Pioneer!

This morning Billy Joe, and I had such a sweet experience with the Lord. I was reading Dutch Sheet’s new book, The Way Back, which starts with the song, ”Pioneer” by Nancy Honeytree Miller. As we listened to this song several times it touched my heart as deeply today as it did when it was recorded in 1993, and has become the theme song of our ministry over the years.

You see, I married a pioneer.

Pioneer by Nancy Honeytree (click to listen)

About 20 years ago I sat and wept in my driveway. We were comfortable in the church we had planted 15 years earlier. Yet the restlessness in our spirits was evident as we prayed. A feeling of transition yet again permeated our souls. Uncertainty was looming before us. God was calling us to new and uncharted territory. Again. At the time there was no paradigm for a prayer network prayer ministry, but it seemed this was where God was pointing. PIONEER. This song defined our hearts, our souls, our lives.

Gary Nored

Since the 70’s we had heard and pursued a call from the Father to come out of the comfortable and step into new, uncharted areas. But in those uncertain times one of the best gifts God gives to pioneers is other pioneers who have also traveled the unfamiliar territories. They become your life long friends.

We were pioneers in the early 80’s when we stepped out of the Methodist pastorate to plant a new kind of church called Charismatic. A few other pioneers joined us.

We were pioneers in the mid 80’s when we, along with three other pioneer families, took our children out of public school to bring them home to educate them ourselves.

Now we were being called out to raise up a prayer network of intercessors to pray specifically for reconciliation and revival in the state of Mississippi. This song gave words to the strange, unsettling yet sure voice we had followed since our commitment to the Father back in 1971. Stepping out into this new, unknown place, his everlasting arms were sure, solid and held us firmly. Again we found a few pioneers on this new trail too.

images-1

And just as the song described, settlers came behind us and built it better and faster than we could have. There are now many huge Charismatic churches in most cities. The homeschool movement has exploded in our nation. There are numerous prayer networks that are doing it bigger and better and faster than we could have imagined. Most will never know our names, nor the names of countless other pioneers who pursued the call along with us. But these settlers needed and used the paths we had charted in order to build their highways. Isn’t that the way of the Kingdom? Filled with pioneers and settlers, both essential.

The words of this song continue to ring true today, just as the same call continues to resonate within our spirits. Still not sure of what to say when people ask, “Now, what is it that you do?” because there is always a new horizon ahead. We are pioneers, and settling is hard for a pioneer, even at seventy years old.

Now ask yourself: Does this song touch that deep place in your spirit? Do you hear the distant rumble on the next horizon? Are you yearning for more, feeling the transition but unable to define it with words? If so:

You, too, are a pioneer.  

29935461401_b326d0874e_o

You are the one to cut the new path now. You do not know where or what you are seeking, but The Father does. He sees, knows and is pleased, always smiling and guiding you to step out deeper into the unknown.

As old pioneers, we are your cheerleaders. We want to give you a hoist up and champion your journey. We want to shout, “Go for it!  Step up higher so you can see farther. Run to find the new thing Father is doing. Cut the trail so others can come behind you. Make the path clear, because they will need this road you are forging to build their highway or maybe even a runway.”

Keep pressing on. You are the pioneer.

“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 on toward the goal for the prize of the high call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Phil 3:13-14 (NKJV)

Pioneer by Nancy Honeytree  (click to listen)

 

 

 

Advertisements

Like a Flood, Raise your Standard

flood-17506_960_720

When the enemy comes in, like a flood God raises a standard. Isaiah 59:19

“The river is at flood stage.” During the Greater Glory meeting in South Haven a couple of weeks ago, I kept hearing the Lord whisper this word to me.  Sure enough the Mississippi River was at flood stage, but that was not the river I could see in my spirit.

Isaiah 59:19. “When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the spirit of the Lord shall raise up a standard.” (KJV)

By changing the comma, we get a different picture. “When the enemy comes in…LIKE A  FLOOD God raises the standard.”

In the 60’s the enemy had come in with division, drugs and discontent. Racial violence and immorality were rampant; a flood of wickedness was rising in our nation. But quietly, in a steady wave God began to arise. In the halls of our campuses a quiet peace begin to surge. Hippies, looking for peace began to find true Peace. Christian coffee houses began to spring up here and there and the tiny little pamphlet of “The four spiritual laws,” the plan of salvation, was found in bathrooms, cafeterias and on park benches. The hushed flood waters of salvation moved through our land in answer to the desperate cry of the mothers, fathers, pastors and teachers of this restless generation. I was caught up in this amazing river and the deep thirst of my heart was quenched by His Love.  And as one by one, we found true peace, we shared it in the halls, on the buses and even at the rock concerts and beaches. We had found a higher “high”!

Like a flood, God raised His standard.

As BJ and I were praying for the campuses of our state this morning I remembered the 60’s and 70’s. Yes, the enemy has come in again to steal this younger generation and to shift our nation off of our Christian foundation. But yes, the mothers and fathers, pastors and teachers are crying out again in desperate pleas. “Lord, awaken our generations! We appeal to Heaven!”

The river is at flood stage.

Oh Lord, like a quiet, constant surge, raise the river of the Holy Spirit on our campuses again. Release the waters of salvation to flow abundantly in our coffee houses, on our beaches, our homes, our churches, across our land. Let the mighty flood of the Holy Spirit wash away our unrighteous agendas and cleanse our hearts and our land.

Let us not be drunk on the wine of the news media, the politics of the day, but let us be filled with the New Wine of the Holy Spirit! Let us walk in integrity, truth, righteousness and justice. And let us continue to pray.

Let the river of your spirit truly rise up like a flood.

Lord, Raise Your Standard.

Salt

saltRecently a friend was going through a difficult time in her family life. As we spoke she made the statement, “I need the community of believers right now. I need to worship with others. I have prayed, read and listened on line to worship, but I just need to experience Jesus with skin on.”

A few days later I learned that some women from her prayer group had kidnapped her and taken her out to dinner. They laughed, talked and cried together. They prayed for her and simply loved her. When we spoke again she sounded very different. She had been with believers, not in a church service, but in a restaurant where they laughed, talked and cried together. They prayed for each other and my friend was restored in her spirit. Her situation had not changed, but her total outlook had been refreshed and she had the courage and strength to go on.

I was reminded that years ago I made bread. I had put in the yeast, the flour, honey and oil. I had kneaded it and it rose and became five beautiful loaves of bread. The aroma filled the house and I sliced a piece right away. I watched as the butter melted and mixed with the honey on this delicious looking, amazing fresh hot bread, straight from the oven.

images
Publicdomain.net

WELL YUK!!! What was wrong with this bread?!

I had forgotten to add the salt. I had baked five beautiful loaves of bread. And I threw away five beautiful loaves of bread.

No salt.

Jesus told us we were to be the salt of the earth. My friend had all the ingredients to walk through this pain. She had the Word. She had the Spirit. She had Prayer. But sometimes we all just need a little salt to complete the recipe. We need the salt to make the bread of adversity  palatable. We need the salt to help us share the load so we can grasp hold of the hand of the Lord and just keep walking forward.

We all need a little salt sometimes. And at other times, we need to BE the salt. The Lord told us to bear each others burdens. The Book of Proverbs tells us that when one falls the other can lift him up.  Building community with other believers in so important in our lives. God created community in the garden. Jesus walked in community with his disciples. We were created for community. We need each other.

unknown-1

So go and be salt to your world!

January 29 – Mount Tabor

Excellent for anyone pressing deeper into His presence. the signal fire has been lit for our soul to ‘go up to the mountain of the Lord!”

THE RIVER WALK

Mt Tabor

Who may climb the mountain of the Lord? Who may stand in his holy place? (Psalm 24:3)

Read: Exodus 8:1-9:35, Matthew 19:13-30, Psalm 24:1-10, Proverbs 6:1-5

Relate: Above there is a picture of a mountain followed by today’s verse asking who may climb the mountain of the Lord. I just want to clear up any possible confusion by saying right up front that no, the picture above isn’t the mountain of the Lord. The “mountain of the Lord” is Jerusalem. Often called Mount Zion in the Bible, Jerusalem has a much more gradual incline than this mountain pictured here. Just because the climb is gradual, however, doesn’t mean it is an easy ascent. Anyone coming from Galilee in the north to worship in Jerusalem during one of the festivals would not consider that final stretch very easy. They would head south towards Jericho and then cut west up to Jerusalem. From Jericho to Jerusalem is a…

View original post 449 more words

The Light, Hidden in Plain View

IMG_0121

My Christmas Décor, can you find it?

It’s hidden in plain view.

As you know we are in the middle of a big kitchen renovation. So this year my only Christmas decoration is a beautiful poinsettia. It sits perched on a box of dishes from the kitchen in the middle of the living room, along with the kitchen table, refrigerator and boxes of wood that will eventually become the floor. But today, I’ve added my Hanukah menorah celebrating the Festival of Lights commemorating the rededication of the temple after the Maccabeus revolt.

Interesting that John 10 mentions Jesus was in Jerusalem during the Feast of Dedication (Hanukah) to celebrate. The Light of the world standing in the middle of the Festival of Lights, but they didn’t recognize him. Hidden in plain view.

From John 1- “In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not… He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.”

Some say Jesus was born in December. Others say that he came during the Feast of Tabernacles in the fall but was conceived in December during the Festival of Lights. Regardless of when, the fact is HE CAME. He came as the light to shatter the darkness. But the sad fact today is, just as in 32-33 AD, he stands in the midst of the brilliant, multi-colored Christmas lights and the soft light of the Hanukah candles as the Light of the world and many times still goes unrecognized as The Light. Hidden in plain view.

IMG_0096

The question to our hearts this Christmas is “Is He still hidden in plain view in my life?” Jesus told us that WE are the light of the world. Remember singing, “This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine.” In this season of lights you can let His Light shine a little brighter through you, honoring the one true light of the world. Don’t let Him stay hidden in plain view, let him shine! Make a noise. shout a praise. sing a song. ring a bell. Yes, you can do those things. But you can also speak a little kinder to that harried cashier, love a little more gently when correcting your child, hug a little tighter when greeting a loved one, smile a little brighter when greeting strangers.

FullSizeRender

Don’t keep Him hidden in plain view, let the Light of the world shine through you.

Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukah!

Ready or not, Here comes Christmas!

xmas_fireplace

Delightful mugs of cocoa in front of a lovely blazing fire while gazing at a beautifully decorated Christmas tree with carols playing in the background.

Christmas cards with Mary, innocent and beautiful, Joseph, strong and watchful, and a sweet sleeping baby lying in a manger of clean straw, with angels hovering all around.christmas-manger-pictures-mucbnplx.jpg

Does this remind you of Christmases past?

Instead of the twinkling lights of a Christmas tree, Mary and Joseph saw the glorious light of an amazingly brilliant star. Instead of the sounds of carols being sung by a choir, they heard the hooves of the donkey, the clatter of carts on cobblestone and the laughter of children as they traveled to Bethlehem with the crowds of people. Instead of decorated coffee mugs they drank their cool water out of …. I’m really not sure what they used for drinking. Perhaps a clay bowl or a leather wine skin or possibly a wooden cup.

Sometimes as writers we make it dismal and hard or simple and joyful. As poets we clean it up, romanticize it or spiritualize it. As artists we might paint it as a brown desert scene or with snow or with a golden glow. Basically none of us in our present day know what it was really like.  But regardless of how we imagine it, paint it or spiritualize it, the most  important fact is this: HE DID COME.

Whether it was cold or hot, dirty or clean, beautiful or just raw. HE CAME

This Christmas my house is under major renovation and my usual routine of December has been totally interrupted. Last year I celebrated each morning by drinking from a different coffee mug and remembering how I got each one. I took a moment to stop and meditate on the true meaning of Christmas and even had a prayer focus on some days. I loved reading the comments and so many joined with me each morning.

12347644_10153162030241498_4040484865730093320_n

This morning as I stood in the middle of the chaos-hammers banging and saws sawing-I realized that Christmas would not wait for me. It would still come December 25, ready or not! This year the ONLY Christmas decor I have is a few coffee cups and one poinsettia. So I have a new plan for this year. When celebrating Sabbath the Jewish people light two candles every Friday evening at Sundown. The first is to remember, the second is to observe or celebrate. My plan is to follow the Jewish example: remember and observe. At least once a day, with my cup of coffee, I will make a point to stop and remember. I will remember that although my house is a little chaotic it will come back together and be beautiful and new and different. That is what the First Christmas did: Brought order out of chaos and made all things beautiful, new and different.

This year I will observe and celebrate Christmas, even in all the mess. The word Celebrate means “to publically acknowledge a happy or significant event.” And that, my friend, is exactly what I plan to do. I will greet others with “Merry Christmas!” I will hum or even sing songs about His birth, maybe out loud in Walmart! And I will gather with friends, exchange gifts and keep a stash of cash easily accessible to give to the bell ringers of the Salvation Army. I will celebrate the most significant event in all of history: His birth, His death, and His resurrection.

12313823_10153161955486498_2187242759431371973_n

Merry Christmas!

Let’s stop, remember and observe with great gladness and joy!

Earth has no sorrow that Heaven can’t heal

nature-sunset-person-woman

What an amazing statement. Earth has no sorrow that Heaven can’t heal.

This morning as I was sitting staring out into my back yard, my heart was aching for some of my loved ones who are broken, desperate and hurting. Quietly, deep in my spirit I began to hear the words to David Crowder’s song: “Earth has no sorrow that Heaven can’t heal.”

Then the next line came, “So lay down your burdens, come as you are.”

You know, it doesn’t matter if you are crying out to Him for the first time, struggling with an addiction or you have faithfully walked with Him for many years, there is still a place where we all come, broken hearted. Yet, in our desperate cry we hear the echo of heaven: “There is no sorrow that heaven can’t heal!” What a simple but profound statement about our magnificent savior. There really is no sorrow that He did not make provision for on the cross and in his resurrection.

I’ve heard many sermons on great theological truths. I have heard many anointed men and women of God releasing instruction for living and how to walk in the kingdom. I have books and files of information about Spiritual warfare, evangelism and other essentials in our Christian walk. And we DO need that information and revelation.

But when it all comes down to our basic relationship with Him, the time when it’s just you alone, when your heart is laid bare, it is this statement that brings hope at the deepest level: ‘Earth has no sorrow that heaven can’t heal. So lay down your burdens. Come as you are. To the foot of the Cross.’

Today Paris is still grieving, the world is in turmoil, human trafficking is out of control and my heart aches for all of this. But I also know of dear ones around me who are in desperate need and pain. Their pain is probably small in light of the world’s agony. But it is pain and suffering none the less.

images-1

My heart is overwhelmed that my savior, Jesus, Yeshua, the one who loves me best, is enough. Enough for all. Regardless of how huge, how deep, how small, how quiet, desperation and heartache is desperation and heartache.

Even as these cries rise from the earth,

Heaven victoriously shouts back:

THERE IS NO SORROW THAT HEAVEN CAN’T HEAL!

So lay down your burden.

Come as you are.