It’s good to be with you today. It’s been a while since I’ve shared with you, so I asked Dutch if I could take a day to spend some time with you. He’s in the office working on a wonderful teaching you’ll be hearing next week - it’s one of my favorites.
I want to share from my heart today. Here we find ourselves in 2023, after having lived through a worldwide pandemic, and for me, I spent 2022 dealing with the greatest health challenge I’ve ever experienced. I don’t think there was anyone who wasn’t touched by the pandemic in one way or another. We are now all on the other side of these situations, getting reacquainted with life - going to restaurants, taking vacations, and such. Although we have weathered the non-stop hand sanitizer, the constant wearing of masks, and all the other extenuating circumstances, the thing I missed the most during those years, was gathering together with other believers. Our church stayed closed much longer than we had hoped, and to be honest, nothing was the same afterward. Personally, I have been pretty dry, even starved, as it were, for presence-driven worship and fellowship with like-minded believers.
So, last week I did something about it. I went to a conference led by our friend, Cindy Jacobs - The Deborah Company Conference, in Dallas, TX. Because of my illness in 2022 and the pandemic, I hadn’t been to a conference or attended anything like it in quite a few years. I know there are other great conferences and churches I could visit, but I felt that Holy Spirit had something for me in Dallas, and He did.
Some of my friends whom I’d not seen in years also attended this particular conference, so there were lots of hugs as well as amazing speakers. For me, there’s nothing like worshipping - being in God’s presence with other believers. The room roared as like-minded hearts worshipped Jesus together. It ministered to my soul.
Hebrews 10:25 in the Passion Translation says: “This is not the time to pull away and neglect meeting together, as some have formed the habit of doing. In fact, we should come together even more frequently, eager to encourage and urge each other onward…”
I came home with my cup full.
I also came home with my heart challenged. Through the speakers, I heard about women who are involved in helping young girls (and children) get out of human trafficking. The movie, The Sound of Freedom, is in theaters right now. It’s the story of Tim Ballard, a man who was gripped by the need to help those imprisoned in human trafficking. Sad to say, this is an epidemic, not just in the world but in our country, as well. Although these situations make us feel helpless, there are things we can do to help people get free.
I also met a lovely woman who is the wife of the president of one of the African nations. This dear lady, who is a strong believer, shared her story about going to every state in her nation, having a local meeting, and praying for her people. This first lady wasn’t concerned about her social standing or even her safety. Her heart was broken for their people, wanting to do whatever she could to help them. However, she knew that help begins in the spirit realm.
We don’t have to look very far to see the dire needs within our own country. It’s not the same place it was even five years ago. Dutch, my favorite teacher, does a masterful job of teaching us that we are in a spiritual war and have tools - spiritual tools with which to battle the enemy. Even though the needs in some places within our country are dire, we must encourage ourselves and tell ourselves the truth: we are not without hope. While the news outlets want us to believe evil has won, that’s just not true.
John 16:33 (TPT) tells us: “And everything I’ve taught you is so that the peace which is in Me will be in you and will give you great confidence as you rest in Me. For in this unbelieving world, you will experience trouble and sorrows, but you must be courageous, for I have conquered the world!””
Romans 8:37 (TPT): “Yet even in the midst of all these things, we triumph over them all, for God has made us to be more than conquerors, and His demonstrated love is our glorious victory over everything!”
And one of my favorite verses: “Never let evil defeat you, but defeat evil with good” Romans 12:21 (TPT).
There are ways we can help with human trafficking. This has gripped many of our hearts, and it should. Give to a ministry that IS on the front lines helping rescue these women and men - they need funds to do what they do, and they must have your prayers. Pray for them - pray that evil will be uncovered and exposed. And pray for their protection.
My challenge to all of us today is not to stand still. Do something. The pandemic seemed to paralyze us, making us want to stay at home and not get involved in anything! We have been taunted by fear if we get involved in anything. But today, I’m issuing a call - even a summons. We are good at praying - and we definitely need prayer - but we must also DO. Ask Holy Spirit where you are to serve.
We all feel comfortable serving in our local church. Without us realizing it, however, we have formed a subconscious response. If the needy come to church, we will be there for them - help in any way we can. But let’s be real. They are not coming to the church. Jesus went to them, and so should we. It’s time to get uncomfortable. Tell yourself the truth - You (me/we) are all part of the solution; now, let’s do it.
We are already dissatisfied with what we see - the needs are great. But maybe He is asking you to really get uncomfortable, possibly even to run for the local school board (which, by the way, is one of the easiest places to get elected). You don’t have to currently have children in school to be on these boards. Maybe you can help out at a food bank, a clothing distribution center, or a local ministry that helps within your city or county. We have one in our area - run by a single mom - who helps the migrant workers in our area, making sure their children have backpacks and school supplies, as well as a gift at Christmas. They help in many other ways, as well. These ministries are in your cities - and the needs are endless. When you ask Him, Holy Spirit will show you where and how to help. We are His hands; we are His feet - every single day - maybe through just a hug or a kind word. As Holy Spirit leads, ask if you can pray with those you come in contact with - He can give you a word of knowledge (1 Corinthians 12:8-11) that will open the door to you being able to share Christ and His love with them.
Years ago, we moved into a new neighborhood. I baked loaves of banana bread, cut them in half, wrapped them nicely, and tied each one with a lovely ribbon. Dutch and I went door to door to each house on our street, introduced ourselves, told them where we lived, and extended our friendship. One lady almost didn’t open the door when we knocked. She said, “I’ve heard about people doing this, but I’ve never seen it done before.”
There are many ways we can extend our friendship, our knowledge and wisdom, our service, and our prayers. Allow Holy Spirit to strengthen you while in your quiet times with Him. Ask Him how and where He would like for you to represent Him. Maybe He is asking you to get involved in your local government. Perhaps it is praying over a map of your city, county, region, or nation while at your kitchen table. We must have prayers because they fuel everything else we do.
Today, God is asking some of you to be courageous and obedient - our time of sitting in our homes is over. It’s time to use what God has given us, and be brave.
Pray with me:
Father, I thank You for my friends who are here with me today. Thank You for their desire to know and serve You. We are all on the same team - fighting for our families, our cities, and our nation. We link arms today and agree together for Your Spirit to sweep over our land.
Lord, these areas You’ve given us - the things You ask us to pray for, the places where You ask us to go, the assignments where You ask us to serve - we do it with Your strength, and boldly ask for Your wisdom. Fill us with Your Spirit. Help us to represent You well.
In Christ’s name, we pray. Amen.
We decree that we will be courageous and obedient, getting out of our own little worlds to represent Him!
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