Monday, September 19, 2011

Be Still

"Be still, and know that I am God. 
I will be exalted among the nations, 
I will be exalted in the earth!"
(Psalm 46:10 ESV)

I need to give you a tiny bit of back-story on how this verse and how the picture to your right changed my roll with me on this...

When I was 19 years old, I truly began investing in my relationship with the One who had invested everything in me.
I craved time with Him, to know Him more and to understand His desires for me. 
During that time I began to pray for the Lord to give me a life verse- a verse that I could stand on throughout my life, and hold to that specific treasure that He had given me to remind me that, with Him, my account is never depleted or overdrawn. :)
Shortly after, the Lord gave me Psalm 46:10.
 I am sure that you may have heard it or heard it referenced, or maybe at least the "Be still..." part.
Over the years it has been such water to my Spirit, such refreshing to my soul. From time to time, I'll revisit it the verse to study and find out what God wants to show me fresh and new.

One day, several years ago, as I did this, I decided to look up the verse in different translations of the Bible in order to study and gain fuller understanding.
As I did, read the New American Standard Bible version.
I have to be honest, at first reading, I had a major, "Huh?" moment:

"Cease striving and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth."
(Psalm 46:10 NASB)

 "Cease striving..." ???
My perfectionist, people pleaser, affirmation seeker conversation with the Lord went something like this...

"Cease striving? What Lord? You mean, you want me to stop trying? You want me to stop doing, stop seeking ways to be better for you, stop trying to do great things for you? But I thought that was what you wanted for me: To be the best I could be?!?  If I "cease striving" then I will stop growing....right?"

See, the problem was, I was looking at the word "striving" the wrong way. 
In our culture, and more importantly in my follow the rules, all or nothing, give it all you got mind,  it's more commonly synonymous with "aspiring" or carries the connotation of  "goal-setting".

But when I looked up "striving" in the dictionary, this is what I found:
To struggle vigorously, as in opposition or resistance 
To exert oneself vigorously; to try hard
To make strenuous efforts toward any goal
To contend in opposition, battle or any conflict; compete

What I saw as solid and steady effort from myself, God saw as pointless struggle and strain, that ultimately only brought one result: frustration.

Because it was MY strength, MY efforts, MY ideas, MY goals, MY, MY, MY!

Immediately the Lord gave me a vision of this verse: A Chinese finger trap.
You know...that thing that you put one finger in each side and when you pull to get your fingers out, they are stuck.(see picture at top)
Although its just your fingers, there is something about it that brings about panic...and make your fingers feel claustrophobic(if that's possible!).
Once your fingers are in, and you keep pulling and struggling against the trap, the fact are not going to get out.
You are stuck.
And no matter how hard you try and try and pull and pull, panic sets in as you realize, you cannot get out.

How do you overcome this little trap of a toy?

You stop...Relax...."cease striving"... And then, slowly pull out one finger, then the other.
The result? Freedom.

The Lord used the vision of this little toy to reveal to me a core truth of this verse I had been missing:
All too often, I get too consumed with struggling to put forth the best that I can give when the best thing for me to do is REST in the perfection that He is!

The Lord is saying "Yes, I want YOU to stop trying, YOU to stop struggling, YOU to stop putting forth strenuous effort, YOU to stop contending...and let ME do the work IN YOU and THROUGH YOU!"

Cease striving.

It's how you go from good things to GOD things.
It's how you go from your best to HIS best. 
HIS strength, HIS effort, HIS ideas, HIS goals...

Cease striving.

Whatever you are going through, in the hands of the Almighty God...the God that is exalted above all the is merely a little wicker toy of a trap over which He has already secured the victory! 

I am still learning to live this truth day in and day out, but when I allow it to permeate my spirit, it transforms my attitude, my choices, my outlook, my emotions...even my health.

The effort I need to make is simply this:
Be His.

"God will fight the battle for you. And you? You keep your mouths shut!"
(Exodus 14:14 MSG)

Share His Truth...Tweet or post this today:
Don't b consumed w/ struggling 2 b YOUR best...REST in the perfection that HE is! #psalm4610 #forHisglory

Saturday, September 10, 2011

9/11 Remembering What I Felt...

I usually don't remember a lot about how I felt on any particular day.
Maybe what I experienced, but rarely the specifics of what I felt.

But then, something happens that sears a feeling into your core, into your mind, into your memory....and thats what happened on September 11, 2001.

I have always remembered what happened that day, what I was doing...but I don't aways let or allow myself remember what I go to that tender place in my memories.

This year, as I was doing a unit study about the events of that day in our Homeschool, I thought about getting out my journal from that time to see if it might help convey my heart during that time to my children.
I had never re-read what I wrote.
But when I did, it brought back not just memories, but deep seated feelings that had flooded over me that September 10 years ago, as a 24 year old wife, mother of 2 (at the time), seeking my place and way in the world and His Kingdom...

What follows is that journal entry from Friday, September 14, first after the attacks:

"I have so much sadness inside of me...I just don't know how to let it out.
I feel at times as though I could cry for days, other times I just want to scream, others times I could do it all at once.
Our nation has been attacked...but more than that, our spirits have taken a blow.
I keep taking deep breaths to try to get it all out, and it just can't reach deep enough.
This is affecting me in a way I just cannot explain.
And I know that it has only just begun!
God show me, reveal to me what it is that You want me to know, what it is You want me to do!
How do You want me to change?
How do You what me to react?
Right now I am scared.
I am sad.
I am mad.
I am overwhelmed.
I am so many things that I can't put into words.
But I feel them.
I definitely feel them.
I am drawn to the stories and the pictures. I can't pull myself away.
I sing constantly in my mind. I feel like it's the only way to push through...I feel like I can get it out that way.
The words that flow from my mouth comfort my heart and my mind.
Thank you Lord for song, for words that can be lifted to You in praise, in longing, in thanksgiving.
You restore me through the gift you've bestowed on me.
How precious, how priceless.
Your love is so great!
I know Your arms are all around me.
You call me to Your lap to sit for a while and I settle in the comfort of Your never-ending, ever reaching, constant and healing love.
Thank you Jesus for holding me for more than just a little while.
Thank you for understanding that it feels so hard to smile.
The emptiness that seems to grow is something that only you can touch...with You only will it fade.
I praise You Lord for Your comfort.
Thank You for healing and caring about my fears.
Jesus, please help me to hold You through them, to know that You are greater and stronger than anything I could ever encounter.
God, please show me- clearly and surely- what You want FROM me, what You want FOR me!
Speak to me loudly and clearly, Jesus!
I want to know You more!
Use me Jesus!

So on this tenth anniversary, I will remember.
I will remember what happened that day...what I felt that day...what others may have felt and experienced...
I will remember what the Lord planted in my spirit that day and I will nurture it further so that the life and fruit He desired to see in me as a result of it all will be it will bring Him it will make Him obvious!

I flipped back a page and saw the last pre-9/11 journal entry:

"Be open! Sometimes God doesn't change your circumstances; He changes you!!"

Choose to remember how you felt that crisp blue-skied day of Septmeber 11, 2001... and let it fuel your passion to press into the Lord and go forward with a battle cry to further His Kingdom in the face of whatever may be on your horizon!
And I will never take for granted the opportunity to do so.

Yes, I will remember.

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#IWillRemember #IWillMakeGodObvious #911

Friday, July 22, 2011

Lion's Dinner?

It was really only supposed to be background noise.
And so, I had relegated it to just that- at least until the Lord decided otherwise. 
And just like that, an Animal Planet tv show about the savannas reached out and grabbed me with this statement: 

Lions only go after prey that enter their own territory!

According to this narrator, there is no specific line in the savannas where one can see the area that belongs to one pride or the next.
Only one who knows that particular pride, or is familiar with them, could give warnings and indications if you are getting too close to the area that belongs to the the the the enemy.

Immediately my spirit went to 1 Peter 5:8: 
"Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour."

It is so easy to haphazardly wander into dangerous territory as we become distracted with the burdens, pressures, and propositions of the world, of life.
When our focus shifts to our good intentions and personal efforts, we lose sight of where we are.
We roam outside the circle of obedience, that place of safety the Father has created for us where His blessing and favor flow freely, and instead, find ourselves in the midst of the enemy's territory.

But just as one would be insane to leave their guide in the savannas, so we are when we take our eyes off of the One Whose wisdom will warn us if we are dangerously close to paths and areas infested with the enemy.

1 Peter 5:6-7 says, "Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time He may exalt you, casting all your anxieties  on Him because He cares for You."

Keep your eyes on the Lord, trusting His wisdom and guidance.
Even when you cannot see the very dangers He is warning you about, just trust.
He knows what you cannot.
You don't have to fret and plan ways to hopefully avert the dangers.
You just have to let Him be your guide.
Humbly surrender to His guidance.
Let Him care for you.

Being "sober-minded" and "watchful" means being focused...focused on God! NOT the enemy! 

Our problem is not a lack of watching our territory and steps...our problem is thinking that in doing so we will,by our own good intentions, out smart the enemy!
Don't step and then ask God to bless it or remove all the lions from it!
Ask the Lord if the territory you are moving towards is His to begin with!

Don't become the lions dinner.

Tweet/post this:
Keeps ur eyes on the Lord,ur hands about His work,ur mind in His Word,ur life in His hands.He knows.He cares

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Doing

"There are things that are easy to know...but hard to do."-Ryan Warren

This was the  ultimate theme of our day.
All of us have been receiving loads of this easy to know stuff in Bible Study, rec time, track times...and all of those things are great to know...but the truth is, they are incredibly difficult to do.

So after a phenomenal day of recreation time, lunch, track times, free time, and supper, we headed to worship.
Fuge worship-especially with The Seth Medley Band- is a powerful thing.

As we worshipped, the Holy Spirit showed me that He was stirring amongst the students in a big way that night. I prayed fervently that He would empower the pastor, the worship leader, Jarrett, myself, other chaperones to feed into and water that work the Holy Spirit had already begun to do.

It is so amazing to watch students-our students- worship with such freedom and abandon. Voices, hands, lives lifted high to Jesus, unashamed, unafraid.

The night was a challenge to move beyond the word commitment and instead move toward consecration.
It was a challenge to be devoted to Him and bold for Him...
A challenge to be connected intimately to Him and consumed by Him!
Easy to know...hard to do.

As we moved into church group devotion time after worship, there was just still such a sense that there was work the Holy Spirit still had work to do.
And wow did He ever!

Jarrett asked the question to begin with: "Does it bother you when you are disconnected from God?"

That question pierced us all in different ways, but for me, it ignited a Word from the Spirit that I could not contain.
I talked to them about needing to recognize the truth of whether they were plugged in to the Source- Jesus, or whether they were plugged into some outlet just for appearance sake, with no power running to it.
Because, if you have ever experienced power, you are going to do what's necessary to restore that power when there is a disconnect! 
You don't believe me?
Think about what you did the last time there was even a flicker of a power disconnect in your house! Everything stops and notice is taken!
So if we have truly experienced the power of God, when there is a disconnect, you are going to have a desire to do what's necessary to reinstate that connection!
So the question is are you plugged into the true power source?!?
When something is plugged in to power...there is evidence.
It's really that simple.

Our students are in the midst of checking their power source.
Are you brave enough to honestly do the same?

Some have boldly proclaimed their need for a Savior and have surrendered their all!
I have had the privilege of kneeling on this Panama City beach sand and hearing them cry out for God to save them and cry out for God to take them and use them!
I have been humbled to be a part of seeing them plug in to the Ultimate Power Source so they can pierce the darkness with the light of Jesus!

The only reputation we build by playing games, playing religion, is the enemy's.
No more game a transformer.
Get plugged in...shine His Light!
Be open. Be honest. Be His.

Tweet/post this:
Are u  plugged into true Pwr Source?Whn plugged into pwr...there is evidence.It's tht simple.Be open.Be honest.Be His. #FugePCB


Bound to You by my own hand
In Your grace alone I now can stand
Bound to Your freedom
A servant of Your truth
My Redeemer
Life of death now a life abundantly
A wreck restored
Broken made beautiful, useful for Him
My Redeemer
Transforming, transplanting His heart in place of mine
Intimate, extravagant Love
Fragrant, endless blood bought grace found in Him 
My Redeemer
Ransomed, rescued, ruined, restored, resurrected by Him
My Redeeemer
He is
My Redeemer

Monday, July 11, 2011


Camp has officially begun!
The students are pumped!
Why? Because they know that this week is an experience in the making.
But just what kind isn't up to us, the camp staff, their best friend, etc...
It's up to them.
The connection points are all around this week.
But THEY have to choose to plug in.

I have to choose to connect.
You have to choose to connect.
Connection is key.
Connections matter.
Connections are crucial.

That truth is the focus this week.

Ryan, our camp pastor put forth the truth this way:
"In order for there to be a connection with the Creator, there has to be a correction in the created."

Examining areas in need of correction isn't fun, but its necessary!
Why? Because disconnect leads to a void of power.
Jarrett posed this question to our church group:
"What isn't working in your life because of a failed connection?"

I am challenging myself to ask these hard questions and have the courage to listen to the Holy Spirit answer.

I want the ultimate connection with my GOD.
But I know that means radical correction has to take place in my SELF.

How will you connect with God this week?
Allow Him to correct your connection.

Keep lifting us up!....Julie

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In order 4 there 2 b a connection w/ the Creator,there has 2 b a correction in the created.
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Sunday, July 10, 2011

Fuge Panama City 2011

Fuge Panama City 2011

We made it!
Well, almost, that is.
We're currently in a hotel near the camp location and will check in at camp just after lunch tomorrow.
Tonight, the students have had a blast swimming, hanging out together, eating loads of pizza, and generally taking run of the place!

We have been so proud of their conduct and attitudes on the way down and here at the hotel.
I pray it is indicative of the week ahead with this great group of students!

Tonight Jarrett challenged the youth to begin to thinking about the magnitude of the gift they have been given in salvation through Jesus Christ. 
And I couldn't help but wonder myself...

What does my life declare that I value the most?
My words can proclaim many things, but my life declares the truth.

If someone simply watched my life, and were asked that question, what would they say?
Would they see passion for a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ, passion to tell others about Him, passion to live out His desires?

Would they see a life being shaped by Jesus
a life trying to shove Jesus somewhere in the midst of it?

I am praying this week that we are all challenged to ask hard questions, hear hard answers, and do hard things.
I pray that whether for the first time ever or for the first time in a long time, Jesus would take His rightful place on the throne of our lives, and we would passionately, and with complete abandon, give Him the glory, honor and respect due His name!

What about you?

We would never simply just stay in the hotel this one night, then never actually go to the camp, yet come back and tell you how great the camp was.
What a waste of money, of time, of effort! How absurd!
What a pitiful comparison to the true reality of Fuge!....right?

Then why should any of us be content to come so close to a true experience with Jesus, yet leave without ever having actually gotten to the place where allowed His tranformation power affect us, boasting all the while of how great the experience was, that we have been where He is and allowed Him to dwell in us?

Empty words.
Empty actions.
Empty lives.

Don't be satisfied with "almost".
Let your LIFE say,  
"I made it! 
I have come fully into His presence...and I am forever changed!"

Saturday, July 2, 2011

The End in Sight

Our last full day in Nicaragua! 
We began our day in a more rural area of Managua putting plastic over houses for the rainy season.
It was a great morning of work, with a good deal of walking in more hilly areas than we had been previously.
We split into teams and were able to finish about ten houses and leave the materials for the rest to be completed.
Our helper, who was a Nicaraguan even fell through a roof! Thankfully he didn't get hurt! An angel must have broken his fall! :)
We were all so glad we could get this work done after being rained out yesterday.

We ate lunch on the bus from Tip Top, a chicken restaurant, as we headed to Masaya to see a live Volcano!
It took about 30 minutes to get there.
The ride up to the volcano seemed  pretty stressful on our us, but we made it!
The smell of sulfur was rather choking at first, but once you see the majesty of the creation in front of you, that is quickly forgotten.
We walked up a gazillion steps to a gorgeous lookout point.
It was amazing!
Except for the yellow jackets, that is.
They were everywhere and just as we were about to walk down and I was going to have another pic made, I put my hand down on one and got stung on the thumb. When I pulled my hand up, the entire stinger and rear end of that pesky little fellow was stuck in my thumb!
Not cool!
Tayla got stung too-on the back.
As we headed down the volcano, our bus driver, Alberto, told us he had something or new something that would help.
A few minutes later, he stopped in the middle of the road. We followed him to what we figured would be an Aloe Vera  plant, but what turned out to be fresh mud which he piled on the area on the sting.
Those are some crazy pics to behold!
But guess what? It worked!
Neither one of us had any more swelling!
Praise the Lord!

We rode a little further and went to see Grenada, the oldest country in Nicaragua.
It was a beautiful place with a lot of history all around....and good shopping!
We had a great time getting great deals- or at least I did! ;)
The coffee we had was super and the atmoshpere of the little open air cafe was so magical and movie like to me!

We headed back to the guesthouse, ate supper, packed and weighed luggage, and then just spent time together,
Such a beautiful day in the physical and the spiritual today!

Time now for me to get to bed!
We have a church service at a local international church in the morning and Jarrett will preach.
Then off to the airport from there!

One last leg of the physical journey.
But I know it's just the beginning of the work has is doing in my Spirit!
Thank you Father!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Rain, Rain...

And the rains came tumbling down.
For it to be the rainy season, we had mostly avoided rain, except for a couple of times at night. But usually the mission work had not been affected. Until today.

Our morning was an out-of-your-comfort-zone experience, but rewarding in so many ways.
We went to the only special needs orphanage in Nicaragua and spent time with the residents there. The people that were employed there were stretched to their limits in so many ways, yet they kept right on trying to meet the needs of these people that the world had forgotten. 
These were the forgotten of the forgotten.
It was really touching to see how different residents were drawn to different members of the mission team.
Each person was challenged to stretch their heart for Jesus by putting it into action today and loving on "the least of these". But in doing so, we found that there is a treasure there that maybe we simply hadn't taken the time to understand.

We had Pizza Hit once again for lunch.
When that little itinerary detail was announced, you would have thought Jarrett told the team we were going to Disney World!
It was hilarious!
But I have to admit, it was good! I was able to order in Spanish all by myself:)!

We were supposed to go put plastic over 20 houses, but the rain changed our plans. :(
So we headed to the market! I love getting to use my bargaining skills!
It was like a maze in there! Especially when we headed to the non-tourist part. It was like nothing I had ever seen. The entire area was dark and sketchy, with cow tongue, cow eye balls, various meats just laying there in the open for purchase. Just about anything you could imagine plus everything you would never want to was available for purchase there! It was just crazy!

After the market, we came home for a nice meal and fellowship. We played some games, got to talk with other missionaries at the guest house, and just enjoyed being together in this environment...even if sometimes it was with no power, or with no water, or amidst a swarm of crazy bugs, or within the sound of a blaring whistle, barking dog or birds.
Hey, that's Nicaragua for you. ;)

What was more important to us is that it was with those who we now not only call brothers and sisters in Christ- we call them our friends.

What great gifts the Father rained down on us today:
Fresh showers of understanding, showers of trust, showers of nourishment, showers of joy and laughter, showers of relationship and friendship, showers of rest.

Tomorrow we will try to put on the plastic on the houses in the a.m. and do the sightseeing I. The afternoon.
Pray that we can accomplish it all!

Until next time... :)

In Other News...

So in other news about our Thursday...
Today, we left Chinandega.
It was bittersweet because we knew we would also be leaving our wonderful translators today, too. They have partnered so wonderfully with us in ministry all week. Nadia and Rolando have been such a blessing.

We packed up the buses: one with the team and some luggage, the other just luggage.
And off we went for a 3 hour bus ride from Chinandega to Managua.
Things were going well until, you guessed it: we blew a tire. AGAIN!
Seriously, you can't make this stuff up!

We all piled out of the bus and climbed up a little hill to wait for the tore to be changed.
The students went off exploring in a pasture area behind us.
And then, headed our way, was a herd of cattle!
Again, I promise I am not making this up! 
And at the head of this cow drive is a big bull with crazy big horns, and a pretty ticked off look on his face.
We all started moving out of the way, but realized the students- and Kevin- were in the pasture we assumed the cows were heading towards!
They were so far away that they couldn't hear us. So Jarrett starts hollering and waving his arms and tells them to run! the students-and Kevin- were confused, unsure whether Jarrett was serious on joking with them!

But no fear, the cows were heading straight along the path and not the pasture, so all was well.
Tony even tried his hand at cow herding...after the actual cow herder on the green bicycle with the stick rode by, that is.

We made it to the guest house all tires in tack, praise the Lord!
It is a beautiful place with a tropical feel.
Very homey, with places for us to enjoy interacting with each other as team.
We are all in dorm style rooms together on bunks.

It sounds tropical, too. The birds are very.....incessant. ;)
But I do admit it is a beautiful sound. Just maybe not so much at 5am.

Heading out to a special needs orphanage today, which I am sure will once again call us out of our comfort zones, so pray for us.
Then we are off to put plastic over houses to help prevent flooding during the rainy season.
Everyone is excited because Pizza Hut is the lunch destination.

I personally would be happy to just have the pineapple we had for breakfast! YUMMM!

Love to all and thanks for all your prayers!

The Tour That Saved a Life

The next time God takes you on an extended tour of a certain area, even one you aren't too excited about visiting- you may want to stop and listen.
He may just have a reason for the tour.

This morning, God did just that.
We went to visit the medical clinic sponsored by the ministry we worked with in Chinandega. I knew about the clinic and generally what they did there, and had seen it several times as we had passed from time to time.
So today, in all honesty, I did not want to take time away from the mission work I had in mind- which was already cut to a half day-  in order to see the clinic...but we did.

I will admit, I was not too engaged in it all as we began our tour.
On top of that, the tour seemed to be taking much longer than I really cared to spend.
 But I did learn a lot about what they offered there and I also was able to pray for healing with a lady in the emergency area and that opportunity was a blessing for sure.

But I never considered that I would be  using the knowledge I gained on that tour of a that place I didn't really care to be...

We split up as a mission team- some of us going to do construction and feeding/evangelism in one barrio, and some of us going to do feeding/evangelism in another barrio.
I was with the feeding/evangelism in the same barrio with construction.
Because we got to the work we had purposes to do a little later than we had intended, we were in full gear trying to prep the trash bags full of food-with dull knives I might add- so that we could feed the children of the barrio by noon.
We finally got everything chopped and ready to be put in the big pot and were excited to visit the school there and go door to door to meet the people.

A precious lady, full of the joy of the Lord, named Juanita led us around and had the teacher spread the word for the children to come back to the school because they had left for the day already. And sure enough, they did. We gave them a table full of supplies and prayed over the school and the volunteer teachers, who were probably no more than 18 years old.

As we walked further on, Jarrett, Tony and the translator Rolando encountered a man who was open to hearing about Jesus and he invited them in his home. Praise God! He prayed to receive Jesus!

As they spoke with him, though, I noticed 3 women standing at a distance, watching. 
God said go to them,  so I did.
I began a conversation with them about the Lord and ended up giving them each a Bible because they attended they church there and said they knew Jesus.
As began to walk back, one of the women called out to me to wait and come back. She asked me if I had a medicine injection because her little girl was sick. I explained that I was not a nurse or doctor. But she press further for my help and asked me to come with her to see her daughter.
I was unprepared.
I could immediately tell that this 10 year old little girl was not well, just by the discoloration of her face and her eyes.
But then, she slightly raised the long shirt she had on and showed me her left upper thigh. It was the worst infection/boil I had ever seen in my life. I teared up and tried to hold it together, but in the Spirit I could feel the pain and could feel the immensity of the infection in this girl's body. The Holy Spirit rose up an urgency in me. I said I'm sorry in Spanish over and over again.

As my mind clamored for something to do, not just say, I remembered where I had been.
I remembered the tour of the place I hadn't care to go.
Where I had been, even somewhat begrudgingly, was about to collide beautifully with where I was to effect change.

I told them about the clinic, and was able to share with them the details I had not know prior to the tour. We called our missionary and got confirmation the she could go. Her family had no money for the bus ride, so we gave her enough to get there and back home.

After praying with her, I left with such a heavy heart for her healing.
I wondered if she would go tot the clinic at all.

The  team finished the rest of our work and we went back to Hotel Balcones, but parked around the corner, which was different than usual.
I stood waiting outside the bus for Jarrett when all of the sudden a little girl came up to me from across the street. She spoke very soft and quickly in Spanish and already being surprised by her coming up to me, I could not grasp what she was saying.
Then, she pointed across the street and there stood the mother of the the sick little girl...wait...this was the sick little girl!
Her mother has cleaned her up and put nice clothes on her.
She looked up at me with weak eyes and said thank you, hugged me, and limped back across the street to her mother.

She had come. The clinic was just 2 blocks away.
Her healing was nearby, and it was about to be realized in her life all because I had to spend time  in that place I had not wanted to go.

We later got a call from the pastor who is over the clinic while we ate lunch. The doctor told him that this little girl was seriously ill and that she was at risk of losing her leg. The medicine to treat her and her treatments were extensive, so our church paid for it. Otherwise, this little would have died from this level of infection.

Yes, God  had a reason for the tour. Even though to me it seemed like a distracting and unnecessary was a TOUR.
A planned tour that imparted valuable information for the work He had already purposed me to do, for the life of this little girl He was planning to save.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Evidence All Around

Today was hot. From the beginning. Hot.
When you walked outside and into the sun, you knew it...because it slapped you in the face.
You didn't have to wait for someone to tell you.
There was evidence all around.
Sun piercing your eyes.
Sweat pouring from you skin.

And now, looking back, this was a picture of our day in the Spirit.
The Holy Spirit has been progressively turning the heat up on our work and ministry here-
and His fire was blazing.
The spark of inspiration to engage in this mission work ignited the fire months ago.
The flames have been burning and fueled along the way with faith, prayer, petition, His Word.
And it was a raging inferno.
It was hot-mucho calor!

As we ministered in the barrio, sharing Jesus with to families and children, feeding poor,hungry, malnourished children...
As we put our hands to the construction of the feeding center and latrines...
As we ministered to women stuck in prostitution...
As we spoke on the radio and TV stations to lost souls, growing believers, youth bound by sin and addiction...
As we testified...
As we preached...
As we sang...
As we prayed with people for healing...
As we worshipped... one had to tell us that the passionate fire of God was there.
It was  evident all around!
The Son pierced our souls and the souls of the lost!
Our spirits overflowed with His love and power as we remained in the presence of the Flame.
Yes, there was evidence all around today!

And praise God- the Fire rages on!
Tomorrow we continue in the work.

My prayer is simply this, Lord:
Keep turning up the heat through the fire of Your Holy Spirit! 
Consume us and let our lives be evidence of You in all that we put our hands to!
Hot. Burning with You.
For every breath that is to come, let that be the forecast!
For Your Glory Lord!

"...for our God is a consuming fire." Hebrews 12:29


The children place their bowls to mark their place in line for lunch at the feeding shelter. Then, they take off and play on a slide nearby or just with each other.
They were serious about their place in line! Especially because this day they were getting a hot meal from the shelter and not just fruit loops and oatmeal which is often the case.
Poplar Springs family...know that you purchased this food through your Holy Spirit inspired generosity!
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This is a photo of volcanoes from the rooftop of the hotel in Cinandega.
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Feeding Shelter

This photo is of the children and women in line for the feeding shelter in the barrio we had been in Tuesday morning.
We had opportunity to spend time with many of the children and share Christ with them as food was prepared.
It was a humbling experience to see them so appreciative of what we wouldn't even eat ourselves.
These families were just precious.
We saw several come to Christ in this barrio! Praise the Lord!!!
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Ladies Conference

Wow what an awesome experience we had sharing with these local female pastors, pastor's wives and leaders in Chinandega!
This is a photo of the women who came forward to experience the transformation work the Holy Spirit brought down in that place Tuesday!
I preached and sang and our women pushed past language barriers and ministered to the by laying hands in them and praying for them as the Spirit led.
It was such a powerful time of freedom for these women and for us! We believe God began a mighty thing through these beautiful women.
We went to bless but ended up receiving just as much of a blessing ourselves!
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Nicaraguan Circus

Jarrett preaches at the close of a Nicaraguan circus. No animals, etc in this circus. It was more a variety of acts and skits...but it was LOUD! Jarrett brought the Word boldly and in Holy Spirit power even with the craziness that was happening all around!
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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Oh ME of Little Faith

Oh ME of little faith.

How boring life would be if God only asked us to do the things that were comfortable, easy, or routine.
Yet...I all too often cringe as God asks me to step out rather than allow excitement to envelope my spirit.
Yes, I usually trudge forward, with the motive of obedience-but faith is lacking.
Because if I had the fullness of faith found in the grace of Jesus, I would stand firm on the truth that anything and everything He has asked me to do is overflowing with His transforming power.

Yesterday, the Lord asked me to display His attitude, responses, and choices in situations where letting flesh show up would not only have been easy, but it would have felt good to vent! He called me to do some things that were unfamiliar and new, rather than allowing me to pass that responsibility to someone else.

What did I do? 
I displayed His attitude as best I could.
I stepped out and did what He asked me to do.

So...what does that have to do with today? 
Yesterday, I saw the reality of what God can do when you come to the end of yourself.
Because of that, today I was able to walk forward in faith, with the assurance that He would do it all if I would just trust. Even when I think I need to do God a favor and help Him out, I just have to let go and let Him do the work through me.

"The one who calls you is faithful and He will do it." 1 Thessalonians5:24

Whatever He has asked, He has already released the fullness of His power to equip you to accomplish it!

That is the truth that the Holy Spirit has been planting in me as we have moved further into our Mission journey here in Nicaragua. And I look forward to all that He has yet to sculpt in me along the way here!

Our Tuesday began early!
We split into 3 teams. Some went to help construct a feeding shelter, some went to help prepare food at an existing feeding shelter, some went to construct a latrine, and a group went to speak on the local Christian radio program.
Wow! That's a lot to do!
But we all embraced our day with God driven excitement!

The construction team was also interviewed for TV during their day today. Michael did a great job I heard!:) They  worked so hard all day, until the downpour came in the afternoon. They dug holes, mixed concrete, painted and set poles for the structure today...and man were they dirty! Maybe that rain was a good thing!

The radio team today consisted of Shirley, Nancy, Kevin, myself and Jarrett. Everyone did great speaking and sharing their heart.

The latrine team completed their task today! Onto another one in need of finishing tomorrow!

The food team did everything from cutting Yucca, to watching cow intestine skins be put into soup, to playing with children who lined up their bowls for the 
blessing of food. Others from our team  in this same Barrio(community), went door to door carrying the love of Jesus and Message of life and hope to hurting and desperate people.

After a later lunch, the women went to a Ladies Conference where I preached and sang to local female pastors and leaders from area churches.
What a powerful connection the Holy Spirit made between our group and theses women! So many made life transforming decisions! We had an amazing ministry time where we were able to speak directly into their lives as we layed hands on them and prayed for them. 
We all truly felt that we left there having received so much more than we could even tried to give away .

Our final ministry opportunity of the day was definitely unlike any other!
We went to a Nicaraguan circus...but not what you are probably imagining.
Think circus as in...a variety of performances.
None of the stuff you would assume, really, except that it was loud. Very.
Five minutes after we walked in, I found out I was going to sing in the midst of the chaos! It was a neat experience for sure!
Jarrett preached a powerful evangelistic sermon and even in the craziness of the setting God, was SO in that place!

So now we are all in our rooms-tired but full, empty physically for the day, but so full spiritually.
I am nodding as I write this and my eyes are crossing. I'm actually looking forward to laying down on this extra firm mattress:)!

Wednesday, I am sure, will hold new discovered treasures that the Lord as gone before and placed on our paths. 
My resolve is to have unwavering faith to seek and find them, no matter what else the world places on the path to distract!

Oh ME of little faith no more!

Father, help our expectations rise to the level of the people we encounter, wholeheartedly believing that God can and will do a mighty work through us!
Make us unashamed and fearless as we take hold of You and overflow with YOUR LOVE!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Nicaraguan Traffic Jam

A herd of cows slowed our progress just a bit, as their owner waved a stick in the air. Hilariously interesting. :)
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Como se dice FLEXIBLE??

That has been the word of the day. Well, the past two days, actually.
All I know to tell you is, the enemy sure must be scared of where the Holy Spirit is leading us because he has tried hard to block our path and slow our progress. 
But our team has a resolve to live out Galatians 5:25 and keep in step with the Spirit! We were aware that the enemy had a strategy against the work we were setting out to do for the Kingdom, but we have been determined to keep our eyes on the Holy Spirit's strategy because that is our victory!

So you may have heard by now about our flat tire on the bus to Atlanta turning our 3 hour trip into 7 hours.
But did you also hear that God kept us from driving into horrific storms in the Atlanta area during the time we were sitting and waiting safely outside those storms? He even sent us a rainbow!

Arriving tired and relieved to our hotel at about 11pm,  we eagerly grabbed our numerous heavy bags and backpacks, ready to fall into bed...and then had to lug them up 4 flights of stairs because the elevators were broken.
But no one complained( course at that point it may have been because we were gasping for air) and we found comfortable beds and several hours of rest awaited us after that unexpected climb.

After waking up at 5am, the next part of our day was seamless: eat at 6am, airport at 6:30am, unloaded and through security by 8, plane departure at 10am, safe and early arrival in Managua 1:30pm EST,  Nicaraguan buses loaded and ready to pull out 12:30pm. Pretty good for 21 people.

At this point in the day, we were all hungry and tired. 
Oh, and did I mention we were hungry?
We ate at the most Nicaraguan of restaurants: Pizza Hut! Lol!
It was so, so good. No I mean really. It really was! 
And I don't even like pizza! ;)
A we waited on our food, we found out that when we arrived in the city where we will be ministering that we would have the opportunity to speak on a radio and TV show that evening, as well.

We then set out for Chinandega which is  about a 2 and a half hour bus ride...that is if you are not with Poplar Springs Mission team, a.k.a. " We kill tires" mission team.
Yep, you guessed it: the bus blew a tire!

I don't even think I can explain the place we stopped to get it fixed on the side of the road, except to say it was a shack with a guy laying  in a hammock on the front porch. We all hung around outside the bus, talked, played with a little girl who lived beside the tire place, and waited.
Even the bugs came out to greet us!

And still no one complained.

Plans changed moment by moment as we saw our arrival time in Chinandega slipping further away.
The tire was finally fixed and we headed to Pastor Osvaldo's home which he opened to all 21 of us for a wonderful meal of rice with peas, meat with onions, vegetables, mashed potatoes, and tortillas.
The pastor's wife Rosa was so welcoming and humble. Her hospitality was such a jewel in our day! And as if that weren't enough, they are going to feed us for the next two days as well!

We checked in to our hotel, Hotel Balcones, at 7:30pm(9:30 EST) with just enough time for 6 of us to change and head to the radio/ TV station for about 2 hours of on air ministry. Jarrett, myself, Ashley P., Jade K., Tony Q., and Jim R. ventured into the unknown!
I have to say I had no clue what to expect and I was exhausted.
On the way there I prayed, "Holy Spirit, this is all You."
And what did I find out? 
Where I end is simply where His greatness can truly begin.
God showed up in a mighty way!

Yes it is true...Flexible has become our theme for Mission Nicaragua 2011.
God is writing the details of the story, letter by letter, word by word, line by line.
His purpose is great,  His power is evident, and His people have chosen to embrace those truths here in Nicaragua, come what may!

Continue to lift up prayers on our behalf to the Father!

"For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them." Ephesians 2:10

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Where I end is simply where the greatness of God  can truly begin. #Nicaragua2011


This is a photo of Jarrett, Jim and Tony from the control room monitor at the TV n radio station. God did a powerful work there!
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Off the Road Again

This is the road side service station where we got the Nicaraguan bus tire fixed....finally.
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Sunday, June 26, 2011

Nicaragua Mission Team 2011

We made it!
God spread His promises across the sky for us tonight and renewed His joy in our midst...even when we had to climb up 4 flights of stairs because of broken hotel elevators.
Hey, I was excited to get in an unexpected workout! Yay that!;)
Sleep calls because 4:52am will be screaming my name before long.
Thank you for your prayers on our behalf!
Will update again as I can!

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We are more than conquerors.God with us=VICTORY assured.Count on it.Live on it.

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Mission: Nicaragua 2011

Planning. Preparing. Gathering. Packing.
Now what?
As I write, 21 of us are on the infamous big brown bus to Atlanta packed and ready to catch our plane in the morning.
The excitement is palatable with chitter chatter all around!
Just the physical planning and prepping in getting here has been full throttle, trying to anticipate needs and situations that may arise.
But as I travel this time in-between the planning and the mission itself, I am wondering: did I do all I needed to do to prepare spiritually?
When I encounter a situation and the Holy Spirit asks me to step up, to be an empty vessel, will I be ready?
You see, in the spirit just as in the physical, there has to be more than just a plan or good intentions.
The work of preparation is vital.
The patience required in gathering His promises is vital.
The diligence of packing that Word in your heart is essential.
And then...the going: the willingness to step out and be available for the Holy Spirit to use you- wherever you are.

So really, although my mission and your mission may be in different countries, states, or continents even, it is the same.

We are all called to plan, prepare, gather, pack, and then embark on our specific God inspired mission with excitement and anticipation whether its in the next yard over or two countries away.

His Kingdom calls:
Believer, this is your mission, if you choose to accept it...

Mission: we come!

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Prepare yourself to be an empty vessel 4 the Spirit 2 fill and pour out in ur mission 4 the Kingdom!
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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

In the Course of Time

1 Samuel 1:20
"So in the course of time Hannah became pregnant and gave birth to a son. She named him Samuel, saying, 'Because I asked the lord for him.'"

Every step of faith, every breath we utter a petition before the Lord, we must realize that there is a course of time.
God ordained the course of time for human pregnancy and birth.
We understand that and accept it because it is known.
It is generally understood that nine months are needed to grow and birth a baby...

But what about the thing you have gone to God about and have fully believed him for and have been assured it will be provided, yet the pregnancy lingers on?

These are the days, months and years that weigh heavy...because we do not see the end in sight.
We don't have a pregnancy calendar or tracker to tell us what developmental stage the thing we are giving birth to is in...we simply must move forward each day in FAITH.
We must keep making choices that bring health, life and growth to the promise that was planted in us, that we carry deep in our bellies, so that we are ready for labor and birth and the LIFE is to follow!

Faith that there was a planting.
Faith that the seed is growing.
Faith that labor will begin.
Faith that birth will happen and we will survive it.
Faith that it's life will be gloriously God's......all in the course of His time.

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Make faith choices 2day that bring life n growth 2 specific promises God has planted in you. #trustHistiming

Monday, June 13, 2011

Reluctant Beggar

I am a reluctant beggar.
And my guess is maybe you are, too.

It may be pride that stands in our way. It may be a sense of duty that rises up and convinces us to try harder, telling us that with just a little more effort we can see those results, find those solutions.

It is so easy to seek our own answers to our places of need, our areas of infirmity.
Try everything else...then maybe Jesus.
Healing and restoration seem so far out of reach that we never even come to the place where begging is even an option.
Our hearts cry out,
"Jesus isn't in this place of struggle! Jesus is too far away from my point of need!"

We fail to stop, look and listen in that place to recognize Jesus as He moves into this area of need in our life.

"And when the men of that place recognized Jesus, they sent word to all the surrounding country. People brought all their sick to him and begged him to let the sick just touch the edge of his cloak, and all who touched it were healed."
Matthew 14:35-36

The life changing encounter these people ultimately begged for all began at the point of recognition. Recognition positioned them to cry out for, then receive the healing.

Recognition led to
Declaration led to
Action led to
His presence led to
Desire led to
Petition led to

When is the last time that I begged, petitioned for Jesus?

Do I want Him so badly that I beg for Him...that I will do whatever it takes to get nearer to Him because I know that He is the answer to my need and desperation?
That kind of longing only comes out of someone who KNOWS the reality of the very thing they are begging for...they cannot live without it...they are determined to not live without it!

Desiring, craving Him because you know nothing else will do...

The moments in which I find myself swept away first and foremost in the "doing" of ministry, of life, of kingdom living...those are the moments I find myself a reluctant beggar.

I cannot recognize a face I am not looking for.
I cannot declare truth I haven't take time to know.
I cannot take action when I resist receiving direction.
I miss out on the sweetness of His presence when I am constantly choosing to go my own way.
I dilute my desire when I pass by those moments of encounter.
I become a reluctant beggar.
I come in the proximity of healing yet never receiving it.

Wherever you are, Jesus is there.
Whatever need you have, His provision is far better than your best intentions and self sufficient strategies.

Beg for Him.
Beg for Him!

I want my life to be marked by my desperation for more and more and more of Jesus.
I want my life to unashamedly beg and plead for the Father to reveal and pour more of Himself out to me and in me.

What about you?
No more reluctant beggar.

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I want my life to be marked by my unashamed desperation for more and more and more of Jesus. #NoMoreReluctantBeggar #ForHisGlory

Friday, May 27, 2011

The Night Before the Step of Faith

"Some time later God tested Abraham. He said to him, 'Abraham!' 'Here I am', he replied. Then God said, 'Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering...' Early the next morning, Abraham got up and saddled his donkey." 
Genesis 22:1-3

I wonder what it must have been like. 
The night before, God tells Abraham to go sacrifice, aka kill, his precious son...and then Abraham has to go to bed.
That had to be one crazy night! 
I can imagine that night was a night of an epic battle between spirit and flesh...heart and head...seen and unseen....
Faith versus sight went head to head during the night. 
Thats probably why it says he got up early the next morning....because he wasn't sleeping anyway!....
...or was he?...

Abraham was obviously a man of stellar faith, but he was also human. 
Did he simply take God at His word, no questions asked, and sleep like a log that night?
Or did he plead through the wee hours of the night for God to choose, or to find another way?
But, here's the the end, no matter how he spent the night, it's what happened when the sun crept above the horizon that matters:

He loaded his donkey. 

When it was time to move, he moved. 

When it was time to step out in faith, he stepped. 

He may have been bright eyed and bushy tailed, or he may have been baggy eyed and sleep faith he began the journey. 

Maybe it was in those wee hours that God, in His sovereignty, also began the journey of a certain ram up a specific mountain called Moriah. 

Maybe it was in those wee hours that provision had already begun making its way to the exact place and time of need.

The night was that time in-between time where we wrestle with the choice to remain on the path of faith,
where we seek the face of God for a glimmer of understanding, 
where we live through the discomfort of the necessary alignment of our flesh with His perfect unsearchable will...
where we see the near daybreak of the realty of what we must do, and we wonder......

Can I really load that donkey? 

Because that, well that makes the trip real. 
That puts feet to the command. 

Early the next morning. Early the next morning. Early the next morning.

Abraham didn't know exactly what God would do or would not do.
But I am sure he rested in the fact that he knew God...and that was enough. 

He had only to release his faith and he knew God would do what needed to be done because only God really knew what that need was anyway. 

So Abraham did what he knew to do...he loaded the donkey.

How will I choose to emerge from the night in-between the call/the command and the step out in faith? 

Will the doubt of the in-between time be victorious and cause me to sleep in? 

Will I get distracted when my feet hit the floor?
Will I prepare and load the donkey for the specific journey of faith to which He has called me?

Will I focus more on my lack of rest than on my position of being just outside the circle of obedience? 
Will I care enough to plunge into that obedience regardless of what my flesh may say or likely experience?

Who God is. 
THAT is my strength, my focus, my drive.

"Here I am."

I have only to step out in faith. 
To obey.

Time to wake up and load the donkey.

Tweet/Facebook this: 
Who God is.THAT is my strength,my focus, my drive.He is enough...enough for me to step out in faith n obey. #forhisglory

Thursday, May 26, 2011


Obedience is not a word that is looked upon fondly in our culture these days. It is delicately omitted from wedding vows, and other conspicuous places because of it's supposedly burdensome nature.
But as I talked with my tween son the other night, who was so heavily burdened with the lack of his own disobedience, the Holy Spirit gave me a fresh perspective.
Frustrated with himself, Alex shared with me rather feverishly how he had declared that he was restricting himself from all he things he enjoyed most, things, that by the way were not wrong or evil things...but all the same he was no longer going to allow himself access to those things because every time he got so wrapped up in them, he tended to disobey.
So, he figured, if he removed those things, took all the fun and joy away, then he would be able to obey.

This, my friends, is the picture of living in the law.

We realize that we need to obey, but are so distracted when we try in our own strength, that we come to the conclusion that we must remove everything we hold dear or find joy in, so that obedience is all that's left to do.

What a distorted perspective we have!

Obedience is not the barrier that is dropped to separate us from all the things we enjoy!
No! God intended it to be the doorway to all the joy and treasures that He has awaiting you!
Obedience is the access point to the fullness of God!
Obedience is our joy!
Obedience is our privilege!

Before you guffaw at this claim, hear me out.

When the Holy Spirit points out an area in which He is asking you to obey, it isn't to keep you from something, it is to open the doorway to a new and fresh spiritual experience, a new and fresh fullness of Himself so that your very burden of trying to BE good enough can be lightened as you realize that in CHRIST already are!

This, my friends, is the picture of GRACE!

1 John 5:3-5 says, "This is love for God: to obey His commands. And His commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God."
The victory of overcoming the sinful patterns of my life, whether they are in thought, attitude, or action, is the gift of the Holy Spirit to me...if I am willing to unwrap OBEDIENCE.
What use or good is a gift left wrapped, bow and paper in tact, on the shelf?
It only gathers dust.
The person to whom the gift was given has knowledge of the gift, but they can only experience a shadow of the joy and purpose for which the gift was intended to impart.
It has to be opened by way of obedience.
Maybe you don't know HOW to open the gift...maybe it is a strange and unfamiliar package that you are unsure of how to navigate.
Well here is your hope: YOU KNOW the GIVER! His HOLY SPIRIT lives in you. You are able because He is able.

Obedience is NOT fulfilling the law or commands through your own efforts, ideas, structures, maintenances or rituals.
For what good is obedience if it is driven by the root of bitterness?

Obedience is NOT trying to be holy or achieve holiness.
For what good is obedience if it is inspired by the root of pride?

Obedience IS fully embracing Christ in the midst of all the imperfection and sinfulness of my flesh that is continuously clamoring to lure me elsewhere.
Holiness is Christ. So as I embrace Christ, I will bear the fruit of holiness...I will find myself walking in obedience even when I am unsure of how to place one foot in front of the other.
How? Because it is Christ at work in me.
It is His love that compels me. It is His grace that inspires and humbles me.

"With an abundance of natural strength we are useless to God. With no strength at all, we can hold on to Him. And with His strength flowing through us, 'we are more than conquerors'(Rom 8:37)...I cannot please God, but there is no 'I cannot' in Christ. 'I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me'(Phil 4:13)" -Nee

Understand today that obedience is not something God simply wants FROM is what He wants FOR you.

God desires for you to RECEIVE all the riches of His grace, all the blessings of His love, all the fullness of His power, through the doorway of Holy Spirit empowered obedience.

"Now what I am commanding you to do today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach." Deuteronomy 30:11

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Obedience is not a barrier. It's the doorway to the fullness of the gifts of our limitless God, who empowers u thru His grace.