Into the Land

Deuteronomy 6:10-12

New Living Translation

10 The Lord your God will soon bring you into the land he swore to give you when he made a vow to your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. It is a land with large, prosperous cities that you did not build11 The houses will be richly stocked with goods you did not produce. You will draw water from cisterns you did not dig, and you will eat from vineyards and olive trees you did not plant. When you have eaten your fill in this land12 be careful not to forget the Lord, who rescued you from slavery in the land of Egypt.

Matthew 1:18-25

New King James Version

18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit19 Then Joseph her husband, being [a]a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly. 20 But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is [b]conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. 21 And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name [c]Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”

22 So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: 23 Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.”

24 Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife, 25 and [d]did not know her till she had brought forth her[e] firstborn Son. And he called His name Jesus.

The Lord brought our family into the land almost 5 months ago. Possessing the promise has been an exciting, exhausting process. How best can I describe the pain of the previous season?

Pregnancy.

A reallllllly loooooooong pregnancy.

Imagine carrying such a burden- a baby, of the Spirit, for YEARS (did I mention it took YEARS? Yes, my friend: YEARS!) During pregnancy- natural or spiritual- every thought, every decision, every action is made in consideration of the one that depends on you; the carrier of life. A pregnant mother is literally subject to the demands of the seed that requires body & soul  to survive and thrive to maturity. The same is true of spiritual pregnancy. A person literally surrenders to the Spirit so that the seed can survive and thrive. Spiritual pregnancy follows the same painful process of natural pregnancy:

Conception.

Growth.

Contractions.

Labor.

Transition.

Delivery.

But, OH the joy when that precious little one is finally born! In the euphoria of the moment, a momma forgets all the pain of the previous season as she holds that newborn in her arms…all too quickly, however, the moment is over. More pain is coming:

Post-partum.  

Nursing.

Colic.

Vomiting.

Diarrhea.

Screaming.

Sleeplessness.

Welcome to motherhood! Congratulations for surviving pregnancy. Now you must persevere YEAR after YEAR in the process called maturing. Some say parenting is an 18-year commitment. I believe it’s a covenant between God and man for life.

And so, here I am. A new spiritual momma to a new spiritual baby that I love, but don’t yet know. In a new spiritual land, in a new spiritual family, in a new spiritual house. The pain of pregnancy, labor and delivery is behind me. The adventure of maturity lies ahead. But just for a moment, allow me to praise Him for all that He has done in the previous season….

Lord, thank You for,

Bringing me out Egypt, in the midst of famine.

Giving me Yourself and Your Spirit.

Baptizing me with Your fire and power.

Placing me in family, to grow and produce good fruit.

Teaching me to pray.

Rescuing me from captivity.

Helping me forgive those who’ve oppressed me.

Binding up my broken heart.

Delivering me from slavery.

Sustaining me in a dry and weary land.

Making a way through the desert.

Giving me manna from heaven, and water from a rock.

Discipling me.

Disciplining me.

Giving me Your Word, causing it to take root in my heart, and grow.

Prospering me in a city I did not build.

Stocking my house with goods I did not produce.

Supplying water from cisterns I did not dig and food from vineyards and trees I did not plant.

Help me never forget, Lord….

God promised.

Numbers 13:25-31

25 After exploring the land for forty days, the men returned 26 to Moses, Aaron, and the whole community of Israel at Kadesh in the wilderness of Paran. They reported to the whole community what they had seen and showed them the fruit they had taken from the land. 27 This was their report to Moses: “We entered the land you sent us to explore, and it is indeed a bountiful country—a land flowing with milk and honey. Here is the kind of fruit it produces. 28 But the people living there are powerful, and their towns are large and fortified. We even saw giants there, the descendants of Anak! 29 The Amalekites live in the Negev, and the Hittites, Jebusites, and Amorites live in the hill country. The Canaanites live along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea[a] and along the Jordan Valley.”

30 But Caleb tried to quiet the people as they stood before Moses. “Let’s go at once to take the land,” he said. “We can certainly conquer it!”

31 But the other men who had explored the land with him disagreed. “We can’t go up against them! They are stronger than we are!”

The Lord had delivered His children from slavery in Egypt.

He was with them as they wandered in the desert.

And He was bringing them into a new land…He promised.

After the 12 returned from their scouting adventure, they gave their report to Moses and the people. They all agreed on what they saw: milk, honey andgiants. But their responses were divided:

2 of the men were filled with faith.

10 were filled with fear.

The report of the majority infected the ENTIRE community. By believing what the 10 said, the children of Israel doubted what God had said. Subsequently, they were willing to go back to bondage or just die in the wilderness! Paralyzed by fear, they refused to fight the giants in order to claim the land God promised to them. Witnessing the massive pity party, Joshua and Caleb tore their clothes in deep grief, pleading with their brothers and sisters to NOT rebel against the Lord- and NOT be afraid of the people!!! 

We’re currently facing the same test of faith.

A roadblock I continue to encounter in the wilderness, between Egypt and the promised land, is the fear of man. Being non-creative and unclever, it’s a tactic the enemy has used over and over again since my childhood. He’s convinced people- family and friends- even fellow Israelites to speak things which cause me to doubt what God has said. Most of the time, it’s very subtle and difficult to understand in the natural. But He is always faithful! When I ask the Holy Spirit for supernatural help, He gives me eyes to see, ears to hear, and a heart to understand. Only then can I recognize the lies, be set free by the Truth, and extend forgiveness to those who didn’t know what they were saying.

God promised us a new land 7 years ago.

He sent us to scout it out.

We saw the milk and honey.

We saw the giants.

And…we heard reports from the 10:

Did God really say to move to Florida?”

Did God really sayto live in Lakeland?”

Did God really say to relocate to be a part of a CHURCH?”

Did God really say to leave your entire extended family?”

Did God really say to close the ministry & stop meeting (church @ home)?”

“Florida is so dang hot… they have LOTS of hurricanes- and alligators!”

“Lakeland is a terrible town….and it’s not near the beach.”

“There’s no perfect church…why not just stay here?”

“Family is everything….I can’t believe you’d abandon them.”

“You invested so much in your ministry…it’s a waste to give it up.”

Yep. There’s been a lot of chatter in the community.

But we’re going with the minority report.

We believe what God said.

So, it’s time to prepare for battle…. because we’re following Him into the land HE promised!

You should pray

James 5:13-20  New Living Translation (NLT)

13 Are any of you suffering hardships? You should pray. Are any of you happy? You should sing praises. 14 Are any of you sick? You should call for the elders of the church to come and pray over you, anointing you with oil in the name of the Lord.15 Such a prayer offered in faith will heal the sick, and the Lord will make you well. And if you have committed any sins, you will be forgiven.

16 Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results. 17 Elijah was as human as we are, and yet when he prayed earnestly that no rain would fall, none fell for three and a half years! 18 Then, when he prayed again, the sky sent down rain and the earth began to yield its crops.

19 My dear brothers and sisters, if someone among you wanders away from the truth and is brought back, 20 you can be sure that whoever brings the sinner back from wandering will save that person from death and bring about the forgiveness of many sins.

 Over the last two decades, we’ve been a part of several churches in the various cities we’ve lived. Sadly, we’ve observed a common trait among them all: a lack of prayer. Not just individually, but corporately. We joined small groups on prayer, but very few actually prayed. We heard yearly sermon series on prayer, which stoked the fire, but eventually it dwindled to a flickering flame when the corporate prayer nights ended, and the masses returned to the more important work. Believe me, I’ve seen the same splinter in my own eye. I too have traded sitting at the feet of Jesus (like Mary), for my own feet to stay busy serving, serving, serving (like Martha). I mean, someone has to do the work, right? And there’s only a few of us, right? Yes, but what did the Lord say we should do?

We should pray.

 

Why don’t we pray?

Pride.

Why don’t we call on the elders to pray over us?

Pride.

Why don’t we confess our sins to one another?

Pride.

You should pray

To bow before the Lord in prayer is HARD. It requires humility. It requires us to be stripped naked, pick up our cross, and crucify our flesh before the Father. It requires us to die to our desires, our wants, our will. It requires us to keep asking, seeking, and knocking until our hearts are resurrected by His heart. To bow in front of our elders is even HARDER. It requires even more humility. It requires even more stripping, and standing naked- in front of other people!

  • Who are our elders?

They aren’t necessarily those that carry the title Elder, Pastor, or Leader (that shouldn’t be the case, but sadly, it is all too common- for man often promotes and assigns positions based on gifts or talents. The Lord however, promotes & assigns based on fruitfulness). An elder is a man or woman who is older in the Lord than us. An elder is a person who is “like a tree planted along a riverbank…” that continues to produce good fruit in every season. Elders are among the remnant of Gods people. They are the ones who prefer the prayer room, not the platform. They are the ones who do not crave the spotlight or the applause. They are elders in the Kingdom whose intercession may go unnoticed by Elders in the religious system, but not in their Fathers house. They are the ones who will meet with you at home, at a coffee shop, or a park to listen, encourage, and pray with you. They are the ones you can call, text, or facetime, at all hours of the day or night. They are the ones who’s joy it is to train you in the way that you should go. They are mothers and fathers in the Spirit.

  • Why should we call our elders to pray?

Because the bible tells us so. The bible says that if we humble ourselves, and ask our elders to pray, then we may be healed. Did you hear me? HEALED!Humility proceeds healing. Humility releases blessing. Because God blesses those who are humble. God blesses those who are poor in Spirit. God blesses those who recognize their need for Him.God blesses those who seek His face.  God blesses those who confess their sins. God blesses those who repent. God blesses those who mourn. God blesses those who forgive. God blesses those who submit to one another out of reverence for Him.

Can the Lord heal us when we meet with Him alone? Absolutely! He has been faithful to do so in my life. BUT, He has also required me to humble myself and ask others for help. It’s become a repeated pattern. He will do great things in my heart as I sit as His feet, but there comes a time when I need the gifts and the grace that others carry in the family of God to minister to the places I cannot see. By asking others to pray over me and confessing my sins in their presence, I’ve received more of the Fathers love, more of the Sons righteousness, and more of the Spirits refining fire and power. My elders have prayed over me in living rooms, ministry rooms and digital rooms for almost a decade. These elders- these spiritual moms and dads-  have trained this strong-willed child in the way that she should go. I am no longer a rebellious orphan who performs in the spotlight for the applause of the crowd. I am no longer an exhausted orphan who serves, serves, serves for the approval of religious leaders. I am no longer an independent orphan who tries to provide for myself. I am no longer a lonely orphan without a family.

I am a child! I am a daughter. I am a sister. I have been adopted by the Father. I have been redeemed by the Son. I have been resurrected by the Spirit. I have an eternal family. I have moms and dads. I have brothers and sisters. And now, I have the joy of training the next generation of sons and daughters in prayer.

Are you suffering hardship? (physically, emotionally, spiritually)

You should pray.

Are you sick? (physically, emotionally, spiritually)

You should ask your elders to pray over you.

 


 

Searching for an elder? Here are some of mine:

https://www.restoringthefoundations.org

https://www.hismosaic.com

https://caringfortheheart.com/couseling/locations/randy-merry-hamrick/

And… our ministry, where I have the privilege of praying for others with my elders:

https://deepintothewater.wordpress.com/pray/

No Resolution

Isaiah 43:19 New Living Translation (NLT)

19 For I am about to do something new.
    See, I have already begun! Do you not see it?
I will make a pathway through the wilderness.
    I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.

2020 is almost here. A New Year. A New Decade. A New Vision. The Lord is about to do something new! This morning He revealed two old things from 2019 that could hinder me from following His new path in 2020:

Number 1: STOP throwing pearls to pigs

Matthew 7:6-8 New Living Translation (NLT)

“Don’t waste what is holy on people who are unholy.[a] Don’t throw your pearls to pigs! They will trample the pearls, then turn and attack you.

I’m not calling people pigs; the BIBLE makes the analogy! I readily admit, I’ve actedlike a pig; eating the slop of the world and rolling around in the mud. The only reason I’m no longer in the pig pen is the grace of God. By the power of His Spirit, I came to my senses and ran home to my Father 20 years ago. As His daughter, I am continually being cleansed from the mud and muck to be made holy as He is holy (1 Peter 1:16). He rescued me from death & filled me with His Spirit, giving me eyes to see, ears to hear, and a heart to understand how long, how wide and how deep His love is for me (Ephesians 3:19). Only by receiving His love am I able to love Him with all my heart, soul, mind and strength (Matthew 22:37). Only by loving Him am I able to love myself. Only by loving myself am I able to love my neighbor. Only by loving my neighbor am I able to preach the gospel & teach people how to obey Jesus.

People.

Sometimes they act like pigs.

In 2019, I received a lot of pearls from the Lord- in fact, an entire strand of them. In my impetuousness, however, I foolishly shared those pearls with people who SAID they love God, but who’s lives continued to SHOW they didn’t. Because I loved them, I ignored the fact that their words could not be trusted. Instead of guarding my heart, I received rejection as they rejected the pearls (dreams, visions, prophesy) I shared. As a result, I felt trampled (betrayed, denied) & attacked (falsely accused).

But the Lord is doing something new in 2020! He says I must forgive those people for lying, but stop wasting what is holy. He has given them the freedom to live like pigs, and I must do the same. He says I must continue to love, but I cannot wallow in the mud with them.

Number 2: STOP chasing prodigals

Luke 15:11-32

11 To illustrate the point further, Jesus told them this story: “A man had two sons.12 The younger son told his father, ‘I want my share of your estate now before you die.’ So his father agreed to divide his wealth between his sons.

13 “A few days later this younger son packed all his belongings and moved to a distant land, and there he wasted all his money in wild living. 14 About the time his money ran out, a great famine swept over the land, and he began to starve. 15 He persuaded a local farmer to hire him, and the man sent him into his fields to feed the pigs. 16 The young man became so hungry that even the pods he was feeding the pigs looked good to him. But no one gave him anything.

17 “When he finally came to his senses, he said to himself, ‘At home even the hired servants have food enough to spare, and here I am dying of hunger! 18 I will go home to my father and say, “Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you,19 and I am no longer worthy of being called your son. Please take me on as a hired servant.”’

20 “So he returned home to his father. And while he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him. 21 His son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy of being called your son.[a]

22 “But his father said to the servants, ‘Quick! Bring the finest robe in the house and put it on him. Get a ring for his finger and sandals for his feet. 23 And kill the calf we have been fattening. We must celebrate with a feast, 24 for this son of mine was dead and has now returned to life. He was lost, but now he is found.’ So the party began.

25 “Meanwhile, the older son was in the fields working. When he returned home, he heard music and dancing in the house, 26 and he asked one of the servants what was going on. 27 ‘Your brother is back,’ he was told, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf. We are celebrating because of his safe return.’

28 “The older brother was angry and wouldn’t go in. His father came out and begged him, 29 but he replied, ‘All these years I’ve slaved for you and never once refused to do a single thing you told me to. And in all that time you never gave me even one young goat for a feast with my friends. 30 Yet when this son of yours comes back after squandering your money on prostitutes, you celebrate by killing the fattened calf!’

31 “His father said to him, ‘Look, dear son, you have always stayed by me, and everything I have is yours. 32 We had to celebrate this happy day. For your brother was dead and has come back to life! He was lost, but now he is found!’”

As previously mentioned, I was a prodigal daughter & regrettably I’ve also acted like a prodigal sister .

But the Lord is doing something new in 2020! He’s showing me how to love prodigals as HE loves them: He gives His children their inheritance and the freedom to choose to stay at home or waste their lives on immoral living. He allows them to experience poverty, be in need with no one to help them, and be hungry for pig slop. And when a prodigal finally comes to their senses, He runs out to greet them and throws a party. The Father knows which sons and daughters will return home and which will reject His love for eternity. He says I must love them all. He says I must intercede for some. He says I must seek His will in heaven and pray it on the earth. He says I must not chase after prodigals. He says I must not beg, manipulate or control circumstances to make them return to Him.

A New Year.jpg

A New Year. No Resolution.

Instead, I confess: I’ve tried to save people who act like pigs. I’ve tried to save prodigals who ran away from home.

A New Year. No Resolution.

Instead, I repent: I’ve foolishly asked God “but Lord, what about _________?!”

A New Year. No Resolution.

Instead, I receive His rebuke: “What’s that to you? Follow Me!” (John 21:20-22).

A New Year. No Resolution.

Instead, I submit to His pathway through the wilderness.

A New Year. No Resolution.

Instead, I chose to be in the river that runs through the dry wasteland.