The Great Unmasking

Time to come out from hiding. And smile again!

There has never been a better time for you to show off your God-given smile than right now–especially now in these messy Covid virus times. The flimsy masks we are told to wear may give you a false sense of security. You may feel that you are being protective of others. But these masks can be actually hurting more than helping.

While the N-95 and surgical grade masks do help safeguard health care workers and food service workers, those flimsy pieces of cloth most of us wear offer little to no protection from sickness. Instead, they offer the illusion of safety where there is none. The tiny particles of the virus can easily penetrate homemade masks. (https://www.cidrap.umn.edu/news-perspective/2020/04/commentary-masks-all-covid-19-not-based-sound-data)

Let the sick stay home. And let the healthy come outside and breathe the fresh air- -a gift from God. Be real. Sunshine is good for you.

Hiding behind a mask, on the other hand, can make people suspicious of you. Masks make people afraid. We become fearful of going too near someone to offer a helping hand or a friendly word of greeting or encouragement. We avoid looking at people directly in the eye. We can become locked in a self-imposed prison of isolation and discouragement. People with hearing difficulties (over a billion people worldwide) can be blocked from communicating and understanding, as the masks muffle the wearer’s voice and do not allow for lip reading.

Spread the joy

The world needs to see your smile and hear your voice! Even if you don’t feel like it, smile anyway. Your own joy will increase. It’s a proven fact that smiles boost endorphins, relieve stress, help you relax, and lower your blood pressure. Smiles may even lengthen your life.

Smiles increase your joy and the joy of those around you. When you unmask your beautiful smile, people feel valued, that they are worth the effort you made to smile at them. And they see you as more attractive, sincere, reliable and friendly. People respond to your smile with smiles of their own! It’s contagious. You have heard that the virus is contagious. But smiling is even more contagious!

Face it. When someone looks at you and flashes a genuine smile, it is hard not to smile back. We increase each other’s happiness.

We all feel better.

Pandemic of fear

By contrast, heavy-handed government regulations are tearing up people’s lives. The cure has become worse than the disease. Many businesses have been forced to close down, many have failed, throwing millions of Americans out of work, destroying dreams and futures. The financial and emotional stress of being unable to provide for their families, together with forced confinement at home, have caused alarming increases in domestic violence and child abuse. All this non-stop togetherness has brought out the worst in some people. Tempers have flared, and there are fewer ways to escape. Local shelters for victims are maxed out. The rates of depression and suicide are climbing. Alcohol and drug addictions have killed many more. As the stay-at-home measures continue to stretch out into months in some locales, people are losing hope. Lives are being lost at home. And especially in nursing homes in some states, where the inmates are locked down in solitary confinement, unable to visit one another or even see family members. Some patients are forced to die alone.

People should be free to choose how they want to live and die. Their quality of life may be more important to them than their length of life. How many of the so-called Covid deaths were actually the result of depression, loneliness and hopelessness caused by forced isolation?

Protection you can trust

So if masks are not the answer, how do we protect ourselves from a virus, Covid or otherwise? We put our trust in God and His word.

The Lord alone makes you dwell in safety. (Psalm 4:8)

God wants you healthy.

Beloved, I wish above all things that you prosper and be in good health. (3 John 2)

He has supplied healing for you in the Blood of Jesus.

By Jesus’ wounds we have been healed. (1 Peter 2:24)

The promise of protection is for all believers, but especially for those who trust in the Lord and say so.

No evil shall befall you. Neither shall any plague come near your dwelling. (Psalm 91:10)

And if you do get sick, ask a believer to come and pray for you.

These signs shall accompany those who believe…they shall lay hands on the sick and they shall recover. (Mark 16:17-18)

Time to believe again. And say so. Whom are you believing? Where have you placed your confidence? America’s national motto says “In God we trust.” Do you trust government bureaucrats with their dismal false prophecies, which seek to stretch out the so-called pandemic for years? Or do you put your trust in the Word of God, which is unchangeable, filled with life and healing power?

Jesus is our Savior, Healer, Protector. Not a small piece of cloth you cover your face with.

Free to choose

Most states are seeing the number of new cases steadily decreasing. All fifty states are beginning to open up. States like Georgia and South Carolina that have completely reopened have not seen any meaningful increase in virus statistics. The predictions of catastrophe have been defeated. Praise the Lord.

For most of us, whether you choose to wear a mask is optional. But if your employer or city mayor insists that you wear a mask, you may choose to comply. And no one should fault you for that. Certainly keeping your job, if you have one, is an important factor to consider. However, for those of us who are healthy and choose not to wear a mask, do not condemn us. Or arrest us. Instead, smile with us. Smiling can be infectious. And we will all feel better.

Miracle at the grocery store

A routine trip to the grocery store turned out to be anything but routine for me one day years ago.  I had been fighting a lot of fear during that season of my life, especially that day.  I knew I needed to go to the grocery store to buy food for our family.  But I was feeling swamped by fear and doubt.  As a young Christian, I was totally sold out to Jesus. I aspired to be a strong woman of faith, but I was unsure how to do it.

Pray first

Calling my Sunday school teacher for advice, he encouraged me to go out and minister to someone else.  Pray first.  Then go for it.  Even though I did not feel strong enough that day to help myself, much less anyone else, I prayed and asked God to make me a blessing to someone in need.   Whoever that might be.  Whatever their need might be.  So I prayed and left it up to God.  He did not disappoint.

I drove to the supermarket and began to shop.  I placed my order at the deli counter for sliced meat and cheese.  Moments later there was a flurry of alarm, as my server had cut her hand severely on the big slicing machine behind the counter.  Another server quickly went to her aid, backing her away from the machine, squeezing her hand tightly, trying unsuccessfully to stop the bleeding.  The wounded server was suffering extreme pain and appeared faint.  The department manager offered to take my order for me.  But I ignored her offer.  For this emergency, I knew that God’s help was needed.

Compassion rose up in me.  Faith came alive.  The Holy Spirit literally took over the situation.   I boldly proclaimed, “I am a Christian.  Bring her to me.  I will pray for her and God will stop the bleeding, take away all her pain and heal her hand!”

Radical faith

The three women looked at me with surprise.  The injured worker appeared that she might pass out at any moment.  I did not know if she could even walk the several steps over to me where I stood.  But she tearfully made it to the counter.  With God-given compassion, I told her to give me her hand, I would not touch the cut.  Gently, I touched her injured hand.  I prayed a simple prayer asking God to take away the pain, stop the bleeding  and heal her hand.  And no infection to be allowed.  In Jesus’ Name. 

Miraculously, her hand was healed immediately before our eyes.  All pain ceased.  All bleeding stopped.  Her flesh was knitted back together as if nothing had happened.  All three workers were amazed!  I just expected God would do it.  We all thanked God for His healing power. I was too stunned to say more.

Then as I walked away to continue my shopping, the deli department manager hurried after me. “I have a cold,” she said.  “Will you pray for me?”  Gratefully, gladly, I prayed for her as well.  She returned to work, praising the Lord for both healings.

Step up.  Speak out.

No one was more surprised than me at the pair of healings which the Lord gave through me that day.  I was super blessed beyond words.  God had answered my prayer to bless someone that day—twice over.   I was so honored to be His chosen vessel to help these women in need.  I had not been feeling strong or gifted that day.  Quite the opposite.  But God does not wait until we are feeling strong and anointed to use us.  He loves it when we are feeling weak, totally dependent on Him to empower us.  He knew my heart was to heal.  And He answered with LOVE and grace.

            As He is, so are we now in this world.

                                                                        1 John 4:17

Since that day I have prayed for many people in many places.  It is the joy of my life.  I have been privileged to see Jesus heal many—some instantly, some over time. Some people need to forgive themselves first before they can receive healing.  Some need to stop worrying and turn their problems over to Jesus.   Whatever the need, He always supplies.

But I am not unique or special to participate in God’s healing miracles.  The Lord invites all believers to join with Him in His healing ministry.  The Lord invites YOU to heal the sick.

And these signs shall follow those who believe…they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.

                                                           Mark 16:17-18

Don’t wait until you are feeling strong and holy.  Step out today—no matter how you are feeling.  Pray first.  Ask God for the opportunity to bless someone.  Ask the Holy Spirit to be in charge.  Then step up and speak out in faith.  God will use you in miraculous ways.  Glory to God!

Christ in you—the hope of glory.

                                                            Colossians 1:27

God chose those whom the world considers foolish to shame those who think they are wise, and God chose the puny and powerless to shame the high and mighty. He chose the lowly, the laughable in the world’s eyes—nobodies—so that he would shame the somebodies.  For he chose what is regarded as insignificant in order to supersede what is regarded as prominent, so that there would be no prideful boasting in God’s presence.

                                                            1 Corinthians 1:27-29 

Are you feeling weak, forgotten or rejected by the world today?  God does not choose the strong but the weak, the foolish, the rejected.  God chooses you!

Pray first.  Then step out!

Share your story

Do you have an experience of God’s breakthrough in your own life or someone else’s which you wish to share?  A miraculous healing or escape from peril?  Go to the comment page and share with other readers.  To God be the glory!

When God speaks

Ask the Lord to speak to you. And He will respond. A soft whisper in your heart. Or a blazing fire in the desert. It is God’s heart desire to communicate with you, His favorite child. His words are pregnant with meaning for you. New hope Fresh perspective. Encouragement. Direction. And lots of LOVE.

Read what God has already written in your Bible. Ask Him specifically where you should read. The Holy Spirit will highlight verses that come alive to you off the pages.

Sometimes you will hear His quiet voice speaking deep in your spirit in prayer. The Lord may speak to you through dreams and visions, signs and wonders. Or all of the above. He may speak to you through a friend or teacher. Do not limit God. He is full of surprises. He spoke to Moses through a fire!

Ask in faith believing you will hear from Him. There will be times of silence, but that’s just another test designed for you to pass. Wait quietly, patiently, knowing an outpouring of His LOVE and grace is on the way.

Until the time came to fulfill his dreams, the Lord tested Joseph’s character. (Psalm 105:19)

Keep your spiritual eyes and ears open.

Write it down. Whatever the Lord tells you, write it down. Every word of God is precious and worthy of remembrance. Ask the Holy Spirit for wisdom to understand and apply the word to your life. His supernatural insights and encouragement are just what you need to get you through the days ahead.

Of course, there are many voices out there. Make sure the voice you hear is of God. Ask the spirit if Jesus Christ of Nazareth is his Lord. If he can agree, you will know that voice is from God. If not, silence that voice in Jesus’ name. Do not listen anymore.

Ask God for dreams and visions, signs and songs, inventions and creative ideas. He will give them to you. Write them down. And as you do, ask Him for interpretations of these dreams, visions, signs, songs, and ideas. His ways are higher than our ways. He often speaks in metaphors and parables. Their meaning may be profound. What seems clear to us at first may only be a shadow of what the Holy Spirit is really trying to communicate. So ask Him to interpret what He shows you–from His point of view. How can you apply that to your life? And write that down as well.

Open my eyes, Lord, to see the miracle-wonders hidden in Your word. (Psalm 119:18)

Stop and take a closer look. Take time away from your daily activities to hear the word of God. Do not be too busy to hear what God is saying. Moses had to turn away from shepherding his flock to investigate an amazing burning bush in the wilderness. Out of that fire, the Lord called Moses to his destiny–to deliver God’s people from bondage in Egypt. Moses had to give the burning bush more than a quick glance from afar. He had to take time away from his work, drawing near to the Lord to hear what He was saying. The Lord did not speak until Moses moved toward Him.

When the Lord saw Moses coming to take a closer look, God called to him from the middle of the bush, “Moses! Moses!” “Here I am!” Moses replied. (Exodus 3:4)

Follow. Whatever the Lord shows you to do, do it. Keep the faith. Trust in His timing, guided by His grace. God’s promise for the future may not come as quickly as you would like. But it will happen, just as the Lord has spoken to you–if you continue to believe and say so. Say, “I’m a believer, not a doubter.”

Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you would only believe, you would see the glory of God.” (John 11:40)

Thank God for His message to you. Take it to heart and do what He says to do. Be full of joyful expectation.

Ask for more. There is always more in God. More is coming. Ask and you will receive. Stoke the fire by reading your Bible. Pray in your Holy Spirit-inspired prayer language to elevate the discourse. God answers prayer. He responds to an open heart eagerly seeking to know Him better.

Get your hopes up

There are times when the bad news of the day threatens to overwhelm us with its negativity, bitterness and deceit.  The world seems to be spinning out of control into chaos.  Darkness tries to engulf us. There appears to be no hope for the future.

But for born again believers,  there is always hope.  Jesus is our hope.  Hope is our joyful expectation that what God has said is coming to pass in our lives.  We know that God’s word is truth.  We place our confidence in Jesus and His word.  Jesus reigns.  He is mighty to save.  We seize the hope He sets before us.  We anchor ourselves on this hope.  And our anchor holds, both sure and steadfast.

For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not to harm you.  Plans to give you a future and a hope.       

Jeremiah 29:11

God has wonderful plans for His children.  He is working things out for our good–sometimes behind the scenes, sometimes out front, but always for our good.   We place our trust in Him.  We cannot rely on the news or social media or pop culture for direction.  We live by the light of God’s word.

                                                                                                                                          photo by Jamen Percy

 

Dare to trust Him to work things out for you.  Dare to believe His words to you.  Dare to

pray and believe Him for the answers.  He LOVES you that much–and much more.

Light shines in the darkness for the godly.

               They are generous, compassionate, and righteous….

Such people will not be overcome by evil.

              Those who are righteous will be long remembered.

They do not fear bad news;

              They confidently trust the Lord to care for them.

They are confident and fearless

              And can face their foes triumphantly.

                                                    Psalm 112:4-8 (NLT)

Do not fear the bad news.  Get your hopes up.  Encourage yourself in the Lord and His word.  The best is yet to come for you.  Your future is bright in Jesus.   Piercing through the doom and gloom, Christians can shine with hope–like stars in the night sky.  The darker things appear in the world, the brighter we shine.

Arise, shine; for your light has come.

     And the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.

     For behold, darkness will cover the earth

     And deep darkness the peoples;

     But the Lord will rise upon you

     And His glory will appear upon you.

                                                     Isaiah 60:1-2 (NAS)

Your light has come.  Jesus has risen.  Rise up in faith.  Shine for Jesus!

 

 

Open your gifts

Have you received gifts from God that are gathering dust, some forgotten, some still waiting to be opened?  Time to bring them out, dust them off, let them shine for Jesus.  The apostle Paul mentions many spiritual gifts available to us as believers.  Among the most valuable gifts is a heavenly prayer language from the Holy Spirit.

Have you heard of the mystery of praying in tongues and wondered if it is for you? Wonder no more.  Praying in a new supernatural language is for all Christian believers. Paul bragged that he spoke in tongues more than anyone else.  He encouraged every Christian to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit and exercise their spiritual gifts (1 Corinthians 14:5).  He urged us all to pray both in our native language and our supernatural language.

So if you are a believer, God has a language gift for you.  Praying in the Spirit will elevate and empower your life.  Bad habits and sin you may have struggled with will fall off you.  Praying in the Spirit will change the lives of those you pray for.  Praying in the Spirit can literally bring God’s kingdom to earth.

 

Praying perfect prayers

The Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness.  For we do not know what prayers to offer nor in what way to offer them.  But the Spirit Himself pleads for us in yearnings that can find no words; and the Searcher of hearts knows what the Spirit’s meaning is, because His intercessions for God’s people are in harmony with God’s will.   (Romans  8:26-27)

According to the Bible, praying in a God-given language ministers peace to us.  It makes us strong.  It recharges our spiritual batteries (Jude 20).  God encourages us and gives us rest.   Praying in the Spirit means you are praying perfect prayers, because they are from God’s own heart.  He gives you the words and the heart to pray them.  These heaven-sent prayers will build up your faith and trust in God.  You will become  able to hear God’s voice more clearly.  So He can warn you of trouble before it happens and shield you from danger.  As you pray, He will use you in new and miraculous ways. You will see God use your prayers to bring His kingdom here on this earth.

 

Opening my gifts 

All of this was unknown to me when I first received the baptism of the Holy Spirit at my first healing prayer meeting  over 25 years ago. I honestly did not know what that baptism was or what value it might have for me.  The speakers that night, Charles and Frances Hunter, simply invited those of us without the baptism to come on down front. So we did.  (We had already been baptized into the family of God, we were Christians, but this was to be a second filling of the Holy Spirit). As we praised the Lord together, we asked the Lord to fill us with His Spirit.  We heard our speech change from English to many new languages, unfamiliar to us.  The Holy Spirit filled us with supernatural joy.  Our worship rose to a whole new level.  We even sang heavenly new songs in our various languages.

The Hunters encouraged us to continue praying in our new languages for at least 30 minutes each day.  Frankly, I did not have sufficient fluency in my new language to continue for more than just a few minutes.  I did not understand what I was saying or why.  After a few months of wondering what the point was, and with no answers,  I decided to put my new language on hold.

About a year later, I discovered some excellent teaching tapes by Gloria Copeland, Walking in the Spirit, which explained the gift of praying in tongues in terms I could relate to.  With Gloria’s detailed Biblical teaching and the help of the Holy Spirit, I committed to praying in my new language for an hour each day–stipulating that He would have to give me the ability to do so.  I sure could not do it on my own.  It was one of the most important decisions I have ever made.  With the gift of speaking in tongues, I have become both stronger and more peaceful at the same time.  I have fended off numerous  demonic attacks.  I have prayed beyond my own personal knowledge to accomplish miracles in Jesus’ Name.  Many people have been saved, healed and delivered through these prayers.  My family and I have been protected  each day.  The Lord has shared His wisdom and His point of view on many different subjects.  He has headed off problems before they happened. My faith has soared.

Has life been trouble-free these last 25-plus years?  No way.  But with God’s help and His Spirit-led prayers, I have come out of every difficulty victorious every time. Thanks be to God!

 

Ask and receive your refreshing

So if you would like to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit, together with His spiritual gifts, pray along with me now.  And if you have already received the baptism, ask God for a fresh refilling of His Spirit.  Then dust off your spiritual gifts and put them to work for Jesus.  To God be the glory.

“If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink.  He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’”  But this He spoke of the Spirit whom those who believed in Him were to receive.   (John 7:37-38)

Are you thirsty for more of God?  Do you long to know and serve Him better (Mark 16:17-18)?  Come to Jesus now.  Ask Him in faith to fill you with His Spirit, expecting to receive.  Receive His gifts by faith, just as you received your salvation by faith.  Then thank Him and praise Him.

Say:  Father God, I am Your child.  I love You and am thirsty for more of You in my life.  I want to know You and serve You better.  I come to You, Jesus, thirsty, asking You to baptize me with Your Holy Spirit.  Fill me to overflowing with rivers of living water.  To Your glory, Lord.  I believe I receive now.  Thank You, Lord, for your gifts.  Thank you for baptizing me in Your Holy Spirit!  Thank You for my new heavenly prayer language.

Open your mouth and let the praises of God come forth.  Pray with your understanding and pray beyond your understanding.  Allow the Holy Spirit to pray through you to bring heaven down to earth.  The Holy Spirit wants to pray His perfect prayers through you.

 

 

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God’s dream for America

As many victims of Hurricane Harvey struggled to recover last week, the Lord gave me an encouraging dream.  America shall be great again.

In the dream, President Donald Trump was visiting the flood victims in their water-filled homes.  Everything appeared lost.  The people were mourning.  As the President reached out to help someone, the presidential red cap, emblazoned with the Make America Great Again slogan, fell into the murky water.  But someone quickly rescued the hat and hung it up to dry.  Certainly Donald Trump could have got himself another cap.  But this cap was special.  It was the cap he wore visiting the people hit so hard by hurricane floods. It was a symbol of victory.

The Lord went on to explain…

“Hurricane Harvey cannot keep America down.  She will be great again.  Donald Trump will make America great again.  The waters cannot overflow his dream…God’s dream for America.  America will be great again.  Watch and see. The best is about to be for America and Trump.  Watch and see.  America shall be saved.  Jesus is Lord.

“Love will prevail in America again.  Love will overcome a mountain of evil.  Drain the swamp.  Evil stands out, exposed.  

“Make America great again.  Pray it in.  I LOVE you.  I LOVE Trump.  I LOVE his heart for America.  A man after My own heart.  I LOVE America.  America the beautiful is about to be reborn.  Beauty is the best evidence of a spirit of love.  I know…love anyway.  The best is about to come. Keep the faith.  I LOVE you.”

Pray with me for America…

Father God, forgive us, forgive America for all our sins and shortcomings. Forgive us for hatred, division and quarreling, forgive us for abortions and believing false evidence appearing real.  Forgive us for turning away from you, the Father of our country.  Make us bold to speak the truth.  Make us beautiful to love one another unconditionally.  Give us wise godly leaders who will seek and follow Your ways.  We return to You God, the Father of our country. Have mercy on us, Your people.  Deliver us from evil.  Unite us. Heal us.  Recover us.  Make America great again.  In Jesus’ Name we pray.  Amen.

Pray for peace

Everywhere people are searching for peace.  Amidst the din of quarreling and confusion, fanned by the media, we are assaulted by bitterness and anxiety on every side.  There is little peace in America or in Washington, D.C.  And there is precious little peace in people’s hearts.

Let peace reign.

How do we find peace amidst the clamor?  The apostle Paul urged us to pray.

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will keep your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.  (Philippians 4:6-7)

Jesus is our peace.  In fact, before leaving this earth, He gave us His own heavenly peace. He did not want us to fear or worry.

“My peace I leave with you.  My peace I give to you.  I do not give to you as the world gives.  Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not be afraid.”  (John 14:27)

As children of God, His peace belongs to us.  It is His free gift to us.  Only God’s peace will dispel fear and worry, giving us quietness and confidence to go forward.

Our peace is heavenly, of divine origin, not earthly.  Our peace certainly does not come from our circumstances.  Peace does not mean that all our circumstances are rosy and everything is going our way.  Our peace comes from our close personal relationship with our Lord Jesus.  We know Jesus LOVES us and takes good care of us. We choose to trust Him always.

Our peace is not the absence of trouble.  Our peace is security in the midst of turmoil.  We are trusting God at all times to take care of us.  The Lord alone makes us dwell in safety (Psalm 4:8).  He is our provider, our protector, our good Shepherd. Read Psalm 23.  He does all things well.  He always has our good in mind.  We have everything we need.

God’s peace is not a warm fuzzy feeling you hope to get when all your problems are solved.  In fact, peace is not a feeling or an emotion.  Feelings are changeable and unreliable.  We cannot afford to allow our feelings to control us.  We must be led by the Spirit of God.  He is the Spirit of Peace.

The kingdom of God is righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit (Romans 14:17).

Our peace is not the lack of problems, but the God given ability to rise above our problems.  We can be calm and confident no matter what is going on around us. We can pray to God and ask His wisdom in overcoming our problems. He will show us what to do.  He will  make the way for us where there seems to be no way.  Next, we surrender all our problems to God and thank Him that He is answering our prayers. We leave our troubles safely in His hands. Then we rest in His peace, knowing He is meeting our every need.

God’s peace is a strong spiritual force that transcends fear and trouble.  Against the tide of this world that tries to overwhelm us, Jesus gives us peace and victory.

Jesus is our Prince of peace.  Release your problems and worries to Him.  Leave them there at His feet.  Receive His peace.  And rise above your circumstances.

Jesus, You are my Prince of peace. Please fix these problems for me, Lord.  Give me wisdom to overcome. Show me what to do.  I surrender all my problems to You.  Thank You for taking them from me.  Thank You for Your peace, which surpasses human understanding.  I rise above my circumstances and rest in Your heavenly peace. May Your peace reign in my heart and all across America, in Jesus’ Name.

 

Adapted from the upcoming book Living in the Glory by Patricia Morris, copyright 2017. All rights reserved.