Take Off Your Sandals

119 days post life changing surgery and for the most part I’m doing well. I’m healing. Physically, mentally and spiritually, the pieces are slowly being put back together. I’m adjusting to a new normal as one who breathes from my neck instead of my nose. Most days we are in a groove. I’ve even started to dream again, which is huge after something like this comes along and totally changes your life and seemingly steals your dreams.

Then sometimes its the little things that make me cry. Tonight it was updating my PayPal account to include a picture. A selfie I took of myself last year before the surgery. No larytube. No scars. No stoma. And realizing I’ll never have that again. It brings the pain, the hurt, the disappointment and the wonder of it all back up in my face.

I grieve but not as one that has no hope.

Remember Moses? He was royalty. He lived the beginning of his life as a prince in Egypt. The sky was the limit for him. Anything possible. He had lots of reasons to hope! Lots of reasons to dream.  I bet he even dreamed about using his status to help free his people from slavery.  Until one fearful day when he killed the Egyptian for beating an Israelite.  Fear of punishment sent him on the run. He settled on a mountain called Horeb and it was here that Moses met God in a burning bush. It was here on this mountain of desolation where God began fueling Moses with dreams again.  Old dreams long buried in the bleak and empty barren mountain existence that God met Moses.  An encounter that began a relationship.  An appointment that would eventually lead to Moses experiencing the glory of God and meeting with him face to face like a friend (Exodus 33:11).

The word Horeb in Hebrew literally means “dried up ground.” Imagine that. Moses went Unknownfrom a place of hope and possibility as a prince in Egypt to literally living on a mountain of dried up ground.  Fruit doesn’t grow in dried up ground.  It’s not a place of growth or renewal.  Hopelessness, despair and desolation thrive in places of dried up ground.

Have you ever experienced a season of “dried up ground”?  Barren. Fruitless. Without life.  Loss of some kind usually brings us to this mountain.  For me it was the loss of a larynx and with it a livelihood and ability to communicate.  For some it’s a devious and unexpected loss of promise in divorce or a loss of a dream of family in infertility.  Maybe you’ve lost a child or loved one after praying for healing over and over.  Confusion.  Doubt.  Hopelessness.  Anger. Despair.  We’ve all been on our mountain named Horeb.  The specifics might be different, but the underlying commonality is one of “dried up ground.”

moses-and-the-burning-bush-0001107-fullSomething hit me as I read this story about Moses in Exodus 3.  It was there in that place of desolation and hopelessness that Moses heard God say, “Remove your sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.”  Knowing Moses stood on dried up ground made me wonder what in the world could make it holy?

The Lord commissioned him to lead the people of Israel out of slavery and into the land promised for them. Moses, living from a place of hopelessness and desolation, questioned God saying he didn’t have what it took. God on the other hand is a God of purpose and intention. He saw through Moses’ weaknesses and led him on an adventure of a lifetime.  One that earned Moses a trophy in the “heroes of faith” trophy case of Hebrews 11.  An adventure marked with and by the glory of God Himself.  Moses’ face shone radiant with Shekhihah Glory.  Moses sat in the tent of meetings and talked with God as a friend face to face. Wow.  I want that, don’t you?  Snuggled up at a cozy table sipping coffee with the Lord. Laughing at jokes together.  Sharing. Talking.

Have you ever felt desolate?  Hopeless from your circumstances? I too feel ruined at times when the reality of the laryngectomy hits me. Sometimes I sit on my personal Mt. Horeb for a moment thinking of everything I’ve lost. When little things like loading a profile picture hit me trying the suck out the hope that’s left in me. I can relate to Moses and where he would have been when he argued with the Lord about not being able to speak well enough to lead God’s people.  Dreams lost.  Empty.  Desolate on dried out ground.

But there are two things in the story I need to remember. In seasons when life feels desolate and you’ve lost the ability to dream, remember these.  The story of the burning bush is more than just a Sunday School anecdote.  There is powerful insight into the person of God that we can see and apply to our own Mt. Horeb experience.

First, God saw purpose in Moses. He sees purpose in you and He is wanting to kindle that flame again. Moses had lost any dreams he would have had of delivering his people from Eypgt. They were long gone. Lost in a desolate mountain called Horeb.  God met Moses and began restoring and reminding him of those dreams. He’s wanting to do the same for you and me. God wants to breathe new dreams in us. To ignite, like the burning bush, hope and purpose again. To take the desolate hopelessness in our hearts and transform it into renewed purpose.  I used to dream about speaking and preaching powerful messages of encouragement and truth to the Body of Christ.  My vocal cords were taken. Unknown-1I’ve lost that dream… for now.  But God is a redeemer and somehow, He will redeem the Horeb moments of our life.  When we find ourselves living on dried out ground and our dreams gone, He is there.  When we can’t see past today and dreaming about tomorrow has become impossible, He is there.  Maybe not in a burning bush, but He is there, gently holding us under His wing and whispering new dreams into our hearts.  Be still, my friend.  Keep listening.  Let the Lord embrace you and hold you until those dreams can be awakened inside your heart again.

Second, the mountain called desolation was holy ground. Get this. It’s powerful. Dried out desolate bleak and barren ground was holy. I don’t know about you, but when I think about holy ground, those are not the adjectives I would use.  However, Moses was told to take off his sandals for it was holy ground.

Have you ever just walked through the grass barefoot simply because it felt good? I love to do this in the spring time when the barrenness of winter breaks and warmth starts taking over the earth again. The green grass under my feet. It’s therapeutic. I take off my shoes and enjoy the moment. God told Moses to do this same thing. Take off your shoes, Moses. Slip off your sandals and stay with me in this moment for a while because it is holy. I am going to use it grow you in ways you couldn’t ever imagine.  Grow you even though the ground is dried up.  Through the dried up rocky soil, I’m going to sprig life for something new.  Something holy.holy-ground-talbot-beatty-the-lord-is-present-where-god-is-is-holy

When we go to visit someone if we plan to stay awhile, we take off our shoes. We make ourselves at home with them and enjoy their company. If we don’t plan to stay with them very long, we don’t bother taking off our shoes. It’s too much work to get them back on! I imagine this is how it would have been with Moses. Slipping off his woven straw sandals and basking in the glory of the Lord and His holy ground. Sitting down and staying for a while in this place of dried up ground. I think many times, we are tempted to bare down and grit our teeth when hard times come. We lament and cry out “Why Lord??”  We try to hurry up and get through it.  When really, we need to kick off our shoes and be willing to spend time just hanging out in the glory of His presence. To stand squishing our toes in the dried out ground knowing the holiness of the moment comes in the growth God brings despite the dried up ground upon where we stand.  In fact, the longer we stay there, the more God can grow in us during our time on the dried up mountian.  If we rush through our visit of Mt Horeb, we are going to miss something.  Something good.  Something holy.

Somehow after everything is said and done, God will work this season of desolation together for good.  If we allow Him to, He will make beauty from the ashes of our experiences.  The hurt, the pain, the desolation, the hopelessness.  They are not for loss.  “I am confident of this very thing, that he who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus (Philippians 1:6).” Somehow, when the dried out dust settles and time has taken what it needs to work in us, we will “receive a garland instead of ashes and the oil of gladness instead of mourning (Isaiah 61:3).”

 

Power Position of the Cross

The surgery coordinator called last week. This surgery has potential to change my life completely.  One way or another, life will never be the same.  When I got off the phone, my emotions were a whirlwind.  The finality of it all overwhelmed me. I’ve prayed against, thought about and claimed victory over this day for almost 2 years.  The fact that it’s was now on the calendar with plans being made was really just too much for me. It reminds me a bit of how Jesus must have felt when it was time to head to Calvary. He had, after all, known that day was coming for years… and years.

Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray,”  He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said the them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death.  Stay here and keep watch with me.”    (Matthew 26:36-38)

Jesus, in his humanity, was overwhelmed when looking towards the cross.  He knew the hurt, the pain and the scars.  He fully understood the depths of what His Father was asking Him to step into.  His “soul was overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death.”

Did He take a victim position?  Did He allow himself to fall into the depths of despair?  No.  Quite the opposite.

I’m also moved by Paul.  When you read his defense of himself in 2 Corinthians 11, you can see just how much that man suffered.  Lashes, beaten with rods, stoned, shipwrecks, floating in an open sea for 24 hours, constant danger from bandits, hunger and thirst, cold, naked  (vs 24-29) and the list continues. Yet no where in Paul’s letters, preaching or writings does he take a weak victim position. I never heard him say things I think we are tempted to say.  Thinks like “Why did you let this happen to me God?”  Or “If this is what it’s like to be on your team, I’m done.”

Fact is, I can’t find anywhere in the Bible that allows us to take a victim position.  No where in the New & Better Covenant are there allowances made for us to be weak and victimized by our situation or our circumstances.  No where.  Absolutely no where.

Over and over Paul writes about our position as Saints.  He talks about everything we have because of the finished work of the cross.  This isn’t something we attain in the “sweet by and by.”  These are things we have NOW.  Here on earth.   We have been blessed with every spiritual blessing (Ephesians 1:3).  Read through Ephesians 1 & 2.  See the power position Paul paints for us.  Beautiful.  Here’s a “to go” version you can print too.

It’s interesting to me that the letter to the Romans was written a couple years after the 2nd letter to the Corinthians.  Paul had experienced all these hardships.  Years and years of hardships.  If there was anyone every in history who should have had permission to say “chuck it all…” and act like a whiny victim, it was Paul the Apostle. Yet what does he write in Romans 8??

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine, or nakedness or danger or sword (See 2 Corinthians 11)?  No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.  For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels or demons, nighter the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:35,37-29)

Did you see that?  Not only did Paul think of himself as a conqueror.  But he saw himself as “MORE THAN a conqueror” because of the finished work of the cross.  I don’t know about you, but when life hits me with hardships, I don’t feel like a conqueror.  In fact, many times I feel conquered. Conquered by the situation I’m facing.  Overwhelmed to the point of death. The mountain often feels way too big to move regardless of my faith.

After I hung up the phone with the surgery coordinator, I had a moment where the victim thoughts started trying to overwhelm me.  If there’s one thing I’ve learned through this experience with my voice and the tumor, it’s that I need not ask questions that tragedy refuses to answer.  “Why me? How did this happen?  Why is this happening?  Doesn’t God love me?” etc etc etc.  Despite me trying to push them away, they came flooding into my mind. I was tempted to begin to take a victim stance. I surely didn’t “feel” victorious.  After all, we’ve been praying for 2 years for healing and now I have to have a surgery scheduled?  What in the world, Lord?

Almost immediately, the Lord quickened a scripture to my heart.  I have it written on a note card in my bathroom and I read it every time I brush my teeth morning and night.

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My Father started to remind me.  “Wait a minute, Dacian.  There is no failure with me.  I am your champion defender, remember!?  There’s no risk here.  Do not be paralyzed.  Trust me. I’m not done yet.”

Then the Lord reminded me of a TED talk (watch here) I watched once about a year or so ago. A behavioral scientist named Amy Cuddy shared her studies on body language and what happens socially when you put your body in a power position.  Through her research, she learned many things, but one that intrigues me is that you can actually change the way you feel by putting your body in a “power position” for 2 minutes.  Fascinating.  Your body can influence your soul.

What is a power position?  It’s one where you open yourself up.  It’s a posture that communicates confidence and power.  Here are some examples:

 

This happens in nature all over the place.  Many animals open themselves up when they want to take positions of power or authority.

 

I decided I wanted to try out Amy Cuddy’s study.  I wanted to start feeling powerful.  I wanted my emotions to line up with the reality I knew I had.  “More than conquerors.” So I stood in my kitchen with my arms outstretched and my head up towards heaven breathing in the peace of the Lord.  Then the Holy Spirit spoke to me and said, “Who do you look like when you stand like this?”

I started sobbing.  I realized that as I stood there with my arms out stretched, that I looked like Jesus on the cross.  Then it hit me.  The paradox that the ultimate position of power came from a Savior who surrendered and laid himself down as a sacrifice for us all.  In what was looked upon as weakness and failure, He opened himself up on the cross  arms outstretched taking on Himself all of our sin and all of our diseases.  He bore them by His stripes (Isaiah 53:5)

It hit me.  How could Paul write from such a position of power despite his pretty constant hardships?  He knew how to step into the power position of the cross. He knew how to “renew his mind”.  He knew that by renewing his mind, he would be transformed supernaturally into something that he didn’t feel.  Into someone who understands that despite how they feel, they ARE “more than conquerer.”

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:2)

This is how we live as masters of our emotions instead of being mastered by our emotions.  When we are mastered by our emotions, every fleeting thought or feeling can slam us into the rocks of our situation.  But when we live as masters of our emotions, we are like Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane.  We can be overwhelmed to the point of death, yet our first response is to get alone with our Father.  To go to Him in prayerful surrender.  To step into the power position of the cross and take on every good and fitting things Jesus has provided us because of His finished work.

People keep asking me how I’m doing. My answer is going to seem a little crazy and surprising.  I am fantastic. I have chosen to step into the power position of the cross.  To renew my mind with the things Paul says about me.  To know that I have been given every spiritual blessings and everything I need for a life of Godliness (well, Peter said that one but it still fits).  I am choosing daily to not be a victim of my circumstance.  But to let my circumstance be a victim to the cross.  GLORY!

I want to encourage you to take 2 minutes today.  Stand in a power position.  What is going on in your life that is “overwhelming you with sorrow to the point of death”??  You look that situation in the face,  then outstretch your arms breathing in the peace of God as you do.  Step into the power position of the cross.  And know this.  Whatever you are facing.  Hardship. Sickness.  Disease.  Sin.  Jesus bore it so you don’t have to.  So claim his stripes over it and rejoice in the breakthrough that has been released.  His purpose and His Will is headed your way.  GLORY!!

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*** Disclaimer… I do not necessarily agree with or condone the links shared in this article.  I love what the Holy Spirit looks like in you as He brings revelation of Truth to your heart **)

Why Am I Surprised?

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Does the Lord ever surprise you? Truly? Does He ever just open up heaven and amaze you with His goodness?

I’ve been walking with the Lord all my life. I was 11 years old when He knocked on my heart’s door and said, “Beloved, come to me.”  As I’ve matured in my faith and fellowship, God’ provisions are all around me.  I’ve learned to recognize His fingerprints as He works in the corners of my life.

Countless stories of answered prayer, provision, revelation & protection.  By now, God’s faithfulness shouldn’t surprise me.  His amazing finger prints and provision, should in no way surprise me. I really should hold within my heart a spirit of expectation.   When hardship hits rather than bear down with prayer and petition wondering where it came from or why me, I really should just look up and laugh.  Laugh in the face of adversity knowing that the worse it gets, the more my awesome God is going to show up. The more it hurts, the more God’s love covers.  The more it rocks my world, the more the world will be rocked by God’s provision and faithfulness. The more I have to wait on the Lord, the larger my eagle’s wings become.  The more zoe life of God within me.

(Insert Rich Mullins piano rift here and start singing along.  “My God is an awesome God. He reigns from heave above….”  For those who are too young to know this references, check out Awesome God here. Then ask someone older than you who Rich Mullins is.  He’s someone you should know about.)

So why do I still have moments of doubt that there will be provision?  Why do I doubt if God is near or that He has His hand on things? Why after all these years and all these provisions and all these moments of answered prayers and protections do I still cry out asking the Lord to show me His face or let me know He’s near?

He’s called us into Sabbath rest.  He’s promised abundant life.  The Joy of the Lord is our strength.  I long to walk in that peaceful abundant life joy.  He’s always near.  He has promised to never leave us or forsake us.  He’s not left us as orphans, but He’s put His very spirit in us!

Reading through Luke this morning, the Lord highlighted some things to me that brought me encouragement.  A gentle loving Father, always.

Jesus was born into a time when God’s spirit had been silent for hundreds of years.  Imagine having heard about but never experienced the “glory of God.”  Then some lowly dirty shepherds were out in a field minding their own business & doing their daily do and bam. Glory and heaven’s song fills the skies. I wish I could have been there.  What an amazing sight for earthly eyes that had been in darkness for so long.

A few months before this, a young Jewish girl was hanging out in her room. God’s glory.  Boom.  Angel comes and says, “You’re going to be the mother of God’s son.”  Now, you would think that if an angel came to you, you would get it.  A Divine encounter like that one would have you full of confidence and expectation.  Nope.

8 days after Jesus was born, Mary and Joseph take Jesus to the temple per the custom of that day to be circumsized.  This was a good old-fashioned baby dedication.  Simeon, a righteous and devout man who was told by the Holy Spirit that he would not die until he saw the Messiah, was moved to go to the temple at the same time.  While there he took the baby in his arms and started praising God speaking all kinds of prophetic goodness over the child.  What was the parent’s response?  Again, both Mary and Jospeh had been visited by angels at this point.  Nothing should really surprise them.  Yet, “the child’s father and mother marveled at what was said about him.”

Unknown-1And it doesn’t end there.  12 years later they headed to Jerusalem for the Passover festival. You remember the story.  It’s the one where Jesus gets left behind and for 3 days Mary and Joseph search for them.  They finally find him in the temple engaging with the religious leaders.  Mary like all good mothers scolds him. “Why did you treat me like this!?” And Jesus replies that they should have known he would be about his father’s business.

What struck me about this story was that Jesus was in the temple at 12 years of age and “everyone who heard him was amazed at this understanding and his answers.”  There’s a lot I could say here, but to stay on track, let’s keep moving.  Then it says “his parents saw him, and they were astonished.”

Let’s pause here for moment.  Astonished.  Hum… an angel comes to you and says, “Hey, you are going to have a child conceived by the Holy Spirit.”  She ends up pregnant immaculately.  Wouldn’t that clue you in that something supernatural is going on here??

Then, there’s all that provision around a place to be born. Some noble visitors. Some more angelic encounters.  Hum… when are you going to get a clue here Mary and Jospeh?

Then Simeon in the temple.  A very very old man who was told he wasn’t going to die until he saw the Messiah dances around holding your new born baby and spouts off all kinds of amazing prophecies over your child.  By now, you would think Mary would get it.

Nope.. not yet.

I’m a mom.  I get it.  We get buried in the daily “do’s” and sometimes it’s hard to think bigger than our list of things we need to get done.  So I can see why Mary could still struggle with faith and acting in expectation.

She does it again when Jesus is 12.  They should have just stood back in the temple with arms crossed in an attitude of pride at this point.  Yep… that’s Jesus.  God’s child in carnate that we have the privilege of raising on this planet.  Yep… he’s going to take the sin’s of the world upon him and make it all great again. Yep… I’m not the least bit surprise that he’s so awesome.

Yet, they still marveled.  They were amazed. They were surprised that God could be so awesome.

I sat at my table this morning smiling over this idea. Even after angelic visits Mary still didn’t get it.  If Mary can fumble, I guess it’s okay that I do too from time to time.  I long for the response of my soul to be one of trust, faith and complete surrender.  There are still times when I should expect yet I marvel.  I guess that’s something to say about God’s infinite presence.

The good news is that Mary did, in fact, eventually get it.  Several years later, after raising God’s son for a few decades, she sat at a wedding reception table with Jesus in Canaan.  The host ran out of wine.  She sat in her chair and quietly smiled. She knew in her heart the answer was already given.  I wonder how many women ran around in a panic trying to fix the problem?  Trying to rationalize or blame.  Mary sat peacefully knowing the solution to the problem of social awkwardness sat right next to her. Then she turned and she whispered into her son’s ear, “Make wine, son.”

Expectation.

It’s such a lesson to me when hardships come. When tragedy hits.  When unexpected acts happen.  I don’t have to run around trying to figure it out.  I don’t have to rationalize, pass blame or figure things out.  The solution to the problem lives inside me. From the Sabbath rest of our chair and the from the fullness of our hearts in expectation, we can look up to our Father (or down if you want since he’s living in your heart if you’re a Believer) and say, “Make wine Lord.”

I’m sure He will continue to surprise me.  He is, after all, an infinite God with an infinite Unknown-2ability to do an infinite number of things.  There’s just something beautiful to me about surprise that comes from expectation.  (Rather than surprise that comes from doubt).  We open up an atmosphere that leads Him to do exceedingly more for us when we meet Him with expectation.

So when hard times come, may the cry of my heart forever be,

“Make wine Lord!”

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I am standing in absolute stillness, silent before the one I love,
waiting as long as it takes for him to rescue me.
Only God is my Savior, and he will not fail me.
For he alone is my safe place.
His wrap-around presence always protects me
as my champion defender.
There’s no risk of failure with God!
So why would I let worry paralyze me,
even when troubles multiply around me?
God’s glory is all around me!
His wrap-around presence is all I need,
for the Lord is my Savior, my hero, and my life-giving strength.

Psalm 62:5-7  (The Passion Translation)

A Conversation About Beauty

As I watch my daughter grow up, I am reminded of my own childhood.  I see so much of my little girl self in her. Adventurous. Bold. Strong. Funny. Kind. Thoughtful.

I watch the way my daughter plays and it brings back my own childhood fantasy play. While she’s playing out Minecraft stories and pretending to be a Mario princess, I pretended to be Daisy Duke out running the sheriff, Princess Leia fighting the galactic battle of good and evil, or Wonder Woman flying around in my invisible jet dodging bullets with golden bracelets and forcing men to tell the truth with my golden lasso.

It makes me smile.

Then I think about growing out of childhood and becoming a teenager.  The turbulent road of growing into a young woman. All the mine fields I had to navigate. Was I beautiful? Was I worthy? Was I desirable? I think about how I struggled to find the validation of my beauty in the world around me.

They say hindsight is 20/20. I was truly blinded to the truth during those years. I had no idea of what true beauty was or where it came from. It wasn’t until my mid to late twenties when I began to understand beauty. I’m in my forties now and I feel like I’ve finally come to truly see what feminine beauty is and where is comes from.

Here’s what I want my daughter to know that I did not.

  • You are made in the image of God.

“So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.”  Genesis 1:27

It’s really hard to think of yourself as junk when you realize that you are modeled after God himself.  The Lord is splendid.  Beautiful.  And to say you are anything other than splendid and beautiful is to mar the very image of God.  So just don’t do it.  Never call yourself ugly.  Never call yourself fat.  You. Are. Beautifully. Splendid. Period.  Even if you don’t feel like it.  The reality is that you ARE.

  • You are extremely good.

Read Genesis chapter 1.  I love the story of God’s creation. I don’t understand it, but I love knowing that we were all created by a loving and intentional God.  We did not happen by accident.  It wasn’t a cosmic boom or happen stance that earth and all its inhabitants came into existence. God created nature and humanity and he did so with intention, with reason and with purpose.

When I read this chapter I see that God created everything. The land and oceans, the stars in the sky, the birds of the air, the creepy things of the ground (although I can think of a few many legged creatures I wish the Lord had not created).  And when he finished each task he looked at his creation and said, “It was good.”  But this pattern changes after he created man and woman.  All of his other creation he look upon after the work was complete and called “good.”  However, when he finished making man and woman in his own image he looked upon it as the crown of his creation and called it “VERY good” (emphasis mine).  So never ever think of yourself as anything other than very good. If you look into nature and see something beautiful, a sunset or a butterfly, know that you are even more beautiful than that.  God himself says so.  While they are “good”, you are “very good.”  And yes… that means you are more beautiful than the most beautiful of all God’s creation.  You have purpose and are worthy simply because of that.

“I praise you (Lord) because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well” (Psalm 139:14).

Some translations use “marvelous” instead of  “wonderful.”  The definition of the both of these works literally means “extremely good.”  So the Psalmist, David, goes a bit further in his revelation of who he is as God’s creation.  Not only did God say we are “very good” we are actually “extremely good.”  So who are we to argue that we are ugly or fat?!

  • God himself is enthralled with us

Psalm 45 is a poem about a bride and bridegroom.  It parallel’s the church’s relationship with Christ.  We are the bride and he is the bridegroom.  I love what Psalm 45:11a says.

“For your royal Bridegroom is ravished by your beautiful brightness. Bow in reverence before him, for he is your Lord!” (TPT)

“Let the king be enthralled by your beauty; honor him, for he is your Lord” (NIV)

Did you get that!?

Ravish – “to give great pleasure to someone.”

Enthrall – “to keep someone completely interested.”

This means that we give great pleasure to the Lord.  Just by being us!  It also means that we hold God’s attention.  He will never cancel an appointment with us.  He will never be distracted in our presence.  You are completely ravishing and enthralling just the way you are.  As his creation.

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So what does all this mean?! I am a firm believer that we become what we say.  Our thoughts and our self speak are powerful things. How many times did I stand in front of the mirror saying things about myself that just did not line up with God’s Word?!  Instead I should have been speaking God’s Word over myself and speaking LIFE instead of death.

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue.”  Proverbs 18:21a

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I want to challenge you to speak life over yourself. Rather than stand in front of the mirror and point out the flaws that you see, ask the Holy Spirit to reveal the truths of what God says about you to you. Then start speaking them out over yourself.  Look in the mirror and say, “I am made in God’s image and that can’t be anything but awesome.  He is after all GOD! I am ravishing.  God is enthralled with me. God himself is can not be distracted by anything when He’s with me. I am completely interesting and give pleasure to those around me. I am not only very good but extremely good. God himself called me “very good”.  I am whole. I am complete.  God made me so.”

These are things I wish I had known while navigating those dangerous streets of becoming a young woman.  When I was tempted to let my value and beauty be dictated by the crush of a boy instead of the position my Father gave me, I wish someone had been there to fill me with these truths.  Oh how I had known confidently that I am BEAUTY, just because God made me.  It has nothing to do with the number of boys that said I was desirable.  Beauty is based on my position with God and nothing else.

So grow, my sweet daughter, knowing that you are beautiful.  That you are loved.  That you are enthralling and marvelously made.  Just the way you are.

 

We Are Already Royalty

TELEMMGLPICT000164018092-xlarge_trans_NvBQzQNjv4BqgmFsEjQK2M33nnfQ31Q2_6Mr0t7-tWp3mWf_CMz8V_ESomething truly significant happened on May 19, 2018.  A day of historical significance, an American actress became a princess. Not just any American actress either.  Meghan Markle, a woman of African American heritage who for many reasons could have traditionally been thought of as improper for the royal family, married Prince Harry and became royalty.  It may have lacked the fairy dust and glitter of the fairy tales, but today she transformed into a real bonafide princess.  Wow.  And with that metamorphosis, she became both the envy and the inspiration of girls both big and small across the globe.

I didn’t dress up, wear a royal hat or set an alarm to watch the coverage.  I simply watched a bit while eating breakfast with my kids this morning.  There was a part of me that wanted to make sure my kids didn’t miss out on the monumental and historical value of today’s royal wedding.  Another part of me wanted to empower my daughter to know that being royalty really is possible.  It’s not just some fairy tale upon which to dream.

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What I did watch, melted my heart.  It was beautiful to watch the royal family envelope her into their own family.  The reporters on the news commented on how Prince Charles walked her down the aisle and gave her to his son, Harry.  A huge act of acceptance.  It was like they wrapped their arms around her in approval and consent of the her becoming part of their family.

Another segment showed girls from Meghan’s alma mater watching the wedding.  They talked about how inspiriting it was to know that they too could come from such a normal place as their school and like Meghan become royalty.  The possibilities are uncapped, ladies.  You never know what good things could happen.

As I went about my morning, I couldn’t help but think about the things the commentators were saying about this royal union. Meghan is the envy of every single woman (and some married women) on the planet, right!?  She found her Prince Charming and became a real princess today. She instantly gained status and title.  Former actress becomes Duchess of Sussex. In an instant she gained all the legacy and rights of royalty.  I had a brief moment where my mind wondered down a path towards jealousy. I mean, talk about life changing birth right and inheritance!

Then as the Holy Spirit often does, a tender touch stirred in my heart.  I am already royalty.  My inheritance, my status and my legacy are fully covered in my position as a daughter of the one true King.

“But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God….” John 1:12 (NKJV)

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“For it was always in his perfect plan to adopt us as his delightful children, through our union with Jesus, the Anointed One, to that his tremendous love that cascades over us would glorify his grace — for the same love he has for his Beloved One, Jesus, he has for us. And this unfolding plan brings him great pleasure!” Ephesians 1:5-6 (TPT)

And just in case those aren’t enough to open your eyes to see.  Here’s one more.

“Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God!” 1 John 3:1

As the truth and revelation of the Holy Spirit poured over me, I started laughing.  Joy overtook me.  Truth bomb: As Believers, we have an inheritance in the faith that far surpasses any British royalty.  Don’t believe me!?  Let’s take a look.

  • I have been blessed with every spiritual blessing. (Ephesians 1:3)
  • I am fully accepted by God. (Romans 15:7)
  • I have been brought into fullness and have all power and authority in Christ. (Colossians 2:9-10)
  • I am one with God’s spirit. (1 Corinthians 6:17)
  • I am no longer a slave to sin. (Romans 6:6)
  • I have been created in God’s image. (Genesis 1:27)
  • I am a ROYAL PRIESTHOOD and God’s special possession. (1 Peter 2:9)
  • I have been raised with Christ!! (Colossians 3:1-3)
  • I am chosen. (1 Peter 2:9)

I could go on and on!! You can grab a bunch of truth statements from Freedom In Christ Ministries here.) And if that’s not enough, just search “what is my identity in Christ?” in your favorite search engine and you’ll find tons of truth on your royalty!!

Move over Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex.  You may have been transformed into a real bonafide princess today, but I have been transformed into a new creation. I am a daughter of the King.  I am a royal priest hood.  I have been enveloped by Christ. I am perfectly accepted and bestowed abundant live.  I am already royalty holding God given-title, elevated in supernatural status, and holding all the legacy and inheritance of God.  Wow. If that doesn’t get your fire going, your wood is a little wet.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old things have passed away; behold, new things have come.”  2 Corinthians 5:17

IMG_1242I turned on the TV today to show my daughter new possibilities.  To let her see a historical moment transpire hoping it would inspire her to dream a little bigger.  But I learned that I really want her to know something much deeper and much bigger.  In Christ she already is a princess.  She is the Bride of Christ.  Already in union with the Spirit of God. She is already royalty blessed with every rich spiritual blessing and living in inheritance and legacy.  Just like a real bonafide princess.  And this, my dear daughter, is much better than any princess story out there.

So for you today who read this.  If you have asked Jesus into your heart, you too hold the title and position.  You are already royalty.  Embrace this today and ask Holy Spirit to bring this truth into fullness in your heart.  You.  Are.  Already.  Royalty.

Written by Dacian Keaton – Founder of DK Minstries

I Already Have It.

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Recently, I was awoken from sleep with a vision. I saw the image of a toddler with a handful of cookies in his hands yet he kept asking for more.  The symbolism makes me chuckle at first.  I can remember moments like this with both my children when they were little.  Hands full of chocolate chip cookies asking for just one more.  Once I remember playing the game with one of my kids where I just kept handing them cookies until they literally couldn’t hold any more. I can’t remember the outcome of that event.  But I do think it ended up with a full belly for my child and a big chocolatey mess for me to clean up.

Believe it or not, deep spiritual meaning rests in this image of a messy child holding onto his handful of cookies.

I know I have been guilty of doing this very same thing with my heavenly father.  I stand before Him with a handful of blessings already in my hands, yet I stand asking for them.  Lord, help me to not sin today.  Lord, heal me.  Lord, calm my emotions and bring me peace. I stand with a handful of “spiritual blessings” (Ephesians 1:3) and “everything needed to live a life of Godliness” (2 Peter 1:3) and ask for the ability to live a good life or the ability to be healed from sickness. All I really need to do is eat from the cookies in my hand. To partake of the deep spiritual blessings the Lord has already bestowed to me.  Things I already have.  I just need to devour them.

Peace. Joy. Patience. Goodness. Power. Authority. Divine health. Just to name a few.

Unknown-1All of these things and many more are already given to me.  Power to raise from the dead lives inside me.  All authority has been given to me (Matthew 28:18).  Yet rather than just stand and take a big bite of them, I cry out to the Lord to give me strength.  Or I cry out for Him to heal me.  Or I cry out for Him to help me be or do something good.  

I AM already  good.  I AM already healed.  I AM already strong.

In Christ.  Christ in me.

In God.  God in me.

Holy Spirit upon me.

So this past couple weeks I feel like something has taken root in my that has moved me up a rung on the ladder of maturity.

1 Corinthians 13:11 says, “When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.”

No longer will I ask for things I already have.  Childish ways of holding a handful of cookies while asking for some cookies is behind me.  I will not ask the Lord for strength.  I will just take the strength He has already given me and move on.  I will no longer ask Him to heal me.  I will declare that I am already healed, curse the symptoms and move on. I will no longer ask the Lord to help me not sin.  I will claim the finished work of the Cross, the fact that Christ is in me and move on.  I am a new creation.  I have every spiritual blessing.  Everything I need to live a life o Godliness has been given to me.  Let’s get going.

I have been liberated.

My prayer life will never be the same.

 

** Stay tuned for a more in depth teaching on this topic of devouring the blessings God has already given to you.**