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|Posted on July 30, 2015 at 5:03 PM||comments ()|
Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! Well, we find ourselves in the middle of the summer, in the middle of the year 2015 (and prayerfully, I find myself in the middle of my life). It has been my observation that the majority (present company included) are usually spending more time dwelling on past exploits of life's journey or looking to the future, be it dread or hope, for what's next over the horizon, while neglecting the present position in the midst of the two tenses. This misappropriation of focus can even be considered a tactic of the enemy who means to do nothing less than distract us from the "present" (gift) that is called "Today", also known as "NOW". Be it the middle of life, the middle of the year, the middle of summer or the middle of the moment, we can do justice to amend or build on the past and prepare properly for the future by making the best of our current situation. So take some time today to smell the coffee, smell the roses, enjoy a conversation, feel some sunshine, appreciate the rain, savor a breath of fresh air, embrace your freedom, reach, teach and encourage a child, respect and support a senior, and generally live, laugh and love more --- TODAY!
My family just recently commemorated 16 years since we emerged from our wilderness experience...then officially proceeded in ministry. Our official ministry, ie. Christian practice, began in August 1999 at the Kalamazoo Gospel Mission. It was here that our faith walk continued and GOD showed us why we had to go through the previous 3 years the way we did, resulting in our week of homelessness. Those formative spiritual years prepared us to be effective ministers to others who were homeless. It also prepared us to deal with various aspects of ministry and to effectively cross denominational barriers. Those invaluable lessons that we learned served as a template for how to plan to proceed in our service unto the Lord globally.
"Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin, to see the plumb line in Zerubbabel’s hand.”
Zechariah 4:10 NLT
|Posted on December 30, 2014 at 8:54 PM||comments ()|
On the December 2014 “Naomi’s Daughters” broadcast we had two amazing and insightful guests; Sister Maranda Forney and Brother Mawejje Joseph all the way from Kenya. They brought a mighty message about giving that struck me so much that I had to write about it.
The need that they shared with us can be found at www.generationyouthuganda.org. This ministry was brought to Brother Joseph in a dream and we all know that God uses many avenues to show us our purpose in the Body of Christ. This dream told him that he was called to help girls and young women. He had the opportunity to speak to some youths and he was told that one of the larger needs for the young women was monthly sanitary products. That dirty rags was what they primarily used at that time. Now to women here in the United States, this is something that we have never needed to do, nor could we imagine, but ladies, the need does exist. This man, a man who has no need for the products, has taken this project on, among others, to help these needy young women.
Christ has called His believers to rise up and to take on the task of showing His love through them. He wants the world to see that the love of Christ is not just a tagline but that it is a real and a tangible thing. So much so, that He is calling us all to action. Just as the disciples in Matthews 14, Christ ministered to the 5000 that gathered around Lake Galilee upon his crossing. He healed the sick and then He gave them a word. In verses 15 and 16, the disciples suggested that the time had come to disperse the crowd so that they could go home and have a meal and Christ said, “No, you feed them”. I love the way that Christ gives us the word and an example of how to love people in need. Jesus did not agree in passing that the crowd maybe hungry, He did ask the disciples what could be done for the people, No. He told them to contemplate no longer and to feed the crowd. Just as Jesus told Peter in John 21:17 “Peter, do you love me? Feed my sheep.” It is our job to feed His sheep, to clothe the naked to visit the sick and imprisoned and to proclaim the Good News.
So, this is a call to action! I ask that everyone reading; everyone that is within the sound of my voice, open their hands and hearts to someone in need. Find a ministry, like Kingdom United Ministries Network, that is good soil and plant a seed! KUMN is good soil that has an honest heart (Luke 8:15 CEV). They listen and they obey the voice of God, being led by the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Generation Youth is an organization that is clothing the naked and welcoming the stranger (Matt 25: 35) The're many other ministries out there who’s greatest gift to the world is that they show the Love of Christ by caring for his sheep.
Find good ground, sisters and brothers and sow a seed. Reach out to your local church and get involved. I know that it can be a daunting task to find where your gifts are best put to use, but I challenge you to do as it is given to us in Ecclesiastes 9:10 and “do what your hands find to do.” Get busy spreading love abroad. Let’s not hide our light under a bushel but let our light shine!
Amb. Kathy Thompson
|Posted on November 18, 2014 at 12:28 PM||comments ()|
No Ordinary Storm
Mark 4:37-39 And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full.
And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish?
And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.
This was no ordinary storm. Previously, Jesus had been teaching on the kingdom through a series of parables. It was in this very ship that he taught by the sea side because of the multitude that had come to hear him.
He taught them the parable of the sower and the seed. He taught them that a candle is meant to be seen and that nothing in secret would remain hidden. He told his disciples that to them it was given to know the mysteries of the kingdom but that it was hidden from those who chose not to seek it out. And that if they didn’t understand the parable of the sower and the seed, they wouldn’t understand any other. Little did they know that the teacher was in his glory and their ship was his class room. They were being given the answers before the test.
Have you ever been given a dream, a word that resonated in your spirit that you knew, was more to it than met the eye? You knew God was telling you something. Something that took seeking Him to get an understanding? “It is the Glory of God to conceal a thing. But the glory of kings to search a matter out.” Proverbs 25:2 Jesus was the master teacher (orator). He could give a parable that man’s wisdom had no grasp of understanding. But it was not in the telling that they would learn, but rather in the test that followed.
After teaching many parables that day (lessons on various aspects having to do with the Word of God, the one who teaches it, enemies of the Word, those who receive it and those who don’t, why and what the word will produce) in verse 35b, the teacher is ready to give them the test saying “Let us pass over unto the other side.”
The scene is set. It is evening and along with the boat that Jesus and his disciples are on are several other smaller boats. Then comes an unusual storm. A storm so fierce that on the sea, it is of hurricane proportions. This in and of itself is unnatural as hurricanes are common only in large bodies of water such as the Atlantic Ocean. But this storm sends their boat reeling as the waves beat ferociously against it. The waves are so relentless, they lift the boat high almost touching the sky and with the tumult of the violent winds, send the boat crashing to depths of the sea. The deep looming sound of the creaking of the helm and the cracking of lightening overwhelms the men’s hearts as the waters that were once on the outside of the boat have now come inside and their boat is now full. Although a few of them are seasoned fisherman and have gone through storms before, they have never experiences anything like this.
Isn’t it something how no matter what you think you know about life, there are times when our faith is being tested that we face unusual circumstances that seem to come from nowhere?Psalm 107:23-30Amplified Bible (AMP)
These see the works of the Lord and His wonders in the deep.
For He commands and raises up the stormy wind, which lifts up the waves of the sea.
[Those aboard] mount up to the heavens, they go down again to the deeps; their courage melts away because of their plight.
They reel to and fro and stagger like a drunken man and are at their wits’ end [all their wisdom has come to nothing].
Then they cry to the Lord in their trouble, and He brings them out of their distresses.
He hushes the storm to a calm and to a gentle whisper, so that the waves of the sea are still.
Then the men are glad because of the calm, and He brings them to their desired haven.”
So the men cry out to Jesus and awake him from his rest. Now its one thing for them to be going through all of this and after all, wasn’t it Jesus who said “Let us pass over to the other side?” We wouldn’t be going through this if it weren’t for us following him! And to make matters worse, when we need him the most, he’s in the back of the boat (uh, class room) sleeping!
Have you ever felt like when all hell was breaking loose in your life that Jesus was somewhere asleep? But even the answer to this question (I’m sorry, test) had been given to them when he said in verses 26-29 of Mark 4:
So is the kingdom of God, as if a man should cast seed into the ground;
And should sleep, and rise night and day, and the seed should spring and grow up, he knoweth not how. For the earth bringeth forth fruit of herself; first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear.
But when the fruit is brought forth, immediately he putteth in the sickle, because the harvest is come.”
Now the master teacher is ready to reveal the lesson that he’d spent all the day teaching them. How well did they do? Did they pass? He arises (gets up out of his chair at the back of the class room) and does two things: He rebukes the wind and says “Peace, Be Still!” then turns to the disciples and asks them “Where is your faith?” Jesus never asks a question to get information. But this was a question of “location” (what ground are you?) for his disciples to answer.
All the day he’d been teaching them how faith operates and that there are enemies at work to steal the word it produces. He’d told them that depending upon the type of ground (condition of the heart), the measure of word they’d receive would yield the same measure of return. He had taught them that when the harvest (the test) came, that what they’d received would be manifest.
It would seem that Jesus would only need to speak Peace or to simply tell the winds to “Be still”, but upon looking closer at the lessons he’d been teaching them, there were two points of interest being addressed in this lesson:
The “Peace” was to the disciples who only needed to realize that The Prince of Peace was with them all along. That where, when and how He tells you to go is enough to sustain you when you receive and obey His Word. He will never lead you where He will not keep you.
“Be still” was to the elements that surrounded them (the winds, the waves). “What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?” Mark 4:41b This storm was not an ordinary storm. It was a lesson in faith that Jesus ordered and because he initiated it, he also controlled it. All along, as impending, dismal and horrific as it may have been for his disciples, it was all happening in a “controlled” environment. It came for them to “pass” over to the other side.
"Then they cry to the Lord in their trouble, and He brings them out of their distresses.
He hushes the storm to a calm and to a gentle whisper, so that the waves of the sea are still.
Then the men are glad because of the calm, and He brings them to their desired haven.” Psalm 107:28-30
You may be going through a storm right now. Speak peace over your soul and tell the winds to “Be still!” You are not alone, and this is no ordinary storm.
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|Posted on October 31, 2014 at 6:19 AM||comments ()|
28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose
Surely, Joseph didn't see himself second in authority only to Pharaoh in Egypt while in betrayal of the Dothan pit by his brothers. Genesis 37 Nor, did the three Hebrew boys have any visible sign that they would be delivered out of the furnace of affliction as they made a decision not to bow and worship the idols of Nebuchadnezzar. Daniel 3
But what they did have was something deeper, something more powerful and more real than the obstacles they faced. They had a "Know" that was greater than their opposition, more real than what they saw with their natural eye that in spite of danger, sustained them.
"And we know that all things work together for the good to those who love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose"Romans 8:28
When faced with opposition, tribulation or fiery trials that test you and bring you to your knees, you must embrace something greater than the facts. Facts can change and are contingent upon happenings surrounding them. Truth (God's Truth) is unchangeable. It can not be manipulated, it doesn't change due to circumstances but in fact, can "change" circumstances. John 17:17 "Sanctify them [purify, consecrate, separate them for Yourself, make them holy] by the Truth; Your Word is Truth."
The fact is, when we know what God's word says about us and the power we wield by it, we can walk in the assureds that whatever the battle we face, we have already won. And whatever has previously had us bound, we are now made free. John 8:32
It is in the knowing that Joshua and Caleb declared they were well able to dispossess the giants in the land that the ten coward away from. Numbers 13:30 In spite of the word of the Lord that He'd given them the land, they couldn't receive the "Truth" for looking at the facts.
Had they perceived that "a people who know their God are strong and will do great exploits" (Daniel 11:32) They would have seen the giants as nourishment for the battles to come as Joshua and Caleb referred to them as being "bread for us" Numbers 14:9
Having the "know" factor is what guarantees your victories when situations look impossible. It silences the evil forebodings that keep watch 1st, 2nd and 3rd shift assigned to keep you anxious and fearful. It gives you the bold confidence to speak and declare your outcome and initiates your help in bringing it into fruition. It is the determining factor that allows you to acknowledge your failures and shortcomings but not be limited by them.
The know factor will give you the ability to look death in the eye and decree and declare "Not today! Not like this! I will Live and Not Die! This is the will of The Lord!"
It will cause you to dare to step out into what God has divinely called you in to. No fear, guilt or shame will ever hold you back again when you know who you are.
|Posted on October 15, 2014 at 1:43 AM||comments ()|
Isaiah 43:21 The Message (MSG)16-21
This is what God says,
the God who builds a road right through the ocean,
who carves a path through pounding waves,
The God who summons horses and chariots and armies—
they lie down and then can’t get up;
they’re snuffed out like so many candles:
“Forget about what’s happened;
don’t keep going over old history.
Be alert, be present. I’m about to do something brand-new.
It’s bursting out! Don’t you see it?
There it is! I’m making a road through the desert,
rivers in the badlands.
Wild animals will say ‘Thank you!’
—the coyotes and the buzzards—
Because I provided water in the desert,
rivers through the sun-baked earth,
Drinking water for the people I chose,
the people I made especially for myself,
a people custom-made to praise me."
All to often, we have relegated praise to a feeling, an expression of gratitude and appreciation for the one being praised and haven't realized that it is more than this. Much , much more. In Proverbs 18:20 the psalmist states that a mans belly shall be satisfied by the fruit of ones lips and the writer of Hebrews 13:15 teaches us that we are to offer up to God "the sacrifice of praise which is the fruit of our lips giving thanks to His Name"
Praise is a POWER WEAPON that will still the enemies in our lives and defeat our adversary. We were created in the image of God to speak into our earthly lives what the will of God is in Heaven (Matthew 18:18 ) as God spoke in the 21st verse of Isaiah 43 "the people I made especially for myself,a people custom-made to praise me."
We were created to make manifest the glory of God on earth, unique to his design and purpose, operating from a power source not of this world. 2 Corinthians 10:4
(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)
Therefore, praise (out of the mouth of a believer ) is more than an admiration of the true and the Living God, but is a lethal weapon against anything that is sent into our lives to steal, kill or to destroy us. In fact, for each attack of the enemy, there is a specific praise designed to defeat that particular battle we are in. Our praise accesses the Heavenly hosts and commands divine strategies on earth. We see time and time again when praise went before the people of God, their enemies were defeated in unique and profound ways.
When we offer the "sacrifice of praise" we are doing more than confusing the enemy, we are declaring and bringing into remembrance previous victories and recreating the atmosphere for what was done before, to be done again. Our praise solidifies our victory both to our enemy as well as to us. There is "customized" power made accessible through our praise.
Praise (like mercy) must be new every morning. 1 Chronicles 23:30 We cannot fight today's battles off of yesterdays praise. But when we praise God and magnify His Name (identity, character and purpose) we enter into fellowship with Him by creating an atmosphere in which He can dwell comfortably in. We tap into the Central intelligence of the Holy Spirit where all things pertaining to life and Godliness are made available to us. We are made privy to information in the spirit realm that are more real than that in which we see with our natural eyes.
It is in this place of praise, where our weapons are custom made for the current battle we are in, may encounter later in the day or thwart an attack that was being formed against us. Isaiah 54:17 This is indeed the most powerful weapon against the enemy and the reason it is so often the most difficult to use. The enemy knows that if he can get us caught up in how we "feel", we will not enter into this secret place. Psalm 91 But for the believer, this is the safest, most powerful and effective position to be in.
As we begin to change our perspective to focus on the true power and authority we have when we offer up the sacrifice of praise and embrace that more than any other time, God is more with us when we praise Him, we will begin to see more victories in our lives. We will walk in a greater peace in knowing that our prayers are heard and we will begin to see those we encounter to also walk in greater victories. So don't wait, PRAISE HIM NOW!
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Love is an action word. And it is through our actions that we demonstrate the love of God. It is by this love that we show Jesus to others. We often verbalize our love in various degrees ranging from the love of ice cream to the love we have for people. However, when it comes to showing that we are Christ's disciples, it's not about what we say, but what we display.
In the 10th chapter of Luke, Jesus gives a parable of a traveler who is beaten, robbed and left for dead along the side of the rode. He is passed over by both a Priest and a Levite who go out of their way "not" to help him. Each could have helped the man. And at the very least, showed him some compassion. But a Samaritan comes along, binds up his wounds, carries him to an inn and begins to care for him.
The following day, he pays for the duration of his anticipated stay and leaves instructions to bill him for any additional costs.
When Jesus said in John 13:35 that others will know that we are his disciples (followers, representatives) by the love we have (display, show, demonstrate) one to another, I wonder who the world sees when it looks at the modern Church? If we are His hands and His feet, what are we doing with them? Where are we going? What does Jesus look like to those we encounter on a daily basis?
I'm not talking about the checks we write to charities or even the food shelters we may visit and even serve on Holidays. But what about on our jobs? In our neighborhoods or even in our homes? Have we mastered the art of "having " Church and focused less on "being" the Church? Has our adoption into the Body of Christ and His goodness and mercies toward us been such that we have forgotten "why" he called us?
Sometimes, (if we are not careful) we may get so wrapped up in the blessings of God that we forget just where he has brought us from. We can even suffer from a "spiritual amnesia" and loose patience with those who are yet where we once were. What causes us to become apathetic to the afflictions of others? Have we become a glorified "Club" rather than a outreach of compassion?
Jhn 13:14 If I then, [your] Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another's feet.
Jesus has given us an example as to what and how we should be in the world. As the servant is not greater than the Master, we are to be the Jesus that they see: On our jobs, in the schools, in our homes and wherever we have been planted. And what He has delivered us from and brought us through is not to be a worn as a garment of pride, but rather as a testimony of His Glory.
Isa 61:3 To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of
praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.
We are of God, and are here to make disciples of all mankind: To the person you see on the street whose eyes are dim of hope. And the next door neighbor who's struggling to find their way. What about the co-worker who feels they have nothing more to live for other than showing up? And at the end of the day, returns to an empty house. There is the child who's room is just a couple doors down from you, who longs to see the Jesus you talk about to others but gets placed on the shelf at home. And even that spouse who shares your bed, but has drifted into simply existing as you've pursued the "Better life" and have forgotten that there is an "Abundant Live" which Christ came to give. Are they seeing Jesus in you?
The only way anyone will know that He is real is by our love. Not the love we talk about but the love we walk about. We are living examples of who Jesus is by demonstration. And though some will remember what we say, most will remember what we did.
So the next time you see someone in need (on the street, on your job or in your home) or you hear of something that pricks your heart to move into action, don't silence the voice that speaks to your spirit and tells you "You are My hands and feet today!" Move into the flow of the Spirit within you to make a difference and allow the light of Christ to shine through you. You never know, you may be the only "Jesus" they see today!