I love fairytales. In fact, God has used many of these stories to help teach or show me Kingdom principles.
I was having a discussion with a friend and we were sharing some common themes that The Lord had on His heart. One of those was about a deceptive spirit creeping into the body of Christ.
God has been showing me that wolves have slowly entered into some of the safest and most intimate places in our lives. These creatures have snuck in and devoured leaders and trusted believers. They have disguised themselves as innocent sheep, but they are far from innocent.
These spirits have so cleverly shifted focus from Kingdom to castle. It’s become more about what I’m doing than what can I do for you.
As our conversation was unfolding I suddenly saw this person in a very different way. I saw a vision of red cape being draped over her. I wasn’t sure what I was seeing and so I asked The Father, “what is that you are telling me?” God showed me that He has a secret weapon. He is calling out “The Little Red Riding Hoods”. My friend and the many others are being released in this season to reveal the wolves.
Who are they?
These individuals are the ones that can recognize these creatures because they have been taught by The Father what to look for. Through the various encounters they had and the battles they fiercely fought. The Red Riding Hoods are ready to fight and they have scars to prove it. It was a hard, but a necessary lesson to learn how to expose the darkness that is trying to blend in to the light.
The Lord began to explain in great detail using the well known children’s story as a comparison for me to better understand what He was showing me.
Just like in the story of “Little Red Riding Hood” the wolf watches Red Riding Hood walking through the woods. He carefully approaches her and begins to gain information about where she is heading. The wolf is obtaining her trust through manipulation, control and confusion.
The clever wolf then uses distraction to make his move. He shows Little Red Riding Hood beautiful flowers off in a distance that would delight her grandmother. In order to retrieve the bouquet Red Riding Hood has to get off the path she was walking on. Her mother gave her strict instructions not to wander off that road. It’s at that moment she goes against her mother’s orders that the wolf heads to the grandmother’s house.
I then saw that just like Little Red Riding Hood these warring individuals are covered up by Jesus and His cloak covered with the red blood of righteousness. There is a greater protection from the wolf’s devices because of this covering.
The story continues with the wolf running ahead of Red Riding Hood and entering her grandmother’s home. The goal is to devour the elder aka the voices that are supposed to be speaking into the lives of the body and assume their identity. This spirit’s whole purpose is to position itself into a place of intimacy and trust with the innocent girl.
God has seen this happening to countless children who have been hurt and abused by this spirit, but no more. These red cloaked warriors know exactly what to look for because this isn’t their first encounter with it!
Little Red Riding Hood knew that her grandmother was different as soon as she began interacting with the wolf. She began to ask the questions calling out the identity of the counterfeit granny. Red said, “Grandma what big eyes you have, what big ears you have, what a big nose you have and what big teeth you have!”
As the vision continued I had a revelation of what all these characteristics of the wolf meant. The big eyes represents that this spirit only wants the individual to see themselves. They have placed their focus on how to be seen bigger and nothing will stop the push to become greater. The big ears are not hearing or listening to The Father, but instead listening to the lies being whispered to feed the confusion. The big nose represents the ability to sniff out weak and helpless victims that will help to enable and accomplish their agenda. Lastly, the big teeth aren’t chewing on the word of God, but on the bones and pieces of knowledge that continue to sustain the goal of the enemy to steal, kill and destroy any Kingdom accomplishment.
The Lord then spoke to me that He has also given these cape wearers an axe that will split open the lies from the truth. These individuals are going to expose those things and help to bring life back to the victims of the attacks. They are fearless because when they got devoured by the wolf Jesus came to their rescue just like the huntsman in the story.
Jesus has taught them how to pull back the sheets and expose the wolves once and for all. He has given them instructions on how to use the axe that will cut down and sever any lies attached to these innocent ones.
We need to remember that just like God, the enemy uses man to do his bidding. The enemy looks for those who have been hurt and wounded to continue the destruction of the body of Christ.
God has had enough and it’s time for the uncovering of this disruptive spirit.
The good news is Jesus has shown these Red Riding Hoods that there is a person hiding inside the wolf’s belly and it’s time to release them as well. He has assigned them to go in and begin pulling them out. The freedom from this spirit is going to bring a change to the church like we have never experienced before.
Being raised a Catholic I knew that God had three parts to him. There was God The Father, God The Son, and God The Holy Spirit. I understood who The Father was and I knew Jesus as the Son of God. The Holy Spirit however was a complete mystery to me and a part of God that wasn’t explained at least in the churches I attended.
I remember seeing the flames above the saints in paintings at some catholic churches and knew that represented the Holy Spirit. I didn’t understand the meaning of the flames only that this was a holy moment in the church’s timeline. It wasn’t until I started attending a southern baptist church that I heard a bit more about The Holy Spirit and some of his ways. Although it wasn’t fully explained I was certain that getting baptized again would ensure my getting The Holy Spirit.
I was 15 when I started attending Faith Fellowship and began to realize the importance of truly giving myself to Jesus. It was at the age of 16 that I finally made my decision to jump into the pool of salvation. I remember the day of my baptism when I put my swimsuit on and knew in my heart that this was going to change everything. I threw on a tee-shirt and shorts, grabbed my towel, and headed to my Pastor’s pool. The people of the church were gathered there along with my family to witness this spiritual event. My youth group cheered me on as I put the white baptismal gown on top and was ushered into the pool.
I took the hand of my youth pastor as he smiled and led me to the head pastor of the church. Big smiles were on all the faces as I looked around me. My heart was beating a million miles a minute as I was being asked the questions about my desire to become a follower of Jesus. I answered a quick I do, grabbed my nose, and under the water, I went! I came up in a flash of cheers, clapping, and Hallelujahs. I wiped the water from my nose and headed to the stairs to get out of the pool. I was given a towel to dry off as people came forward for hugs and blessings.
The celebration kicked in as food and cake began to be served. I felt good, but I didn’t feel different. There was no big revelation or angelic songs like they showed in many movies. I figured maybe with all excitement I was just too distracted to notice and I might feel differently in a few days. The days passed and still I didn’t feel any big changes.
It wasn’t long after my baptism that my mother decided I wasn’t going to be a part of that church any longer and forbid me to attend. She decided that I was going to return to my catholic roots and insisted that I follow all the rules of the church. One of those rules included making the sacrament of confirmation. I believed that after my water baptism I was pretty much sealed by God, but my mother insisted this had to be done to seal my alliance with the catholic church.
Once again I would be making a commitment to God declaring I was his and believing the Holy Spirit would lead me all the days of my life. Somehow my mother was able to get me confirmed without attending any classes or go through the normal protocol the other children had to do. She spoke to the priest and got clearance that allowed me to join in the Confirmation celebration. The church chose a sponsor for me and a quick discussion with the priest was all I needed to be welcomed back into the Catholic faith.
Once again I was dressed in a robe and I was brought before the head priest to receive the Holy Spirit. I did all the religious protocol required and was told I now had the Holy Spirit. Unfortunately, I still felt nothing. I was obedient to the request of my mother and began to live out my life as a Catholic. I didn’t read the Bible anymore except for what I heard on Sunday masses. The stories of the miracles of Jesus were just for Jesus and his holy apostles written in the Bible.
I understood the importance of prayer and continued praying to God each night before bedtime. I knew God and believed he heard my prayers. It wasn’t until the age of 21 that I began hearing little messages from heaven of where to go or what to do. I also began to have premonitions that I didn’t quite understand. The thoughts were not mine, yet I didn’t quite dismiss them as craziness. I believed it might be my Guardian angel or possibly God himself guiding my steps through life.
It was the nudges of where to work, where to live, who to marry, the names of my children, and answers to my requests that kept me seeking the Lord in my life. In 2002 I would walk with God, Jesus, and the comforter during the worst 3 months of my life. My father-in-law, his mother, and my grandmother would pass within 3 weeks of each other, and my mother was in a horrific house fire where she suffered 3rd and 4th degree burns on over 50% of her body. My mom was airlifted to a burn unit where she would be in a medically induced coma.
I began hearing God in ways I never had before. That still small voice became my constant companion for those difficult months. The presence of God surrounded me with wisdom and peace as I endured the six weeks of my mother being in a coma and having six skin grafting surgeries. The deaths of those loved ones were met with the compassion of a tender Father who held me close in strength and comfort as I grieved the losses.
I prayed like I never prayed before believing that I would see the miraculous in the healing of my mother. I never felt closer to God than I did at that moment in time. It wouldn’t be until after the passing of my father-in-law that I would see my prayers answered. I took a break from visiting my mother during the funeral and only called the hospital checking on her. The day after we buried my Father in law I was ready to go and visit my mom.
I walked into the burn unit donning the necessary hospital attire for visiting a burn victim. There was a different vibe as I prepared myself to enter my mom’s room there was almost a quiet excitement as I passed the nurse’s station. Turning the corner I entered her room and much to my surprise she was awake! I rushed to her side not wanting to hurt her I began asking the nurse who was by her side what had happened? She told me that her breathing had returned to a level that she could be taken off the respirator. They removed her trach tube and with the assistance of the nurse my mom spoke her first words to me in six weeks “I Love You’ she said in a hoarse scratchy voice. Tears filled my eyes as I responded with, “I love you too mommy”. I spent time with her filling her in on the last month and a half before leaving her to get some more rest.
I left the hospital room in happy tears as I pushed the elevator button down knowing my time at the hospital was coming to an end. I walked to my car holding back the emotional waves of joy and victory. As I shut the door the flood of emotions released into praises of thankfulness and gratefulness. I saw his faithfulness in all he promised me the day my mom was airlifted to the burn center. God walked with me giving me strength, endurance, wisdom, and faith. He assured me that she would get through this and she did!
As soon as my life returned to normal my relationship with God returned to the status quo of nighttime prayers. God however was wanting much more of a personal relationship with me. It was in 2009 that God began pursuing my attention. I read the book “The Shack” and after reading it was then I decided I wanted to search out the God who knew everything about me.
I began reading the Bible and searching the internet for lessons that would bring me closer to God. I cried out while cleaning my closet “God, I don’t want to live my life without you. Fill me up with your presence less of me and more of you!” I waited for something to happen a splitting open of heaven or a voice letting me know the great I AM was there. It was a deep sigh that released the disappointment and sadness that God was not going to appear to me that night.
It would be less than a week later when I would get the phone call that changed my life. A friend called to tell me I need to come to her church. She went on to say that it was what I was searching for and it was what God wanted for me. Something inside me leaped as I quickly responded with I’m coming. My Dad was visiting so he decided to come with me.
We arrived at the church and quickly found my friend. A tall slender woman was at the pulpit and began teaching all about the Holy Spirit. My attention was fastened to this speaker as she introduced me to this part of God I barely knew. I was completely engulfed by all the information being poured out of her. I felt like a sponge absorbing every droplet of living water that was being released from the pulpit. A peace and yet an excitement grew inside of me as each of these truth bombs exposed more of the knowledge of the Holy Spirit.
When the woman finally finished her teaching another woman took over the service who was also part of this ministry. She was shorter than the other woman and her countenance was very different she was serious. The entire atmosphere began to shift as she began speaking in tongues. I knew that this was a real gift from God because my father had been speaking in tongues for the past 3 years.
She started speaking in this unknown spiritual language and immediately began to interpret what was said in English. This was how we could understand what the Holy Spirit was saying. The funny thing is she sounded like a man or possibly even God himself. I listened intently to every word she interpreted hearing the heart of the Father speaking through this woman.
A word of knowledge came forth that called a young girl from her seat. The shorter woman preacher walked down the steps off the platform towards the girl. She spoke promises and future over this young lady telling her the secret desires of her heart. The young girl began to weep as the truths came at her piercing through any lies that may have told her differently. The shorter woman put her hand on the younger one and in an instant, the girl fell to the floor. Immediately someone ran over and draped a gold sheet over her as she laid perfectly still undone from this heavenly encounter.
It was a supernatural surge of energy that hit the room. Suddenly I saw people being touched by these two women and they were all dropping like flies. One after the other the women touched the people and down they went. The workers at the church were running around placing the golden sheets over the spiritual roadkill. Slowly people began waking up from their spiritual encounters and they gradually stood up.
The music shifted from a slow melodious rhythm into a quicker upbeat song that brought the church to it’s feet. The two women now began singing and shouting to the congregation that the devil was under our feet. Within seconds the church began running around the church. People who were running were now grabbing others who were just standing and encouraging them to run.
I was watching as this church was being transformed into a large congo line of believers dancing and running around the building. As I was taking it all in I heard God say, “Go up there”. I paused as the thought raced through my mind at the absurdity of this request. I responded to his command with “do you not see the people running?” A short pause brought a sigh of relief that maybe God didn’t see what was going on. The silence was brief as the music continued to play as the rest of the congregation slowly joined those who ran. Once again I heard the Lord say “Go up there.” This time I replied quicker as I reminded God that the people are still running! In an instant a stranger grabbed my father and shouted run with me and just like that my dad was off running. My mind reeled as I watched the joy in my.daddy’s face as he became part of this move of God. A smile crossed my face as saw the freedom in just saying yes. Again that familiar voice rose up as I heard God say “Go Up There”. This time I had no excuse so I tried to figure which way I should go to join in the celebration. I turned from the front of the church to the back of the church when suddenly I heard a familiar voice grab my hand and say “run with me’!
As my head whipped around I saw the tall woman preacher who captivated my attention earlier asking me to run with her. I took her hand and off we went. The instant she grabbed me she began speaking into my life. She told almost verbatim what I said to my dad as we drove in the car. This woman who I never met told me the deepest desires of not only my heart, but the desires that God had for me. Each word spoken over me released a flood of tears that confirmed God was listening.
We ran until I was brought to the front of the altar where the other woman was standing almost like she was waiting for me. Through the tears, I saw her face as she spoke to my soul. Ever so gently she lifted my hands and whispered to me the love of God is in your hands, in your arms, in your body, in your feet, and with that, I fell backward into the arms of someone. My mind was swirling as my limp body was being carried off to the ground. I felt a gentle warmth wrapped around me as the peace and love of God consumed my being.
I slowly became aware of my surroundings as the spirit of God began lifting. My mind came back to recognizing where I was. Although my eyes were unable to open I could sense the people running were now leaping over my body as I became spiritual roadkill for all to see! My thoughts swirled as my initial response said Get Up Now unfortunately, my body was unable to respond to any physical command. I giggled to myself as I spoke inwardly to the demand of my mind with a flippent “or just lay where you are”!
I never felt afraid as the washing of God’s love poured over me filling each and every hole in my heart. I could slowly feel the lifting of the. weighty presence that had me pinned to the floor rising off. Within a few minutes, I could move my fingers. My arms began to move down to my floor as now my body was preparing to get off the floor. A nearby church member saw my body stirring and went over to help me up. The gentleman grabbed my hand and pulled me back up to my feet.
I walked back to my seat feeling entirely different. I saw the smile of my Daddy as I approached my seat. He grabbed me and hugged me tightly as he witnessed the heavenly transformation taking place inside his daughter. He whispered to me “Are you ok?’ I smiled and shook my head yes.
The night was coming to a close as church service was ending. The ministers gave their closing invitation for salvation, renewing your vows to Jesus, and asking if you have been baptized in the Holy Spirit. I checked each one off with I’m good. The last invitation to come to the alter caught me off guard as they asked if you don’t speak in tongues raise your hand.
I stood there in shock as that request rang through my mind. I heard that still small voice suddenly speak one word to me,”well” was all God said. It was a question but also an invitation to receive more of Him. It was my choice to make and God was asking me to choose Him! I sheepishly raised my hand and was invited to come to the front of the church.
I stood with four young teens and we held hands as the ministers came towards us. I was so nervous as one young lady told me I was squeezing her hand. I quickly apologized as i heard the words ok speak. I didn’t know what to say so I started to pray the Our Father. I could hear the teens babbling as if they were babies. I tried to mimic them as the minister approached me. She placed her hand on my cheek and began to move my head up and down as though I was saying yes. I felt a fire hit me and I again couldn’t feel my face.
I heard her saying yes that’s it as her smile broaden her face. Her joy was evident as she continued slowly moving my head. I felt nothing until she removed her hand and suddenly my mouth was moving in a flurry of words. This new language hit me as words poured from me as if a garden hose was turned on to full. I continued speaking as those fast-talking auctioneers do as trying raise the price. Once again I could feel a lifting as my words slowed down and finally stopped.
The service concluded and I went to thank these precious women who answered all my questions. I grabbed my dad and we headed to the car. We chatted all the way home sharing our experiences from the night. We.pulled in the driveway and quietly went to our bedrooms. I could feel something changed inside of me, but didn’t know what until I got into my bed.
It was pitch black in my room but I was able to sneak into my bed without waking my husband. I closed my eyes and to my surprise, it was bright as if I was looking into the sun. Startled I quickly opened my eyes back to the darkness of my room. I closed my eyes and to my amazement, there was bright light filling my entire being. Again I opened my eyes to the black night of my room. Confused I closed my eyes and once again entered into the brightness of light that was shining. My spirit had changed there was light inside and it was ignited to burn bright. I was resting in presence of the Son as the light consumed me pushing away the darkness.
I was forever changed and forever His. The light inside me would become a flame that would help to ignite others to the truth of who the Holy Spirit is. The words of living water would flow through me as they did through Jesus. The book of Acts would become a reality as I would walk out of this new life with my best friend Holy Spirit leading the way.
This last 4th of July was unlike any other. Many people gathered together lighting up the night skies with beautiful displays of color and wonder. Many politicians canceled the big fireworks due to the fear of the current pandemic. It didn’t stop the people from celebrating the nighttime festivities even though major fines were being declared to intimidate the public from lighting up the sky. From state to state, city to city a sound could be heard that exploded through the darkened night. Each boom and explosion was a declaration to the world saying freedom is still our portion! We celebrated our Independence regardless of the cost.
The same can be true of the followers of Jesus because of the very light we carry inside of us. There is a brightness of His Glory that breaks through the darkest places.
We can’t truly fathom the degree of light it takes to overcome the deepest pit of fear, despair or brokenness. It says “So don’t hide your light! Let it shine brightly before others, so that the commendable things you do will shine as light upon them, and then they will give their praise to your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:16 TPT
I began to ponder this when I suddenly started to hear a song called “Firework” by singer Katy Perry. The one verse that stood out was “Maybe a reason why all the doors are closed. So you can open one that leads you to the perfect road. Like a lightning bolt, your heart will glow. And when it’s time, you’ll know You just gotta ignite the light And let it shine Just own the night Like the Fourth of July”.
God owns it all the day and the night. He doesn’t go to sleep and let the darkness rule over Him. Jesus shattered through the darkness as the Light of the World. In the Passion Translation Jesus is described as “And this Living Expression is the Light that bursts through gloom— the Light that darkness could not diminish!” John 1:5 TPT. That same beautiful light that shines in Jesus shines in us too. The problem many of us have is we don’t release the powerful gifting inside of us. These amazing gifts are like dynamite that explodes with the power of heaven.
I recently had a vision where I saw I had all these arrows in my quiver. Each one of these arrows had the names of the different gifts inside me that were never released. In this same vision I saw an old angry man and heard in my spirit he was the spirit Intimidation. He was mean and very difficult to look at because he would stare me down into submission. I was allowing this spirit to intimidate me to not release the powerful weapons that God had supplied to achieve the continued success in my life.
Jesus came over and began to help me to shoot these arrows releasing the power that was locked up inside me. He handed me my first arrow and with trepidation I pulled back the bow and let it fly. I could see the word exploding into the air breaking the hold of Intimidation. One by one the arrows were handed to me by Jesus and I could read the words speaker, trustworthy, encourager, writer, preacher, and on they continued. Each arrow releasing the gifts and destiny inside of me that I was too scared to show the world. I then saw Jesus grab even more arrows and began throwing them into the air all of them began exploding into bright lights of color. It was a personal fireworks display created with the lights and sounds hidden deep in me. I was in awe and wonder as I saw Jesus throwing the arrows that could no longer hold me back.
He smiled at me as I watched the beautiful patterns of color and light exploding into the air. A fireworks display that was bringing freedom and justice for the enemy to witness all created with the love Jesus had for me. This celebration was a reminder that Jesus holds all keys to accomplishing my destiny. He held nothing back from me in fact he gave me everything he had. It was stored up for me to be released at this appointed time.
I was at a prayer meeting this morning and I heard The Lord say, “the victory was fought intercessor the trenches.”
I saw the deep holes that protected the ones on the front line from impending attacks. This was a place for the watchers to stand their guard and look for any possible movement from the enemy.
I kept hearing the words dig in deeper. I saw the ground being broken up for those in the trenches to be almost completely hidden inside the dirt.
The Lord said, “Hide completely in me. Cover yourself totally up in my heart. You will not been seen by the enemy because he will have nothing in common with you.”
When I got home The Lord showed me a scene from the movie “Wonder Woman”. In this scene Wonder Woman was in the trenches and could see what was taking place. She was protected and hidden from the enemy. The soldiers began to tell her what was happening to a nearby village that the enemy had destroyed. As she heard the level of attack against the innocent she was filled with compassion. You could see her eyes fill with the love of the broken, wounded and lost villagers.
She knew what she needed to do and she started to climb out of trenches. She could hear the soldiers cry out not to go, but her heart said move.
She was fully clothed in armor that would protect her. Her shield became her new covering as she advanced towards the enemy.
I believe that it’s in the trench that we will experience that heart change. As we dig ourselves deeper into Him we can see where the enemy is hiding. Our assignment will become crystal clear as the Father shifts our heart.
It’s the moving of The Father’s heart that now is beating inside these fierce women of God. It’s time to step out of the safety of the trenches and put on the full armor of God to take back territory that has been stolen!
I love the way that God uses my current interests to shed light on the deeper truths about His character.
Recently, I found a TV series that I have fallen in love with. The show is called “The Chosen”. This crowd-funded series has left me completely undone. It’s crazy that I gain a deeper truth with each viewing. The brilliant writing and top-notch production allow the viewer to journey into the Bible to witness the ministry of Jesus.
I heard about it and saw some posts from a friend of mine. I tried to watch it, but it just wasn’t my time. When I finally did sit down I wasn’t prepared for what was about to happen to me.
I would actually encounter Jesus in the most beautiful and truthful way I’ve ever seen Him portrayed. We all have ideas and some people have had real encounters with The King Of Kings. In my life, I have actually had conversations with people who have shared their intimate stories of meeting Jesus. This show nails it and Jonathan Roumie who plays Jesus is spot on!
The interesting fact about this show is people are watching the same episodes over and over again. In fact, there is a #bingejesus that is associated with all the followers of this series. Why are so many people pulled into the episodes so deeply? I believe that draw is The Holy Spirit beckoning us to come in deeper and look closer at who Jesus really is.
In the first episode, there is a scene where Jesus calls Mary Magdalena by her name. That moment is where all time stops and your heart quickens. The scene continues with Jesus telling Mary her true identity, her value, her ownership and reveals her relationship with Him.
This powerful exchange was not only to tell her but to let the demons know that were tormenting her that she belonged to Him! Jesus used the scripture as a weapon that sliced and diced through the lies, deception and manufactured thoughts of the enemy.
We aren’t so different from Mary Magdalene. Somewhere along the way, we might have gotten lost. The world began to sing a different song that wasn’t in key with heaven’s melody over our life. Lies hurt, abuse, abandonment are just some areas where the enemy will take advantage of those wounds. Soon the playing in your head is the sounds of defeat, discouragement, hopelessness, and failure. It may seem like it’s never going to get better or this is just going to be my life.
It’s in those moments that Jesus enters in. He comes in like a whisper beginning to sing a love song over you. The unending passion being poured over you begins to fight back the lies you have believed. Slowly a voice is rising above the noise and calls you by name.
Your heart quickens as the voice is something you recognize. It’s not audible, but yet your heart hears it. Yes, it’s your Father’s voice and He has come to claim you as His own. He has called you and is telling every demon that you are His!
God created us in His image we are a reflection of Him. It’s safe to say that a Father knows His child. God is looking for redemption and so He sent Jesus on a reconnaissance mission to get back His kids.
We are all called at some point in our life because we were all chosen before the foundation of time. To believe that God chooses us in all brokenness is sometimes hard to comprehend.
We can disqualify ourselves over and over again based on how we look at our life! Love never looks at our imperfections but looks at our hearts. Jesus went into villages choosing the least qualified and those who discounted their worth.
The Chosen TV series beautifully reveals the selection process in each episode. We can see how Jesus went and called out to the chosen ones. In each character that we meet we can see a little of ourselves. The back story sets up all the reasons that religion would reject each disciple. From possession, prostitution, lying, manipulation, tax collection, rejection, anger, greed, and the list can go on.
All the men and women who were selected represent a broken and fallen world. Jesus came to set the prisoners free as it says in Luke 4:19. He came to raise up an army to become more like Him and less like a man. The choice has always been ours to leave the ways of the world and follow Him. It won’t be what you are expecting it will be different. I love that in the series Jesus says to His disciples “Get Used To Different” and I’m ready for it!
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The one I love calls tome: [ The Bridegroom-King ] Arise, my dearest. Hurry, my darling. Come away with me! I have come as you have asked to draw you to my heart and lead you out. For now is the time, my beautiful one. Song of Song 2:10
I never understood the book of Song of Songs. I knew it was a book of love, but a love I was very unfamiliar with. This passionate and consuming book of poetic imagery was completely foreign to me. The idea of love was intriguing to my heart and my soul deeply longed for it. It was allowing my heart to open up fully to His compassionate love for me that would help me to see myself as His bride.
My childhood was filled with a love that needed to be earned and evaluated daily. My parent’s marriage was a broken and patched up relationship hanging on by a thread. As a young child, I witnessed an abusive dysfunctional love that grew and developed my ideas of what marriage was going to be like. The manipulation and fear tactics used on all of us formed distrust and fear of abandonment at a very early age. The scornful and condemning words that were used tore down any self-worth or value. Love became just a word that was used to say you can stay as long as you are doing what you are supposed to do.
My teenage years brought added fears of deep trusting love as something that would probably never be my portion. My first real relationship started out full of excitement but turned dark quickly as the repeated pattern of abuse began to show it’s ugly head. The manipulation and disparaging words flowed back into my life as the relationship grew. I saw myself as nothing worthy of being admired or adored like in the romantic movies I so loved to watch. Again I needed to earn that so-called love that he was throwing out to me like scraps to a dog. I endured one failed relationship after the next. I couldn’t figure out what I was doing wrong. I guess I never saw my value or never thought I actually was valuable. I was more like the women at the well then the Shulamite bride that is spoken about in the book of Songs.
I knew that real love existed and I saw couples who were in beautiful healthy loving relationships. I was determined to have that and I wasn’t going to settle for anything less. The search for the one great love was on and I was ready to find it. Watching couples and seeing healthy interactions was beginning to change my previous views of marriage. The more I saw the real expression of love made the pursuit even more exciting. My aunt told me that when I was ready to stop dating and truly settle down that I should ask God to send me a husband. I was 25 when I said that prayer. I asked God for the perfect partner to go through life with and I asked The Lord to make it very clear when he came into my life! I need a sign with bells and whistles so I don’t miss it.
I remember the day that prayer was answered and there was no doubt in my mind when I met my husband. He was my best friend at the time and never thought he could be the one. It was the moment we kissed that I knew this was a forever kiss. We both knew that this it and we married 3 years later. Each year that passed still together was breaking the lies that I held about marriage. The problem was I was a married women on the outside, but on the inside, there was still a broken little girl who never felt loved. I wanted my husband to fix and heal all that was broken in me. After all, I called him my Prince Charming who rescued this Cinderella from a life of unworthiness. As much as he loved me the truth was he couldn’t fix my wounded heart. It took The Prince Of Peace and King Of Kings to pick me up and carry me to the marriage bed of His bride.
It was at 43 that my heart began to truly beat in sync with the rhythm of pure love. I started to realize that I couldn’t continue in this place of feeling like I wasn’t good enough any longer. Jesus began to pursue and woo me with His perfect love that could put back together this broken vessel. He would speak to me through the music, the books, the pastors and teachers that I was suddenly drawn to. I began to have powerful dreams where I knew that I was encountering the Lover of my soul. Each encounter was pulling off the lies and wounds that wouldn’t allow me to fully let God into those chained up parts of my heart.
God was done with my lip service and was going to take me into the secret place for a deeper more intimate relationship. He needed to show me that intimacy with Him was nothing like intimacy with a man and I could come to Jesus fully as I am and I wouldn’t be rejected. The Lord began building a relationship built on trust and showing me who I was. How I was disillusioned and confused about what love consists of. The lessons were freeing and I could slowly let my guard down allowing Him full access. It was then that people were telling me I needed to read Song of Songs. I read it, in fact, I read it many times and I didn’t get it. It was uncomfortable and made me uneasy to read it.
I wasn’t prepared for the day that God was going to pull back the curtain that revealed the marriage bed. It was going to be through the book of Songs of Songs that would leave me breathless and enraptured by His great love for me. I was in prayer when I had a vision of my going to my bedroom. At first, I shrugged it off as just a fleeting thought, but then I saw it again. I knew I was being called to come and meet Him for an encounter. I went to my room with my bible in hand and prepared for some deeper revelations from the throne. I got into the bed and opened the bible to some random page. I asked The Lord what shall I read and then I heard these words, “Desire Me”. It was that still small voice that I knew and loved that spoke words that brought panic to my mind. I heard the same impression again “Desire Me”, my heart began to race as if I was sprinting to my lover. Fear and trepidation filled my every thought as I knew this was going to be a very personal encounter. I could feel my pulse quicken as my spirit was being awakened to receive My King. In that instance, I heard, “Now read Songs of Songs”. I immediately turned to the chapter one and read, [ The Shulamite ] Let him smother me with kisses—his Spirit-kiss divine. So kind are your caresses, I drink them in like the sweetest wine! It was done. The shame, unworthiness, fear, abandonment all began to fall to the ground as I read each verse. For the first time, I started to see my value and worth in the pages written thousands of years ago. I wept as each chapter God was revealing the great love He always had for me.
When I finally finished I was undone. I couldn’t move or utter a sound. I had been brought to His bed and I didn’t ever want to leave. Jesus gave me a vision of myself in the bed wrapped up in his arms. He was holding my head with his one arm and He had his other arm wrapped around me. I was feeling uncomfortable with seeing myself in such an intimate place. I went to Song of Songs 2:6 and was blown away at what I read, “His left hand[i] cradles my head while his right-hand holds me close.[j]I am at rest in this love. God was revealing that not only did I see correctly, but He confirmed it in His word. Jesus wanted me to know that not only was I his Shulamite woman, but I had become His bride. It was a gentle reminder that His bride belonged in the marriage bed.
I was born a dreamer. I can remember my teachers calling out my name as my thoughts were far away from the lesson being taught. I would quickly regain my focus on the present as my daydreams slowly faded from my mind.
My reality was never as interesting as my imagination, so I would keep my proverbial head in the clouds most of my days as a little girl.
As I matured into a young woman reality became my mindset and my dreams were just something from my past. I lost that childlike hope for a bigger and better life. My choices I believed established the trajectory of my life or so I thought. What I didn’t factor in was that God still had a dream for me.
It was in my 40’s when I started to develop a spiritual hunger that needed to be fed. I read the Bible and listened to hours of teaching from all kinds of spirit-filled leaders. I discovered that God had dreams for so many people, so He must have something more for me.
I began an internet talk show called ”Touched by Prayer” in January 2014. Each week I would hear amazing stories of how God would use that individual to do the impossible.
I started to ask God what do you want to use me for? In December of that same year, God answered my question with two words ”Daddy’s Girl”.
Hearing those words stirred up something inside me. I heard The Lord say ”Lisa, my daughters don’t know how to be daughters and so you will teach them”. My spirit immediately knew that I was going to have a women’s conference called ”Daddy’s Girl”, but how?
I began to dream of the event and what it would look like. I asked Daddy God to help me see what He wanted it to be. I was partnering with Him and we would dream this thing together.
When you allow God to step into your dream that dream becomes much bigger. He gives birth to the secret desires in your heart.
The vision was so overwhelming for me to conceive that I began to push it away. I was going to let it become another dream that I thought could never be fulfilled. How could I possibly have a conference that women would want to attend?
God knew my fears and trepidation. He understood my weakness and shortcomings in the vision that only He himself could achieve. God started to prepare my heart and mind for the destiny He was preparing me to walk into. I started to have dreams.
Each dream I had begun to pull away from the lies that were hiding in the back of my mind. The Lord would speak to me and encourage me to take that step of faith. I would have dreams of talking about my conference with great leaders in churches who would be more than willing to help me.
My daily devotional became a letter of encouragement as I would read of the men and women in the Bible who were called to great positions. Each story tugged at my heart because, like me, they were not qualified. God was working out the doubts and unbelief in me. He was blowing life on the dreams inside me I thought died.
God started to draw me into watching strong women who had powerful ministries. I began to hear their stories with new ears and again my heart began to stir with excitement.
Everything around me was being set up to help me achieve the goal of having this event. God even used music to speak to me. He let me know that He was going to help me and I was not in this alone.
I heard the song ”Dream For You” by the Christian band Casting Crowns. The lyrics were so beautifully written spoke to my soul ”So come on, let Me dream, let Me dream for you. I am strong when you’re weak and I’ll carry you. So let go of your plan, be caught by My hand I’ll show you what I can do When I dream for you”. I listened and wept as the song continued ”I’m stronger than you think I am. I’ll take you farther than you think you can. You sing and call me Great I Am. So take your stand. My child, if you only knew All the plans that I have for you. Just trust me, I will follow through You can follow Me”. Everything I needed to hear from my Heavenly Father was in that song.
I gave God my yes! I threw away every excuse I had as to why I couldn’t and then came into the agreement that God could. As soon as He had my yes it all began to change.
The last dream God gave me had hidden messages and meaning. I shared a very detailed dream with a good friend who had a gift of interpreting dreams. What she shared and explained to me left me completely undone. She said that God is saying He is going to help you with this conference and He is giving you the go-ahead. Now all you have to do is ask Him the when!
So I did. It was a short prayer and it left the ball back in His court for only one day. I told God all you need to Daddy is tell me when to have it! I got a phone call the next day from my spiritual Father with only one thing on his mind, let’s set a date for your conference.
That phone call sealed the deal and began an adventure for me. I have seen God open doors, bring the woman, provide the speakers and most importantly show up. The testimonies I have received from women who attended ”Daddy’s Girl” have been so inspiring to me. I’m so blessed by each story and continually awed by God’s faithfulness.
Your dreams are God’s dreams. He placed them inside each of us and they are waiting for you to just believe that one day they can come true. Say yes to God and dream again. Take His hand and together you will see the impossible become possible.
Music is just one of the many ways God speaks to me. It’s in music that He really touches me the deepest. In those lyrics, My Father reveals His love, desire, and message for my understanding.
I guess in songs my mind and spirit become more open, so He uses that a lot.
I was listening to Carol King on a Pandora radio station when the Simon and Garfunkel song came on. The song was “Bridge Over Troubled Water” and it was a song I thought I knew, however, God began to speak to me about the deeper meaning of the lyrics.
The song began and I started to get the download. I could feel the great love being released in each note. The lyrics were weaving a story that was speaking to the depths of my soul. It was a love song that was being sung for my heart to receive.
The lyrics so beautifully were written by Paul Simon for Art Garfunkel came from two lines of a gospel hymn. Paul actually wrote it after the assassinations of Kennedy and Martin Luther King. Racial tensions were high when he penned it the spring of 1969. He was looking over the Hudson River in NYC when he started singing “When you’re weary, feeling small
When tears are in your eyes, I’ll dry them all. ”
Immediately I began sobbing as the words continued on saying, “I’m on your side, oh, when times get rough And friends just can’t be found. Like a bridge over troubled water, I will lay me down.” I could feel the love of a friend trying to send hope and comfort through the song.
I knew that feeling and felt all the emotions that make a person believe that you just can’t go any further. I began to reflect on that hopelessness and weariness I had as the storms of life came. It was like they were pounding in a never-ending assault on my heart, mind, and emotions. The tears continued as these memories began flooding my mind. All the losses, rejection, abandonment, anger, fear, depression, loneliness were rising back up from aftermaths of each storm that I had gone through.
The song continues on “When you’re down and out
When you’re on the street
When evening falls so hard
I will comfort you (ooo). I’ll take your part, oh, when darkness comes
And pain is all around
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down”
I was a puddle of tears as I listened to the last note. I knew that God was showing me how He was there through it all.
I started to see the bigger picture as the song came to a close. The song was about Jesus and His great love for us. How He has been in each storm and I never went through any of them alone.
It was then that The Lord started to show me a vision of Jesus wiping all the tears that fell from my eyes during those hard times.
I could see the times where I couldn’t stand that Jesus held me up. His hand wrapped lovingly around my waist as I received terrible news. How He walked with me on the beach as I cried out for the unfairness of a situation. Jesus laid in bed with me as tears of rejection and an abandonment consumed my every breath.
He reminded me of all those situations where God sent Jesus who could hold me and comfort me. His love was so great for me and then I saw Jesus laying Himself down for me to cross over the storms. I then saw myself on the other side of those storms whole, restored, rejuvenated and healed.
The same scene shifted and instantly it wasn’t Jesus laying down, but a friend that loved me. Each of those same memories was replaced by the different people in my life who helped me through those hard times. The friends who held me or cried with me. Those who spoke life back into my feelings of hopelessness. My friends who spoke the truth about the lies of a terrible situation. The friends who laid down their time for me so that I could walk over and out of the storm.
It’s was Jesus all the time in the spiritual realm, but it was my family and friends that God used in the natural. Here on earth, it’s people God uses. We are the arms that hug and hold people together. The fingers that wipe the tears and grab others hands. We’re all an extension of the body of Jesus that can representation of Him.
We are called to love and to be love. Jesus showed us how we are to love, by laying down His life He made a bridge for humanity to cross over into The Father’s arms.
Each day we have that same opportunity although we don’t actually have to die but to put away our needs for the needs of others. We can be that bridge to help a friend to get to the other side of their pain, hurt, loss, rejection or struggle. We can help to close the gaps that life can bring. It’s in our willingness to lay down ourselves for a friend that we can really be like Jesus.
There are moments in our life when we try to understand the pain we are going through. It’s those times or seasons that everything is going wrong or spiraling out of control. In desperation for strength, some will turn fully to Jesus and lean solely on Him.
The secret place of intimacy is where the healing begins. Jesus draws us closer to Him, into His heart for deeper revelation. The time seems to stand still as you encounter His love. Layer upon layer of pain is peeled away as your wounds are being healed by The Great Physician.
Jesus understands it all. He endured all the pain and suffering that we can encounter in our life. He knows what abandonment, rejection, jealousy, hatred, betrayal, false accusations, and dishonor all feels like.
Reading through the scriptures I tried to comprehend a love so great that you would want to lay your life down. I knew the verses and understood the purpose of the painful walk to Calvary. What I still didn’t understand was how He endured it all?
Many people have shared with me that God’s love is called the agape kind of love. The definition of agape love is selfless, sacrificial, and unconditional love. It is the highest of the four types of love in the Bible. Agape perfectly describes the kind of love Jesus Christ has for his Father and all his children. Agape is the term that defines God’s immeasurable, incomparable love for humankind.
In love, you can lay down your life for your spouse, children, family, or even friends, but to lay it down for strangers that I couldn’t understand. To make things even more difficult how do you lay down your life for anyone who you consider an enemy?
As much as we try to understand what Jesus did for us, it is simply beyond our comprehension.
I was spending time in prayer when I began thinking about the crucifixion. Slowly I started to see Jesus on the cross. As the tears began to fall from my eyes I asked Jesus, how did you do it? How did you endure all that for those that hated you?
Immediately, I was in a vision of Jesus carrying the cross to His crucifixion. I could see Him struggling with the weight of the cross and as blood spilled from His open wounds. It was like the images from the movie “The Passion Of The Christ” that I had seen numerous times were coming to life.
There was something different to this vision that made me realize it was not from my memory but from His.
I could see the people faces yelling and screaming words of hatred as Jesus passed by. I saw Him close His eyes and I heard Him quietly say “but I love them”. Suddenly, I saw a rock hit Jesus in the head and again Jesus closed His eyes and whispered, “but I love them.”
This scene continued as Jesus walked through the streets of Jerusalem beaten down and struggling with each step. I saw people spitting as He passed, laughing, mocking, and whipping him. With each insult and every action of hatred Jesus just closed his eyes and focused on the love. He walked only with love in his mind. He was shutting out anything that could take him off his path.
As Jesus was laid down on the cross and the nails pierced through his skin, through the scream of agony I heard Him quietly mutter, “but I love them.”
Jesus quietly spoke to my heart and told me, “I walked a walk of love to the cross. I didn’t pay attention to what was happening. I only saw the faces of my children, the children who were lost and I concentrated on my love for them. I looked to the cross and what was being poured out was my greatest gift of my love. If I allowed my emotions to take over I wouldn’t have been able to redeem them back to My Father. Love is giving without expecting anything in return. My love was perfected at the cross.”
I began weeping as I came to the revelation of what God’s perfect love looks like. His love endures all things for all people. Regardless of the behavior or the sins, Jesus loved them all fully and completely. His love was proven on the cross. The most powerful agape love of God is on display for all to see.
“For this is how much God loved the world—he gave his one and only, unique Son as a gift. So now everyone who believes in him will never perish but experience everlasting life.”
I have always loved the late Charles Schulz “Peanuts” comic strip which featured the completely misunderstood, ridiculed, but always loving Charlie Brown.
In October 27, 1966 the Peanut Gang was animated into one of my favorite cartoons, “It’s The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown”. It’s been 52 years since it debut and now millions of children have watched Charlie Brown muster through Halloween.
It was inevitable that poor Charlie Brown would seem to get the short end of the stick with whatever activity he was involved in. The wonderful writing of Charles Schulz would place this beloved character as the underdog to all his friends.
What I found very interesting was that Charles Schulz was a Christian and would find clever ways of showing viewers his faith. The greatest example would be found in “A Charlie Brown Christmas” where Linus reads the birth of Jesus from the book of Luke in the Bible.
The network had given Charles Schulz a very hard time in allowing any biblical references in this low budget animated special, however, Charles wouldn’t budge and the network gave in.
In all his comic strips and animated specials one can find the hidden messages of hope, Joy, forgiveness and acceptance. It was his way to preach to a broken world.
Now, it was easy to find God in a Christmas special, but his next special was Halloween. This controversial holiday has many Christians divided on God’s participation in it at all.
I believe if someone was looking for the devil, they would find him, but if someone was looking for God, He would reveal Himself to them.
I was having a conversation with a friend just a few days ago sharing about my childhood. It was filled with wonderful memories of trick or treating. The natural flow of reminiscing brought Charlie Brown’s Halloween to my full attention.
I saw the scene so vividly playing in the memories of my youth. The Peanut gang was trick or treating and afterward would immediately run to see what each person got. The voices sprang up as the scene played in my head, “I got a chocolate bar”, “I got a piece of gum”, “I got a popcorn ball” and then Charlie Brown uttered 4 words, “I got a rock”! Poor Charlie Brown …or so I thought.
That scene quickly was a teaching moment for me because God was going to reveal His presence in the cartoon!
He began to repeat over in my thoughts, “I got a rock, I got a rock, I got a rock” and then I saw Him, The ROCK!
We could look at Charlie Brown actually getting the best treat of all. He was getting something he could stand on and cling to.
We all can feel like we have had a Charlie Brown season in our life. The one left out, the brunt of jokes, the failure, the mistake, the disappointment, the useless, the one not honored or not valued. God sees it all and He has a way of speaking to us.
The children were all getting candy, but Charlie Brown was getting so much more. He was given a promise. The candy was a quick moment of happiness, but Charlie Brown was given a foundation of hope, strength, joy, acceptance, and love.
If we look at the scene differently, then we can hear, “I got a lollipop”, “I got cookies” and Charlie Brown saying, “I got a ROCK”- my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation. He is my stronghold, my refuge and my savior— from violent people you save me.” 2 Samuel 22:3 NIV
At the next house, the kids excitedly shared what they got again “I got a candy bar”, “I got candy corn” and Charlie Brown shares, “I got a ROCK”- “Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.” Psalm 62:2
Each time and at each house God used a rock to send a message to Charlie Brown. Funny that he never cried, never got angry or never felt bad. Charlie Brown accepted each rock as what was chosen for him.
We have that same opportunity to speak life into every person we encounter. It’s up to us to love on a broken world. Maybe we can learn from Charlie Brown and share the gifts we have been given.