Destiny’s Voice










Each of us has different giftings. And each has a different calling. That is why Paul taught about the various roles within the body of Christ. Some are pastors. Some teachers. Prophets. Apostles. Some are given to hospitality. Each are valuable.

While raising our kids, we had to realize that how we disciplined each individually did not always look the same. They each had a different personality and responded to our means of correction in a different way. God created us individually

When speaking into the lives of those around us, we need to be able to recognize THEIR individual calling. It might not look like our own. When that happens, it is important to affirm THEIR gift and who they are. Don’t try to fit others into our specific God designed box. Pause and ask God to show you how special they are to Him. Celebrate who they are called to be.

Make it Simple

I am loving being a Nonna. And I treasure time with my little ones…..and treasure their lives. When my husband, Raphael Anzivino, showed me this picture of my granddaughter in the middle of the neighborhood girls, the first thought that came was, “and a little child shall lead them.”

Jesus was the Child born to lead His people. Yet the concept is still the same and ties to us having ‘faith as a child.’ Children take things at face value. Children are wet cement that will be molded by our words and actions. Children are often more sensitive to those around them and sense hurt, danger or joy.

Too often we complicate things when mentoring. Truth is, our actions and words still can mold a life or situation. Each life is important enough for me to treasure just as I do my grandkids. I don’t complicate time with the kids. Let’s not complicate how we mentor those we are influencing in life. Paint a simple picture. Just do life together.

Follow His Lead

We have all experienced the salesman at our door doing their best to convince us that we NEED their product. Yet most of us send them away with, “No, thank you.” And we close the door while watching them walk away.

But not God. When He sends us from one place to another, He doesn’t close the door on us. He goes with us. At times, we clearly see Him leading the way. Other times, we seem to not have the strength to go on. That’s when He carries us. And, yes, at times it seems He is silent…..no where to be found. But over and over in His Word we read His promise, “…..and I will be with you.” And later we see that He was present the entire time.

He never sends us away without going with us. And to pattern our lives after Him, we should continue to walk through situations WITH those in our lives. Not shut the door on them because we don’t want to be bothered. It might be through just an encouraging note or phone call to say, “What can I pray with you about?” But no matter how small the gesture seems to us, to the person being sent into new places, it could be the wind in their sails.

Faith as a Child

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Total peace.  That is what this picture portrays.  Yet it was not without a few tears.  This is little Roman – the newest member of our family.  Just minutes before capturing this picture, this grandma was bouncing and rocking for quite some time in an effort to quite the tears. Why? He instinctively knew I wasn’t Mom.

Even at 11 days old, he knew.  For 9 months his life blood came strictly from her. Even in the womb, he heard her heartbeat and voice, felt her emotional ups and downs. They walked together as two people but completely one as well.  Until birth separated him from her womb. And now if he is not in her arms, he misses that oneness with the one who travailed to bring him life. And he knows who still gives him daily nourishment.

Such a picture of what our spiritual lives should be!

Do I miss being with Him when time or events pull me away? Am I able to hear His voice even in the midst of the noise of a crowd? Do I still recognize who is the only One that can bring lasting peace and comfort? Do I remember the emotions He and I have shared through difficult times? He is to be my daily nourishment!

 

Consider again that oneness of a mom and the baby in her womb.  She feels every move that child makes.  She realizes that everything she eats effects another life that depends on her.  Every emotion she has, that child is aware of.  Wherever mom goes, the child is carried there as well.

Imagine that type of oneness with God. He knows every thought we have.  He feels every emotion and experience we walk through.  And for us…….that oneness would mean knowing His voice.  Feeling His love, anger, disappointment.  When He rejoices, we know.  When He cries for a lost soul, we know.  And the path He chooses to take in order reach out to someone, we are with Him…… because He is carrying us.

Shouldn’t it be like that?  Psalm 139 tells us that He was with us even while we were in our mother’s womb.  During those months, He was designing our every detail.  He was always there actively taking part in the development of our being. And when on earth, Christ prayed to His Father asking that we would be one with Them……..as was the original design at creation.  Us and Him.  Daily conversations.  And when something traumatic happens and life seems to thrust us out from that oneness, those are the times we should be seeking that to Hear that Voice above all others.

Search for Him today.  He promised that when you do, He will be there.

Jeremiah 29:13 “You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.”

Not On My Watch!

“Dad says we should call 911.”

Nope!  Not this time.  Although the words were coming from a young medical student who had his family practitioner dad on the phone, I had my mind made up.  I replied, “No.  We will pray this through!”  I had seen this demon before.  Just hours earlier my husband had been discharged from and overnight hospital stay.  It had been two weeks of close calls with his life.  All symptoms pointed to a stroke.  And all tests showed nothing was wrong with him.  Despite the fact that the ER monitor registered his rates as 179/93, the doctors could see nothing triggering these episodes of symptoms.  And we were back home watching the symptoms start again.  I refused to call 911.  Not this time, Satan!  Not taking him today!  Not on my watch!!  Within minutes of prayer, he was up again and walking around.

It’s the slogan that often makes a good story line for a would-be hero.  The Marine, policeman, city leader, or whoever the good guy is in any particular story.  But what about the church?  Dare we speak those words into a situation?

A few years ago I had the privilege of attending a ladies retreat where my daughter was the speaker.  In one of the sessions, the same statement was emphasized.  And it has stayed with me. Yet what would it look like to really live out, “Not on my watch!”?

Let’s break this down.  A watchman both sounds the alarm and is prepared to defend.  He often will practice drill in order to keep his senses sharp.  We see this in Nehemiah 4.

“Every one of the builders had his sword girded at his side as he built.  And the one who sounded the trumpet was beside me.” 

Did you catch that?  Each of the workers were going along tending to their daily duties and yet remained on the alert to defend their family and community.  Their duties were rebuilding the city’s broken wall.  They realized that part of seeing to the needs of their families also meant making sure their city was protected from intruders who perhaps had evil intent.  And they were doing this as a team of workers.  Together.

Isn’t that how we should approach our relationships in Christ?  Working together.  Taking care of our families by also defending those connected to our families through the body.  Nehemiah gave a charge to the workers in verse 20, “Whenever you hear the sound of the trumpet, rally to us there.  Our God will fight for us.  Another “AHA!” moment!  When they heard the shofar, they were to come to attention, stop the work of building, and run to the aid of their friends.  The enemy was approaching and their community was at risk.

Standing in the gap for each other.  Protecting our families even while going about our daily lives.  It’s that state of mind where we remain alert in the spirit, listening for a possible spiritual shofar blast.  Times when you get an uneasy feeling and know you just need to pray.  Or when you recognize the pattern of attack, such as constant symptoms with no explanation, and you know it’s time to make sure the enemy realizes you have had enough!

One time I heard an audible voice call out to me in middle of the night.  Just one word. It was the name of a young man whose life was drowning in drugs.  I was immediately awake and praying for this precious soul.  Often God had placed this young man on my heart for prayer.  But this night I felt the urgency.   Later I learned that while I was praying, he was angrily speeding down the highway.  He did not come to Christ until a year or two later, but no doubt a tragedy was averted that night.

Once, after my husband had gone to lay down and rest, I was drawn to go in and pray for him.  I literally started crying and asking God not to take him.  I prayed until I felt a peace, then left the room.  When he was up a little later, he explained that a dark figure had crawled in the room and within minutes something was choking him.  He was being choked by the demon when I entered to pray.  Not on my watch!  The Spirit had sounded the shofar.  I used the sword.  We won the battle!

And there was the time I woke up to my eight-year-old daughter screaming from her room.  She had been battling with nightmares and that very night we had decided to anoint our doorposts and pray.   She awoke from a dream and saw red eyes watching her.  That made me angry!  How dare he defy my authority over him!!  Not on my watch!!  The commands starting flowing out of my very being.  He must go!!  That was the last night she battled the night terrors.

“When the enemy comes in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord will lift up a standard against him.”  Isaiah 59:19

A standard.  A standard is an object, such as a banner or flag, used for different occasions.  It often marks a rallying point in battle.  Flags raised as a standard usually are meant to represent the head of a state or a royal family and carries their emblem.  It’s presence speaks of power and authority for the one it is raised above.

 
 
Let’s put that together.  When God raises a standard, He has just initiated a shofar blast in the spirit in order to rally the watchmen to action.  And He has informed the enemy that He is giving the warriors His authority to break the back of the demonic forces.  It is then up to the warrior to choose to use that authority during his watch.
 

So what is happening to those around me during my watch?  Am I at alert while going about my every day life?  A soldier staying alert usually takes training.  Am I taking time to train in my spiritual weapons?  Am I dressing for battle?

I don’t know where you are today or what the enemy has thrown your way.  For me, he’s trying once again to take out several believers around me.  But he should know by now what my response is —-  NOT TODAY SATAN!   NOT ON MY WATCH!!!

Speak Life

Screenshot_20180702-045356_GoogleEvery thing we do matters to God.  Every word we say counts.  He is listening.

And yes.  Each of us are ‘big enough’ to get in God’s way.  No.  We are not bigger than Him.  But our pride, arrogance, or even fear can be big enough to alter His divine plan for us.  How can I say this?  Because I see it throughout the Bible.

First story that comes to my mind is Miriam.  Numbers 12 tells us that she and Aaron were complaining about Moses’ Ethiopian wife.  Although we do not read what the exact complaint was, God heard it.  And Miriam must have had more to say than Aaron did because God took action towards her.  Result: Miriam’s attitude kept an entire nation at a standstill for a week.  Over 2 million people were effected because of the attitude of one person!  And on top of that, they all knew she was now covered with a vile disease and made to sit outside the camp.  Outside.  Alone.  In the sight of  two million people.  Talk about pressure!  And humility.  All ego is lost on that one!!

Next – Canaan.  Moses sent a group to look over the land and bring back a report.  Only two reported in God’s favor.  The rest saw defeat.  Here was a nation that had just seen an entire sea part in order for them to walk across.  And on dry land.  No mud.  Before the dry sea experience, they watched Egypt’s plaques fall from God’s hand.  But now they were declaring defeat and saying they would die in the wilderness.  God heard their words.  Instead of gaining a life in the land God promised them, they died in the wilderness.   Why?  Because of their own words.  God clearly tells Moses what He will do.  Numbers 14:28,  “So tell them that as long as I live-consider this to be an oracle from the LORD-as certainly as you’ve spoken right into my ears, that’s how I’m going to treat you.” (ISV)   From our lips to God’s ears!  For that group, their complaining sentenced them to life and death in the wilderness.

What about Job’s  friends?  They did not speak encouraging words to Job, but attempted to analyze the situation with their opinions of  why Job was going through his trial.  Ever been there?  I recall a time of feeling as if I had to jump through one more hoop, repent of one more sin or attitude, or pray in another manner, all to get the outcome I was seeking.  Yet none of the voices around me actually had God’s take on my situation.  Just opinions.  Job’s friends found out God’s thoughts on their opinions when God’s voice thundered down, demanding their repentance.  God defended His own name.  And He defended Job, the man whom the others were determined had sinned and caused the trials in his life.  Again, can you imagine hearing God, and everyone in the room hearing Him, audibly rebuke you from heaven?  Lesson learned!

Then there was Saul.  He couldn’t wait for Samuel before killing the lamb.  One more hour.  That was all.  If he had waited one more hour, Samuel would have arrived to offer the needed sacrifice.  But he chose to make a sacrifice himself.  Result?  A nation was divided into two kingdoms.

David.  His sin caused the death of his baby and an uprising in his own family.

Thankfully we have examples of positive altering of time as well.  King Hezekiah gained 15 years to his life! Just because he turned his face to You and through tears made his appeal.  Abigail’s quick action to appeal to David saved him from killing Nabal.  Sun stood still for Joshua.  The Canaanite woman cried out for her daughter’s healing and stood her ground when her lowly status was mentioned.  Her actions were seen as faith and her daughter was healed.

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.”  Proverbs 18:21 

Words really do matter.  It’s like that moment of heaviness among a group of friends, until, out of nowhere, one person makes a comment that releases a breath of joy.  The result of encouraging words bring relief to those that hear them.

 

A few moths ago I started dwelling on this topic.  I had read a post stating something to the effect of, “God is too big for you to get in His way.”  It seemed so profound to me at the time.  Not long after reading it, I sat across a room with another couple.  He must have seen the same post.  His wife was concerned that they were in God’s way of a matter they had been praying about.  He looked at her and asked, “Do you really believe you are big enough to get in God’s way?”  And I started thinking of their situation, recalling the prophetic words they had been given and the circumstances that had blocked those words from coming forth.  That’s when I realized, yes.  We CAN get in His way.

See, God will never break man’s will.  He gave us free will for a purpose.  And there are times that other people’s involvement can change our outcome. We’ve all been there.  That time when we were given prophetic words that never came to pass.  And sometimes we look back and realize it didn’t happen because not everyone involved cooperated with the Spirit.  Unfair?  Often, yes.  But God will always find a way to refine us through those disappointing times.

As I have weighed this out recently, my goal has become that of choosing to speak life.  If I believe God will give me what I say, then I want to speak what is good.  But the key is also to speak what He speaks, then we know we are speaking forth what is to be HIS will in a situation.  What if each of us vowed to be ‘slow to speak and quick to listen’?  What if each of us kept our spirits open to the voice or nudging of the Holy Spirit before we spoke?  Could we really make a difference in our situations?  Or change the atmosphere around us?  The thought that my words can have a ripple effect on the future is powerful!  Every action, every word, it all matters.  We either speak life into a situation or we speak death.  And  God gave us the ultimate example of speaking life.  He SPOKE this world into being!!

Let’s speak life!!  Let’s change the future for the positive!  Let’s align our words with the Spirit and bring about God’s plans for our lives!  Let’s be like Hezekiah and add God’s blessing to our lives today!!

Finding Me

Gods and demigods.  Spirits of ancestors.  Tribal rituals.  These characters are often found in the animated films.  And though in real life we know there is only one God, the story lines captivate even us adults.

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Spending time with my grand kids has become one of my favorite past times, and unless I have something else already planned, I jump at the chance to babysit my granddaughter who lives just around the corner.  To spend time with my grandson takes more planning as he lives in Dallas – six and a half hours away.  It might be a long drive, but the reward of time spent building that relationship is worth the drive.

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On one of my visits to Dallas, my daughter put on a movie that captivated my grandson.  He loves music and this particular film had plenty of musical pieces.  And the vibrant colors can be enchanting to the child’s imagination.  I admit that I was slightly disinterested at first as I have been watching the path that my beloved animated industry has been taking lately.  Yet knowing my daughter’s sensitivity to what she would allow to be in front of her son, I trusted her instinct and settled in for a family movie night with my grandson.

And God showed up!  That still small voice was speaking.  Even through the fictional gods and demigods, the true God chose to use the story line to speak my language.  To meet me right where I was struggling.

There is not really an explanation as to why I was less than interested when the movie started.  Perhaps skepticism. Or being tired from the long trip, followed by a busy day.  But whatever the reason, each scene started to draw me more into the story.  Gods and demigods put aside, the story of Moana, daughter of the village chief, had also captivated me.

(Spoiler alert!) Many years earlier, a demigod, Maui, had stolen the heart of the life-creating goddess, Te Fiti.  This destroyed the goddess and created the evil lava monster.  And the monster’s evil was growing, spreading across the miles of land and sea, and destroying all that it touched.  Death is what followed.  But this young woman, daughter of the village chief who had never left her island, did what had been forbidden.  She crossed the reef of their island, sailing on the waves of the sea toward the horizon.  Her goal was to find Maui and make him return the heart in order to save her dying island.

Then WHAM!  The climax of the movie!  The confrontation with truth.  It was that moment when the Moana starts walking toward the lava monster, Te Ka, as she has discovered where to replace the stolen heart.  This act would restore Te Fiti to true goddess status.  Each step she takes toward the lava monster, each crescendo of the music that built up the moment, and every word sung, flew its own arrow straight to my heart.  And I found myself back to that familiar question, “Who are you?”

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Through streams of tears, I played and replayed that last scene.   Moana had seen the truth.  She saw through the anger and hurt of the lava monster.  She saw what had been stolen with the heart.  She saw the beauty that was hidden behind the fire which had brought fear to many people through the years.  In the midst of the hot, fiery lava was the hidden goddess.  Although she almost turned back, no longer believing she had what it took to complete the task, something kept drawing her to continue on.  Alone.

Back on her journey, she finally makes it to the destination.  And knows it is time to face what had been feared.  Te Fiti, bound by the evil known as Te Ka, sees the heart and longs to be restored to herself.  The would be goddess lurches toward her freedom.  As the Moana steps closer, her words echo, “I have crossed the horizon to find you.  I know your name.  They have stolen the heart from inside you.  But this does not define you.  You know who you are.  Who you REALLY are.”  (Time to bring out the tissues!)

It is an age-old question.  Yet many still do not realize it’s deeper meaning.  Who are you?  Really?

Not: What is your name?

Not: What do you do for a living?

Not: Who is your family?

Instead –  WHO ARE YOU?

Years ago, while pastoring in Missouri, God led my husband to talk about breaking the patterns in our lives that were shown to us by others.  We are creatures of habits.  So often we set our table the same way grandma did because, you never know, “she just might be watching from heaven.”  He explained how we often discipline our kids the way our parents disciplines us.  The way we talk, our mannerisms, often are actions we have learned through what was mirrored to us as children.  Old patterns passed from one generation to the next.  Yet those patterns many times often represented human opinions of how things should be handled instead of God’s true nature.  For about three weeks, you could almost hear a pin drop among our small congregation.  The words were hitting deep inside many of those listening as they realized the old patterns had brought much hurt that needed healing.  Others realized the damage they had done to their own kids because they had followed unhealthy patterns.

At the same time our church was walking through this teaching, our women were scheduled to attend a conference.  When we arrived that first night, you could still sense where some of the women were in their processing of the things they were learning.  We entered into worship and I watched as different individuals ministered to each other.  Then came the first speaker.  She was giving her testimony.  And, like He always does, God showed that He had planned the timing of this event.  The speaker shared how she had fought depression and went to see a Christian counselor.  And he asked, “Who are you?”  And she proceeded to share of her journey to wholeness and finding out who she really was in Christ.  Who she was created to be.  Her gifts.  Her calling.

After that weekend, I realized it was time to start a Bible study with these ladies and help them on their journey of finding out who they truly were… at the very core of their being.

Looking back, I take such joy in seeing the fruit that was a result of our small group of ladies.  None of us have reached the status of perfection, but each of have grown so much along the journey.

Since a child, I have always known who I was in Christ.  Yet often I did not recognize that even in my knowing, I still did not have the full picture of how He wanted to use my giftings.  In the last 10 years, I have watched as one by one my dreams have been shattered.  My trust has been betrayed.  My heart broken.  And, yes, I have had those times of questioning if what I believed was all just my imagination or actually God’s plan from the beginning.  In the midst of the hurt and disappointment, I lost me.  I lost that confidence of who I was.  Now began my journey once again to find healing of my wounds.  And to find me in the midst of a confusing time.

In the midst of my journey, He has stripped away my thoughts of what my calling should ‘look like.’  I am a pastor.  I am a teacher.  I am a minister.  But above all, I AM A DAUGHTER OF THE MOST HIGH GOD!!

As a pastor, we picture a building full of people.  But honestly, a pastor is one who continually looks after the care of others.  I can do that through email or text or social media.  I can do that over coffee.  Or lemonade.  I can do that through the phone on a weekly call.  Because who I am is not tied to a building or a denomination or a group of people.  It is tied to My Heavenly Father.  It is tied to The King!  My confidence is in knowing I am His.  People, circumstances, or positions do not define me.  Only Christ has that right in my life.

 

What about you?  Do you know who you are?  Or have you lost you?  As the Rita Springer worship song says, “When I thought I lost me, You knew where I left me, You reintroduced me to Your love.  You picked up all my pieces, put me back together, You are the defender of my heart.”

He has my heart.  He is my Defender.  He is my lover.  He is ABBA!  Father God!  And me?

I am a victorious daughter of the most High King!  I am a Priest in His Kingdom!  And I win!!

I found me again……..in the midst of the mess……..He held my heart in His hands…..and held me in His arms.

And He has you……….Go!  Find you again!  He will replace your heart and restore your dreams.