Why are these two pictures related for Christmas?

I LOVE the symbolism of my little nativity. Before JESUS CHRIST was crucified on the cross and the veil that separated all from the Holy of holies was torn on the temple, the Ark of the Covenant alone hosted the presence of God. Jesus became the FINAL blood atonement for our sins, and we are now priests unto God who can BOLDLY approach His throne of Grace and into His most holy presence. Christ alone is the mediator between God and man, no longer do we need a High Priest to go before God for our sins or to be the only one to witness His Glory, Power and Presence.

Why is this such a BIG DEAL? Before the veil was torn the only person who was able to go before the Glory of God & Ark of the Covenant which was behind the thick veil of the temple was the high priest, once a year. He would go into the holy of holies with a rope tied around his ankle that had a bell on it. They did that because if for some reason the priest was not purified himself and if he did anything wrong he could drop dead. The bell was to hear if the priest fell.The Rope was to pull the priest out without risking going into the Holy of Holies and drop dead themselves.

But NOW WE only need to come before Him with pure hearts and the shed blood Jesus. King David said, obedience is better than sacrifice. Our obedience is to God when we live according to His principles and truth. Now the law or Bible when read and taught is written on our hearts through the Holy Spirit. 

Our OBEDIENCE  to His GUIDANCE  leads to His PEACE.

This Revelation hit me today smack between the eyes. Two nights ago I laid awake for hours praying about a situation with my son and crying out to God for wisdom and an answer. Yesterday God revealed a principle that I had been neglecting to walk in and how I related to my son. I asked God’s forgiveness and immediately started to change the way I was relating to my son. This morning when I woke up the peace and part of the answer that I was waiting for finally came. I began to hear God’s voice with the issue I was praying about. He told me today that because of my sacrifice and my obedience to him, He will now do His part. It doesn’t mean the situation is going to iron itself out quickly and be exactly the way I want it. But just the fact that I was able to finally hear His voice and receive His peace in the matter was astounding. All day yesterday I was wrestling with the feeling of not being able to hear clearly, I hate that feeling. It was like it was all cloudy and static between me and God. But in the meantime God was doing something in me that I had no idea was connected to the static and uneasiness.

God rewards our obedience no matter how small we think it might be. HE IS FAITHFUL! Now I learn to trust, listen to his voice and obey the simple instructions. The most comforting thought in the world for parent is to know that God loves our children even more than we do and he cares for their spiritual growth even more than we do.

I hope this blesses and encourages you like it has me. We are on the journey, but we are not alone.

“Inasmuch then as we [believers] have a great High Priest who has [already ascended and] passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession [of faith and cling tenaciously to our absolute trust in Him as Savior].
For we do not have a High Priest who is unable to sympathize and understand our weaknesses and temptations, but One who has been tempted [knowing exactly how it feels to be human] in every respect as we are, yet without [committing any] sin.
Therefore let us [with privilege] approach the throne of grace [that is, the throne of God’s gracious favor] with confidence and without fear, so that we may receive mercy [for our failures] and find [His amazing] grace to help in time of need [an appropriate blessing, coming just at the right moment].
Hebrews 4:14-16

The Benefits of Alignment – Favor & Peace

May He grant you your heart’s desire
And fulfill all your counsel!
Psalms 20:4 NAS

This mornings meditations and Bible research. This verse is very intriguing to me. Because many translations say “may he give you all your desires and make your plans succeed”

Except in the original Hebrew it says something A little bit different .
Grant you according to your own heart all your counsel .” The word for “according to your own heart” as well as “your counsel” is only written and used one time each in The Bible .

There is something about the other translations that didn’t sit well with me. Even though throughout the Bible it says God will give you the desires of your heart, People tend to see that as God giving you whatever you want. But we also know that Jesus said if you pray “according to my will” it will be done.
If Jesus gave us everything we asked for –
We would be a mess.

When we walk with God and rely on His counsel, we will understand His will which will be confirmed by his peace.  ~Rachelle Layzell

But the wisdom that is from above is pure, filled with peace, meek and attentive, filled with love and good fruit, without division and does not show partiality“. James 3:17

A commentator by the name of Gill said about Psalms 20:4, “whatever was agreed upon in the council and covenant of peace between him and his Father, relating to his own glory, and the salvation of his people.”

When we are in covenant with God and make our decisions according to his counsel – that is an agreement of his will. I believe it is THAT WILL Jesus was talking about.

Jesus said in John 10:10
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly [in the Greek perissos]

perissós (an adjective, derived from 4012 /perí, “all-around, excess”) – properly all-around, “more than” (“abundantly”); beyond what is anticipated, exceeding expectation; “more abundant,” going past the expected limit (“more than enough . . . “)

I believe there is a direct correlation between walking in council with God and living abundantly. When we align ourselves with God’s will while being in pure relationship with him we will be directed down the right path. The result of obedience while listening to his voice is FAVOR as He is then able to pour abundantly into our lives.  ~ Rachelle Layzell

It is like the parable of the Good Stewart who did not just waste his talents but invested them. When the master came back he then set him over larger realms of responsibility.

I love that parable because it shows how we partner with God and use the things that He has given us along with his wisdom to expand our influence and blessings . This journey with God is a partnership as well as a relationship. If we walk through life only enjoying the relationship and ignore the partnership a, we are missing out on heaven’s immeasurable resources.  ~ Rachelle Layzell

Jesus said in Matthew 15:15
1 I AM the True Vine, and My Father is the Vinedresser.2 Any branch in Me that does not bear fruit [that stops bearing] He cuts away (trims off, takes away); and He cleanses and repeatedly prunes every branch that continues to bear fruit, to make it bear more and richer and more excellent fruit.3 You are cleansed and pruned already, because of the word which I have given you [the teachings I have discussed with you].4 Dwell in Me, and I will dwell in you. [Live in Me, and I will live in you.] Just as no branch can bear fruit of itself without abiding in (being vitally united to) the vine, neither can you bear fruit unless you abide in Me.

5 I am the Vine; you are the branches. Whoever lives in Me and I in him bears much (abundant) fruit. However, apart from Me [cut off from vital union with Me] you can do nothing.6 If a person does not dwell in Me, he is thrown out like a [broken-off] branch, and withers; such branches are gathered up and thrown into the fire, and they are burned.7 If you live in Me [abide vitally united to Me] and My words remain in you and continue to live in your hearts, ask whatever you will, and it shall be done for you.8 When you bear (produce) much fruit, My Father is honored and glorified, and you show and prove yourselves to be true followers of Mine.9 I have loved you, [just] as the Father has loved Me; abide in My love [continue in His love with Me].10 If you keep My commandments [if you continue to obey My instructions], you will abide in My love and live on in it, just as I have obeyed My Father’s commandments and live on in His love.11 I have told you these things, that My joy and delight may be in you, and that your joy and gladness may be of full measure and complete and overflowing.12 This is My commandment: that you love one another [just] as I have loved you.13 No one has greater love [no one has shown stronger affection] than to lay down (give up) his own life for his friends.

14 You are My friends if you keep on doing the things which I command you to do.15 I do not call you servants (slaves) any longer, for the servant does not know what his master is doing (working out). But I have called you My friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from My Father. [I have revealed to you everything that I have learned from Him.]16 You have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you and I have appointed you [I have planted you], that you might go and bear fruit andkeep on bearing, and that your fruit may be lasting [that it may remain, abide], so that whatever you ask the Father in My Name [as presenting all that I AM], He may give it to you.

That is one incredible promise! Jesus no longer calls us servants but friends because he has revealed to us the father’s will.
IT IS TIME TO LIVE ABUNDANT LIFE AS WE WALK WITH GOD, LISTEN AND OBEY AND RECEIVE ALL HE HAS FOR US!

There is nothing like digging into the Word of God! Life to my bones  😀

Image may contain: flower, plant, text, nature and outdoor

REST!! Or Else!

No matter what season of life I am in, I HAVE to learn to find time to find rest in Him, even if it means saving up for a massage😉. Yesterday, was one of those days. On Saturday night I wanted to hop on a plane somewhere tropical and leave all the stress behind. Not possible. Next best thing was a husband who let me have the evening to spoil myself. He relaxes by whitewater kayaking, I relax by getting a massage. (To each his own, right?).
I did not go into my massage with the expectations of having a God encounter. I just wanted to relax. But something incredible happened as I begin to relax in the natural my spirit begin to commune with God in a very easy way.

There is nothing as tranquil as entering into the place of REST with our beloved Savior. It is only in Him we find pure saturating peace. In REST His voice is clear and His purpose is revealed.

 I was thanking him for all he’s done and he began to show me things about the masseuse and I began to sincerely pray for her. I didn’t think of where my prayers would lead because I was almost asleep in a relaxed state. After the massage was over I told her how thankful I was that God lead me to that place. She excitedly replied, “Oh, I Love God!!” Haha! Open door right there. I began to share with her what God showed me about her how much she loves her and he knows all the pain she has been through in the last three years with her family members. I told her that God has you right where she is supposed to be and told her I was praying that the windows of heaven would open up over her shower down more blessing that she could receive. She began to weep in the hallway and hugged me so tightly. God encountered both of us!
To tell you the truth walking into that place I had absolutely nothing in me to give. Or so I thought. But all it takes is having our mind focused on our Savior who is right there to meet us at the point of our need. He filled me as I “allowed” myself to rest. That is a good point right there, I ALLOWED myself to REST! (However, there is a difference between, rest and having fun, and intentionally spending time with God as we rest) Sometimes I think we have a high and mighty perception of serving God and others that we have to burn ourselves out in order to get everything done. But whenever I try to do that I am left absolutely wasted and I want to quit, I think that is called burnout. I never want to burn out I want to be consumed with the Holy Ghost fire of God and I want to see that fire burst out and touch my community and the nations. I need to allow myself time to rest, for my physical body sake, my family sake, my church’s sake and my sphere of influence.
The yoke that we are supposed to carry with God is not heavy unless we mistake being yoked to God to being yoked to our circumstances. He said My yoke is easy and my burden is light. Take my yoke upon you and learn of me for I am meek and lowly in heart you will find rest unto your soul. Walking side-by-side with God not trying to run out in front of him. Find REST, my soul, in God alone. He is my hope! God teach us to rest in you, to minister to others out of a place of rest. Consume us and release us to spread your fire!!

There is nothing as tranquil as entering into the place of REST with our beloved Savior. It is only in Him we find pure saturating peace. In REST His voice is clear and His purpose is revealed.

I found this amazing song by Kari Jobe this morning that goes along with what I shared above. I hope it blesses you!

 https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=mq59iE3MhXM

What ways have you found to allow yourself to rest in God? What happened as a result? 

  

Keys to a close relationship 

I have walked through the image on this picture so many times in the last 15 years of marriage. The first thing that happens when something is wrong is to clam up and not share what is really going on. We think the other person is going to just know what is wrong and change. Seriously? That never happens! What does happen is we are filled with anger, resentment and frustration. The wedge between us becomes wider and the angry giant is fed.
Relationships require humility & thinking of someone else before ourselves. In this case it means taking out the scalpel and digging into the deep parts of our heart even if it hurts us and possibly the other person. Transparency is the first step of reconciliation. Transparency with God and with our spouse. If it is too hard to take the first step then we must go to God first before we go to someone outside the problem. God is the best counselor, but too often we don’t trust him enough to take care of us. In our society we want everything microwave fast, even wisdom and counsel. We will spend time talking to a friend or counselor before we talk to God. He is Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father and PRINCE of PEACE! Allow the Prince of Peace into your marriage and relationships then allow yourself to open up and share what is on your heart. In most cases the other person will open up and share what was bothering them and reconciliation will come!
This year, lets see 2016 bring together husband and wife, father/mother & children, siblings, relatives, friends and coworkers. Lets allow the love of the Father to penetrate every relationship and bring a revelation of unity to the world. Happy New Year!!  

Recipe for Peace- whats on Your newsfeed?

If you spend any time watching the news or way too long looking at your newsfeed, than you know it is getting crazy out there. Dwelling on what is going on in the world without balancing by taking time resting in God’s presence and reading the Bible will lead to unnecessary anxiety. One of the last things my Grandpa David Hjertstedt told me before he died was to always keep my eyes open to what is going on around the world so I know how to interceed. He lead a long life of sacrifice and service to God while interceeding 24/7. He would lay on his bed all night weeping and groaning for the world to come to salvation. He taught my family and thousands of others to always have a pulse on the world and keep our ears open to what the Spirit of the Lord was saying. 

To be honest, lately, I have gotten out of balance. With all that is happening with ISIS, the Middle East and the lack of godly leadership coming from the White House my heart and mind and been overwhelmed. My source of peace has been right there but I did not turn to Him.  Today, I began looking up verses on Peace. While I read them it was like the Word slapped some sense back into me. We have to keep both eyes on Jesus Christ who is the salvation of our world, while looking at the world He holds in His hands. When our eyes are only on the world and where it is  heading we are willingly allowing anxiety, stress and fear enter our heart and spirit. The last thing you want is for a door to be left open to the enemy. CLOSE THAT DOOR IN JESUS NAME!! Repent for opening the door. Close the Door of fear! Close the door of worry! And Close the Door of doubt! Do not allow your good intentions of being alert to what is going on so you can pray, to be turned into an open door where the enemy can take advantage of your sensitive heart. 

Jesus said in Matthew 11:28-30 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” 

  
We need to make sure we let God carry the burdens while we walk side by side with Him carring His yoke. 

  
So my encouragement to you today is to stop watching/listening to the news for a while and set your focus on Him. Fill your facebook newsfeeds with scripture and encourage others where they can find true peace. Are we being a testimony of peace or are we only stirring fear? Never stop sharing truth of what is really going on in the world because too many people feel better with their heads in the sand. THAT IS NOT AN ACT OF BEING VIGILANT! Some Christians think that getting into politics or world affairs is not a position of peace, but in reality it is exactly what Jesus encouraged us to do. 

1 Peter 5:6-9 Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings. 

We need to be ambassadors of PEACE! We need to hold up the banner of Peace, Truth and Righteousness. There is an old song I remeber and the chorus goes “For the captain of the Host is Jesus. We are following in His footsteps. No foe can stand against us in our land!”

PRAY -BE ALERT & AWARE- SPREAD PEACE – SHARE THE SALVATION THAT ONLY COMES THROUGH JESUS CHRIST!  

Wake up Sleeper! Praying for Paris

  
This verse has been burning in my spirit all night as I have been praying for Paris, France. My heart is crying out for the world to wake up and see the hope, peace, salvation that only Jesus Christ can bring. As we are praying for France, pray that the eyes of the worlds hearts are opened to see the hope of their callings!

For this reason He says, “Awake, sleeper, And arise from the dead, And Christ will shine as dawn upon you and give you light.” 

Therefore see that you walk carefully living life with honor, purpose, and courage; shunning those who tolerate and enable evil, not as the unwise, but as wise sensible, intelligent, discerning people, making the very most of your time on earth, recognizing and taking advantage of each opportunity and using it with wisdom and diligence, because the days are filled with evil. Therefore do not be foolish and thoughtless, but understand and firmly grasp what the will of the Lord is. Do not get drunk with wine, for that is wickedness corruption, stupidity, but be filled with the Holy Spirit and constantly guided by Him

Ephesians 5:14-18

  

May the Lord Bless You, Protect You and give you Peace

I needed this verse this morning and tried to find the perfect picture to put behind the verse. I am holding on to God’s promise in Numbers 6:24-26 and declare it over you today!

Numbers 6:24-26 The Lord bless you, and keep you protect you, sustain you, and guard you; The Lord make His face shine upon you with favor,And be gracious to you surrounding you with lovingkindness; The Lord lift up His countenance face upon you with divine approval,And give you peace a tranquil heart and life.’ Amplified Version

How to teach our kids to make wise godly decisions 

HOW TO TEACH OUR KIDS TO MAKE WISE GODLY DECISIONS. This verse arrested me this morning. I have been seeking God about something for one of my kids and God told me to turn to Hosea 10. Nothing hit me until I got to Verse 12 then it was like the Fourth of July went off in my spirit- there is more to the story that I will continue very soon.
What I can say now, is that I am so thankful we have taught our kids how to hear the voice of God. It is in times like this where God is directing my 12 year old’s path and even talked to my son before he talked to us his parents. Our conversation about this totally took us by surprise. We are teaching our son that having the feeling or a sense is not the only way we go about making decisions. When we feel like God is talking to us there are many confirmations we need to get before we make major decisions in our life. Even though he had a couple vivid dreams about this situation and really wanted to do it, we told him we need to dig in a little deeper to God’s heart and get confirmation in other ways. 🚦

1. We asked him if he had prayed about it. Yes, sincerely🙏🏻

2. Did he ask for advise from parents and pastors? 👍🏻Yes from us and he went on his own to talk to his pastor yesterday, which was easy because it is his (Papa) Grandpa Hjertstedt. The cool part was that we didn’t even tell him to do this, he did it on his own 😍

3. What confirmation has he seen in the Bible? 🔦 he hasn’t come to this part himself but the verse below did it for me. Reading it and studying its meaning gave me confidence and peace. Now I will ask him to see what God says to him from the Bible.

Colossians 3:16 Let the word spoken by Christ the Messiah have its home in your hearts and minds and dwell in you in all its richness, as you teach and admonish and train one another in all insight and intelligence and wisdom in spiritual things, and as you sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, making melody to God with His grace in your hearts. – Amplified

4. Is there an open door for the desired decision to happen? 🚪Need to knock and find out.

5. Provision? Is the financial part working out?💸 “If it is God’s WILL it is God’s BILL .” says my dad, Joel Hjertstedt

6. Do you have peace? Do your parents and pastors have peace? ✌Yes

Colossians 3:15 And let the peace (soul harmony) which comes from Christ rule (act as umpire) continually in your hearts deciding and settling with finality all questions that arise in your minds, in that peaceful state to which as members of Christ’s one body you were also called to live. And be thankful appreciative, giving praise to God always.   -Amplified

Unfortunately, I know many adults who have never learned this process of making a wise godly decision. It breaks my heart and I hope this blesses you to see how we can go about making a decision and know we have followed God’s heart and lead down his path.

Here is a link to Joyce Meyers article about making good decisions. Definitely a confirmation.

https://www.joycemeyer.org/articles/ea.aspx?article=following_peace_to_make_the_right_decisions

Hosea 10:12 Sow for yourselves according to righteousness uprightness and right standing with God; reap according to mercy and loving-kindness. Break up your uncultivated ground, for it is time to seek the Lord, to inquire for and of Him, and to require His favor, till He comes and teaches you righteousness and rains His righteous gift of salvation upon you. (Amplified version)


You were not born with a cape!

Lets just say, it was a very bad morning. Which started last night when my daughter finally let me wiggle her tooth that needed to come out because she has another one behind it coming in. Unfortunately we didn’t stop till 9:45 PM which was way past their bedtime. (Husband not happy) The tooth is still in there. That affected everybody else at night and this morning as they were very tired. My oldest (12yrs) didn’t have clothes that were clean because he did not follow directions and put them in the washing machine over the weekend, dispite 3 reminders. Then he broke his brother’s plastic gun by sitting on it. Which resulted in a very mad brother.

 All in all, everybody got to school on time and I was very happy to know that I am not superwoman. Despite my day starting off the way it did I will not live in a state of frustration or depression.  God said, 

  

I am so thankful that I can rely on his grace and strength every day. Because if I had to go on my own, it would’ve stopped about 12 years ago.

NEVER FORGET- GOD DID NOT CREATE YOU WITH A CAPE! So stop living under the expectations of being superwoman.

  

I realized today that I need to make sure I am DAILY declaring the promises of God over myself, my children, my family and friends, my church, my city and my nation.

I just purchased the book “65 Promises from God for your child” by Mike Shreve. (http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/1616389605/ref=mp_s_a_1_1?qid=1432068946&sr=8-1&pi=AC_SY200_QL40&keywords=65+promises+from+god+for+your+child&dpPl=1&dpID=510LChhk6yL&ref=plSrch)

  

 I am literally trembling with excitement just reading the first few pages. It is time to start to DAILY declare the promises of God over my children. As I declare it will change my own attitude and shift my spirit to be focused on my kids are the eyes of Christ.

Here is the article I found out about his book

http://www.charismamag.com/life/relationships/16417-learn-to-claim-god-s-promises-for-your-children

Wait for the Lord

A week of heartbreaking news for many loved ones makes this verse Ring in my soul. God is our hope, our sure foundation. When we are seated in heavenly places with the King of Kings our focus in life must be from God’s perspective down. When we see life through His eyes- THERE IS HOPE. Let the Prince of Peace fill you with His Comfort, Hope and Joy today!