are still true today.

Come and be made whole. Come and find love, joy, and peace like you have ever known. Come and discover a whole new world of walking in the love of Jesus. Even now He is waiting for you to accept His invitation. Today is the day of salvation. Today is the day that you can find wholeness. Yes, today is your day to discover life and life abundantly in the Lord.

Straight Ahead

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Have you ever felt like you are lost in a whirlwind? Or perhaps, you are wandering around in a vast terrain with no clear path or direction, it just seems like you are walking in circles. Maybe you are in a church and you just don’t fit in. It seems you are a round peg trying to fit in a square hole and it is mighty uncomfortable. Just where do you fit in this thing we call life?

Quite honestly, the lack of direction, the questions about where do I belong, or how do I fit is more common than you know. It might be for a season or in some cases last years. Sometimes, the discomfit comes when the Lord begins prodding us to move along. It might be a different job, a physical move or even a spiritual move by changing churches. At times, when we fail to heed His prompting, He will allow things to become so painful that it becomes a ‘move or die’ situation.

I thought about the small family group of Jacob’s that traveled to Egypt. They picked up lock, stock and barrel to go where the Lord had made provision. But why didn’t they return to their homeland after the drought was over? After Joseph’s death and all the good he did for Egypt forgotten, his people were enslaved, enslaved to a nation that ruled with iron fist. How dis-heartened they must have felt. From the time the sun came up in the morning until late in the evening, they were at the beck and call of their task-masters.

Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph had been dead for many years and for 400 years their descendants endured the hardships of slavery in Egypt. They watched their sons murdered and the sick worked to death. There was no end in sight. They needed Jehovah, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. They NEEDED a change. They needed a savior, a deliverer. They didn’t know how, what or who but something had to give. They were tired of being slaves and never knowing what freedom was like other than a dream.

And then: (I just love “and then” in the Word.) And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. Exodus 2:24. Had the Lord really forgotten His covenant with Abraham and his descendants? I don’t think so; maybe He was waiting for them to remember Him. Maybe that’s how it seemed to them. In Psalms it says that they forgot about the Lord. Maybe He was waiting until they came to the end of their rope and started seeking Him again.

No one had any hope or joy. But more importantly, no one had a vision for their future. Yet as they cried out to the Lord, He heard them and sent Moses. They were reminded of Jehovah’s promises. Hope began to stir in their hearts; maybe change could come to them. Maybe they could learn something besides slavery. Could it still be true that there was a special place for them? And that same question applies to each one of us today. Could there be a special place for you or me today? YES, a resounding yes!

No matter where you are, the Lord is waiting for you. Are you walking closely with Him? Rejoice in that! Have you been struggling to find your place? You need a fresh vision and a hope for your future. Begin crying out and asking the Lord for wisdom and insight to find the place He has for you. Seek the spot that only you can fill through His grace and mercy.

If you are meant to sing – then sing. Maybe you are the one meant to stand and proclaim His Word. Or are you one who is meant to travel to faraway lands. Or is your place ministering to the broken of society. There is a place and a ministry for each one of us. No one is meant to simply warm a pew; the Lord has a call on the heart of every single one of us. And the greatest gift is knowing that even if we turn our back on it for a season, the Lord never turns His back on us. Amp. Bible 11:29 For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable [for He does not withdraw what He has given, nor does He change His mind about those to whom He gives His grace or to whom He sends His call].

Up from the Ashes

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It is a wonderful thing to watch the Lord using one of His children for His glory. Especially, when you know that the person has not only talked the talked but lived, breathed and walked the walk. I watch this happen this past weekend with a friend. Her struggle with grief has been real after losing her child to cancer. Has it been easy – absolutely not! Nor has it been a quick 1, 2, 3, process. But step by unbearable step she began seeing a little light at the end of the tunnel.

Then she heard little whispers from the Lord. “I want to use you; even with all your pain, sorrow and despair.” I can only imagine how shocked she was. How? When? And more importantly, why; WHY would the Lord choose her? Did she wonder if someone else would be better? Or in all honesty, anyone else would be better. Yet through time, the whisper became louder. He was calling her.

Bit by bit, the Lord brought about divine connections with other souls that would join heart with the vision the Lord gave her. Each one of them offered their own special part and everyone brought a piece of the puzzle. Encouragement came from different directions and the reassurance that this was the Lord. And the “ Angel Eyes Ministry” was birthed.

Why am I sharing about this ministry just spreading their wings? Because I watched the Lord used this ministry to touch the hearts of everyone that walked into that room. As the team worked together, the Spirit of the Lord moved in the burdened hearts. Each one of them had their part. Some worked in the mundane labor of the ministry, manning the registration table, and running errands. Others played vital roles and they indeed played their part perfectly. Yet their part was just as important as the main speaker.

Several sentences still echo in my heart. “Everyone grieves at some point in their life and it is not always over the death of a loved one. Some grieve after losing a job that they loved. Some mourn at the failure of their marriage. Or the sorrow may come from a lost friendship or at the betrayal of a close friend. Or perhaps your loss is a spouse or a way of life because of an illness.” No matter what caused the pain, the grief is real. Many in the room were dealing with the pain of a lost loved one. Most had lost a child, some wounds new and fresh, others had suffered their loss years ago.

The Lord used this small ministry to bring comfort, hope, encouragement and peace to those filled with their unbearable pain. Some needed a hug, to know that their sorrow was real. They needed to know “That it is okay to not be okay!” Grief, sorrow, heartache and anguish are normal and part of the grieving process. Other emotions can be our attempt to hide what we feeling. Yet in a few short hours a difference had been made in the hearts of the ones attending this event.

Like many of us, through this battle and hardship she has seen the hand of the Lord working in her life even in the midst of the heartbreak. Many of us experienced ups and downs. And the Lord will bring someone into our life that has walked that same agonizing path as us. Are you grieving? Know that it will take time. Know that the Lord is right there with you. It might not seem like it, but He is with you even now. Hang on and allow Him to bring you peace and encouragement. If you need to cry, then cry. If you need to scream it out, let it go. It seems unbearable but He will bring you through. And then on the other side of your grief, let Him begin to whisper hope. Hope for your tomorrow!