For You Dear Reader, With Love

Last week, before I traveled to spend a few days with family and friends in DC and Maryland, I told the Lord that I wanted my next blog post to be centered around you.  I asked Him to give me ideas and thought naively that I would write this blog post while I was down there visiting.  Of course, that didn’t happen.  Here’s what has happened…  This morning, I looked at my Facebook newsfeed’s, “On This Day” section and saw the memories I made on this day, last year and years before, and I found the perfect thing for you!  It’s a prayer that I wrote.  Instead of just writing word for word though, I’m adding to it and changing it a bit, as I want to make it more of a declaration for you than a mere “wish list”. So, here it is, for you, with lots of love, my dear reader.

I speak peace and joy over you. No matter what is going on in your life and around you, may you always remember that you are never alone, never without options, fully surrounded, and deeply loved.  May every trial you face, push you further into the arms of your Father until the enemy refuses to waste any effort and/or resources targeting you.

I command healing over your body, from top to bottom.  His blood flows through your veins.  You are His family and because healing is the children’s bread, eat up and savor every morsel, dear one.  I decree that not only are you healed, but you are transitioning to walking in divine health because as a child of God, it is your right, your inheritance.  Jesus left no one sick.  His will is always that you be healed, so I declare that over you, in Jesus name.

I speak encounters with the Person of Love over you, knowing that perfect love casts out all fear and I pray that you would give the enemy nothing to agree with in your life, thereby giving him no room to enter in and run rampant.

I decree that all chains and strongholds over your life are broken and destroyed.  You are free.  You are free to be you without apology, fully being who you were called to be before the foundations of the earth.

I decree that your mind is being daily renewed in such a way that you don’t suffer from that old, ugly orphan spirit.  I decree that you walk in an ever increasing measure of revelation regarding who you are and Whose you are, so that you are free from being critical, bitter, depressed, worn down and out and lonely.  The truth is, you are loved with an everlasting love, fully surrounded and cherished, just for being.  There is nothing you can do to make God love or value you any more or less, so I declare that the religious spirit is not a part of your life, making you think you must do something in order to get something from the Lord.  Before you knew Him, He loved you, chose you, appointed and called you.  Before you were born, He died for you and gave you His all.  You did nothing to deserve or earn it, He did it because He loves you.

I declare that you are wise as a serpent but harmless as a dove.  You don’t easily fall for the enemy’s tricks to get your focus off God and onto yourself and your faults.  If your focus shifts to your faults and makes you feel like you are back to square one, “Just a sinner, saved by grace”,  I ask that Holy Spirit would pull you back from that religious way of thinking.  You are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus now, no longer a sinner, no longer a slave to sin.  Your focus is ever on your Father and His immense love for you.  No distractions.  When you focus on you in this way, you’re missing out on what God has for you and what you are to give others around you. This is self-centered, not at all as holy as it seems.  The Father does not want us beating each other or ourselves up over sin.  He doesn’t do this to us.  He paid for every single one of our sins long before we were born.  Focusing on your shortcomings does not help you to get better, as what you focus on is what will grow in your life.  Focus on the Father, confess all to Him and allow Him to change your focus. Be filled and stay filled with all that He has for you.

I declare that wisdom and understanding be your closest companions.  I ask that you become adept in stepping back, outside of yourself, when things happen.  That you would climb into your Heavenly Father’s lap and see from a higher perspective, what is truly going on and behind every situation you face.  I pray that you take to heart the fact that we wrestle not against flesh and blood.  I declare that you see with greater clarity than ever before and can have compassion and wisdom in every circumstance.  May your eyes be opened to the enemy at work so that you don’t fall for his tactics.  I speak a constant flow of Holy Intel over you, straight from Holy Spirit.  You won’t miss a thing.  You have the mind of Christ.

I declare that you are filled to overflowing with every good thing- so much that you can’t help but affect and infect others with the goodness of God.

I declare that you live, truly live, not just exist. You will not just reach your destiny, but you will enjoy the journey and help others do the same.

I declare a holy unrest over you that causes you to refuse to stay where you are forever, that you would be both content but also rise ever higher in life.

I declare all the best for you, as I want for myself. Let’s rise together. There’s no ceiling. There are no walls. If you have built any for yourself, my prayer is that you would break through them and be free.  I love you, dear reader.

It’s All the Body of Christ

I absolutely love where I am right now.  I am speaking of the weekly services I attend at Heaven’s Invasion and more.  I must say that every other church experience I had, held this sometimes spoken, sometimes unspoken but definitely understood notion that everything you needed was all “in house”.  If you missed service there, to go elsewhere, you were missing out.  It was almost seen as a sin to go elsewhere for your spiritual needs.  Almost as if you literally stepped outside the Faith and dabbled into some other religion.

Now, it is totally different, I see the body of Christ on a much broader spectrum and can go to other churches and know that I am still home.  I have two such homes besides Heaven’s Invasion.  One is Calvary Tabernacle and the other is The Sanctuary Fellowship in the Bronx.  Gary Fishman is one of the pastors at The Sanctuary Fellowship.  He interpreted a dream for me, and I learned that he has an annual prophetic summit in September (this year it is September 17th), so I went.  I swear, when I walked in the building, I immediately felt at home.  I was in no way, a mere visitor, it was so comfortable.  I immediately fell in love with the people and the worship was other worldly.  I actually met my pastor, Russ who led a workshop there but I didn’t realize he was actually 20 minutes away from me in NJ.  Gary later invited me to Heaven’s Invasion to give a testimony during their Thanksgiving dinner celebration.  That was my first day at Heaven’s Invasion and we have been going ever since.

Anyway, Gary has these amazing workshops and classes every 3rd Saturday in the Bronx. As much as we are able, we are front and center for them.  These are people who exude the nature of Jesus so well and completely, one can’t help but feel welcomed, loved and at home with them.  I have met many there who are invaluable to me.  It is my home in the Bronx!

Then, we have Calvary Tabernacle… (((le blissful sigh))) Calvary is so very special to me for several reasons. First, this is a place where Pastor Clem has allowed several churches to occupy the same building.  That speaks volumes!!  Heaven’s Invasion is one of the several ministries that meet there.  Again, this is a place that is so comfortable.  There is so much love there.  My favorite part is the youth.  Oh, my word!! I have never seen such an amazing group of children.  Children who truly love the Lord and each other with an openness that makes me tear up every time I see them. My two oldest daughters joined the youth group last year and loved it.  This spoke volumes to me because my oldest has been a part of many youth groups and she never stayed with any of them because they were very superficial.  The kind that says don’t have sex, live holy. They plays games, eat snacks and that’s about it.  She wanted more and found it at Calvary.  These children are learning to hear from God for themselves and others, they are learning to go deep with the Lord and are truly world changers.

I tried to stay away.  My children are all homeschooled and I wanted them to have something that I wasn’t a part of, but of course, God had other plans and my girls are thrilled that I am there.  Last July, the day after I had the first of 5 consecutive miscarriages, the prophetic evangelism group that I was a part of was invited to attend a meeting with the high schoolers of the youth group and prophesy over them.  What a night that was for me!!  There was one boy that I immediately loved, named Aaron.  God revealed to me that although he had been through some serious and strenuous things, he has an amazing calling and future ahead of him.  I prophesied over several others that night but at that time, he stuck out to me.  I was also touched by the leader, Dennis.  His love for the children was almost palpable.  I was amazed.

I used to drop my girls off on Wednesdays and just sit in the car, trying to stay away but slowly, as I sat in that parking lot, reading or talking on the phone, God began to speak to me about various kids.  Sometimes I gave them what God gave me, other times, I just stood back.  Eventually, I ended up inside the building, but in another area as I waited for them to be done each week.  Then, I don’t even remember how it happened, but I ended up sitting in the back during their service with my son who is normally asleep.

By this time, God started to speak to me about them, directly and through others.  My friend Evelin and so many others gave me words about them.  Evelin and my girls were the only ones who knew I was secretly in love with these people but trying to stay away.  Eventually, I became a leader and I have never been happier.  When I considered asking about being a leader, I hadn’t said anything but I remember Will, another leader, coming to me saying, “Have you ever considered becoming a leader?  It’s obvious that you love them and have a lot to offer.”  I said something snarky like, “Prophetic much?” because I’d literally just heard this from God.

When I finally went to Dennis, of course after needing so many confirmations from God, (such faith huh?) he said yes, and said that I was an answer to prayer and that he wanted to speak to Russ first.  I connected him and Russ thinking he wanted to speak to Russ and make sure I wasn’t a lunatic.  I later thanked Russ saying, “Thanks for the good character reference, they bought it, I’m in, lol!”  Russ said that Dennis never asked about my character, he simply wanted permission to have me.  Russ, told him of course, he didn’t own me anyway, lol.  I was floored.  I still am.  We don’t even attend this church but we all understand that we are the Church and are therefore, family.  I thought that because I wasn’t a member there, I would need to go through some protocol but no.  I can’t tell you how honored I am to be among them and how very much I love them.

All this to say that I am so happy that there are parts of the Body that know that we are all family and truly live this out. There is never any mess about denominations or anything divisive.  It’s all love.  It’s all Jesus. I couldn’t be happier to be here in NJ, at this time.  This is how the body of Christ should live. Together. United, in and by His love.

Keeping Connections Strong

Last week, the highlight for me was relationships.  My relationship with God, with my children, and, I’ve been taking notice of how people treat one another on social media as well.

My goal with God is that He becomes more real to me than my husband and children.  He already lives in me so there is no such thing as getting closer, but greater intimacy is what I am after.

I was talking with some of the teens from our youth group about practical ways we can grow in intimacy with the Lord.  We all took pause after I mentioned how we tend to do more talking than listening with God.  I illustrated this by pretending to call Him on the phone.  I asked Him what He feels I should do about such and such, and what He thinks. However, instead of pausing for an answer, I hung up the phone.  This is how many treat God.  Some insist that He doesn’t speak to them, but are they really listening?  Is time set aside to just be with Him, basking in His presence, receiving from Him instead of making requests or talking incessantly? If we treated the people we see in front of us the same way we have often treated God, would we have friends?  Would people want to be around us?

My relationship with my children is another very important one to me.  I don’t hesitate to discipline them when I need to, but, I have lots of fun with them too.  I am big on respecting children.  I refuse to give more consideration, benefit of doubt, respect and patience to other adults or people period, than I am willing to give my very own children.  I don’t make every mistake they make about me and focus on how it makes me feel.  I’m more concerned with helping them learn and grow, and in doing so, it helps me to learn and grow as well.  If they do something that disappoints me, I don’t necessarily need to tell them that.  They know I’m not happy when they do something wrong.  I’m more concerned about why they thought to make the choices they made that led to doing wrong in the first place.  I want to get to the root of it and keep the connection I have with them intact.

This doesn’t mean we don’t ever get angry with one another, but it does mean that I treat them with the same respect I would treat anyone else with, if not more. I don’t have to make any declarations about being their parent, they know that, and, I am not just their parent, I am their friend also, at every stage of our lives together.  I don’t lord my position and authority over them as children and expect that when they become adults, things will magically change in our relationship and they will want to be my friend.  Why would they? I do my best to model Jesus’ example. He led with love and respect. Why should I do anything less?

With all that is going on in the world as of late, there have been many heated debates on social media and elsewhere.  I thank God that He has been showing me the enemy’s part in it all. I see how the enemy wants to pit us all against one another. Because of this, I am not all emotionally stirred up, fearful, and more.  I see and pray more effectively because He has given me the ability to come up higher and see the bigger picture and operate from an opposite spirit. After all Ephesians 6:12 says, “We wrestle not against flesh and blood…”.  We have to remember that only love can conquer hate.

The topic of honesty keeps coming up as well. I know people who know they are brutally honest. Some of them seem to take pride in it, not realizing that they are, a lot of the time, more brutal to others than honest.  In their quest to be and do right, they viciously mow over others hearts with their words, alienating people and making enemies in the process.  We must prioritize.  Do we care more about being in the right or our connections with our friends and family?  I am admittedly a very black and white type.  I don’t see a lot of grey.  I like things to be done in order and correctly.  I have pet peeves that center around so many different things like grammar, chewing loudly, music and more, but I value people so much more than I value the need to be right and tell others how they are wrong.  I want to strengthen my connections with people, not tear them down just to be “right” in this moment.  We need to value one another.  When it gets down to it, we all just want to love and be loved and respected.  We can do this. Let’s love one another better. Are you in?

Letter to My Brown Skinned Son

As I nursed my brown boy this morning, I took a peek at my Facebook news feed.  There was lots of fear and grief.  Fear and grief that I understand well but am no longer willing to participate in.  I remembered being a willing participant and what I wrote.  I asked a question that no one answered.  They only liked that I’d asked the question.  In that moment of looking through my newsfeed, the answer came to me and I started off writing this status update:

“Still finding my joy, strength, peace, security, love and identity in my Abba!! I will *not* live in fear. I refuse.

Last time this kind of tragedy occurred, I was pregnant with my brown skinned boy. I knew in my heart I carried a boy, and when Trayvon Martin’s murderer seemingly went free, I freaked. I remember crying out and I believe I posted on Facebook, “What will I tell my son?! What will I teach him?!” I’m different today. I don’t have all the answers, nor do I understand, but I have one answer. As God would have it, I have the answer I need most. As I see people I love grieve and freak out, I know what I will teach and tell my son.”

What will I teach/tell my son? The following and more as God reveals it to me…

Jeshua, I will teach you all I know about the wonders of our Creator.  Your first name Jermaine means, Bud, Sprout.  You are now that tiny bud, a bud that is indeed sprouting into a more beautiful being with each passing moment. You are chosen, a royal priesthood, a prince, a mighty man of valor, seated with Jesus in heavenly places. (1 Peter 2: 9, Judges 6: 12, Ephesians 2:6)  I see great things for you Son and I’m not the only one. I will hold fast to the prayers and prophecies over your life and teach you to do the same.  You will fully understand the meaning of all your names Jeshua Michael- God is salvation, Who is like God?

I will teach you the reality of  verses like Ephesians 6: 12, “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”, and Proverbs 23:7 which states, “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he”,  1 John 4:4 says, “Greater is He that is in me, than he that is in the world…”.  In fact, together, we will delve deeper into the life of John.  See, John thought himself to be untouchable.  They tried to kill him but it didn’t work.  In the end, he was exiled to an island where he spent the rest of his days.  He thought himself untouchable, and he was… Ephesians 3:20 says, “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, *according to his power that is at work within us*,” What power is at work in you my son?  I declare that you are not like the Christians in Rick Joyner’s book who, donned in all the armor and weaponry they needed to conquer their enemy, actually carried tiny demons on their backs, allowing the enemy to do as he pleased and even helped him accomplish his goals in their lives and the lives of other Christians.  That’s not you. That’s not your destiny.

I will teach you that what you focus on is what will expand in your life.  Choose God, little one.  Focus on Him and realize what it means to stand still and know that He is God.  Get all your strength, happiness, peace, love, joy unspeakable, identity, and security from, through, and in Him.  Spend time in His presence just being-not doing, not talking or asking, just being.  He will speak to you in those moments and you will get answers Son.  Answers that will carry you through moments like this one I’m experiencing right now where people around me are deeply grieved, fearful, downtrodden and I have a peace that is just… unearthly.  Nothing around me has changed for the better, yet, I type this out of a solid surety that our God just is, and that’s more than enough.  In fact, I am excited as I type this, I see so many exciting things for us all.  We are in for some wonderful things!! So, you don’t have to live in constant fear because your skin is brown.  That’s not your focus or destiny- to live in fear because, God is our source, our all… “He gives us the power to live, to move, and to be who we are. We are His children…” Acts 17:28