21 Day Fast: Day 11

Sometimes when I read scripture, I’m always looking for the deeper meaning or something I missed the first 100 times I read it. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that unless you miss what’s right in front of your face.

I’ve done this with John 4:21 Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. 22 You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. 24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”

As I was reading it yesterday I realized I never truly read this in the context that it was written. I just focused on …” true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth.” Yesterday I saw the whole context. the woman at the well was talking about a place to worship but Jesus was talking about who and how we worship.

How did I miss something so simple and right in front of my face? When we totally understand the truth of why we worship which is our salvation and the author of it, there is absolutely no place that can’t become sacred.

When we understand what the Father did for us through Jesus, how can we not become passionate people loving a passionate God? How can we not fully engage our hearts in that worship of Him? He is the truth and the purpose of our worship.

If we worship without truth and pour our emotions into it then it’s almost like a drug high lasting but for a moment. What happens when we come down off of that high? I think there are times that I have got caught up in the emotions and not the man. Does that make sense?

But there are other times when I am totally engrossed in what was done on the cross and that’s is when I find my worship real and spiritual. Am I the only person that has got caught up in the hype? This is really making me think about my worship. There’s no doubt I put my whole heart into it. I love to worship. I love music. Combine those two and it’s like a food frenzy. I think too easy though we forget to invite Jesus to that frenzy even though we sing about HIm. Just being real here.

The more we know about God, the more we enjoy Him. The more we enjoy Him, the more profound our worship becomes. The more profound our worship, the more God is glorified. It should be the “truth” that guides our emotions in our worship. We need to be careful not to always be chasing the high.

Really if you think about it, if we are worshiping in spirit and truth, that high can be in your car on the way to work. it can be in that special place on the floor in your living room, in the kitchen while you’re doing dishes, in the bathroom while you’re scrubbing the toilet, and in your workplace at your computer.

I wonder what would happen to our corporate worship and our prayer meetings if we stopped looking at the “mountain” or “Jerusalem” as the place to worship.

About 20 some years ago I started leading worship. We were combining a traditional church with a contemporary church. I can remember really trying hard to get our congregation to focus on the person we were worshipping not the style of music. I would talk about it all the time. It’s not an easy transition when you are new to leading and combining two different styles of worship.

So an opportunity arose for me to take a couple of people with me to a Worship Together conference in southern California. It was an amazing conference. Matt Redman, Tim Hughes was there and few other newcomers to the scene and this really odd looking weirdly dressed worship leader was there. Haha, I’ll get to him later.

So I am loving Matt Redman and Tim Hughes and we go on break. when we come back this weird looking guy with dark-rimmed glasses steps up to lead worship. His music was a bit different. Not what I was used to and I can remember having a hard time getting into it. (You see where I am going with this?). So I’m telling the Lord. “Lord I really don’t like this guy’s style of music and bam! Everything I had been preaching just slapped me hard and I mean hard in the face. The Lord began speaking to my heart and said, “Diane, you need to read the words.” (The same thing I was trying to convey to our congregation).

I began to read the words and I died inside that day. I was so humbled, broken and drowning in my tears. I was so sorry. I was recognizing the hypocrite that was living inside of me. I wanted to just fall to the floor and die. I remember the Lord telling me to stretch out my hands and I could feel His love all over me. As I stretched out my hands I had a vision of Christ and me on the cross and I was in Him and He was in me. It was the first time I understood that concept. I mean I really got it that day.

After worship was over we broke into classes and wouldn’t you know the class I went to broke down the Jesus in me: me in Jesus concept, God was reinforcing what had happened in worship. My worship and my life were changed that day.

Oh, the weird guy with the dark-rimmed glasses and weird hair…………no other than David Crowder who I have loved from that day forward.

So yesterday was my fruits, veggies and nuts day. I think I like those days the best. I woke up with a stiff neck and back, think I pulled something and put some essential oils on it and this morning I felt great! My stomach is still a bit whacked but nothing debilitating. I love the things God is showing me. He’s really provoking my thought life. I’m looking forward to more as I continue to dive into the book of John.

21 Day Fast: Day 10

Sunday in our new Knowing God class the question was asked, ” What does being an heir of Christ mean to you.?” I listened as we went around the room to the different thoughts and all I could matter of factly say when it got to me was, “Everything Jesus has is mine.

And then I thought of the scripture that says 12 “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father.13 Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it. ( John 14)

I don’t feel like I have done greater works. Three amazing people that I know in the last couple of months have gone on to be with the Lord. I look at their lives and think: when I die what legacy will I have left behind?

I’m not out taking care of the homeless although I have helped when we were pastoring another church. I haven’t been out in the world protecting people from harm and although I pastored with my husband for 17 years, I was pretty much in the background. Not sitting on my butt and doing nothing, as I am always doing something but most of what I do is behind the scenes making everyone else look great.

I love that part of my life because I love helping people become who they were meant to be. I’m not a person that needs to be famous although I do love a praise or two for the work I do sometimes. I mean I am human after all.

I love standing in front of a group of people and sharing my experiences with them for the sole purpose of encouraging (my #1 spiritual gift) them in their relationships with the Lord but if I walk in a room full of strangers and I’m not the speaker or in charge, I’m your typical wallflower. Well…….unless you talk to me. Then I will talk your head off.

I did write a book but it’s about fasting but (really?) who reads a lot of books about fasting by an unknown author? I have given out more books then I sold. Of course, we didn’t do much to publish it cause we were saving that work for my next book. And at the rate I am going, I may die before I publish that one.

But what about the “greater things”? I can’t pinpoint any of those things in my life. I don’t think I lack the faith to accomplish them. One of my top spiritual gifts is faith. I have a very introvert but wanna be extrovert type of personality so I’m not much of an initiator UNLESS I’m put in charge of something. Then I initiate like crazy.

I have a lot of faith. I believe when everyone else wants to give up. Often I can see the end result but then again often I’m way ahead in my dreams and visions and they get put on the shelf until someone else comes along and puts them in place or makes it happen hahahahha. You know what? It really doesn’t matter who makes it happen just as long as it happens.

So during this fast, I’m asking God to show me if I am supposed to be doing “greater works” then what I am doing. I just don’t want to miss out or not help someone with something when I should. Jesus was all about changing people’s lives. When I attended the “Celebration of Life” services for these people, I’m amazed at how many people these people have been touched or had their lives changed because those who passed on were doing the “Greater Works”.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have guilt feelings because everything I do do I put 100% effort into it. But am I doing enough? Am I loving enough? Am I encouraging enough?

The scripture says to love our neighbors as we love ourself. Heck, I don’t even know my neighbors. Ok, I know the word neighbors is a broad territory. It’s not that I don’t want to know them but it’s sure not the world I grew up in anymore. People are so busy that they don’t even have time to do things together anymore or perhaps it’s just because they don’t make the time. And I certainly don’t try to ignore my neighbors. I try to catch their eye just to smile or say, “Hi”. I even tried to help one of my neighbors find their missing dog. And I entertained three of my other neighbor’s dogs when they came through a hole under the fence until she got back. Ok so I am a dog lover: guilty!

Jesus said whatever we ask in His name He would do so that the Father would be glorified. That’s my prayer: what “greater works” can I do so that my Father will be glorified. Those are the things I truly want to ask Jesus for. Now if I could just get these thoughts to quit spinning in my brain………………Maybe they will now since I’ve just written them out.

So the last couple days of the fast have been a bit rough for me physically. My stomach is not happy and yesterday as I was writing this blog I fell asleep for two hours. Not sure if the fast is messing with my stomach or some kind of virus keeps trying to attach itself to me. I’ve been battling it for months. Could be allergies. I just don’t know. But in the midst of it all, I press onward looking forward to what the Lord has to say to me today!

21 Day Fast: Day Six

After many months in Luke, I  am finally saying hello to John. Reading Luke very slow was very enlightening this time. Saw some things I never saw before. Nothing highly profound just some little nuggets: nuggets piled upon nuggets. I might have to go back and read it as a whole now. We’ll see.

So my last day in Luke I was touched by the stories of the two men on the Emmaus Road after Jesus’ resurrection. After talking for a while and with their hearts burning inside, Jesus breaks bread with them, their eyes were opened and they see Him.

Have you ever had those feelings deep inside that something was about to happen? We say things like …”I just have this gut feeling” or “somethings telling me….” And then all of a sudden your eyes are open and you “see” Jesus in the situation. He was there the whole time having a conversation with you, whispering…guiding…loving.

Interesting how long He let them go on before He opened their eyes. But even so, they had this sense that there was something about Him and the way He opened up the scriptures to Him.

When they first encountered Him, all they talked about was what had happened totally missing what was happening now. I think sometimes that’s us: we live in the past missing what is happening in the present, missing opportunities that Jesus wants to show us now.

Later Jesus shows up to the disciples and  He opened their minds to understand the scriptures. He was getting ready to do something really big and He told them to stay in the city until they were clothed with power from on high.

They had to first understand the Word so that they would do what was to come next. My prayer is that God would open our eyes to see Him and open our mind to understand Him and then we will do what He says so He can get us to where we need to be to be clothed with the power of God to accomplish the work of God.

Day five was one meal for the day. Still enjoying the hunger pangs as they remind me why I am doing this fast. Had a great time in my extended time of worship, even tho my dogs were distracting the heck out of me. And of course, loving the things the Lord is showing me in His word. Blessings!







21 Day Fast: Day Five

Isn’t it kind of funny that when the Lord gives us a glimpse and sometimes a warning of what’s going to be taking place on the road ahead,  all we remember is the part about the trial but not the outcome He promises?

20 years or so ago, I was in a situation where I was overseeing and putting together a women’s retreat. I was so excited about it but hit a lot of obstacles two weeks before the event. The 2nd day into the retreat, I was attacked by one of my best friends for not doing what she wanted me to do.

We had all agreed to allow the Holy Spirit to work and not to be so scheduled that we would miss opportunities. The first night and second morning we didn’t do what she wanted to do because women were up at the altar and there were a lot of them and she was angry with me.

The first night I had gathered in a room with my former pastor’s wife, speaker, and prayer intercessor that she had brought with her to pray. As they were praying for me, my former Pastor’s wife said, “Diane, an ancient nation is going to rise up against you. You need to stay strong.” They prayed for me and I can’t for the life of me tell you what they prayed. I just heard trouble was coming and it was going to be rough.

The very next day my former best friend, another friend and a group of 12 ladies literally rose up against me. When the retreat was over, I was dealing with so much stress and so much pain from the betrayal that I just told the Lord I was done with the women, the women’s ministry, church and finally Him.

All I was paying attention to was the forwarning and the trial coming, forgetting that the Lord was going to bring me through it. Honestly telling Him I was done with Him only lasted 3 seconds because He ever so gently and lovingly said, “Where will you go?” I realized my stupidity and said, ‘Nowhere Lord. There is nowhere else for me to go except to you.”

I put on my big girl panties and decided to stay strong and God began showing me more outcome. He was asking me to love Him and trust him and I told Him whatever I needed to learn from this, I would be His willing student. And I have had to tell Him that many times since.  It’s a pretty amazing story and long so maybe I’ll share it again another time. It was one of those places in my life that I built an altar of remembrance to and have never forgotten.

We read in Luke 22: 31-34 about Peter being warned he was going to be sifted and would deny Jesus three times and that a rooster would crow after the third time. But Jesus was praying for him and that he would return and he was to strengthen his brothers. So when it actually happens how does Peter respond?

Luke 22: 61 And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the saying of the Lord, how he had said to him, “Before the rooster crows today, you will deny me three times.”

Peter was heartbroken and all he could see is what he had done wrong. Peter ran away and wept bitterly after that. He was only seeing the trial and not remembering that the Lord said, “When you return…” and that He had prayed for him and that He was going to use him to strengthen his brothers. He showed him what was to come and then what would happen afterward.

Ok, I’m not hardhearted at all but I actually kind of chuckled at that and said. “Yup, we all have a little Peter in us.”

Peter did recover and went on to do great things for God and so many people were saved through his ministry. I was listening to Graham Cooke talking about how we need to listen to the whole message when we have an encounter with the Lord, not just the beginning. There is a beginning and there is an end and we need to remember to not get stuck in the middle.

Day four of fasting was a bit rough physically. My stomach was not happy. But our prayer service was amazing!  I made it through and am ready to see what day five has for me. Blessings!

21 Day Fast: Day Four

I spent probably 30 plus years dealing with depression. I studied it, I took classes, and I sought to counsel but I could never seem to get free of it. 20 years ago my teacher/ counselor told me that the expectation I had for what a person was supposed to be in my life was never going to happen and could I just forgive and love him/her for the person they were? He told me it was ok to grieve my loss of my expectation but then I needed to move on. Best advise I ever got and it became the beginning of a process of healing in my life.

I chose to forgive and love the person for who they were and accept the role they played in my life and I’m able to do that now more with others who have hurt me and to love and accept the person they are: not what I wanted them to be

Then I had a major crisis in my life that tested my faith in ways I had never been tested before but I chose not to let the enemy destroy me or the plans that God had for me in the future. As I moved through the healing process and with many prayers………….one day I woke up and I just felt this heavy burden lifted off of me, I felt light and pure joy. I was supernaturally healed and I knew it.

I have hard days but I never fall backward anymore. It may take a couple of days to recover but I just keep pressing onward. I’ve learned to just let things roll off my back now and just stay tight with the Lord and let Him deal with the circumstances.

Luke 22:32 says but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again strengthen your brothers.”

Jesus was letting Peter know that Satan was going to sift him like wheat but that he was going to recover and to use what he had been through to help others.

Jesus is always interceding for us.

Roman’s 8:34 Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.

In John 17 We can read Jesus’ prayer for us….that His joy in us would be fulfilled, God would keep us from evil, and  He would sanctify us in His truth. He knew we would go through trials but He also knows we are going to come out of them. We just need to believe it.

When my marriage was about to end, I heard the Lord tell me to stay and to trust Him and that I would rise up. He even had a woman sing a song in the darkest hour of my life about rising up. And when she sang it, I felt like I was the only person in the room and God himself was singing that over me. God knew I was going to rise up and He also knew that my experience would strengthen others.

He has used my husband and myself to be a testimony and to come alongside others and support them in their pain because we know how it feels but we also know how to defeat what the enemy designed to destroy us and let what God use it to perfect us.

When Jesus went to the Mount of Olives he took the disciples with him and told them to pray that they would not enter into temptation. While He moved away to pray the disciples fell asleep in their sorrow. They were depressed and didn’t want to deal with it. Then Jesus comes to them and says, “Why are you sleeping? Rise and pray that you may not enter into temptation.”

The temptations I faced were quitting, wanting to die, wanting to hurt someone, and wanting to run away and hide. But hearing God tell me to rise up, I knew I had to do the opposite and let Him work in me and through me. And He was and is always faithful!

My third day of fasting was bread and water only. I couldn’t wait to put that bread in my mouth and I was highly disappointed hahahaha. It was like no big deal. My thoughts were highly overrated.

Making my way through day four..Blessings!

Day Three: 21 Day Fast

I love fasting. It’s hard though because everything I fast, I find myself wanting really bad those first three or four days. This year I prayed and asked God what HE wanted me to fast this time. I embarrassed to say, I should have always asked that but if I’m honest, I chose what wanted. And every fast has been amazing even though I chose but this time I just wanted Him to direct me. So for every day I just prayed and believed He directed and put together a fasting Calendar. And on the second day, I could feel it! And it’s a good feeling.

I found the worst fast in the world for me to do is the Daniel Fast because sure I’m sacrificing certain foods and trust me: it’s a sacrifice cause I love meat and sugar, but I was still eating all day. And most of my time was spent in the kitchen cooking approved Daniel Fast Meals which took me away from my time in the word and just sitting and listening. Not that I won’t ever do that one again, it’s a great fast, but next time I will be wiser. Another thing is I don’t feel the Daniel Fast.

This time I truly wanted to feel this fast. I wanted to feel the hunger pangs and the headaches to remind me why I am doing this and Who’s connection and revelation I am seeking.

Now don’t get me wrong cause I am always in extended times in the Word when I fast, but there’s just something about that hunger pang that keeps me there and thinking about Him all day. It reminds me constantly why I am doing this and that I am expecting to have things downloaded into my spirit and words and promises for the future. He has never let me down. It reminds me that He talks to me in my pain and He will be for me “the bread of life”.

Yesterday He spoke to me about two things…(it always takes me a whole day to write it out haha)

1. Not to run tapes through my head about what I’m going to say but to trust Him to give me a  mouth and wisdom. ‘


2. To stay awake, praying.

Luke 21:14-15 13 This will be your opportunity to bear witness. 14 Settle it therefore in your minds not to meditate beforehand how to answer, 15 for I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which none of your adversaries will be able to withstand or contradict.

Jesus is foretelling about the wars and persecution to come and how to handle it and it just hit me that this is great advice for living. How many times do we go through the tapes in our mind, rehearsing what we’re going to say, mostly in our anger, hurt or pain? What if through the trials, we just prayed and asked God what to say and waited for His wisdom to speak through our mouths.

I recently went through this and had to stop myself several times from rehearsing what I was going to say to a person who hurt me. I never realized just how hard that is to do. Every time a thought (or a few ) came to mind I would stop and pray and ask God for a mouth and wisdom. One thing I discovered is that if we quit rehearsing and running tapes, the problem isn’t as big as we thought it was and our words cause less damage if no damage at all because we are speaking with His wisdom, not our anger. That’s why we’re told to be slow to anger.

Proverbs 14:29 Whoever is slow to anger has great understanding, but he who has a hasty temper exalts folly.

The Lord promises that our adversaries (or those who hurt or come against us) won’t be able to withstand or contradict us. and this will be an opportunity to bear witness to the truth, love, and good news of our Lord. This is huge!

The second little nugget He gave me is found

Luke 21:36  (ESV) 36 But stay awake at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are going to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.”

Prayer isn’t’ just for when we go through hard times. We are told to stay awake. To me, this means: look for opportunities to pray. Be aware of what’s going on around you. We need to walk in His strength, not our fear. We need to “see it coming’ and not be caught off guard.

In this chapter, Jesus is telling them to see that they are not lead astray…He’s telling them to look for the signs. and not to be afraid. I think this is true of everyday life. He’s constantly showing us things, or speaking through other people, or whispering in our ear, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left.

The scripture tells us the devil wants to kill and destroy us. His greatest weapon is deception and if he can catch us napping, he gains a foothold. We don’t have to see him around every corner but if we stay alert and pray we will have the strength to get through every trial and temptation and have the abundant life God has promised us!

John 10: 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.
Ephesians 3: 20 Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

Onward to day three………….Many Blessings!!



I’ve been reading in Lamentations and thought what a depressing book this was. I understand why the lamenting but I couldn’t wait to get out of it. I even asked the Lord, “Why are you having me read this today?” But………….then I stumbled on chapter 3:21-33

In the beginning of the chapter the author (might be Jeremiah) says, “I am a man of affliction…..” and he goes on to record all the bad things that he was experiencing under the rod of God’s wrath. But then he finally in verse 21 says, “But this I call to mind, and therefor I have hope.” He begins to list the things about God that reminded him of the hope that was before him. And should be a reminder to us when we go through hard times.

  • God’s love is steadfast and never ceases. No matter what we do or what we say, He still loves us. He looks into our hearts and He see the person He created us to be. He gives us room to grow. There are consequences for poor decisions but He is always calling us closer and pointing us in a better direction.
  • His mercy’s never come to an end and they are new every morning
  • His faithfulness is great. God is faithful to His word. He knows the outcome of our circumstances and He promises that His plans are good and not meant to harm us. Though we may be facing trials right now, we know it’s building steadfastness and character in us.  James 1: Be assured that the testing of your faith [through experience] produces endurance [leading to spiritual maturity, and inner peace].And let endurance have its perfect result and do a thorough work, so that you may be perfect and completely developed [in your faith], lacking in nothing. (AMP) When we believe this, we know that although we feel miserable, our weeping will last for a moment but joy is coming in the morning.
  • God is our portion. He is OUR portion! He is everything we need and He is exactly what we need. We need to really get this. He is the ingredient in our recipe for life that brings it all together.
  • He is good to those who wait for Him. when we are weak, tired, burdened, confused, helpless etc…..He tells us that when we wait (with anticipation) we will be renewed with fresh strength and we will sour as we move closer to God. We fill find ourselves up and running  and not giving up. (See Is 40:31)
  • His is good to the soul who seeks Him. He tells us when we seek him we will find him and when we find Him that is definitely a good thing (Jer 29:13)
  • Salvation comes from the Lord for those who wait quietly. The Hebrew meaning of wait means waiting expectantly. We can count on God to step into our situations and either deliver us or leads us into victory. When we don’t wait, we don’t listen and usually find ourselves is a much worse situation. When we are quiet we can hear him say……Is 30:21 And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left.
  • He will not be cast off  forever. Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. Everything we go through can have a redemptive purpose. God has a  good plan for our lives, and we will see things work it out in His timing because He has compassion according to the abundance of His love. His heart is not to afflict or grieve his children. Just as we discipline our children, so does the Lord discipline His (us) but His purpose is to turn our hearts back to Him so He can continue to lead us to accomplish the purpose and plans He has for us.

So the next time you’re feeling hopeless remember who God is and how He is working in your life.


Pressing In With Expectation

The Lord loves talking to His people.He love teaching us new things, teaching us deeper things, healing our broken hearts, drawing us into His chambers, revealing answers to prayer ( some of them that we even forgot we asked). He just plain loves spending time with us.  Luke 5:1 On one occasion, while the crowd was pressing in on him to hear the word of God…….

The Greek word for pressing is epikeimai of men, to press upon, to be urgent. To press on in the Cambridge Dictionary: to start or continue doing something in a determined way, often despite problems:

The people were determined to hear from Jesus. They expected an outcome  and they were rewarded. In verse 3 Luke says………And he sat down and taught the people from the boat.  No matter what their circumstances were, they were willing to keep moving forward in the direction He was going. The Lord rewards determination! 

It was the same for the woman with the issue of blood in Luke 8:45. The crowd was pressing in on Jesus again and she reaches out and touches the hem of His garment and was rewarded with healing.

Phil 3:10-14 Paul talks about wanting to really know Jesus intimately and experiencing His mighty power, sharing in His sufferings and even though he wasn’t there yet he was continuing to press on to achieve that goal, the heavenly prize at the end of the race.

Fasting and prayer is just one opportunity to press in deeper. I have never fasted and not received a word from the Lord for me personally, for others and for the Church. Everything I receive from Him comes from His word (spoken to my heart or read from His word) and is confirmed through others, worship, His creation, books about Him, even books not about Him. He confirms in whatever way He pleases.

I want to stay determined no matter what I am going through. I want to keep pressing in, seeking, asking and knocking. Not only through this fast but even after it’s over, cause it’s really not over: it’s just beginning! There’s a whole boat load ( if you read the rest of Luke 5, you’ll see that was a pun) of things to come and to know. There’s so much about our Lord that we don’t know and He invites us in and to discover it!

Phillipian 3:13 No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead….

Day 16 of fasting for 21 Days! This fast has been pretty amazing so far and there are still 5 days left! I’ve suffered with some physical pain through it and a bit of hunger and cravings but the reward has been so worth it. The Lord used Luke 5 to encourage me to encourage others to press in and He gave me a word for our church from vs 4-11 that I may share tomorrow because it could be a word or teaching for any church.

The Word came in the Wilderness

My greatest times with the Lord have been while I was in the pain of the wilderness. I’ve walked through many wilderness experiences and although I don’t enjoy the pain, the lessons learned and the word given during those times have helped me grow and mature as a Christian woman.  Luke 3:2 “……….the word of God came to John the son of Zechariah in the wilderness.”

In my book Breaking Through to Higher Places I wrote, “When Jesus was led into the wilderness, it was by the Spirit. It was intentional. The word led is the Greek word anago, which means He was led up. To be led up is to be led in a more elevated position, as to climb to the top of a ladder. The wilderness is the higher place. We often enter the wilderness crying, angry, and with great dread thinking that this is the lowest form of punishment and testing. We start asking God, “Why me?” or “Why are You doing this to me?” I wonder what would happen if we started entering it with joy, great expectation, and started believing that God is going to meet us there. Yes, we will be tempted, but Jesus already went through it, will help us, and He knows how to tug on the strings of the Father’s heart. Every wilderness experience is an opportunity for change and a deeper intimacy with God. Can you think back to a time when you said you wanted to be like Jesus? Can you remember asking him to help you to treat people the way Jesus would have? Have you asked God for a deeper more intimate relationship with Him? Well, be careful of what you ask for because going through the wilderness will reveal who you really are. But then, when you see the truth and acknowledge it, God can release you from your captivity, the kind of captivity that keeps you from growing and deepening your relationship with Him.”

God talks to us in many ways and many forms but for me personally, I have received so much from Him during the hardest times in my life. The most important thing I have learned is to be willing to learn. 

After the word of the Lord came to John His ministry took off full swing. He was preaching, exhorting, baptizing and teaching. If we are willing to listen and learn, God will also instruct us in the wilderness how to respond once we move out and move ahead.

Day 12 of my 21 day fast. I woke up in so much pain not due to the fast but I believe from what could be fibromyalgia but I remain in a state of joy and expectation. This pain is my wilderness experience so it stands to reason, today will be a day of hearing from the Lord!!! The fast so far has been so much easier then I thought it would be. I do miss a nice big slab of meat and the feeling of something being chewed between my teeth hahaahhaha. The Lord continues to speak and encourage me through His word and through His people. The biggest message is greater things are coming!

If you say so, Lord!

Luke 1: 38 And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” I can’t imagine the things that were going through Mary’s head as the angel Gabriel appeared to her. First of all…AN ANGEL APPEARED TO HER!  But then to find out she was going to be pregnant and not by the man she was betrothed to. Whoa!

I found it interesting that she was more troubled that he called her “favored one” then that she was going to have a child. I mean she did ask the obvious question, “How can this be since I’m a virgin. But  she was GREATLY troubled at the greeting.

Crazy enough I get it! If anyone came along let alone and angel and said I was God’s favored one, I’d be thinking, “Ok what do you want?” I have had people tell me that in the past that I was highly favored and I became highly suspicious of their motives. It’s not that I don’t believe that I am God’s favorite. Yes I am! Misty Edwards sang a song about that very thing. Some of the lyrics are:

Here I am your favorite one
What are You thinking, what are You feeling?
I have to know
(Repeat x 2)

It’s different to know I am His favorite when He tells me but when someone else tells me, I just want to ask them, “How do you know?” When someone else tells me all of a sudden I know I am faced with some big…huge……GIGANTIC responsibility coming my way and THAT terrifies me.

Now the angel tells her what that responsibility is going to be. She must have thought, “Joseph is never going to believe this. What if he divorces me or has me stoned for adultery cause he knows it isn’t his?” I can only imagine that things that would have gone on in my head. But when the angel answers her she just says, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.”

She trusted God so much that she was willing to go through anything for Him no matter what the consequences would be for her . Especially what people would say about her or how they would treat her.

I remember many years ago in another city, long before Greg and I became pastors, being in a situation where I had to deal with what people said and the way they treated me because of something that happened, that I felt God lead me to do at a retreat, I had put together. I was beaten up mentally by one of my best friends because I didn’t do things the way we planned. But in my defense our biggest plan was to allow the Holy Spirit to move even if it meant changing our plans. And that’s what happened! Unfortunately it involved not doing what she had planned. She raked me over the coals in front of everyone. Fortunately one of my former pastors was there and just the night before she had told me that an ancient nation was going to rise against me. I just didn’t think it would be one my best friends. She gave me an incredible book to read by Francis Frangipane The Three Battlegrounds. This book helped me so much and there were two quotes that I held on to for dear life.

“Satan will not continue to assault you when the circimstances he designed to destroy you are now perfecting you.” and “Peace is the best weapon against adversity.”  I remember laying in bed and telling the Lord, I was done. I was done with woman’s ministries. I was done with the women in the church and I was done with Him. He gently listened and then very quietly said, “Ok, where will you go?” I started crying even harder and said, “Lord, there is no place for me to go without YOU.” I told him that I was His student (servant) and that whatever I needed to learn from this, I was willing to learn.

The Lord told me not to defend myself to others or even talk about what happened because it would be gossip. I would be making myself look like a victim instead of a victor and those who were attacking me would be made to look like victimizers. He told me to trust him and He would be my defender. He also revealed a huge error I had made on my part that started long before the planning of the retreat that actually caused a domino effect and even though what happened to me at and after that retreat was wrong, I still had to take responsibility for it……and I did…..but that’s another story.

Carrying that by myself with no one to talk to was very hard. My pastor’s wife knew a little of what was going on at the time not from me but offered to to be a mediator. It never came to that as God opened many doors of conversation that actually ended up with Him restoring me completely and when I left that church, I left on a great note. I trusted Him and He did not let me down. I wanted to be an obedient servant no matter what.

I’ve been through so many more situations where God has told me what He was going to do and it was going to be hard. But I have come out of each one a little stronger and little wiser with plenty of more room to grow. So now I try very hard when He is about to birth something in and through me to say, ” If you say so, Lord!”