The Authority to Bless

This blog is more of a testimony than a lesson, but Bethel’s Heaven Come Conference in Los Angeles, California was one of the most special and beautiful weekends of experiencing God’s presence, favor, and blessing in my life.  This entire year for me has been such a whirlwind of adventure through travel and new experiences, but I will say that the two trips that marked me this year as far as growing deeper in my relationship with God and in who I am in Him were the bookends of my first independent trip out of the country (without my family) to Scotland in March, and my first trip completely alone to this conference in Los Angeles this weekend – both of which happened to fall on super special days for me (the anniversary of my baptism in the Holy Spirit and Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year).  I went on faith that God would bless me with friends and give me words of direction for my future and He did so much more than that.  Here are just a few stories of God’s faithfulness to me this weekend, and what He is teaching me that is now going to carry me from here on out:

 

God had been speaking to me for the conference that He wanted me to read a book called the Esther Anointing by Michelle McClain-Walters.  I bought it months ago, but never felt led to read it…until this weekend.  I took it on the plane with me and was amazed at how much revelation God was giving me about how I am called to be an Esther for His Name – a queen to a generous and benevolent King who serves and loves Him, bows before Him, and who uses the authority she’s been given to bless His Kingdom.  This revelation stuck with me as I went to the conference, and I knew that God was calling me to be a light to whomever I met.  Well, it just turns out that even though I assumed that I would be the only one who went to L.A. by myself for this purpose – praise God, I assumed wrong!  By the end of the conference, I was seated smack dab in the middle of a row of seven women of all ages, including myself, who were single and had come by themselves from all around the world simply to receive from God.  It truly blew me away to realize that there were so many other people who were in the exact same season as I am with the exact same heart to seek and serve God with everything they have.  It was so beautiful to see women confident enough to travel alone and grab a hold of whatever God had for them by faith.  I didn’t know I needed to see it, but I will never forget it.

 

This began to really intrigue me and cause me to ask the Lord: “What is it You’re trying to teach me through this?”  He showed me that He wanted me to see that one, I was not alone, and two, I have something to offer.  You see, God spoke to me this weekend through this book and in general at this conference that, as His daughter, His princess, His queen, or whatever you want to call it, when people see me, they’re not just seeing me.  Since I am filled with God, when people meet me, they’re not just meeting me – they’re meeting the presence of God inside of me!  When people encounter me, they have the opportunity to encounter God.  I am not just me!  I have His signet ring – His authority!  Because I am planted by streams of living water – planted in Him by staying true to His Word and in tune with His Spirit – I have the authority to bless others in His Name!  As I started to meet all of these women who came alone, even though I did as well, the thought rose up inside of me: “Lord, how can I bless THEM?”  Little did I know that He was going to turn it all around and bless ME!

 

First example of a blessing given and received:

I met most of the ladies next to me on the first night of the conference, and the next morning I got there pretty early.  As I was looking around and wishing someone would come and talk to me, I saw a girl sitting alone and writing in her journal.  Because I was doing that the previous night, before anyone else showed up, I knew that she must be lonely.  I went up to go talk to her and we immediately hit it off!  I ended up inviting her to lunch with me and my friend, and she brought a friend and ended up paying for our entire meal!  We all hung out for the rest of the weekend and each of us were beyond blessed and encouraged.

I realized through this that I used to be so shy, but now that I know who and Whose I am, I don’t have to hide and wait for someone to come and talk to me…I can be that person for somebody else!  I have the authority through Jesus’ love and confidence to bless other people, not in order to get a blessing, but with the full willingness to GIVE, and knowing that God will bless in return!  🙂

 

Second example of a blessing given and received:

In addition to making some of the most incredible friends from Australia, South Africa (living in Thailand), Kansas, Georgia, Denver, and Seattle and hanging out with them all weekend at the conference (the absolute sweetest surprise from God), I received a powerful confirming word from a woman on the BSSM Ministry Team!  It made me cry with the peace and love of God, however, I still felt that I needed more prayer and encouragement from the Lord on one specific subject.  I told the Lord about it and had faith that even at my last moment in L.A., He could surprise me with even a word from a stranger on the street!  🙂

On Sunday, after my friends had all left, I decided to go to Expression58 – a church that Shawn Bolz started ten years ago in Glendale.  Little did I know that he had gone to the conference and would actually be speaking there that morning!  I obviously wanted him to give me a word, but when that didn’t happen, I was determined to still make friends and be a blessing to others.  I went over to the coffee bar (where the cool people hang ;)), and initiated a conversation with a really nice guy getting coffee next to me.  Before he left, I realized I hadn’t introduced myself or asked what his name was.  It was Emmanuel.

 

Emmanuel.  God with us.

 

I felt God speaking to me: “Amanda, that’s your word.  I am telling you that I am with you.”  Talk about the love of God towards you.  I mean, come on – seriously?!  What was even sweeter about this is that I did not realize that the song we were singing that morning sang the beautiful name Emmanuel over and over in the chorus.  As I was reaching out to be kind and make a friend, God spoke to me…but He didn’t stop there.

 

Third example of a blessing given and received:

I went to the first AND second service of church that Sunday, because no matter how much I wanted to, I could not seem to leave.  I felt really strongly that I needed to stay – even though I wasn’t sure why yet.  I followed the Holy Spirit in obedience, and went back in for worship again.  The usher then seated a girl next to me, and as we got to talking, I discovered that she was also single, from Boston, and had also gone to the Heaven Come Conference by herself (the seventh person I met like this)!  I definitely wanted to make a new friend, but I also knew that God was the One leading me to take her to lunch.  She came, and we had the most wonderful time talking and sharing about God’s goodness in our lives for 2 hours!  🙂  God spoke through me into her life, and I was so grateful to have the opportunity to bless her, but then, something happened that I did not expect.

Out of nowhere as we were walking back to the car, this girl straight up spoke the word of the Lord to me in the exact area I had been privately praying for.  I was in shock and almost speechless, and if you know me, you know that’s next to impossible (your girl’s got words).  😉  I realized in that moment that none of this would have ever happened if I had not chosen to step out in faith in coming to this conference, trusted in God where He was leading me, and looked for specific people that He was leading me to. 

 

God showed me this weekend that all of the blessings I received came to me simply because, even though I came looking for a blessing, I did not wait around and do nothing, but sought out others to bless!  You may think that if you give to others, you will lack yourself, but the Bible says:

 

“Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full—pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back.” – Luke 6:38

 

I am definitely still growing in the area of extravagant generosity, but I just want to encourage all of the women reading this who may feel that they don’t have much to offer.  You are a woman of God and you have been given an inheritance from Him that well compensates for any inadequacies you may have or even shyness in your personality!  Even if you’re alone, you can bless others because you have been blessed.  You have so much to give because you are not truly alone, and you’re not simply giving yourself.  You’re giving Jesus, who has already blessed you immensely!  He is your Constant Source, and in Him you lack no good thing.  So rise up, women!  Rise up, Esther’s, who know their Father’s heart and use the authority they have from Him to bless those around them!  Let all those around you see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven…and wait and see how He might even turn it all around to provide for and bless you in return.  🙂

 

If you want to read more on this subject, check out my other blogs: Hiddenness about being hidden in God, and The Flip-Side to Hiddenness about loving the ones trying to hide from Him.

 

Blog Pic: Driving on my way to the second day of Heaven Come Conference at Microsoft Theatre in Los Angeles, California (the sky is so clear in the city of angels!)

His Promises are Still Coming to Pass for You

I love rainbows.  I always have.  They are a reminder of God’s never-ending promises to His people and they’re just flat out beautiful.  However, I began to love them even more when after one very hard night of asking God about His will for my future He gave me a dream in which there was a rainbow.  I woke up to hear Him say in a still, small, comforting voice to my spirit:

“…My promises are still coming to pass for you.”

 

Now, every time I see one, I remember not just the word of the Lord in the Bible, but the word of the Lord to me.  This has been something I’ve been thinking about a lot recently because I saw SIX rainbows when I was in Colorado for family vacation!  Six!  I will say I’ve been looking for that seventh one and haven’t seen it yet, but you know, I’ll take what I can get!  😉

 

Here’s what He’s teaching me about this:

To come into the inheritance He so willingly wants to give us in His timing, we must see what we have right now as a part of it.  He’s working everything together for our good, and just because we don’t see it fully playing out yet doesn’t mean that He’s not working or that we aren’t already living in His perfect plan.

 

“But Jesus replied, ‘My Father is always working, and so am I.’” – John 5:17

 

The enemy tries to get us all wrapped up in what we don’t have or don’t see yet, which plays out in us comparing ourselves to others, and even feeling sorrowful thinking that we’re missing out on something.  We can be tempted to want to cut short the process that we’re currently going through because at the end of the rainbow is when we’ll have the fulfillment of His promises.  However, we need to recognize that through what Jesus has already done on the cross, and through the Holy Spirit Whom He’s given us, the fulfillment of His promises is already ours in Him!

 

“In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.” – 1 Peter 1:3-5

“…and He has identified us as His own by placing the Holy Spirit in our hearts as the first installment that guarantees everything He has promised us.” – 2 Corinthians 1:22

 

If you are a true follower of Jesus, you have ALREADY been born again into your inheritance – everything He has reserved for you.  There is no question about it!  It cannot be lessened or taken away because it isn’t earned – it has already been paid for by His blood!  However, sometimes it takes a while to actually see the blessings that you believe are yours in Him.  If you do not see the promises yet, you must revive your faith and know that:

 

  1. He is not stingy in His giving.

“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” – James 1:5

“For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD bestows favor and honor; no good thing does He withhold from those whose walk is blameless.” – Psalm 84:11

 

  1. He is not slow in His promises, but patient.

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead He is patient…” – 2 Peter 3:9

 

  1. He is outside of time.

“Beloved, do not let this one thing escape your notice: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.” – 2 Peter 3:8

 

You may have just not come into His timing for the revealing of those gifts yet.  He is not in a hurry because He knows that it’s already yours in Him…so why should we be?  🙂

 

“The gifts and callings of God are irrevocable.” – Romans 11:29

 

Another way of saying this is just because you don’t see huge amounts of fruit from what you’re doing yet does NOT mean that you are not fruitful.  Sometimes the Lord doesn’t allow you to see the fruition of all His promises on your life yet because He wants to teach you how to trust Him by faith and to not take the bait of discouragement from satan to quit!  You may feel like you’ve been faithful and haven’t seen what you thought you would by this point, but if you don’t quit, you win!  God sees you and He is working in you so, you can be CONFIDENT.

 

“For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 1:6

 

If we could only see what God’s fully perfected (completed) work in us is going to look like.  You may think you want someone else’s story right now, but when you really connect to God’s heart in your own story, you will begin to see the beauty in it – the beauty even in waiting for things to come to pass!  There is absolute value in everything you’ve gone through because the Lord has redeemed it, is redeeming it, and will be redeeming it in the future in a way that will cause you to never long for someone else’s story ever again (see For the Love of Redemption blog).  The completed picture from God for your life is just way too good!

 

It may be difficult to see right now, but you truly have the best story out there because it is personalized by God for you.  Every detail about you, everything that matters to you, is unique and intentionally placed in you on purpose.  You wouldn’t want anyone else’s life story because it wouldn’t touch your heart the way that it does when God does something special for you personally!  God telling you that His promises are still coming to pass for you means that every part of your story and process right now is going to be worth it.  🙂

 

If you don’t see all of your hard work or faithfulness paying off yet, keep being faithful.  You’re going to see fruit, but before the fruit is there, you can believe that it will be; that it is already yours in the Spirit.  That seventh rainbow is coming, and…

His promises are still coming to pass for you.

 

“Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much.” – Luke 16:10

“His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Enter into the joy of your master!’” – Matthew 25:21

“If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself.” – 2 Timothy 2:13

 

Blog Pic: My view from the top of McCullough Gulch Trail in Breckenridge, CO!  I wanted to quit sooner because the high elevation made the hike really hard, but I’m so glad my brothers didn’t let me because a crystal clear rainbow appeared at the exact moment we got to the top.  It was my reminder from God that His promises are still coming to pass for me…and you!  🙂

Connection over Clarity

I’m reading a book by Shawn Bolz right now called “God Secrets” in which God has highlighted a message to me that is deeply touching my heart.  Discernment…we all have it in some way or another.  It is, according to Merriam-Webster, the quality of being able to grasp and comprehend something that is obscure.  It is a gift God has given us so that we might navigate through what is good and bad in life, and it is an invaluable tool.  However, having discernment and following it doesn’t mean that we are necessarily in tune with God’s heart.  Feeling things out and following our gut, or clearly discerning things correctly, shouldn’t be the goal of our lives.  Our goal should be to have a deeper connection with God and to seek His heart in all things!  Wow.  That really switches things up, doesn’t it?  I can’t rely on my own thoughts on a subject, or my natural tendency to want to understand, even though, in His great loving-kindness, God has given me discernment as a gift.  If I really want to know and do what’s right, I must rely on Him.

 

Here’s the thing though: as much as I want to know and do His will for my life, I’m not always assured a completely clear answer from God immediately.  What I am assured of is Psalm 119:105 – His Word is a lamp to my feet and a light my path!  In Bible times, there was no outside light at night except for the moon and stars, so whoever wrote Psalm 119 used the analogy of God’s Word as a lamp to help people visualize what following God is really like: using a small oil lamp in the pitch black night that literally only lights the next few steps!

 

When God speaks to us, He doesn’t give us the entire game plan all at once because He wants us to seek Him instead of running past Him with the words He still so kindly gives.  I do believe we can hear from God clearly and confidently – way into the future, and in the here and now.  However, I don’t believe that He is always going to speak the exact same way to us.  That’s kind of the fun of getting to know Him – what He does is unpredictable, but who He is never changes.  His character and His love stays the same, but the ways in which He speaks are endless.  I used to think that the clarity of His guidance for me was the proof of His love, meaning how clearly I could hear Him for myself proved that He loved me enough to leave me with no questions – absolute clarity.  However, when I realized that I could get a word wrong, or many words wrong, I could no longer rely on my ability to simply understand or discern clearly everything that God was doing.  I simply had to rely on Him – His unfailing, and unchanging character and nature.  The funny thing is: sometimes, because He loves us, He hides His Word.  He hides Himself.  It may seem He is far away, but He is closer than we can comprehend.  Bill Johnson says: He hides Himself so we can find Him.

 

I am learning that family is more important than clarity to God, meaning that being close to Him is more important than completely understanding everything because we actually don’t have the capacity to!  It is so much more important to be close to God than to just know His words – to just follow His words and do everything correctly like a robot.  He surely desires us to follow His Word, but He did not die to make us unfeeling, religious, and legalistic – to follow His Word without following Him.  He wants us to know Him intimately, to know His heart – the meaning behind His words.  That doesn’t mean to seek Him for the words (simple direction, prophetic words, encouraging words, etc.), but what amazes me is that so many people in the world, including I, do just that every single day…AND HE STILL SPEAKS AND STAYS THE SAME TOWARD US!  If I could fully comprehend the love of God.  Seriously, who is like that?  He knows our weaknesses, insecurities, and shortcomings, and yet He doesn’t hold them against us, He still loves us, and He treats us with the utmost respect and kindness.

 

I have heard it said that we will never have perfect theology on this earth – that is, we obviously can’t know it all, but Jesus, the Son of God, is perfect theology.  He is the One who represents God, and as we truly live for Him, washed clean by His blood, and carefully keep a clean conscience by staying connected to His heart, we can’t help but grow in clarity – understanding His Word, will, and direction.  1 John 2:20 (AMP) says that, as Christians, we have an anointing from God that teaches us about all things:

 

“But you have been anointed by [you hold a sacred appointment from, you have been given an unction from] the Holy One, and you all know [the Truth] or you know all things.”

 

This means that being rightly connected to God is truly the only way we can ultimately learn about all things!  We don’t have to go around figuring things out for ourselves, but can dive into His Word and entrust ourselves to our Creator to teach us.  I am not called to try and achieve clarity in life, or even about God’s Word, on my own.  I’m called to know God, love God, seek God, hear God, and follow God – to truly have communion with Him like I would a friend…and a friendship goes both ways.  If a deeper connection with God like this is something you want, why don’t you try it out?  Ask Him questions and genuinely wait on Him.  He’s not always going to give you the answers for everything that happens in life, but you will find that knowing Him means more than having all the answers.

 

To compare knowing God to talking in a telephone booth, I’d rather have a connection to the person on the other end with only a little bit of clarity than have no connection with perfect clarity.  Connection to a loving God who is trustworthy and true is all the clarity I need.

 

“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” – Matthew 6:33 (ESV)

 

Blog Pic: A telephone booth on the Royal Mile in Edinburgh, Scotland