Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Daniel 4-6: None Can Say, What are You Doing?

Nebuchadnezzar had witnessed God's power first hand.  He watched as Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were delivered from the fiery furnace.  You would think he would have developed humility.  In His mercy, God gave Nebuchadnezzar a warning dream. I think God was giving Him an opportunity to repent, to realize that God was the One Who gave him his kingdom.


Daniel 4:25
Amplified Bible (AMP)

You shall be driven from among men and your dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field; you shall be made to eat grass as do the oxen and you shall be wet with the dew of the heavens; and seven times [or years] shall pass over you until you learn and know and recognize that the Most High [God] rules the kingdom of mankind and gives it to whomever He will.


This warning dream was fulfilled and the king ate grass like a wild animal for seven years.  When he mind ("reason and understanding") was restored, he had learned his lesson in humility.  He realized that God alone is in control of the nations, and He is the one Who appoints and gives power to men.


Daniel 4:34-37
Amplified Bible (AMP)

34 And at the end of the days [seven years], I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted up my eyes to heaven, and my understanding and the right use of my mind returned to me; and I blessed the Most High [God] and I praised and honored and glorified Him Who lives forever, Whose dominion is an everlasting dominion; and His kingdom endures from generation to generation.
 
35 And all the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing. And He does according to His will in the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth, and none can stay His hand or say to Him, What are You doing?
 
36 Now at the same time my reason and understanding returned to me; and for the glory of my kingdom, my majesty and splendor returned to me, and my counselors and my lords sought me out; I was reestablished in my kingdom, and still more greatness [than before] was added to me.
 
37 Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the King of heaven, Whose works are all faithful and right and Whose ways are just. And those who walk in pride He is able to abase and humble.
 
 
Nebuchadnezzar transitioned from worshipping Himself to worshipping and praising the One, True God!
 
When personally considering this story, I think about all the blessings and positions of authority in which God has placed me.  My attitude has been the opposite of Nebuchadnezzar, but still a form of pride.  I have resisted the positions in which I have been placed.  My personality is more of a "follower" than a "leader."  Yet, if God appoints those in authority than who am I to say, "What are You doing?"
 
 
Thank You, Lord, for reminding me that You work according to You will "in the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth."  I ask, I require Your empowerment for any position of authority You provide.  I require Your wisdom and ability to perform excellently.  I "praise and extol and honor [You], the King of heaven, whose works are all faithful and right and Whose ways are just."  In the great and awesome name of Jesus, AMEN!!!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Daniel 1-3: The Light of Grace

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refused to bow down in worship to the image Nebuchadnezzar had set in place.  These men had directly defied an earthly king to avoid offending their Heavenly King.

Their conviction got them thrown into a fire furnace!

Amazing God gloriously spared these three men proving once again that the One True God has the power to accomplish the miraculous.

Nebuchadnezzar Himself comes to the realization that,

"...there is no other God who can deliver in this way." 
Daniel 3:29

I imagine myself in the situation of these three bold men.  Would I have the resolve to say "no" when faced with a fiery furnace?  

Would I stand firm and refuse to bow down?

Then I remember what it feels like with the powerful spotlight of grace empowering to stand firm in the face of persecution.  Just a few weeks ago during worship, the Lord's Presence was physically perceptible.  He allowed me to "see" myself with hands raised and a column of light from heaven shining on me like a spotlight.  Experiences like this give me courage. 

If ever placed in that kind of severe position, I will trust that the Light would empower me to stand firm.  The benefit of a personal relationship with God is grace.  His grace empowers!

In this year of "Great Grace," we are trained to access His power, the power we need to walk through life victoriously.  I require this training!  You require this training!

Holy Spirit, teach us!  We need you!!!  In the name of Jesus, AMEN!!!

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Joel: The Latter Rain is Coming

Joel 2:23
Amplified Bible (AMP)

23 Be glad then, you children of Zion, and rejoice in the Lord, your God; for He gives you the former or early rain in just measure and in righteousness, and He causes to come down for you the rain, the former rain and the latter rain, as before.
 
God is giving a promise.  He is calling to memory what it was like when His Spirit was first poured out in you.  Do you remember how your heart burned with passion for Him?  Do you remember how full, how overflowing was His love through you?  Do you remember how you were compelled to speak of all He had done to all who would listen?  Do you remember how His music inspired bodily movements, because there was no other way to release what He was pouring into you? 
 
Remember...
 
For the Lord is saying...
 
"I am with you.  I will bubble up inside of you again.  The latter rains are coming.  Look to the horizon and see the clouds are forming.  Just as Elijah's servant looked and saw the cloud the size of a man's hand, so it is now.  My child, small beginnings, do not despise.  Do not despise the season in which you find yourself.  You are being trained to hear Me, see Me and feel Me beyond your emotions.  You are learning to obey My whisper and walk in faith.  Physical sight no longer leads you, but My Spirit cultivates the spiritual sight which reveals faith's path.  Stay the course!  Walk with Me.  I will pour out the latter rain.  I will cause refreshment of soul.  Your passion is not dead.  Receive My breath, which revives.  Live again.  Love again.  Shine!"

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Ezekiel 46-48: THE LORD IS THERE


The chapters ending Ezekiel describe God's temple and the allotted land surrounding it.  This land, evenly divided among the tribes of Israel as an inheritance, was a city called, "THE LORD IS THERE."
Ezekiel 48:35
Amplified Bible (AMP)
35 The distance around the city shall be 18,000 [4 x 4,500] measures; and the name of the city from that day and ever after shall be, THE LORD IS THERE.
 
On the last day of 2014, I consider the previous year with its challenges and its blessings.  It is good to review how God has intervened in the past.  How He has taken those situations and experiences designed for destruction and turned them around for good. 
However, as I was preparing to write this post, the Lord reminded me not to dwell on the past.  Before reading today's passages, I checked my email.
 
 
December 31, 2014     
SMALL STRAWS IN A SOFT WIND
by MARSHA BURNS:
I want you to see the uniqueness of your life and the path that you have chosen. The paths of others have crossed yours and even been parallel with yours for a certain distance before separation.  But, ultimately, you are responsible for your own desires, choices, and direction.  Refuse to allow regret to overwhelm you nor consider what might have been or could have been.  Do not look back.  Walk with Me into the days ahead with the assurance that I will never leave you nor forsake you, says the Lord. 
Philippians 3:13-14  Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
   
Then I began to read and came to...
Ezekiel 46:9
Amplified Bible (AMP)
9 But when the people of the land shall come before the Lord at the appointed solemn feasts, he who enters the north gate to worship shall go out by the south gate, and he who enters by the south gate shall go out by the north gate; he shall not return by the gate by which he came in but shall go out by the opposite gate [straight ahead].
 
What's interesting is what I had written in the margin next to this verse.  "Don't go back (past).  Go straight ahead."       
Past dwelling distracts from pressing toward the prize, running my race and obtaining the inheritance the Lord has set aside for me.  Just as He set aside an inheritance for Israel, He has also provided an inheritance for us.
Be encouraged, just as Israel's inheritance was named, 'THE LORD IS THERE," I believe Holy Spirit is reminding us that our inheritance is also where the Lord dwells.       
As 2015 unfolds, let's consider our inheritance and remember, "THE LORD IS THERE."  No matter what trials or tribulations or blessings or favor the new year holds, we can be confident in this...
 
"I will never leave you nor forsake you, says the Lord."
 
Lord, Your grace is enough for 2015 and beyond.  Thank You for being such a good Helper and Counselor, Holy Spirit. We open our ears to hear what You would say.  We will not be distracted with things past, but will press forward with You!  In the great and awesome name of Jesus, AMEN!!!

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Ezekiel 44-45: Serving God, No Sweat

Ezekiel 44:17-18
Amplified Bible (AMP)

17 When they enter the gates of the inner court, they shall be clothed in linen garments; no wool shall be on them while they minister at the gates of the inner court and within the temple.
18 They shall have linen turbans on their heads and linen breeches upon their loins; they shall not gird themselves with anything that causes [them to] sweat.
 
I used to joke about exercising, "The eleventh command says, 'Thou shalt not sweat.'"  Later, I found that maintaining a healthy body requires consistent sweating exercise.  This type of exercise enhances the body's circulation, which carries immune systems cells, nutrients and oxygen to all the cells in our body.  Exercise, sweating exercise is good, very good.  
 
But sweating while serving God isn't spiritually healthy.  The Old Testament priests were commanded to "not gird themselves with anything that causes [them to] sweat."  Physically, sweat mixed with skin bacteria causes us to stink.  God didn't want stinky priests.  :)  But I believe there is a deeper spiritual aspect to this command.  I think sweating is representative of striving
 
God provides us with grace.  It's grace that empowers us to serve Him, His power in and through us, not our own strength of mind or body.  When we strive, it's like we are saying to the Lord, "I don't need Your help.  I'm good.  I just need to work harder or think longer, then I will be successful in completing the destiny You have set for me.  Striving is sweating (hard work) and that is not the "yoke" the Lord has given us. 

Matthew 11:30
Amplified


For My yoke is wholesome (useful, good—not harsh, hard, sharp, or pressing, but comfortable, gracious, and pleasant), and My burden is light and easy to be borne.
 
If you feel like serving God is burdensome, if you catch yourself striving to complete your destiny, remember, what God has commanded, "they shall not gird themselves with anything that causes [them to] sweat."  Grace empowers us to serve Him, no sweat!
 

 

Monday, December 22, 2014

Ezekiel 42-43: 2015, The Year of Great Grace

Ezekiel 43:19
Amplified

You shall give to the priests, the Levites who are of the offspring of Zadok, who are near to Me to minister to Me, says the Lord God, a young bull for a sin offering.
 
The service of Zadok and his sons was in line with the will of God even at times when the actions of the general nation was not.
 
Wow!  Imagine being so faithful to the Lord that your service stands alone in the midst of the nation to which you belong.  Although the Holy Spirit had not officially been poured out yet, it seems to me that these priests had a supernatural edge.  How else could human beings stand firm in God's will? 
 
Today, God provides us with His Grace to be empowered to stand alone in worship even when those around us do not.  Many years ago the Lord revealed the meaning of my given name as Beautiful Grace.  At that time, I did not understand its depth of meaning.  Now I understand that Grace is the power of God to flatten a mountain! 
 
Zechariah 4:7
Amplified

For who are you, O great mountain [of human obstacles]? Before Zerubbabel [who with Joshua had led the return of the exiles from Babylon and was undertaking the rebuilding of the temple, before him] you shall become a plain [a mere molehill]! And he shall bring forth the finishing gable stone [of the new temple] with loud shoutings of the people, crying, Grace, grace to it!
 
As each year ends, I ask the Jesus, what He has in store for the next year.  I felt that He said that "2015 will be a year of Great Grace."  I understood that it will be imperative for me to learn to access and utilize this Grace as never before.  I had a sense that the coming year would be difficult, but that difficulty would be a wondrous stepping stone showcasing His Beautiful Grace in me, and in others. 
 
The key in accessing this "Great Grace" is allowing my/our hearts to be open to out of the box, daily, and intimate experiences with the Lord.  My acts of worship and expressions of love for Jesus have undergone a metamorphosis, but the longing in my heart to know Him, feel Him, hear Him sometimes is challenged by earthly responsibilities.  One thing I know, no matter what, I will submit to God's will.  Wherever it takes me, I will follow, but it will take Great Grace to walk it out with Him. 
 
I think that's why He prompted my parents to give me the name that means Beautiful Grace. My name reminds me that I can't serve Him, be in line with His will, without His mountain-flattening, powerful Grace, and it is BEAUTIFUL!
 
Jesus, I receive this Great Grace You are offering.  I will love You and serve You no matter what.  And maybe the book in heaven will mention a gal whose life was consistently in the will of God because of the Beautiful Grace He gave her.  In Your Name, Jesus, AMEN!!!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Ezekiel 40-41: The Puzzle Piece

Ezekiel 40:4
Amplified Bible (AMP)

And the man said to me, Son of man, look with your eyes and hear with your ears and set your heart and mind on all that I will show you, for you are brought here that I may show them to you. Declare all that you see to the house of Israel.
 
Our Father gives us the ability to see and hear what He is saying and doing.  We are instructed to set our mind on the things that He reveals to us, however, none of us hear or see with such great clarity that we stand alone in our insights from God. 
 
Spiritually, we belong to the body of those redeemed by Jesus if we have received the gift He has offered, but physically, this belonging is manifested as Christians are unified.  We speak (or write) what God has revealed, but it is each person's piece that adds to the understanding of the completed puzzle.
 
Fifteen years ago, the whisperings of God became consistently alive in my heart.  One purpose of this blog is to add my unique puzzle piece to yours.  We really do need each other to understand God's plan. 
 
Jesus, You desire for us to be one as You and Your Father are One.  Empower us by Your Spirit, joined together, loving and forgiving.  Not allowing the evil one to taint our view of each other.  I declare the finished puzzle for all to see!  In the great and awesome name of Jesus, AMEN!!!

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Ezekiel 38-39: And None Will Make You Afraid

Ezekiel 39:26
Amplified Bible (AMP)

   "They shall forget their shame and self-reproach and all their treachery and unfaithfulness in which they have transgressed against Me, when they dwell securely in their land and there is none who makes them afraid."
 
 
This promise to Israel can be claimed by us today.  All of us have sinned.  All of us have suffered some sort of captivity as a result. 
 
Father promises that one day we will dwell securely in our land and none will make us afraid.  Personally, I have seen this promise fulfilled in my life by degrees.  I can't honestly say that this promise has fully manifested in my life, but I have seen a huge down payment of peace!
 
Assessing my own life and observing lives of others has taught me that often we fear each other more than we fear our awesome God.  So sad...
 
Fear between differing races.  Yes, fear!  As humans we tend to fear what we perceive as different.  We fear what we do not understand.  We are of one race!  We are human!
 
Christians fear sinners.  Christians shun or politely disregard sinners (or those they have deemed as sinners), because they don't want to be contaminated by sin. 
 
Sinners fear Christians.  Because they have been judged by them, mere men.  God is the only judge!
 
The evil one is the agitator behind fear.  He knows there is power in unity and fearing each other drives a wedge between us.

But God promises,

"They shall forget their shame and self-reproach and all their treachery and unfaithfulness in which they have transgressed against Me, when they dwell securely in their land and there is none who makes them afraid."

How do we arrive at this place of fearlessness?


Receive the Gifts

2 Timothy 1:7
Amplified Bible (AMP)

 "For God did not give us a spirit of timidity (of cowardice, of craven and cringing and fawning fear), but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of calm and well-balanced mind and discipline and self-control."
 
Practicing love in the face of injustice, calm in the face of turmoil, mastering our fear-thoughts, disciplining ourselves to submit everything to God, and developing a holy control of our emotions, will cultivate fearlessness.


Trust that God has Forgiven Us 

Psalm 103:12
Amplified Bible (AMP)

"As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us."
 
The evil one will always do what he does best...accuse!  He does it by planting thoughts in our heads.  He is proficient at accusing through others!  Let's deny his influence and become a people who defend rather than accuse!
 
 
Forgive
 
Matthew 6:14
Amplified Bible (AMP)
 
"For if you forgive people their trespasses [their reckless and willful sins, leaving them, letting them go, and giving up resentment], your heavenly Father will also forgive you."
 
We must forgive those who have intentionally or unintentionally hurt (sinned) against us!  Forgiveness is not saying what was done was acceptable!  Forgiveness loves and prays for those who have injured us, and allows God to deal with them!
 
 
Holy Spirit of the Living God, I ask that You empower us in receiving and trusting and forgiving.  We want to be fearless, just as You are fearless!!!  In the Great and Awesome Name of Jesus!!!  AMEN!!!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Doing Psalm 104

 
 

 
 
 

I drove to Berks PSU Campus today.  What a lovely drive!  Worship music filled the car.  The Presence of the Lord was gently powerful.  My attention was drawn to the exit number 104, while glancing at the time, 1004.  I felt His still small voice say, "Read Psalm 104. 
 
 
I read, and was blessed.  My God surely knows how to encourage!
 
 
He again was speaking to me regarding, "wind."  I find it interesting that I driving in mountains and valleys today, while praising the Lord.  I was "doing" Psalm 104.  Enjoy!
 


Psalm 104
Amplified Bible (AMP)


1 Bless (affectionately, gratefully praise) the Lord, O my soul! O Lord my God, You are very great! You are clothed with honor and majesty—

2 [You are the One] Who covers Yourself with light as with a garment, Who stretches out the heavens like a curtain or a tent,

3 Who lays the beams of the upper room of His abode in the waters [above the firmament], Who makes the clouds His chariot, Who walks on the wings of the wind,

4 Who makes winds His messengers, flames of fire His ministers.

5 You laid the foundations of the earth, that it should not be moved forever.

6 You covered it with the deep as with a garment; the waters stood above the mountains.

7 At Your rebuke they fled; at the voice of Your thunder they hastened away.

8 The mountains rose, the valleys sank down to the place which You appointed for them.

9 You have set a boundary [for the waters] which they may not pass over, that they turn not again to deluge the earth.

10 He sends forth springs into the valleys; their waters run among the mountains.

11 They give drink to every [wild] beast of the field; the wild asses quench their thirst there.

12 Beside them the birds of the heavens have their nests; they sing among the branches.

13 He waters the mountains from His upper rooms; the earth is satisfied and abounds with the fruit of His works.

14 He causes vegetation to grow for the cattle, and all that the earth produces for man to cultivate, that he may bring forth food out of the earth—

15 And wine that gladdens the heart of man, to make his face shine more than oil, and bread to support, refresh, and strengthen man’s heart.

16 The trees of the Lord are watered abundantly and are filled with sap, the cedars of Lebanon which He has planted,

17 Where the birds make their nests; as for the stork, the fir trees are her house.

18 The high mountains are for the wild goats; the rocks are a refuge for the conies and badgers.

19 [The Lord] appointed the moon for the seasons; the sun knows [the exact time of] its setting.

20 You [O Lord] make darkness and it becomes night, in which creeps forth every wild beast of the forest.

21 The young lions roar after their prey and seek their food from God.

22 When the sun arises, they withdraw themselves and lie down in their dens.

23 Man goes forth to his work and remains at his task until evening.

24 O Lord, how many and varied are Your works! In wisdom have You made them all; the earth is full of Your riches and Your creatures.

25 Yonder is the sea, great and wide, in which are swarms of innumerable creeping things, creatures both small and great.

26 There go the ships of the sea, and Leviathan (the sea monster), which You have formed to sport in it.

27 These all wait and are dependent upon You, that You may give them their food in due season.

28 When You give it to them, they gather it up; You open Your hand, and they are filled with good things.

29 When You hide Your face, they are troubled and dismayed; when You take away their breath, they die and return to their dust.

30 When You send forth Your Spirit and give them breath, they are created, and You replenish the face of the ground.

31 May the glory of the Lord endure forever; may the Lord rejoice in His works—

32 Who looks on the earth, and it quakes and trembles, Who touches the mountains, and they smoke!

33 I will sing to the Lord as long as I live; I will sing praise to my God while I have any being.

34 May my meditation be sweet to Him; as for me, I will rejoice in the Lord.

35 Let sinners be consumed from the earth, and let the wicked be no more. Bless (affectionately, gratefully praise) the Lord, O my soul! Praise the Lord! (Hallelujah!)

Thursday, October 30, 2014

"Protect Your Soul From the Destructive Forces of the Enemy!" by Victoria Boyson


Repost from the Elijah List.
 
"Protect Your Soul From the Destructive Forces of the Enemy!"

Victoria Boyson, Montgomery, TX

"You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength, and all your mind. And, love your neighbor as yourself." Luke 10:27, NLT

Our world is inundated with intense and even frightful events. We who are the reigning spiritual power on the earth are called on to pray boldly for the will of God to be made manifest in any horrendous situations.

Intercessors are the legs the Church stands on and intercession should be the core substance of every Believer. Due to the important position every intercessor holds in the world, we must be on guard against the enemy's tricks to deactivate our authority in the spirit realm. None of us are perfect, and we all have weaknesses, so, we must all remain watchful of the impact we are having on the world by remaining alert to the hindrances our own souls.

I've seen many who've prayed positive declarations into the spirit realm one minute, yet, slander their brother the next. Naturally, this grieves my spirit, not just because I know it will injure the person being slandered (that's inevitable), but because I can feel in my spirit how deeply it will injure their own heart. Every word we speak affects our soul – either for good or for bad. Even those who are careful to make only positive, life-filled declarations over themselves simply have no idea the poison they release in their own lives by speaking evil of others.

Slandering a Brother

Any time we accuse or slander a brother, we are reducing our authority in the spirit realm. God can only give us authority if He can trust us to use that authority to benefit His Kingdom.

Of course, I am burdened for those who have had their reputation assassinated by the flippant defamation of their character, but I feel in my spirit a very weighty and increasing burden for those who choose to release the slander. I sense the darkness they've released into their own lives and what they will have to battle in the future because of it. (Photo via Pixabay)

They've been targeted by the enemy and satan has infected them with his agenda against a brother leading them to cause strife. It seems like most Christians have winked at this sin, thinking other sins were much worse, but God's not winking.

Proverbs 6:16-19 lists seven sins which the Lord hates and intensely abhors the most, those He considers to be an abomination: Haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that run rapidly to evil, a false witness who utters lies and one who spreads strife among brothers.

I think it's healthy to remind ourselves of the things the Lord hates – the sins He considers to be an abomination (a vile, shameful or detestable action, condition, habit, etc.). Slander is quite sneaky and often attempts to disguise itself as a noble action or a warning about someone. It is a deadly, preemptive strike against a brother or sister, a sect or church or other group of people. Slander lays the groundwork to disparage the value of anyone the enemy wants to target and destroy.

The enemy sent slander in advance of the Jewish people in Nazi Germany. The people were prepped in advance to lend their souls to embrace the annihilation of an entire race. We are seeing that today against Believers and much of it is being done by other Believers.

Guard Your Heart

Satan "prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour" (1 Peter 5:8), someone he can destroy with hatred, jealousy and strife. When he finds his prey, he infects them with his twisted agenda and they begin to do his work for him. Sadly, they believe they are accomplishing a noble service for the Lord, but, truly, they're allowing the enemy to use them to spread strife in the Body. (Photo via Wikimedia)

It's a double whammy! Most often, the enemy will target those who truly have a great destiny, corrupting their soul with the bitter demon of slander and accusation against others, thereby thwarting their destiny in God. Replacing it with a perverted copy of their true destiny, the enemy can kill two birds with one stone by luring the once greatly destined warrior to do his work for him.

Those in the Body who seem to make it their job to attack and slander – the petty police who watch those visible in the Church as the Pharisees watched Jesus – may never change. I understand that. Yet, they use other Believers to do their dirty work, like the Pharisees used the Roman government to kill Jesus (John 18:28-31), and like Jezebel used the city elders to kill Naboth (1 Kings 21:1017). Truly, the Lord warned us of wolves in sheep's clothing (Matthew 10:16).

Treat Your Neighbor As Yourself

My hope is to reach out to those dear souls who love the Lord with all their heart, soul and mind, but who have been misled by someone and have become a helper used to spread their agenda of strife against a brother or sister. To you, precious ones, I say: Guard your heart, guard you soul, guard your strength and guard your mind BY loving your neighbor as yourself (see Luke 10:27).

In Matthew 7:12, Jesus said, "So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets" – that includes what we say about others. In everything we say, in every article or message we forward, in every Facebook post we share, we must stop and ask ourselves: "Would I want this said about me?"

How would you want your neighbor to treat you?

So, you may ask, "Victoria, are you saying we should never address the wrongs done by others in the Body?" Well, let me say...

Eli, the high priest, showed us how very easy it is to misconstrue another person's actions and motives and made a painful experience even more painful when he was convinced Hannah was a horrible sinner who'd come to church drunk (1 Samuel 1:9-17), the complete opposite of which he found out later to be true. He had bumbled his way into Hannah's pain and threw around false accusations against her, humiliating himself.

So be very careful when you are "sure" of a brother's motives before you accuse and slander him. Eli, at least, approached Hannah personally with his presumptive ideas about her. Indeed, is there any honor in slandering a brother or ministry without first at least talking to them about your offense against them? – There is NO honor in slander, period!

What's Your Religion Worth?

Our words are extremely powerful, much more than most Christians recognize. We invite trouble into our lives by not controlling our tongue as the Word says in James 1:26-27, "If anyone thinks himself to be religious, and yet does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this man's religion is worthless."

Truly, life and death are in the power of the tongue (Proverbs 18:21). If our tongue produces death and trouble, you have to stop and wonder, "What have I said lately?" And this goes double for those in positions of leadership.

If we are given a sphere of influence, we are responsible to protect that influence from the enemy's schemes. We are held responsible for what we've been given. Moreover, if we use our influence to slander others, it will come back to harm us.

Years ago, a dear friend betrayed me and set about on a campaign to "warn" people about me. I honestly felt instant fear for them the moment I heard what they were doing.

I do not think I am any more special than any other Christian, but I do know how much God loves me. He is protective of the work He has done in me and is doing through me.

I feel genuine pity for those who attack and slander their brothers and sisters in the faith. Truly, I am afraid of what they are inviting into their own souls as they embrace the work of the adversary. For those lies produce a harvest of death as we are warned in Proverbs 6:14-15, "...who with perversity in his heart continually devises evil, who spreads strife. Therefore his calamity will come suddenly; instantly he will be broken and there will be no healing." ((Gulp!))

There's an old quote from World War II which says, "Loose lips sink ships" and they also create an atmosphere of death! (Photo via Huffington Post)

Protect Your Love

Yes, we should obviously guard our tongue when speaking of those beloved of the Lord and those in service to Him. However, we need to guard our tongues for our enemies as well. Fight for them – wrestle with the demons who've taken over their heart, using your authority to liberate them from the lies of the enemy! Pray for the love God has for you to invade and penetrate their heart.

Pray for them to know and experience the love of the Father because, as they do that, love will manifest in their treatment of you. If they refuse His love and you keep sending it to them, that love will come back on you and you will benefit from it. If, however, you send curses instead of blessings, the curses will come back on you in one way or another.

Our Lord taught about praying for our enemies and blessing those who attack us. Why? It wasn't so much for those who are attacking us, but to protect our own hearts against the bitterness of unforgiveness that would inevitably destroy us.

I'm not asking you to lay down and let people injure you. No. I have a saying, "I don't do stupid twice!" If someone betrays you, don't give them place to do it again (unless the Lord directs you to). You have a responsibility to protect the work the Lord's accomplished in your life; don't let your compassion destroy you.

You must guard your heart against bitterness and protect the love of God in your heart. Use the authority of your words to speak constructively about your enemy what you would like to see manifest in their lives, not what is actually manifesting through them. (Photo via flickr)

As the extension of Christ on the earth, we should use our tongues to produce the life He destined for us to live. With our words, we can transform our world by using our words productively to speak forth the love we'd like to see manifest in our brothers, not give way to the destructive lives of the enemy. We must decree and declare the will of our Father, not the lies of the enemy.

Sharing! Sharing! Sharing!

Sometimes I like to scroll through what my Christian brothers and sisters are sharing on Facebook. I feel like it gives a quick overview of the hearts of the saints. Usually, I'm blessed by what I see, yet, sometimes I am astonished at the things I read that are openly slandering other brothers and sisters in Christ.

When I see a ministry or fellow Christian sharing slander about another brother or ministry, a GIANT RED FLAG goes up in my spirit. I don't want to have anything to do with strife-spreading, God hating, abominating SLANDER! I won't forward it, I won't read it and I'm not curious about the lies. I don't want to take part in anything that smells like Hell. And I don't want my cherished friends to either, because I care for you.

Our Father sees what we share or like on Facebook, Twitter, etc. He hears the words you speak. He sees how you treat those you think are beneath you. He sees it all and it hurts Him when you enter into the adversary's agenda.

BUT, it totally and completely blesses God when you come to the defense of a brother. When you speak out truth and love in support of those being slandered, His heart overflows!

Our Father is generous, slow to anger and quick to love (Joel 2:13). He is not a vengeful Father. His forgiveness is unfathomable. Even though I know it hurts Him significantly when we get caught up in slander, He readily forgives us when we ask Him to.

You see, He sees where souls spend eternity. He weighs the devastation a human causes against the judgment of their soul. He sees the cost they will have to pay if mercy doesn't have its way in them. So, even though it hurts Him to hear the slander against His children, He waits hoping His beloved child will return to Him and learn to love others.

Learning to Love

Loving your neighbor IS loving yourself. It's protecting your soul from the devices of the enemy; it's creating a harvest of mercy in your future when you need it. It is WORSHIP to your God. Love is also warfare, releasing a destructive force to the powers of darkness. Satan cannot understand love. He is hopelessly defensive against it.

Love is the greatest power on the earth and, for those who understand it, it holds the key to great blessings. Mercy has no equal in the realm of darkness and when we embrace love, not hate, we annihilate the plans of the enemy. We cause him catastrophic damage when we bless those who curse us. And we protect our own soul when we release the Kingdom of Heaven through our words. (Photo via flickr)

Think about it! Who do you want to hurt more... your brother or sister in Christ, or your adversary, the devil? Yeah, I know... me too!

Victoria Boyson
Speaking Life Ministries

Email: victoria@boyson.org
Website: victoriaboyson.com

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Ezekiel 35-37: Wind, the Catalyst for Life



Ezekiel 37:9
Amplified Bible (AMP)

9 Then said He to me, Prophesy to the breath and spirit, son of man, and say to the breath and spirit, Thus says the Lord God: Come from the four winds, O breath and spirit, and breathe upon these slain that they may live.


10 So I prophesied as He commanded me, and the breath and spirit came into [the bones], and they lived and stood up upon their feet, an exceedingly great host.

 The Lord has been speaking to me about wind the last few years.  I hadn't noticed previously that the famous "Dry Bones" portion of the Bible speaks of the "four winds" being the catalyst for life. 

According to Smith's Bible Dictionary

The north wind, or, as it was usually called "the north," was naturally the coldest of the four, and its presence is hence invoked as favorable to vegetation in So 4:16 It is described in Pr 25:23 as bringing rain.

The east wind crosses the sandy wastes of Arabia Deserts before reaching Israel and was hence termed "the wind of the wilderness." Job 1:19; Jer 13:14 It blows with violence, and is hence supposed to be used generally for any violent wind.

The south wind, which traverses the Arabian peninsula before reaching Israel, must necessarily be extremely hot.

The west wind reaches Israel loaded with moisture gathered from the Mediterranean, and is hence expressly termed by the Arabs "the fathers of the rain."
 
I find it interesting that these four winds brought life to the dry bones which filled the valley mentioned in Ezekiel 37:1.  But although the dry bones lived,


 "...they say, Our bones are dried up and our hope is lost; we are completely cut off."  Ezekiel 37:11 

In the natural, a catalyst speeds up a chemical reaction without itself being changed or consumed (Merriam Webster).  The wind will always be the wind as long as the earth remains.  It continues its work of bringing rain (Holy Spirit) for the growth of vegetation (spiritual fruit), violently blows off anything that would stick to us while in the wilderness, dials up the heat causing us to thirst for water (Holy Spirit), and then quenches our thirst with rain (signifying His Spirit and blessing poured out on us).


Father, thank You for the live-giving, restorative power in wind!  Thank You that no matter how dry, how dead, how hopeless a situation, Your wind prevails!  We receive Your wind, Lord.  In Jesus' name, AMEN!!!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Ezekiel 32-34: God's Hydrangea Promise

Ezekiel 34:11-16
Amplified Bible (AMP)

11 For thus says the Lord God: Behold, I, I Myself, will search for My sheep and will seek them out.
 
12 As a shepherd seeks out his sheep in the day that he is among his flock that are scattered, so will I seek out My sheep; and I will rescue them out of all places where they have been scattered in the day of clouds and thick darkness.
 
13 And I will bring them out from the peoples and gather them from the countries and will bring them to their own land; and I will feed them upon the mountains of Israel, by the watercourses, and in all the inhabited places of the country.
 
14 I will feed them with good pasture, and upon the high mountains of Israel shall their fold be; there shall they lie down in a good fold, and in a fat pasture shall they feed upon the mountains of Israel.
 
15 I will feed My sheep and I will cause them to lie down, says the Lord God.
 
16 I will seek that which was lost and bring back that which has strayed, and I will bandage the hurt and the crippled and will strengthen the weak and the sick, but I will destroy the fat and the strong [who have become hardhearted and perverse]; I will feed them with judgment and punishment.
 
These verses give me personal encouragement among many verses of censure directed towards the Lord's sheep.  No matter how we have failed or others have failed us, our Heavenly Father promises...
 
  • I Myself, will search
  • I will rescue
  • I will bring them out
  • I will feed them 
  • I will cause them to lie down
  • I will seek and bring back
  • I will bandage and strengthen
 
The Lord is wonderful!  He has revealed Himself to me, personally in all of the ways He has promised above!
 
One of the ways He fulfills His promises to me is through dreams.  Several years ago, my Abba gave me a beautiful "promise dream." 
 
In this dream, Jesus handed me a single blue hydrangea.  My heart could feel His intense love and I awoke feeling loved simultaneously a sweet flowery scent permeated the atmosphere in the room!
 
I knew the Lord was pouring out His love.  I knew He was giving me a gift.  But, I didn't fully comprehend what He was communicating until recently.
 
My husband, Strongman, and I just celebrated thirty years of marriage on September 22nd.  My sweet husband took me to the beach for a week to celebrate. 
 
During the months before our trip, the Lord reminded me of the beautiful "blue hydrangea dream."  I felt like He said that His gift of love to me was a husband who has loved me from my youth.  That no matter what trials or temptations or failings both of us have walked through, His grace kept us together.  His grace empowered us to love and forgive each other.
 
In honor of the Lord and my Strongman, I covertly planned a beach renewal of vows.  Both of my wonderful sisters assisted me with my plan.  My sister, Maryann, ordered the dress so Strongman wouldn't see the charge on our credit card.  My sister, Jane, altered the dress.  Thank you, wonderful Sisters!  My Dad allowed me to store the dress at his house, so Strongman wouldn't see it.  :)
 
Let me encourage those who are married.  The Lord binds two together; His grace is the glue.  No matter what attack the evil one launches against your marriage, His grace, the awesome power of God is available.  Cling to Father!  Embrace your mate!  Remember to forgive!  Receive His gift!