Home & Garden

Walking in Faith

My husband and I are finding ourselves at an unexpected crossroads. It's all a blessing but it's a surprise and I found myself remembering days when I was just learning to walk this walk, many years ago.  And as I was thinking about it, I realized, "It's not about 'faith', it's about our purpose."

Let me explain. Sometimes I think, in the back of our mind, that we think God is cruel when he stretches our faith. We think how unimaginable it was that He would lead the children of Israel to the Red Sea and what?! just expect that they would know He would part the water?! That He would cause water to pour out of a rock and manna to appear on the ground?! That He would cause the wall of Jericho to fall?!

And we think the same thing today. In the back of our mind, we are thinking, "There's no way this is going to work. Unless, God does a miracle, it's not going to work." And the truth is, God is always showing us that there is no obstacle too big for Him! "No mountain He won't climb up, wall He won't kick down, coming after me." (Jeremy Riddle) There is nothing that can stand in our way when He is working on our behalf. We think He operates out of our faith but I think he just needs us to have faith so that we'll keep going. Because it's not all about us.

Here's a simple example: Imagine you're God and you have a child who is just learning to walk. He's holding on to furniture and making his way around but he's scared to let go and he's just learning to balance. You, being God, knows that he can never accomplish all the things you have for him in life if he never learns to walk.  So you get down on the floor and reach for him and encourage him to 'stretch his faith' and take a step. Your goal is not to grow his faith. Your goal is for him to walk. Your goal is for him to walk so he can run so he can fly. It's not about his faith. That's a means-to-an-end. It's not about you blessing him, although your blessings are going to pursue him all his life. It's about his purpose here on this earth.

God is just trying to get you to take another step. And just like we do with a child, He encourages us to take a bigger step each time.
Walk a little further.
Jump across this obstacle.
Climb this mountain or tear it down with declaration.
Keep your focus.
Don't get discouraged.
You're doing fine.
God's got everything in control and He's setting things up.
Just keep going.
Look at the big picture.
Don't sweat the small stuff.
Let today's worries be sufficient for today.
Find out where He wants you to go and then follow His direction.
Take a leap when He asks you.
Trust Him that He won't let you fall.  And if you do miss the direction and fall, He'll pick you up, brush you off and correct your course.
He's not disappointed.
He has a goal in mind and His mercies are new every day.
Stay the course.
Count it all joy.
Expect miracles.
Expect blessings.
He's got your back.
Think long term.
Just keep walking. In faith.

Read the end of the book.

love and blessings,

"For I know the plans I have for you, plans for good and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope." Jeremiah 29:11

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Home & Garden

Raised Stencil Tutorial

I love the look of a French Chateau! And unfortunately, there aren't any in Big Rapids, Michigan, so I have done my best to get the feel over the years. When I spotted this technique for raised stencils several years ago, I fell in love! I did my research on how it was done and let it simmer for a while.

I wanted our entry to flow better with the rest of our house. Your entry sets the feel for the rest of your house and it's the first thing your guests see. Sometimes, it's the only thing people see. I wanted ours to make a statement.

So I started out painting the our white closet doors and trim with the same wood-tone technique that I had done in the rest of the house. You can see the closet reflected in the mirror, the shutter on the window and the trim on the door. Then I went to the walls.

I painted them a uniform Sand by Sherwin Williams - from top trim to bottom, including the chair rail. I experimented with the chair rail being a wood tone and didn't like it so went back and covered my experiment.

And then I paused and almost cried. I truly had loved the old paint technique in the room and now it was just a flat, boring beige. I texted my daughter and told her I may have made a mistake. And then I reminded myself how furniture can sometimes look when you're in the middle of the job and told myself that it will be okay!

The next day I gathered the supplies I had bought for this design and took a deep breath. I marked the places I wanted the stencils to be, basically the same places they had been on the previous design.

I used painter's tape to hold the stencil to the wall and applied the plaster over the stencil with a small trowel. I got the plaster into all the holes and then skimmed back over it, leaving a thinner, even coat. Then immediately pulled the stencil off the wall.

I believe I bought this stencil from Royal Design Studio several years ago but couldn't find it to link to it. Cutting Edge stencils also has some beautiful damask patterns.
As you can see, there's just a thin layer of plaster. In some areas, because I had to bend my stencil around corners or be up against trim, I got some thicker lumps. I removed some when the plaster was wet and went back when it was almost dry and sanded some down. It was really easy to work with. And the imperfections add to the charm.

I let the stencils dry for a full 24 hours. The next day they were hard and solid. My family panicked a little saying, "You know this is permanent!"  (I've been known to re-decorate.) ;)

I then used this roller and put Sand by SW in one side and Antique White by Valspar  in the other side and went back over my walls, including the raised stencil to get an uneven look on my walls.

I wasn't blogging at the time so I don't have any more pictures of the process. I then used these products to accent the stencils.

It was really an experiment. Some things that I thought I would like were too dark. Whenever I didn't like something, I covered it back up with Sand. There are about 20 of these raised stencils in the room and each one is uniquely painted. What I mostly ended up with was very little of the bronze glaze and more of the pearl glaze. The stencils become more evident depending on where you're standing in the room and how the light is hitting them.

If I ever get tired of them, a coat of paint the same color as the room would cause them to barely show.

Here are some pictures I found on Pinterest that were my inspiration:






This last picture is a door! And I know exactly the door in my house that I can do this on!

And here's mine. I darkened the color so that you can see the pattern a little better. Our walls are much lighter. And none of my inspiration pictures used a glaze with a sheen to it but like I said, I experimented and that's what I ended up liking.

I think a lot of my inspiration pictures were done on plaster walls (of a French chateau) and that was more work than I could do. So mine is a modern compromise.

I hope this explained the process well. It took me about 5 days to finish this all. One for trim and closets, one for wall base coat, one for plaster stencils, and a couple more days painting all the stencils and finding the look I liked. This is a large room (25x15) and the fun thing is, depending on your stencil pattern, placement and paint, there are so many options to try!

My husband loves it. He got a far away look in his eye in the middle of this whole thing and I asked him what he was thinking. He replied, "I'm worried about all the rooms you could do this in!" 

Poor man! Right now, I'm thinking about that closet door!

love and blessings~


“Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock.  And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand.  And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.” Matthew 7:24-27

Supplies:
Sponge paint roller
Sand by Sherwin Williams
Antique White by Valspar
painter's tape
stencil
wall plaster
Valspar Copper Glaze
Rustoleum Pearl Glaze


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Home & Garden

A Teal Velvet Settee

Hi Friends!

Did you know that the word "friend" that we see in the Word of God is not the same as the way we commonly use it today in our society?  The word "friend" is a term that they used for someone they were in covenant with. When the Bible says that Abraham was a friend of God, it means that he was in covenant with God! 

When I say "friend," I am using it to say, "we are in covenant with each other as part of the Body of Christ!"  I just love that!

I wanted to share more details of my entry makeover with you, including the other side of the room. 

My husband and I bought this antique settee when we lived in Winchester, Virginia about 18 years ago. There was a beautiful little antique shop in town owned by the sweetest man. We were in there one day when I spotted this settee and 'oohed and ahhed'  and stared and sighed. lol  Not very subtle, right? Our anniversary was coming up and my husband suggested we buy it for our anniversary gift. We call it the "loooooove seat."
It was originally covered in an emerald green velvet which I'm sure, at one time,was beautiful. But time had caused it to fade and wear and you could tell it was old. I kept it that way for several years, as it went well with our decor in Virginia, but I've recovered it a couple of times in the last 16 years.

I recovered it this winter in this scrumptious teal velvet. (the actual color is a little greener. I couldn't get it to photograph as true as I wanted.)  This kind of settee is easy to reupholster. I just used an electric staple gun to attach the fabric and then covered the staples with double piping that I sewed myself. You could also use premade trim if you wanted, which would mean no sewing at all!

The art piece behind it was also purchased at a Kirkland's in Virginia. I added this fun little gold stump table for a bit of whimsy. I've toyed with the idea of adding some modern pieces to our house lately. 

Funny story about this gold stump...I was shopping online one day for something fun and whimsical to put next to the settee when I found a very similar gold stump.  I marked it to think about, and come back later to purchase, if I decided I wanted it. Just a few days later, I was in HomeGoods in Grand Rapids with our daughter and one of the first things I spotted when we walked into the store was this gold stump! I promptly put it in my cart and it rode around the store with us until we left with it. 
I ordered this teal velvet on line, which is always a risk, but when it arrived it was even more delicious than I had imagined. I had ordered all they had left and had just enough to cover the settee and make a pillow. I love the dramatic pop of color it gives to this room. I found an almost identical teal velvet home decor fabric at our nearby Joann's Fabric and am thinking about using it elsewhere in our house.

When I painted the blue buffet, I bought a sample-sized paint this same teal color and used it to deepen the color in the corners.


I'll be back soon to give you all the details about the walls. I used a fun technique that I've never done before and it was so easy! Hope you're having a great day!

love and blessings~


 "and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”—and he was called a friend of God." 
James 2:23


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Home & Garden

The Veil – a book review

I love to read! I would just about rather read than anything else! And I will often read every minute I can and finish a book in a day. 

I'm really terrible at book clubs because I finish the whole book in a couple of days and want to go on to the next one.  I can't talk accurately about the chapter we were supposed to read and discuss it well because I've finished the book and read another one since we got together. 

There's got to be some good to this, right? So, I've decided to start posting reviews on books that I think are wonderful and helpful. You'll find book reviews under 'Faith' at the top.

I recently read a wonderful book by Blake K. Healy called, The Veil.  As early as he can remember, Blake has seen the spirit world. He didn't realize that everyone wasn't seeing what he saw until he was in grade school. He saw demons and angels and spiritual activity. He was raised in a Christian home but it wasn't until he attended Bethel's School of Ministry in Redding, California that he felt comfortable sharing his wonderful gift.

His book is an honest account of his struggle to understand his gift and to be accepted by the people around him. I loved his vulnerability and the beautiful way he describes what he sees and the understanding God has brought over the years.

He says that everyone of us has a 'personal angel.' He calls them this instead of 'guardian angels' because they are so much more than that. They are both a reflection of who we are and what we need. They minister to us from the Father when we are weak and they rejoice in our victories. They are with us from birth to death.

He sees demons and has come to a greater understanding of how they operate and has seen how simple and complete our authority in Christ is over them, if we know it.

I want to share an excerpt of his book with you.  I hung on every word but this part was my favorite because it showed so clearly the love of Jesus.  He is describing what is happening during a worship service, starting with the worship team practicing.

"Three angels are pacing up and down the rows of chairs, swirling their arms in wide arching patterns that send little blue pellets of water from their fingertips.  Their long, green robes add to the whimsical quality of their movements and seem to be soaked with the same water they sprinkle throughout the sanctuary.
The worship team practice goes no different than usual. People are discussing which key would be most appropriate for this song and when the best time for the drums to come in on that song is, but for some reason I can feel a growing sense of anticipation. This isn't because of the angels. They, or others like them, prepare the sanctuary every Sunday.
As the service gets closer, people start piling in. A momentum builds during practice, and the presence of God starts to enter the room. Then the first real song starts and it feels like the song hits a brick wall. I used to find this part of worship frustrating. This initial resistance happens almost every time. 
I used to blame this resistance on the members of the congregation-secretly, of course, because that sort of thinking isn't very Christian. Now I tend to think that this resistance is a natural force in and of itself. Climbing a mountain is a strenuous and difficult process that requires much effort, patience and skill. You won't hear a mountain climber complain about this, however. They will be too busy telling you how fantastic the view from the top is.  I think that sometimes an initial struggle makes the result more valuable.
I see three new angels standing at the front of the room-each head and shoulders above anyone on the stage. They struggle to raise their muscular arms as if they are trying to lift something immensely heavy, though I don't see anything in their hands. As they strain against this invisible force, I see that small green plants have sprouted in the places where the swirling angels sprinkled those pellets of water. The plants grow and shrink in sync with the large angels' attempts to lift their arms. I get the impression that they are struggling against the very same resistance that I feel whenever worship starts. It is as if they are trying to pull life from the ground.
One of our worship leaders steps up to the microphone to start the first song. I like this guy. I can see his heart from where I'm sitting; it burns white-hot, glowing in a way that stings my eyes. Will knows about purity. He doesn't care how high or steep the mountain is; he just wants to get to where God is waiting. And he wants to bring everyone with him. Whatever touched that heart would instantly incinerate and go up in smoke, like incense to heaven. A heart like his can turn anything into worship. The presence of God has always come during every worship service I have ever attended, but I am constantly amazed at how significantly the posture of our hearts affects our ability to feel that presence.
I still feel the resistance by the time the first song ends, but the angels' plants have grown to the ceiling and have begun to twist around the fluorescent lights like ivy.
The second song begins, and the second worship leader takes the lead. The moment she opens her mouth, I feel as if I'm being yanked up into the air. The wall behind the worship team begins to take on the texture and color of clouds and sunshine. The plants that had grown earlier begin to release large pieces of pollen that swirl through the air in time with the music.
Near the end of the song, she starts singing a simple prophetic song, "Sons and Daughters." Strength and encouragement appear out of thin air and strap on to people in the congregation like pieces of glowing red armor. It sinks into their skin and melts into their bones.
During the third song there is such  strong sense of being drawn into the loving heart of God that I forget to write for the first half of the song. It's a real face-to-face moment with God. I can't see anything when I look around the room. Most of the angels have gone, but when I focus on one person at a time, I see Jesus standing with him or her.
We humans have a different relationship with God than the angels do. I don't always understand the difference, but sometimes, when His presence takes on a certain quality, all the angels leave. Then it's just God and us.
A woman in the third row is holding her hands over her heart. Jesus stands directly in front of her, taking her hands in His and He whispers in her ear. A man is lying in the aisle with his face planted firmly in the carpet. Jesus kneels over him and rests both hands on his back.
Jesus is visiting each person individually yet all at the same time. Most are interacting with Him in one way or another-dancing, crying, laughing, or simply standing hand in hand. Others are scanning the room with a bored look on their faces or sitting with arms crossed. Jesus is standing near them too, or course, just waiting. He doesn't look frustrated or even disappointed. He's just waiting."

I'm crying as I type this. I had to get up and get a tissue. The love of Christ undoes me. To understand that Jesus stands and waits with love and patience. That He came to everyone in that room.  Even to those that weren't open to Him. 

There were so many wonderful stories in this book of what Blake has seen in the spirit realm.  But the most wonderful part is understanding that God wants us all to know Him and see these things too. And Blake shares this in such a way, with prayer, for each of our eyes to be opened to see these things. I have seen many things in my years with God but never to this extent but I now have faith that God is willing and removing the obstacles and wrong thinking that hinder me from seeing more.

I pray that you will too.

love and blessings~


 "I myself will see him with my own eyes--I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!" 
Job 19:27





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Home & Garden

Godly Boundaries

"Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are continually before me." Isaiah 49:16

Thank you again to those who have contacted me in the last year asking if I was doing okay and if I was going to blog again. A thousand thoughts are going through my mind as I sit down to write this. I know this is something God is putting on my heart to write and I've learned and 'established' so much this past year regarding my own personal boundaries. Many scriptures are also coming to mind so I pray that God connects it all together and you will receive what's on my heart.  

When we are rooted and grounded in the love of Christ (Ephesians 3:14-21), the result is healthy boundaries or walls. We know where we stand~ we stand 'in Christ' or in covenant with Christ. We know who we are and we know Whose we are. When are secure in this place, we cannot be shaken. We draw a line in the sand and say, "This is me. This is who I am. These are my boundaries."

*Personal boundaries are guidelines, rules or limits that a person creates to identify reasonable, safe and permissible ways for other people to behave towards them and how they will respond when someone passes those limits.*

We have external boundaries and we have internal boundaries. When our internal boundaries are sound, our external boundaries come naturally. 

Each of us have boundaries or walls. Some are healthy, some are not, and some need to be strengthened and extended. This is something that God has been establishing in me this past year. God wants our boundaries to be established by Him and His Word and for His Holy Spirit to be the One Who draws these boundaries.

It's more than that. 

We are created in His image but we are a finite being, with boundaries drawn by Him. Life, rejection, negative words, etc. want to destroy those boundaries. Sin and not knowing Him and the purpose for which we were created destroy those boundaries from the inside. It tears down our walls. It opens us up to confusion and un-Godly influence. 

When we are secure in who we are in Him, our boundaries become sound and correct. When we do not know who we are in Him we seek approval from others, do things that are not in His plan for us to do, and open ourselves to people and circumstances that are not healthy for us. 

Some people have focused in on the ability to say 'no' to other's requests, but it's more than that. 

It's knowing who you are and not compromising what you're called to do to please others.  

Not so much saying 'no' as saying 'yes' to what He's called us to do. Having a focus and knowing your purpose. I've had to pull back this past year and re-establish my understanding of who I am in Him and what He's called me to do.

We all get impressed with others at times and think they have figured out how to do it and we'll do it that way and we'll succeed but that's not what He wants us to do. We are all so uniquely created by Him and each of our paths are different. And success is not necessarily people's approval. It's His approval. 

So many people that we admire were rejected by their peers. It's only after their death that people recognized the truth in their message and embraced it.  Rejection by people doesn't mean failure. 

Social media is a very dangerous thing. It can cause us to compromise for the approval of others. There's more danger in being 'liked' than being disliked because being 'liked' is like a drug. We've all seen the child star who turned to depression and drugs when their 'stardom' ended. They don't know who they are without the love of crowds. 

The people I admire are those who stand up and say, "This is who I am. This is what I know to be true. This is how I'm going to do it." Even in the face of disapproval, they insist on who they are. In this day and age, social media is a huge influence. And it can be cruel. It shocks me the things people say. But it also shocks me how much people submit themselves to social media for approval. 

The Lord spoke to me one day and said, "The more influence you have, the more you're exposed to disapproval." And I realized I wasn't strong enough. I realized I needed to be more established in Him before I could withstand the pressure. 

I also realized that I need my blog to reflect me. And I am foremost and always a child of God, forgiven, redeemed, and restored by His love. Forever grateful. Every success I have, I owe to Him.

So I have determined to do this thing my way. And it took me a while to figure out what that was.  It's that simple. 

And I'll tell you a secret. The only reason I blog my decorating is because the Lord told me it leads people to this blog and then they encounter His love.  When reading James Maloney's book, The Dancing Hand of God, I saw scripture come floating up out of the book! I have prayed that this blog be so filled with the love of God that it causes you to have an encounter with Him. 

So I may not visit your blog. Please forgive me. My goal is to obey God in all I do~and that takes a concentrated focus at times. And I'm making a new commitment to live a purposeful life. 

love and blessings~

Like a city that is broken into and without walls is a man who has no control over his spirit.
Proverbs 25:28


ps: If you need help in this area, Boundaries by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend is a great book. 
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Home & Garden

A Softer Shade of Blue

Hi Friends!

I hope you and your family had a beautiful Resurrection Sunday as we celebrated the life, death and resurrection of Jesus! I was so blessed to see social media filled with proclamations of Jesus. He is our hope, our joy and our life!

We had an extremely harsh winter here in Michigan this year. And one snowy, icy day I decided to redecorate our entry. I genuinely loved this room before but always felt it didn't flow as well with the rest of the house as I'd like. I wanted less Traditional and more French Country.  

The picture below was taken by the photographer from Romantic Homes a couple of years ago. The walls were blue a soft blue with a painted stencil and below the chair rail and trim was all bright white. 

 
I started the redo by painting the trim and closet doors a light wood tone to match the rest of the house. I painted the walls in Sand by Sherwin Williams as a base coat, from top to bottom, including the chair rail. I'll share the paint technique and raised plaster stencil I did in a later post. 

And then I repainted our blue dresser.
The new color is much lighter and more the color that shows up around our house in almost every room. I'm sorry I can't give you a color name. I used the same color that I custom mixed for our family room a few years ago and then added colors to it and layered it on until I got the look I wanted.
I always use a chalk paint additive I bought on Amazon.   It gives your paint that smooth chalky finish but I can add it to any color that I already have. 

For those of you who are new to this site, I bought this dresser second hand several years ago. It was an old, maple bedroom dresser that someone had in storage. It was in great shape and we paid $100 for it. It's definitely one of my favorite pieces of furniture in our home and I love the impact it gives when you walk in our front door.

I added a little of the light blue to our HomeGoods mirror so that it coordinated better. This mirror was on clearance at HomeGoods a couple of years ago. It was all a uniform cream color and I painted it to match the dresser. 


I layered one of our cowhide rugs over another rug. I love the mix of rustic with the feminine furniture.

Our entry is a pass-through with doors on all four sides. Below is the view from the front door. The door on the left goes into the rest of our house. The patio door you see goes out onto the deck and into the back yard and pool. The door you see reflected in the mirror goes into our garage.  
I haven't shown you the other side of the room in a while. I'll share more details about recovering the antique settee on another post. I'd like to change our light fixtures in here to a soft gold, whether I refinish the ones we have or buy new ones.
There are a few other changes in here I'd still like to make and will give you updates in the future. 

Thank you to those that have messaged me this past year. Your kind comments were a blessing to me and I appreciate it so much.

love and blessings~

"The blessing of the Lord makes rich, and He adds no sorrow with it." Proverbs 10:22

sources: 
dresser, chair - Craigslist
mirror - HomeGoods
wooden bowl, vase and roses - HobbyLobby
lamp and candlesticks - Furniture City Consignment
french shopping basket - World Market
cherry blossoms - Joann's Fabrics
cowhide rug - Twisted Pine, Estes Park, CO
wall color - Sand by Sherwin Williams


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Home & Garden

Elijah List – Rise Up, Josephine! Spear of Destiny

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Good morning, beautiful friends!

I confess~ I may be in overload! But I am so thankful and joyous over the things the Lord has been showing me that I'm about to bust! And just when I thought it couldn't get any better, I saw this on Elijah List last night.  Elijah List  

If you don't follow this, I would encourage you to do so! It has been such a wonderful confirmation to me so many times of what I hear the Lord saying!
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Rise up Josephine, Spear of Destiny!”
by Anne Janssens
Jehovah is about to pour out an INCREASE of GRACE upon the Josephines!
In a vision I saw a powerful woman warrior with a long SPEAR in hand. She stood with one foot firmly planted on top of a mountain and her other foot lifted up in the air as if she was ready to strike something with it. She kicked out at an ancient-looking wooden door that opened with much force. It swung wide open and crashed against the wall with a loud thud. I then heard a voice declare, "JOSEPHINE IS SPEAR-HEADING THE WAY!"
The definition of spearhead is: (1) sharp pointed head of a spear (2) an individual or group chosen to lead an attack or movement.
I once read that combat troops which are sent to the forefront of battles are very often referred to as the “tip of the spear”, and that their role is to be at the leading edge of the fighting, ahead of everyone else.
In Genesis 37-47 we read the story of Joseph. The call on his life was very evident at a very young age, being favored over his brothers by his father, and having dreams about his greatness (see Genesis 37). God prepared him to become a spearhead, being sent to the forefront many years before famine came upon the land. He went from being a dreamer-interpreter-shepherd to being the most powerful and wise leader during a time of great economic crisis in Egypt—in charge of all of the nation's storehouses and wealth.
The Spears of Destiny
In this vision, I heard the Lord calling the Josephines: “The Spears of Destiny”. I heard Him say, “Josephine, a strong and powerful woman FORGED in the fire of the changes of life—she's the Spear of Destiny and she's arising in this season.”
Josephine is the prophetic entrepreneur that is marching forth into her destiny, unafraid of the threats of male and female counterparts that feel somewhat threatened by her strength and immovable faith. She has grace and abilities beyond her human capabilities which often surprise her more than it does others.
Josephine is a gifted market entrepreneur by nature, but she's also prophetic by her calling. Her mantle, her coat of many colors, represents the diversity of gifts upon her life and her unique ability to multi-task. I saw a convergence of her gifts, abilities and anointing to manage, direct and handle valuable resources entrusted to her.
I saw other Josephines as they stood TOGETHER, side by side, shoulder to shoulder. This COMPANY of WOMEN OF WISDOM with prophetic and management skills are being brought together by divine intervention because of their unique ability to effectively gather, manage and distribute Kingdom resources.
I also saw established Josephines who are stepping out to MENTOR and EQUIP younger and less experienced Josephines who are just beginning to come into their destiny and call. Some resources are going towards this noble cause of raising up ANOINTED WOMEN OF DESTINY in this coming season.
The Lord is stirring up hearts, to SHAKE and AWAKEN Josephines for such a time as this. Many Josephines are not even aware of who they really are. Some of them are about to experience an “aha” moment when they realize what exactly they've been gestating for so long.
Those of you that know you're a Josephine, this will be a confirmation for you. For others, it will be a fresh revelation and one that's going to change how you think and do things. Suddenly, things will all make sense!
Labor Room Of Grace
Whether you know it already or this message is confirming something for you, Abba is drawing you into the LABOR ROOM of His grace for the birthing of His call upon your life.
In 1 Kings 18, Elijah knew that God was about to end the drought and he declared it to Ahab. He did not go about his way until he saw the first SIGNS of the coming rain. Now is not the time to sit and do nothing, but rather it's time to posture yourself and start to PUSH! It's time to position yourself in prayer to birth your destiny, for you carry within you the seed of promise in your spiritual womb.
Some of you may find yourselves on your knees for an extend period of time while you wait for your gift to mature. You may have to bury your heads between your knees like Elijah did and wait for the first glimpse of the promise. Don't give up! KEEP PUSHING until it's BIRTHED!
                                                        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I can't tell you how many way this ministered to me and how many things in my life this matched up with! I can't remember if I said in my YouTube video (search Lynda Brandly to find my channel) that I saw a beautiful robe of jewel colors and gold coming down on women right now so when I saw the robe of many colors in this prophecy, I was stunned!
Yesterday, a woman from Michigan won the Boston Marathon. Our son lives in Boston. We live in Michigan. This is the first time in 33 years a woman has won. 
Our daughter is expecting a baby and her due date is today!  Our beautiful circle of women have felt that this beautiful baby is an expression of what God is doing right now.
I spoke to a friend recently who expressed that in a major circumstance a few years that I was 'the tip of the spear!' For a long time, I have felt I was 'an arrow' and a beautiful artist friend drew me an arrow last summer and said, "you're close to hitting your mark!"
It's a new season, Women! If you've been in a long season of growth (pain), get ready! The Lord spoke to me the word "fortify" and said, "I have fortified you in this past season." I looked it up and it means to be strong and courageous in the face of pain and adversity!
I speak 'FORTIFICATION!!!' to you, dear women! Be fortified in Christ!
love and blessings~

          
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Home & Garden

Changes to our Family Room

Happy Spring, Friends!

I hope you're having a great start to your week! We're on day four of rain, freezing rain, sleet, wind, and snow. All the churches in our area canceled their services yesterday and all the schools have been closed today! So, that's Spring in Michigan!

We've made several changes to our family room in the last several months. The biggest change is the wall color. It's now 'Antique White' by Sherwin Williams. I painted the walls and ceiling the same color.


The other big change is our fireplace.  Our fireplace mantel, that my husband built many years ago, was white and we had added moulding that went to the ceiling. When the walls were blue, it set the fireplace apart, but because we were painting the walls a more neutral color, I didn't like the white going to the ceiling. So my husband built a French trumeau for each of our fireplaces on the main floor.
The whole thing is attached semi-permanently to the wall. The mirror is the same one that used to be here. I painted it to match the trumeau and we used screws to attach it. I wanted it to look like it was part of the trumeau. The mirror will be easy to remove if we want to but I think it will be there for a long time.
Here's a before~
And here's the after!
 He also built one above our fireplace in the living room that I'll show you soon.

Another new addition in this room is this coffee table. I found it on Craig's List and I love it! It looks like it was made to go with our armoire.
It's not in perfect condition but that doesn't bother me. (Then I don't have to worry about keeping it perfect!)
The 'book' on the table is actually a box and we keep our remotes in it, as well as a few other items that are nice to have handy when you're lounging on the couch. The armoire is an entertainment center and holds a tv.
I realized after I took the picture below that I forgot to remove our kleenex box that sits behind our couch. Oh well! (real life) My friends joke that it's the 'arc of the covenant' kleenex box! Ha!


The rug in here is also new and was purchased at HomeGoods several months ago. It's very thick and plush and much better for our grandbabies to play on the floor. 

Hope you're getting some warm weather where you are! I know that not many people are!

love and blessings~

 "But the land into which you are about to cross to possess it, a land of hills and valleys, drinks water from the rain of heaven."  
Deuteronomy 11:11 
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Home & Garden

YouTube videos and Women’s Ministry

Hi Friends!

I am full of joy and excitement as I write this to you! I have had such a blessed several weeks as the Lord has been releasing me into a new season in my walk and in ministry.

I have never felt a calling for women's ministry before and maybe that's not really correct - because this blog has been a type of women's ministry.  But in the last few weeks, my heart has just exploded with ideas and inspiration from the Holy Spirit regarding women and the season that God is bringing us into. So...

I have obeyed God - twice! - and have started making youtube videos.  I intend (God willing) to continue to do this and share with you all the things on my heart.  I hope you will hear exactly what you need to hear from God through this blog.

love and blessings~

Lynda @ Gates of Crystal


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Home & Garden

Changes to Our Living Room

Hi Friends!  We've been having a cold, white winter here in Michigan. I joked with a friend recently, who was hibernating like me, that we would just have to skype until Spring, because neither one of us wanted to venture out in this weather! Ha!

The last time I posted pictures of our living room, it was filled with blue and white toile and blue and white porcelain. But recently I decided to change it up and use a lot more neutrals. The nice thing is I didn't spend any money making these changes. They're all things I already had.

Oops! Except the two tables in each corner - they're new since I've posted! (new-used)
I put the jute rug that's been in the family room in here. I like the casual feeling it gives with everything else so romantic and feminine. I also like the neutral color.
I've had this coffee table for a couple of years. I found it at an indoor flea market and chalk painted it to match the end table that's in here.
The little cabinet on the left I found at my favorite used furniture store in Grand Rapids. It had kind of a funny paint job and so I gave it an update with chalk paint. I've moved it around a couple of times but if ends up staying here, I may paint it again. 
I've had a desk in this corner of the room for several years but I've liked this change.

I found this table on Craig's list. It's a reproduction but I love all the beautiful carving and curves. I left the finish and didn't paint it but it sure would be pretty painted to show off all the detail. 

This chaise was in our bedroom for a couple of years but I recently moved it here. I've really enjoyed having it in this room and often sit here in the mornings to read my Bible and drink my coffee. 
Or to enjoy a book in the afternoon. 
I got the art above the fireplace from Joss & Main a couple of years ago but could never find a frame for it. I found this one recently at Hobby Lobby. I've really been in love with these traditional gold frames lately and have been grabbing them when I find them. 

The love seat, chairs and chaise in this room I recovered with drop cloths. They were all bought at different times and had different mismatched fabrics. I unified them with paint and washable drop cloths.






I'm really enjoying the peaceful feel of this room after the busier feeling it had with all the blue and white.

And that's what's so nice about changing a few things. It feels like a whole new room.
I'm getting ready to repaint our family room. It's been a soft blue for several years and I'm going to start painting it "Antique White" by Sherwin Williams today. I'll try to post some of my progress on Instagram.

Have a warm Wednesday!

love and blessings~


"Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God." Matthew 5:8

love seat, chairs and chaise all bought second hand and recovered with drop cloth
coffee table and end table bought second hand and chalk painted
rug - HomeGoods 
fireplace screen - Amazon
pillows - home made
vase on coffee table - Joss & Main
candlestick on coffee table - Tuesday Morning
wooden bowl - HomeGoods
grandfather clock - second hand
art on fireplace - Joss & Main with HobbyLobby frame
gold candlesticks in corner - HomeGoods
mirror- Joss & Main
vase by mirror - HobbyLobby
candleabra - HomeGoods
cement angel - garden store many years ago
basket with wood - HomeGoods
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Home & Garden

Joyous 2018

Hello Sweet Friends!

I am blessed and unreasonably excited for this coming year! My hope is that you are, too. I'm praying that you are encouraging yourself in the Lord and committing your ways to Him. When we do this, He will cause our plans to become established and succeed according to His will.

I know that for some, it has been a hard year. It has been a hard season for me!

"And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those are called according to His purpose. (Don't forget the next scripture!) "For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren." Romans 8:28,29

I was coming home from a friend's house last summer when the Lord spoke to me. A group of us had been meeting weekly for Bible study, fellowship and prayer and we had spent the morning in prayer, declaring the truth of God's Word. The Lord told me I had been in a "Job season", that it was ending now, and I had succeeded in this season.  I was driving when the Lord spoke to me and I know I drove the rest of the way home in a daze.

What?!

I have always loved the story of Job. I know that sounds contrary. I have never loved all the tragedy that poor Job suffers~ obviously. What I do love is that the enemy has to ask God's permission to attack Job. We can always know that God keeps the enemy within a boundary that he cannot cross. And we can trust Romans 8:28, 29

So when God spoke this to me, I immediately understood that God had permitted this season to cause me to become more Christ-like.  I also believe that God is good all the time. That all His ways are perfect. Psalm 18:30

There has been a theology taught in the Body of Christ that Jesus bore all the affliction so that we don't have to. But when we look at the lives of the men and women of the Bible, we see over and over again, that they suffered because of the gospel. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 "Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day.  For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal."

Often time it's our weaknesses and sin that cause our afflictions. Remember Joseph and his pride as he shared his dreams with his brothers. But other times it's simply God's preparing us for what we are called to as He cleanses us from selfish ambition, pride, etc. and perfects our faith.  Remember Joseph being thrown into prison even though he was innocent. Remember what God was preparing Joseph for.

Remember Moses living in the wilderness for years before he comes back to declare, "Let my people go!" Remember Saul/Paul being blinded by the Glory of God. Remember Noah building a boat for one hundred years in the middle of a desert while he was mocked and scorned.

I don't believe that God ever makes anyone sick. That was paid for by the Blood of Jesus on the cross. But I'll admit, I had to rethink several of my beliefs as I reconciled this to God. I'll also admit that I would like to think that Job was an isolated incident. lol 

I think my Job season has lasted almost a decade. I wonder if I had done things differently if it would have been shortened. I honestly don't know. I certainly see my weaknesses and sin now. I see how I have reacted to adversity and see how much I need God in my life to change me and purify me. 

I want to give glory to God that even through this hard season, the Lord spared me so much.

1 Corinthians 15:46 talks about the natural things coming before the spiritual things. Very often, examples we see in the Old Testament of physical happenings are to give us understanding of spiritual things.  We see physical battles as examples of how to fight spiritually. I did not lose any family members or suffer physical loss. But the battle was very much against my mind and the things that God had called me to do. We all have to be cleansed of our fear of man to accomplish the things that God is requiring of us.

If you have been having a hard season, I want you to know that you're not alone. The hardest thing for me through this whole season was seeing others "doing well" and feeling alone. The truth is that from outward appearances, I looked like I was doing great. I have a confidence in the Lord and believe in speaking in faith and I was doing everything I knew to do.

It finally took me finding someone who I knew would understand for me to open up, confess my sin and wrong thinking, and ask for prayer.  And I believe that God provided that in His timing. Sometimes we need to come to the end of ourselves before God can help us.

I want to add to this that God spoke the word "Rest" to me numerous times during 2017.  I had to learn to rest again. Hebrews chapter 4 talks about the 'rest' that is Christ. I believe there was a time in my life that I was resting in the Lord but as I entered this season, I began to question and become unsettled. It took months before I was able to lay it all down and rest and trust God; tell Him that I was nothing without Him and simply ask for help with nothing to contribute.

I am a warrior. But I was a little like "Don Quixote" swinging my sword at windmills.  I was tired.  This lack of rest as I battled in my mind was my Job season.

There were times I wanted to blog, and knew eventually I would again, but I also kept feeling like God was telling me to cover myself, protect myself, and rest.

So, I think I'm back. I always want to make decisions day by day with the Lord, allowing Him to continually correct my voyage. I hope to share lots of things this coming year that I've learned about Godly health, decorating and everything else we face in this life of joy in Him.

My word for the new year is "Praise/Joy"~ because they're really the same thing!

love and blessings~

Psalm 103

1Bless the Lord, O my soul,And all that is within me, bless His holy name.2 Bless the Lord, O my soul,And forget none of His benefits;3 Who pardons all your iniquities,Who heals all your diseases;4 Who redeems your life from the pit,Who crowns you with lovingkindness and compassion;5 Who satisfies your years with good things,So that your youth is renewed like the eagle.
6 The Lord performs righteous deedsAnd judgments for all who are oppressed.7 He made known His ways to Moses,His acts to the sons of Israel.8 The Lord is compassionate and gracious,Slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness.9 He will not always strive with us,Nor will He keep His anger forever.10 He has not dealt with us according to our sins,Nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,So great is His lovingkindness toward those who fear Him.12 As far as the east is from the west,So far has He removed our transgressions from us.13 Just as a father has compassion on his children,So the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him.14 For He Himself knows our frame;He is mindful that we are but dust.
15 As for man, his days are like grass;As a flower of the field, so he flourishes.16 When the wind has passed over it, it is no more,And its place acknowledges it no longer.17 But the lovingkindness of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him,And His righteousness to children's children,18 To those who keep His covenantAnd remember His precepts to do them.
19 The Lord has established His throne in the heavens,And His sovereignty rules over all .20 Bless the Lord, you His angels,Mighty in strength, who perform His word,Obeying the voice of His word!21 Bless the Lord, all you His hosts,You who serve Him, doing His will.22 Bless the Lord, all you works of His,In all places of His dominion;Bless the Lord, O my soul!

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Home & Garden

The Apostolic Church

I believe that there is something wonderful happening in the Church right now; something that many of us have foreseen and prayed for. Many churches across our nation and world are already operating in this new wineskin, but many are still stuck in the old wineskin and having trouble understanding what’s happening.
Many have left the organized church, knowing that there is something wrong, and many have stayed in fear, afraid to come out from under this ‘covering. ‘
In a past blog, I shared a vision the Lord gave me about a year and a half ago. In this vision, we walked into a church that is in our community. I recognized the church. In my vision, the foyer was filled with joyful people, talking and fellowshipping. As we turned toward the sanctuary, we saw the door to the sanctuary was closed and there was a sign posted on the door that read, “Prayer and worship – Enter with reverence.”
As I walked into the sanctuary in this vision, I saw that all the people were sitting in a circle facing each other. There was a small group of musicians in the back corner, but everyone else sat in this layered circle. The room did not have a ‘front’ or a platform. There was a low murmur of prayer and worship going on. No one person was leading.
As I watched, someone got a Word from the Lord and gave a direction, and then everyone acted on it. There was prayer for a sick person and this person was healed. Then someone began to sing a song of worship and everyone followed. The musicians began to play and back up everyone singing. This continued the entire time as I watched.  The people flowed in and out of worship, in and out of prayer, each one sharing a Word and a revelation.
1 Corinthians 14:26  says, “…What is the outcome then, brethren? When you assemble, each one has a psalm, has a teaching, has a revelation, has a tongue, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification…” 
I was very encouraged in the Lord after seeing this vision and felt the Lord was leading our family to attend this church. We had attended this church a couple of years earlier and when we returned, found out that the church was without a pastor. I was very interested, in view of what I had heard from the Lord, to see what was happening.
Almost a decade ago, I went through a very profound season with the Lord where He taught me that I was hearing Him. I always knew I heard the Lord, but in this season, He seemed to want to make sure that I really knew this, as He was preparing to tell me some things that would undo a lot of what I’d been taught in the church.
One of the things the Lord spoke to me in this season was that the Church had misunderstood the role of the gift of pastor.
Please hear my heart when I say this in no way makes small this wonderful and much needed gift in the Body, but as the Lord began to show me, we are not understanding the role this gift was intended to fill in the Church.
The word ‘pastor’ appears only one time in scripture in Ephesians 4:11 and is the fourth gift listed in the ‘five-fold ministry gifts.’  Some have taught that the gifts are listed in order of authority – apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor and teacher.
How then have we put so much weight on this one gift?
In 1 Corinthians 12:28 it says, “And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, various kinds of tongues.” It goes on to talk about how each gift and part of the body is necessary to fulfill God’s purposes in the church.
When we look at the New Testament church, it seems that it was completely different than the church we see today. People met in their homes and as I understand it, would occasionally make arrangements for large groups to meet. It would have been much as I saw in this vision – people sitting in a room, letting the Holy Spirit lead, no one person leading.
As the Lord continued to speak to me in this season about a decade ago, He led me to read the book, “Pagan Christianity.” This is an eye-opening book about how we got from the ‘church of Acts’ to the church today. The shocking thing is that many of the influences that led to these changes were pagan. Including the role of pastor. It follows the pagan role of the priest.
The term ‘laity’ and ‘leadership’ is nowhere in the Bible in the way that we use it today. This again, has come from a pagan influence. The order of service, the platform or altar, the praise and worship leaders, the priestly garments, all come from pagan influence.
The rulers at the time were trying to make Christianity more appealing to the pagans and mixed in these things to make them more comfortable. This is how the birth of Christ got added on to the pagan holiday ‘Winter Solstice’ and resulted in Christmas. The Christmas tree, door wreaths, etc. are all from pagan religion.
Another wonderful book that has encouraged me in this last season and given me greater understanding is, “The Apostolic Church Arising.” by Chuck Pierce and Robert Heidler. I love this book because it has greatly confirmed what I felt the Lord putting in my heart.
Please hear what I’m saying. I’m saying the Lord gave me a vision and has been speaking to my heart and has confirmed the things He has told me through others. This follows the scriptural format of a prophet’s word being confirmed by two or three others. I’ve also shared what I felt with other prophets, who have also confirmed that they are hearing this from the Lord.
I understand that what I’m saying strongly contradicts a teaching in the current church.  This doctrinal teaching states that the Pastor is the ‘one’ to get the vision for the church and anyone who feels differently is in rebellion to authority. My heart is never to dishonor another. My heart is to pray for unity in the Body but to obey the Holy Spirit without fear of man.
The Body of Christ needs every member. The role of apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor, and teacher is to equip each member for ministry. Each gift is needed and has a function to accomplish what God is doing on the earth. In the pastor led church, this doesn’t happen.
In the apostolic church, the apostle has a strong administrative gift to coordinate the gift of others. The prophets, as well as others, receive direction from the Lord for the people. The prophet sees the ‘wilderness’ and speaks into it through prophecy and prayer, digging up the hard ground. The evangelist, as well as everyone, brings in new believers. Signs and wonders follow us as we operate in evangelism. The pastors (plural) shepherd the people and visit and pray for the sick and hurting. They counsel and disciple. The teachers, as well as others, share the truth of God’s Word.   Everyone is becoming equipped and moves in the gifts.
Everyone can also operate in these gifts -organizing, praying, prophesying, leading others to Christ, laying hands on the sick and healing them – everyone.
There is no platform. There are no worship leaders. As the Lord leads, we begin to get a hymn and a song. Everyone is free to hear from the Lord and learns how to. Everyone recognizes their importance to the Body and carries a responsibility to be obedient to the move of the Holy Spirit.
Under this old wineskin, the pastor has carried a heavy burden and we have seen the results of this time and time again. Pastors have become ‘burned out’ because they are carrying a load that they were never meant to carry. They neglect their families as they counsel others. They are spending an unreasonable amount of hours trying to meet the needs of the church. It leaves very little time for them to have a healthy relationship with the Lord. They become performance oriented. It's not easy being a one-man band.
Matthew 23:8 says, "But do not be called Rabbi; for One is your Teacher, and you are all brothers. Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. Do not be called leaders; for One is your Leader, that is Christ." How then have we come to call these leaders "Pastor" and have been made to feel we are disrespectful if we don't address them in this way?
Some have thought this role of pastor is a ‘Moses’ anointing but let’s look at scripture. In Jeremiah, 31:31, the Lord talks about the new covenant that is coming.
"Behold, days are coming," declares the Lord, "when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, not like the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt. My covenant which they broke, although I was a husband to them," declares the Lord.  "But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days," declares the Lord, "I will put My law within them and on their hearts I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.  "They will not teach again, each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, 'Know the Lord,' for they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them," declares the Lord, "for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more."
Acts 2:17 quotes the prophet Joel, saying,
"'And it shall be in the last days,' God says,
'That I will pour forth of My Spirit on all mankind;
And your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
And your young men shall see visions,
And your old men shall dream dreams;
 Even on my bondslaves, both men and women,
I will in those days pour forth of My Spirit
And they shall prophesy."
These scripture that talk about what God is doing says that multiple people, men and women, will see visions and dream dreams. The everyone will hear the voice of the Lord.  It makes it clear that God values each member of the Body and they have a part to fill.
The church was never intended to be a place where you wore your best clothes and sat quietly week after week, being told what to think.  I am not saying that pastors don’t hear from God – they absolutely do – just as everyone in the Body hears.  But we need everyone to hear. We need the balance and perspective and wisdom of the Body.
The Lord gave me another vision more than a decade ago. I saw a pile of rubble; a building made of stone that had fallen to the ground.  The Lord spoke to me and said He was tearing down man’s church and in its place, He would build His Church. I believe that God is doing that right now.
It’s a hard transition for many and the enemy is taking this teaching of always being submitted to a pastor and using it to create fear. The Lord has compassion on these sheep but He is also strongly convicting them to break this old wineskin to obey the Holy Spirit.  There has been a shaking, a sifting and a sorting.
When the sorting is over, I want to be found obeying the Lord and operating in this 'new' wineskin. (It's really an old wineskin.)  I want to be gently bold, sharing what I hear the Holy Spirit saying, as He desires to break religious mindsets and set us free to operate in all that God has for us.
I have had several wonderful pastors over the years. They are gifted men of God, committed to serving God and people. I am not expressing any disapproval of these wonderful people of God. They were obeying the Holy Spirit in the way they felt God was leading. They have blessed my life in more ways than I can count and I thank God for their loving service.
But I believe with all my heart that the Lord in this season is bringing new revelation of His Word and His purposes. He is setting us free from deceptions and restrictions that have stopped the flow of the Holy Spirit. In the New Testament, when the Church was operating in this order, thousands were coming to Christ daily. And that is His purpose – that the Holy Spirit would move through each one of us with love, and power, and the gifts of the Spirit, winning this world for Christ.

love and blessings~

PS- I haven't blogged in soooo long and have lots of catching up to do!

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Home & Garden

The Apostolic Church

I believe that there is something wonderful happening in the Church right now; something that many of us have foreseen and prayed for. Many churches across our nation and world are already operating in this new wineskin, but many are still stuck in the old wineskin and having trouble understanding what’s happening.
Many have left the organized church, knowing that there is something wrong, and many have stayed in fear, afraid to come out from under this ‘covering. ‘
In a past blog, I shared a vision the Lord gave me about a year and a half ago. In this vision, we walked into a church that is in our community. I recognized the church. In my vision, the foyer was filled with joyful people, talking and fellowshipping. As we turned toward the sanctuary, we saw the door to the sanctuary was closed and there was a sign posted on the door that read, “Prayer and worship – Enter with reverence.”
As I walked into the sanctuary in this vision, I saw that all the people were sitting in a circle facing each other. There was a small group of musicians in the back corner, but everyone else sat in this layered circle. The room did not have a ‘front’ or a platform. There was a low murmur of prayer and worship going on. No one person was leading.
As I watched, someone got a Word from the Lord and gave a direction, and then everyone acted on it. There was prayer for a sick person and this person was healed. Then someone began to sing a song of worship and everyone followed. The musicians began to play and back up everyone singing. This continued the entire time as I watched.  The people flowed in and out of worship, in and out of prayer, each one sharing a Word and a revelation.
1 Corinthians 14:26  says, “…What is the outcome then, brethren? When you assemble, each one has a psalm, has a teaching, has a revelation, has a tongue, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification…” 
I was very encouraged in the Lord after seeing this vision and felt the Lord was leading our family to attend this church. We had attended this church a couple of years earlier and when we returned, found out that the church was without a pastor. I was very interested, in view of what I had heard from the Lord, to see what was happening.
Almost a decade ago, I went through a very profound season with the Lord where He taught me that I was hearing Him. I always knew I heard the Lord, but in this season, He seemed to want to make sure that I really knew this, as He was preparing to tell me some things that would undo a lot of what I’d been taught in the church.
One of the things the Lord spoke to me in this season was that the Church had misunderstood the role of the gift of pastor.
Please hear my heart when I say this in no way makes small this wonderful and much needed gift in the Body, but as the Lord began to show me, we are not understanding the role this gift was intended to fill in the Church.
The word ‘pastor’ appears only one time in scripture in Ephesians 4:11 and is the fourth gift listed in the ‘five-fold ministry gifts.’  Some have taught that the gifts are listed in order of authority – apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor and teacher.
How then have we put so much weight on this one gift?
In 1 Corinthians 12:28 it says, “And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, various kinds of tongues.” It goes on to talk about how each gift and part of the body is necessary to fulfill God’s purposes in the church.
When we look at the New Testament church, it seems that it was completely different than the church we see today. People met in their homes and as I understand it, would occasionally make arrangements for large groups to meet. It would have been much as I saw in this vision – people sitting in a room, letting the Holy Spirit lead, no one person leading.
As the Lord continued to speak to me in this season about a decade ago, He led me to read the book, “Pagan Christianity.” This is an eye-opening book about how we got from the ‘church of Acts’ to the church today. The shocking thing is that many of the influences that led to these changes were pagan. Including the role of pastor. It follows the pagan role of the priest.
The term ‘laity’ and ‘leadership’ is nowhere in the Bible in the way that we use it today. This again, has come from a pagan influence. The order of service, the platform or altar, the praise and worship leaders, the priestly garments, all come from pagan influence.
The rulers at the time were trying to make Christianity more appealing to the pagans and mixed in these things to make them more comfortable. This is how the birth of Christ got added on to the pagan holiday ‘Winter Solstice’ and resulted in Christmas. The Christmas tree, door wreaths, etc. are all from pagan religion.
Another wonderful book that has encouraged me in this last season and given me greater understanding is, “The Apostolic Church Arising.” by Chuck Pierce and Robert Heidler. I love this book because it has greatly confirmed what I felt the Lord putting in my heart.
Please hear what I’m saying. I’m saying the Lord gave me a vision and has been speaking to my heart and has confirmed the things He has told me through others. This follows the scriptural format of a prophet’s word being confirmed by two or three others. I’ve also shared what I felt with other prophets, who have also confirmed that they are hearing this from the Lord.
I understand that what I’m saying strongly contradicts a teaching in the current church.  This doctrinal teaching states that the Pastor is the ‘one’ to get the vision for the church and anyone who feels differently is in rebellion to authority. My heart is never to dishonor another. My heart is to pray for unity in the Body but to obey the Holy Spirit without fear of man.
The Body of Christ needs every member. The role of apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor, and teacher is to equip each member for ministry. Each gift is needed and has a function to accomplish what God is doing on the earth. In the pastor led church, this doesn’t happen.
In the apostolic church, the apostle has a strong administrative gift to coordinate the gift of others. The prophets, as well as others, receive direction from the Lord for the people. The prophet sees the ‘wilderness’ and speaks into it through prophecy and prayer, digging up the hard ground. The evangelist, as well as everyone, brings in new believers. Signs and wonders follow us as we operate in evangelism. The pastors (plural) shepherd the people and visit and pray for the sick and hurting. They counsel and disciple. The teachers, as well as others, share the truth of God’s Word.   Everyone is becoming equipped and moves in the gifts.
Everyone can also operate in these gifts -organizing, praying, prophesying, leading others to Christ, laying hands on the sick and healing them – everyone.
There is no platform. There are no worship leaders. As the Lord leads, we begin to get a hymn and a song. Everyone is free to hear from the Lord and learns how to. Everyone recognizes their importance to the Body and carries a responsibility to be obedient to the move of the Holy Spirit.
Under this old wineskin, the pastor has carried a heavy burden and we have seen the results of this time and time again. Pastors have become ‘burned out’ because they are carrying a load that they were never meant to carry. They neglect their families as they counsel others. They are spending an unreasonable amount of hours trying to meet the needs of the church. It leaves very little time for them to have a healthy relationship with the Lord. They become performance oriented. It's not easy being a one-man band.
Matthew 23:8 says, "But do not be called Rabbi; for One is your Teacher, and you are all brothers. Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. Do not be called leaders; for One is your Leader, that is Christ." How then have we come to call these leaders "Pastor" and have been made to feel we are disrespectful if we don't address them in this way?
Some have thought this role of pastor is a ‘Moses’ anointing but let’s look at scripture. In Jeremiah, 31:31, the Lord talks about the new covenant that is coming.
"Behold, days are coming," declares the Lord, "when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, not like the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt. My covenant which they broke, although I was a husband to them," declares the Lord.  "But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days," declares the Lord, "I will put My law within them and on their hearts I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.  "They will not teach again, each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, 'Know the Lord,' for they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them," declares the Lord, "for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more."
Acts 2:17 quotes the prophet Joel, saying,
"'And it shall be in the last days,' God says,
'That I will pour forth of My Spirit on all mankind;
And your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
And your young men shall see visions,
And your old men shall dream dreams;
 Even on my bondslaves, both men and women,
I will in those days pour forth of My Spirit
And they shall prophesy."
These scripture that talk about what God is doing says that multiple people, men and women, will see visions and dream dreams. The everyone will hear the voice of the Lord.  It makes it clear that God values each member of the Body and they have a part to fill.
The church was never intended to be a place where you wore your best clothes and sat quietly week after week, being told what to think.  I am not saying that pastors don’t hear from God – they absolutely do – just as everyone in the Body hears.  But we need everyone to hear. We need the balance and perspective and wisdom of the Body.
The Lord gave me another vision more than a decade ago. I saw a pile of rubble; a building made of stone that had fallen to the ground.  The Lord spoke to me and said He was tearing down man’s church and in its place, He would build His Church. I believe that God is doing that right now.
It’s a hard transition for many and the enemy is taking this teaching of always being submitted to a pastor and using it to create fear. The Lord has compassion on these sheep but He is also strongly convicting them to break this old wineskin to obey the Holy Spirit.  There has been a shaking, a sifting and a sorting.
When the sorting is over, I want to be found obeying the Lord and operating in this 'new' wineskin. (It's really an old wineskin.)  I want to be gently bold, sharing what I hear the Holy Spirit saying, as He desires to break religious mindsets and set us free to operate in all that God has for us.
I have had several wonderful pastors over the years. They are gifted men of God, committed to serving God and people. I am not expressing any disapproval of these wonderful people of God. They were obeying the Holy Spirit in the way they felt God was leading. They have blessed my life in more ways than I can count and I thank God for their loving service.
But I believe with all my heart that the Lord in this season is bringing new revelation of His Word and His purposes. He is setting us free from deceptions and restrictions that have stopped the flow of the Holy Spirit. In the New Testament, when the Church was operating in this order, thousands were coming to Christ daily. And that is His purpose – that the Holy Spirit would move through each one of us with love, and power, and the gifts of the Spirit, winning this world for Christ.

love and blessings~

PS- I haven't blogged in soooo long and have lots of catching up to do!

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Home & Garden

Be-YOU-tiful in 2017

As the new year approaches, I find that God is giving me a new goal.

It's a simple goal really, and something I've worked on my whole life, but I feel like in this season God is telling me, and you, that it's very important that we get this one right this time.

The goal is to be myself.

I think for every one of us living in this media-saturated world, it's very hard not to compare ourselves to others. And so much of advertising and media is exactly that. The magazines and television ads want you to compare yourself with the person in the ad and feel like you don't measure up. So we set out to be that false person. A person that truly does not exist.

Or we see someone who has had success in an area and decide to do it their way. We become a poor imitation of them and lose our individuality. Or even worse, we look around and see a version of the same person everywhere we go. Sheep leading sheep.

Or we listen to an amazing woman or man of God and start to become fascinated with them instead of God. We start to get all our knowledge of God 'second-hand' instead of going right to the source. We regurgitate food that was already chewed before we ever ate it. We need fresh manna which only comes from God.

God has made each one of us so uniquely different. We are the very expression of God. He is so infinitely vast in all His personality, character and attributes and we are - each and every one of us - an expression of some part of Him. Without 'you' being 'you', the Body is incomplete. You and your uniqueness is very needed and such a wonderful asset to the Body. When we each become 'ourselves,' we fit so well with everyone else!

I know that if I spent as much time with God discovering who I am as I do admiring others or trying to copy them, I would be much further along in this thing. I know that if I finally valued God's opinion more than anyone else's, I would step into a zone that I have never encountered before.

The other morning I sat down to spend some time with God. I have wonderful friends that read a lot of books and listen to a lot of video teaching and I do, too. So, I started to look up something that a friend had suggested we listen to, and I felt God pull on me so hard and insist that I just listen to Him. Spend time with Him. Quit counting on anyone but Him to teach me. Find out what His heart was for me and what He wanted to tell me.

And I realized all over again that God wants to form me in His Image. That 'me' in His Image is needed by 'you.' And vice versa. I need you to be 'you!'

Moses was not called to gather grain for a famine and Joseph was not created to part the Red Sea. Mary was called to give birth to the Messiah and she wasn't very good at building a boat. If each one of these people had modeled themselves after someone else and not sought God and become 'who they were in Him', things would be very different right now.

We're entering a new season right now and I sometimes I feel like my skin can't contain my spirit. I feel like I'm going to burst with expectation. I sense 'change' coming both in me and all around me. I am filled with fresh hope and so encouraged by God. I feel like some pieces have fallen into place and the shift is happening. I hope you're feeling it too!

My prayer group and I are going to be doing some fasting and praying - both individually and corporately. My expectations are high. I am praying for transformation - that God purify my heart and change me into His Image. That He corrects my wrong-thinking. That He gives me fresh revelation of Who He is and who I am in Him. I am praying for salvation for loved ones and that they have a life-changing encounter with the living God. That they step into who they are in Christ.

Because that's the key to everything - knowing who we are in Christ. Because He is everything and everywhere in our lives that we have valued anything outside of Him is anti-Christ.

So this year I want to encourage you. Turn off the TV. Put down the book. Find a quiet place and get alone with God. Saturate yourself with His Word. Ask Him who you are. Ask Him what He wants you to do. Learn to lose yourself in worship.

Find out who you are.

Love and blessings for God-filled 2017

"But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, 'With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.'" Matthew 19:26




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