A FRESH YES

pic of expired labelsCleaning out my pantry, I noticed a lot of things in my stock pile has expired.  The reason for this is because, when I purchased these items, based on the super deal or coupon I had, the excitement of the savings caused me to get more than what I would have, if there was no sale or savings.  Sometimes, what this looks like is a storage of a bulk load of salad dressings, can goods, chips, crackers, etc.  What then happens is, days turn into months, the months turn into a year or years and because of my stock, things expire- lose its freshness or cease to be valid or fresh, become out of date, no longer useable, old, not good, you get where I’m going, right. 

As the year of 2018 made its exit.  It too has expired.  Sure we may have experienced some fun moments, but there is a great majority of us, that have had some major horrific experiences.  Not just one year, but years of painful moments, trials and tribulations.  As we enter into a new year, my goal is to help us approach it and go through it, by offering a word of encouragement and hope. 

Recently, I was speaking with another sister in Christ and I began to share my WALK with her.  I explained my fears, my heartbreaks, my rebellious moments and all.  I’ve come to realize that following God is not summed up with my first answer to the call.  That first “yes” only afforded me many more opportunities, in which I would have to answer “Yes.”  Let me explain.  My “yes” to salvation was just for that.  Then I had to answer, “Yes” to the call of ministry, which opened up other opportunities for more Yes’.   I had to say “Yes” to be a Pastor and now, I find myself in another place, where God is requiring another “Yes” from me!   Got it?  Anyhoo… from that conversation, I found myself speaking to another person about going back to their old life, and another one, tired of standing and another one beat up from the journey.  These stories are filled with pain, doubt, regret, disappointment in their self and God.  Most of these women are filled with pain because they feel like they have failed as a Christian; failed as a minister; failed God.   Anybody else here?  I understand and I want to share another person’s journey with you, in which I pray give you what you need to claim your victory and take your joy back.

Peter was one of Jesus’ beloved disciples that was full of zeal, daring, fearless and full of faith.  I mean, out of all the disciples, he had some amazing experiences.  He walked on water!!!  Out of all the disciples, he was the first one that received the revelation of who Jesus really was, and he also was the only one that professed his undying love for Christ, when he utter the words, “Lord, I am ready to go to prison with you, and even to die with you.”- Luke 22:33  These are the words of a person who is sold out, dedicated and committed, on fire, full of life and energy, bold and fearless, focused and more.  Does this sound like you, at least, at one time on this journey?   As the story continues, we find this same Peter, who was once fresh and vibrant, defeated at his own denial of knowing Christ, because of fear and the pressures of life.  Can you relate?

We all start out fresh, full of life, faith,  hope, dreams, goals, expectations and somewhere along the way, the days turn into months, and the months turn into years and life happens, loss happens, dreams fade, faith and hope dwindles, goals seem harder to reach, and when we look at ourselves, we realize we have lost our freshness.  Our YES, is no longer as solid or as strong as it first was.  Instead of our Yes, being a sure Yes, it has turned into “a maybe or a sometimes” or for some of us, just like Peter, “No, I don’t know Jesus; No, I don’t trust Jesus; No, I don’t (whatever that is) anymore!”

The good news is, you’re only one YES away from turning things around.  All God needs is a fresh- a new, not tainted, not soiled or spoiled, never heard before, YES!  A FRESH YES!  Let’s see what this looks like.

John’s account of Peter’s experience is so inspiring because, it gives hope to all who have ever fell, lost hope, lost faith, denied the power of God or even knowing Him.  Here’s what happened…After Peter’s denial, Jesus was indeed crucified, buried and resurrected, just as He had prophesied.  After the resurrection, Jesus finds Peter back at the same place he found him the first time; back fishing. (John 21) How many of you have went backwards or back to things or places that Jesus pulled you out of.  Then this is going to bless you.

Jesus has a conversation with Peter and asks, “Peter, do you love me?” and Peter responded with a YES!  At this moment, in the conversation, Jesus didn’t recall the mess up, the failure, the weakness, the lack of faith, the inability to stand or anything like that.  None of that didn’t matter.  It was in the past.  It was old news.   All He wanted to know at this very moment, “Do you love me?”   In the moment that Peter could say the words Yes, this was a profound restoring moment.  Peter’s “Yes” replaced the old, expired “Yes.”  No matter what he did or didn’t do, is no longer of importance today.  All that matters is today.  A fresh yes is sweet repentance.  A fresh yes replaces the expired, damaged, flawed and expired.  And behold…all things are new.  You no longer work from the dry place, but from a fresh and renewed place.  Even your regrets and disappointments are expired, and just like with all expired things, those things are discarded and no longer valid.  God is no longer concerned with those things.  The only thing that matters today is your answer to the question, “Do you love me?”  “For if you love me, you will do (whatever I have asked of you).  I’m not worried about the failures, the mistakes, the weak moments, and the low moments.  All that matter is NOW,” says The Lord!

So now to answer the question, that requires a fresh yes.   For some of us, A Fresh Yes, will be restoration.  For some of us, it’s the next “Yes” for the next shift, level or elevation.  The word “Yes” is simply agreement coupled with action.  This one word holds the key to your future and your purpose.  It releases movement, progress, growth and so much more into your life.  You are not bound by the past, only the refusal to give Him A Fresh Yes!  Happy New Year!

Blessings,

Pastor Clarissa

WHAT MORE CAN I GIVE

empty cupHave you ever felt like the Lord wanted more from you, but you didn’t have more to give?  Like…where is the “more” going to come from?  For me, I often feel overwhelmed as it is, and yet, He wants more!

I have been pastoring for three years, and within that time, I have attempted to do all that I felt God wanted me to do, along with be a mom, a wife and a friend to people who depend on me greatly, and I just don’t have any more to give at this moment.  No matter how much I say this, it doesn’t seem like God is listening to me.  No matter how hard I try to resist and ignore this pull, the tugs continue to get stronger and stronger.  Don’t get me wrong…I know He is stronger than I am, but I still find myself holding onto the rope of “His will versus my will” and not fully surrendering.  Maybe a part of me doesn’t know how to fully surrender at this new place.  I mean…what does that look like really? 

I vision myself holding onto this rope.  I see me on one end and God on the other.  He’s pulling one way and I’m pulling the opposite way.  It looks like we’re in a game of tug-of-war, trying to prove who’s stronger.   Again, I know He’s stronger than I am.  My strength is no match against His, yet, at certain times, I find myself wrestling with God, as Jacob did in the book of Genesis, chapter 32.  In these moments, I find myself not wanting to give in to God fully.  Like really… I don’t have any more to give!  I’m almost on E!  I’m tired and overwhelmed, and sometimes, if I can be honest, I’m a little weary!    Nevertheless, no matter how much I resist the tugs and pulls, He doesn’t stop calling.  He doesn’t let me rest.  He will not give up! 

What I’ve found to be true is—the Holy Spirit is very persistent in His work!  He does not give up easily, because His desire is to accomplish the purpose of the Father through us.  That is why He keeps calling us!  That is why He won’t let us rest!  That is why He makes us uncomfortable!  That is why He keeps tugging at our hearts!  (Hands lifted in a praise of thanks!)

He’s saying to me (and maybe to you)… “I know you’re tired, but I want to fill you with MORE!  I have MORE to say, MORE to show you, MORE to give you, MORE to do in you and through you, MORE to do for you!  Come to me those of you who are heavy burdened, and I will give you rest, but in the rest, I will restore, revive and refill you with MORE!  It is after I fill you with MORE, that you will have MORE to give!  Let me fill you up!”

Sometimes we don’t give in right away.  Sometimes it takes us months, and even years.  Sometimes we are like Jonah, and run first, but the Spirit of God is still at work; yet calling, yet pulling and tugging at our hearts, until we eventually give in.

As I give in, to the tugs (the drawing of The Holy Spirit), I allow myself to slowly be pulled in His direction!  I’m not sure what’s next, but I know, in order for me to accomplish all that He is requiring of me, I NEED MORE!  More of Him and less of me!  More of His guidance!  More of His anointing!  More of His power!  More understanding!  More clarity!  I NEED MORE!  Anybody else?

As I prepare to release this blog, I have made plans (with permission/agreement from my husband) to take a mini spiritual sabbatical retreat.  I’m removing myself for a couple of days, to unplug from everyone and everything (almost), just to focus on and spend time with God, for restoration, revival and direction for the church and ME!  I’m going to allow Him to fill me up with MORE!  I want to encourage you ladies, to start taking some dedicated time, just to seek God!  It doesn’t have to be a week or a month, but whatever time you can find, to go away, unplug and withdraw (separate and remove yourself) from others, so that you can withdraw (pull from or take away, in order to add something of value) from God!

Heavenly Father, I thank you for allowing me to share with my sisters today.  I pray the words that they have read, have been a real blessing to them in this season.  I pray for every woman who may find themselves in a tug-of-war challenge with you, because of the overwhelming weight of the call and assignments on their life.  May we recognize when you are calling us to MORE, to give us MORE, and may we always be responsive and receptive and surrender!  Thank you for being patient with us when we don’t respond correctly, yet continuing to be persistent in your work within us.  Thank you for not giving up on us.  I pray for every woman who is running on empty, and may be weary.  I pray she surrender to the pulls and tugs that she fill, so that you may fill her up with MORE!  Give us more God!  We want more!  More of you and all that you have for us!  We receive it now, in Jesus Name!  Amen

Blessings,

Pastor Clarissa