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What’s in a name?

When we hear a name it automatically identifies who the person is. I love the verse Isaiah 9:6, “For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. I love this verse so much because this one verse alone shows us so much about who God is to us! In the past, a name would be given to someone to frame up who you are and who you were to become or even what we could expect from that person. This verse in Isaiah is doing just that, it’s revealing His character to us in order to reveal our future with Him.

Wonderful / This word is so much more than what we would think of as wonderful. Hebrew versions of wonderful actually mean many things and one is miracles. This tells us that He is a miracle working God and what we can expect in our lives is miracles! Another meaning is extraordinary. When we get Jesus in our lives we get a special measure on our normalcy, we go from ordinary to extraordinary! 

Counselor / This name means that He makes intercession for us day and night. His love is for us and nothing can separate us from the love of God. He is talking to the King and advocating for us on a daily basis. We can turn to and talk to Him when we feel like all hope is lost. He is a counselor who is on our side and will never fail us!

Mighty God / He is God who does not lack or have limits. He is mighty and strong in all ways at all times. When we do life with Him, His strength and power become infused in us. Too often, we see our problems as big and our God as small but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. We have a really big God and really small problems. We serve a God that is full of strength and power! 

Everlasting Father / He has no beginning and no end! He is the Alpha and the Omega. He knew us before He formed us. He is everlasting and connected to a supply that does not run out or have a shortage. He has more than enough for you and me!

Prince of Peace / God is going to war against everything that is not giving you peace in your  life. God is concerned with whatever is troubling you, worrying you, and giving you stress. He is fighting for your peace! 

Some of us are defining God by what we’ve seen other people do or how we’ve been treated but I want to tell you friend, don’t define who God is based on others failures. He is an everlasting father!! He is the father and that means we are the children, no matter what- we are His children! God’s will for you is to have complete peace in your life with nothing missing, nothing broken. XO

Little by Little

If you’re anything like me, I love the “suddenly” you see in the Bible!  I love reading along and seeing God suddenly show up and perform a miracle. In  Exodus 23:30 the Bible tells us, Little by little I will drive them out from before you, until you have increased and are numerous enough to take possession of the land.” Here God shows up and lets them know He is going to be there and bring good but it’s not going to happen how they think. In fact it’s going to happen little by little. If I’m being honest I’m partial to the suddenlies of God. If we see though, most of the Bible is actually the little by little moments. It’s people trusting God in the process and on the journey. In fact God states again in Deuteronomy 7:22, “And the Lord your God will clear out those nations before you, little by little; you may not consume them quickly, lest the beasts of the field increase among you”. I think about how this plays a part in our everyday lives. We don’t want little, we want big and now! When we think this way we are missing the little God gives us to get to the big. God uses the ordinary to get us to our extraordinary. Just like Moses, God told him to use the staff in his hand. It’s what he had in his hand, the small thing to make a big difference. I’m a runner and I didn’t just get up one day and start running a half marathon. It took me mile by mile, little by little, step by step that got me to the big run. The same is true for our life. Suddenlies do happen but most of the time it will be the little by little. The stars won’t align in your favor, it will never be the perfect time. It’s the time and the work put in each day that gets you to your suddenly. Use what you have and as you do that God will make up the difference and give you what you don’t have. God’s instructions are so simple and so small for us today. God is not a complicated God, we make it complicated, we just have to use what you have! 

Friend, stop waiting for perfect, it will never be the perfect time to start that blog, to go to church, to call that friend, and the list goes on. Only you know your next step that God is telling you to do, whatever it is just take the next step! Let’s be said that we were like Moses in Exodus 40:16, that whatever God asked of us, we did. XO

Faith Like a Mustard Seed

When reading in Luke 17 I noticed something very interesting. Here the disciples are with Jesus and ask Him how many times they have to forgive someone who has done them wrong. Then he tells them in vs 4 “Even if they sin against you seven times in a day and seven times come back to you saying ‘I repent,’ you must forgive them”. What was interesting to me was the disciples’ reply. Their reply was asking the Lord to increase their faith. You see the disciples had never asked Jesus to increase their faith before. They saw miracle after miracle with Jesus and yet never asked that question. But when it came to forgiveness and the Lord let them know that sometimes they would have to forgive multiple times in a day then they asked to increase their faith. They knew the only way to walk in that kind of forgiveness was if their faith walk was strong. This is true in our lives as well! The times in my life where I’ve been able to forgive the easiest is because my relationship with God is the strongest. What I really want to focus on with you is the Lord’s reply, “And the Lord said, If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye might say unto this sycamine tree, Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it should obey you”. Most of us have heard this scripture before but I want to dissect with you why He chose a sycamine tree. Why out of all the trees in the earth did Jesus point out the sycamine tree in this verse? 

A sycamine tree:

-Produces fruit that looks like a fig but the taste is bitter. This tells us that we can produce fruit in our lives easily but when our hearts aren’t right our fruit is bitter. Sure everything can look great on the outside but what is actually happening on the inside? God didn’t call us to produce bitter fruit but good, life giving fruit. 

-It grows extremely fast. Most trees take years to develop but this one grew rapidly. People would grow this tree for shade. When we let unforgiveness creep in it starts to grow fast and at a rapid pace in our lives. 

-It was used to make caskets. Unforgiveness keeps you from moving onto the next season of your life, it’s basically where dreams go to die. When unforgiveness and bitterness starts to come into your heart you’re letting your dreams go to a place to die. You have to make the choice, are your dreams and destiny worth you holding onto this grudge and bitterness?

-It has deep roots. Just as fast as it grew up it grew down too. Unforgiveness does the same in our lives. Before we know it, it begins to take root and grow deep down into every being of who we are. 

-It grows in any environment. Some trees only thrive in certain areas but this tree can be planted anywhere and it will grow. Isn’t it amazing that unforgiveness will still grow no matter where you are planted. Someone can be planted in the most life giving church, be surrounded by the most encouraging people, and still be harboring unforgiveness. We need to change our hearts to change our environment, not change the environment to change our heart. 

Friend, what if you had faith like the grain of a mustard seed? Something so small that can take a tree like the sycamine and uproot it. It’s time for us to walk in forgiveness so that we can experience all that God has for us in our life!

What’s holding you back?

To be totally honest, as a Pastor I’ve seen so many people who love God, who attend church, who are faithful Christians but they are living in a cycle of pain that they are never able to get out of. I always wondered what the difference was between the people who were able to overcome and get out of the pain and negative thought patterns and the people that aren’t. And why is it that if God’s word is true and applicable to everyone that only some people are living out their full potential and others aren’t? Through this journey God specifically spoke to me in 3 John 1:2 saying that He is going to prosper us. Prosperity is not a Wall Street idea, a business plan, or a worldly concept but a God concept! When you read through the Bible you can see how much God desires to prosper us. His plan and desire is to always prosper us and give us life abundantly (John 10:10). So why aren’t we seeing that? This is where 3 John 1:2 is a direct reflection of what we are seeing, we can only prosper as your soul prospers. What I began to notice is that what we are seeing on the external is only a reflection of our internal lives. We have built up walls on the inside and it’s causing our souls not to prosper. Maybe it’s because you are holding onto things, you’ve believed wrong, or even been spiritually blind to some areas. Those different things are what keep the walls up and block us from the prosperity God has for us. We cannot live a positive life with negative thoughts! The enemy often tries to come into our lives and mis-define what has happened to us and in that we start seeing things through the wrong lens. We often want to believe but we walk in doubt and our negative thoughts. We view today’s promise through yesterday’s pain. The truth is our thoughts don’t always have to be a negative thing but we do have to truly take them captive as the Bible tells us. These thoughts are a reflection of our true heart condition. In order to truly process the pain we’ve had in our lives we have to process our thoughts or that pain will start to take over and dominate our lives. 

Friend I want to remind you that life is not happening to you but life is happening for you! What limiting belief  is holding you back? You will have to find the root in order to find freedom and have breakthroughs! God’s prosperity is waiting for you! XO 

God things aren’t easy!

God never called you to live a small life or play it safe. I love the verse in 2 Corinthians 6:11-13 (MSG), Dear, dear Corinthians, I can’t tell you how much I long for you to enter this wide-open, spacious life. We didn’t fence you in. The smallness you feel comes from within you. Your lives aren’t small, but you’re living them in a small way. I’m speaking as plainly as I can and with great affection. Open up your lives. Live openly and expansively!” I truly believe the smallness that this scripture talks about doesn’t come from God but from within. The enemy starts working at us from a very young age trying to fence us in. He does this by starting with the small things people say and do. What is the limiting belief that is keeping you from stepping out and moving forward? Did someone tell you that  nobody cares what you have to say, did you hit a point where you question if what you’re doing even matters? It may seem like with every step you take there is no progress. I love what the Bible tells us in 1 Thessalonians 2:18, For we wanted to come to you—certainly I, Paul, did, again and again—but Satan blocked our way”.  Whenever you are on a journey and God gives you this great big plan within days you are guaranteed to start facing resistance. We see this several times in the Bible. The fact is that God has a plan for your life and so does the enemy. I believe that nothing that is easy is from God, and God things aren’t easy. Sometimes some things are easier than others and sometimes some things you have to fight for every single step of the way. Most of the time in our life when we step out and start doing things for God there is so much resistance we start to question whether it’s God keeping you from the next step or if it’s a plan of the enemy. We don’t ever want to do something that is outside of God’s plan for us but we also don’t want to give in to the enemy’s attack to stop us. So how do you know? You know that you should keep going after that desire when you can’t get it off of your heart! If you stopped and it’s still on your heart, keep moving forward! Psalm 37:4 tells us, Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart”. The closer we get to God the more our desires become His desires and when we start to feel those things tug on our hearts it’s because it’s in God’s heart too. Sometimes our journey won’t look like what we thought it would. God places the people you need in your life to accomplish what He’s called you to do! He has every resource at your fingertips, maybe He won’t do it by you but through you. We have to understand and realize that in order to move forward with all that God has for us. 

Habakuk 2:3 For the vision is yet for an appointed time and it hastens to the end [fulfillment]; it will not deceive or disappoint. Though it tarry, wait [earnestly] for it, because it will surely come; it will not be behindhand on its appointed day.” God has a plan for you, He will not disappoint you and your dreams aren’t foolish. It will come in His time if you keep pressing on. XO