“Then Jesus, moved with compassion, stretched out His hand and touched him, and said to him, “I am willing; be cleansed.””
Mark 1:41 NKJV
You can replace "cleansed" with whatever you need from Jesus today. Just believe in His compassion.
I think cleansing is a great word because, cleaning is a process. Sometimes we don't stay long enough, all the way to completion. Our enemy has devised many ways to discourage us. His aim is to make the strong weary. To beat you down into nothing. To make you forgot who your God is and who you are. Amazingly, if or when this happens our High Priest Jesus still has a plan. He actually uses this weakness to prune us and make us stronger. Yes, Jesus can use the destruction of our faith in Him to build something more like Him.
So you see, it's never over. It's never out of reach. It's never too late. It's never too much. Truly, we can never be defeated. A God that can use your failures to help you find true success is an amazing god indeed.
Jesus is so committed to our freedoms, peace, and fullness of LIFE. He doesn't let defeat win.
The mind of Christ
At some point we have to lay aside our ways for His ways. We have to care enough to find out His ways and allow His standard to change us. My premise being, once He sees that our hearts desire is to promote His Kingdom in all that we do, well, that is a gamechanger. I am His precious little girl, His ambassador, His ordained queen and priestess...whether I am cooking healthy food or taking dance classes of all kinds. I tell fellow believers, He is with me and inspires me in each of those pursuits...sometimes I get an awkward laugh, but sometimes I get further inquiry, which is the better response. You see, you can tell a lot about a person by how they respond to what it is they do not fully understand. As I stated in my teaching, we all have a tendency to fear what we do not understand. However, none of us, no matter how long you have been saved, fully comprehend the Kingdom of God and His purposes. So if we are not careful, we will unintentionally reject the very Kingdom we long to see here on earth.
Luke 6:47-48 (KJV)
Overcome your fear of the opinion of men
I've encountered a glimpse of Kingdom Culture, just a glimpse. Culture is about beliefs and values that shape human creativity and even intellect. We have to ask Jesus for help in understanding His culture. I know that what matters to the Father is what is in your heart. Jesus said "A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things." We need to have accountability and spiritual leaders in our life to guide us or this can be a slippery slope. However, if you heart is pure, I believe you will produce pure things, no matter your endeavor.
Ironically, many American Christians complain about the shows on TV or the latest Pop song, yet refuse to step in those arenas and bring the power of God. I'm not talking about partnering with Luciferian power holders, that's just stupid. I'm talking about relying on God for the resources and influence you need to make the impact you were born to make. This can come in the most unexpected ways, it just needs to promote the King and the Kingdom.
Please understand, this is more than a "chase your dreams" pep talk. I'm talking about overcoming the fear of the opinion of men, while also staying humble and teachable...no easy task.
Let me tell you a story to challenge you. I remember the night I was going out to celebrate with a friend for her birthday a few years ago. Before heading over to the nightclub, I went into my secret place and I prayed. I prayed for the people there, I prayed for my friends, I prayed with my spiritual language and with 100% confidence that when I walked in there, I brought the Kingdom of God with me. Oh. Yes. I. Did. You would have to understand my backstory but I didn't pray because I was afraid to go, I didn't feel anything about it other than the usual awareness that a lot of bad can happen, especially at those hours. However, that night was so much fun! Three different people came up to me and said "there is just something about you", one woman said "your joy makes me feel happy, you light up this place!" I promise you, I was sober!
For me, this was not about approval or disapproval of where I was, it was confirmation from Jesus to me: "Desiree, YOU ARE MINE. I am responsible for you, be mindful of the situations you put yourself in. Together, there is no atmosphere WE cannot shift, I AM the Resurrection, I AM the way, the truth, and the life, I have overcome this world, I am bigger than any demon in hell. As long as you are with ME 100%, I AM with you 100%." In that unusual situation, I received such an confirmation of my relationship with God and therefore, a greater awareness of the situations I put myself (and consequently Him) in. Isn't that so backwards and amazing at the same time? So many Christians see Him as just Judge, when He is so Pappa!!
I believe many believers focus so much on the right or wrong (or confuse taboo with sin) because they lack faith in the promise of resurrection, renewal, and transformation through the power of the Spirit. We also don't give each other the grace to go through our individual processes. Instead it's easier to judge one another...than believe that God could be so good. Yes I know, some people are playing games with the name of Jesus but I'm talking about those of us who are honestly trying to figure it all out. I've learned that instead of striving to be perfect or fit into everyone's definition of how I should be, I need to make sure of one thing: I am His and He is mine. In this space I don't have time to judge, or covet what others have, or feel forsaken at any moment. I'm just working out my own soul salvation AND living in this life more abundantly, free from powerless religiosity.
Only then do I believe we will see the manifestations of the Kingdom of God we have been desiring to see. We need each other. We each of a piece of the puzzle the other needs. We each have revelation so many need to hear if they are willing to listen. We can change our communities and our nation if we begin to see the things beyond what worked 50 years ago. Just because your grandma was at the same church for 200 years and prayed every Friday night at the church meeting that doesn't mean that is what God needs from you. We were made to conquer, Father God is waiting to promote us with more authority but first we have to
Please feel free to leave your thoughts and comments! If there is anything you want to know more about or suggestions for topics please let me know!
In March of last year, my best friend and I, gave a teaching on Kingdom Culture. We discussed ethnic and cultural awareness but also the big picture of the Heart of God for His people when it comes to His Family.
I believe the Holy Spirit wants us to be aware that the Kingdom we are seeking, the one that is coming, and the one that's already here, may be foreign to us because of our own biases and preferences. Not only when it comes to ethnic diversity and integration but also in our values and morality.
You cannot allow where you grew up and/or your family preferences to dictate your understanding of morality, worship, and things like holidays or Christian traditions. Do they align with scripture? What is your understanding of Hebrew Culture and traditions? This will determine your understanding of scripture, which believe it or not originated in Ancient Israel. Moses, Jesus, nor Paul lived in modern day Israel or your local Methodist Church . Once you dive into it all, you will find the various pieces connect. Breaking away from man-made religion is the first step to grasping Kingdom truth.
As much as we try to "think outside the box" it's really hard for most Christians. Instead we make the box bigger, you know, be "radical" but at the end of the day, most Christians still operate out of a box of preconceived notions. Such as good Christians go to service unless ill or God is not pleased. Well...not exactly. At the end of 2018, for a season, I felt the call to step out of the traditional Sunday church routine. Jesus was calling me closer. That season was amazing, enlightening and liberating. For many years prior, I got to enjoy the routine of going before the Father on Sunday mornings, worshipping Him and hearing Rhema word. But I also experienced the routine of church that hinders and quenches the Spirit and therefore stifflies true salvation and transformation in the people of God. That's why you can have someone who looks the part of a Christian but has a pitiful love walk. Over the years, I have endured the "business" of church growth, the politics, and preaching, that was, at times, based more on denominational dogma, than actual unfiltered, Logos Word. The sort of preaching that drains you, instead of filling you up.
Jesus came to set us free
This is the time of year we celebrate the death, burial and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. I prefer to remember also, why He came in the first place. He sacrificed Himself for more than my salvation from hell, He came to liberate me from man-made religion. Me, you, and everyone. When reflecting on this, I can't help but become saddened by the excess of man-made religious thought and exercise that is all around me. We have all been affected by it, rather we know it or not. I think the Almighty longs for the day when His people will choose truth, over tradition. Tradition includes denominational filters on morality, for example, one denomination says it is okay to drink alcohol and another condemns it. Both can't be correct. One view takes its cue more from tradition rather than what the bible actually says. Another big tradition of course, is racism. The basis of which is also not biblical, although many have tried to make it so. The most prevalent form of racism in the Church, is what I call "ethnocentric thought patterns" (your cultural expression is inherently better than others) which greatly plague relations between brothers and sisters in the body of Christ.
your culture vs. kingdom culture
Looking at the pictures above, which could you imagine in your church service? I believe God can use ballet and the many cultural dances of Africa. I believe we sell ourselves short when we only seek to please those of our own culture. This works both ways. Making fun of Riverdance (Irish stepdance) is not cute, nor acceptable. I also believe that God is waiting for those bold enough to put aside their fears and cross over, not only with open arms but an open mind. And let me say this too, what is considered "modest" in your culture may not be considered modest in another. It used to be that in Europe, a woman showing her ankles was considered sluttish. Well in many cultures of the world, showing a little midriff is not even a big deal, so just chill.
I've heard people call certain cultural expressions "pagan." Excuse me? Your European culture was pagan too and Orthodoxy doesn't get to decide what is on God's mind. If you follow a Pope, that's cool, you do you. I follow the Holy Spirit and I'm writing this because I believe that the Holy Spirit is going to challenge our way of thinking in ways we didn't know was possible. Church as usual is generally divided and segregated; if not racially, it is so economically or something else.
After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands;
There is so much talk about unity and diversity, yet for the past decade all I see is minor gaines. I believe this is because, especially in the south: you can have friends of other races but don't marry them because "the bible says 'be not equally yoked" Seriously? Are we not all One blood by Christ? Once filled with the Spirit are we not members of One Body? Should not our cultures all reflect the Love of Christ and His saving grace? So what is the problem?
The world says there is a black race and a white race. Which is mainly for social and political tactics and excludes billions of people. Truth is, we are all a magnificent spectrum of earthy tones found in nature. There are people with very little melanin in their skin who appear like pearls and other stones, ivory or the sands of the seas and most people of the earth have more melanin and appear like gold, precious stones, plants, spices, trees, honey, and on and on. Beautiful isn't it? Every shade of the human skin can be found in the ground of the earth where God formed us. Coincidence? No. We don’t know what Adam and Eve looked like but I imagine them carrying a bit of all of us between the two of them in a beautiful harmony our finite minds cannot fathom.
GAL 3:26-29 KJV
For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.
The Father’s heart is for all of us to come into relationship with Christ and with each other. God has divine plans hidden in people all around the world and we cannot reach the epitome of Kingdom existence without the input of people who look different and/or speak a different language. It is likely that some promise you’ve been waiting on is wrapped in the very people that make you most uncomfortable.
Please feel free to leave your thoughts and comments! If there is anything you want to know more about or suggestions for topics please let me know!
Identity then revelation of purpose
Have you ever felt like you needed to step away from something in order to see it more clearly?
The FAther is jealous for you
It had been building up for a long time. I have been seeking God in a deeper way in the last 2 years. The powder keg, so to speak, exploded after coming back from Carolina Revival on October 6, 2018. I don't know exactly what happened, why, or how. I just know there was an encounter with Yeshua that I desperately needed. I let go of somethings, but I gained something too. I just didn't know exactly what. After a day of pondering of all this, I was given permission to pause. I felt the Spirit, saying, "just stop for a minute," it was a deep unction within me to push pause on any spiritual influences outside of this one thing: devotion. I heard pause from church for a minute, enjoy this season, stop performing, stop striving. Spend time with your family and with Me. That's it.
The power is not actually in the pause, the power is in obedience to Christ.
At the time I had told two different people I would praise dance with them. I'm a woman of my word, even to a fault sometimes. I delayed obedience to this unction of the Spirit to complete these two praise dances and then...I stopped. Like I said in my previous post, I was spending time with family, including Kingdom family outside of church. However during this time, the main attraction was of course Jesus Himself. I knew He was positioning me. That's why, no matter who you think you are, when God tells you to push pause, you push pause brothers and sisters. No matter who gets offended, misunderstands, or turns their back on you.
There is only one place you NEED to be
The True Vine
15 “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. 2 Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He [a]takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. 3 You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. 4 Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.
5 “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not abide in Me,he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. 7 If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you,you[b] will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. 8 By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples." - Yeshua
John 15 (NKJV)
It's amazing how Christians apply certain concepts we hear in church to our lives, but we don't know what Jesus actually said. For example, church leaders say " you need to be planted at a church." The intention behind the concept is based on good intentions, however, Jesus never said that. He said we needed to be connected to Him. Abide. There are many people committed to a church building that are not committed to Christ in their daily decisions. They are not connected to the Vine. Commitment to attendance is no good if that commitment is not producing an abiding in Christ that leads to deepening roots in Christ; growth. Remember Ephesians 4, church government is designed to cultivate your relationship with Christ not grow the business of church. I don't want to receive a text message every time I miss a church event. I want to receive a text message that makes sure I sought out the secret place that day. That's the kind of accountability that produces abiding believers who walk in consecration and change their world.
I don't want to go off on a rant about religion here. Although, I just might. There are too many church-goers who become fascinated by believers who live a life of consecration, actually love people, and make hard decisions to honor Christ and others behind closed doors. This fascination, is the fruit of dysfunction in the body of Christ. People supplement their lack of authentic Christ-centered devotion by making sure others see them as devoted, kind of like the Pharisees:
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness." - Yeshua (Matthew 23:27)
I purposefully want to make a distinction between church-goers and believers. They are not the same. Abiding in Jesus is much more than attending church. I would even dare say modern "church" is a distraction from the family Jesus sought to create. Assembling yourself with other believers is a beautiful thing that adds incredible stability, accountability, and joy. Spiritual authority in your life is most beneficial and you will miss out on a lot without it. However, what is most important, is to cultivate a close enough relationship with Jesus, so that you hear His voice clearly. Especially if you are a leader of any kind including of a household. And sometimes, the seeking to hear His voice, requires you to silence a few others for a season.
But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.
A couple of months ago, at a monthly gathering called Carolina Revival, I had an amazing face to face encounter with Yeshua that has transformed me. I want to share more about what Christ did for me, than about that revival or place I went. The atmosphere of that revival was a catalyst but Christ did the work.
While at this revival Friday night, standing in the back by the door (standing room only), I was invited to soar above the whole world with my Father and the next day, my Savior cleansed me from the doubt and unbelief that still lingered within me. Somehow in the midst of all of that, I (finally) fully sat down with my King, Bridegroom, Savior, and Defender in THIS life, seeing as I was already seated, in the spirit, in Heaven. Immediately, I felt an inner contentment and rest I hadn’t in so long. I’m not talking about “getting wrecked” or even crying or laughing uncontrollably. I literally just stood there, surrendering and Jesus transformed me.
What Does "Seated" Mean?
You just have to experience it. 🤷🏽♀️ I can tell you it was one of those face to face encounters with the goodness of God. Our Abba is not concerned about our performance, He just wants our hearts. He desires to be with us. Something changes when you actually have an encounter that causes you to become aware of and agree with "on earth as it is in Heaven." I mean for real. It's hard to describe, but once you experience it, you'll know 😁 and so will those around you. The peace and joy of Christ surrounds you and you be like...(psst, see picture below) continuously, not just during that service. I mean it lasts and lasts. Boom! You've been transformed my friend!
I've seen with my own eyes how, when you get into the right atmosphere, where God's presence and glory is so thick, transformation takes place from within, no one needs to lay a hand on you.
Prophesy can be great, but I've often seen it misused; preaching is necessary but not when it's laced with personal agenda. I've seen 100s of alter calls and praying, but no change. Unintentionally, this causes some leaders to demand more of people because they either are unaware of or not sure how to take you deeper into the Glory of God - and it’s this glory that brings the change. Not man's ability.
For me, I was catapulted into freedom at Carolina Revival in SC. I've also experienced breakthrough at other times and places but this was different. What probably would have taken much longer, was expedited. I believe, this is due to of the measure of God's presence in that place. Ironically, it actually has nothing to do with that place, it's all about the right focus. When you gather with believers that are not concerned with how many humans are present, but if that beautiful One is present, lots of exciting things happen! Don't get me wrong, it requires an appropriate response. You can't just show up and expect the "magic" to work. It requires your surrender, your "yes".
I am grateful for my natural and Kingdom family. During this pause, I experienced wonderful fellowships over dinner or coffee. Yeshua was right there with us!! No worship band, or celebrity speakers, or all the bells and whistles, just good old fashion Acts fellowship. I have gotten to see myself, the good and the bad. I'm growing and He is not done with me. Like today while I was reflecting on so much this year, I literally saw in the spirit God laughing at what I considered to be my shameful shortcomings. He inspired me to be the same way, with all that is scary in this world, with those who let you down, etc.. Jesus, is laughing at all of it! Not in a happy kind of way, but in a "this is such a little speck, so why fret" kind of way.
I don't know about next week, I just know that today I want to pursue Him as He is pursuing me. ❤️ Sometimes it takes stepping away from something to appropriately see it for what it is.
If I could share one message it would be this: Jesus has made Himself responsible for YOU. By "you" I mean those of us who walk in Covenant relationship with Yeshua the Messiah. Baptized by water and spirit, He now abides in you and you abide in Him. Once we become children of God it is no longer about our willpower or ability. IT IS NO LONGER ABOUT OUR PERFORMANCE BUT RATHER, OUR INHERITANCE.
Love you, my friends!
Often in Liturgical Dance you find that you use a plethora of dance disciplines. However, I would say the foundation of any dance is ballet and African Dance. So for the past month and for the rest of December I will be taking Ballet Classes twice a week!
I am loving the Ballet Series at The UP Factory here where I live. Our instructor Natasha is amazing! Ballet strengthens you arms, legs, and core. Even muscles in your foot are used extensively (see video at the end).
My point in mentioning this is, I often find in the Liturgical Dance Community that there is a lack of pursuit of excellence. Many settle for inferior expressions of dance out of fear of failure or maybe just outright laziness. I wish to share my passion for worship and dance with as many people as possible. I now have a ministry called HaRuach Worship.
The purpose of this ministry is to help others come into a more intimate and authentic relationship with Yeshua, our King, and Bridegroom. So many people desire peace, love, and a sense of purpose. They can find all those things in Yeshua, but they hardly ever find it correctly in church. There is a lifestyle in Christ where you will rise from glory to glory, guaranteed, but if you settle for warming a pew every Sunday you will miss this.
Blessings, Health, and Peace!
Let’s face it, kinky and curly hair is not easy to maintain. It's what would be called “high maintenance.” I know that team natural is great at encouraging people that it can be done, and they aren’t wrong! It can be done and it’s worth the work that it requires. However, that being said, natural hair is not for the lazy.
So many beautiful brown dolls want long hair. I was that girl too. I struggled with my kinky curly hair as a child and therefore I got a relaxer. Then after getting a relaxer I soon realized that long hair wasn’t going to be easy either way. I told myself it was because maybe my hair just doesn’t grow like everyone else’s but then I started to learn about women who had relaxed here but very long and healthy hair. I soon started a healthy relaxed hair journey. Waiting 16 weeks or longer to get my relaxers. And then it hit me, why am I doing this? If you’ve ever gone on a relaxed healthy hair journey you know exactly what I mean. You do a bunch a braid outs, you don’t really get to straighten your hair ever, so why not just be natural? I can just be natural, forget the relaxers and rock my curly hair and since I’m not putting chemicals in my hair, if I so choose, I can flatiron my hair. Unlike relaxes hair, 100 % natural hair, straightened, is full, shiny and just BEAU-TI-FUL.
It is my goal to teach people how to have healthy long hair. All I can offer is my experiences over my lifetime and in the 7 years that I’ve been natural. I also want to be as transparent and down to earth as possible. I understand why some people might market themselves in such a way to grow their YouTube channels. I’m not knocking that. I totally understand. However there needs to be a voice who can tell you if it’s genetic, that it’s genetic, and not make people believe that if they use the products you use, or do the things that you do that they’re also going to have long locks like her. Through fitness, healthy living and lifestyle, at the core of everything I do is to make a woman feel beautiful in her own skin.
2019 is right around the corner. Everyone is going to be having goals and benchmarks that they want to achieve in the new year. As they always say, new year, new you. But it’s not enough to have goals and even the most motivated people sometimes need someone along the ride with them. I will be that girlfriend or BFF that you need to help you achieve your goals. I have a lot more announcements coming before and in 2019. Please visit the blog, my YouTube channel, Virtuousdezi, and my Instagram at @Virtuousdezi for more information, content and most importantly inspiration!! 💕
If you're around me and haven't figure it out yet. I have been breaking the cycle of "serving the Lord."
I'm not his servant, I am His Daughter and a vital member of the body of His Bride.
How did this happen? Well, for one I was mediocre at this whole Christian thing anyway, second, well, I stopped wanting to. Which for a while meant wondering around lost, but then I learned I'm not His servant anyway, I'm His daughter.
I mean I had to start out living like servant so if you're still there, no sweat just draw near to God...and find a place you can thrive in sonship like I did.
Right now, I have what Apostle Damon Thompson calls, "one holy passion." He's my Daddy Abba and I'm His babygirl. Now, to be honest, I don't like His tough love sometimes (Hebrews 12:11), but I know that it takes great love for Him to do things that might put Him and I at odds for a moment, haha! However, we are in covenant so its going have to be okay.
You see, I don't have to run around doing "things." I'm a Mary and thank God right now I'm in what I call, a Mary season, because I'm not a Martha!
I don't need another conference, event, or "good church." I need intimacy with Yeshua. I need truth and Spirit. I need His rest, His peace.
I'm not trying to be a pastor, apostle, prophetess, teacher, or evangelist. All of that is super important and biblical. My point is, is not my aim. Its not going to fulfill me. I'm not letting anyone pressure me into ministry, serving, coming and going here and there and doing this and that. ANYTHING I do, has to be birthed from intimacy with my Yeshua. Selah.
Its so awesome to just be. I'm not trying to be an awesome prayer warrior, intercessor, I don't need to be seen as being a part of any ministry and yet everyday - find myself in His presence doing all those things naturally.
I'm not a performer, I am a lover. And I don't need your approval about it. I can spot performers. Do you feel unbalanced? Fake? Insecure? Anxious? Are you in conflict with your household? Feel pressure to meet certain goals or look a certain way? Then you're performing and you need to stop. So many people, even those claiming to be free from "religion" are still striving, still performing. This is probably going to shock many ministers but...people don't need you as much as you think they do, they need intimacy with Yeshua.
All of the "things" we often do in the Body of Christ are nice but if done out of need/lack instead of fullness we are not walking as Jesus walked. He was walking in complete union and Love with the Father. He was the Bread of Life, the Living Water, He is overflow itself.
Take time to seek the better things. When I go to the beach...I'm in His presence so heavy! No event need apply. I don't need to hear someone preach. I am hearing straight from Abba! He is taking me on my own personal journey and I'm cool with that (most of the time). I had to realize that even the believers I was with may not experience Him the same way I do and that's okay, the point is, those of us who are hungry are going to keep seeking and seeking; and He is a rewarder of them that seek Him persistently. t65Until we fully understand God and until our mental framework of His personality is correct, we need to be seeking the Secret Place. Until we view Him appropriately, should we engage in all that "doing" anyway? If you can't love God with wholeness, you can't love yourself, and if you can't do that, you can never love others with wholeness.
So I ain't got time for all this "serving" Yeshua, I'm just dancing with Him 😂. Because this serving stuff is more about you and other's expectations than it is about Him. I'm going leave it at that for now.
If I could start off by saying anything, I think we as believers in Christ need to learn the art of letting each other be where we are in our walk with God. None are necessarily better than the other. Wherever Father leads us, that's where we need to be.
Which is why I am finding it necessary to shed some light on a trend I've been noticing lately in some circles of Christendom. Where it's cool to laugh over prayer and "hip" to smile about everything. Mr. Jesus took care of everything, so not a care in the world and if you don't feel like they do, you need deliverance. I'm going to call this Christian Nirvana.
Okay, I feel you, let's all just get happy! There really are no reasons to worry about anything. After all, Yeshua Himself said "be anxious for nothing." Paul wrote "cast all your care upon Him for He cares for you." The Psalms are filled with commands to rejoice in the Lord. David even commands his soul "hope in God." Faith is confidence in God, and without faith it's impossible to please Him.
I mean - after we get our ticket to Heavenland because we said a prayer or got dipped in water and now we can spend our lives bouncing around and laughing all day with our two cars, suburban house, 2 kids we planned for...and oh a puppy! I mean if our son got beat half to death for being Christian we could call it a hate crime and get justice. Justice! Yea! So all we have to do is keep singing and dancing around, smiling, with our bellies full, until we die. And then, guess what?? We get to have even more fun in Heavenland! Forever! Yeahhhhhhhh!!! That's just narley-cool-da bomb-fi.
Let me get real with you. Yes, no matter the circumstance we are taught by the scriptures and Holy Spirit to keep our hope, our joy, our kindness, our gentleness, our faith and our patience through it all. However, I think we present these fruits of the Spirit wrong. We act as if that means we constantly walk in kindness, gentleness, joy, faith, love, etc. We put pressure on ourselves to "be" some kind of stress-free persona. I realized though, we're talking about fruit, and when you eat fruit, it gets processed through your digestive system, the nutrients are then absorbed into your bloodstream and cells. The benefits of that fruit you ate (i.e. Vitamin C) then has it affect on the body...the Body...get it? Do you think you just eat an orange once and boom! You're set for life? No. This will make more sense later, but my point is, the fruit of the Spirit are always there when we need them but the effect they provide is not always in operation. We have to choose. We have to continuous consume the fruit.
I was at a meeting where we were discussing the security and joy of the Lord, no matter what's going on in our lives. Trust me, I get. And I need it. I went up to get prayed over. I know I need the joy of the Lord, because I have been waiting for my flood of happiness, love, romance, companionship, and intimacy. I've been waiting in righteousness too. I'm a rare jewel. I know Yeshua has me, I know He's got great plans for me, but I still hurt. I still feel the sting of loneliness. Yes, I know not to go by what I see but what He says...I know. I still wish I had a hand to hold, someone to dream and do life with...like a decade ago.
I also have a dear friend who is suffering from bone cancer. She is in chronic pain, and recently broke her leg. Now they are saying she may be losing sight in one of her eyes and the cancer has spread to her brain. She has been fighting and praying for almost 2 years now. Do you look at my friend and say "just be happy?" Do you tell her Jesus took all your sorrows so you have nothing to sorrow over?
Of course you wouldn't. I believe God allows people in our lives that make us uncomfortable. People that love God just like you do but ________(fill in the blank).
When I left bible study God told me this: Desiree, you already have fullness of joy within you whenever you need it. You just don't know you already have it and have used it plenty of times. But it's okay to be sad too. It's okay to hurt.
As I continued to ponder on this, I believe Holy Spirit filled me with this wisdom: Father needs those who are willing to hurt, to be sad, even mad. He needs those who will travail. Who will look at a situation like my friend's, and get horrified, get uncomfortable, and travail and weep for her like it was your own mom, sister, or wife.
See, some of you reading this have everything a man or woman could possible hope for in this life. We get the education, the jobs, the spouse, have the kids, the dog, the house, the 'stuff." Maybe you start the business or ministry to get us to our ideal state. Of course we want for nothing; we make sure we don't. But for those of us who have things that hasn't quite worked out yet...oh that is where the hidden treasure is, the blessing in disguise. That's where those who are uncomfortable in this life get to tap into something amazing...the Holy of Holies.
Yes, it's possible to be victorious and yet feel the sting of what is being lost if we don't seek God's face.
There is a time to have joy, but also to have sorrow.
There is a time to laugh, but also a time to cry and cry hard.
There is a time to just see the good in everything, but there is also a time to open your eyes to the pain and suffering right beside you...and care.
There is a time to be content but then there is a time to get fed up.
There is a time to rest but then there is a time to fight. Not by our own might or power, but by His Spirit.
It's easy for me to have joy in my perfect little life...but there are people like my friend who every night sheds tears over her pain and I'm not okay with that. I am powerless to help her but I know Who can. I know Abba Father has more compassion on her than me. I also know there is purpose in her pain. The purpose is not just for her, its for all of us. It's not personal, it's communal. I don't pretend to know why certain things happen, but I know the Spirit has told me this, it's more about those around that person, than the person themselves. It's to stir us up...to PRAY! To intercede for something other than our own personal needs, as valid as they are.
There are some who are at a place where they just want happiness, peace, and everything is just dandy and I rejoice with those who are in the place! Please know, this is not to get anyone rattled. Its for you to understand that where you are is where you are, thank God, but also remember your brothers and sisters that are not quite there. Maybe they need a shift of perspective or maybe they need you to fast and pray over there concerns like you would your own.
I can choose to have carefree joy and I do! I love my Yeshua! I'm learning more and more to turn to that fruit and devour it, even when I'm feeling the sting of my reality. That Fruit will do its thing every time. However, I also can choose to have sorrow. Sorrow for single believers who are terribly lonely and fight fears and sorrows others cannot imagine. Should I make them feel guilty for not "casting their cares"? Or...
Romans 12:15 - Rejoice with them that rejoice, and weep with them that weep.
Let me put it in modern terminology. Be happy for the new mother or new bride, but hurt and cry like you mean it for those who are infertile or lonely. Don't stop travailing for their blessing, just like you would not for your own.
Yes, let's celebrate the Lord's goodness, pleasures, His salvation and sacrifice for us. Rejoice in His Royal Authority in Heaven and in Earth. Dance and sing before the Lord. But let's also allow ourselves to get angry at the sin running rampant in our cities, and children growing up on the streets. Better yet, let's get discontent. Yes, discontent with the failure of our current expression of Kingdom Culture. So I say let's get happy and let's get sad. Not sad as in hopeless. No, sad that we walk in less power than we should. Sad that good men and women have to wait and wait for the love they dream of. Sad that good people suffer. Sad that our brothers and sisters in other countries are enduring brutalities for their faith, while we endure long plane rides to our next "revival-presence-fire" concert.
So you see, I get it now. It's okay to be content and dissatisfied all at the same time. Those emotions are meant to be there, to drive us to the Secret Place. I think it's a trick of the enemy sometimes to use the idea of contentment in order to stagnant us in a place that is meant to be a bridge, not a resting place for us. Until we get this, we will be happy for a few days or a few weeks but then when feelings of sorrow creep up we will feel guilt and fear instead of embracing it for what it is...a call to the Secret Place.
Solomon said it best - Ecclesiastes 3:4 - A time to weep, and a time to laugh, a time to mourn, and a time to dance.
Psalm 34:17 - The righteous cry, and the Lord hears, and delivers them out of all their troubles. Got troubles? Then let's cry together!
GOD DID NOT WANT YOU TO SPEND YOUR LIFE FIGHTING WITH YOUR FLESH.
Jesus came, died and resurrected so that you wouldn't have to fight that battle anymore; as did those in the Old Covenant. In the Renewed Covenant (aka "new testament," God promised to write His Word on our hearts.
The gift of the Holy Spirit is more than about speaking in tongues. It is about transformation and renewal of your mind. It is meant to set you free from the negative cycle of battling your faults to earn God's love. Let me repeat, it is to set you free from the negative cycle of battling your faults to earn God's love.
Yeshua/Jesus, has betrothed Himself to us and His gift to His bride while she awaits for His return, is The Holy Spirit.
Many people don't know why they go to church. You go to church to gain greater permission to seek God outside of church. It's like that friend you met at church or a social gathering. At first they were a stranger, then an associate you said "hey" to every Sunday. At some point you sought permission to talk to them outside of church (got their number, met for lunch, etc.) Once you connected with one another outside of church you became more than just church associates connected by geographical location, you became friends. Think about it, once that happened, your relationship deepened more than with other people you see at church. You begin to share parts of yourself with that person, they know you better than others, and a relationship is formed that is mutually beneficial. This process is a blessing in the natural and very much in the spiritual.
Apostle Donnie Clark recently taught on this concept: if you are not spending time with Jesus outside of church, the two of you are not friends. Friendship is about connection and give/take. If you only take and not give back then you are a burden, not a friend. So are you just asking God for things with no intention of meeting His desires as well? Your relationship with God needs to be mutually beneficial. You might say "God has no needs"; well He does and He doesn't! He does because God has chosen to desire you, yes you. He desires you to know Him and spend time with Him. He offers you Himself. He doesn't really have needs but God knows others who are friends of His who may have needs that you can help with. Ever have a friend who was able to help you with something because that friend had a friend who was skilled in your area of need? Isn't that wonderful?! This works in tandem with Him being your Father because in the natural as you mature, your relationship with your parents change. There is a shift in dependency and being "friends" deepens your relationship that although they are no longer responsible for you, they will love helping you because you have a mutually beneficial relationship built on love and respect. You in return, don't hesitate to meet the needs of your parents, after all, they poured into you for many years when you were a helpless child.
This is the Good News, the Gospel
When we build a relationship with Him as you would a friend, meeting with Yeshua over coffee or taking Him along on a jog are "Secret Place" encounters. Consistently seeking the presence of God causes us to be transformed and renewed. We are transformed and renewed by the written and Rhema word of God.
God did not want us spending our days and nights fighting and overcoming temptations of our flesh. We will at times and we are empowered when we do so, but we were not meant to live a life where all we look forward to is subduing our flesh. No! Jesus said fear not, I have overcome the world. I'm tired of churches that build a doctrine on this idea that you need to not go here, there or do this or that because you will "fall into temptation." In other words, yea your "saved" but Jesus still left you weak and pathetic so here are some crunches and a wheelchair, you won't be able to walk on your own otherwise.
The people of the old testament demonstrated that we as humans are capable of making some really hard and awesome decisions for the glory of God but they also demonstrated that we are capable of great evil and prone to eventually give in to fleshly lust. The laws of God are meant to be guard rails and guides for us, however, because of Jesus we are free from the "burden" of the law. We all feel the burden when we try but we can't, we just can't do it right. Any of you reading this who werein church (as in no longer) but had been caught up in sin know what I mean. You were made to feel like if you didn't "straighten out" you were going to hell when you die or worse, God doesn't really like you. That is the burden of the law. See, that's why people rapidly drop away from holiness or hell ministries. They feel "well, I guess I just don't love Jesus and never can." Or they start to question the very existence of God to avoid the idea they are waiting to die and go to hell. I mean that can't be fun so I would rather think there is no God too.
Jesus' blood testifies for us and justifies us (See Romans 8:29-31 and Galatians 3:5-14). If we are needing justification that means God knows we will do wrong, but we are not judged by it if we confess it and ask God to help us. Repentance is the changing of the mind and usually that doesn't happen overnight BUT miracles happen all the time where the presence of God is allowed to operate fully - I'll save that for another post!
Do you see why "get your life together or go to hell" messages does nothing to heal the hurting?
Jesus knew how to help the hurting, people who appeared to everyone else to be just flithy sinners. God does not see your sin as the problem, He sees your mindset as the problem. When you keep giving in to sin its because you see the sin as doing something for you. Once that mindset is eliminated you won't even see the sin the same. That is powerful and life-changing. So while you (and the Holy Rollers) are upset with yourself because you desire unholy things, God just wants you to surrender it to Him and diligently seek Him. He wants you to recognize that He has a better way for you. This doesn't just apply to sin, we may be at a place where what we do is lawful but is it beneficial?Don't get me wrong...this is not easy. I struggled with this until I heard the Spirit say "You are not your desires." Many of us confuse our desires as being a reflection of our core being. That is because it feels good when we fulfill our desires. However, that is actually a lie, you are not your desires, friend. That revelation freed me. Yes, I may want to go to a nightclub and dance all over some hottie, and that would bring me a measure of joy but that is not a reflection of who I am, and therefore doing so or not doing so, is not going to bring me into a place of complete authentic peace and joy. Even if said hottie marries me and I get to dance with him in the sanctity of marriage every night, I have placed my joy in the hands of this relationship with this man. That means at any moment my world can be turned upside down if he doesn't consistently participate in my desires. See how we set ourselves up here? Yes, I would love to eat whatever I want everyday, but that measure of fulfillment is not worth the consequences and a few hours will past and I will forget the joy it brought me.
We get into this mindset I think from a young age. We desire something and feel good when we receive it and therefore associate getting our desires with fulfillment. So we surround the idea of happiness with the attainment of "things." Whether that thing is a car or a lover or status or whatever.
Thankfully, Jesus wants our joy to be full. So He teaches us that fulfillment is not in getting stuff but fulfillment is found within Him. See, once you stop searching for people and things to fulfill you and instead seek Him, He transforms your mindset. That's the beginning of finding your peace at the core of self because you have chosen to make your home in Him. So you are centered in Him, and He, in the center of you, and that is a place of calm and fulfillment. You were made by Him, and He knows exactly how to bring you joy but He wants you to find your greatest peace and freedom within yourself- while He is there. I call it your Centeredness.
Hope that makes some sense or at least intrigues you enough to start seeking Him for your peace and freedom. As I seek what I call "centeredness", I'll keep you updated on my journey. To Love and peace!
Desiree Cummings is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Liturgical Dancer, Fitness Enthusiasts and Foodie that has been impacted by the goodness and love of Jesus. All these things are woven throughout her writings.