Repent. Believe. Receive.

Acts 19:1-6  (NLT)

19 While Apollos was in Corinth, Paul traveled through the interior regions until he reached Ephesus, on the coast, where he found several believers.“Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” he asked them.

“No,” they replied, “we haven’t even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.”

“Then what baptism did you experience?” he asked.

And they replied, “The baptism of John.”

Paul said, “John’s baptism called for repentance from sin. But John himself told the people to believe in the one who would come later, meaning Jesus.”

As soon as they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.Then when Paul laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in other tongues and prophesied.

 

Like so many things in my strong-willed life, I was saved bass ackwards.

Lemme explain:

I was a privileged kid that grew up in a middle-class household with married parents and a sibling who went to church every Sunday (and sometimes other days of the week). believe

I was a privileged teenager who moved to the bible belt and got “saved” and “sprinkled” in a “sanctuary” adorned with stained glass windows and golden lacquered name plates of financial donors on the pews.

I was a privileged bride who married a groom whose parents were also married believers.

I was a privileged college graduate who lived in a big city with a variety of denominational and non-denominational churches to choose from.

I was a privileged citizen of a state and country founded on Christian principles in which the law allows freedom to practice whatever religion I choose.

But at the age of 23, this privileged girl was still going to hell.

For eternity.

Yes, I had heard the gospel.

Yes, I had engaged in religious activity that was required by religious leaders.

Yes, I had tried to obey the law of Moses (well, in action- but not in heart).

But…

I did not repent.

My heart had not been made right with God (because I didn’t think that I had been wrong).

I just confessed Jesus with my mouth on a Sunday morning at the altar of a building (but the altar of my heart didn’t believe).

I just got a few drops of water on my head and a fancy certificate of baptism, but I wasn’t saved.

I was still a sinner- a deceived sinner that was wrongly identified as a saint.

Lord, forgive me! Forgive the church! Forgive the church leaders for not making me a disciple; teaching me to obey all your commands and baptizing me into the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Mercifully, however, God intervened, like He did on the road to Damascus with a sinner named Paul. Only my conversion was in our bedroom while sitting on our king-sized bed (yep- I met the King of kings on our king-sized bed!). Nine months pregnant and feeling like a beached whale, I was blinded by the light that entered my soul. I was deeply grieved over every sin I had committed against my Creator. I began to pour out the wretchedness in my heart, confessing in detail, every commandment I had rejected. I repented for my rebellion against the Father, which grieved His heart. At that moment, I believed Jesus died, was buried and resurrected for ME. I confessed Him as Savior and I was later baptized under water.

I was now saved from eternal damnation! I would live eternally in heaven when I died on this earth, but I had not received the Helper. I had not received the One who would lead me into all Truth (John 16:13). I had not received the One that would empower me to obey the Lord. I had not received the fire that would cleanse me from unrighteousness. I had not received the One who would gift me with supernatural power to minister to others. I had not received the One who would enable me to make disciples, teaching them to obey His commands and baptizing them into the Father, Son AND Spirit. Instead, I reverted back to religious activity in my own strength. Not only that, I was promoted to leadership in our church.

Lord, forgive me! Forgive the Church!

Mercifully, however, God intervened again, but not like He did with the believers in Ephesus when Paul asked if they had received the Holy Spirit. Instead, I was at home, praying in the living room with my husband when God answered my pleafor help in trusting Him as Savior AND Lord. Heaven opened and spiritual fire poured down all over my body. Overwhelmed with the force of power that was rising from the depths of my spirit, I ran to our bedroom, opened my mouth and began speaking in tongues. The unknown language I heard initially scared me; I didn’t know if I was possessed by demons or possessed by Pentecostals!

Yes, I had received the baptism in the Holy Spirit. I received the Helper. I received the One who would lead me into all Truth. I received the One that would empower me to obey the Lord. I received the fire that would cleanse me from unrighteousness. I received the One who would gift me with supernatural power to minister to others. I received the One who would enable me to make disciples, teaching them to obey His commands and baptizing them into the Father, Son AND Spirit.

My friend,

Have you heard the Good News? Have you repented of your sin against the Father? Have you believed Jesus as Lord AND Savior? Have you received the Holy Spirit? Do not be deceived as I was. Don’t think you’ll inherit the Kingdom of Heaven by obeying religious laws. It’s only by His grace that you can be saved. It’s only by His power that you can be baptized into the Father, Son AND Spirit. Don’t wait! Repent. Believe. Receive. Do it today.

 

 

A House of Prayer

Matthew 21:12-13

12 Jesus entered the Temple and began to drive out all the people buying and selling animals for sacrifice. He knocked over the tables of the money changers and the chairs of those selling doves. 13 He said to them, “The Scriptures declare, ‘My Temple will be called a house of prayer,’ but you have turned it into a den of thieves!”

PrayerWhen I was born into the Kingdom of Heaven Jesus began driving out the merchants, money changers and dove sellers. Through the miraculous indwelling of His Spirit, the tables were overturned. After the Holy Spirit overflowed me, I received His power to evict all thieves. I had prayed before. But when I began praying with my spirit andmy understanding (1 Corinthians 14:15) this temple was no longer a marketplace that anyone could enter. It became a house of prayer.

As an infant believer, I met a few prayer warriors within our local community of believers. In my childlike wisdom, I quickly judged these adults as “weird.” Overly wordy. Overly dramatic. Overly excited about praying. I secretly confessed “I don’t wanna be those kindof intercessors. They pray all the time- and on every occasion. Who wants to do THAT?!” As I grew into adolescence and began submitting to the discipline of meeting with my Lord each morning, I started becoming one of thosechurch ladies!

In my youth, I hated to pray out loud with grown-ups who knew WAY more about God than me. I was intimidated by their eloquent words and ability to quote scripture. But the more I met with my Lord in private, the more courage He gave me in public. I began to realize my prayers were not an offering for people- they are for my Father in Heaven.

During my young adult years, I also learned to submit to people in the body of Christ for prayer. By confessing my sins to others, my temple was further delivered from evil. No more religious sacrifices. No more buying and selling. No more tables. No more chairs. Just the Father. Just the Son. Just the Spirit. And me- a house of prayer.

Scripture is God breathed and “is useful for useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,” (2 Timothy 3:16) but I believe prayer is the breath of God that gives life. Eternal and abundant LIFE! It’s the way we develop a relationship with Him. It’s the way we know Him. It’s the way we feel His love. It’s the way we hear His voice. It’s the way we see what is unseen.

Nearly 20 years ago, I met a man at a well. He knew every sin I had ever committed (and was still committing), and yet, in His great love for me, He offered me living water. I drank a bucketful that day, and I’ve been drinking from that Source ever since.

My friend,

He can do the same for you. Meet Him at the well. He wants to talk to you. He wants to offer you a drink. He wants to fill you to overflowing. He wants to fight the merchants, money changes and dove sellers for you, through the power of His Spirit. Just be still- and get to know Him.

 

Without Power

Luke 9:1-6  (NLT)

One day Jesus called together his twelve disciples[a] and gave them power and authority to cast out all demons and to heal all diseases. Then he sent them out to tell everyone about the Kingdom of God and to heal the sick. “Take nothing for your journey,” he instructed them. “Don’t take a walking stick, a traveler’s bag, food, money,[b] or even a change of clothes. Wherever you go, stay in the same house until you leave town. And if a town refuses to welcome you, shake its dust from your feet as you leave to show that you have abandoned those people to their fate.”

So they began their circuit of the villages, preaching the Good News and healing the sick.

All across the state, many of my fellow North Carolinians have been without power as we continue to endure heavy rains and gusty wind from #HurricaneFlorence2018. Even though FLO has been downgraded to a tropical storm, she is slow moving and her circular bands are dumping record numbers of water onto our already saturated land.

without power.jpgWe were without power last night for a few hours. Yes, only a few hours. But lemme just go ahead and confess this to you: I’m a wuss without power. Born and raised in Southern, CA, this city girl, who was transplanted to the country in the late 80’s, is NOT equipped to live like a pioneer. Sure, I can go tent camping. I even enjoy “roughing it” for a few days. But at home? Uh. No. It’s like I forget how to function! Without powerI can’t cook, do dishes, wash clothes, turn on the fan (this is VERY important for hot flashes!!!), use my computer, iPhone…wah, wah, wah. I have become much too dependent on electronics that are useless without power. Electrical power helps me be productive in my role as Home Manager, Homeschool Mom, and with At Home Ministries. The same is true in my relationship with the Lord, and in what He has called me to do. Without His supernatural power, I’m unable to fulfill His plans for my life.

Such is the case with the church in America. She, in many instances, is trying to function without power. She has equipped herself to preach to the multitudes on Sunday mornings by using electrical power to brew fresh coffee, show videos and announcements on the big screen, stream children’s curriculum, share on social media, amplify instruments, and project people’s voices on microphones… But none of these things need supernatural power to perform. Supernatural power doesn’t need to be plugged into a sound system. Supernatural power simply needs disciples who know Jesus. Disciples who know Jesus andhave been given His power and His authority to cast out demons, heal the sick and tell others about the Kingdom of God.

Without power, we, the church, cannot PREACH the Kingdom of God.

Without power, we, the church, cannot PRAY for others to be healed from disease and set free from the demons that torment them; body and soul.

Without power, we, the church, cannot LOVE our neighbors, as we love ourselves.

Without power, we, the church, cannot LOVE God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength.

Jesus didn’t send His disciples out into their community to PREACH & PRAY until they knew Him andHe equipped themwith His Spirit & Authority (Luke 9).

Jesus didn’t send His disciples out into their communities, their nation, or the world to PREACH & PRAY after His death, resurrection & ascension until they knew Him andHe equipped themwith His Spirit & Authority (Acts 2).

Jesus still doesn’t send His disciples out to PREACH & PRAY until they know Him andHe equips themwith His Spirit & Authority (Hebrews 13).

My fellow disciple,

Are you trying to fulfill your calling without power? Are you preaching the Kingdom of God as a spectator of Jesus Christ instead of His friend? Are you praying for others so that they can be healed, or because you want to be their savior & lord? Stop. Confess. Repent. Be still. Know Him. Then….He will equip you with His Spirit & His authority.

My fellow North Carolinians,

I sincerely apologize for my whiny-ness of being without power. I am acutely aware that many of you have been devastated by this storm. You’ve lost loved ones, homes and all your earthly possessions. My heart grieves for you. May the Lord be with you as you endure the aftermath of Hurricane Florence, and may we, the church provide what you need to rebuild.

-Jodie

Go with the FLO

Psalm 46  (TPT)

46 For the Pure and Shining One, by the prophetic singers of Korah’s clan
A poetic song to the melody of “Hidden Things”[a]
God, you’re such a safe and powerful place to find refuge!
    You’re a proven help in time of trouble—
    more than enough and always available whenever I need you.
So we will never fear
    even if every structure of support[b] were to crumble away.
    We will not fear even when the earth quakes and shakes,
    moving mountains and casting them into the sea.
For the raging roar of stormy winds and crashing waves
    cannot erode our faith in you.
Pause in his presence
God has a constantly flowing river whose sparkling streams
    bring joy and delight to his people.
    His river flows right through the city of God Most High,
    into his holy dwelling places.[c]
God is in the midst of his city,[d] secure and never shaken.
    At daybreak his help will be seen with the appearing of the dawn.
When the nations are in uproar with their tottering kingdoms,
    God simply raises his voice
    and the earth begins to disintegrate before him.
Here he comes!
    The Commander!
    The mighty Lord of Angel Armies is on our side.
    The God of Jacob fights for us!
Pause in his presence
8–9 Everyone look!
    Come and see the breathtaking wonders of our God.
    For he brings both ruin and revival.
    He’s the one who makes conflicts end
    throughout the earth,
    breaking and burning every weapon of war.
10 Surrender your anxiety![e]
    Be silent and stop your striving and you will see that I am God.
    I am the God above all the nations,
    and I will be exalted throughout the whole earth.
11 Here he stands!
    The Commander!
    The mighty Lord of Angel Armies is on our side!
    The God of Jacob fights for us!
Pause in his presence

 

I admit, my anxiety level began to rise as I joined millions of North Carolinians this week in planning and preparing to meet Hurricane FLOrence. In the Sandhill Region, I stood in long lines at the grocery store for bottled water, non-perishables, and flashlights to survive this monster storm. I joined our family in putting up tarps, securing outdoor furniture, and putting away yard accessories that wouldn’t survive the impending wind gusts. In the hustle and bustle of activity, I also spoke to several people about my regret of not having that leaky spot on the roof fixed!!! How many times have I yelled at no one (or everyone in the house) as I’ve watched a heavy rainfall produce a steady stream of water that would FLOdown the wall, dripping onto my table, threatening to damage or destroy my bible, journal and electronic gadgets? More times than I can count.

FLO.jpgIn the midst of this Category 4…3…2…1? hurricane, the Lord reminded me that I can plan and prepare for FLO, just as I can plan and prepare for “storms” in my life. Yet the earth will still quake, the mountains will still be cast into the sea, the winds will still roar, and the waves will still crash. But if I will go with the FLO of His plans and purposes, I will prosper (Jeremiah 29:11).

Lemme just say right here: I hate the unknown.

Check that.

I fear the unknown.

I fear unpredictable storms of life.

So, in an effort to control the track and category of human hurricane’s, I try to plan and prepare….for everything.

But that’s impossible. Isn’t it? And its, just….well….stupid. Seriously. Who controls the wind and the waves? It certainly wasn’t Job, and it definitely isn’t me.

The truth is: God has not given me a spirit of fear! (2 Timothy 1:7) And He hasn’t promised that my plans or preparations will not be shaken. For if I was able to stand on my own two feet in the midst of a raging storm, I would never run to the safety and shelter of His wings (Psalm 91). God has promised, however, that HE knows the plans He has for me, and HE is never shaken.

My fellow disciple,

I don’t know what size of storm you’re enduring this hurricane season. I don’t know how the wind and waves will impact, or maybe even damage your body & soul. But I do know that God promises to be a safe and powerful place to find refuge. Do not forget: He is with you! He is a proven help in times of trouble. And, remember: the storm will only last for a night. As my adopted Grandma Lillie Mae used to say, “child, ain’t nev-ah seen a storm dat didn’t pass” (thanks for the reminder, dad).

-Jodie