Posts

Stop living dead.

I took the stage this weekend with a different confidence.  As I was spraying my hair to set it Saturday morning, I called Lisa one of our team members into my room and said, “If no one shows up today, this conference will be a success.”  I am confident that last weekend’s Terre Haute conference was one of the most obedient acts The Blush Network has done to date.  Now, let me say, we have ALWAYS followed right behind our God, but because this was my hometown, this was different.  The church I grew up in brought me to church discipline for filing for divorce from my abusive husband 12 years ago.  For twelve years, I have felt the sting of the death of my childhood.  The act of rejection was one that I have carried with me for years.  Hear me on this, I have moved past this and that act of rejection has literally aided in the growth and blessing of The Blush Network.  I believe overcoming that trial developed character in me that I must have to lead Blush.  God’s resurrecting power was at work last week as I emotionally prepared to go back to my old stomping ground.  I knew because of all the spiritual warfare our team had experienced this date would be significant and satan was working hard to keep us from coming back and claiming that ground.  Because of severe attack we almost cancelled the event, but after three days of prayer, we decided to move forward. The event was resurrected because God spoke loudly to the board of directors and we were unanimous in obeying the Lord.

When I took the stage, I was ready for anything, I knew lives in the audience needed the resurrection power which was the message God placed on my heart all week.  God spoke to my spirit and said, “There are a ton of “Autumn’s” in this audience. Preach what you needed to hear all those years ago.”  So, I preached with a new confidence exactly what God had done in my life and the response was overwhelming.

Last Saturday April 12, not only were lives resurrected, but faith, dreams and spirituals tombs.

I submit to you today in blog form my second message to the audience and ask you to contemplate the verse, “Death where is your sting? O grave where is your victory?” 1 Cor. 15:55

As we celebrate the resurrection power this weekend I know that there are several areas in your life that may need to be resurrected.  Three different scenarios come to mind.

  1. Your dream – Some of you believe that the dream you have had for your life is dead.
  2. Your faith – Even reading this as a Christian you have no faith.  You don’t believe that God can change your circumstances, you almost smirk at the idea that God is that powerful.
  3. Your soul – Some of you reading this have never accepted Christ as Lord.  Sure, you are in church, but you know as you are reading this, there was no conversion.  You may have said it with your mouth or gone forward at a camp, but you never had a heart change.

WELL, TODAY IS THE DAY FOR RESURRECTION POWER.

If your dream has died

I see Shunammite woman in 2 Kings 4:8 who was very hospitable toward the prophet Elisha.  She made Elisha a room in her house whenever Elisha was passing through her town Shunem.  She did so much for Elisha that Elisha asked what he could do to repay her.  Elisha’s servant spoke up and said, “Truly she has no son and her husband is old.” So Elisha blessed her and the next year her son was born.  Elisha blessed her with a dream she had, a son.  It happened when the child grew up that he had a severe headache one day and died in her lap.  Her dream died. BUT LOOK at her response…

She sent word to her husband to make preparation for her to go to Elisha.  SHE DID NOT TELL HER HUSBAND his son died, she focused on the one man that could resurrect her dream.

2 Kings 4:23b,

And she said, “It will be well.”

When she found Elisha he went to the home where the boy was.

2 Kings 4:32-35

When Elisha came into the house, behold the lad was dead and laid on his bed. So he entered and shut the door behind them both and prayed to the Lord. And he went up and lay on the child, and put his mouth on his mouth and his eyes on his eyes and his hands on his hands, and he stretched himself on him, and the flesh of the child became warm. Then he returned and walked in the house once back and forth, and went up and stretched himself on him; and the lad sneezed seven times and the lad opened his eyes.

A couple of points…

 

  1. The Shunammite woman DID NOT BURY THE DEAD BOY!!!!  She called for the prophet to resurrect HIM!!!!! He was her dream and she knew the power of God could do just that!!!  You out there that have buried a dream and you are still alive, WHAT ARE YOU DOING!! You job is not to have a funeral over what you think is dead, your job is to call on the power of God to resurrect it!
  2. Elisha prayed in private!  His prayer was so intentional that it brought a boy to life.  Pray brings about resurrection.  When he prayed for a while the boy BECAME WARM.  He was not brought back to life at first, but the resurrection was beginning.  You must pray the thing through.  DO NOT GIVE UP JUST BEFORE THE RESURRECTION.  If your dream warm?  Do not stop praying now!  Pray until it is resurrected!!
  3. DO NOT BURY THE DREAM WHEN YOU FEEL IT HAS DIED, RESURRECT IT WITH THE POWER OF GOD.

 

If your faith has died

The story of Lazarus dying had nothing to do with resurrecting the dead.  I am confident it had everything to do with resurrecting the faith of those who stood by.  Our boy Lazarus got sick and Mary and Martha notified Jesus and Jesus stayed where He was a couple of more days, when Jesus got to Bethany Lazarus was dead.  On the way to the city Bethany Jesus told his disciples, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I go, so that I may awaken him.”  Before Jesus even got there He knew He was going to resurrect Lazarus. He tells his disciples in John 11:5,

 

I am glad for your sakes that I was not there so that you may believe but let us go to him.

 

He basically told them He was about to show them something that would make them believe. When he arrived His first words to Martha was, “Your brother will rise again” after she told Him if He had been there her brother wouldn’t have died.  When her brother died, SO DID HER FAITH.  She had faith to a point, but not to the point of resurrection.  Her brain could not believe that much, it was too hard for her to understand.

So Jesus standing in the midst of mourners and a very upset family walks to the tomb and He said three words, “REMOVE THE STONE.”

The stone was the object that stood in the way of seeing the great power Jesus was about to unleash.  The stone in your life is unbelief.  You believe to a point, but you cannot wrap your head around some things.  YOUR JOB IS TO REMOVE THE STONE OF DOUBT IN YOUR LIFE.  The stone of doubt is robbing you of seeing something as amazing as the resurrection power.  Without the removal of the stone, Lazarus would not of been able to walk out of the tomb.  When they removed the stone Jesus cried with a LOUD VOICE, “Lazarus, come forth.”  This easter season, Jesus begs to to COME FORTH.  It is time to remove the stone and accept that in your life the impossible it probable.

If your soul is dead

Jesus had been killed on the cross three days before by the very people he did wonders among…His body lay in complete stillness resting from the weight that had been placed on His shoulders.  It was finished and satan’s hordes cheered, BUT THIS IS WHAT THEY WEREN’T EXPECTING…THE RESURRECTION POWER OF GOD.

Matthew 28:2a

And behold, A SEVERE EARTHQUAKE had occurred…

The earth convulsed as it could not house the it’s very CREATOR ANY LONGER.  The earth violently shook as it rejected the fact that Jesus was overcome.  The earth itself couldn’t accept His death because He was the one that furnished it with life.  It was the moment that LIFE OVERCAME DEATH. It was the day that gave me and you hope…it was the day that death died.

DEATH NO LONGER HAS STING AND THE GRAVE NO LONGER HAS VICTORY.

The death and misery of your soul is because your soul also cannot reject the very Creator that gives life.  You are trying to, but as the creation of God, your soul is quaking as a result of accepting sin as something that is final.  I tell you today that I was you and the day that I decided to reject the concept that my miserable life was the way it was going to be and accepted the LIFE THAT ONLY MY SAVIOR CAN BRING, I was resurrected.  Today is the day my sweet reader for you to reject the idea that you cannot overcome.  HE IS THE GREAT VICTOR WHEN IT COMES TO DEATH.  This Easter accept Him as King.

 

I got saved on Easter Sunday morning in 1992 in Terre Haute, Indiana.  I was resurrected so I can write this to you.  Believe, sweet reader, I adore you.

Staring at hope

I sat across the table from my friend; it was my turn to catch her up on my life. The last few months have been months that I wouldn’t change for anything because my God has been refining me. I said with ease, “These last few months have been interesting.”  She replied with, “I know.”  She then said two words that brought me to tears because those two words were the two that the Lord had been laying on my heart.  I quickly asked her, “How did you know?  Did you read something or hear me speak?”  She said, “No, I’ve been praying for you.”  We sat silent and I marveled at the moment.

 

There is nothing like an honest, life-giving conversation with someone that you respect and trust.  One conversation that has intrigued me for weeks in the resurrection story is the story about the two men that encounter Jesus on the road to Emmaus. I have been puzzled, angry, and encouraged by it all at the same time.

 

The story is found in Luke 24:13-35. I’m gonna sum it up for you and I’m gonna preach, so hang with me!

 

Two disciples of Jesus were traveling on the road leading to the city of Emmaus on the day of the resurrection.  We know that their journey was about seven miles, which may have taken them about two hours.  While they were walking, they were talking really intensely about their dear Leader, Jesus, and His crucifixion.  Luke tells us that Jesus appeared to them and prevented them from recognizing Him, then asked them what they were talking about.  In my study, I discovered that Scripture tells us that one of these men was actually Joseph’s (the earthly father of Jesus) brother and he was married to one of the Marys.  The two men were shocked that Jesus (who they didn’t recognize) asked them about the events that they were talking about.  Surely, they thought everyone knew in the area what had happened to Jesus of Nazareth.

As they told Jesus about the crucifixion, Luke says that their demeanor was sad. (Note that Jesus was talking to His earthly uncle).

 

Take a look at the dialogue:

Luke 24:19-21

19 And He said to them, “What things?” And they said to Him, “The things about Jesus the Nazarene, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word in the sight of God and all the people, 20 and how the chief priests and our rulers delivered Him to the sentence of death, and crucified Him. 21 But we were hoping that it was He who was going to redeem Israel. Indeed, besides all this, it is the third day since these things happened.

They continued telling Jesus that some women went to the tomb and Jesus’s body was not there.

This is the part that is frustrating to me.  These two men had eyewitnessed EXACTLY what Jesus had told them was going to happen. They saw the crucifixion and the empty tomb. Yet, they sadly thought all hope was lost.  Even though they walked with Jesus, they didn’t believe that He would do exactly what He said He was going to do.

Jesus response was priceless.

Luke 24:25-26 says that Jesus said, “O foolish men and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken!  Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and to enter into His glory?”

The prophets Jesus was referring to may have been Moses in Deuteronomy 18:15:  “The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your countrymen, you shall listen to Him.”  Or, Jesus may have been referencing the great Isaiah and the chapter about the suffering Servant in Isaiah 53.

The line that gets me about this passage in Luke is 24:21, “But we were hoping that this was He Who was going to redeem Israel.”  I shudder just reading that.  There they were talking to the risen KING OF KINGS and their weak faith said, “but we were hoping.”

I shudder because I’m convicted and challenged.  Sweet readers, OUR GOD ALWAYS DOES WHAT HE SAYS HE WILL DO.  I have heard people say things like, “I prayed about it, but God doesn’t answer my prayers.” Or, “The Bible is irrelevant.”  Some people have just given up hope that God even cares about their situation. I know I am writing to someone today who feels just like these men.  You believed that something would happen and hoped it would and then it appears all hope is lost!  You may be in despair wondering where God is in your situation.  You may be so destitute in spirit to the point you can’t pray. My challenge to you today is that our God always stands in VICTORY. He is not weak or defeated.  He is the Warrior Who fights on your behalf continually. He is just as available to you as these men. Don’t miss Him.  One of Jesus’s last words on the cross was to His mother in John 19:26-27.  He said, “Woman, behold your son,” then looked at John and said, “Behold your mother.”  Even in death, He cared for His mother. He also cares for you.  Your pain.  Your wait.  Your anger.  Your frustration. Your hurt. He is waiting for you, and get this, HE IS ALIVE.

Let me pray for you today.

Lord, Almighty, Father, God.  I come before you today on behalf of my sisters and brothers that are facing insurmountable odds.  I ask you in the name of Jesus to give them a season of rejoicing.  I ask you to show them that you are the Risen King and are knocking at the door of their heart with a specific message for them.  Refresh them this weekend with the remembrance of your Son’s sacrifice and glorious resurrection.  Lord, we need you.  We are a needy people with needy lives.  Please move in the readers of this blog today and refresh them with your power. In the Name of Jesus I pray, Amen.

Exercise faith.

Faith is not rewarded until it is exercised. The bountiful riches of faith after it is exercised comes so unexpectedly to the dependent soul who dares to trust God.

Faith is easier when one recognizes their utmost need of the Supernatural.  Trial sings an almost beautiful song when God shines through the storm and brings forth the most glorious of rainbows.

Eddie and I sat in the court room completely anxious, but at peace.  I watched from the back of the room as the judge walked in.  Eddie sat beside our lawyer who had become such a gift from the Lord; across the room sat a person who God had used as a tool to stretch us beyond our wildest imagination.  The proceedings began.  I cannot tell you the depth of despair I had been endured the previous year. Eddie and I had felt abandoned, blessed, strong, weak, desperate, and favored all in the same year.  Each day on the calendar seemed to bring on a new challenge or blessing.  We knew not what it brought — we just knew that Jesus must be the center of it.

A couple of days before this court date, I was getting ready for church with my kids.  I had been in heavy prayer and was waiting expectantly for God to do something.  I felt heavy in my spirit that the Spirit of God was ready to move in our situation, so I was ready.  As I got my kids dressed, fed, and cleaned up, a small voice inside my head said, “Pack a bag.”  I nearly said out loud, “What?”  I went on fussing with my kids.  A few minutes later, the voice came once again, “Pack a bag.”  So, I considered doing just that because of the strength of the directive.  However, the kids were nuts and I decided to head to church instead. After church, Eddie received a phone call about a serious situation involving his mother and, since his mother lived 500 miles away, I knew why the Holy Spirit had prompted me to pack a bag.  We went immediately home, packed up, and headed to Eddie’s hometown.

When we got there, God immediately and quickly started answering prayers.  Prayers that we had been praying for months.  Prayers that no one except the Lord knew were even uttered in our minds.  God answered one of those prayers that day in the courtroom.

There we all sat.  My heart was beating so rapidly that I thought for sure I was going to pass out.  The time it took the policeman to read information about the case seemed to take an hour.  Then, the judge spoke, all of us listening intently to what he said.  I had prayed for this man constantly over the past year.  I had been tormented with the urgent need to pray for him and this moment that we knew was coming.  When he spoke, he asked a question of the opposition’s attorney.  Something like, “Did you file your paperwork?”  I was a little caught off guard by this question.  The attorney said, “Yes, I did, but because the numbers for this case were so close to another case, I filed the wrong paperwork.”  All I could think was, “What does that mean???”  The judge replied, “Then you are not here, you are at this moment just a bystander to this case and I will not hear your answer.”  The deflated opposing attorney took her seat and sat quietly.

We immediately won the victory.  Our attorney explained that the opposing lawyer had been practicing law for 20 years and there was no reason for her to file a different case number —  except for a miracle.

Faith.  God honors it only when it’s exercised.  Eddie and I had been specifically called to do a certain task.  We were very young (and still are), but God asked us to do something that was extremely difficult.  We didn’t know how it was going to turn out, but we knew that we had heard from the Lord.  Accepting the call caused great trial in our lives, but I can tell you today that if it wasn’t for that season in our life, I wouldn’t be sitting here today leading The Blush Network.  God richly blessed our small amount of faith.

Hebrews 11:6

And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is the REWARDER OF THOSE WHO SEEK HIM.

In my life, faith has been a factor.  I will not live my life without experiencing the Might of the Almighty. You, my sweet reader, have no access to His blessing or unlocking His power until you exercise faith.

The all consuming power of PEACE.

My family made the trip to Indiana almost two weeks ago to go be with my entire family for my dads quadruple bi-pass and maze procedure surgery.  We had heard over the holidays this past year that this type of surgery would be a possibility for the symptoms my dad was experiencing.  Hearing of it then was a blow to my family’s security.

 

My dad is like no other.  He and my mom have been my pillars of the faith my entire life.  They have dealt with many hardships and trials brought on by satan and have triumphed with grace as the Lord had led them.  I can remember my dad always making time for me and my two siblings.  I remember after meetings with leaders of the church he pastored bringing our family home dairy queen just to let us know he was thinking about us.  He always put us first.  There was no question of where his loyalty lied.  He would take our calls during the work day and listen to whatever ailment we were encountering.  Although we didn’t have a ton of money growing up, we didn’t know because of the sacrificial giving on his part.  He is quite the man.  As he gets older, he has become not only my father, but my friend.  In the line of work God has blessed me in, I am always looking for insight on the pages of the scripture, when I hit a road block, I call Dr. Bible (my dad) to see what his insight is. He always has something to say that is solid which has grown my appreciation for him in a different way.  He doesn’t just teach the bible, he applies it.  He is famous for his 5 words of genius.  My dad isn’t perfect, but striving everyday for righteousness. I applaud his faithfulness to our heavenly father because every bit of it I have benefited from.

 

To say it would be a loss if anything would happen to him would be a understatement. So, the news of a major surgery was difficult to swallow.  In the past couple of months I have prayed for wisdom and guidance for my parents as they contemplated the decision to have this surgery.  Even though the circumstances were scary, the more I prayed, the more peace I had that this surgery just might be the answer to the healing prayers for his heart I have prayed for years.

 

When the time came for my parents to schedule this surgery, my siblings and I were all asked what we thought.  Knowing the peace God had given my heart, I was able to give a confident “yes” to the surgery.

 

The morning of the surgery was difficult.  Eddie and I had traveled the entire day before and were exhausted, but we woke at 5a to be in the lobby of the hospital by 5:45a.  As we went in the room there was a spirit of heavy anticipation.  Dad wasn’t talking much.  My family and I prayed with Him and then we left it in God’s hands.  Before they wheeled dad to surgery I hugged him and said, “I know you will be totally fine and I believe it will bring you complete healing.”  After I said that he looked at me and said, “Are you sure?”  Without a breath of hesitation I was able to say, “100%, without a doubt”.  When they took him to the holding room it was an amazing confirmation when we saw a picture of a man being operated on with Jesus standing behind him.  We all cried.  God was offering us the peace of knowing that He would perform the surgery through the surgeon that was chosen.

 

 

 

There is nothing like the gift of peace.  In the midst of hard circumstances, without the gift of peace we can almost lose our minds.  Peace doesn’t cost any money.  It isn’t something that can be forced on you.  You have to accept the gift of it from our Lord.

When we try to do things on our own anxiety creeps in and almost consumes us. Anxiety will murder any attempt at peace.  I love this phrase that the great Apostle Paul wrote in his letters to the churches of the New Testament.

 

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

This phrase is is found in

Ephesians 1:2

Galatians 1:3

1 Corinthians 1:3

2 Corinthians 1:2

 

He used it several times.  It was Paul’s way of greeting the churches in his letters.

Knowing Paul’s journey spreading the gospel, he did not have it easy at all.  He had experienced being in prison, beatings, scourging, ship-wrecks, and etc.  He had a life full of crazy hard trials and still chose to greet us with the wish of grace and peace. I know that most of us if we even experienced one of these difficult things we would be pushed over our emotional edge.  However,  facing any of these things knowing God is reigning over it, brings us peace.

 

One of Gods name’s is the Prince of Peace.  Whatever situation you are in His peace power is available to you.  The bible calls this His peace, the peace that passes all understanding.  You can only gain it when you understand that God is taking care of your trial.  Rest in Him, my sweet friend.  He longs to ease the burden you bare.  He ways are so high, nothing can throw you if you are counting on Him to work.

 

I adore you, friend.  Thanks for reading.