Category: Personal Growth

Seeking personal improvement

What Do You Need to Get Going?

Sunday Sermon 8.28.21

I feel many have been in a perpetual holding pattern for the past fifteen months. So many things have been placed on hold, deferred, declined, shied away from or just plain canceled. This has affected all areas of life, personal, professional and most seriously spiritual. Many have put off things that are now time to get going.

There is merit in addressing lost jobs, vacations, and the like, but I’d like to focus on lost spiritual ground, spiritual assignments and spiritual standings. What in that arena do you need to get going?

Can you visualize an ox goad?

That wooden tool, about 8 feet long, with an iron spike at one end. It was used by the herder to goad or spur the oxen as they carried the cart. When the ox was poked, it’s response was to sometimes kick against it in resistance. This of course was not only futile but also painful for the ox.

Ox goad

The dictionary tells us that a goad is:

” an agent or means of prodding or urging; a stimuls. Anything that acts to stir or incite.”

Cambridge dictionary says this:

” to make a person or animal react or do something by continuously annoying or upsetting them”

It is my strong, personal sense that we are being urged, prodded, poked and perhaps even annoyed or upset by the sharp end of the goad. We are being encouraged and stirred to do something, change course, and redirect. The prod and poke of the Spirit is urging us to get going.

Let me suggest to you the following acronym that came to me as I considered the goal of the goads.

The Goal of the G.O.A.D.S.

G – get us going (in the power of the Gospel): stirring us to act, move and speak in line with the gospel and it’s truth, light and power

O – optimize the oxen’s strength (our stength!) : the oxen has strength to carry a heavy load and yet it often chose to rest, sit, and stay put. The goad poked him to action and to utilize the strength that he has. We are that oxen oftimes.

A – assess the actual progress : weight bearing oxen had to advance and make progress each day, there was a job to be done and his progress was vital. No forward motion led to a poke or a prod to get them to gain ground an move forward. Progress was expected everyday!

D – direct away from danger, to deter certain actions: the goad often guided and directed that ox away from predators, or any other dangers in the road ahead. That nagging, sharp, annoying voice (goad) was protecting and redirecting

S – spur us on: as annoying or upsetting as the goad can be, it was only intended to spur the ox in the right direction, on the right path, pulling the load is was meant to with the strength it has been given.

I have trouble visualizing an ox kicking against that ox goad. How could its hoof and leg actually manage to hit that pointy, poking, prod? Really?? It’s kinda funny.

But isn’t that what we do? We kick back at those subtle pokes of the Spirit because we know that He is calling us to get moving and get with it. We are being encouraged to do something that what we are not comfortable with and our stubborn as an ox spirit oftimes resists.

But God said, to the soon to be Apostle Paul:

“It is hard for you to kick against the goads”

Acts 26:14 NIV

“You are only hurting yourself when you resist your calling.”

Acts 26:14 TPT

Dear reader, when we resist the pokings of the Holy Spirit goad, we are only hurting ourselves. We are resisting the very calling He has placed on our lives.

Remember, those promptings and pokings are intended to get us going with optimal strength on a path forward, actually making progress and guarded from danger. That goad is spurring us on and stirring us up.

Geesh, if we were walking fully submitted to the GOAD (voice of the Spirit), we could be doing the same as Shamgar, who is said to have killed 600 with an ox goad. Or perhaps even be as the wise one in Ecclestiates, of whom it is said their wise words were like ox goads.

All I know folks, is it is time for all believers in Jesus to get going! You cannot be doing now, the same things you were doing fifteen months ago! If nothing has changed in your spirit, then you have not responded to the goadding of the Spirit in your life. If you are stuck, it is time to yield to the goad and get going. If you are resisting that goad, you are only hurting yourself. There will be futility and pain.

The world needs you, and the time for ignition is short. The call of the Spirit is strong and is indeed urging you to get going. What are you waiting for?

The goal of the goads it to get us going.

Go with God,

Debbie

Return and Enter

Sunday Sermon 8.14.21

On our computer keyboards return and enter are synonymous. The return key moves the cursor to the beginning of the next line, yes, but it also returns control to whatever program is currently running.

Additionally, the return key activates whatever is highlighted or selected.

Our computers are even designed to insert a “hard return”. And did you know that hitting return and 1 tells the main brain that the program has not executed successfully and there is some error?

Keeping with this theme of return, August 7 began the Hebrew month of Elul, the month that preceeds Rosh Hashanah, and is a month of self-examination, repentance and returning to God. During this time, in preparation for the Day of Atonement, we reflect on the previous year and look forward to the next year. It is a month of returning to God and receiving a clean slate, receiving forgiveness.

The Jewish sages tell us that the relationship between God and man during this time is pictured as between two beloveds with a yearning to connect. God is actually yearning for man to return to him to connect with Him.

During this month of returning, in Jewish families and synagogues the shofar is blown each day as an invitation to wake up and seek a deeper connection with God.

Could it be that in your life it is time to hit the return button and return control to God’s program? Could your brain be signaling return 1… notifying you there is an error somewhere that needs addressing?

I truly believe that we are living in a season of return.

Return is a call to all people and all nations. We here in America have turned away from God, we have removed God. Yet those who return to Him will find forgivenenss, will find a new faith activated, sin deleted, and a hard return inserted into our main drive. It is time to seek the Lord and return to Him.

Hear Him calling you, urging you to come close and connect with Him:

Zech. 1:3 – return to me and I will return to you

2 Chron. 30:9 – the Lord is gracious and compassionate, He will not turn His face from you if you return to Him

Joel 2:12 – return to me with all your heart with fasting, weeping and mourning

Hosea 14:1-2; 9 – Return to the Lord your God. Your sins have been your downfall. Take words and return to the Lord. Say to Him, forgive our sin, receive us graciously. Who is wise, he will understand this. The ways of the Lord are right. The righteous walk in them but the rebellious stumble in them.

We cannot be certain how long this season of returning will last, judgment will follow, but we can be certain that He is calling us now to return. As a beloved spouse, He yearns to reconnect deeply with you, to highlight and activate you in His program of life, peace and joy.

Let’s hear the shofar blowing, alerting us to wake up! Let’s diligently enter this month of self examination and repentance and let us return to God who is gracious and compassionate. Let us use our words to highlight our sin, ask for forgiveness and return to walk in God’s ways.

Return and enter into all God has for you. He loves you so.

And I ask Him to remind you to return and enter every time you see a computer keyboard. May the visual on that keyboard serve as a constant reminder to return and enter.

Go with God,

Debbie

No Greater Joy

Sunday Sermon 7.25.21

What is it that brings you your greatest joy?

A favorite hobby, a memorable location, a special loved one?

Over fifty years ago I started teaching. At first it was in Sunday School classes of primary children, and through those early years I realized just how much I loved teaching. I mean really LOVED teaching.

At age 16 when I was considering a “life verse” 3 John 4 captured by heart and determination:

“ I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.”

I wasn’t a mother of course, but in my heart was such a compelling drive to do whatever I could to teach the truth to my classes, my “kids/children”.

Through the years, no matter the class, the age, or setting, I knew in my heart of hearts I was to teach the truth, and I also knew that there was no greater joy than to see the light bulb go on over those students’ heads, or see that facial expression change from just listening to “Wow! I actually understand that, now!”

3 John 4 has been a life verse for me since those days.

But today, it takes on a whole “new” enhanced meaning.

Many parents would say that their greatest joy is their children. I would join them.

As our son turns 30 today, and we have joined with family & friends to celebrate him, I am so proud to say he is my greatest joy, AND he walks in the truth! Proud mama here, for sure.

There is a legacy to be passed on and parents, we cannot afford to drop the baton. Not for our sake, but for the sake of our children, we must speak the truth, live the truth and teach the truth. We are only stewards of those precious lives and are responsible for what we have imparted to them.

Whether or not we are parents, our responsibility to what we teach remains. Are we teaching the truth to our students and are we living it before them?

In these days, those teaching opportunities are growing exponentially. Let’s be ready and do everything in our power to assure that our children are walking in the truth.

Oh, and, Happy Birthday, Karrington.

Go with God,

Debbie

What’s the Worst that Could Happen?

Sunday Sermon 7.17.21

Everyday, in every decision that we make, we unconsciously weigh the consequences of our decisions. Even sometimes consiously. In the smallest of ways, ie: I’m gonna hit the snooze for another 9 minutes, or on a grander scale, ie: what if I make that move, take that job or or forfeit that option, somewhere in our mind is the question, “What’s the worst that could happen?”

On a parrallel note, what is the worst thing that could happen to you? Lose your child, lose your spouse, lose your health, a limb, your home? Consider it. In the big scheme of life what would be the worst thing that could happen to you?

In our nation, with the tends of the day, policies of our government, allowances for and acceptance of behaviors, ideas, and intentions – what is the worst that could happen to our nation?

In each of these settings, personal and national, what is the worst possible end game, the worst that could happen?

We teach our children that while you can choose your action or behavior, you cannot choose the consequences of that action. Consequences are automatically set in motion as principles of the universe designed to corolate with divine order and purpose. So, in that divine order of the universe, what is the worst thing that could happen?

Let me answer by sharing a story –

In the garden of Eden, when Adam and Eve were in dialogue with God about their disobedience, the worst thing wasn’t the guilt and shame they felt. It wasn’t their dishonesty in trying to hide it from God. It wasn’t even their punishment as pronounced by God on their childbearing and working the land. No! In all of those God’s love and covering for them was ever present, just as a Dad loves his children.

The worst, possible end game and consequnce for them was,

” …He (God) drove them out of the garden.”

Genesis 3:24

In the case of their murderous son Cain, what was the worst thing?

“God banished Cain from the land…and Cain said, “Now I must hide from your presence…””

Genesis 4:11,13

The worst thing that could happen to Adam, Eve and Cain, did happen – they were removed from the garden of His perfect relationship, presence of the Lord. They were sent away from His presence. Cain in his response even cried out, “My punishment is more than I can bear!” Geneses 4:11

Fastforward to the days of the Kings of Israel and Judah. In the book of 2 Kings we have a startling picture of God’s chosen people and their condition and attitude towards God, their God, Jehovah – the Great I AM.

“The Israelites had sinned against the Lord…they worshipped other gods and followed the practices of other nations… They secretly did things against the Lord their God that were not right…they did wicked things…they worshipped idols…they would not listen and were stiffnecked…they rejected his decrees and the covenant he made with them…They imitated the nations around them…They forsook the commands of the Lord, they bowed bown to the starry hosts and worshipped Baal… They sacrificed their sons and daughters in the fire… They practiced divination and sought omens and sold themselves to do evil.”

2 Kings 17:7-17

This picture of a people so calloused against God is astonishing! Could they be any worse? We might even say, they deserve the worst possible outcome, consequence or punishment. What is the worst that could happen?

“So the Lord was very angry with Israel and REMOVED THEM FROM HIS PRESENCE.”

2 Kings 17:18

“…He THRUST THEM FROM HIS PRESENCE.”

2 Kings 17:20

“The Lord REMOVED THEM FROM HIS PRESENCE.”

2 Kings 17:23

In God’s view the worst thing that could happen was removing his children from His presence. Having to separate Himself from His children. Removing His presence, covering, protection, and blessing from His children is the worst thing that can happen.

The blessing of His presence brings peace, joy, protection. His presence brings a respect for Him, a desire to seek Him and please Him. His presence creates a hunger in us for more of Him, more of His presence.

To be removed from His presence is a direct consequence of sin and disobedience. All sin brings death – physical, mental and spiritual. It is our iniquities (inner perversions) that separate us from God. Isaiah 59:2 That unconfessed sin leads to the time when His presence will be removed from you, and your covering, joy and peace will be gone.

In Sampson’s life, he didn’t even realize when God’s presence left him. He continued doing what he always had done, expecting God’s blessing, totally unaware God’s presence had left him on his own. Judges 16:20

When God lifts His presence from an individual or nation, then we have hit rock bottom. We have discovered the worst that can happen. That is why Kind David prayed, “Cast me not away from your presence and don’t take your Holy Spirit from me.” Psalm 51:11

To live a life apart from His presence is not living at all. Apart from His presence we are dead, dry, religious, wanderers without peace, purpose or protection. It is the bleakest of lives, constantly shadowded by fears, worries and threats without hope for anything better – ever!

In His presence there is fullness of joy, but so much more. It costs, yes, but it doesn’t even compare, in the slightest, to the worst that could happen.

I am concerned for you, for our nation, for the presence of the Lord upon us. I don’t wanna loose His presence, because that is the worst thing that could ever happen.

Go with God,

Debbie

Don’t Forget

Sunday Sermon 7.10.21

It is always so exciting when a wonderful event happens in the family. Be it a new birth, graduation, new job, or wedding, we are thrilled for the joy and challenge that it brings.

Can you recall a promotion you received? Remember it’s excitement, awe, and the uncertainty too that accompanied it?

Do you remember when you made your commitment to Jesus? What feelings, emotions and thoughts did you deal with?

Events are set in time but emotions and feelings change, don’t they?

We have this story of Elisha receiving a huge job promotion.

Here he was a farmer, and a wealthy one at that, out plowing the field with a yoke of oxen, accompanied by 11 other yoke also plowing. Out of the blue, a man walks up to him, who happened to be the reigning number 1 prophet in the land, and this man approches Elisha, takes off his outer coat (of goat hair, representing his prophetic status), and places it on Elisha’s shoulders. He then turns and walks off. No words were spoken. Just a coat drop and off he went.

Elisha immediately realizing what had just happened, (he was being chosen to become Elijah’s replacement), left the oxen and took off running after Elijah. When he reached him, he said, “Please, let me first go and kiss my mother and father good-bye, then I’ll follow you.”

Elisha’s odd reply to him was,

” Go ahead, but, mind you, don’t forget what I have just done to you.”

1 Kings 19:20

It seems that permission was granted for good-byes, but with a sharp challenge, DON’T FORGET this moment. In the midst of the hugs, kisses, tears, stories, celebration, sadness of loss, and excitement of new ventures, DON’T FORGET this moment and what I have done to you. DON’T FORGET to focus on the future, DON’T FORGET to focus on your call, DON’T FORGET to come back to this release and empowerment. DON’T FORGET the meaning of that hairy coat on your shoulders.

All too often, when we choose to go back, we do loose focus. We forget. We get entangled in the mire of what was and is rather than the hope and purpose of what will be. That is probably why Jesus told us,

” No man, having put his hand to the plow and looking back is fit for the kingdom.”

Luke 9:62

” Anyone who loves Father and Mother more than me is not worthy of me.”

Matthew 10:37

And yet, Elijah told Elisha, “Go ahead”. “But don’t forget…”

Amazing contrasts here.

How did this new, heir apparent respond? Now THIS is remarkable!

“Elisha returned to his oxen and slaughtered them. He used the wood from the plow to build a fire to roast their flesh. He passed around the meat to the townspeople, and they all ate. Then he went with Elijah as his assistant.”

1 Kings 19:21

Talk about a serious, all in commitment!!

Elisha totally destroyed everything from his past way of life to which he could return. He left no plan B, if this “prophet in training” thing didn’t work out. He was fully committemt to the future and what God was calling him to. He would not look back, or love his family more. His farmer life was over, his past vocation now in the rear-view as he walked, NOT FORGETTING the hairy coat on his shoulders and what it represented. He allowed his past to become a blazing inferno.

He now was the right hand man to the number 1 prophet in the land and was being trained to step in to even greater works and miracles than Elijah had done.

He was not about to forget that experience in the field, that calling to a new vocation. He was not about to forget its weight, severity, hope, and inspiration. He would not forget, get sidetracked or loose focus.

He was called to something bigger and better.

My friend, so are you. You are called to something bigger and better. What is it? Don’t forget your calling. Don’t get distracted.

You have been given a promotion from God, don’t forget it. Let go of any plan B’s you may still be clinging to. Burn ’em up, slaughter ’em.

There are greater miracles for you, more power for you, many more adventures for you as you walk as His servant and right-hand person.

Don’t forget.

Go with God.

Debbie

No Happy Birthday

The Asaph Files- Collected and shared because you need to know

I confess, there are hot button issues in our society that I shy away from speaking out about, mainly because I don’t want to step on toes or offend.

The time has come on one now and I cannot and will not keep silent.

This time, I speak out of a strong conviction in my Spirit and by God’s Word. Burning in my heart are these words,

“Go and rescue the perishing! Be their savior! Why would you stand back and watch them stagger to their death? And why would you say, “But it’s none of my business”? The one who knows you completely and judges your every motive is also the keeper of souls- and not just yours! He sees through your excuses and holds you responsible for failing to help those whose lives are threatened.”

Proverbs 24:11-12

Abortion is my business. Those lives that are being threatened are my business. Those lives that are perishing are my business. Why do I stand back and make excuses? God is holding me responsible.

For 619,591 unborn Americans in 2018, there was no happy birthday, because their lives were brutally taken away before given the opportunity to celebrate their birth.

Stats from the CDC
From the CDC

Yes, I realize that not all births are celebrations, but for those minimal numbers, why is death the chosen option?

Too many rationalize that early in pregnancy the “baby” is not viable, and cannot live outside the womb without assistance. Therefore it should not even be identified as a baby yet. A ball of cells, embryonic, or fetal, these lives are being threatened and snatched from us and robbed of their right to live.

Additionally, I am actually pro-choice, (sort of). Ladies, you do have a choice what you do with your body. So choose to use birth control. Abortion should not be considered a birth control option. Your choice will affect the new life you conceive, and then it is no longer just your body, it is theirs too. You are responsible for that new life so choose wisely.

America is complicit is this practice and her laws and policies have allowed it and even allowed for monetary benefit to come from it. This is disgusting!

The abortion industry in America is a 1.3 billion dollar industry with $530 million coming from government funding according to Wikipedia.

And that, dear reader, is not the worst part about abortion funds and money making schemes!

Recent documents have revealed the fees being charged for those aborted body parts, organs and tissues for research. Yes! Aborted baby parts are being sold and used in research. What kind of humans have we become?

Recently obtained documents from the FDA received by a FOIA request.
“Price list” for aborted baby parts

There is big business and the demand for these “items” is outweighing the supply.

Here is just one request, in writing!

The research being done is not always in the best interest of humanity either, as seen by this document.

Folks, this is inhumane! This is barbaric! Have we become so desensitized that we cannot feel this atrocity anymore? How are we any different from the Nazi’s in those German labs, experimenting on fetal tissues? Tell me!?

If you have never investigated the types of abortions available, how they’re done and the details of what happens to that baby, (and Mother) you should.

I taught Sex Ed in Middle School and could barely scratch the surface of the dismemberment and torture performed in the womb in each type of abortion. I even had a girl faint in class during one lesson. I am not kidding! It is gruesome.

Ladies and gentlemen, this is murder, because God says at conception is when life begins. At conception is when He begins to form us in the womb. At conception is when the plans and purposes he has had for us from eternity begin to been seen finally, here on earth. His will in heaven, for us to be born, is being done on Earth.

Our soul and spirit are alive at conception and soon thereafter our body develops until it is our birthday!

For millions though, there has been no happy birthday.

And that is our business. We must keep silent no longer. Tell everyone.

Debbie

Post script-

the scars left on the mother’s who choose abortion are permanent and deep. But so too is the forgiveness of a loving Heavenly Father who offers love, healing, and forgiveness to all who seek it.