Courage

cour·age
ˈkərij/
noun
  1. the ability to do something that frightens one.
    “she called on all her courage to face the ordeal”
synonyms: bravery, courageousness, pluck, pluckiness, valor, fearlessness…

 

We are in a season full of dreaming and pressing into the dreams God has placed in us.  A God dream is a big dream that only He can help accomplish.  These are lofty and can seem impossible.  They put fear in people and it takes a lot of courage to reach these dreams.  Courage, along with its synonyms, have been widely used by many in western culture today.  There has even been a film named Courageous.  I love this film, and it is Christian based with a very good message.  Songs are being written and sung about us, Christians, being brave and having no fear as sons and daughters of God.

Why would God want us to hear the word “courageous?”

As a good rule of thumb, I use the Bible as my plumb line.  This keeps me in line with His heart.  Anytime I operate in the prophetic gifting or receive prophetic revelation, I use the Bible as my filter.  In the past, I would have just said anything or believed anything that had “Thus saith the Lord…” attached to it.  As I have grown in this journey, I have found by using this filter the prophetic gifting will not be used in an abusive way.  The goal or desired end result of this gift is always love.

Joshua:  Moses is handing over the reigns to Joshua.  He is the one that will lead God’s people to the promise land.  It is interesting that Joshua is told not to fear and be courageous 3 times in this passage.  I have seen that if anything is said 3 times in scripture, PAY ATTENTION!!!  I can assure you that Joshua paid attention to these two words as he led the people into the promised land.
Deuteronomy 31:6-8
Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” 
7 Then Moses summoned Joshua and said to him in the presence of all Israel, “Be strong and courageous, for you must go with this people into the land that the LORD swore to their ancestors to give them, and you must divide it among them as their inheritance. 
8 The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”
Joshua had to keep these words close to his heart in order to conquer the tasks ahead of both possessing the promised land and then settling/dividing the promised land.  This dream is from God and as we saw from the time in the wilderness, only God can accomplish this.
There are countless other stories in the Bible that demand for men and women to have courage to accomplish the things of God.  David, Daniel, Gideon, Abigail, Esther, Mary, the apostles and beyond.  It almost seems the entire Bible is a story about courage.
To take something you believe and then take the step in faith to walk it out does take courage.
The thing I like about the story of Joshua is that some in this generation were sick of not having what God had promised.  God likes to use the unsatisfied or  a.k.a. the hungry!
I believe people are hungry today.  Unsatisfied with not walking in the promise of God.  What promise is this?  The promise of Holy Spirit.  Having the Living God making His home inside of me to lead me in every step I take.
My definition of Courage:  for me to submit everything to God for His leadership without reservation or doubt
I believe it takes courage to hear God speak and act in faith.  I believe this is the piece of adventure that our culture today is crying out for.  This is the courage that God is shouting about through the arts and the prophets.  Time and time again Jesus told His disciples to not be afraid.  Jesus walked this earth and invited courageous behavior from His closest friends.  This was how He taught those learning from Him.  He desired to see His disciples to try things out for themselves.  He is the perfect Leader and we need to learn to lead from Him!  The disciples walked with Jesus who lead them in this way.  Jesus knew they needed Holy Spirit to guide them and is the reason He told them to wait in the upper room until He came.  Jesus imitated the Father on earth with them.  Holy Spirit led them in the same way, as He heard the Father.  This should testify to us today that these men needed Holy Spirit to lead them and His leadership was the same as Jesus’s leadership over them.  We need Holy Spirit to lead our every step and we need courage to do this!
In this picture of courage it speaks of fighting, failing, and then rising again to fight.  I want to encourage everybody that in growth we will fail.  It takes humility to walk with Holy Spirit.  He will tell you something for a person and it may be completely wrong.  Maybe you make a wrong turn or go through a wrong door.  There is a lie in pride that tells you that failure is not an option.  I want to expose this lie and let you know that failure will happen and that God is there with you to help pick you up.  I can testify to this in my own life.  I have failed countless times with hearing Him.  As I have learned to walk humbly, I have known Him to be faithful in always picking up the pieces and making them into something beautiful.  He will take these wrong things and make them right.  I recently heard Heidi Baker talk about how learning to follow His voice is very similar to learning a new language.  You will have both success and failure, but the more you work at it the more fluent you get in that language.  Remove from your mind the fear of failure.  Failure is not something we are to fear.  It is something to be embraced in humility, so we can be used by God and for His purposes.  It is also in this fear of failing that the fruit of being stagnant manifests.  Jesus always encouraged those following Him to keep growing and Holy Spirit does as well.  I have known many people who have been hurt by a religious spirit that will grab onto the fear of failure and disguise it one way or another.  The most common disguise I have seen is obvious and says, “I am not going to do that because I do not want to be religious.”  They fear being religious so much they will not try anything but being anti-religious.  This is sad because it prevents the growth of the person in love for Jesus, themselves, and others.  This is another reason courage is in great need.  Like Jesus and the disciples, we have to keep moving towards Jesus and not get stuck.
Another common fear in our culture is the fear of man.  What will they think of me?  Will they accept me?  I have seen that one of the fruits of the fear of man is having the idea that I have God on my terms.  Maybe it is only a Sunday and Wednesday relationship or some could even add 30 minutes in daily devotionals.  The rest of my time is my time spent for my needs.  I also see where religion is formed in this fear.  This has been a struggle for me. It began in my youth and has grown.  As I have received healing over the last decade, I have been able to overcome this fear.  It is paralyzing for sure.  Most people like to be accepted by others.  If you are not, one option is to change.  This is not how you were created and as I learned, you begin to “act” just to be accepted.  This is not a fun place to be and I can’t think of a person that has been through this that has not picked up other bad habits while living this fake life.  It did not take me long to figure out I could not live like this much longer.  The damage was done and I had picked up habits that were not good for me that I would carry with me until I received healing in this area.  I then was able to grow in hearing Holy Spirit lead me and not fear what others thought.  I still get scared sometimes and that is why I know that it takes courage to have God on His terms.
I choose what I do.  I choose to listen or not to listen.  I choose to act or not to act.  I do know that listening to His voice and then taking the action towards that word takes courage.  This is why I believe the Body in this culture longs and desires for courage.  This is why God keeps speaking have courage and all its synonyms.  I choose to trust His leadership and actively pursuing this language of love.  I see this as a great adventure and is exciting to me.
 Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong.  1 Corinthians 16:13

 

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To be for something…

What is it to be for something?

Today we live in a crazy world with so much darkness.  It is so easy for us to see and even focus on.  But what are we to do with this darkness?  Shovel it out the window?  Or maybe build a wall so we do not have to see it?  Form a petition to boycott it?  All of these could work…

To be honest, I have tried them all.  They do work, to a point.  Each and every one will tire you out quickly though.  My personality is very good at being against darkness.  To me there is black and there is white.  I do not see any shade of grey.  There is light and dark.  There is a clear division line with me.  This truth about who I am has never changed.  The thing that has changed is my heart and how I react to the two sides.  Rather than just discerning light vs dark, I have grown to understand that light will dispel the darkness.  I can focus on the light and the darkness cannot understand it.

I recall during my inner healing and deliverance training with Prisoners of Hope in Kansas City, the struggle and the growth.  I am not sure if everyone goes through the same stages as they are trained in deliverance or not.  There is this intense stage I went through and I have known others who have as well.  This deep desire for justice comes in to play and wrong things have to be made right.  I would see the bad and immediately want to go into action to kick the bad out either physically or spiritually.  This has gotten me into some difficult situations from time to time.  I remember going into the prayer room, which is an amazing place of continuous worship to King Jesus, and being able to see darkness in the spiritual realm.  People were coming into this place and were trying to stop the worship.  I am sure some of these people knew this is what they were coming in to do, but many did not.  There was seduction, and perversion, and mocking and the list goes on and on.  I would see this and it would make me furious.  I would talk with Holy Spirit in the back of the prayer room asking Him what we should do.  Do we kick them out of the prayer room?  Do we go pray for these people?  Honestly, there was a lot of me asking Him questions in this season.  Very few answers from Him.  This was the Guide taking me through a season of learning discernment.  One day He spoke!  “Why do you focus on the dark?”  My response at first was, “Huh?”  I humbled myself and began to posture myself to just receive.  I knew this was a key.  I looked up and saw a man that was being influenced by a spirit of seduction.  So I just asked Holy Spirit, “How does Father see this man?”  He began to speak to me of how he is an evangelist and called to tell  people about Jesus.  He was masking his insecurity with this seducing spirit.  This young man had been hurt and so he was taking the gift that God created in him and using it for his own benefit.  He told me more of his life and about his calling.  I asked Holy Spirit, “Do I go and tell him this?”  He replied, “No!  Father wants you to see His children as He does.  I show you this for you to pray not against the darkness around him, but to pray for the light that is hidden within.”  From this time on the time I spent in the prayer room was drastically different.  As I would feel Holy Spirit leading me, I would stand in the back and scan the room for the darkness.  I then asked for the truth and began to partner with Creator God about the light that was within.  Some call this the treasure that God has in each person.  It is there in each and every person.  No matter the depth of the darkness God designed each person for light.  I go to church today and still do the same.  I do not have to go to the back wall as I did in the prayer room.  That was a place Holy Spirit was revealing truth to me.  I go to eat or WalMart and see it.  Holy Spirit has allowed me to speak this truth to some, but mostly He has in the place of agreeing with heart in prayer for them.  One more side note to this season.  The question from Holy Spirit about focusing on the darkness has layers.  I was to be in the prayer room to worship a King.  He deserved all my focus.  So in this part of my learning phase, I began to learn that the main focus of the darkness was to get my attention of the Source of the light.  As I learned to focus on Him and worship Him, discernment became easier and easier.  It also became fulfilling.  Darkness will drain you where the light will continue to fill you overflowing.  This is a much happier place to live in!

The darkness around a person, a region, or a situation is easy to discern.  True discernment is to discern the hidden treasure and light within this person, region, or situation.  There is most likely much more into the gift of discernment.  I am continually growing and want to stay in this posture of learning.  I will say that I believe the gift of discernment to be a gift that is extremely needed now and in the days before Jesus returns for His Bride.  I encourage you to ask for this gift and position yourself to learn and grow.

In the last few years, I have seen the opportunity to be against darkness escalate.  There are many things for us to be against and not support.  I have noticed a common theme for our family over the many situations that have come up.  We have not needed to start supporting a business for their position on light because we already were supporting them.  We also have not needed to sign a boycott for businesses because we were not supporting them at the time.  We have taken the position to be diligent in our actions and not be in a place to have to defensively react.  We take light and shine it before the darkness sneaks up on us.

Who are you for?

This is about relationship!  The things we buy and talk of have a person or persons attached.  Who am I helping?  The answer to this question has helped our family be positioned rightly in all the corrupt situations that have come at us over the years.  We have asked the Lord for discernment in  who we should support.  The answer to this question has also kept us from getting caught up in the small issues that the media wants to push and look deeper into what is being hidden.  There is so much darkness and deception today.  Take a moment and look at who you are supporting!

I do not remember who spoke this or where it came from, but it has stuck with me for years.  “You will know who your family and friends are by their support they have for you.  If you have a business or a product, these are the people you can count on to support you and to brag to others about you, even if they do not really need what you have.  They support you for you.”  Unknown

The thing that struck me about this statement is the light in it.  It is the relationship behind the product or the business.  Today, we have become so fearful from the agenda of darkness that we have forgotten that being for something is more powerful than being against something.

In Romans 8 we are given a promise that if God is for us, WHO can be against us!

FOR!  God is FOR you.  God does not fear or worry about the darkness.  He is so FOR the light that the darkness cannot understand this.  The darkness gets so confused it runs away.  Jesus loved His disciples.  He could have gotten so mad at them so many times.  He was always steady and always looking for moment to teach on His Fathers ways.  It is a different kingdom and mindset.  It is a mindset of being for the success of people that are doing what they are called to do.  It is hearing a vision or dream that God placed in a person and looking to support them.  Jesus came to serve, but He was also an offense to many.  He was so FOR showing the world the ways of His Fathers kingdom, it offended all darkness and confused them.

We all have a platform.  Another way to say this, is we all lead people.  It may be your child or position at work.  It could be a blog or even a few friends on Facebook.  My platform is small in this season and I am not going to complain.  I will use this small platform to spread a message of hope and life.  I will support those close to me and their dreams.  I will speak life into those dreams and not death because it seems farfetched or crazy.  I know that if God has placed it within a person, He is for them, and I want to be on His side!

I want to share with you about a small company that has big dreams for Jesus.  You pray and decide how to or if you desire to support them.  I do not use the products, because I do not need them or want to use them.  Others in my household do and will use them.  Therefore, I am not going to talk to you about the product much since I do not have personal experience with them.  I want to let you in on the heart of those behind it.  As in the quote above, I desire to support kingdom people, not a product.  We are not in a place we get to hang out with the couple that has founded and produces this product that many use daily.  We do have a lot of conversations with them and we do pray for each other a lot.  The Lord has revealed to me His desire to bless this dream he placed within this family.  He placed this in their hearts .  This couple longs to serve a need at an affordable cost.  Their heart behind this is to love people well.  I personally believe they could at least double the price.  I have heard people try the product and rave about it.  BUT that does not fit in the vision the Lord gave them.  They are willing to be obedient unto the Lord and what He has called them to.  This family is faithful!  The heart of loving others well goes beyond their company and into their daily lives.  They love each other well!  They love their children well!  I have seen them be extremely faithful to what the Lord speaks to them.  They hear the voice of the Lord with clarity and are faithful to follow through on what He speaks.  They have developed an intimacy with King Jesus.  They have a gifting of praise!  They are called to lead others into the throne room through worship.  This is going to be an organic overflow of worship from within their home.  I do not know who this is going to look, but I do see this gift in them.  I know the time restraints of having a family.  I know God has breathed on this dream of their heart because they are able to sustain a business while being mom and dad.  They are consistently in the Word of God and pray.  In a busy life with business and family this is not easy to maintain, but they do!  It is evident in the fruit and overflow of their life and business.  To receive a product that is amazing and prayed blessing over as it is formed, can only make you love the product more.  They are a legacy and are leaving one.  I personally know her parents.  They have blessed us so much and I cannot say enough good things about them.  They live a life hope and spreading the fame of His name in all you do.  They also love their children dearly and are sowing into them.  We have been blessed to come alongside of this amazing family of God.  They have Sarah to help market the product for them.  Sarah’s experience in cosmetology and love for revealing the beautiful creation of God in each person has made for a perfect fit in marketing this amazing product.

Who would not want to support this awesome family of God?

How can you support them?

Their product is mineral makeup that they make by hand in small batches and cover each product in prayer as they make them.  The company is Purely You Minerals.  Their website is PurelyYouMinerals.com or find and like them on Instagram or Etsy.  To make a purchase go to their Etsy store (https://www.etsy.com/shop/PurelyYouMinerals?ref=search_shop_redirect).  If you have questions please let us know and Sarah will help you.  We are so honored and blessed to come alongside Danny and Joy in seeing the dreams of God come to fruition in their life.  If you can use the product awesome.  If not please join us in praying for the business and tell others about this amazing family that they can support.  I know it is simple to support a large retail store because you already go there for other things, but I bring it back to this, who you are for?  If you are not already supporting a friend or family member to see God’s dream within them come to fruition with makeup, I encourage you to go and look and try the product.  Share the Etsy page, the Instagram and Facebook pages.  As sales and products show up on your feed share them.  I ask you to tell others about Purely You Minerals that might struggle finding makeup that works for them.  The heart behind this is to serve and love others.

I encourage you to not be so busy that you do not have the time to know what or whom you support.  It is easy to get caught up in the cares of this life that we do not have time to be diligent and seek out kingdom people and businesses.  Word of mouth is still a great form of advertisement.  As you find something amazing share it with others.  Share the light!

I believe there is so much power in shining the light!  We have so many ways we can do that today.  Let us use the platforms we have to shine light.  It may only be a Facebook account or it could be a million people under you in your business.  Let us throw our energy into shining light rather than shutting out the darkness or shoveling it out.  I promise this does not drain you.  It gives you life.  The more life I give, the more life I receive.  This is how Jesus promised His kingdom works!  Find the people of God you can support and as issues like Target and Hobby Lobby come up you will find yourself on the side of the kingdom of God and not having to react.  Maybe the most important point in all of this is to support your family and friends.  The fruit of not supporting them is not good.  It hurts and causes division.  Jealousy tries to take root, especially as they see you support others that are not close to you.  We should be intentional on supporting those closest to us.  The fruit of this is so powerful.  It reveals that you believe in them.  That you are for them.  We are adopted into God’s family and He is for us.  This is powerful.  We need to display this Fathers heart to our family and friends in our support of them.