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Lead Me Not Into Temptation

I randomly pulled an old journal off a shelf last night and a word God had given me in 2010 to give to one of the elders in my former church slipped out. I knew a few sentences in that this was no coincidence.

I clearly remember God speaking this to me in prayer after I had attended a new Sunday school class that the recipient to this word, a friend of mine, was teaching.

I love how God weaves our past into our present.

Nothing in my life catches him off guard.

I pray for God to ‘lead me not into temptation.’ This is just one more way he shows me he’s got my back.

I recently began teaching a group at the local woman’s shelter and I believe that God’s word to my friend almost 5 years ago is still full of life and was strategically served back to me as a guidepost.

Prophetic Word: January 2010

I have called you to lead and have anointed you with strength and wisdom. I have given you a heart that is willing to place value on things that are eternal.

It is extremely important that you recognize, and lead others to recognize, that it is by my grace alone that you are able to resist the pull of the things of the world.

You must be conscious to root out any attitudes of criticism against others that have not reached the level of glory that I have brought you or others in the class to.

It is right and just to recognize error, and if I ask you to bring the error to someone’s attention, my anointing and power will be available to break the yoke of bondage off of the individual.

In this group that I am using you to lead, you must be quick to recognize if the conversation is turning from building up to the tearing down of My body.

Tiny seeds in the form of words spoken from a standpoint of prideful or spiritual elitist attitudes will seek to take root, hindering my power and grace from flowing down and through the ministry that I will be doing.

I am gentle and humble in heart; my yoke is easy and my burden is light.

I will be bringing people from the world that have been wounded by ‘religion’ and religious attitudes. They will be quick to recognize even slight references made that imply my Love or their value is linked to their performance.

Thank you Jesus for warning me ahead of time of possible pitfalls so that I can stand against them before someone gets hurt. Help me to die to myself and let your life flow through me. I pray that in my weakness you will show yourself strong. Help me to be full of mercy and loving kindness.
Amen.

How do you respond to other believers that are not as far along in their walk with Christ?

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Unconditionally

In this video (3 min) from Elevation’s Creative team, we used the song “Unconditionally” to illustrate God the Father, and His ever-present and unwavering love for all His children.-Elevation Vimeo

http://vimeo.com/m/88223332

Enjoy! I pray that you will experience God’s personal, unconditional love for you today.

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Happiness is…

…serving The Lord as a family.

My cup runs over.

Forrest told me on the way home from the women’s homeless shelter, where I have been teaching on Thursday nights, that he has been praying over the seats while he is setting them in rows for the meeting.

I wrote a long blog titled, ‘Happiness is the Return of the Prodigal Son’ several weeks ago, inspired by my gratitude for what God has been doing in my 18 year old sons life, but for some reason I felt restrained from posting it at that time. Perhaps it’s because the story is still unfolding. What prompted the former post, was an exciting sign of growth and God moving in regards to an earlier Thursday night meeting.

Things around here are accelerating, big time, and I definitely have some stuff to add. It’s likely I will revisit that older, unposted blog, and spruce it up with more recent testimony of God’s hand moving in Forrest’s life.

I stand amazed.

Don’t get me wrong. I am not setting down any weapons just yet. I imagine as parents we battle it out in prayer for our children all of their lives. Still, I feel certain that tonight was but a foretaste of how great its going to be to live a life of battling along side one another as comrades in the army of God. As soldiers in Gods army, I think one of the most difficult assignments comes when we feel like we are always being sent to rescue a loved one captured and imprisoned behind enemy lines. And I believe that there is no greater blessing than knowing our closest loved ones are free to love and serve God.

Forrest’s support of the ministry that God has called me to means the world to me. We’ve been through so much to get to where we now find ourselves. God has been a faithful Husband to me, and Father to Forrest.

He means it when he says he will be a Father to the fatherless.

My heart is full. Tears of joy run down my face as I write this. Nothing is impossible with God!

If your interested in hearing more about how God is transforming his life, keep an eye out for a blog post with something about the ‘Prodigal Son.’

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Everlasting Arms

Yesterday I was struggling with feeling defeated and weary. Day after day, month after month, year after year, I keep plodding along in several difficult situations that seem to have no end in sight.

I have planted and planted and planted, and in some areas of my life it seems there is no signs of growth or increase.

Oh Cool! Just now, after lamenting that I have been planting to what appears to be no avail for years, God brought to remembrance a conversation I was having with another blogger on one of my old blog entries day before yesterday:

http://desertroseinbloom.wordpress.com/2014/08/06/no-evil-shall-befall-you/

I commented, ‘Yes, I think the ‘close at hand’ is even closer at hand now. This last month things have been shifting and being set up for an outpouring in several areas. It’s not just one. I see a field planted with several different vegetables. They may not all be harvested at the exact same time but I see growth in various stages. Many areas coming to fruition in succession.’

Also, yesterday, God led me to this following prophetic word to encourage me to take refuge in him:

Arms, sheltering Arms, express the loving tenderness of your Father (My Father) in Heaven. Man, in his trouble and difficulty, needs nothing so much as a refuge. A place to hide in. A place where none and nothing can touch him.

Say to yourself, “He is our Refuge.” Say it until the truth sinks into your very soul. Say it until you know it – are so sure of it, that nothing can make you afraid.

Feel this not only until fear goes, but until Joy ripples through in its place. Refuge. Everlasting Arms so untiring, so safe – so sure.

I am as a wonder unto many; but thou art my strong refuge. Psalm 71:7

I posted this blog on my Facebook about a vision I had Sunday while at church: http://desertroseinbloom.wordpress.com/2014/09/08/the-arms-of-jesus/

My friend Aubrey commented on it yesterday telling me to look up September 7th,(The day of the vision) God Calling prophetic devotional. There I found the above entry ‘Everlasting Arms.’

It was particularly meaningful to me that God led her to read what was, at the time, a two day old entry only moments after she had seen my post.

I see how important it is to be vigilant over our thoughts and fight to stay in faith over the promises of God in our lives. One conversation, a lose, or one more disappointment, can be used by the enemy to make us forget all of the ways God has been encouraging our faith and strengthening us if we forget to praise him in all things.

The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms. -Deuteronomy 33:27

-Photo 2010, © Copyright

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The Arms Of Jesus

Yesterday, during the Elevation worship experience, our pastor asked us to join hands. As we were all standing, physically united, I saw a vision.

I watched as we became the literal body of Christ. Out from myself, as I was part of the body, and the others standing united, reached Christ’s massive arms. His arms stretched all the way around the city of Charlotte, drawing it to himself in love.

I am eternally grateful to be a part of this powerful move of God that is taking place here in Charlotte through Elevation church. We now have 11 locations. I attend the Uptown campus in the center of the city, which is only 1.4 miles from our house.

‘We exist so that people far from God will be raised to life in Christ.

All of his sermons can be heard on podcast. Here is a link to this wonderful free resource. Good stuff! Life changing messages.

https://elevationchurch.org/sermons-to-go

Or watched on our website:

https://elevationchurch.org/sermons

-Photo is Forrest with our pastor, Steven Fertick.

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Thankful For Simple Miracles

I love how God secretly arranges things in our favor, especially when our hearts desire is to help someone else. He loves to support our ministry efforts.

This morning I forgot my coffee on the kitchen table as I was headed out for a meeting. I had left a list of these 12 audacious faith confessions that I speak on a regular basis, put together by my pastor Steve Furtick, on the table in the hopes that Forrest would pick them up and claim them for himself this morning. I didn’t even pray about it, but God knew the desire of my heart was to see him start the day off strong in The Lord.

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When I came home several hours later and asked if he had found the last coffee creamer for his coffee, he said he didn’t need it because I had already made his coffee.

He then proceeded to say, ‘Good one Mom, you knew I would more likely read these faith confessions if you made my coffee and left them sitting on top.’

Actually it would be better said, ‘Good one Jesus!’

He knew Forrest need a little extra push to read them and perform what would have had to have been an act of God to block me from remembering to grab my coffee on the way out the door.

I told Forrest this and he responded by saying that the ‘thoughtful act’ as he had seen it at the time was in fact what compelled him to read.

I just love having Jesus as a co-parent!

If I were to record all of the simple daily miracles he performs in our lives it would fill volumes and volumes of books.

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Charleston + My Favorite Person= So Much Fun!

We pulled in from Forrest’s birthday beach trip with our two dogs (picked up from the dog sitter on our way home), a bike, two suitcases, several random bags of stuff, some stinky sand dollars gathered from the ocean floor with our toes wrapped in a t-shirt that had been used as a handkerchief, (Ew, and they didn’t end up looking at all like the pretty, dry, stinkless sand dollars you see at those little beach shops. Poor things, killed senselessly and dumped on my front porch, good for nothing but a weird scent for the dogs to sniff as they pass by for their morning walks), sand laden shoes and towels, plus a couple of fast food wrappers stuffed in the back my Saturn wagon.

The trip was amazing! I can honestly say that we made some of the best memories of my entire life so far. We are as close to being ‘equally yoked’ as we have ever been. There was no strife. We laughed SO much.

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We road bikes A LOT, stopping in to browse art at various stores or to grab a drink or snack. The houses in Charleston inspire the imagination. Biking by the homes along the bay, peering into the various gardens, I can see why so many novels are set with the backdrop of this wonderful place.

We pedaled along Charleston’s streets and I was ‘ooing and aaing’ over the architecture and flora. Forrest, on the other hand, was all like, “Land Rover, Porsche, Corvette, Land Rover, Lexus, Land Rover, Land Rover.’
He loves cars, which is a pretty major trial for him right now, as he is 18, still living at home and has yet to get a license or own his first car. It’s just not been in the budget. This vacation wasn’t either but thanks to a recent financial gift from my mother I made the decision to celebrate Forrest’s 18th birthday by spending money that would have logically been better spent on necessities than at the beach.

But I have no regrets, and how many people can pull off a 5 day beach trip for less than $300 anyway?

I am queen of stretching a $1. And since we spent $0 on lodging and limited our eating out while we were there, opting instead to using our Couchsurfing host’s kitchen to whip up some yummy food, it was easy to have a blast on a tight budget.


Forrest found a large knotty tree to climb while I tried, unsuccessfully, to maneuver his bike that was crammed in the back of my wagon, tangled in the massive handle bars of my rented bike. Forrest came down and pulled them out in no time. Never mind the hole that was left in the ceiling of my car by his enthusiastic assistance.

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We road our bikes from the Sullivan’s Island beach to the Isle of Palms one evening after weathering what amounted to a sand storm on the beach. I had suggested leaving right away, but Forrest, having caught the tanning bug, insisted we stay while he soaked in the last few rays of the day obviously unconcerned with the wind storm twirling around us.

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I differed and shuffled away after he pointed out it was my idea to hit the beach for the evening. Eventually I found my safe haven from the sheets of sand that were blowing down the beach and plopped my sun burnt, sun-block lathered body down where the ocean was inching up the sand and watched its final reach foam across my feet and legs as the sun began its descent behind the lighthouse.

Afterwards we hopped on our bikes and road through street after street of ocean front homes, crossed the bridge connecting the beaches, and decided to stop in a little ice cream shop among the row of beach stores on Isle of Palms. We sat on the patio enjoying the sounds coming from a nearby bar that had an outdoor band playing Jamaican sounding island music.

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It wasn’t until later that night that I realized that Forrest had failed to mention that my mascara had painted a dark shade of raccoon eyes on my face. Not sure how he could have let me sit there among a throng of beach goers eating ice cream and smiling with massive dark circles just hanging out on my face with a mirrorless bathroom only feet away I could have used to remedy the problem.

On the way back the wind was intense and it started to get dark. I love that time of night! Forrest has flashing lights on his bike and took up the rear to be safe.

Over the course of our trip we saw two movies at a very reasonably priced theater ($6) on James Island. Both were ‘Forrest’ flicks, it was his birthday trip after all; Teenage Mutan Ninja Turtles and Guardians of the Galaxy.

I found a restaurant that served some delicious crab cakes in the heart of Charleston one evening and I splurged, forgoing my usual water beverage for coke, which I rarely drink, and later remembered why. That stuff is like acid on the stomach. But a rightly made fountain coke sure does taste great.

On our way home we stopped at the Columbia Zoo and Botanical Gardens for a few hours. Fun.

You can read a short blog I posted while we were traveling here:

http://desertroseinbloom.wordpress.com/2014/08/24/celebrating-another-year-of-life/

Blooming in harsh conditions

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