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

 

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.

 

 

Philippians 4 Peace!

….the peace that transcends understanding…..

I was young and just starting out in serving the Lord as a vocation. I had chosen to serve Him, though I had no clue what that would look like. I know I had my plans, but His were much bigger. I was in a fellowship hall of this little church and helping the leader of the church change light bulbs. We were talking about making the hard decision. I remember him telling me, “when you feel peace, go for it.” I am sure he explained that way beyond those words, but as a young man with dreams and hungry to get going, that is all I heard and remember from that conversation. So, for a season of my life, I followed that rule. I listened and exercised this like it was Jesus that spoke that small phrase to me. I bounced from one thing to another, time and time again. I finished next to nothing and for the next 4 years of my life I was bouncing from one thing to the next because I felt peace about it. I even jumped out of serving Jesus because I felt the peace, in my flesh!

I believe that man of God that spoke those words to me that day meant something way more than what I heard. I believe he spoke to me on Philippians 4. He probably told me not be anxious and to ask God about every situation. Then, by being in His will, I would have a peace in a crazy situation, where peace could not be possible. Being the stubborn young man I was, I had to learn this through my own experience. I have always learned better by exercising a particular thing. It has always been hard for me to hear a story or a sermon and remember it totally. The times I remember the lesson in fullness are the times I live the lesson.

I took this lesson on peace, or the one sentence I remembered, and ran with it. My flesh can find peace in things that do not pass understanding. As a believer, a disciple, a son and ambassador of Christ, the enemy, Satan and his friends (fallen angels aka demons) will go to any length for me to worship anything but God! That includes giving me peace! I love sports and love basketball in particular. I remember dreaming as a young boy of being Mark Price and being the best shooter in the NBA and every chance I got glorify the name of Jesus. I would simulate last shot situations in the drive way. I would play with tornados on the ground just miles away. Growing up I always had success in basketball. The enemy came in with a plan and executed it to perfection. This knocked me out of basketball, as I saw it, from there on. I became bitter and lost the passion and faith I had in the abilities God gave me. I began to fear not making it and it showed on the court. This story to say basketball was a peace for me. Since I could no longer play really, I grabbed a whistle and began to referee basketball. I then decided I wanted to coach. I justified doing this and said it was my arena to glorify God. My flesh was at peace. I began drinking with fellow referee buddies and it was peaceful. I dropped out of school with only 1 and 1/2 semesters left to graduate to take a job I felt peace about. It was at this job I hit rock bottom. I began to search for peace in many ways at this point only to find a huge empty hole in my heart (spirit). A deep cry from within me came to my attention. I felt all alone and was full of fear. On the outside I had peace. I had made decision based on peace for the last 4 years. I was about to break and new it! One truth about Satan, he always overplays his hand. He did with me here. He tried to take me out, but God showed up!

I am not going to go into all the details, but understand that God is so kind and gentle. He loves me so much and is a great Dad. He knows me so well and knew I could handle no more. He knew I was immature and needed to learn this lesson. He will save us and loves to, even to the point of sending Jesus, His only Son, to die for you and me.

Back to it….I am sitting all alone and broken. How did it get to this point God? I felt peace and went. Why did you not meet me in that peace?

His response…..”What do I say about peace?” I love how he responds with a question. Why does He do this? It makes us mature and dig! Plus, He knows me better than anybody and knows if He just tells me I will grab a little bit and go. I had to get it myself so it stuck!

Long story short I learn the lesson that I am not to react out of peace. Rather I am to stand in the place He has called me to be and know He gives peace. In obeying His words and knowing His nature, I can have a peace that transcends all understanding. The Ancient of Days, the Creator of everything, the One that owns a cattle on thousands of hills, my Defender is with me and I have no need to be anxious!

This was 10 years ago. I have had many lessons since then and many opportunities to respond to this lesson. I will share the most recent.

We are missionaries. I actually made a vow as a young man that I would serve God, but not as a missionary. I have repented of this, but that is where He put me serving Him. I have not had a lot of opportunities up to last year for ministry other than where I am. We were under the impression we were in Kansas City for training unto something else in the future. It may still be, but not as quickly as we thought. For 2 years we had asked God about buying a home. The 3rd year He says, “buy!” We had disappointment after disappointment in this process. Peace in the flesh was NOWHERE to be found in this process. It was actually miserable at some points. Over 10 years ago, I would have bailed and ran. We also had ministry opportunities that came up as well. They were great opportunities in places we would be comfortable, even in the flesh. We would have been close to family and doubled our income. There was one thing we continued to come back to…the spoken Word of the Lord. He told us in prophetic word, dreams, His Word, and to us directly for months. We had to continue to stand on His promises about His will for our lives. We have had to continuously battle anxiety and fear to stand in peace and faith. Here we are a day before breakthrough and God sends a snow storm. We have had 7 inches of snow maybe in the last 2 years. We will get that and possibly more today. Here is the cool thing. Snow means redemption! Snow means transition! It means purity! As I think about these 3 meanings I get no peace in my flesh! NONE! It all means tough times have occurred. To purify something is the process of cleaning out impurities. Transition is never easy. Redemption means something was lost for it to be redeemed. One thing is for sure…..All 3 of these are true about this season of our lives. This year marks 10 year anniversaries for Sarah and I. Over the last 10 years we have battled a lot, and we rejoice with God and you. The snow is here and will make moving in a few days a little more challenging, but we are battle tested. We will rejoice with Him and continue to stand! And…Thunder Snow with Lightning! The power of God along with it.

What kind of servant am I?

Matthew 18 is the parable of the unforgiving servant.
The king wanted to settle his accounts. God wants all accounts settled between Him and us and between one another. He desires us to make peace with each other and live a life of forgiveness. His mercy is new every morning! It never stops.
This kings servant owes a large debt! Too huge to pay off in his lifetime I am sure. All He has, including himself and his family are going to be sold until the debt can be paid to the king. The fact is, I do not deserve His mercy. I do deserve eternal bondage as a prisoner. But Jesus took that upon Himself and now I have the ability to be set completely free and walk as a son of God. This is an amazing gift available to all! At the time we receive this, I am no longer in my old identity as slave. Along with our identity, expectations from my Father, my Master, change. He expects me to represent His kingdom like a royal son. I am expected to change! It is interesting that in the beginning of the chapter the disciples are asking who is the greatest in my Fathers kingdom? Jesus says, “those that humble themselves and be like a child!” I walk in humility and become like a child. A child that knows nothing, but what he sees and hears in his environment. This child is suppose to be taught mostly by his parents and leadership over him. Jesus told us He only says what He heard His Father say and did what He saw Dad do. This king shows the servant mercy and the servant should then be a leader like the king. That is what the king expects! That is what my Father in Heaven expects of me!
The servant that was forgiven had a servant that owed him a good amount of money, but not near as much as he owed the king. He goes to settle this debt and has no compassion and no mercy like he had just been shown. He harbored unforgiveness against his servant. I am sure the forgiven servant is thinking of himself only. Except the fact that his family, all his belongings and himself were just set free from a huge debt that they could never repay, more than likely. He sees his freedom and gets greedy. He can have more now for himself. That vacation home in the mountains I always wanted is at my fingertips. I just need to collect from those that owe me so I can buy it. This was an act of pride. God gives grace to the humble but resists the proud. There could be many reasons behind his thinking, but pride is a definite root here.
The truth is this my Father forgave me all my sins that I could never ever repay with anything I or anybody except Jesus. Jesus gave His life for my ransom. His shed blood has cleansed me. I am in relationship with hundreds of people and see many daily. I have thousands of opportunities to pick up offense and hold unforgiveness. Those that are closest to me often hurt me the most. My Father gives me the choice. Will I humble myself like his little boy and forgive like He did me? Or, will I hold it against them, in pride?

I see that when this servant was forgiven by the king he was actually given full freedom. He was restored to the place he would be if he never had sinned (owed a debt). He is given all he owns and set up nicely. So when I release another of an offense/injustice done against me, I am to do so like my Father in Heaven. When He forgives me, my sin against him is cast far away and forgotten. I am restored to the place I would be without sinning against Him.

For example:
Just the other day we went to see Libby’s one day Kindergarten program that helps us homeschool her. We came home and hit a nail in our rear driver side tire. I heard it hissing as I stepped out of the car. I back it out of the garage just in case I need to change the tire. I get out, look, and it still has a good amount of air in the tire. I ask for Sarah and the kids to hurry out so I can go before it gets to low. Sarah then says, “but what if you do not make it?” I hear, “You can’t make it! You will get stranded. What are you thinking?” This is NOT what she said. I did get upset at her and gave the silent treatment as she got out and walked in. I eventually made it to the tire shop and was able to have a good half hour to talk to God about this. I found offense from my childhood and had to walk through forgiveness of many of my leaders in the past. I got back and talked with Sarah and asked for forgiveness. We then have a great talk and I am then redeemed to the place as if it had not happened. She may not be able to forget completely, but I have been redeemed in her heart and eyes. Any judgements she may have had concerning this event is released as she forgives me. Maybe she thought I acted like a 12 year old in the situation, saying I was immature. This judgement was released as she fully forgave me. I acted quick in repenting, and was also shown other people I needed to forgive from my past. It was amazing because I was able to get some amazing freedom from one small, seemingly insignificant event.

Peter asked how many times do we forgive the same person for the same offense? It is understood, forever! Honestly I know this was not the first time I reacted to something she said in the same way. I learned in my late teens to keep my mouth shut when I get upset like that. If you can’t say something nice, Jamin, don’t say anything. The issue is, is that I know my wife. Silence to her is painful. It allows the enemy in to speak lies about me to her. Doubts creep in of my character. I could never accuse her in anger. That is not me. The next worse thing from yelling at her mean things of who she is, is silence. It may be on the same level. I do know she does not like it. I also know I have never yelled mean things at her or about her. Other people have spoken ugly to her and I have seen the effects of it. Many may not see the silent treatment as an offense, but it is. It opens a door for the enemy to jump in and speak lies. We have had many talks throughout our relationship about this issue. Sarah has forgiven me, time and time again. Like Peter, I am not a perfect man. I could possibly give the silent treatment again one day. I do know that I will look to repent even quicker the next time.

Matthew 18:34-35.
The king hands the unforgiving servant over to be tortured and Jesus tells us His Father will do the same to anybody unwilling to forgive. Unforgiveness opens a door for the enemy to be allowed to torment us. Not only that, the servant he did not forgive was not released from prison. They both were tortured by one person’s unforgiveness. In my example story I can tell you this little thing was tormenting on both Sarah and I until forgiveness manifested correctly. The enemy came in with lies about each others character and so on. The point is when we harbor unforgiveness, it places not only the person harboring it in bondage/prison, but also the person he did not forgive. These are heavy chains that wears on both parties.

The tormenting, I think can be a number of things. One for sure is the loss of relationship with the other person. I look back in my life and see many great friendships that went sour due to unforgiveness. One person wrongs another and the one wronged will not forgive. This is torture for both parties, because the friendship is lost. I have seen unforgiveness rip families apart. Some issues were very small things, that were blown up by the open door of unforgiveness.

We were made in the image of God! We were made for relationship. One of my most rewarding relationships I have is with Sarah. The husband and wife relationship is so rewarding. At the same time, it is also the most challenging relationship I have. The closer and more intimate the relationship you have with a person the more tormenting it can be with harbored unforgiveness. This is one reason divorce is so devastating to all parties involved. I find it interesting that the subject of marriage and divorce is the next thing Jesus speaks on in Chapter 19. The Pharisees, who are always trying to trick Jesus, ask him about divorce. Jesus gives a great answer. Divorce was never in My Father’s heart! Husband and wife are to be one flesh and that which God puts together, man (includes husband/wife) should not separate. God’s desire is for good healthy relationships where both parties are always ready to forgive and not looking to offend the other.

What if I am sinned against?
I will choose to bind and loose in forgiveness! Just before the parable of the unforgiving servant Jesus tells us how to deal with a person that has sinned against (offended) us. The heart behind this is not about being right or wrong, but about seeking forgiveness and reconciliation of the relationship. It says to tell him his fault. “Jamin, when you joked, and said I stink, that offended me!” We are not told to go tell him all his wrongs. “Jamin, you accused me and are filled with hate saying I stink.” To go in a spirit of accusation or to go with a judging heart will only cause more conflict and more offenses that need forgiven. This is where speaking truth in love comes in! It may be good to model after Jesus. He loved to ask questions. Go ask the person questions. The Holy Spirit will probably reveal to them how they offended you and repent. First, you go alone and try and reconcile. If he continues to not forgive, bring a few people that you and the person are close with. If he still will not forgive, bring the whole church to the person and seek forgiveness. If he still refuses you have to let him go. This is not to say hurt or torment is gone from either party. For the party that has been sinned against, if they seek hard after forgiveness, to these extremes, the person can at least feel as if they did all they could to try and reconcile the relationship.

My Father in heaven actively sought out my redemption in sending His only Son to die for me. My duty as a son in His kingdom is to actively seek peace and reconciliation. Relationships are very important to my Dad. He wants relationship with me and wants me to have good relationships with others. He desires me to be a peacemaker, salt and light to this world. I am to reflect Him and His kingdom. I am to set my heart to seek out forgiveness, whether I offended another or the other offended me.

My side of the Adventure of Birth

Taking a step back to look at May 18th and 19th, the labor and birth of Gideon.

We make our way back to the midwife, after 24 hours of Sarah having to collect urine for her 3rd test to check her protein level. 2 weeks prior we were placed in the hospital, released and then sent home on bed rest. Sarah has never had protein levels high before so we both just knew we were having to go through the motions with this test to be sent home again. Her blood pressure at home stayed around 130/85. Not bad at all, really. Each time we went to the Midwife’s office it ran high. I had even scheduled a t-time to play golf the next day and we had left Libby with Kayla (young lady living with us), knowing we would be home shortly. As usual her BP jumped. They come and tell us we are going to the hospital to monitor Sarah until her urine test comes back. We are extremely frustrated!!!! They sent us home with the test the day before and my thoughts when we got home were that we should pack our bags. Why not right? For whatever reason we did not. A few hours later they came back and for the first time, the protein level was high. So…induction here we come.

Disappointing, yes. Shocked, yes. As I sat there with my beautiful wife, I looked into her eyes and could see the shock. Yes she was excited to see Gideon but I think some fear set in and most definitely some anger. Who at? The nurses or midwife, some maybe. God, more than likely. But this did not last long. Why, because we expressed it to Him. I have had a lot of disappointment and many many times to get angry with Him. Before I would let it simmer inside me and build up. I have learned through experience to get it out! I get “the list” from Sarah of things she needed ME to pack for her. Ya laugh a bit here…First of all because yes, Sarah had a list….Sarah never makes list, but thank You Lord, she did this time….Now laugh at the picture of me trying to pack without a list….Ya, I even get a good chuckle out of that one. I am angry and honestly ready to refuse the induction, probably because of fear placed in me from the nurses and midwife for reasons of being early he may spend a good amount of time in NICU and so on. I wanted this to be special and for Gideon to be with us. The chance of not waiting 3 days so my son would not have to be place in the NICU for a few hours was a huge to me. I called both mom’s and let them know what was going on. Now, I was on my way to pack! Hungry and mad! Here I was alone in a car with God. I got to release this anger to Him. He is so good to me, I cannot say this enough. Just like I do not like Libby to hold in the anger that is stealing her joy, He wants me to release this on Him and talk it out with Him. When He says He wants my burdens (Ps 68:19), He is not joking. God has helped teach me to deal with anger rightly and keep the enemy from stealing my joy. That is exactly what I did in the next 10 minutes on my drive home. I get home with this excitement and pure joy. My son will be arriving soon! This thought or mindset would not leave me either….and my joy would be with me as well.

Packing went well (I only forgot a few things). Dado and Nana (my grandparents) call and tell me they may come (and do and they eventually get there before Gideon arrives). Libby is set to go with Megan, who is with Sarah at the hospital, while I pack and get Libby. We have all our amazing family and friends notified to pray.

I return and Sarah is dilated to a 3 with the cervix still thick (no induction, yet). 6 pm they begin the induction with Cervidil. We have the worship going. Peace and His presence have completely filled the room. The nurses loved coming in, each one saying how peaceful it is in our room.

Around 4 in the morning contractions begin. Sarah and I both were able to get 4 to 5 hours of sleep. This would prove vital, as well as Sarah being able to eat breakfast that morning, for the events to come. Around 10 am the contractions were strong and regular. Sarah, who is absolutely amazing, was full of joy and determination. I honestly am seeing a new side of her right here. I know she is determined and strong, but she has now crossed into a new level. Noon rolls around and I am thinking Gideon could arrive within a few hours. I get lunch brought to me by Libby and Megan, Chic-Fil-A. I eat while Libby and Megan take over comforting Sarah during her contractions. We wanted Libby to be with us as much as possible. They could only stay for a few hours because Megan had to go to work (she leads the Immersed internship at IHOP) for a bit and Libby had to go with her. This is where I personally get a lot out emotionally. Libby comes to me crying, looks into my eyes, and says,”dad I miss you! Can I stay with you?” I had to leave the room. I pick her up and we have a great cry session for a good 5-10 minutes. I tell her it will only be a little while and giver her hope that Gideon could soon be here. I tell her it will probably be more than 2 hours but not much more, and she will be back in 2 hours. She leaves full of excitement to get to meet her little brother. Sarah labors hard for a little bit before the contractions almost stop completely. They would start-up again in a few hours and at 3 I am thinking Gideon will come by 5. I kept praying please God, lets not do like we did with Libby and go over 24 hours since they induced. Honestly, I could do nothing but pray really. I encouraged as much as I could and as directed by Holy Spirit. Not long into this batch of contractions and come to a stop again. Now frustration has set in some. It is so funny how the enemy keeps trying to get us down. We created our own little glory zone for His presence to rest in the hospital room. That hospital room was anointed and Holy Spirit was manifested in many ways throughout the few days we were there. Sarah was becoming fatigued. She had not eaten since early morning and she had been laboring a lot throughout the day. The midwife comes in, “lets start Pitocin” she says. I know it has been a long day and I wonder if Sarah is thinking of taking any pain drugs yet. I keep this to myself, but I am honestly almost wiped out, so I know she has to be tired. For the contractions to come like that and then stop, was tiring. The monitors for Sarah or Gideon never worked right to begin with, so the strength of the contractions were unknown to all but Sarah. I must say, I knew they were not little ones. I could see it in her beautiful eyes. I know her better than most anybody on earth. We have been joined as one. There was a few things I continued to see though and it never wavered one bit….determination and joy! Seeing this gave me renewed strength. Pitocin was started around 6 p.m. at a low dose. She got going quick! Only a few hours until they took it off completely with contractions going strong. Dado and Nana get there around 7 pm and come and say “hi” to us. Then Sarah’s midwife, Crystal comes in, and helps. She suggests a new position because Gideon is stuck in her pelvis! Well now we know why the contractions kept stopping! He was stuck in her pelvis. Somewhere in here is where we began to hear Sarah say, “I cant do this.” A great friend, Rod, told me that is when it would be baby time. We get in the new position a little after 8 pm. Just before 9 pm they check her, she is at 8 cm with her cervix still only 60% thinned. Sarah needs to go to the bathroom, potty break! She has a lot of lower back pain so we position her straddling the toilet and push on her lower back to ease the pressure. She works hard not to push at this point. Crystal says, “My rule is no baby will be born in the toilet, let’s get back to the bed!” She turns to get things ready and I, right with her jump in to assist with her back pain. We run to the bed and honestly, how we got there we don’t really remember. She was tied up to an I.V. and all we can remember is, it was blur. Crystal asks for her not to push (they were not set up yet because her cervix was not thinned). Sarah does great with the first one to not push, but the next came quick! She says, “I can’t not push!” Crystal then gives her the ok….One push…..I look and the head is almost out! 2nd push…head is out! Sarah is now saying, “I cant do this, it hurts too bad!” Yet the worst is over! I then look her in the eyes and say, “Baby, his head is out! He is here!” With shock in her whole person, she says, “really?” Crystal says, “one more push, then reach down and grab your boy!” BAM!!!! He is now in out and she is reaching down to grab our son.

There is now a shift in spiritual presence in the room! I don’t know who else felt this, but I did! I felt the shift like never before! I ask, “Holy Spirit, what is that!” I knew immediately, angels were crowded in that room to the max! A time of rejoicing over Gideon, yes, but the full experience added to it even more. Not only did we do this with no medication, but we had so many opportunities to quit and take an easier or quicker route, but did not!!!! We persevered and the Heavens were rejoicing with us at 9:14 pm on May 19th. I love the presence of God! I have felt Him in many tangible ways, but never like this before. I have sensed angels around before, but never like this! A sweet taste of victory, in Jesus!

So why was the presence of the Lord SO strong at that moment?

I have been asking Him for weeks this very question.

What did I hear? “You will find Me in the lowest place.” As I sat in the Global Prayer Room here in Kansas City, I was thrown off a bit. My first thought was He gives grace to the humble, but resists the proud. I was able to see where we, as a family unit, had humbled ourselves and have been brought low over this. Finally having another child! Some will understand, because you have been to the point of desperation for healing or breakthrough in a certain area. I cannot try to tell you how many times Sarah and I have gone to the altar call for healing. Or how many times we have heard a word of knowledge about not being able to get pregnant, so we would stand, and contend, again. It got to the point, Lord please do not give them a word of knowledge like this…..but it usually happened when we said this. The amount of time we spent with God asking for this ONE thing, a baby, more than filled the hospital we were in, the city, or even the state if you turned prayer into oil. Each tear we cried over this, has been stored up. Every second of each persons time contending in prayer with us has been accounted for and came to fruition at that point. As I continued to listen to Him, the worship leader began a chorus…”In the lowest place is where I find You!” I am at the point of tears. Of all the people in their, He is bringing into the light this one thing….the birth of Gideon. So I knew then it was not a small thing. As I got the point of being able to listen again from feeling the overwhelming love You long to pour out on me, I hear you say, “Jamin, you turned to me, Your loving Dad, and depended fully upon Me!” I put my trust in You. I then just sat there and let Him love on me for a good amount of time.

Now here I am with another question. If I was able to trust Him in that area, can I learn to trust in every area of my life? I love how Holy Spirit, like Jesus did as He walked this earth, answers my questions with more questions. This life is very short, but means so much in terms of our eternal life. Each moment is a new opportunity to grown with Him.

To finish the day of Gideon’s birth:
A few moments after Gideon was placed at Sarah’s chest we hear our midwife, “OH MY, that is third time this week!” I think nothing of it, but it did not take Sarah long to respond. “What is wrong? Is my baby ok?” And with a huge smile Crystal responds, “He is great. He had a true knot in his cord. It was loose.” She shows it to me. I am unsure how true it is but I hear in the background, “glad he came early.” I knew exactly at that point what they meant. The less room in the womb and the stronger he would have gotten in there, the higher the chance the knot could have tightened. I am blown away at the goodness of God. He constantly knows what is best for me. At times I may not agree or even express my doubts. One thing will not change though. I will believe God. Not just “in” Him, but believe Him. I am learning, like Abraham and so many others with great faith in His Word did, to talk with Him about my doubts of His promise over my life. This is the communication that makes my life fruitful. My desire is to bear GOOD fruit. Fruits of righteousness! I thank You, Abba, for the many promises You have spoken over me!

Libby was at the hospital and were in the waiting area with Dado and Nana. Megan was able to take pictures and stayed with us in the room. Shortly after Gideon made his arrival I found Megan and asked if she would go get Libby. She had waited so patiently for so long. She was more than excited to meet her baby brother. Libby could very well become a Midwife one day. She was not grossed out or upset with any of the bloody images and even asked to see the placenta. Crystal stretched it out for her and explained it in detail. My daughter amazes me! She watches Gideon get bathed and dressed. Gideon eats for the first time and then Libby comes to me, “Dad, let’s go home!” She was ready to take her brother home! I will say Sarah was doing awesome and looked like she had just a regular day. We were going to move rooms as well so with all the packing up, I can see maybe where she got this feeling we were going home. It is childlike for sure and brought us a good laugh!

Praise you Abba! Thank you for my family and all you have entrusted to me. You have blessed me richly. It reminds me of one of the Little House on the Prairie segments where the Ingles have run out of money and they all pitch in to work and help pay off a debt at the Olsens Mercantile. Mr. Olsen at the end tells Pa, “You are the richest man in all of Walnut Grove, because of your family!” I feel like Pa (Charles Ingles), in being the richest man in Kansas City! Thank you God!

The STRENGTH of a MAN

As I am in a ministry that I minister to broken men that are in need of strength, my question is, where did we (men) lose our strength?  Have I lost my strength?  If so, where did I lose it?

A brief history on why I am asking this.  I was asked to lead a ministry to minister to broken men (I am finding out we all are to a point) last fall.  The main scripture I was given is Zechariah 9:17 How attractive they will be! (in the days before the our Kings triumphant return)  Grain (strength) will make the young man thrive, and new wine the young women.  The Lord began to reveal to me how men are badly in need of strength in this hour.   We have been completely stripped of our “manhood” and need to claim it back!  Then shortly after I was asked to lead this ministry, we found out we are going to have a baby!  Soon we found out we are having a boy, Gideon Jordan.  I know males and females are very different.  I love Libby and desire to be the best dad the world can offer, understanding all I can do is try to portray My Heavenly Father to her.  As a father-to-be to a son, my role now expands to training a boy to be a strong man in the Lord!

Where we lost our strength as men?

We can go as far back to Adam and see how he, in the moment of decision, the choice that forever changed the human race, got scared and did not stand his ground!  Adam see’s the most beautiful of all creation, Eve, get deceived by a serpent.  He was with her and listening to this serpent speak doubt and fear into her.  Yet he never jumped in the middle to say, “No, I know God is good!”  FEAR!!!  All men deal with is fear.  Fear of not adding up, or succeeding, or not performing, or not being good enough in bed with your wife…..and so on.  We see leader after leader in the Old Testament fall to fear!  Abraham feared so much he would let another man, that could have him killed, sleep with his wife.  Moses feared his speech and would not speak on behalf of God.  David, my favorite man of God, was one of the strongest and closest to God’s heart, yet he feared a man that worked under him because he fell to lust and killed him.  Elijah, Jacob, I must say Gideon, and the list goes on and on.  Then comes Jesus!  He did not fear!  He stood after being baptized and called out by His Father, after fasting 40 days (no strength aka grain!).  So here is the man we are to follow!

Jesus, was called into His identity by who?  God!  Here is my answer.  Only God can give us the strength, I so desperately want to see in each man of God!  These are the men I want to stand in battle with as we ride with Jesus to cleanse the world and bring His kingdom to earth for eternity!

I then, looking at myself, began to look at my fears.  Why my fears?  That is where Adam lost his strength and so many other mighty men along the way.  Where did they originate from and why?

(This is my personal journey with God.  Everybody has their own to a different degree, but I believe God is still the source to receive our strength.  I also believe He wants to release that today in each man willing to go on a journey with Him.)

I grew up in a fantastic home.  I accepted Jesus truly and was filled with the Holy Spirt as a young boy.  I remember playing ball all the time.  I loved being outside!  Anything I could do to get outside, because that is where I loved to be.  The first time I recall being really full of fear was in Kindergarten.  I hated school and really did not understand why until recently.  Remember me saying I love the outdoors.  Still to this day, I would rather be outside and learn on the job.  You can give me a book and I can read and study but until I get my hands dirty I really am not confident in doing the job.  No wonder we have so many young boys diagnosed with ADD.  Sarah is currently on bed rest, with Gideon on his way any day now.  I have been serving her and loving it.  In the Prayer Room a few days ago, God asks me,”could you handle sitting doing nothing?”  My response is simple and fast! “NO!”  She is sacrificing so much!  I love her more and more every day.  It is such a great adventure.  Moving on….I was eventually tamed enough to go to school and sit for hours a day.  In junior high and into high school I go.  We move right before my freshman year.  I was in a great place and on my way (so I thought) to playing Division 1 sports and going pro.  (I was going to be Tim Tebow, though he was not known then that truly was my goal-that is probably why I like him so much as well)  This time of my life was hard.  My Pops was in a huge transition changing jobs.  He is an amazing father and I love him and all he did for me so much.  My two heroes are him and my Dado.  I don’t know that they really know that but it is true.  I believe all boys hero is truly a father figure in their life!  This job change was hard.  I was at a critical point in my life.  I was not called into my identity at this juncture and so who I previously was, left me because of FEAR!  Fear of man, of being accepted!  Fear of not being the best.  I had worked so hard to be the best and was, but that was taken from me.  So fear sets in, and I turn into being the macho man that fits in the crowd.  After almost 10 years of that I get awoken!  The Lord so often uses the enemy to get us on track and He did with me.  I hit rock bottom and move back home.  Soon I meet Sarah, we get married, I get a great job, we buy a beautiful home, have a beautiful baby girl, and then…..BOOM!  Yep, God wanted more of my heart!  A tornado hits.  He says, “move!”  It is confirmed from many sources.  We pick up and go to Minnesota.  Away from all that I leaned on, my family and my 2 heroes.  He strips me of all the familiar, doesn’t allow me to work for a time, nor have our own home.  All the things most men find strength in, He took from me!  My golf clubs, twice!  Once in a tornado, next in a fire!  We move to Kansas City and He says (no sports on TV).  He keeps going deeper, but I keep getting stronger!  My fears, are leaving.  Why?  Perfect love casts out fear!  Who is love?  God!  That is right GOD IS SPEAKING TO ME, “Jamin, you are My son, and I am pleased with who I have made you to be!”  Now go and fight for Me!  It is a great battle and a great adventure!  When I said yes, to Jesus taking my life, I signed up for a battle and an adventure.  I didn’t just want my life to be easier.  How boring!  This is why men are so bored.  They are tame, scared, and looking for the easy route.  It is time to have adventure!  Take up your cross and follow Jesus!  Give Him everything and enjoy the ride.  I am not saying it is easy though.  This has been extremely tough, but extremely rewarding!

Libby loves a song by Laura Hackett “The battle is raging, the devil is raging, I don’t want to be sleeping, because the battle is raging…give me eyes to see and ears to hear!”  We are in a battle and losing guys!  It is time we take a stand and fight!  Fight for our strength.  Creation is groaning for us to take it back.  The women in this world are as well.  They want a strong man to lead them on an adventure.  Not a passive man that is too scared to fight for them.  Nor a man that’s so scared of opening up that he controls and dominates them.  God is strong and we are made in His image!  Women have the beauty and mercy.  Men have the strength.  Jesus is not Mr. Rogers!  He picked fights!  He wasn’t the one shying away in fear.  “Yes, I heal on the Sabbath, what are you going to do about it!”  This is the man the disciples saw and went and told everybody about.  A man of passion ready to restore the world with a fight!  Peacemakers! Not Peacekeepers.  We are the light!  The salt!  It is time to take back ground.  I am ready to stand!  Lord I am ready to fight for You!

 

Ghana

I have been invited by Rivers of Life International to join them in ministering to a group of young pastors in Ho Ghana. I will be teaching at 2 pastors conferences, equipping over 400 young pastors in the area. Rivers of Life International has been sowing into this area in many different ways over the last 5 years. They have met many practical needs, though there are many more that must be met for the people to have a healthy living environment. The majority of the leaders in the churches were given Bibles over 3 decades ago along with a short time of training and then left to lead the local church. The older leaders are using medians like they had before to receive the direction for the church. The young pastors that are now taking over the churches have been convicted that Jesus is our median. They are in desperate need of leaders to come and practically show them how to walk out a daily life of prayer and leading others with a fathers heart.

We are also going to some small villages just outside Ho to share His love with women that have been abandoned by their husbands and the fatherless children. I am personally excited about loving on these children. Rivers of Life International is helping the women start their own businesses to provide for their families. They have helped set up a sewing shop and a bakery. Both businesses are set up to train other women so they do not have to prostitute themselves or starve. They have also worked very hard to get running water to theses villages. This is still a work in process and they are needing $10000 for the 7 miles of pipe line, but have the labor set.
God has opened this door for me to minister and I am asking you to join me in financial partnership. I need $4000 to minister for these 2 weeks. The majority of this is my flight. If you would like to donate airline miles I will be flying Delta Airlines. If you would like to help Rivers of Life International in getting water to these villages please contact me. Feel free to visit their website, riversoflife411.com or my families at http://www.hackerfamily.wordpress.com to follow up on or help how the Lord leads you. Thank you for prayerfully considering sending me to these young pastors, women, and children.

Abiding in His love,

Jamin