The Reality of “No More Shoes”

Ah, shoes! For me it is a love hate relationship- If I could have it my way I would go barefoot everywhere- but alas! I am the one who could wear the same pair of shoes for years, and never purchase a new pair until the soles have detached! Sometimes it takes intervention-

However, in 2012 I was introduced to the glorious splendor of high heels! OH IF ONLY I could purchase a 1,000 pair, and be able to stand longer than 5 minutes in them! OH THE GLORY!!!!!!

In 2013 I found THE PAIR- …oh yes, look at these beauties!

Shoes

As BEAUTIFUL as they are, and OH THEY ARE beautiful, these shoes ended up defining how I would walk for the next 2 years of my life. They defined my focus, determined where I would place my attention, and even dictated how I would approach the Lord. These shoes defined desire, yet I was unaware of how my heart was being re-shaped, and my story was being slowly shifted.

In Exodus 3:1-6 Moses meet God in the burning bush, and was told that he MUST take off his shoes in order to step onto the Holy Ground- His life was about to shift!

The title of my blog today is not original! I borrow it from my Pastor, Jim Sheen, in order to reiterate what I believe must be heard today- Pastor Jim stated “Moses’ sandals represented his walk in the world…[the] Holy ground is the place of God’s greatest good for you–your assignment, your call. It is the place where you are willing to say, “God I am yielded to you.”

Beloved, as I sat and listened to the Word of God that day, I knew that I was being called into a shift, a shift that would ask of me to place my desires, my shoes, at the feet of Jesus for something greater. I was being asked to step onto the Holy Ground of my assignment- no matter the cost.

Up until this moment in time I was struggling to gain clarity from God. I could hear my desires loudly, all the while the sound of God’s voice was faint, calling out for me to step out of the past, and into my story. Pastor Jim declared that-

  1. To hear the voice of God more intimately, you can’t bring your shoes
  2. Holy Ground is where we hear the Word of God and respond to a life-altering call
  3. Your old shoes collect dirt and debris from the world […and MOST importantly]
  4. Removing your shoes is not optional. You can’t bring anything else with you into God’s plans for you.

Beloved, THIS shook me to the core! I COULD NOT bring anything else with me into the plans that God had laid out for me- I had to remove those shoes that defined where I was planning on going- make no mistake- I COULD have chosen another path- but Beloved, WHEN you encounter God’s fire removing your shoes is not optional!

If I wanted to step fully into God’s plan for me, and I did, there was a FINAL removal that needed to take place- no more shoes! Ironic isn’t it! I didn’t have to wear shoes after all!

Beloved, I came to realize that those shoes, and others I chose, were covering up my willingness be bare before the Lord- He wasn’t requiring me to be encumbered, He was inviting me, just me, bare feet and all, to step onto the Holy Ground of my assignment- where HE would cover me!

Beloved, are there shoes of the past, of personal desire, that represent a story for your life that God did not write? Can you hear Him calling out to you “Son, Daughter, take off your shoes, for where you are standing is Holy Ground!” Is it time for the shift?

May you have the courage to take off those shoes, to say “God, I am yielded to you!” And may you, like me, step onto the Holy Ground of the story He wrote for you!

 

Life Through The Spirit

As I was sitting before the Lord this morning He brought me to Romans 8- a familiar chapter to many. A chapter that speaks about the freedom that we have in Christ because of the sacrifice made, once and for all, by Jesus Christ, and our acknowledgment to come under the Spirit that gives life rather than being led by our flesh which brings death.

I continued on from verse one, and as I began to read vv. 10-11 God spoke so clearly to my heart- the passage reads:

10″If Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness. 11 But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from that dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.” (Romans 8:10-11)

Here is what God spoke to my heart: He reminded me that when I chose to believe in Him, I was filled with His Holy Spirit, and because I am filled with the Holy Spirit even this mortal body, that I exist in for my time on earth finds its life through the Spirit! This physical body that has aches and pains, that may be diseased, that may have extra weight on it, on an on the list could go- this mortal body has purpose.

This physical body that we find ourselves in, the one that perhaps we are not so pleased with, this mortal body has been given life through the Spirit!

Acts 17:28a states:

“…for in Him we live and move and exist…”

I believe that some may need to hear this word today- for some of you perhaps you, like I did, gave up on your body, gave up believing that both the physical and spiritual parts of you could work together in the story he wrote about you. Beloved, I believe God is saying today that HE alone has created you both your mortal body, and your spirit man- HE has purposed that both would work together to live out your story.

It will not be through the works of our flesh that bring our body into alignment with God’s perfect design, it will be our agreement with His promise that His Holy Spirit will give life to our mortal bodies. Our agreement from this place will enable us to yield to His deisgn, and give us the grace to move into a place of health in our physical bodies- it is the Spirit who gives life, not any other source!

I pray for you today that if you are struggling in your physical, mortal, body that the peace of God would wash over you, and that as God’s Son or Daughter you would know the incredible resource that is housed on the inside of you. If your body is facing disease I pray for divine healing. Beloved know this, GOD IS FOR YOU!

31″What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? 32He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? 33Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies; 34who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us.” (Hebrews 8:31-34).

Know today Beloved that Jesus Christ is interceding for you…and that every part of who you have been created to be (body, soul, and spirit) is given life through the Spirit.

Beloved, from the inside out let us pour out praise to the One who has given us life, and whose very breath fills our lungs!

Beloved, this is the story He wrote!

 

The Truth about Holy Spirit

As I have been sitting with the Lord this morning praying, I am being reminded of a moment this week that occurred in personal worship. I want to share with you now what the Lord revealed to me.

I felt stirred in my spirit to sing a song of the Lord over the church. As I began, these words came:

“God, cause Your Holy Spirit to fall on us, rain down on us oh God!”

As I repeated this phrase, one that was familiar to me in worship, God stopped me and said “Melissa, I want you to pray this way.” At first I did not understand, but in that moment of surrender to, I heard God prompting me to sing:

“Rise up on the inside of Your Sons and Your Daughters, Rise UP in us oh God!”

Growing up I was exposed to the movement of Holy Spirit; I saw with my own eyes Holy Spirit “fall” on people, followed by physical manifestations. I watched as Pastors and Elders laid their hands on men and women of faith, and then had a physical reaction. Yet, I sensed in my spirit that there was something more to be seen and understood about Holy Spirit than I was seeing with my physical eyes.

I believe in the physical manifestation of Holy Spirit; I have experienced it first-hand. However, please also understand this. The role of Holy Spirit in our lives is not one that is just personal, meaning meant to be contained and experienced by just us. Jesus Himself tells us the reason for which Holy Spirit was sent. We are told in John 16 that He, the Holy Spirit was sent to speak to us what we need to know and understand in the hour in which we live.

Let’s look at a few verses:

“13 In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.” (Eph 1:13-14)

Holy Spirit_Ephesians 113–14 [widescreen].png

Our lives were sealed, and filled with the Holy Spirit; the One who was sent by Jesus Himself to guide us into all truth, and to speak to us on behalf of Jesus (John 16:7-15).

Jesus proclaimed during His earthly ministry:

“38 Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’ ” 39 Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.” (John 7:38-39).
Jesus has now been glorified, and His Holy Spirit has been given. His Holy Spirit has been sent to us, and is living on the inside of us, He is here in order to“…convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment…[and] guide [us] into all the truth.” (John 16:8,13).
Beloved, the work of God is from the inside out! Housed inside each one of God’s children is everything we need to accomplish ALL that He alone has called us into. We are about to move into a new level in the Church with God, and it is important that we understand that what is housed on the inside of us is meant to be released from us out into the world. The Living Water that Jesus spoke about is what is housed on the inside of God’s children.
Many, myself included, have been reluctant and perhaps even scared of what would happen to them when Holy Spirit comes upon them. I remember as a child seeing my parents, and others at my church, shaking, laughing, crying, and singing the Song of the Lord. I felt the power of God, but I also could sense in my spirit there was more than just the physical manifestations. I came to understand Holy Spirit as one who would “fall” on people, they would physically react, and then church was over and we went back to our every day lives; it remained an experience rather than a life transformed; this I know personally.
Beloved, in this hour, as we prepare to move into all God has spoken, and written about His Sons and Daughters, we must be willing to truly understand our Helper, the Holy Spirit. Physical manifestations are not intended to be the only sign of Holy Spirit’s movement in our lives- nor are they intended to be scary- truly it is also lives that have been radically transformed from the inside out, and are being guided into all truth; it is the evidence of Living Water pouring out of our hearts; it is God having His way, and His Kingdom being released”…on earth as it is in Heaven.”  (Matthew 6:10).
Beloved, there is much to understand about the Holy Spirit in the days ahead, and I want to encourage your heart to be open to hear what God will say to His Son’s and Daughters. We will be learning the truth about Holy Spirit, and the way in which the gift of Holy Spirit will empower us to move for the sake of our King.
Take time to sit before the Lord, and ask Him to prepare you to hear truth and walk in it. The days that are ahead in 2016 are exciting- and the Holy Spirit has been given to us to “…guide us into all truth!”
Beloved, this is the Story He Wrote!

Your First Love

This evening, in the midst of a challenging study session, the love of God washed over my heart & mind- and it was if I heard Him say- “Don’t forget in the challenges Melissa what you have been created for- don’t forget your first love- remember Me.”

Immediately, like a scene being selected on a movie reel, I was sent back to one of the most impactful moments in my life; a moment where I met my first love and it forever changed my life.

I was no more than 8 years old when I stumbled upon my Mother that morning. I remember every step I took that led me into our living room where I found her. I vividly recall the French door that I walked through, covered in a white sheer, its glass handle I turned to enter into that room filled with, what I came to learn was, the presence of God. There I was standing at the entrance of that door where my little eyes and heart were enraptured with her heavenly encounter- this moment would not only change her, but her child as well.

I found my mother there on her knees, face resting on her bible, and tears streaming down her beautiful cheeks. This was a holy moment- a moment between Father God, and His daughter- my breath stilled, and my heart beat for One I did not yet fully know or understand- yet was destined to love. Beloved, the moment was that simple, yet that profound. Over the years until the moment she stepped into eternity, I watched my Mother encounter the One she loved above all others- Jesus- over and over again. I would watch as this woman, who faced many challenges in her life, remained connected to Jesus in a way that stirred my heart for the same.

My Mother passionately loved Jesus, and I witnessed this most profoundly when she would sing and play the piano. From the moment her fingers graced the piano, to the moment her lips opened with a sound that only one in love with Jesus could offer up, the presence of God became such a reality- heaven touched earth! As she sang, not just about Jesus ,but to Jesus, tears would stream down her face- she was SO IN LOVE WITH JESUS!

The following year on my 9th birthday I said yes to Jesus, and I was forever connected to my First Love.  I believe with EVERYTHING in me that Father God knew who my Mother would be, and knew that I would encounter her that morning there in the living room, and that it would stir up on the inside of me a passion for Jesus that would not only move me, but those watching me.

During this season, and throughout our lives, there will be times that we unintentionally forget our First Love; we become busy with good intentions for the Kingdom, graduate studies overwhelm us, the demands of life call on us in exhausting ways, and our love may grow faint.

This evening, while all alone in my office working on my studies, my First Love visited me, and stirred my heart once again for just Him. Beloved, in Revelations 2 Jesus is speaking to the church of Ephesus calling them back to their First Love- He states His awareness of their good work for the sake of the Kingdom, yet it is not the works taken into consideration but the connection to their First Love that in the end would grant them access to the Tree of Life (2:1-7). It was as if I could hear Jesus saying “Melissa, I know your graduate studies are challenging, I know there is much to be done in my name, but have you forgotten your First Love.”

Beloved, Father God is so proud of you! He sees your hard work, He sees the love you have for His Kingdom, and for the call that is upon your life. Beloved, sit back for one moment with me…can you sense His presence…can you feel His touch…do you need to reconnect with your First Love? Allow Him to wash over you tonight…allow Him to stir up a passion…a First Love passion!

My graduate studies are not going anywhere- but it’s my heart that will soar tonight!

…my heart is the wick, His love is the flame, and I will burn for His name!

May this song stir your heart for your First Love tonight…

Beloved, this is the story He wrote…

 

 

 

Behind The Music

I LOVE music…it’s in me…it moves me…it inspires me…it is a key that continuously unlocks the God designed places on the inside of me & those around me.

Lately I have been very interested in the story behind many of the songs I listen & worship to. So, I have begun to find behind the music video’s that allow me to understand why the song was written in order to connect me even more.

A few weeks ago, at my church, we introduced the song “No Longer Slaves” by Jonathan David and Melissa Helser. It is a VERY powerful song that connects the story of the Israelites crossing the Red Sea, to the way in which God has parted the seas of fear to cause us to walk through on dry ground to the places of promise- it declares that we ARE children of God!

As I sat on Monday afternoon listening to the reason behind this song becoming an addition to a recent album, I suddenly became more connected to the song…but more importantly to the author’s. I was moved by Melissa’s behind the music account of this piece, and I found myself listening & watching more intently. Take a moment to watch…

…if you have never heard this song…you will find it at the end of this blog!

I began to think, how often do I interact with those around me based upon the song they are singing, the words they are saying, the way they are acting, and never take the time to get to know them behind the music. How often do I connect to someone to better understand who they really are, and what makes them uniquely them!

What an awesome gift we have been given Beloved to be able to step behind the music in each others lives, to go beyond just the lyrics, and come to understand one another on an ever deeper level. How AMAZING is it that we serve a God who is NOT distant, and who invites us to step behind the music to know Him beyond the lyrics.

Beloved, today you are invited into a song that is connected to a story! Today there will be people all around you, today you will be surrounded by God’s presence; take a moment today to connect with one person around you- learn about their story!

Take a moment today to connect with the Author of ALL stories- step behind the music!

because today & every day we are invited into…the story He wrote!

Yield To Design

Last week I had the opportunity to spend time shopping with some of my family. I was walking down one of the aisles of the shop we were in, and all at once it seemed as if everyone was leaving the store. We were all taking turns coming out of the aisles and exiting the store. It was my turn to step out of the aisle and there was a older gentleman to my left, I paused to let him go, but he stood there, looked at me and said sternly “Ohhhhhh no, you must go first!” I turned to him, thanked him, and continued moving along. He of course was next in this holiday procession, and I heard him muttering, and then suddenly his speech became clear. He stated, as he walked behind me, “Thank you so much for allowing me to let you go first, my Mom would have been so proud of me!”

Now, keep in mind this was an older gentlemen, not a young child who was learning manners while in this stuffed-to-the-brim holiday store. This was a gentleman whose design was to honor me in that moment, and it appeared that this opportunity to live out his design brought great JOY & DELIGHT! I later shared this story with one of my sisters, and it was her comment that struck me. She was stating how oftentimes women do not allow men to care for them in this way, and our culture has become accustomed to everyone just moving along in life in this manner, and not yielding to the design of each other.

I could not get this gentlemen’s comment out of my mind, and it was not just his comment but the JOY that went along with it. I began to think even further…Where do we fail to yield to the design of those who surround us? In what way would yielding to design cause individuals to connect to the story written about them?

God who has spoken forth every life, has spoken us forth from His design- a design uniquely woven into the tapestry of humanity that has purpose- a purpose that points back to God. Each life, and your own, is designed to connect to another, and another, and another, until all of the pieces form the whole- this is the Body of Christ. Those connections are not only unique, but vitally important to our purpose being fulfilled body wide.

Ephesians 2:21 states:

Ephesians 221 [widescreen]

…each one of us, each one of our designs, has been spoken forth by God for the purpose of becoming a place for God’s glory to be seen. Each life, each story has a purpose, and it is when we choose to yield to design that we begin to see the Body of Christ become one for the Holy One!

Today, as you continue moving about remember that each person has a story, each person has a purpose, each person has a design- lets make it our JOY to yield to design this week! Let’s make it our JOY to allow those around us the honor of stepping into who they were created to be!

…this is the story He wrote!

#livetolive

“For to come to know Jesus intimately, as he is, as he wants to be known, is to release a redemptive landslide in your life. There will be no stopping the goodness. The first purpose of your existence will be resolved, and from there you are set to fulfill all of God’s other purposes for you.”

-John Eldredge “Beautiful Outlaw

Beloved, I have been set free! And I HAVE to tell you all about it so you too can experience this goodness!

On November 9th I woke to an atmosphere that was FULLY CHARGED with life! Just days before it was a struggle to get out of bed. I in no way hated my life- I rather enjoyed my life in many incredible ways, but there was one thing missing- it was the full release of past pain. You see, at every turn my pain was right there with me- pain that was out of context really. Pain that had nothing to do with my present reality, yet manifested as such. Unknowingly pain of the past was the lens through which I saw my life, and the people around me- and this context distorted my present reality. I was misinterpreting A LOT of things, and A LOT of people UNTIL God revealed Himself to me on Sunday November 8th.

The words I distinctly kept hearing repeated were… LIFE, LIFE, LIFE- LIVE, LIVE, LIVE! And I thought to myself “Lord, you know this is my desire.” The very next thing out of my Pastor’s mouth was:

“The devil doesn’t want you to believe in who you are. He doesn’t want you to believe in how good God is. He doesn’t want you to understand how free you are. So, the devil exploits your pain.”

-Jim Sheen Zion’s River

 As I like to say: “Whoop…there it is!” That was it- the devil had been exploiting  my pain- the devil had been using what happened to me in the past, brought it into the present, and I was becoming less and less convinced of who I was in Christ, how GOOD God is, and how FREE I really was. The next statement was:

“As long as you focus on your pain, you won’t believe in your healing. As long as you are talking about what has been done to you, you’re not talking about what God is doing through you”

-Jim Sheen Zion’s River

…there it was again! You see Beloved, without recognizing it, I was focused on my past pain, and I had stopped believing. I spent more time evaluating my pain- I was no longer testifying! Yet, in this moment on November 8, 2015 it was declared-

LIVE!

-James Sheen: Zion’s River

The redemptive landslide that Eldredge declared would happen- happened that morning! The pain was exposed, and LIFE came bursting forth. Beloved, Jesus came for YOU! He came to bring life in EVERY way! I pray that just as God did this for me he would do it for you- may your pain dissipate and may His LIFE-GIVING presence so consume you that you too can declare- I will live to live! No longer will pain define you- LIFE lived to its FULLNESS will be your testimony!