I do not claim to be an expert on this subject, or any subject really. This is simply what has been burning in my heart on this topic concerning America. Terrorism is a subject that will never leave us in our lifetime. In fact, as much as we hope for things to get better, they will only increase in getting worse. We are living in the last days before the Lord’s Return as as such the enemy is running rampant.
The Boston Marathon bombing marked the beginning of a new wave of terrorism in America. There will be more similar bombings to come; the smaller yet deadly bombings is the new style that terrorists will carry out. Malls, airports, festivals, state fairs and even in churches, wherever large groups of people are we will see attacks carried out. They will be in smaller communities and not just isolated to larger cities. We will see attacks in Arkansas, Ohio, the very heartland of America will be rocked.
The enemy has been given access like never before into our country…we as a nation, have given permission to satan to operate however he pleases. We have set God aside in the majority of public avenues and as such we leave ourselves open to the schemes of the enemy. All this is not said for us to shrivel in fear. We have not been given a spirit of fear but of power, love and a sound mind! God will protect His people but that doesn’t mean that we will not face persecution. In fact the Church will be the largest target for terrorists and some attacks will succeed in this new era.
Persecution is inevitable and the battle will not stay in the courtrooms for much longer. Through it all, God will use the persecution to draw His Body closer to Himself and just as in the Book of Acts we will rally in unity and revival will break forth as only dreamt about. This will be a difficult yet rewarding season we are entering into as a nation. Multitudes will get saved and come to know the Lord Jesus Christ. The Church, in the face of terror, will be that shining city on a hill that will lead America in the roughest of days.
Through much prayer we can slow down and hinder the speed at which these events will take place. Prayer releases back to the Lord the authority needed to make this so. By our silence we empower the enemy; by our authority we can slow him down. This truth makes it all that more important that we pray and do everything we can to ensure that those around us are in relationship with Jesus. Dark days may be ahead but it is in the dark that the light shines the brightest!
How many of you have participated in the trust building exercise where you allow yourself to blindly fall back and “trust” that your partner behind you is going to catch you? If you haven’t done it personally, then odds are you have probably seen the epic fail versions that are all over YouTube. Sometimes we laugh at these awkward moments of letting go control into someone else’s hands but in reality it reflects entirely what Jesus has asked us to do. The Lord dropped in my heart tonight, “Are you willing to trust Me? Even when you fall?”
Trust is a lesson He is teaching me more and more of. I believe God is always calling us to a place of trusting Him, as Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.” When we truly trust God we not only give permission to be led by the Spirit but we willing make room for Him to lead us. Too often we speak it and think because we love God that we trust Him when love is based on His initial love for us (see 1 John 4:19) and trust is based on a consistent track record in a relationship.
I choose today to trust God with everything I am and all that I do because I know He is faithful, I know He is true to His Word. Whether I fly or fall, I choose to trust God. Do you?
Home, sometimes the most inviting place is the place you are most familiar with and that is where I find myself now. With Spring Break behind me I look back and I see it was a week set aside for me to encounter God and refocus my priorities. Each day was an adventure, a refreshing break from routine, in which God met me right where I was. I was empowered to be who I was made to be like never before and I bring that home with me. That made all the difference to me; because of that I was able to boldly be me and it led to a week of watching God move.
Now, the adventures don’t have to end. In fact new ones have started and I am determined to look for those opportunities to recognize and enjoy them like never before! If I have learned anything is that everyday can be an adventure with God if we are open to it! I believe this a part of that abundant life that Jesus came to bring us (see John 10:10). Let’s greet this day as a day that is full of God-appointed adventures, intentionally, letting Him have His way and watch the difference it makes.
Sometimes in life as you are pursuing God the road you take might suddenly turn in an unexpected way. These “suddenlys” if taken in the right heart will lead to some divine set ups for encounters with God. It’s God’s way of blessing us in many ways, whether it be in our finances, friendships or even opportunities to do what you dream of doing. You really can’t plan these and you can not sit back until they happen either.
This week has been a week of “suddenlys” so far and its only half way done. I came down to Alabama see this amazing family of God and to learn what I can. The transpired events have been confirming so much of what has been on my heart but unsure of. It’s challenging, provoking me deeper into the heart of God and realizing God’s plan for my life is nowhere as narrow as I thought it would be (that is for another day). It has been and still is an unexpected adventure. We’ve seen God move in awesome ways in the past few days and He is setting something much larger in place as well.
I really want to encourage all of you who read this not to give up on the dreams in your heart. Trust God to see you through the storm that you may find yourself in. Often that is part of the incredible journey that God will use (not that He authors anything that steals kills or destroys) but what the enemy meant for evil God will use for good as it is this day to save many people through your life and testimony (see John 10:10, Genesis 50:20, Revelation 12:11). These unexpected adventures become benchmarks in our relationship with God!
Picking up from yesterday’s post, we can often get discouraged when we have a disconnect from the dream that’s in our hearts and where we currently are. This is not an easy thing to face at times but as we learn to dream bigger we will see God connect the seemingly impossible pieces. When the enemy & our emotions stir the doubt and fears that time has planted within us we must NOT let go of the Word in our hearts. Faith is the very core of “dreaming bigger! In the times of disconnect that I have felt utterly lost and far from the dream in my heart I have said repeatedly, “God, I don’t understand but I choose to trust in You. I know You do not fail, if You said You will do ____ in my life then it will happen.”
I don’t know about you but my faith waivers far more than I care to admit but consistently God has proven His word to be true. Proverbs 16:9 says, “A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.” 1Thessalonians 5:24 says, “He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it.” Philippians 1:6, “being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;” God is faithful. In fact, as @PQSelf has said, “He is more faithful and committed to us fulfilling His plan for our lives than we are!” If we are going to be a Kingdom of people who dream big we must keep our faith focused not on our circumstances but on God! Our faith should be based on who God is NOT who we are/aren’t!
When we do this intentionally, the scope of our vision will be enlarged, our faith for what God wants to do in our life will be restored to what He has already declared (see Jeremiah 29:11-14a)! Then we will live in the perspective that Paul brought us in Philippians 4:13, “I can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me.“ This gets us on the path to live “dreaming bigger.”
With the publication of “Harlem Shake / Alma Mater Style” post yesterday it came to my attention that it was my 100th post here on ATW. While I was hoping my 100th would be a great successful and insightful post but it wasn’t. God definitely has a sense of humor; the irony of the fact that my 100th post was that of a viral craze proves just that! When I started ATW, it was all about stewarding my God-given gift, then it was about the numbers, then it became about finding myself…now it’s about expressing God and how I encounter Him in everyday life.
It has been over the past 100 posts that I have grown significantly as an individual. God has used this blog as one of His tools to do just that, to work the garden of my heart. It has shown me what really lies at my core, taking me on the journey to discover the scariest depth of who I really am. I have seen the limitations of my own ability and the exceeding abundance of God’s when I learn to trust in Him. ATW was simply a tool in the Lord’s hands in exposing the roots of my insecurities faith and fears. Ultimately helping me to grow in my trust in Him. Through it all, ATW became a vehicle for God, showing His faithfulness; showing me He is faithful beyond what I can comprehend.
I had a vision when starting this blog but I had no clue what to expect. Sixteen months and a hundred posts later God has blown my mind in what He has done and who He has revealed Himself as! I pray and invite God to continue whatever He is working in us here at ATW. Please continue telling your friends/followers to connect with what God is doing here at ATW. We will continue to seek God first, not only to dream BIG with God but #dreambigger encountering Him in everyday life!
I find myself in a funny spot today, taking a different path then the one I thought was laid. Without giving details I know you can relate. Maybe you thought a job/relationship/etc. was something that just seemed like God’s will but instead of seeing the dream come to pass it fell apart. We’ve all been there and if you say you haven’t then I would love to meet you, I need to learn your secret my friend!
Being a natural analyzer with a severe tendency to over think things I process things in broad strokes with as much detail possible & today I was going full speed internally. While processing everything that has happened/about to happen/what didn’t happen/etc. what came to mind were statements like “the secret things belong to the Lord (Deut. 29:29)” or the ultimate hammer into our perceptions: “His ways are not our ways (see Isaiah 55:8-9)!“ It was really stirring more questions that couldn’t be answered and produced a hesitancy for what’s to come.
Although, the truth is that these statements and more are so frivolously thrown about in “christianese (or church lingo)” that it’s like watered-down medicine…it’s true, it works but it lacks the full punch God intended. The truth is: “Religion comes easy but reality hits hard” (more on that later…). We have done that to ourselves but thank God for His patience to get through to us. If I believe the the Lord directs my steps, even though I plan my way, then why should I grieve my plan when He provides another? It’s not my place to understand what He is doing; my place is simply to be close to Him. Then I saw this quote on a friend’s FB status from Matt Pitt of The Basement:
“If you’re not in your dream yet it’s because God is still building the stage.”
Talk about God knowing what we need to hear and setting it right where we will collide with what He is saying!!! If you find yourself in a similar spot asking God about the timing of your dreams/desires/etc. then remember your stage is being built. It may not be time for that dream or desire now but it will be! We all walk in our “Joseph Seasons” of preparations but the end result is that we grow and God gets ALL the glory. Embrace the process, much as I am, and let’s see the wild awesome things that God has prepared for us (Ephesians 2:10) in this new season!
Yesterday was a historic day as the world received the news that Pope Benedict XVI, head of the world’s 1 billion Catholics , would resign at the end of the month. This is historic because it was the first time in 600 years that a Pope has resigned from the the Throne of St Peter. While I am not Catholic by any stretch, I do admire a few of the Catholics that I do know and the overall contribution of the Catholic Church worldwide. Whether you are a fan or not you can not deny the impact of Catholicism on history; in many ways what happens to them should matter to us.
In many ways, the Pope is the representative of Christ not just to Catholics but to people across the planet who don’t know God. In my lifetime I have only seen two Popes John Paul II and now Benedict XVI who will leave me with a deep impression of true humility and leadership. I can’t help but admire Benedict as he steps down citing old age and unable to perform the necessary duties of the papal position. They say, power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely but this Pope has shown us that it is not true. In holding and now resigning from one of the most influential positions in the world he shows that any leader should care more about the people that he/she serves than ones own reputation. A leader serves not for his gain but for those he is placed over. I believe it is time to get back to servant leadership as Christ modeled in perfection and the Pope has served as a reminder of just that in stepping aside for a younger successor.
My hopes in this is that the world will not just see this as the historic event it is, but I pray they see Christ at work and the remarkable example of leadership Pope Benedict XVI has shown us.
In the time since I last posted here much has changed in and around my life. Initially, the break was simply for the Christmas season and the busyness of all that it entailed but then life hit hard. My community lost one of our own in an unexpected very sudden passing, our brother Caleb Brice passed away at 28 years old. It was a complete shock and began a quick shift in how we all approach life. This, like any death of a family member, changes us. Caleb was one who loved so richly that his life has a huge impact beyond the grave. We know beyond a shadow of a doubt that Caleb is in heaven, with the kids from Sandy Hook Massacre, teaching them how to paint and just laughing and playing with them; dancing wildly in celebration. We will see him again, probably even sooner than we expect.
As a friend, I didn’t want to write on this prematurely but that is my personality…I think on things excessively. I analyze and I over think so I enjoy the friends I have around me that help jar me out of my process when I need it. In the aftermath, a friend posted a song from the band Will Reagan & United Pursuit called, “Take Back.” The lyrics couldn’t have been better to fit the moment we found ourselves in:
With the Wind at our backs
And in the strength of the Lord
We will rise on the wings of the Dawn
We’re going to take back what the enemy has stolen
It’s in the Blood of the One who’s Worthy
I know God has not forgotten all that’s lost and broken
So come and see the turning of the tides
Come and see his sons and daughters rise
For how could He who did not spare His own Son
Not freely give us victory against the darkness of night
We’re going to plunder the pits of hell
We’re going to plunder the pits of hell
It’s in the Blood of the One who’s Worthy
It’s in the Blood of the One who’s Worthy
It was this song that has been on repeat ever since & has fueled my approach through the process. What the enemy has stolen from us he will regret. For everyone that will ever come to know Christ through this family, it will be a reminder to the enemy that he messed up. We WILL plunder the pits of hell for the Church has been awakened and stirred to war. A friend who was visiting us when we received the news, not knowing Caleb, said it best: “This Changes Everything.” It has. It is and it will.
I got to start out and just say that God knows exactly what He is doing and His timetable is so much better than the one I ever had. True trust in the Lord begins in recognizing that He loves us and is working for our good. Romans 8:28 says: ”And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.“
Last night I was at an event called the Gathering, which is a time that believers from all over come to seek and encounter God, that is headed up by Abner Suarez‘s ministry. I went seeking confirmation for a possible assignment and instead God straight up blew me away with His goodness and His plan for my life. I don’t know about you but when we are in our comfort zone God will use us but only for a season, then it seems He will move us. God is not a fan of comfort zones. I know that I have spent an incredible time in my comfort zone of being with my family & church family but in my comfort I have came to question God’s will for my life. Will it happen? When? How? are the usual questions that flow through my mind but then God stepped in loud and clear. He spoke to my heart with a resounding question: “Did I ever say your destiny was tied to your comfort zone?” The answer is simply NO.
My calling, what God desires for me to do, is so much larger than me, that if it wasn’t for His grace I would be petrified of it. It is by God’s grace that makes any of this “call of God on my life” possible. As I was challenged last night I pass it on to you my friends: BE BOLD!
Be willing to step out of your comfort zones as we head into the new year believing for the crazy bold dreams that God has placed in each and every one of you! Don’t settle for that which makes sense but use faith and if God calls you to go beyond where you have ever been, then be bold and say just as Isaiah did, “Here I am Lord! Send me
(see Isaiah 6:8
).” I know I will be!