The Jungle Whack Blessing

 

The Jennifer and Mark Morris family with Silas and Liana from the jungles of Pucallpa Peru

The Jennifer and Mark Morris family with Silas and Liana from the jungles of Pucallpa Peru

             My friend Jennifer Harris Morris was in town this summer from her mission station in Pucallpa Peru. She has started over 35 churches in 16 years. It’s an amazing story of what one woman can do devoted to God’s purposes. Their Jungle Ministry funds Micro Enterprises, conducts Animal Husbandry projects, provides social services, educates satellite churches, organizes a Bible Institute, operates Emmanuel Farm, and supports Youth Scholarship Programs for 40 students to get a vocational training. For more information, check out Mark and Jen’s Jungle Ministry

                At the end of the time where our two families spent time with one another in California, we took time to pray before leaving. Jen prayed for me a blessing she had had prayed over her in her first few years of missionary work.

                “I bless you with the Jungle Whack Blessing. You feel like you’re in a jungle and you can’t see where you’re going. But each day you move forward using the machete to cut a few more feet forward. As you look back, you can see you are leaving a path. You keep whacking away at the jungle until you reach the clearing or the water. Each day is progress, even if you can’t see it. You are moving forward and creating a path through the jungle. I bless the work of your hands each day you work.”

                This captured exactly how I was feeling about working on five projects at once and not feeling that any of them were progressing toward completion. Jen had listened, and lended her outsiders’ perspective to my world, and shared a blessing that had brought her victory.

This blessing sustained me. It was exactly what I needed to keep whacking away each day! Thank you Lord for friends who can hear and understand and know exactly how to pray.

 

For More Information on Mark and Jen’s Jungle Ministry, click here to visit their web site, Mary and Jen’s Jungle Ministry.  


The Time Tithe

 

Can Tithing Time Add Time Back into Our Lives?

Can Tithing Time Add Time Back into Our Lives?

Of the preachers who tell their congregants how to get blessed by tithing, they often add a broader definition of tithing to include our talents and time, as well as our treasures.

Do you know anyone who tithes 10% of their time to God? Of their waking hours to God? It’s rare enough to find someone who gives God 20 minutes a day in a Quiet Time of some sort, or in prayer. 

And what is the number one complaint among your friends?  “There’s never enough time to get everything done in a day.” And this feels so true. There isn’t enough time to accomplish everything in my “To Do” list. I grew up in an era when most stores were closed on Sundays. With two working parents, it made most Saturdays very busy with shopping, errands and projects where we might need to run over to the hardware store for additional supplies. Now we can shop 24/7 with the internet. We can get what we need at 24/7 drugstores and convenience stores. And on the day after Thanksgiving, one can go into a store at 5:00 am to shop for extra bargains. People stand in line to do this.

As my friend Sarah points out, God has an even higher expectation for time than 10%. It’s 14.28571%. Or 1/7. That is equivalent to 1 day out of 7. That’s right: 1 day a week. He calls it the Sabbath. And it’s a commandment. “The seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates (Exodus 20:10, NKJV).” 

I believe the Sabbath isn’t about something we don’t get to do, that causes us to groan. It’s about getting to do something we love to do with God. To finally have time for a hike, or to play tennis, or picnic, or paint. Kingdom living doesn’t focus on strict rules; it’s about doing life with Jesus.

I have an uncle who is a talented artist. I know this because I see his doodles on placemats when we go out to eat. I encourage this gift. I give him canvases, charcoals, paints, and sketch books for Christmas. They collect dust in his basement. He is too busy working to develop this talent. His gift is God given and undernourished. I pray for him to find time to draw and explore this gift. So far, I’m still waiting for the Christmas when he gives me a finished sketch.  Sowing the seed of time includes enjoying and exploring and developing the gifts and talents God has given us.

As we live by this philosophy of tithing time in practicality, I believe life starts to go smoother. We become more efficient in what we do with the other 6 days. As we sow the seed of time, God has a way of multiplying time back to us. For example, people start to offer to help with a project and that cuts my workload by 50%.

Tithing time, and tithing in general, is about caring about God’s order of living and being blessed as we do so. When I meet mature givers, they jump at the opportunities to bless others because they know and trust God’s ability to multiply blessings to them in return. 

 

 


Strategies for Overcoming Depression from Psalm 143 Part 2

 

God's Plans forus are for Good, Peace and Hope

God’s Plans forus are for Good, Peace and Hope

Previously we looked at Psalm 143’s description of what we call in today’s lingo, “depression.” King David felt persecuted, crushed and dark. He said it felt like being overwhelmed. But then, He focused on God. He remembered the things God had done for him and for the people that had gone before him. He considered in nature the works of God’s hands. We pick up David’s line of  thought in verse 6.

I muse on His promises to his people to be for us and on our side. Then I spread my hands out, from an emotionally safe place and ask for help (Psalm 143:6.) I can receive the water of His good news on my dry and thirty soul. “I will cry out to God Most High, to God who performs all things for me (Psalm 57:2).”

            God has given us, ever since Jesus released it, the authority to trample on the plans of the enemy without worry about repercussions. “Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you (Luke 10:19, NKJV).” 

We have the power to loosen the life power of heaven with our words. The tool is our mouth. “Death and life are in the power of the tongue…(Proverbs 18:21, NKJV).” We also have the ability to speak to our mountains of difficulty. “For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says (Mark 11;23m NKJV).”  These two points allow us, with our mouths, to bind the powers of darkness and loosen the principles of heaven on earth. We call this binding and loosing.

The more we know scripture, the more we can use it in our prayers. Many people are familiar with Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” These principles are incorporated in this prayer.

“In the authority Jesus gave me, I bind and cancel the plans of the enemy in                                    ‘s life, and loosen the good plans that God has for this precious child of God to come forth and unfold, in Jesus’ name. We know that God’s plans are for good, peace, and hope.”

See also Strategies for Overcoming Depression from Psalm 143 Part 1


Strategies for Overcoming Depression from Psalm 143 Part 1

 

Pausing to Look at the Sunset from Spanish Bay Resort, California

Pausing to Look at the Sunset from Spanish Bay Resort, California

In Psalm 143, King David outlines the strategy of the enemy for discouragement and despression. Then he describes the steps we can take to win in this battle of the mind.  Psalm 143:3-6 in the New American Standard Bible reads,

            “For the enemy has persecuted my soul;

            He has crushed my life to the ground;

            He has made me dwell in dark places, like those who have long been dead

            Therefore my spirit is overwhelmed within me;

            My heart is appalled within me.

            I remember the days of old;

            I meditate on all Thy doings

            I muse on the work of Thy hands

            I stretch out my hands to Thee

            My soul longs for Thee, as a parched land. [Selah]” (italics added)

 

The action verbs that describe the enemy to stir up our souls are persecuted, crushed and dwelling in dark places. Anyone who has walked on or near the path of depression knows what those days are like.  We feel overwhelmed and distressed (v.4).

Psalm 143 continues after verse 4. King David shares what his plan of action is. We remember the things God has done in the past. We mediate on the things he has done for us in the past. And we muse on the works of his hands (v.5). I purposely pause to consider a rose, or comprehend the stars of a night sky, or a sunset at the beach. These things give me a perspective larger than myself. Life gets better when I focus on how big God is. He’s bigger than my problems. He’s bigger than my family. He’s bigger than my company. He’s bigger than my state or country. I remember this, and then factor in his love. I take the time to meditate on his love and power told in scriptures.  I speak scriptural truths out loud.

“God loves me, flaws and all. God is for me, and not against me. God goes before me into every battle. He is with me through the floods and through the fire. He is my rear guard. I call upon Him and He answers me. God is with me in trouble. God will deliver me and honor me.” (See Romans 8:31, Psalm 56:9, Isaiah 43:2-4, Psalm 91:15, Jeremiah 31:3, 1 Samuel 17:47)

See Strategies for Overcoming Depression from Psalm 143 Part 2


Forego the Pity Party and Align with God’s Action Plan

Pity Parties are Dangerous Because Jezebel Always Attends. Forego the Pity Party and Align with God's Action Plan for Your Life.

Pity Parties are Dangerous Because Jezebel Always Attends. Forego the Pity Party and Align with God’s Action Plan for Your Life.

When we don’t get everything the way we want, it can be tempting to throw a pity party.  The problem is that Jezebel always comes to our pity parties.

Ahab’s offer to buy Naboth’s vineyard got refused. “Naboth said to Ahab, ‘The LORD forbid that I should give the inheritance of my fathers to you! (1 Kings 21:3 NKJV).” Jezebel came and asked dejected Ahab what the matter was.  Next, the good man Naboth was murdered.

Note that Naboth was holding on to his inheritance.  He inherited the field and intended to pass this down to his children.  As our blessings flourish, they become enviable to others. Naboth held his ground before the Lord. We must guard our inheritance from the Lord in prayer, and take the authority Jesus delegated to us in Luke 10:19. “Behold I have you authority to trample upon snakes and scorpions and over all the power of the enemy and nothing shall by any means harm you (Luke 10:19, NKJV).” This is the word of the Lord. This is the authority on which we stand. This is the power to walk victoriously.

In another example, Elijah had just defeated 450 Baal prophets before the people of Israel and declared “The LORD, He is God! The LORD, He is God! (1 Kings 18:39, NKJV).” Then Elijah ran for his life from Jezebel, and prayed that God would take his life.  An angel arrived before Jezebel found Elijah.  The angel spoke kindly and gave him food and rest.

Then God dialogued with Elijah.  God gave Elijah facts he didn’t know. “Yet I have reserved seven thousand in Israel, all whose knees have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him (1 Kings 19:18, NKJV).”  And God assigned Elijah some prophetic duties.  Game On! Time to move out (take action) armed with updated information.

So the next time it’s tempting to throw a pity party, remember that Jezebel might come, and call it off.  Research the facts.  Armed with data God provides (or directs us to), it’s time to get back to the “work” of our destinies and purpose.


Love the Waiting Process to Keep Your Promise Fruitful

Laban and Jacob negotiate.  Learning to love the process while waiting for the promise to be fulfilled. Photo: messianic-revolution.com

Laban and Jacob negotiate. Learning to love the process (Leah) while waiting for the promise (Rachel) to be fulfilled. Photo: messianic-revolution.com

Many of us have had amazing prophetic words and we haven’t seen them come to pass yet.  Getting to our promise is often a process.  Today’s reminder is to not hate the process.

Jacob loved Rachel and got Leah first.  He was promised Rachel, but Leah became the process.  The Bible says he hated Leah.  “When the Lord saw that Leah was unloved, He enabled her to have children, but Rachel could not conceive (Genesis 29:31, NLT).” In other words, when God saw that Leah was hated, he made Rachel barren.  When we hate the process God has us in, the promise remains barren.

Leah conceived and bore Jacob 4 boys. Here are the names and what they mean:

1. Ruben – The Lord has looked on my affiction

2.  Simeon – The Lord has heard that I am unloved.

3.  Levi – Now my husband will become one with me

4.  Judah – Now I will praise the Lord

Interesting to note that the lineage to Jesus was carried through Judah.

We might not like the process God has us on while we wait for a word to come forth. But we might try to tolerate the process.  It is in the process that we…

1.  Learn to see Him

2.  Learn to hear Him

3.  Learn to be at one with Him

4.  Learn to praise Him

When we learn to love our process, God develops our character to see Him, hear Him, be at one with Him and praise Him.

Sometimes the promise isn’t what we thought it would be (Rachel,) and we realize that the lineage (promise of generations) came through the process (Leah.)

This year many prophets are saying there will be fulfillment of God’s promises. Hopefully we learned the lessons to see Him, hear Him, be at one with Him, and praise Him.  It is in the fullness of character development that the promise is fulfilled.

 

May this year bring the fulfillment of God’s promises to you as we appreciate, and grow to love the process. May we never forget what how we learned to see Him, hear Him, be one with Him and praise Him.


Opening the Gates of Divine Marriage for 2018

Opening the Gate of Kingdom Marriages. Photo: Manfast.blogspot.com

Opening the Gate of Kingdom Marriages. Photo: Manfast.blogspot.com

During a prayer meeting on the first weekend of the New Year 2018, a friend of mine requested prayer for a marriage partner.  She has prayed this prayer before.  She said one prayer partner had seen gates that were locked and guarded by angels.  She could tell there were kingdom marriages on the other side, lots of them.  And many other marriages as well. We asked God what it would take to unlock the gates.

 

What came to me was the need for Christians to repent for what they once had.  2 Chronicles 7:14 says God cares about what His people are doing, and He listens. He knows what the others are doing.  But what do His people want and ask God to do for them and their society? God had been giving His children to one another in marriage for centuries.  But over the last generation or so, there has been some things that Christians have done in marriage that need to be repented for, in order for God to open the gates again.

 

I felt qualified to pray since I came from a divorced home of Christian leaders.  There was great delay in getting my prayers for a husband answered. Consequently I have wrestled with the question, “Why?” I started with forgiveness of my parents and took it up the family lines from there.  Then I changed the reasons I was asking God for a spouse to be more what He had in mind for my marriage.  This made a huge difference for me and meeting my (now) husband.  As I started to pray for my friend and “this gate,” I started to pray on behalf of where things are statistically with Christian marriages.

 

Here’s what came to mind:

 

1.         I repent for the broken promises of Christians made before God in marriage vows.

2.         I repent for not appreciating the gift that marriage is, and opting for what seemed like easier options than the tough work of making marriage work.

3.         I repent for the impact Christian divorce left for our children and our children’s children.  The decisions to break up marriage leave a legacy to future generations. It sets a pattern in place that only God can heal.

4.         I repent for those who compromised on God’s laws after they were married and tainted marriage before God.

5.         I repent for those who make marriage an idol in society right now.

6.         I repent for those who took an “Easy Out.”  I repent for commitment weakness.

7.         I repent for those who didn’t seek God’s purposes for their marriage and saw their marriage as something that was merely there to meet their needs.

8.         I repent for those who never saw themselves as their spouse’s “helpmate” to carry out God’s purposes for their marriage.

9.         I repent for those who didn’t seek God’s help in making their marriages work.

 

As we repent for these things on behalf of many, it may be a needed step in opening the gates for Kingdom marriages to flourish. May the Lord bless these marriages to be all that God designed them to be.  Let the divine connections flow in 2018.


Do The Next Things to Walk Out of Depression with Psalm 102

One Rose Blooms at a Time. "Do The Next Thing" to Walk Out of Depression

One Rose Blooms at a Time. “Do The Next Thing” to Walk Out of Depression

My Women’s Bible Study at church is studying Psalms this year.  The speaker who looked at Psalm 102 observed that the author used dramatic verbs to describe his affliction.  “My heart is stricken and withered like grass, so that I forget to eat my bread. Because of the sound of my groaning my bones cling to my skin. I am like a pelican of the wilderness; I am like an owl of the desert….I have eaten ashes like bread, and mingled y drink with weeping. Because of Your indignation and Your wrath; for You have lifted me up and cast me away. My days are like a shadow that lengthens, and I wither away like grass (v.4-6, 9-10, ESV).”

These conditions describe depression. This description would warrant a psychiatrist’s prescription for anti-depressant medication.  Since the psalmist probably didn’t have modern day prescription medications, he turned his attention to God and God’s mercy. He remembered the faithfulness of the Lord to the previous generations.  He acknowledged He was dust, and yet worthy of the Lord’s attention.  He called on God because God can change things.  “They [the works of His hands] will perish, but You will endure; Yes, they will all grow old like a garment; Like a cloak You will change them, and they will be changed (v.26, ESV).”  He shifted his focus to the next generation. “The children of Your servants will continue, and their descendants will be established before You (v.28, ESV).”

Adding a practical suggestion for the person struggling with depression today, the speaker suggested that getting through depression is to focus on, “Doing the Next Thing.”  That could be to change a diaper, wash the floor, tidy up the kitchen. Work on the daily tasks. Get into God’s word.  Listen to God and “Do the next thing.”

As the Psalmist who wrote Psalm 102 did, we can shift our perspective to God and what He’s done and what He will do.  We focus on other people, the next generation.  Then we address the next thing that needs to be done, starting with the immediate and moving forward.

Focusing on God’s ability to help individuals and nations, produces praise to God and releases hope for impossible situations.  He saved the Israelites from being slaves in Egypt.  He delivered on His promises to establish them in Canaan.  He brought forth a Savior in Jesus Christ.  He created a path back to heaven through the sacrifice of His sinless son on the cross for our sins.  “You are the same, and Your years will have no end.  The children of Your servants will continue (v.27,28a, ESV).”  He has our descendants in mind as the events of our lives play out.  This eternal perspective offers hope.  Somehow every generation has gotten through their tough times and produced the next generation.

The very next thing to be done may be the mundane task of preparing this next generation (our kids) dinner. Start at home.  Then include group settings.  There is hope and comfort in coming together to worship God. “He looked down from the height of His sanctuary; from heaven the Lord viewed the earth to when the peoples are gathered together, and the kingdoms, to serve the Lord (v22, ESV).”  “He shall regard the prayer of the destitute, and shall not despise their prayer (v.17, ESV).”  “He hears the groaning of the prisoner (v20, ESV).”  He takes note of the people when they meet.  As the people lift their voices in worship, He hears.  Again, this gives hope.

Circumstances can be depressing sometimes.  Let us look up, remember how big our God is by what He has done and His merciful nature.  His promises endure forever.  Let us walk out of our depressed state by doing the next thing.  As we do this next thing, and then the next and the next, change happens. Our feelings shift. Our prayers are heard and answers come forth. Our perspective extends to the next generation.  We become part of the people created that may praise the Lord forever.


Sharing in the Victory Over Evil

The Cross Breaks Bondages, Over Every Circumstance, Every Failure, and Every Loss. Photo credit: tmewcf.org

The Cross Breaks Bondages, over Every Circumstance, Every Failure, and Every Loss. Photo credit: tmewcf.org

Sharing in the Victory Over Evil

 

For the LORD your God is the one who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory. Deuteronomy 20:4 NIV

 

Lord Jesus,

You are the victor over evil

Forgive me for believing Satan’s exhibit was the last chapter

Forgive me for seeing Satan’s bondage more than your ability to break the bondage

You use every circumstance, every failure, and every loss

for your glory

for his purposes

for your victory plan

Because I couldn’t see it, I stopped hoping

I choose to hope again

To wait in hope for your salvation

salvation for the people involved

salvation of these circumstances to be consecrated to your purposes

salvation of my believing in your goodness even in this situation

 

My focus shall rest solely on you

My heart believes in your good intentions for me

Your purposes bring forth your glory

My whole being trusts that your purposes will prevail at the appointed time

My mind remembers your mighty deeds

My spirit rests in your holy loving nature

Now send forth your strength to this weary soldier

Your joy is my strength, I praise you continually for what you are doing in this situation

 

I lift up my voice in song

I believe in your victory over all

Thank you for sharing your victory

You reign on high

You are not moved

Your glory is eternal

 

 


Criticism Breeds Accusations

Accusations Breed Criticism. Repent, and Move Forward with Blessing

Accusations Breed Criticism. Repent, and Move Forward with Blessing

Does it feel like people have a lot of negative things to say about you? Accusations can stem from criticism. One way to make the accusations stop is to repent over any criticism that we have said.  Then move forward without any further criticism. Forgive and bless as we go.

I grew up in a critical home.  My parents believed they observed good or bad behavior.  Every action defined me a good girl or a bad girl.  In college, I learned psychologists basically believe people are good, with “bad” behavior points that could be corrected.

Spiritually, churches teach that people can be “saved” and then “redeemed.” This is good news. Salvation happens with a decision.  However, the redeeming process, known as sanctification, occurs over many years.  Our willingness to be taught determines the progress.

Some accusations miss the mark.  I may know what they’re trying to accuse me of, but it simply isn’t true.  A family member repeatedly may accuse me of being sarcastic. And I have had a lot of sarcastic comments to repent over.  However, the Lord has really worked on this with me and there has been drastic improvement.  This family member hasn’t been around to notice the change in the last 20 years.  So the accusation comes from him solely, and no  longer rings true.  Other accusations carry truth.  I bring them all to God for sorting.  I want to address them all.  With God, there is order and pace and progress.  The Holy Spirit leads the way and offers supernatural help.  He is gentle and patient as I learn to walk in new ways.

Repenting for my criticism is the start point for change.  In addition to criticism, all grumbling, complaining, bragging and flattering needs to go.  The Bible outlines how to speak.  From Jude 16-21, “There are grumblers, complainers, walking according to their own lusts, and they mouth great swelling words, flattering people to gain advantage. But you, beloved, remember the words which were spoken before by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ: how they told you that there would be mockers in the last time who would walk according to their own ungodly lusts…But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.”

As we cease criticizing, we pivot forward to build our faith, pray in the Holy Spirit, and operate in the love and mercy of Jesus.  From here, the accusations have no place to land.