About insecretstrength

If we have never met, let me introduce myself. I grew up in a pastor's home in Louisiana. My husband and I have been married for thirty years and have served as pastors in both Louisiana and Missouri. We have three grown children that are scattered between Louisiana, Missouri, and Texas and have all traveled to other countries sharing the gospel. Recently, God blessed us with two grandchildren that are bringing us so much joy. Since a child, I have had a passion for ministry. Although I love teaching the Word, my style usually reflects more on the side of creativity through drama, art, and writing. I am a Bible teacher, conference speaker, mentor, drama director, writer and artist. I still believe in dreaming big and enjoy watching God show His creativity in bringing dreams to life. I hope the thoughts I share on this page from my secret time with God may bring comfort, hope, or joy where needed. The goal is for me to know Him and then to make Him known.

All For One

haiti 2

Have you ever been in a situation where you kept asking yourself, “Why am I here?”  I have.  Often.  In fact, many times during this last season of life.  The elephant in the room of my life recently has been, “God, this is not what I am called to do.  My heart is to be ministering and teaching Your word, not being in the marketplace.”  The struggle has been real.  Until the day a co-worker asked for counseling.  Then came that still small voice.

“It’s all for one.”

All for one!  It is a simple concept we all know.  My boys learned it early from watching The Three Musketeers.  And we teach about it in the church.  We remind each other that wherever we are in life, we are to look for that ‘one’ He might be wanting us to reach out to and help.  Yet, the struggle to see it often is difficult when we seem to hit a wall  day after day and our hearts are longing for something else.  But we have the greatest example of Someone who left everything He had done since time began and reached out to the one human race.  And He would have done it for even just one individual.  John 4 tells of a time Christ visited a town just for one woman.

History tells of a people group called ‘Samaritans’.   They were a ‘mixed breed’ of people that were a result of Babylon conquering Judah.  The king of Assyria  took most of the people back to the Babylonian Empire.  Those who were left behind intermarried with non-Jewish people that migrated into the region.  In time, this interracial group became known as Samaritans.  They had their own way of life and worship.  By the time of Jesus, most Jews despised the Samaritans even more than they did the Gentiles.  Why?  Partly because they were seen as ‘half-breeds’ in both their culture and faith.

If one was to travel from Jerusalem to Galilee, the shortest route was through Samaria.  Yet many Jews of that day avoided Samaria and took a longer route.  Their reasoning was to not be in contact with those who they considered no better than a dog.

But not Jesus!  John 4:4 says He NEEDED to go through Samaria.  Why?  For one.  One woman.  One testimony.  One domino effect on a city.  Several aspects of this story stands out.  His actions did not fit that which society deemed proper for a godly rabbi. It was about noon and the women usually went tin groups to draw water earlier in the morning.  But He knew there was one woman who was perhaps rejected by others and would go to the well alone later in the day.  So He sat and waited for her.  Rabbi’s did not speak to women in public.  Neither did the men ask to drink from a woman’s cup.  But Christ spoke to her and asked for a drink.  Why did He do all of this?  He was goal oriented on reaching that one!  The result: she ran into town and brought others back to hear what this Teacher had to say.  The domino effect.

As He started reminding me of the ‘all for one’ mentality, I started looking back on the last ten years of my life.  Our family and ministry has gone through many unexpected twists and turns.  They have not always been fun or easy.  And I have heard myself so often cry out, “God, really?!  Why are we here?!”  Yet looking back, I see the ‘ones’ that are now walking in freedom, called to minister, healed, redeemed, and much more.

Why move us to Missouri?  For the young adult who was starting down a wrong path but is now preaching the Word to young people.  The young woman who visited on a Sunday, accepted Christ, and was killed in a car accident the following week.  The worship leader who was set free from generational curses and is operating now in spiritual gifts she had never known before.  The high school students from broken homes that showed up at our dinner table weekly and experienced a functional family unit.

And each of these are now having a domino effect in their world.

Why the move back to Louisiana?  To be at my mom’s side the last few months of her life.  To see young adults walk away from a life of drugs and are now preaching.  For those who left promiscuous lifestyles and now teach faith and purity to others.  And for the one who rescued from suicide that now travels the world sharing the gospel.

Our society often judges a person’s success in ministry the way the world sees success in business.  For instance, if you have a large congregation or a large ministry, you must be more anointed and successful than that one who has a small group or is in a small community.  Yet the realization I have come experience is that Jesus, in His great love for even ‘the one’, will allow the paths of our lives to take unexpected turns for that ‘one’.  Christ is more interested in us allowing our lives to be turned upside down for just one then He is in how success we appear to be in the eyes of other.  That one may even have a domino effect and in time represent masses of people scattered from location to location.  Are we willing to follow an ever turning path?  Can we see the bigger picture?

Recently, while honoring the life of Billy Graham, we have seen clips of the thousands of people who attended his crusades.  But how many of us remember the name of the minister who’s message changed Billy’s life?  That man’s ministry had a domino effect to millions.  Those of us on earth may not know his name, but our Heavenly Father does.  And He counts the domino effect for eternity.

What about you?  Who is the one in your life that He placed for you to reach?  Are you willing to have your entire life unexpectnantly turned upside down, your ministry put on a shelf for a while, as you are sent to the marketplace and your dreams seems to be lost without hope of returning, all for reaching one?  Are you looking to be a Billy Graham, or are you willing to have your life take unexpected turns to reach the Billy Graham’s around you?

To paraphrase a verse from scripture, I challenge each of us today:  Test Him. See that there is no greater love, or joy, than to lay your life, your dreams, your hopes, your home down for reaching even one person today!  (My version of John 15:13)  There may be pain and disappointment at times along the way, but one day you will see the results domino in your life!

“By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us.  And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.”  1 John 3:16



The Scarlet Bow-tied Gift

PSX_20171224_230733I love so much about Christmas.  Even though I realize Christ was probably not born on December 25th, especially since that date originally was a pagan holiday, it still brings me great joy to hear His name proclaimed in the carols being played everywhere.  I enjoy proclaiming, “Happy Birthday, Jesus,” as strangers greet me with a “Merry Christmas!”  And it’s fun to watch their expressions at the non-traditional reply.  I also enjoy some of our own family traditions.

Every year my family knows there will be that gift, or several of them, carefully wrapped by my husband.  He would have put much thought into his every action.  There may be a drawing on the package, or an encouraging note, or even a riddle to be solved. Sometimes we find another wrapped box….. and another…… and another…, until we finally find the true treasure hidden through the cardboard wrapped layers.  But with each of those ‘gifts’, he took thought into every detail of what he wanted accomplished in order to bring great joy to the receiver.

The birth of Jesus is much the same as those layered gifts.  That first true gift of Christ came with a scarlet ribbon.  A scarlet sacrifice.  See, God is into details.  He personally wrapped each story in scripture in such a way for us to find another scarlet-ribbon-tied gift waiting to be unwrapped.  And He gets excited thinking of the joy that we will find in that last unwrapped gift.  The story of Christ’s birth is full of such deeper meanings.  The well known verses tie Luke’s account to the many previous ‘gifts’ given by our Creator.

Looking into some of these layered gifts of Christmas, I have often pondered the gift given by heavenly beings to local shepherds.  After all, the task of caring for sheep was considered as a hard, lowly and dirty job.  So, what was so important about this group to cause heavenly beings to personally tell them about the birth of the Messiah?  Simple.  They understood Hebrew Temple worship.  After all, they were Levitical shepherds.  Priests.  Men who’s duty was raising sacrificial lambs.  Men who recognized the details of the deeper, hidden gifts.

“And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.”  Luke 2:8

The region of Bethlehem was home to thousands of lambs.  The Hebrew Torah gave God’s instructions for temple sacrifices which took place every morning and evening.  That would be a total of 730 sacrificial lambs a year, plus tens of thousands more lambs needed for the feast of Passover and other holy days.

“And you, O Midgal Eder, tower of the flock……the former dominion shall come…..”  Micah 4:8

In the northern part of Bethlehem, less than an hour’s journey by foot to Jerusalem’s temple, was the tower known as Migdal Eder, the “watch-tower of the flock.”  This was an area prepared for the raising of these sacrificial lambs.  During lambing season, shepherds would bring their sheep from the fields to the lower level of this tower.  The lower level was the place designated as the ‘birthing rooms’ for the lambs.

“…..you will find the babe wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.”  Luke 2:10

What is missing in this well known verse?  Look at it.  There is a detail here for us to find.  Keep digging!  It’s prophetic!  Every detail of the Levitical Priests’ duty was tied to that ultimate Lamb.  Look closely at the verse and see the hidden truth – the angels gave no directions as to where to find this babe!  No, “down the hill, turn left, near the stop sign.”  Just, “you shall find….”  Obviously these shepherd priests knew where to go.

By Levitical order, the lower level of the flock’s watch tower had double-hewn depressions from limestone rock known as “the manger.”   After birthing, the shepherds placed male lambs into the manger and swaddled them in cloths in order to keep them from thrashing around and bringing themselves harm.  These cloths of gauze-like strips which were required in order for a sacrifice to be valid.  They remained swaddled in the manger until they had calmed down enough to be inspected for any spot or blemish.  Those without spot or blemish became sacrificial lambs.

In Hebrew, the word for ‘without spot or blemish’ is tamiym.  It means complete, whole, entire, sound.  This tamiyd was sacrificed the third hour of each morning, the same time as Jesus, Yeshua haMashiach, was sacrificed!  The last wrapped box of the gift was sacrificed in tradition with the daily temple sacrifice.  The birth and death tied into one.   Hidden details.

Do you see this hidden gift?  It’s big!  These shepherds understood.  The angels spoke their language.  And this group of priests were sent to validate my sacrificial Lamb!  His birth was the scarlet ribbon which ties the entire package of His Love together.  The first gift was tied scarlet red and led to the last box, the true gift of our Sacrificial Lamb.  Each detail of the night of His birth has a hidden scarlet bow just waiting for us to receive His gift of sacrificial love.  From the beginning Christ understood that His birth led to His death.  He knew the meanings…..and sanctioned the very act!  He had to be bound.  He had to be hidden in the cleft of the rock.  He had to be inspected by the priests, these Levitical Shepherds, in order to be found spotless.  He had to be birthed in a birthing room near Jerusalem to be set aside as a sacrifice.  It’s in the details.  Neatly tied in red.  This message to the Levitical Bethlehem shepherds proclaimed, “You will find The Spotless Lamb of God swaddled in His protection.”  No doubt they understood the full meaning of these words.  It was in the details.

What about the details of your life?  Like the shepherds, is there a hidden message in the words you are hearing?  Others might see your walk as messy, off track, not the normal outward ‘look’.  But God knows the wrapped boxes that are layered inside.  They, too, are prophetic for your life.  And He has them neatly tied in a bow of His love.  Christ knew His birth was tied by the scarlet bow to His sacrificial death.  And He embraced it!

This year, give Him a gift in return.  Take time to get along with your Yeshua.  He’s calling.  Like Christ, embrace what has been given to you by your Father.   He has a deeper message for you than what others are hearing.  He’s in the details!

And this year, let’s celebrate that special wrapped gift Himself –  Yeshua haMashiach!!  

He’s speaking your language.  Listen!  He’s calling……………….

He Knows My Name!


“And Rhonda, I know who you are!”

Although I can still hear the words being thrown my way, at that moment it didn’t earn my full attention.  The words were not spoken out of admiration. They were intended to intimidate.  Yet I stood there focused on another person in the room whom I had originally gone to comfort.  The accusatory voice coming from the one who was now pinned up against the wall did not phase me as I knew its source.  It was pure evil.  But I chose to ignore it.  The person against the wall was a dear friend.  The voice was not that of my friend, but a spirit that was attempting to control my friend as well as distract me from my mission.  That spirit was not going to win.  Not on my watch!  And not while I was in the room with others who also were precious to me……..and precious to my Father.

Years have passed since that evil spirit called out my name.  Looking back, I now rejoice at the changed lives represented in the room that day.  Each of them I consider as valued friends.  From the broken person whom I went to comfort, to the one who was pinned, to those observing, and yes, even to myself, each of us have grown much since that day.  However, just recently my Father revealed an important truth to me.  Often I’ve looked back on that day and wondered why I did not address the spirit.  In Christ I have authority to cast out demons.  But I stood there, glanced its way, then asked someone else to intervene while I focused on my original purpose.  I’ve questioned myself often, attempting to judge as to whether my actions were out of fear or lack of confidence.  Recently while pondering on this again, I heard another voice, that Still Small Voice, whisper, “He knew your name.”

Time stood still.  I looked off and let those words sink in deeper.

“He knew your name.”

Yes.  So……………why is that important?

“He knew your name because you know MY NAME.”

Whoa!  That’s it!  Our enemy knows who we are if we purpose to KNOW HIM!  Not just know His Name, but KNOW Him……..who He really is.  Like the account in Acts. Intimately.  Passionately desiring a deeper relationship with our Savior.  Through that relationship comes the understanding of the authority we have over evil spirits.  Demons tremble just hearing His name!  And they are aware of people who live by that Name.

In Acts 19, we read the account of a group who knew of Jesus.  In our day we would call them ‘name droppers.’  They had heard, and probably had witnessed, the miracles God preformed through Paul.  The group of men were known to be exorcists, but one day they “took it upon themselves to call the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits. (v13)  The result was not something they expected:

“And the evil spirit answered and said, ‘Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are you?’ ” (v15) NKJ

Their attempts had failed.  They ‘name dropped’ without actually knowing the Person. For me, as the evil spirit called my name, he acknowledged to those in the room that I had an active, solid relationship with my Creator.  The spirit who wanted to accuse  became a character witness on my behalf!  In a season of my life which I was at times struggling with my understanding, He chose to let me know that even my soul’s enemy saw that I still clung to the only rock of my salvation – JESUS!

As the impact of this realization hit, I closed my eyes and breathed to my Lord, “He knew my name.  Lord!  He knew my name!  Because I made You my everything, he didn’t ask for my name.  He called my name.”  It’s a humbling thought to recognize that God trusts you in such a situation.  That’s what the writer was referring to in Psalms 91:

 “He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide in the shadow  of   the Almighty………….(you) shall not be afraid of the terror by night………….Because you have made the Lord, who is my refuge, even the Most High, your dwelling place, no evil shall befall you…………………you shall tread upon the lion and the cobra, the young lion and the serpent you shall trample underfoot.”        v1,5,9,13 NKJ

It’s all about relationship.  Relationship with Jesus grows as we choose to learn more about who He is and what is important to Him.  He is more than just a name to cry out as a way to escape an uncomfortable situation.  He is the strength that helps you walk through that situation.  He doesn’t promise to keep the evil from ever fighting against you.  The promise is that the evil will not win over you because He will hold your hand and give you the strategy to overcome evil.  Our battle becomes His.

The fact that a demon knows your name is not significant in itself.  What is valuable to remember is the fact that a demon knows your name because your relationship with Jesus is solid.  Your obedience to Him threatens the very works of demonic powers.  Of greater value is that you know your Savior and recognize the power given you as you speak His Name.

There will be no complaints if I never hear my name called again by an evil spirit.  But should it occur, I have confidence in knowing My Center.  He is the Rock which I have chosen to build my life upon.  My strength, my understanding, my everything comes from knowing Him.  My goal in life – to make Him known.

And most importantly He, Jesus, KNOWS MY NAME!  Does He know yours?








We all remember where we were that day when we got the news.  Every year we still relive it.  And each year it’s just as true as it was the year prior.

Ashes.  It’s all that was left of skyscrapers on that fateful day.  If you were anywhere within the vicinity of the Twin Towers when the planes flew into them, you can still see the explosion, hear the terror of screams, see people jumping from windows high above, and the the pile of ashes when it all came down.  You can still feel that sense of, “This can’t be happening!”  The images that played out on our TV screens are burned upon all of our memories.  So are the stories of the people who were there experiencing that surreal day in our country’s history.

Ashes.  They represent ‘something that was.’   Something that mattered, yet was destroyed through the heat of a burning fire.  At the time of it’s destruction, often disillusionment and grief quickly follow.  The many thoughts of ‘what could have been’ or ‘what should have been’ flood our minds.  And we face the dreams that were just lost among those ashes.

Once the fire is gone and the ashes are all that’s left, often we sift through the remains hoping to find any buried treasure from the past that may have survived.  Like the iconic cross from September 11th.  It stood as a sign that there was still hope that could be found in God above.

Recently I took a trip with my son, Steffen.  It was a trip that had become very familiar to us through the years.  Our destination was near a place that had represented hurt and betrayal not too many years ago.  The circumstances our family found ourselves in during that season was one that brought disillusion and discouragement to each of us.  The fire that tried our family was one that actually attempted to destroy our very faith.  Now, years later as we traveled the familiar highway, we started reliving events at various exits along the road.

“That’s where we met you on the road headed up for the interview.”

“This exit has a Baskin Robbins.”

“This is the exit we met up with friends.”

As we relived those fun memories, we laughed at dad’s constant hunt for an exit where he could get ice cream.  We smiled with memories of times with the friends we had made on our journey.  With each mile we drove, I felt God bringing healing in those small areas I did not even know still existed.  By the time we arrived at our destination, we had realized how rich our lives had become due to that season of testing.

At the end of that highway, we also reconnected with people who had walked that journey with us.  Having lunch with friends that day, I listened to things that God was doing in their lives.  I saw the joy on faces as we reconnected with each other, shared stories and pictures of families, and just enjoyed being together again.

Driving back home after the weekend, I reflected on our time with friends.  I felt healed and so full.  That still small voice spoke to me.  “You found My jewels among the ashes.  The fire was intense during that season, but it produced jewels that are left pure and resilient – shining brightly with My Love.”

What about you?  Has your journey left ashes all around you?  I encourage you to go back and see what remains.  The jewels you find might surprise you.  For the Master  Craftsman always enjoys making beauty our of the ashes of our lives.



20170708_080615While our kids were small, we set aside Monday nights as our family night.  With the weekends busy in ministry, we wanted to make sure our family time was not ignored.  Once the kids were home from school, it was just our family.  No phones or appointments.  Our goal was to have quality time and fun memories as a family.  One of our family outings was going to feed ducks.  Recently, I started working at an office next to the same pond we visited in those early years.  On my breaks and at lunch, I often walk to the pond to feed ducks.  Most days the creatures that come are not the ducks but the turtles.  It’s fascinating to watch the turtles come from every area of the pond once I’m standing near the edge.  I may not see the shell as they swim my way, but the small head is seen coming toward me and the ripples of the water are proof that they are coming.  There’s probably about 20 turtles that come to feed.  As I throw the bread or crackers in the water, it’s a frenzy of small heads and hard shells fighting for a crumb.  Turtles crawl on top of the shells of other turtles  in order to reach just a crumb of bread.  There are a few very large soft shell turtles.  Their effort is to try not to get caught in the middle of the hard-shell frenzy, yet they rush towards the giver just the same.  Lately, I’ve stood watching in contemplation of what is happening.  The turtles just sense my presence when I’m walking up.  They don’t know if I have bread or not on that day, but they know that I, and others that come, often come prepared to feed them morsels from our own table.  And they are hungry.  And as they rally for the crumbs, they appear to have an unquenchable hunger.

Hunger.  As I watch the ‘gathering’ and frenzy of turtles, it strikes me, ‘That should be us seeking for His prescence.’  How often do we hear people speak of wanting an outpouring, but how many make their way to a personal prayer room seeking it?  And continue to do so.  Daily if need be. Just the movement toward that place of prayer would create a ripple effect and draw others.  Like the turtles, we should desire an unstoppable, unquenchable desire that will thrust us into action.  Our excitement should be contagious and cause others to also hunger.

Often I hear so talk about wanting an outpouring.  A revival.  A new awakening.  But life happens.  We can’t always attend every meeting.  But if we have an unquenchable hunger for His presence, it will be a priority to run toward the Giver as often as possible. Too often other things take priority when a call for fasting or an outpouring service is announced.  As I watch the turtles, I think of what it would be like if every time there was a gathering of believers seeking outpouring they all came ‘hungry’, expecting an outpouring.  They wouldn’t know if that day would be the day they would leave full, but they believe one day it will happen as they continue to come.   That belief ripples to others.  It causes hope.  Jesus saw the both hope and hunger in the people and was moved to respond and meet the need.

True revival cost something.  I don’t want just another good service.  And I don’t want revival just to keep it to myself.  I want an outpouring in order for His Spirit to ripple out of me to others!  I’m believing!  How about you?  Do you believe enough to shut yourself in a prayer closet some place and then go gather with others who also believe?  Don’t give you until He shows up!  I challenge you to do so.  It will ripple to others…..and He WILL respond!

I dare you to believe!    #tohostHisPresence #senseHispresence #comehungry

That’s the Church!

“What’s brewing in your head?”

The question came from one of our young adults.  She had caught me watching the small circle she was in and came over to me, curious of the look she read on my face.  We were in the altar area after one of our Sunday night Fire Light services.  Sunday nights have become a special time for a group of us in our local body.  Most of the ones who attend are from our young adults group.  They are hungry for a fresh outpouring of God’s Spirit.  They want more than the status quo and are coming together with a heart to seek a deeper relationship with our Father.

On this particular night, I had been spending some time quietly praying alone.  After a while, I sat up on the bench and was reflecting on what God was doing in and among those that choose to attend.  My eyes kept returning back to a group of three sitting off to my left.  There was such peace as I watched them huddled in God’s presence.  Such a ‘hodge podge’ group.

This is when the young lady caught me eye.  She smiled and came to sit next to me.  Looking at me she asked the question, “What’s brewing in your head?”  Oh my!  That did it!  The flood gates opened!

“The church!  It’s the church!” 

She waited silently for me to explain my meaning.  To me, that ‘hodgepodge’ group sitting near me represented the church being the church.  The group in front of me consisted of an ex-lesbian and an ex-drug user.  They sat on either side of an African American skate boarder with dread locks who, just that night, had walked in for the first time.  They were sharing Jesus with him.  He didn’t know anyone there.  He only came because a rams-horn-toting-ex-lesbian walked up to him and said, “Follow me.  We’re going to church.”  Without question, he got in his car and followed.  Little did she know that just before she walked past him with the invitation to church, this stranger had posted on social media that he ‘had no family to go home to and tell about his day.’

That’s the church!  Showing the love of Jesus without walls.  Without social barriers.  I went on to explain that I’ve been in church/ministry all my life.  I’ve seen revivals come and go.  I’ve seen true revival and I’ve seen emotional revivals where people go from one place to another seeking a prophetic word or spiritual high without walking it out in every day life.  I remember the two week, or more, revival services.  The excitement each person felt as they entered the sanctuary, wondering whose leg would grow that night.  How many would come to know Christ?  Or what other healing miracles would we be a witness to?  And each night we left wondering who we could invite for the following night.  Never did we think about the amount of homework needed to be done.  We just brought it with us.  Sports or hobbies didn’t stop us.  We knew to get there early so we could get a good seat.  We stayed late not to miss anything that God might do for someone.  And we grew spiritually as a family – together – and that changed the atmosphere of our home lives.

This young lady got an ear full as I, through tears of longing, recalled the wonder and glory of past revivals I grew up attending.  Why?  I hunger for more true revival.  The kind where the actual body of Christ is revived in their passion for His presence to the point that nothing can keep us away from time with Him.  You know, that ‘first love’ type of experience where you can’t stop talking about Him and everyone around you sees something is different in your life.  The kind that reaches out to share Jesus with others, no matter if they dress or look the same as we believe they should.  The kind that becomes the Jesus with skin on to a hurting world.

Recently, my husband visited the church my daughter attends in Dallas.  Just listening to him describe the hunger he saw made the yearning in my own heart grow.  At 4:00 that Sunday evening they drove to the church.  By the time they arrived, a line had already started forming at the door.  When the doors opened at 4:30, at least fifty people were waiting to enter.  Why?  To pray.  From the first note of music at 5:00, the building was full and corporately the body of believers immediately entered into worship.

They came hungryThey came expectingThey came with open hearts.

They didn’t arrive with an agenda to leave as soon as possible.  They didn’t attend just to hear a word of prophecy from a special speaker.  They didn’t come to be patted on the back or hear a message that made them feel good.  They came to be challenged.  To be changed.  To just BE with HIM.  To be revived.  There was a hunger in the hearts of those gathered to be in His presence.  They, too, were a ‘hodgepodge’ mix of believers.  All ages.  From many different walks of life.  Their church may not have a steeple.  They might not all have agreed on the songs or the choice of paint for the walls.  But they had found one common denominator – the desire to grow closer to JESUS!

Many today talk about wanting another great revival.  Another Great Awakening.  Are we ready?  Are we ready to allow Him to mess up our lives in order to make us more like Him?  Do we really want Him to come, or could we still be trying to find a way to fit Him into our schedules?  Are we willing to come early and stay late so we don’t miss what might happen?  Do we want true revival, or do we prefer to go place to place seeking a ‘make me feel good’ word?

Before leaving that night, I took another look at those gathered.  Broken lives that came to be mended.  Here I stood, the pastor’s kid who grew up to marry a pastor and raise missionary kids, and I was next to an ex-lesbian, ex-drug addict, broken skate boarder, ex-adulterer, the goody-two shoes child, and others.  Each ready to go out and reach more broken lives for Christ.  We accepted each other without walls.  Why?

Because we ARE The Church…..being revived!



The Zippy Factor

“You are a bloody husband to me!”

Can you hear her words echo in the desert wind?  Zipporah.  Wife of Moses.  These words of hers have the sound of accusation.  As if a fault lies somewhere hidden below the surface.  Scholars often point to Zipporah as bitter, spoiled, and possibly the controlling factor of Moses’ decision in not circumcising their son.  Why do we so often tend to see the negative in others and not look at the events surrounding their circumstance?  Let’s ponder a moment what could have been going on at their stopping place in the middle of the desert.

Zipporah lived in the Midian desert with her family.  One day, she and her sisters were being mistreated while trying to water their sheep when this dashing young man in princely clothes shows up to save the day!  In time Jethro’s daughter and the young prince marry.  Mazel Tov, Zipporah!  Now she finds herself married to an Egyptian raised Israelite who fled the palace to save his own life.  Two cultures from the same forefather were merged together with this union.  It’s hard to know how much of the teachings from his mom that Moses put into practice within Pharaoh’s home.  But he knew of them.  He knew of the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.  He cared enough for his bloodline family to defend it physically.  This unique couple lived their lives tending sheep and toiling the land.  For Zipporah, it’s all she had ever known.  For Moses, from the windows of luxury he had watched others working hard, toiling in the African heat.  Yet he learned from his bride the art of living off the land.  And he learned to be a shepherd.

Then came the day Moses met God out in the middle of their desert.  Although he recognized the holiness of God and covered his face, he did not run.  He listened and obeyed.  And that began a new chapter in his life.

Can you imagine the shock Zipporah must have had the day her desert prince entered  their tent with a story about hearing the voice of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob?  And then he added,  “O, by the way, we are going to Egypt to tell the King to set free all of his Israelite slaves.”

Take a breath Zippy! “Let’s get this straight.  The Unseen God talked to you, from a bush that was on fire but did not burn.  He is wanting you to go back to a country where a death warrant is on your head, give commands to the king, and walk away with a million people following?”  Kudos to Zippy for boldness to travel to a foreign, hostile land just because Moses believed!

On their way to Egypt, Moses gets sick and nearly dies.  Only one thing could save him.  Circumcise the boy.  Only one person was well enough to do the task.  Zipporah.  The quick, minor surgery on her own son saved the life of her fugitive husband.  She, like Moses, did not run but stood in the gap.  When everything was falling around her, something from within rose up and gave her the strength to face the adverse circumstance.

Ever been there?  I have.  Often.  Those times when, whether a test from God, an attack from Satan, or just events of life comes against the man of God.  When he is basically knocked off his feet, who usually is left to stand in the gap?  The person who has vowed ‘until death’.  Or those times when it seems everything is against your child, parent, best friend, church body, etc.  Whatever the fight, it challenges everything within you.

I still see one such night clearly as if it were yesterday.  Kids were now teens.  Each busy that night doing their own things.  We were in the midst of transition and had no idea where our next assignment would take us.  Challenging time for us all.  And it happened.  My husband went off to our room.  In my mind, I thought nothing of it at first.  Then I was drawn to follow.  Walking  into the room, I found him lying on the bed.  He was able to whisper to me, “Pray for me.”  Immediately intercession began.  After a few minutes, I walked out and told the kids, “Pray for dad.  Pray like you have never prayed before!  And pray NOW!”  I went back in the room and dropped to my knees.  All I could get out was, “Not now Lord!  Don’t take him.  It’s not time yet.  We need more time.”  And I wept. My vigil continued until I felt a release.

Where had those words come from?  Spirit.  About thirty minutes after my vigil, my husband came out and asked what had happened.  Then he proceeded to inform me that a dark being came in and was attempting to choke the life out of him during that time.

In Zipporah’s culture, circumcision was done by the new bride.  The foreskin was tossed to the ground as the bride pronounced, “You are a bloody husband.”  This was Zipporah’s understanding of blood covenant.  This was her act of accepting her position as one with Moses. And she aptly rose to stand in the gap.  He chose to follow God’s voice.  She chose to follow him.

So often the families of those in leadership are judged by others who have preconceived ideas as to what that role looks like.  Perfection is often expected.  Or maybe it’s the concept that each child should operate in the same gifting’s or callings of their parents.  And have the same wise answers.  But that is not God’s way.  Nor should it be expected.

Maybe you have the tendency to judge someone’s action without knowing the full story.  Step back.  Take a breath.  Listen to God’s voice of grace first. Just like there is usually more to your own story, there probably is to theirs as well.

Maybe you are familiar with the judgments of others.  Find who you are in Him and rise above other opinions.  The more time we spend with Him in a true intimate relationship, the more we become like Him and start walking with an unoffendable heart.

Or maybe you are facing a situation that was not of your choosing.  One that causes you to take action and rise above.  Have a friend or family member that needs Christ?  Do warfare.  Have a body of believers needing a visitation?  Pray until it happens.  Whatever the situation –   choose to stand in the gap.  Stand, without judgment, until released.  Life will come forth!

Whether they had chosen to circumcise one son in Moses’ custom and one in Zipporah’s, we do not know.  But we know she didn’t run from the ordeal.  Once again, my research  of the wife of Moses has shown me truth.  It’s the truth of walking in MY calling – next to my Moses.  There might be several things I see differently than he does, and I might not have that mountain top conversation with God, but I still have to know who I am and what I am called to do.  And in that confidence, resting in the strength of My Center, I am able to rise above other’s opinions and stand!

Rise up to the Zippy factor!  Walk in the confidence of His calling.  Lean into that Center of your life because HE is that center.  He is the strength when there is nothing left to hang on to.  When we keep that focus, something will rise up from that Center at the time of need and will give us strength to stand.

Be blessed today!