An Eternal Hope

“The only way to not live life like the rest of the world is to have the hope of eternity”              (Pastor Jim Sheen)

I recently completed my graduate degree, and what a journey it was! Many hours were spent reading, comprehending, and attempting to form sentences (…MANY sentences) that reflected what I had learned. Yet, when I got to the end I realized those months of learning were simply an introduction into what was to come.

Two weeks prior to the completion of my degree, I began to sense God stirring my heart; He was calling me to lay down my perceptions of what I believed was next, and to open my heart to what He had written for me. During these two weeks, (…and a few after) a level of anxiety began to rise. Questions began to run through my mind; questions that nearly every graduate on this planet seems to wrestle with- the greatest being “How will I pay this school bill!” Many more questions came that began to evoke anxiety, and caused me to come to terms with the fact that I needed to enter into reality! […side note, you cannot be a student forever!]

It was during this time of questioning that led to anxiety that my faith began to be attacked- my faith that just weeks ago was soaring, and was leading me into new places! With these questions swimming around in my already FULL graduate brain, I finally stopped long enough to understand that God was not stirring my heart toward an earthly strategy or answer, but rather an eternal hope! Hear this truth Beloved…

“Demons cannot mess with a faith that is rooted in eternity, but they can certainly mess with your faith when it is rooted in this life, and this life only. When your life is rooted in this life only its rooted in an expectation of what God should, and should not do. YET, if your life is rooted in eternity then you know that everything you are going through here is being worked out in a place that you cannot see right now” (Pastor Jim Sheen)

As I sat listening on Sunday to this PERSPECTIVE CHANGING truth hope rose, and answers to the stirring that weeks ago sent me into a tailspin, sent me soaring once again! You see, ALL of the preparation, the hours of studying and writing, the years of walking through the life that I have, the desires of my heart seemingly unfulfilled- it ALL had meaning, purpose, and an eternal hope now connected to it! I cannot explain what is to come in eternity, but I can say with FULL assurance that EVERYTHING has purpose!

Beloved, perhaps you like me have come to a place once again, or maybe for the first time, where you are asking, “What does this all lead to, what is next for me in this life?” Understand me when I say that those are not incorrect questions to ask YET, I implore you to also look further, and believe that what you have faced, are facing, and will face as a Child of God is intricately woven into the tapestry of eternity.

As my Pastor stated on Sunday:

“Everything here is ONLY an introductory chapter to everything there (eternity)”                      (Pastor Jim Sheen)

fix-your-eyes

Beloved, set your vision higher! Hear the words of this beloved song:

“Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full into His wonderful face, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace.”

As my Pastor encouraged us at the close of our service, I too share this with you…

“We are here to run a race that the world is not running…ask God to put a fresh vision in your heart for your current situation…” Ask God to give you an eternal hope…because, this is the story He wrote!

[Read and Meditate on these passages]:

John 14:1-3; 2 Peter 3:10-12; 2 Timothy 4:6-8; Acts 1:6-11

STAYED TUNED!

…I will be returning in the month of November. Keep pressing into Jesus, and know that He is fighting for you, believes in you, and knows intimately the story He wrote for you!

You are BLESSED & highly FAVORED!

He was awake before He was asleep…

This morning I was meditating on Luke 8:22-25:

22 One day he got into a boat with his disciples, and he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side of the lake.” So they set out, 23 and as they sailed he fell asleep. And a windstorm came down on the lake, and they were filling with water and were in danger. 24 And they went and woke him, saying, “Master, Master, we are perishing!” And he awoke and rebuked the wind and the raging waves, and they ceased, and there was a calm. 25 He said to them, “Where is your faith?” And they were afraid, and they marveled, saying to one another, “Who then is this, that he commands even winds and water, and they obey him?”
Reading this story in times past I have been fascinated by the place in which these nervous fisherman found Jesus during the storm; asleep. Yet, as I read this morning I was struck with the knowledge that Jesus was awake before he was found asleep! Bear with me for one moment…
Lukes Gospel reads “one day he (Jesus) got into a boat with his disciples, and he said to them, ‘Let us go across to the other side of the lake.’ Interesting…Matthew and Mark’s Gospels make similar statements…
Matthew 8:23 states… “23 And when he (Jesus) got into the boat, his disciples followed him.”
Mark 4:35 states…”35 On that day, when evening had come, he (Jesus) said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.” 36 
Before these nervous fisherman were in the thick of the stormy seas…they were on dry land ministering side by side with Jesus. They watched miracles take place- they saw a mans withered hand restored- they were with Jesus when a DEAD boy was raised to life- they accompanied Jesus to the places where He was sent.
What I saw today was not a bunch of nervous fisherman on a boat in the middle of a storm with Jesus asleep on the back of the boat, BUT a bunch of fisherman on boat in the middle of a storm with Jesus asleep on the back of the boat AT THE invitation of Jesus!
Jesus INVITED these nervous fisherman onto the boat! He was awake before He was asleep!
What place has Jesus invited you into? Do you find yourself in the midst of a storm? Do you question if Jesus is there in that place with you? Beloved, Jesus was awake before He was asleep- Jesus is with you in the place to which He invited you…and the storm you are facing right now is NOT a surprise…
He invites you to rest, to trust, and to know that you are in the middle of the very place He invited you into-
Be Still
Beloved, rest in know that this is the story He wrote!

 

Wait…

We are just 1 day, and a few hours away from Zion’s River “Igniting the Fire” Conference! Anticipation has been building, and expectation is on the rise.

Ignite The Fire Zions River Tacoma WA

Recently, I heard a prayer regarding the 20th day, and becoming anxious when in a fast or a time of waiting it appears that what has been promised or “waited” upon looks as if it will not happen…and there is a tendency to give up…this prayer focused on waiting for the 21st day and believing that the promise will come.

Why am I bringing this up? Well, last week on Saturday I was struck with “the illness” (as we called it in our house!) Maybe you know it! The stomach flu…yuck! Moving on…I lay there on the couch thinking “…the conference starts next week, and I CANNOT BE SICK!” I began planning how I could find someone to fill my spot…etc…then I felt Holy Spirit on the inside say – WAIT!

The “illness” passed and Monday evening rolled around. I was enjoying an amazing time with one of my sisters and her daughter, and out of NOWHERE an event took place that rocked me, and brought up memories of my past, and once again I found myself thinking “…I may need to shift my plans for the conference…” BUT once again Holy Spirit said WAIT!

Today, I have been hearing of issues arising in relationships, irritations in emotions, unexpected financial issues, and so on…So, I cried out to the Lord just moments ago and asked “God, what is the word for your people today? How can I encourage your people in these final hours before the conference?”

He said “WAIT“…So I asked the Lord to back up His word through His Word…and this is where He led me…Beloved, let this encourage your soul…Here, Jesus is speaking to His disciples…

“And while staying with them he (Jesus) ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, ‘you heard from Me, for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now…” (Acts 1:4-5)

Beloved, in 1 day and some hours, many of you are going to be standing with us at Zion’s River for our “Igniting the Fire” Conference… However, there is still a time of waiting and preparation before this time. I believe SO STRONGLY in my spirit that what Jesus commanded his disciples, He is instructed each of us toward…

WAIT! For “…not many days from now…” We WILL encounter God! WE WILL be IGNITED with HIS FIRE! You will be baptized with the Holy Spirit…Chapter 1 continues on by stating…

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)

Beloved, “…not many days from now…” we will all come together to Zion’s River and, as we have been believing, “…we will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon us…” and we WILL be IGNITED with FIRE…and we will be sent out to be His witnesses to every place assigned…Yet…

We must WAIT!

Are you being bombarded with emotions, issues of the past, last minute things coming up that you did not expect? Are you contemplating not being at the conference now?

WAIT!

Beloved, YOU ARE CALLED for such a time as this! YOU ARE CALLED to this time to be ignited with His fire! Stand up, worship the Lord! Lift Him above EVERY trial, EVERY circumstance, EVERY thought…and DECALRE your commitment to God’s plans and purposes for this hour!

The leadership team at Zion’s River is praying for you and believing that God WILL MOVE! Stand…STAND…& KEEP STANDING! Hold up the arms of Pastor Jim & Lorelei and let’s believe together for the fire to be ignited!

Beloved, let’s be ignited for the story He wrote about US!

The BEST day of my LIFE!

This morning on my way into work I stopped at Starbucks (…like 1/2 the population!) I ordered my breakfast (Thank God for gift cards!), and  as I was handed my order the barista said-

“Have the BEST day of your LIFE!”

WOW! What- today? The best day of my life TODAY! Huh- Driving away my brain began firing; her words of blessing stirred up a fire on the inside of me. Have the BEST day of your LIFE!

I began to consider what I would say the BEST day of my LIFE would really look like. Do you know…every “BEST day” I could think up was tied to something I have been waiting for…meeting my “husband-to-be”, my wedding day, looking into the eyes of my child for the first time, traveling the world, etc…

In this moment of pondering, I heard Holy Spirit ask- “Isn’t it possible that you are living the BEST day of your LIFE right now? And isn’t it possible that EVERYDAY could be The BEST day of your LIFE? Isn’t it possible that because of the finished work of Jesus, and ALL that is, and is to come, you are living RIGHT NOW the BEST day of your LIFE? Screeeeeeech….mental brakes engaged! WOW- YES!!!!!

Beloved, John 10:10b says:

…Jesus HAS come! Not He WILL come, or He is thinking about coming, or He’s planning on coming but hasn’t found time…YES- He HAS come…As Sons & Daughters we are ALIVE in the BEST day of our LIVES! Yes, it’s TRUE-

You see, the devil is up to no good of course, and his daily plan is to try and convince us that if we could just (…fill in the blank) we would (….fill it in again!) O when we (____) then (_____).

IT IS FINISHED! On Resurrection Sunday my Pastor, Jim Sheen (www.zionsriver.com) spoke about the true definition of what was accomplished on that GREAT DAY! What was accomplished was this- the Fear of Death was BROKEN!!!! He defined the Fear of Death in this way…

“A mind bound to decisions that must be accomplished or experienced
within a limited time.”
Have you ever had that sense that if you don’t ever get to (fill in the blank) then you will be disappointed, you will have missed out, your life will have not amounted to anything? Maybe you, like me have been waiting to get married, have children, travel the world and you have equated the BEST day of your LIFE in this manner. Has your mind been bound to decisions that MUST be accomplished or experienced within this limited time we have on earth?
Is it possible that Jesus Himself is saying to us today- “Have the BEST day of your LIFE” even in the midst of trial, pain, loss, confusion, debt, divorce, sickness, on an on- Is it possible that thousands of years ago, stepping out of the grave, walking through the walls of our lives Jesus made a statement for ALL OF TIME- Today IS the BEST day of your LIFE! IT IS FINISHED!
Pastor Jim stated:
“Believe the truth: As you follow Jesus, you are just on your way to something more,
something greater. My story that God wrote about me continues from this moment into
eternity! Since you are favored in eternity, you are favored here!”
Beloved, in this place of favor, you are presented with an opportunity to be alive NOW! To experience the BEST day of your LIFE now! Do you struggle with this reality? What is to be done…Pastor Jim boldly proclaimed Jesus’s words:
“Be born-again! John 3:3 & Connect your living to the power of believing Luke 24:49 &
Acts 1:8″
Are you waiting for the BEST day of your LIFE to happen? Beloved, stop what you are doing, open your heart, be born-again, come into the ABUNDANT life NOW! Beloved, TODAY will then become the BEST day of your LIFE….because this is the story He wrote!

Living Intentionally

Do you ever have mornings where upon waking your body says “HOLD UP, are you really going to get out of this bed? Shouldn’t we just relax? Don’t you know your back hurts, and just one more hour would be great!”

Or how about this one “It will be ok, when you get home you can just relax! Just get through this day.” Hmm..maybe its this one- “I know I SAID that I was going to do that, and I know I SHOULD, but! I KNOW I said I wanted to eat better but…Did I SAY THAT? Must have been someone else! (wink…wink..)” Oh LORD! How many times I’ve said it…

As I woke this morning and was sitting in bed, listening to the 1st script going off in my head, actually its been a couple of days now…God asked “Melissa, who & what is informing your life? WOW-

I am currently taking a course for my graduate degree entitled “Leadership & Character Development” Hahahaha…ironic! I DONT THINK SO- God is so clever! The foundation belief for this course is this: Without truly being developed from the inside out leaders NEVER have the ability to reach their true potential! Leaders can spend a lifetime climbing the ladder of success, but if your heart is not developed, you will eventually fail somehow!

This week the topic is “The process of character formation” PROCESS! WHAT!!! Oh yes- Many of us have been given a vision for the story written about us, but without intentionally engaging in that vision we cannot bring forth fruit for God’s glory! As Dallas Willard states, in his book entitled Renovation of the Heart, “…we must intend the vision if it is to be realized…we must initiate…those factors that would bring the vision to reality.”

How many of you have a vision? Is it a Kingdom vision? Beloved, that vision requires your intention! What did you say! REALLY? Oh yes! I believed (vision) that I needed to obtain my Master’s Degree…all of the believing in the world would not make a difference if I did not enroll in school, and study weekly, completing assignments (intention)!

So, I enrolled in school, and have completed several courses, and am on track to graduate soon. YET, it has NOT been without a FIGHT! There has been MUCH WARFARE! What did you say! REALLY? My Pastor, Jim Sheen (Zion’s River- Tacoma, WA), stated on Sunday “Every place assigned to you will resist you.” He highlighted Galatians 5:16–17 (ESV)—

16 “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.”

Beloved, the manifestation of vision will not come without a fight- without warfare! Our will/flesh..is opposed to the spirit within us! There WILL BE a cost…and you will be tempted to retreat from the place of destiny, you will be tempted at times to set your story down, and pick of another that is seemingly better, easier, and without the level of warfare currently present! You might be tempted to listen to other voices calling for you to retreat, and just stay in bed…but

“The place you are avoiding is the place you HAVE to go!” (Pastor Jim Sheen)

Beloved because I believe that you, like me, have a vision, you have a story, you have purpose- the only way to see fulfillment and victory in the land… is to not only say yes, but we MUST engage, we must intentionally move ourselves forward through our daily choices.

 Beloved, we must pay attention to the voices speaking into our lives, we must be aware of our agreement with those voices. We must realize that vision can only be actualized when I intentionally engage. We must be aware that the enemy does not want us to reach our potential in Christ and that every place assigned will resist us. Beloved, we must understand that the place we are avoiding is the place we HAVE to go!

Beloved, it is time…its time to attune our ear to the Father, submit our heart to His Holy Spirit, and intentionally engage with our story. He is with you, for you, and believes you can! He planned your days and the places you would live them out! Psalms 139- Acts 17

Beloved He is FOR YOU! He is a GOOD GOOD FATHER! Be bold…for this is the story He wrote!

Seeing the Song

This morning my Pastor, Jim Sheen, shared a message from Psalms 40:3

He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the Lord.”

As I was listening to him speak about how the new song placed in our mouth by God would turn people to God, something stood out to me. I heard, and read, that the new song placed in our mouth by God would been seen!

Now, typically we would say that a song is heard, and indeed it is but I believe that the song of the Lord in us, as Pastor Jim stated in his message, is not simply a song we sing in our time of worship together, but rather its the sound our life produces as EVERYTHING we are lifts up, exalts, and magnifies Jesus!

The song, the praise that we release from our life is designed to be seen! The worship that emanates from our life in the places where we live, move, and have our being (Acts 17), when seen will cause people to see, fear, and put their trust in the Lord! WOW-

Beloved, God has lifted you up and set your feet on the rock Jesus Christ. HE has placed a new song in your mouth, and when you release the new song people are made to see! Beloved, may you connect with the new song that has been placed in your mouth by God. Today, may the new song be seen by those connected to your life.

May people see the song, “…and put their trust in the Lord.”

Beloved, this is the story He wrote!