Sometimes God will show us a glimpse of our journey to help give us deeper understanding of where we’re headed! As we peered back a decade, I felt warm inside and smiled because it all became a recap in a memory that enhanced my vision of how Jesus hand was guiding us every step of the way. He knows us all inside and out and even knows our thoughts before we think them. (Psalm 139)
While living in California we had many wonderful blessings and things were beginning to feel just right. We had just been married, purchased our first home and were serving as youth pastors at a beautiful church in the Tehachapi Mountains. The quaint environment of Stallion Springs, was so friendly, farms nestled the valley and people took time to get to know each other. Highlights, were having local farmers drop off their overflow of abundant crops that year and having the neighbors open their home up to serve the teen ministries by setting up evening outside movies, with large projectors, bonfires and smores. We loved the evening strolls we took as neighbors all waved to us passing by, it felt a bit like a hallmark movie, only less drama.
My husband and I were on a steady, uphill climb in our positions with our jobs both working in the Government. We both had great benefits and steady retirement plans, with lots of promise for future growth, It was everything we could want. However, there was something else my heart was longing for, way down from the depths, it was a cry for more of Jesus! I knew we were serving him, but at times it felt like it was a bit in our own strength, I knew that I needed a deeper awakening! I needed the word of God to become a deep root and the Spirit a revelation of light. I needed his love to baptize me, and give me a fresh outlook in ways of loving others as only He could. So as we begin to fast and pray, we kept hearing the Lord speak to our hearts about a new journey that would lead us many miles away from our comfort. Little did we know, It was about 2200 miles away and completely across the US. It would require us to have legs of faith and leave every comfort we had known. But we also saw it as a grand adventure! When following God, we learn that his ways are much better than ours. (Isaiah 55:9) And as we obey, it brings him much joy!
It reminds me of the journey that Abram took in Genesis 12, as the Lord told him to leave his native country, his relatives, and his fathers family, He was asked to go where the Lord showed him. God promised to make him into a great nation, he had plans to increase his territory and make him a blessing unto others. As Abram set out with his family he came to a place under an oak of Moreh, (hebrew-a hill of uncertain location). He saw that the area was inhabited by the Canaanites. God appeared to Abram and told him he was going to give him and his descendants this land. So Abram built an alter there and dedicated it to the Lord who had appeared to him.
Abram had to rely on the Lord through claiming territories occupied by his enemies. He had to battle many kings in order to recover his nephew Lot, and he had to trust in the Lords provision for this promise to come forth. As he stood in faith, Abram defeated all his foes and God led him to a place of honor which set him before great kings. (Read Genesis 14) The story onward is powerful, every step of obedience that Abram took brought him into greater territory, until he grew in blessing and was honored by Melchizedeck (hebrew strongs -My king is right) Gen. 14:18-24). As he was high priest of God. And as Abram was blessed, he gave a tenth of all that he had recovered to Melckizedek. (In this same manner we as tithers of our blessing and first fruits give unto the kingdom of God, and as we do, our lives become a blessing, thus reflecting back to God‘s goodness as we give unto others.
As we arrived into new soil, we originally had our eyes set on Fairfax, VA. But God had his plans for us to rest in Columbia MD, near DC and Baltimore. It was during this time we were being discipled in our faith and trust in God to such depths, we had to learn to trust Gods leading and at times that meant major stretching and letting go of our own agendas. While my job had become secure, Kendall was not immediately transferred by his employer and had to work on establishing a temporary detail, thus leading to prayer intercession that would eventually grant him a full time position. We had no friends in the beginning and the East Coast felt very cold. Not just the weather and humidity in the winter but also having no connections, it's as if though I had jumped to zero friendships in one day. I knew there were so many people we had left that truly loved us and I was beginning to regret our decision. However, it was during this time that Jesus spoke sweetly into my heart and said if you will make me your best friend, I will provide you with everything you need. Jesus wanted to be my all, and wanted me to seek him first beyond everything else. (Deuteronomy 4:29)
So we both began to seek after Jesus on much higher levels. We began to plug in to our local church and found many friendships that began to abound. We felt God securing our hearts in his, and blessing us with so much gifts all around. It's as though spring came out with blossoms and our bouquet of roses were becoming as a rose of Sharon, lacking all thorns and including all beauty and fragrance of our Lord. and as we continued to give God our first fruits in our tithing and offerings as well as our time, he was smiling on our lives. Our friendships became so much more in depth and flourished, and we began to see kingdom strategic relationships come into our path. In the next few years we went through a great awakening. (more to come in future post) We met families that were running after Jesus in sincere hearts, and we wanted to become more like that. We wanted Jesus to awaken everything in us to much greater levels. And as we began to pray and knock, we started to see heavens pour out in abundance over our lives. A mentor-ship program led by Holy Spirit, was in works in the two of us. (Matthew 7:7) We eventually were led to become a Homeschooling family and my reliance which had been on my job as provision was submitted to God in order for us to move into new areas of ministering over our family and devoting more time to Jesus!
We feel that God honors and blesses our every move towards him. He takes us out of our fears and uncertainties to allows us to encounter his goodness through his son Jesus! In this hour that we are in, I believe God is asking us as his children to allow his covenant to become renewed in our lives. If you journey to Genesis 15 you will see that God promised Abram to protect and reward him. When Abram asked for a son, God already knew his desires for an heir and promised him a son, leading into future descendants becoming as numerous as the stars. How wonderful, as Abram took God at his word it was accredited to him as righteousness because of his faith. (Gen 15:6) He received his promise and eventually had a son named Isaac.
Then God made a covenant with Abram as is reflected with us all! After Abram brought the sacrifices and cut them in half, except the birds, and lay them on the alter. in verse 12 the sun was going down and Abram fell asleep and a terrible darkness came over him. The Lord revealed his plans to him and then he saw a smoking fire-pot and a flaming torch pass between the halves of the carcasses. So the Lord made a covenant with Abram that day and gave him the surrounding territory as far as his eye could see. (Gen. 15:9-20) This covenant was representing so much, it was showing that God made a covenant with himself. As he had already planned from long ago to send his only begotten son, Jesus, to die for us as a once and for all sacrifice. That we could now come into agreement with him and receive his love and allow him to inhabit our hearts, so that he could take upon himself all the sins of all the world. God's plans were to give his children back the land that was originally meant for them to inherit and all he asked of us was to become consecrated unto him by having faith in Jesus!
Which brings me to the very thing that Jesus has been speaking over my heart. If we will allow our lives to be his, and say Yes, as we give him our whole heart and let him walk through us with his fire. Allowing the flames of his Spirit to burn off the chaff that is hindering us from producing his good fruit. And as we let his ring of consecration be placed over us like an engagement band, that will represent that we are willing to step into an eternal life with Jesus, both his goodness and his sufferings may become a part of our lives. We at times may be asked to share in his sufferings. (Phil 3:10) But, we can consider it joy, if we do suffer for his purposes to shine, so that others may see him being exalted in our lives. (James 1:2) Lets follow Jesus into every new place he leads us too! Lord, let our yes, be yes, and our no be no!
The Lord would love to bring us to a place of having our identity completely found in Jesus. In Chapter 17, Abram was ninety nine years old, when the Lord appeared to him again and said, "I am El-Shaddai-"God Almighty". Serve me faithfully and live a blameless life. A new covenant of circumcision was established, and Abrams name was changed to Abraham. which means exalted father.
So where have we come from? And where are we going? May it be said of us, we’re heading to meet with our Savior, Jesus, as he alone holds our lives in his hands! The prayer of my heart has been, "Lord remove everything from my life that does not look like you, every idol, every fear, doubt, anxious thought or insecurity! Every sin that so easily entangles, uproot it. Take it all out as I lay my life before your alter, I ask that you would walk through me. Search every part of me and let your light expose all residence of darkness so that all in me is like you, let your light illuminate to the depth of greater awakening. Let the fire of consecration bring me into pure motive, pure heart and pure love. We pray that our names be found in Jesus and we become just as He is! Found in Him, forever His! Thank you Jesus for your ultimate sacrifice that has led us all back into your family!"
This is a photo that triggered the memory from a decade ago, when God first brought us to Maryland and began a faith walk leading us on a grand journey!