Fill up, Go Out and Repeat.

51tJJ00KjHL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_I have been learning of a principle in the Kingdom of God called Fullness and Fulfillment.

This principle is taught and demonstrated all over the Bible but let me emphasize two places specifically.

The first is in 1 Samuel 16:1 when God said to his prophet Samuel, “fill your horn with oil, and be on your way”.

Fill your horn with oil- Fullness of the Holy Spirit

Be on your way- Fulfillment of God’s Mission

Ac1.8Second, I see this principle taught by Jesus as recorded in Acts 1:8:

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you- Fullness of the Holy Spirit

Be my witnesses to the ends of the earth- Fulfillment of God’s Mission

The only way the Kingdom of God is built, per this principle, is for both fullness and fulfillment to be repeatedly happening, and in that order. Jesus’ whole life and ministry flowed from this principle.

We, as his followers (who have accepted Christ as our Lord and Savior), must both individually (during alone times in God’s word and prayer) and corporately (in worship gatherings of the church) be spending time “filling our horns with the oil of the Holy Spirit. We must receive power when Jesus fills us with the Holy Spirit.

Then we murinserepeatetsyjpgst go “on our way” and “be witnesses to the ends of the earth”, giving all that oil away to a hurting world.

Rinse and repeat…

Unless we are full of the Holy Spirit we do not have the power and truth to help anybody and vice versa; if we are out trying to help anybody without being full of the Holy Spirit’s power what we are trying to fulfill will not make any lasting difference.

Why do I bring this up?

I am witnessing a lot of anger and tension growing among those who call themselves believers in Jesus, especially in America, and it needs to be addressed if Jesus’ prayer of unity among His followers is to happen. I believe that the body of Christ, which I will refer to as the church, is currently split into three segments.

korea-2009-010First, I see a segment of the Christian church that has gotten stuck in fullness.

They meet regularly and get filled and filled and filled. They love the comfort of being full. Every Sunday, Wednesday and maybe even Saturdays they pride themselves on being in church, they have a full well and guard it mercilessly. They may use the oil they get filled with inside the church to heal each other,  but unless the hurting world comes through their doors they don’t get to benefit from their any of their fullness.

Their philosophy seems to be: let’s get filled up on loving each other and talk about Jesus while we wait to go to heaven together, and oh, if anyone wants to join us they can come to us. All the while offering a form of godliness without any power.

I believe Jesus referred to this fullness segment as “Luke-warm”

mat-10-8-ww-cc0-9xThey have missed the entire message Jesus taught that they are to seek as a group an encounter with God’s manifest presence, be filled by His Spirit which empowers them to go with Jesus out of the church building and “heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons in His name” no matter their ethnic background, religious affiliations or personal choices.  

For freely they have received; freely it should be given.” (my paraphrase of Matthew 10:8)

Because this segment of the church is not circulating this “oil” properly it has started to lose its ability to produce any light and people, especially of the younger generation are fleeing from it like a sinking ship; for some very good reasons. God never meant his representation on earth, the body of Christ, to be one dimensional.

babyThe problem is that there are some of those fleeing who seem to have; to use an idiom from my generation, “thrown out the baby with the bath water”.

That segment has now become the ones who strongly desire to take on the missing part, that of fulfillment, and “are on their way” serving and serving and serving. Yet, this fulfillment segment has so rejected the concept of church that the fullness segment has taught them(the bath water)that they have turned away from the idea of meeting together as a body to seek God’s presence(the baby), and their lamps have run out of oil making them unable to give the light that the world truly needs.

Hand holding a stone. Sky at the background. SunsetAnd worse, the world sits back and witnesses these two segments interacting by throwing stones at each other.

The fullness segment judges the fulfillment segment for not being in church inferring that they, therefore, can’t really be saved. The fulfillment segment hurls judgment stones right back inferring that the fullness segment must not truly be followers of Jesus because they are not feeding the poor and reaching out to the outcasts.

All the while the world turns their head in disgust, God grieves and Satan sits back and smiles.

They-Were-Filled-With-the-Holy-SpiritThankfully I see a third segment of the church very much alive in the world.

I refer to this as the Church on Fire.

A segment where, just like the disciples in the upper room, are following God’s command to meet regularly to pray (spend time in God’s manifest presence) and encourage (build up)and care for one another until they get completely filled with the oil of the Holy Spirit for their lamps.

Then they walk out as one, shining brightly, to give all of the oil away to a lost and dying world.

go-4_wide_tThey are the ones fulfilling the commission Jesus gave them to “make disciples of all nations”. And when their lights dim, these humble servants head back together; daily or weekly to be freely given more oil from the Holy Spirit. As they are refilled they head out again, freely giving it all away to hurting people who desperately need Jesus, His love and his true kingdom.

5f827d586010c0de9bc5560afde9860eThis is the segment making lasting change, a segment that Satan is warring to stop.

A segment that is “hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed” (2 Corinthians 4:8,9).

A segment that is calling to the other two segments to join them.

So together we will be the Christ exalting, God encountering, neighbor loving, nation reaching, God’s kingdom building church God is calling us to be

mat-25-4-web-watermarkedWhen these segments finally unify to become the beautiful bride of Christ they are supposed to be, they will hasten the coming of the bridegroom, Jesus’ and His kingdom on earth.

And together with people from every tribe, tongue and nation, with lamps lit brightly by the oil we have filled them with, go together into the wedding feast being prepared for all on the great and awesome day of Jesus’ return.

 

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BE for Christmas

What will you BE for Christmas?

300px-nativity_tree2011A question you may not have heard.

While Halloween was all about BEING

To be asked this now seems absurd.

 

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Christmas questions are more about doing,

Or going, or wanting, and such.

But I sense there is something much deeper

About BEING that’s not thought about much.

 

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For the story we retell of a baby

Who, at that point, just peacefully slept,

Holds a narrative that is clearly about His BEING

The Promise that God had now kept.

being-461780_960_720

 

So again, as I ask you the question

Of what you will BE this year?

I propose some possible choices.

To help you live without fear.

 

b9315071522z-1_20141128163928_000g1898hd8i-1-0

Will you BE a Mary for Christmas?

Who when faced with interruptions to plans.

Will say “I am a Lord’s servant”

And place all your hopes in His hands.

the_dream_of_saint_joseph

 

Will you BE a Joseph for Christmas?

Who will fear what others may say.

But then listening to the right Voice

That tells you to follow God’s way.

 

angel-shepherds

Will you BE an angel for Christmas?

Appearing to those in dark of night.

While sharing with them the message

That it’s Jesus that brings us light.

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Will you BE a shepherd for Christmas?

Who though busy with the tasks at your feet.

Will make haste to the company of Jesus

Then tell others of the One they can meet.

 

star-of-bethlehem-pointed-the-location-of-baby-jesusWill you BE a star for Christmas?

Who shines brightly on the only place;

That not only reveals a true mystery

But the One who offers them grace.

 

adoration-of-the-magiWill you BE a Magi for Christmas?

Who will not seek what the world has to give.

But instead find a place of surrender

And One who gives reason to live.

 

christmasmangerclip2Finally, will you BE a manger for Christmas?

That will look humble in everyone’s eyes.

But will hold out for them the Savior,

The only Hope for their sin-filled lives.

 

So, what will you BE for Christmas?

I ask you the question once more.

For it is what we are BEING this Christmas

That will point to the One we adore.d104275-2

My Father’s Heart: Always Seasoning

I started a new job last week.

Popd-Kern-2A local snack food company was needing help and called me to come work on the production line for as long as I could. I agreed though I was not sure how my “haven’t worked in a year” body would handle the 9-10 hours on my feet per day. However, I felt it was a direct answer to my prayer for provision and knew that what God provides he supplies the strength to do; so off to work I went.

My jobs have varied during my time so far; from box making to box sealing, from removing poor quality product to filling bags with good product.

pray-without-ceasing_med_hrThe best part was that since there is very low mental strain, it allows me lots of time to use my gift of intercession to lift up the needs of the many during my hours there. I am literally getting paid to “pray without ceasing”. Now that is a cool God-thing!

What surprised me was that during one specific job I was doing God reminded me of a part of His heart in a way I had never seen it before.

One particularly light day my job was simply to add the chosen seasonings to the machine that constantly flowed over the product as it was tumbled through the sorting mechanism. The two seasonings added that day were Sea Salt and Cracked Pepper which came bagged in a perfect mix. As I began to keep the seasoning machine full scoop by scoop I again started to ask God what was on His mind for me.

360615-4327c503139b4fa7b223869ff87a5a2fI was again thrilled as He brought a particular song by Phil Wickham into my thoughts with lyrics that stated: “This is amazing grace; this is unfailing love”.

I started worshiping as these lyrics kept repeating over and over in my head until I finally asked what God’s intention was in bringing this song to mind. I heard Him say that, as my Heavenly Father, this grace and love are two of the seasonings He adds consistently over my life. This thought reminded me of the many passages in the book of Psalms that I had been reading recently where two phrases were repeated over and over again by the Psalmist: God’s steadfast love and faithfulness. Like this perfect mix of seasonings I was adding, amazing grace plus steadfast love and faithfulness were also given in a constant flow from Heaven affecting all of days.

But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness. Psalm 86:15

1f77e5e5897ecd084798ae509bc57540My earthly father had demonstrated these qualities many times over my life. I remember one particular time when I had gone against his better judgement and decided to attend a particular school dance. I guess he knew what I could experience there and wanted to protect me from it. As a teenage girl I did not want to accept his advice at the time. I went and found out for myself that night the many downfalls of such an event. As I cried softly on my way home I was sure that my father’s disapproval and disappointment of my choice would interrupt our relationship. I bravely knocked on my parents bedroom door with hopes of restoring my father’s love for me. I found, however, that I had never lost it; it had been pouring over me through his prayers the entire time. He demonstrated that night the mercy and grace of the Heavenly Father and was again very slow to anger. I left his room fully seasoned with his grace, steadfast love and faithfulness.

I know he could show this to me because these were the same seasonings he had received from God, the Father’s heart throughout his life and he was simply passing it on.cropped-A-Steadfast-Love-Header-Image1

As my mind was brought back from that incredible memory my eyes focused on the machine ahead of me processing the piles of snack food that day. I noticed that this machine’s purpose was to separate the kernels that remained unpopped and would be too tough to eat. In order for this to happen all of the product was basically being beaten against a rolling drum which allowed the bad part to fall away.

9cdcbb7be1537de03991f30c1dfb376cAs I watched I realized that God was showing me that there is a purpose behind many of the hard circumstances in life; even the ones that come from our own choices. These circumstances can leave us feeling beaten as they work to rid us of the bad parts of our character. At the same time, they can leave us questioning whether we have lost the love of God.

However, I noticed that it is at this extreme tossing part of the process that the seasoning is added.

It is also during the “extreme tossing” of our lives when our Heavenly Father is sending the seasonings of His amazing grace, steadfast love and faithfulness.

He will send from heaven and save me; he will put to shame him who tramples on me.  God will send out his steadfast love and his faithfulness! Psalm 57:3

You see, as I was tumbled through the rejections of my young life, God was adding His seasonings. As I was being thrown by the force of divorce, my Heavenly Father was adding His seasonings. As I was being beaten by the pain of chronic illness, the heart of God continued to add His seasonings.Psalm 40.11

Every part of my life has been completely covered by amazing grace, steadfast love and faithfulness.

That day as I dipped my hand under the machine to get a sample taste of what this process has done to the snack food I realize what God’s seasonings of grace, love and faithfulness have done in my life.

These seasonings have made it taste really good!10006

My Father’s Heart: Peace in the Storm

We are in a season of storms; storms we wonder if we will survive.

storm-mn-sd-border-courtesyofterry-lee-kaufman Lately my local area has been experiencing a very stormy weather pattern. Threatening clouds filled with every sort of possible disaster are often in the view from my window. Storms that bring so much rain so quickly that many, including myself, are now spending time mopping up our basements and throwing away ruined keepsakes.

I hate how during a storm and even in its aftermath my anxiety levels rise to unhealthy levels. 

I easily get just as anxious these days when I cannot look at any form of media without being confronted by the threatening clouds of pain, suffering, anger and strife beginning to pour down onto our troubled world. These too are the storms we wonder how we will survive.

As I seek the answer to that question I am brought back to a childhood memory of a summer storm that showed me the best way to make it through each of life’s storms.

hqdefaultI was probably around 5 years old and it was a very hot, humid summer evening. I was riding in the pick-up truck with my father when we were suddenly surrounded by an extremely dangerous storm;  a powerful enough storm to be embedded deep into my mind’s eye and I can see it like it happened yesterday. This storm came complete with falling tree limbs, debris hitting the windshield, lightning hitting the road directly in front of us, and visibility only as far as the sheeting rain and hail allowed.

I remember being completely filled with fear and I let my father know this with every scream and cry I had in me.  

father and childBut I also remember the calming presence of my father. His right arm simply pulling me closer with each clap of thunder as his left was steering us closer to the safety of home. I know I was close enough that as each fear-filled element around us hit, my anxiety was calmed by the love and protection I felt as I snuggled into his side. Soon I must have fallen asleep for the next thing I remember I was tucked into my comfortable bed.

I had been fully assured that he was near and would be my protection, all I had to do was lean into it.

That day my earthly father had given me a glimpse of God, the Father’s heart for his children. Which also has given me an understanding of what will help us survive each and every fear-filled, storm-like situation that suddenly surround us.

We can be fully assured that God, the Father is near and longs for us to lean into His peace-filled presence.

Lamentations-3-57-You-Drew-Near-When-I-Called-And-Said-Fear-Not-black-copyThat is where we find peace in the storm. It is our closeness to the Heavenly Father, who promises to come near as we cry out to him, that we can be assured that we will make it safely home. Personally, I long for such assurance; especially when my view these days is filled with the affects of the winds of terror attacks and the hail of gunfire howling around us. Again today his nearness was offered as I peered through both my News and Facebook feeds to see the hate and injustice revealed there that are ripping at the roots of my security and tossing them in the road ahead of me.

God the Father’s heart longs to offer us what we really need during this journey through a sin-laden, hurt-filled, stormy world; He offers us His abiding presence.

13bf7a6f1e1f059e23cd01191d8872c3I see this as I continue to study the life of Jesus who, as our example, lived constantly in the abiding presence of God, the Father. The presence of Father God and the presence of the Son Jesus were so close they were actually one. Jesus longs for us to live with this same closeness to the Heavenly Father so that we can have the anxiety-free life he experienced during the storms of his time on earth. It was his prayer in John 17:21:

I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one–as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me.

I see that because of this abiding presence of his Father he knew no fear as he rode across a storm tossed sea in the story we are told in Matthew 8.6002868_orig

He slept soundly knowing that his loving Father was directing them through this storm and would get them to the other side. He was only wakened by the anxious disciples who had not fully, faithfully realized who this was with them on that journey. And because Jesus only did what he saw the Father doing (John 5:19) he offered them the peace that God gives in every storm “and it was completely calm

We are still offered that same peace of God the Father through each storm of life.

Before Jesus went to reside in Heaven he told us that he would send the Holy Spirit to be our advocate and with him came the same peaceful presence Jesus relied on in the boat that day. John 14 tells us:

26 But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid

God-Is-Our-Refuge-And-StrengthJust like on that day long ago when a storm was filling me with all the anxiety a 5 year old can muster and yet was calmed by the peace-filled presence and loving heart of my earthly father, my Heavenly father offers the same; no, actually much more of a peace-filled presence.

The loving heart of God, the Heavenly Father is very present today to pull me close with his strong right arm and then keeps guiding me home with his left.

Psalm 118:16-17The strong right arm of the Lord is raised in triumph. The strong right arm of the Lord has done glorious things!”

perfect-peaceSo what should we do as we are deluged by every storm of life; whether they are in the sky above us, on the screen in front of us,or even on the streets we walk everyday?

Trust the peace-filled, close presence of God the Father. His heart offers peace like no one else can. As we take captive our anxious thoughts and put our minds on our Heavenly Father, like Jesus, we will be kept in perfect peace and we may even get some really good sleep.

My Father’s Heart: The Heart of a Farmer

My father had the heart of a farmer.

11154734_10152990668013019_5210548641534175022_oThankfully, God made him with a strong work ethic because, believe me, farming takes a lot of work. From early morning to late nights there was always something that needed to be done to maintain the farm, especially a farm with animals.

His day would start with the first round of milking the cows, usually by 5 a.m. However, milking the cows was only the culmination of a series of other jobs to get the cows ready. Herding the cows from the pasture, getting them in the stanchions, leg braces in place to keep from getting kicked, etc.; were only a few of the tasks necessary every day.  cowsAfter milking would come any number of the other chores that were required to keep the farm running; planting, tractor repair, managing crop yields, another round of milking, and trying to train his kids to help. His day would usually end later than I was awake to notice only to start the process over again the next morning.

One part that I noticed was especially important to my farming father was the importance of keeping things clean.

picking rockIf you have never been on a farm you may not understand that this is one of the hardest jobs on the list. Animals are messy, weeds grow quickly, rocks rise up year after year; all have to be cleaned out again and again. If they are not, it can cause disease and death, damage to production and even the loss of thousands of dollars in repair costs; all of which a farmer cannot afford if he wants to stay afloat. Because of this my father took this job very seriously.

Somehow he had really grasped the concept that a clean farm is a productive farm.

manureI remember him carefully cleaning out the gross, smelly manure from the barn and putting fresh hay down for the cows knowing that they would just mess it up again. He would guide and organize us kids to walk the fields to pull weeds and pick up rocks also knowing it would just have to happen again next year. I wonder how discouraging this must have been and how often I didn’t help by fussing about my “chores”. But because my father had the heart of a farmer, he kept at it until he passed it on to his son, who continues to do the work of a faithful farmer.

God, my Heavenly Father also has the heart of a farmer.

god as farmerJesus, himself showed us this through the parables described in Matthew 13:3

Then he told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. Matthew 13:3

He is a God who desires us to have productive lives, rich lasting crops of spiritual fruit and is always working towards that end for us. He plants, repairs, manages our potential yield and yes, even trains us, His kids, to help. Each day He starts the process over again and again in the lives of countless people.

He also highly values the importance of cleanliness.

Romans 5_12God, the Father understands that this life got very messy after Adam and Eve sinned. It broke His heart to see how sin messed up His “farm”. The fact is, sin makes everything dirty and in need of cleaning up. Like the manure that piles up in the barn, or the weeds and rocks left in the field, undealt with sin will cause more than just a terrible odor or ugly fields; it will bring disease and death, damage to production and the loss of the very gifts He has given us.

Thankfully, as a perfect farmer, God had a solution to deal with this sin and its destructive qualities.

Romans 6 23First of all, God knew that sin would need to be dealt with and like my father, got His Son involved. By dying on the cross and then rising from the tomb, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, gave us all we need to be clean. Accepting this gift of salvation is the only tool that gives us the ability to remove the curse of sin in our lives.

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. Ephesians 2:8-9

However, as long as we live in this sin damaged world we will need to know hocleandirt_1w to stay clean.

Unfortunately, the manure, weeds and rocks of this life will come back over and over until God’s Kingdom is finally set up when Jesus returns. God created the concept that a clean person is a productive person but that this world now makes it hard to stay that way. Thankfully, just like my earthly father taught his children how to maintain and clean his farm, our Heavenly Father has given us ways to maintain and keep our lives clean.

slider_chronicle-unforgiveness_680-458x229First we will always have to keep the manure of unforgiveness scooped out of our lives and replaced with the straw of mercy.

Just like cows make a continual mess, people will always be messing up our lives. These messes can really stink if you know what I mean. Forgiveness keeps our lives clean, like the word of God says “cleanses us from wickedness”. If unforgiveness remains, just like piled up manure, disease and death are given the chance they need to thrive, not to mention the number of flies (a.k.a. demons) that start accumulating.

But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. 1 John 1:9

God the Father, who has the heart of a farmer, strongly desires to help us r1e7b5bf791f76347a880b6ab291a2bf0id ourselves of these destructive forces.

He desired it so much that, leading by example, He forgave us while we were deep in our own pile of filth. He showed us what the covering of mercy looks like and every day is willing to muck out our new mess and cover it again.  He asks us to do the same for others so He can continue to do it for us.

“If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you.” Matthew 6:14

Every day I am learning to notice any bad smell in my life and remove the manure of unforgiveness and then break open a new bale of mercy for those around me.

Secondly, we must walk the fields of our lives and root out any weed-like lies, planted by the enemy, that we have believed.

LiesThese lies will, like weeds, greatly hinder the yield of fruit our lives are meant to produce. God, our Heavenly Farmer has planted truth into our lives for the purpose of abundant life. Satan, our adversary, plants lies in order to steal, kill and destroy. Though the truth is obviously what we want, for some reason, the lies can look very appealing, like the flower of a dandelion to a child, and we don’t always see the damage done until it’s too late.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. John 10:10

My father understood the destructive qualities of the weeds that were in his bean field and knew that we must go and pull those weeds out by the root so that his crops could thrive. It was hot, miserable, tiring work but the benefits of an increased yield were felt and appreciated when the harvest came in.

God, the Father, with His heart of a farmer, also understands the importance of recognizing and pulling out the enemy’s lies in our lives.slide-221

Just a couple examples are the following: God sews the truth that I am chosen and His workmanship while the enemy plants the lie that I am inadequate and worthless; God sews the truth that I am free from condemnation and cannot be separated from His love, the enemy plants the lie that I am guilty and abandoned.

Regularly, I will walk the field of my life, with the truth of the Word of God, and root out the lies of the enemy so that God’s truth will bring the abundant yield He desires.

Lastly, we must keep removing the rocks of judgment that bring so much damage to our relationship with God and those He brings into our lives.

CAST-THE-FIRST-STONEThere is a very clear image of the rocks of judgement in the biblical story in John 8 of the prostitute who was to be stoned. Jesus showed the heart of His father when He, Himself would not condemn her and offered her the forgiveness she needed. He desired that a relationship be restored between God and this woman and offered her the grace and mercy of His Heavenly Father instead of judgement.

God’s heart, yes that beautiful heart of a farmer, is calling us to clean out the rocky judgements we so easily find and want to throw at others, so that nothing comes between us and our relationship with Him and the ones He wants us to share His grace and mercy with.

PI-Branded-Sayings_23-449x449God wants us to realize that the only route to a great harvest of souls is for His kids to get out into the fields and remove the judgements that can damage His message from being spread. Instead love others deeply, like the heart of the Father loves us. We must also remember that judgements, just like rocks, surface time after time and we must have a continual practice of ridding them from our lives.

I will scan the fields of my life to see if there are any judgements that must be removed to protect the relationships God has sent to me for His harvest.

God, my Heavenly Father, has the heart of a Farmer and He is calling me and the rest of His kids to clean up our farm.

Will you join me?

400dpiLogoCropped*As I have been learning more about the beautiful heart of my Heavenly Father, often revealed through the heart of my earthly one, I have felt the call to develop a ministry known as My Father’s Heart Prayer Ministries. It will be a place to connect hurting people with the heart of our loving triune God. A place where this cleaning and connection happen so people are free to be who God made them to be. It will include SOZO** prayer counseling, prophetic encouragement, biblical dream interpretation and corporate prayer and worship events. I would appreciate your prayers for this ministry.

**SOZO is the Greek word in the Bible often translated saved, healed, and delivered. For more info click here.

***Here is a great song to encourage you today. Clean by Natalie Grant

 

My Father’s Heart

The memories are making my heart ache again.

dad pic 2Facebook’s “See Your Memories” feature has been a daily reminder lately of an especially hard time in the life of our family. You see, it was two years ago that my father had to be placed in a nursing home; his final residence on this earth. Not by his own choices but because of an illness that was robbing him of the man he’d always tried to be.

11154734_10152990668013019_5210548641534175022_oMy father was always a strong, hard working man that took responsibility very seriously; brought up as the first born in an 100% German household these traits were natural to him. At a young age, due to the illness of his father, he took over the responsibility of the family farm and gave his life to maintaining it and helping to provide for his mom and siblings. God, knowing this would happen, gave him both a love for the land and talent for working it that combined well with his strong desire to provide for the needs of others.

God also gave him a powerful father’s heart.

1238296_10203489428211995_1515267724246061629_nIt started showing up when, during the absence of his father, he would use this father instinct to guide his 6 younger siblings. Soon he would become a father figure to area children and teens as he served in the church.

10580428_10152753938707700_1485167130_nAfter his marriage to my mom and then the four children God gave them by birth his father’s heart was not yet satisfied and they chose to open their home to over 100 foster children. He knew that there were many children that would need to feel a father’s love and he seemed to have that in abundance. One by one they would come into our home and experience the nightly ice cream treats while rocking in his lap.Dad pic They all experienced the gentle yet firm way he would care for the various needs attributed to the way the world had messed up their lives. His father’s heart would give him the patience, after a long hard day, to take that extra trip back to town to retrieve a lost pacifier, knowing it was the only way this child would sleep peacefully that night. He had a heart that wished he could rescue them all and joyfully chose to adopt one of them when the option presented itself.

He had a father’s heart that could be felt even during the need for discipline.

dad1I remember one time when my sister and I were still talking even after being warned to go to sleep and the need arose for a spanking. This time it was my father who came to make sure we understood the importance of obedience. The pain we felt that night did not come from his strong, muscular, farmer’s hands because the blankets were always kept between us and that hand; in fact my sister always had extra time to put on more blankets. The pain we felt came from knowing we had hurt our father’s heart because we understood that he did not enjoy using his hands for such an act. Obedience was quickly learned that night.

My father’s heart helped us all desire the right path.

dad2Then a nasty disease called Parkinsons started ravishing the body of this man. It started taking his physical ability to provide for those he’d always cared for. When dementia was added to the diagnosis it started stealing his ability to communicate the way he had always chosen to. However, neither of these terrible afflictions could steal his heart. Even when we wheeled him into the nursing home that day, the children of the daycare located nearby saw him and his father heart drew them in.

10253193_10152411787012700_1981778985_nFor that brief moment we all got a glimpse of the man we had always known.

Even when all we could do was sit with him and watch the pain, anxiety and frustration he was going through, we still felt his heart clearly beating with love. No matter what he could not say, he would always say he loved us. In fact, the last time I saw him alive I witnessed him reaching for a wallet that was no longer there because he still wanted to provide for the needs of his family. This was my father’s heart and I miss it.

There was only one reason that the world and this disease were not able to rob my father of his loving heart; my father chose daily to stay completely linked to God the Father’s heart.

IMG_0034My dad started developing a father’s heart when he gave his life to Jesus as Lord and Savior at the age of 12. It was strengthened as he chose to start each day by hearing from God the Father’s heart through reading the Bible. The incredible amount of time he spent in prayer continued to build this relationship with God the Father and was evidenced in how he chose to live so much like the God he was getting to know.

Because he was not perfect he learned firsthand of the beautiful forgiveness offered by his Heavenly Father through the death and resurrection of Jesus and in turn chose to offer it to us and many others that had offended him in this life. I believe that the goal of my father’s life was to help others see God the Father’s heart through him; he did this successfully.

Since my father passed away I have had an increasing passion to live with the same goal.

Each time I look in the mirror and see the reflection of my father’s strong facial features that I carry I dadpray to carry his heart also. The only way I know that this will happen for me is to continue to choose to follow his lead and spend more time each day digging into the Bible to find God’s heart first hand. I too must spend much more time in prayer developing our relationship as I listen to God the Father’s heart in response to all my questions and requests. If I am to have a heart like my earthly father’s I must have a heart more like my Heavenly Father’s.

Starting this week I plan on developing a writing series that will be revealing what I am learning about God the Father’s heart. This is preparing me for the renewed ministry calling God has given me; a ministry to reveal God’s heart to all I encounter.

400dpiLogoCroppedI, Colleen Pearl, will not only be a girl who holds her Father’s hand but I hope to be a girl who shares His heart with others.

I will do this in honor of both my earthly father and my Heavenly One; who are actually dwelling in the same place right now.

Thank you daddy for being a great example of a good, good father.

Click here to hear a great song called “Good Good Father”

Enough is Enough: My Story Part 2

Enough is enough!

dandelion-weeds-by-aaron13251The weeds are back and I really need to do something about them this year. Too sick to do much about them last year I should not be surprised at their rapid advance. However, the ones that frustrate me the most are the ones I tried to deal with only to see them right back this year in all their nastiness. Why are they all back? Because I either chose to ignore them or didn’t take care of them like I should have. I didn’t take the time needed to pull out the roots; until I do that they will grow back again and again.

This principle is also true when growing a healthy life; we all have weed-like lies embedded into our minds that, when believed, take root and affect every part of us.

LiesAs I wrote in Part 1 of my story I revealed that there were many lies that I chose to believe as I was growing up. These lies, planted by the enemy, the father of lies, grew deep roots that I have had to deal with. In fact, I have found that there were some of them that had become so intertwined into my life that I thought they were a natural part of who I was; all the while they were tearing down my very essence.

Over the last 15 years I have been on a purpose-filled journey with God to pull out these lies by the roots and replace them with truth.

230687926_640I have been amazed at the freedom and the wholeness Jesus’ healing offers to us all. As each lie was renounce and replaced with God’s truth the closer I have come to being all God intends me to be. I have a great desire for more of this healing and so, in turn, I will be able to help others connect with God for the same kind of wholeness.

However, just when I think I have all those lies cleaned out, like a nasty weed in the garden, another one showed its ugly head.

im-not-enoughThe most prevalent lie I have believed is that I am not enough. Now, at the age of 53, God has revealed to me that this lie has become the one with the deepest roots in my life and if it is not dealt with will stop the destiny He has for me. How did He do that? Well, I believe God chose to use a very interesting tool to show this one to me; he used the tool of illness.

Before I go any further let me go back to how and why this lie was so easily planted in my life.

siblingsI was the youngest child in my family and being the youngest comes with many unique perspectives. I could definitely relate to a recent list I saw of the Top 21 Things Every Youngest Child will Understand. The two that especially stood out to me were #13: You spent a lot of time hearing your parents praise your older siblings, and #18: Teachers would always compare you to your siblings.

These two simple facts were just what the enemy needed to plant the lie that I was not enough.

praise-imageThe fact is I have 3 incredible older siblings who love Jesus, love others, and all beautifully serve those around them. They deserve all the praise given to them.  I also know that my parents praised me too; it was who they were to be loving and encouraging to all of us kids.  The problem is that once the lie is planted it creates a filter which affects every word that contradicts it. Any praise I was given was quickly destroyed by my belief that anything I did was not enough.

I developed the strategy that the only way I was going to be able to be a part of this family, to be enough for them, was to become someone other than the person I saw in the mirror every day.

ComparisonI started believing that I would need to be more like the very siblings that I was being compared to. I first looked to my sister who is a great role model. The problem is that we are like apples and oranges, impossible to compare because she has a completely different personality type with different talents and gifts.

I have found that when you try to be someone that you were not created to be disaster is bound to happen.

When you imitate someone else, you become a cheap copy of the original. There is no one else created to be like you. (Kris Vallotton in “Fashioned to Reign”)

black-and-white-enough-not-enough-quote-was-Favim.com-293895No matter how I tried I could not become as popular or get the grades in school that she did. Since she was a cheerleader in high school I decided that I should be one too only to be rejected at the try-outs. I remember when I came home that day thinking that the words “not enough” were tattooed on my forehead. Surely everyone would find out now.

To counter this and with my enemy controlled thinking still intact, I decided to try to be more like my brothers because at least they seemed to have some of the same personality traits and gifts as me. The problem was they were boys and I was a girl; completely different packages with completely different outcomes. At that point I was convinced that God had made a mistake when He made me a girl.

As I found out I could not be like them my next strategy was to completely link my identity to theirs. coat tails

I just chose to highlight to everyone that I was their “little sister”; surely that would make me enough. When I chose to go to the same college that they did I thought I could be enough by riding on the coat tails of their success. It actually felt like it worked for a while as the mention of one of their names gave me access to people and places I was sure I could never have been enough to access. Sure, I had my own accomplishments and some of my own success during those years but the motivation behind most of it was to prove to my family that I was enough to be one of them. I could always sense the fear in the back of my mind that someday they were going to discover that I didn’t belong.

Years past and I continued to pursue my “enough status” with everything I could muster.

18q3bi39c65vqjpgAs each failure came my desperation to prove my worth only increased. My final strategy was to decide that I would be whatever someone needed me to be. I would work hard to detect what someone was looking for and had the flexibility to become pretty close to what that was; with that came the great need for self effort. I ended up teaching at a school where I soon became the jack of all trades; so to speak. They needed a high school math or English teacher; sign me up.  I could prove I could do it even with only my elementary teaching degree. Next, the school all of a sudden needs an athletic director and volleyball coach; again, I have no experience but sign me up. It was another chance for me to prove I was enough.

With each jump away from the person God made me to be the enough-love-not-quote-relationship-Favim.com-288049closer I came to falling into the chasm of stress and self effort I had created.  

But this gnawing inner hunger to prove I was enough had to be fed or someone would find out and I couldn’t let that happen. Fast forward to a year ago when I decided to cry out to God because of the complete mess this lifestyle had created on the inside of me; the part of me I didn’t let anyone see but Him. My faithful God answered me, I believe, in the only way He knew it would be fixed.

God allowed the chronic illness my choices had caused to take over my life and in turn take away all of my ability to prove that I was enough.

694b64ba59945dc143abb15a8ffd1f04The first place I noticed the devastating consequences of my illness was at my job as Children’s Ministry Director at the church where I had grown up. As my illness progressed I had absolutely no ability to do even the smallest task. When I had to quit it felt like my world was caving in; my secret was exposed and now all would learn that I was not enough.

Then something began to happen that to me was unexpected. My friends and family still loved and accepted me. This became a direct blow to the roots of my strong held belief and it began to nudge out the lie.

fatigueHowever, that was still not enough. I also noticed that the church I attended and worked was becoming an especially toxic environment. The moment I entered all my symptoms worsened, gravity intensified and I felt like I was being beat with a baseball bat. I now realize that the problem was I still had the powerful presence of that lie making me believe that I still had something to prove. Even though I was sick I inwardly believed that I would be a huge disappointment if I couldn’t do anything to prove otherwise.

One of the characteristics I do share with my siblings is determination and I had to use every bit of it.

determinatino wordleThankfully, God would not give up on me and kept digging at the roots of my need to be enough. He used the very determination I had been using to hide the lie to get me to a place of surrender and finally be able to release this all to Him.

It all came down to a final declaration that enough was enough!

Then it happened one day during a women’s event called “Victorious Living”. This was a day of incredible pain, tears and much wrestling with God; but the root was pulled out. An incredible shift started that day as I allowed the Holy Spirit to fill that now empty place with more of Him; and with more of Him came healing. The pressure to prove myself was gone and freedom abounded. With the healing came a whole new level of the person known as Colleen Pearl; I guess I didn’t realize the truth of what I had been hiding all these years; but God knew.

enoughThe truth is I was never enough to be anyone else.

The truth is I am only enough if I chose to be me. Eph. 2:10

The truth is God makes me enough because He is more than enough. 2Peter 1:3

The truth is I am only enough if I am filled with the Holy Spirit, relying on Jesus, and surrendered to God the Father. Colossians 2:10

The truth is Colleen Pearl is enough.

And enough is enough!