Put on that hat!

Over the past couple of months while being in my wilderness season, I sought out God but it was as if nothing was speaking to me, perhaps the spirit of discouragement had set in. My heart hardened towards God’s words and promises and I lived out of head knowledge knowing God is good but also doubting His goodness at the same time. Have you ever been there? I mean it really felt like every sermon, song, and scripture was bouncing right off the walls of my heart. I realized I had to awaken the spirit of expectation and anticipation inside of me, and instead of doing it on my own, I asked for God’s help. “Lord, I come before you asking for your forgiveness and mercy for doubting your promises and faithfulness. I have allowed disappointment to set in and it has become a stumbling block, please remove it. I cannot do this without you, I repent and want to walk in a steadfast Faith no matter what may come my way, soften my heart towards you Jesus”. How many people know that the Lord loves a broken vessel? How many people know that the Lord loves when we ask for His help? I can tell you that when my requests went up to Heaven His grace and mercy came down, Glory! It was instantaneous that my demeanor and stature changed at His throne, and my heart was able to beat again and hope.

As I dove into the Word moments later, all the revelation of God started pouring out on me and I was able to hear His voice again. Once you experience the presence and spirit of God it is difficult to go without it. I know that during the wilderness our circumstances only make life harder but trying to go throughout without hope makes everything seem impossible. The Lord brought me to Deuteronomy and as I started reading bits and pieces of it, I came across chapter 28 and the words on the page rocked my world. (Read the whole scripture, I promise you’ll love it):

Blessings at Gerizim

28 “Now it shall be, if you diligently obey the Lord your God, being careful to do all His commandments which I command you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth. All these blessings will come upon you and overtake you if you obey the Lord your God:

“Blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the country.

“Blessed shall be the offspring of your body and the produce of your ground and the offspring of your beasts, the increase of your herd and the young of your flock.

“Blessed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl.

“Blessed shall you be when you come in, and blessed shall you be when you go out.

“The Lord shall cause your enemies who rise up against you to be defeated before you; they will come out against you one way and will flee before you seven ways. The Lord will command the blessing upon you in your barns and in all that you put your hand to, and He will bless you in the land which the Lord your God gives you. The Lord will establish you as a holy people to Himself, as He swore to you, if you keep the commandments of the Lord your God and walk in His ways. 10 So all the peoples of the earth will see that you are called by the name of the Lord, and they will be afraid of you. 11 The Lord will make you abound in prosperity, in the offspring of your body and in the offspring of your beast and in the produce of your ground, in the land which the Lord swore to your fathers to give you. 12 The Lord will open for you His good storehouse, the heavens, to give rain to your land in its season and to bless all the work of your hand; and you shall lend to many nations, but you shall not borrow. 13 The Lord will make you the head and not the tail, and you only will be above, and you will not be underneath, if you listen to the commandments of the Lord your God, which I charge you today, to observe them carefully, 14 and do not turn aside from any of the words which I command you today, to the right or to the left, to go after other gods to serve them.

Did you notice all the promises and blessings the Lord has spoken in this text? My goodness, talking about abundance!!! When I read this passage I told myself, “that’s it Courtney, this is God’s promises to you, REJOICE”! I grabbed a hold of this scripture and declared it over myself twice, and made sure that I believed it in my heart and mind. Of course the devil is going to try to make me doubt and try to uproot the promise but I just told him to go back to hell! Wouldn’t you know that the next morning when I woke up and turned on a sermon, the pastor was talking about favor and miraculously used Deuteronomy 28 as the basis for his message! Haha Devil!! I laughed and thanked the Lord for His confirmation that surely this scripture was for me.

Now that was yesterday, and today I got up and declared the scripture over myself again, “I am above and not underneath, I am blessed coming in and going out”. Can I just tell you that when you start declaring God’s promises aloud, the devil hates it because we are now walking with the authority of Christ. When Jesus was in the wilderness, Satan would manipulate scripture and use it in false context and Jesus would fight back with the true Word of God. (Matthew 4)

I exercise about five days a week, mostly going to the gym which was my intention today but I thought it was nice enough to go to the park and workout. I always wear a hat when out in the South Florida sun because I can’t afford to get any more damage to my skin. I was hoping and praying that I had a hat in the back of my car, I start searching and thankfully found one, a pretty sky blue baseball cap that had hot pink letters and read “BLESSED” on it! LOL! Praise God almighty!! The Lord commanded me and said “put on that hat”! The way in which He said it was like very matter of fact. I am blessed and I am highly favored in the name of Jesus! We are conquerors, survivors, delivered, prosperous, forgiven, and loved! I tell you brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ, put on that hat in which God commanded you to wear, walk in it, declare it and show the world that you are confidently fixed in heavenly places. Glory be to God! Be blessed y’all!

The stench blowing across America

It’s a beautiful looking morning, you think to yourself “I’m going to sit on the front porch and get some fresh air”. The great expectation quickly turns into a dreadful stench that fills your nostrils, followed by a disgusted exhale. “What in the world is that smell”? The smell is so familiar, it is not the smell of fresh wood burning in a fire, or the sweet aroma of flowers blooming but instead it is the smell of something dead! You cover your nose and mouth with your shirt and start searching your yard to track down the culprit. After a good deal of time, you discover the rotting carcass of a small animal that was at least a hundred yards away. How on earth could the smell be so rancid at such a distance? When something is dead you can smell it with or without the wind blowing but when the wind is blowing many suffer from afar.

The same dreadful stench is blowing across America and it is the spiritually dead churches. In 2015, 75% of Americans identified themselves as Christians which is shocking that only 25% of the country is not. So if three-quarters of the nation are believers in Christ why is our country spiritually dead? The United States of America should not be suffering from division, hatred, sexual immorality, fear, addictions, suicide and idolatry if the majority are Christians. The sin of our nation is contradictory to who Jesus Christ is, which is Holy and righteous.

In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in Heaven. Matthew 5:16

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. John 1:5

This is the message we have heard from Him and declare to you, God is light and in Him there is n darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with Him and yet walk in darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. 1 John 1:5-6

Light and darkness cannot dwell together, one overcomes the other and based off that principle we can conclude that America is NOT a Christian nation. The stench of sin and compromise has leaked into the church, and the winds of the enemy has blown it across America. The church was meant to be the hands and feet and body of Christ, fulfilling his commands and sharing the gospel but we have failed. The failure of churches has caused the whole world to suffer, the wolves have overcome the sheep.

The United States of America likes the idea of a savior and a higher power, they just don’t walk like they believe it in their heart. It is as though it is a “fairy tale” to some, it sounds good but just can’t be real. If the church would reflect Jesus Christ, the state of this nation would be powerful and united, the wind of love and prosperity would blow into other nations and all of earth would be saved. Instead, churches have lost their fire and compromised the truth, they have shriveled up and died and now the stench of the body fills the nostrils of unbelievers, and they are turned away from the cross.

My precious messiah, Jesus Christ, King of Kings and Lord of Lords, fill those who call you their Savior with a mighty fire! A fire that cannot and will not be consumed by the enemy, a fire that scares the enemy and stops him in his tracks! We take authority over darkness right now! We will not bow down to the ruler of this dark world but we overcome him with the Blood of the Lamb!!! The Blood that breaks chains, delivers, sets free, heals, consumes, and loves, the Blood that Satan has to yield to, and the name of Jesus that frightens demons and sends back to hell. We call forth your anointing upon the church, that we will walk in power, an awesome power that is only given by the Holy Spirit of Jesus Christ! I declare that your children who are lukewarm become sizzling hot, that the fire of the Holy Ghost overflows into the lives of many. I speak revival over this nation, I speak purity and kindness, love and forgiveness, and a boldness to trample on serpents. Lord take us out of our comfort zone and let us run with endurance to the places you have set before us. Glory to God Almighty, In Jesus the Christ mighty name…Amen.

The stirring

It was a great Sunday service, the message spoke to your heart, the Holy Spirit was heavy in worship, and toward the end the Pastor invited his congregation to sit at the altar of the Lord. Throughout the service you felt the Lord tugging at your heart, a yearning for Him to move within your situation and life. The altar is open but your fleshly mind talks you out of going up, “if I go to the altar what will people think? There is nothing wrong with me, I do not need to go”. We have all been there, God is prompting us to come closer to Him and sit in His presence and we talk ourselves out of it. Of course He can talk to us right where we are in the pew but I believe this invitation to the altar is more symbolic of surrender and desperation. Let us remember the woman in the Bible who bled for twelves years, “if I can just touch the hem of Jesus’ garment, I will be healed”, so she pushed through the crowd and rejected the voices of others who might condemn her.(Matt 9:18-22)

That desperation within the woman set her free from affliction. When our hearts feel as though a tornado of emotions and longings are being stirred up, God invites us to His throne of Glory for comfort and deliverance. There comes a time where one has to be so deliberate and desperate that they bypass all the questions in their mind and walk in obedience to the Holy Spirit. If God says, “come to me” then we need to do exactly that because He is ready to move in a mighty way. The altar is a V.I.P experience, the biggest celebrity always shows up at it, our Savior, Jesus Christ. Don’t ignore the stirring.

Freedom

When God sent his son Jesus Christ to be our deliverer and savior, it was to set us free from sin. As a believer the acceptance of Christ gives you eternal life, but we are to surrender to his will in our life, and allow his Holy Spirit to transform us.
As Jesus was trying to settle a dispute between stiff-necked people as to who He was, and why he was sent by God, some in the crowd continued to reject him.
To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:31-32

The truth that sets them free is acknowledging Jesus Christ as God’s son, sent to be our savior on the cross whom died for all our sins, and rose again in three days. He was risen and is alive.

Once we accept Jesus as our savior, his Holy Spirit enters our heart and starts to do a work in it. Transforming us over time into a vessel of holiness, purity and righteousness. He came to release us from a life of sin and captivity to Satan. Satan comes to steal, kill, and destroy our lives. There is no good that comes from sin, all it amounts to is death in the end. A life of righteousness however, leads to eternity and joy.

Having Jesus Christ in our life gives us hope for a future, gives us meaning and purpose in this life, and gives us a second chance to do good. We can get by with just living a mediocre Christian life but to experience absolute freedom comes when we have a relationship with God, when we read his word, when we pray, and when we listen for his voice. He is the only God that people on this earth can actually experience, which makes him the true God. He’s not an idol carved out of wood or metal, he is not a fictional character..He is real.

Call upon the name of the Lord, and be set free from the chains that has held you bound for so long.

“So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed”. John 8:36 NIV

Mistaken Identity

Upon being a born again believer back in 2014, God miraculously transformed me from one minute to the next. I understand that this is not every persons experience but I thank God it was mine. Many of my desires had changed instantaneously, for example my habit of drinking, smoking, choice of music, and my choice of language. Something that hadn’t changed was me continuing to hang out with my friends. See the thing is that when God changes you from the inside-out, the world no longer “feels good”. To be honest, now that I have spiritual eyes and the Word of God in me, I know that the world offers a false sense of good.

Isaiah 5:20 NASB

Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness; Who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!

So I hung out with my friends as they continued to do the same ole same ole, but all the while I started to become uncomfortable. I couldn’t laugh at their jokes, I couldn’t have “just one drink” as they would insistently ask, I could not partake in anything they were doing because I was different. I never felt bad about not doing what they were doing, nor did I have the desire to, Praise God! They couldn’t figure out why I did not want to take part in their festivities even after sharing my testimony with them. “God saved me, I am not the same person. I don’t curse anymore, I don’t drink, I don’t smoke, I mean really-it’s crazy!” Despite me glorifying God and bearing witness to the miracle, they still thought I was the old me, regardless of what they saw. Or maybe they thought I was just going through a phase. After about two months, I started hearing them say “we miss the old Courtney, she was more fun”. They would also bring up old stories of the things I did, and how I acted. This is just typical for Satan, he likes to remind people who they were. He will constantly use other people, or memories to remind us of the pit we were in. You see, because my friends were so focused on who I used to be they were missing out on the miracle that I was. God miraculously transformed me, but they couldn’t see it. Maybe they doubted the whole thing. Even some of my family members questioned my new identity. You want to hear something crazy? Even Jesus being the Messiah was doubted by those who knew him!

Mark 6:1-6 NKJV

Then He went out from there and came to his own country, and His disciples followed him. And when the Sabbath had come, He began to teach in the synagogue. And many hearing Him were astonished, saying, Where did this Man get these things? And what wisdom is this which is given to Him, that such mighty works are performed by His hands! Is this not the carpenter, the Son of Mary, and brother of James, Joses, Judas and Simon? And are not His sisters here with us? So they were offended at Him. But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own country, among his own relatives, and in his own house.”

Now he could do no mighty work there, except that He laid hands on a few sick people and healed them. And He marveled because of their unbelief. Then He went about the villages in a circuit, teaching.

We see here that despite Jesus performing miracles, healing, and teaching that His own country men mistook his identity. “Is this not the carpenter, the Son of Mary, and brother of James, Joses, Judas, and Simon?” Yes, Jesus was a carpenter but now he was the Messiah being revealed in God’s perfect timing.

Are there still people who think you are the same person you used to be? Does Satan deceive you into thinking you will never be good enough? Satan is a liar! He wants to steal the identity that Christ has given us, and cause us to go backwards. Be aware that Satan knows that we are called to great and mighty things for the Kingdom of Heaven. We are a threat to his plans! It is empowering knowing that we serve a God that holds the victory, and we are victorious with him. Walk in your God ordained identity and don’t look to the world for labels.

Lord Jesus, we thank you for your crown of Glory placed on our heads. We are priceless, we are uniquely made and there is not one person like us. I am destined for great and mighty things, and you have equipped me to be victorious. I want to walk in the abundance you have for my life, and be transformed into whom you desire me to be. In Jesus name I pray, Amen!

Will I go to Heaven?

I bet my title has been googled over a million times, people looking for answers on the internet when the true answer lies with God. As believers in Jesus Christ, we have learned that God is merciful. When we sin or fall short daily, we know we can ask for forgiveness, and he grants it to us. God is love, he is mercy, he grants us unmerited favor, he is peace, he is joy, he is protective, HE IS. God is also in the business of judgement. As most of us can attest to, there is a consequence to every sin, sooner or later. It is important that we have a healthy fear of the Lord, that we respect him, and that we have a love that runs so deep in our heart that we do not want to go against his will. Today, we are going to the book of Matthew for an example as to why we must walk in a way that is pleasing to God.

Matthew 24:45-51

The Faithful Servant and the Evil Servant

Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom the master has put in charge of his household, to give the others their food at the proper time? Blessed is that servant whose master finds him doing so when he returns. Truly I tell you, he will put him in charge of all his possessions. But suppose that servant is wicked and says in his heart, ‘My master will be away a long time.’ And he begins to beat his fellow servants and to eat and drink with drunkards. The master of that servant will come on a day he does not anticipate and at an hour he does not expect and will cut him in pieces, and appoint his portion with the hypocrites. There is where the weeping and grinding of teeth will be.

So what is this Bible verse being compared to you might ask? To put it simply, Jesus is coming back again and the Bible says no one knows the day or hour but be ready! What does readiness look like? I am going to use direct scriptures instead of my opinion, because my opinion will not get you into heaven. The highlighted points are key.

Matthew 18:3

and said, “Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. (not literally becoming children but have the innocence of)

Matthew 3:2

Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

Matthew 5:10 “Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
1 Corinthians 6:9-11
Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God ? Do not be deceived ; neither fornicators , nor idolaters , nor adulterers , nor effeminate , nor homosexuals , nor thieves , nor the covetous , nor drunkards , nor revilers , nor swindlers , will inherit the kingdom of God . Such were some of you; but you were washed , but you were sanctified , but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God .

To my reader’s who may be questioning your salvation and whether you will end up with Jesus in heaven, it is only too late to change once he returns. Do not wait another day to be saved because tomorrow is not guaranteed. The Lord loves you, has a special plan for your life that goes beyond what you can imagine, so seek God and ask of his forgiveness. The next thing to do is, ask him to transform you into his likeness. As long as we have a genuine heart wanting to be changed, God will do it. Read the word and that will renew your mind.

Dear Lord, We thank you for the gift of life. I ask that you forgive us of our sins, and help us to be more Christ-like. We desire to know you more. To hear from you more. And to love you more. I ask that you create a new spirit in me, one that is righteous and bold for you. Help us to understand your Holy Bible and grow. We love you and thank you, In Jesus name I pray.

The Sinner’s Prayer (by Dr. Ray Pritchard)

Lord Jesus, for too long I’ve kept you out of my life. I know that I am a sinner and that I cannot save myself. No longer will I close the door when I hear you knocking. By faith I gratefully receive your gift of salvation. I am ready to trust you as my Lord and Savior. Thank you, Lord Jesus, for coming to earth. I believe you are the Son of God who died on the cross for my sins and rose from the dead on the third day. Thank you for bearing my sins and giving me the gift of eternal life. I believe your words are true. Come into my heart, Lord Jesus, and be my Savior. Amen.