Tuesday, November 14, 2017

I Need Help

          Yesterday I was so excited because I found myself in a place with God from which I could freely commune with Him and therefore with you, my reader.  But today, less than twenty-four hours later, I was feeling cold and disconnected again. How is that possible? I love the Lord. I know His Word. I have a desire to draw others closer to Him. I have a desire to not just love Him but to be passionately in love with Him, and to share that passion. But it’s not always that way.
          Love is so much more than a feeling. It’s definitely more than simple lip service. Jesus tells us in John 14:21 (NKJV), “He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me.” So, my saying I love God and feeling love for God is not real love at all. I’m a praiser, but my shouting and dancing and crying do not truly reflect my love for God. It’s my obedience that says whether I love God.
          So today I entered my office out of obligation (and to avoid dreaded housework). My office is the place where I go to meet my Father; the place where I seek His face. There was no excitement or thrill at the thought of again being with my Beloved. There was no passion or even affinity, just obligation. God doesn’t want simple obligation. He wants my heart; and I want Him to have it. But there was a disconnect and I didn’t know how to fix it.
          In an effort to “set the mood,” I pulled up YouTube and sought out “Dappy T Keys Piano Worship.” I selected “Come Boldly” and sat back to wait for the it to begin. As the soothing music began to play, Hebrews 4:16 came across the screen, “Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” I let those words sink into my spirit. I needed help to get beyond myself and in sync with God. But I didn’t have to do it on my own. He, the Father, would help me.
          How often do we forfeit peace and God’s presence because we forget that Holy Spirit is our Helper (John 14:26)? We forget that we can do as the desperate father in Mark 9:24 and ask for help in our unbelief. Not an unbelief in who He is, but who He is in us and to us; who we are. Philippians 2:13 reminds us that it is God working in us that causes us to both will and do His good pleasure. It is His will that we draw near to Him, that we earnestly seek Him. When we find the cares of this world hindering us in that pursuit, He will help us navigate the clutter and come to Him.
          I am certain I’m not the only one who has had a desire to seek God but just couldn’t get it together. Maybe like me you were doing the right things but somehow you weren’t connecting. I’m here to remind you as the Word of God and Tim Oladeru, aka Dappy T Keys reminded me, “…come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
          Let us pray…

Monday, November 13, 2017

Beginning Again

I am so excited to be sitting here at my computer with something to say! It’s been a long time, y’all. Too long in fact. But I feel nothing is worse than someone talking simply to hear their voice. If you don’t have anything to say, don’t say it! Or in this case, don’t type it.
With that said, I am grateful for the few followers I have had on my “Sharing the Journey” experience. Admittedly it hasn’t been much of a journey. I’d start and stop. Then start and stop again. In the end we haven’t gotten far. But you know the scripture that says, “Be still and know that I am God…” (Psalm 46:10)? Well that’s been me for longer than I care to admit.
After writing and publishing “From The Shepherd’s Heart” I was excited and ready to do great works for the Lord. When He freed me from my day job to focus completely on Him and the ministry He’d given me I was overjoyed. I was ready to do something great for the kingdom. Imagine my frustration when by way of instruction, Holy Spirit simply said, “Seek my face.”
I immediately began to memorize Psalm 27:8, “When You said, ‘Seek my face,’ My heart said to you, ‘Your face, Lord, I will seek.’” Then I wanted to know, what else? There was nothing else. I’m almost ashamed to admit that for nearly five years, I’ve been asking God, “What else?” There was and still is nothing else. Nonetheless, I was so focused on the “what else” I failed to fully commit to the seeking.
Hence, the starting and stopping of my journey. Anytime I entered whole-heartedly into the presence of God and sought Him with my all, He’d speak and give me something to say and I’d share. But when I entered His presence looking for content to write, I got nothing.
Right now, I’m focused on God. I’m sharing with you because that’s what He leads me to do when my focus is focused (Karate Kid knowledge). I ask that each of you pray that I stay humble and connected. God has great places to take us and when we’re “Sharing the Journey” the bumps are smoother and the way is straighter.
Be blessed!

Every now and then, Lord,
You give me words to say
But only when I seek your face
And commit myself to obey
You’ve given me a tongue of the learned
that I might speak to the weary soul
But that tongue is tied and only loosed
When I allow you to take control.
So right now, right this minute,
I surrender to your will.
I’ll not forget that you are God.
I need only to be still.

© Copyright 2017 by Dutchess Horton

Monday, July 17, 2017

The 3 P's of Pursuing God

I have noticed some changes in my Pursuit of God that I thought I’d share with my fellow sojourners. I would like to know if anyone else has noticed such a change or transition in their own pursuit.

When I first came to Christ I was living a pretty wild and free life style. Granted, if comparing myself to the world I wasn’t too bad. But we’re to compare ourselves to Christ which put me in the “wretched” category. My acceptance of Him as personal Savior was therefore more a pursuit of Protection or, as some would say, fire insurance than anything else. Simply put, I didn’t want to go to hell. I was living in south Georgia at that time and I knew I simply did not want to go to anyplace hotter than that!

Over time, in and out of church, I began to take my relationship with Christ more seriously. I was ready to now allow Him to be Lord as well as Savior of my life.  I began to be more frequent in church and more involved in ministry. I was looking to make some things happen in my life and I heard Jesus was the way. I heard a preacher suggest we confess, “I am out of debt with every need met; I have more to put in store; I am blessed to be a blessing!” Amen! I like that. Out of debt. Every need met. Sign me up. My pursuit of God became a pursuit of Presents or the blessings of God.

Here recently, however, I’ve noticed a change. I’ve finally BEGUN to cross over into what I call the third “P” of pursing God and that’s His Presence. I’ve finally come to a place where I just want Jesus. Don’t get it twisted though. I still want His Protection. I have absolutely no intention of going to hell. I figure it wasn’t created for me so no need for me to crash the party. I will also continue to welcome and be grateful for His Presents. I’ve learned material possessions are good in the good they allow me to do but not in and of themselves. But most importantly, I’ve learned that nothing, and I mean absolutely NO THING can compare to the sweet Presence of God. Even when I can’t feel Him (which is like liquid sunshine running through your veins – not my words but very accurate) to KNOW He’s there with me keeps peace in my heart. When I’m going through, I know I’m not going through alone. When weapons are formed against me I don’t worry but IN it all, I praise Him because I know that weapon shall not prosper.

So what about you, fellow sojourner? Which “P” of pursuit do you find yourself at? This is a no judgement zone. God loves us all the same whether we’re still pursuing for protection or have determined to pursue for His presence. So long as you’re pursing. you’re in the right place. 

Blessings to you all!

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Not Condemned

Each morning I get an email from the ministry of Pastor Joseph Prince that includes a scripture to meditate on and a devotional reading. This morning’s scripture was from Romans 8:1 (NASB), “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” It’s a scripture I’d read many times. I’d even memorized it (though admittedly I hadn’t learned the address.) But this morning was different. This morning I didn’t just get motivation; I received revelation.

The few of you who follow my blog know that my posts are sporadic at best. That’s because I had been under self-imposed condemnation. I felt like my writings weren’t good enough. There was little to no feedback so I began to think they weren’t blessing enough people. I kept wanting to do more for the Kingdom, to be more for God. I wanted to live out my calling and hear Him say, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant!” I felt as if I was failing.

I knew in my head that those fears or concerns were not of God. Yes, He wants me to fulfill the call He has placed on my life – through Christ. Yes, He wants me to make an impact in this world for His kingdom. Yes, He wants me to speak a word in season to him that is weary.  But I was slothful and slow and sometimes just downright disobedient. Each day I’d repent determined to do better the next day. But I’d end up remembering all that I am not and beat myself up. I was rendered ineffective.

But each day, I also pleaded with God to not give up on me. I knew, I know, He has a plan for me – plans for my good and not disaster, to give me a future and hope. I know I can do all things through Christ who give me strength. I also know that He who has begun a good work in me will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ. I know all of this – in my head. I needed it to get down into my inmost parts, into my heart, into my spirit. I needed the Words of God concerning me and His love for me to permeate every part of me. Then and only then would I be able to truly confess with the Apostle Paul, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20 NIV)

So today, I received revelation and each time condemnation began to attack me, I rehearsed Romans 8:1 and praised God for it. I thought back on the things God has already delivered me from and remembered the words of Mandisa, “I’m just ‘Unfinished’.”

I don’t know what tomorrow will bring but right now I declare and believe, I’m on the right path and I will remain there. I believe that I will go forth and declare the words of the Lord. I will keep the faith and I will finish my course.

Please continue to share this journey with me. Pray for me and I will pray for you. God is about to show us some things that will blow our minds! Then others will see and believe and proclaim the works of God and ponder what He has done. Do you believe?

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Help My Unbelief

I’ve been sitting here now for nearly an hour with laptop at hand but nothing to say.  There’s much on my mind and in my heart but how do I communicate it in such a way that it will be received? Actually, do I really want to communicate it at all is probably a better question. Here are my thoughts...
I had a friend to tell me some years ago that I was afraid of success. I thought he was a lunatic but because of who he was and our relationship I never forgot the words. I’ve prayed over them and allowed them some space in the back of my mind all these years, wondering if he was right. I think in some ways he was.
In my latest prayer covering this subject I asked God plainly, “What’s my problem? Why can’t I move forward in my calling when I KNOW I can’t possibly go back?” In response, I could almost see Him smile in my spirit – you know, one of those patient smiles a parent has for a child that seems to finally be receiving a truth that’s been spoken to them over and over again. In the end, it all boiled down to faith.
I realize it is impossible to please God without faith. He said so right there in Hebrews 11:6. So really, what is faith? Most who are Bible believers know the definition in Hebrews 11:1 (KJV) which states, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” I personally like the way Dr. Tony Evans puts it. He says, “Faith is acting like something is so even when it is not so in order that it might be so simply because God said so.”
What has God told me is question one? The next question is am I acting like it is so? Do I believe Him? My mind says yes, I believe Him. But my feet (actions) are not acting like it is so. I’m wavering – or am I? I don’t know, but I hear plainly and echo the heartfelt plea of the father in Mark 9:24 (NIV), “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”

Precious Father, I come to you first recognizing that you and you alone are God. You spoke the worlds into being and from dust you formed man. You then took on flesh and redeemed man after he sinned against you and for that I take the time to say thank you. I thank you that you are not a man that you should lie nor the son of man that you should repent. If you said it, you’ll do it; if you’ve spoken it you will make good. You have said in the book of Philippians that even as you’ve begun a good work in me you will complete it. I am who YOU say I am and I can do all that you have created me to do through Christ. I believe this, Father. I believe you. Help me overcome my unbelief. In Jesus’ name. Amen and amen.