Monthly Archives: May 2017

perfect peace

Perfect Peace – What Is It?

Isaiah 26:3 says, “You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.” I often pray asking for peace, but upon contemplation and study I have discovered that I was viewing peace in a very limited way. Frequently people use the Hebrew word “Shalom,” which in its simplest meaning can mean “peace.” This is awesome and powerful, yet shalom in Isaiah 26:3 means so much more. Isaiah, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, used the wording “perfect peace.” What’s the difference between “peace” and “perfect peace?”

In Hebrew when someone says shalom, shalom, saying it twice, it is a method of putting greater emphasis on the word. “You will keep him in” everything the word shalom implies: peace, well-being, health, happiness. Now that adds a lot more to our narrow understanding of the word shalom…peace.

The word translated “mind” is not the usual Hebrew word, but has a much deeper meaning. It means “creative imagination.” The Holy Spirit is teaching us this concept—when I am firmly grounded and founded on the awesome, all-knowing, all powerful, everywhere present God, God will cause my mind, my creative imagination, the seat and development of all my plans and ideas to come into alignment. It means that one will enjoy and live in all the implications of shalom, shalom. God’s heart and destiny will be implanted and develop in my creative imagination. Hopefully I won’t ignore that inspiration. Somehow, we as human beings can pooh pooh away the creative inspiration God gives, thinking it was just our own crazy thinking, when in reality it was God giving us something very powerful.

There have been many times when I have prayed asking God to show me how to do something, and at first it sounded crazy to me, but then as I thought about it, although the idea seemed out of the box, I chose to move on it. And guess what…it was a huge success.

Then there have been times when I tried to pattern myself after what someone else was doing that looked so successful, or I tried to implement the latest new thing only for it to crash, flat on its face.

The answer is to seek God for His heart and direction. Listen carefully, asking Him for great clarity as you wait, listening before Him for what He wants to speak. Yes, peace is great, but how much fuller and richer is the “shalom, shalom” of God, peace, well-being, health, and happiness? So today I bless you with “shalom, shalom.” Dear One, walk and dwell in the fullness and overflowing of His blessings for you! Experience and live in the shalom, shalom of God.

Pastor Meredith's Blog - Shine On

Shine On

There’s nothing like awakening to the warmth and brightness of the sun shining through my bedroom window to bring a feeling of all is well with the world. Lingering in the wavy configurations dancing on the bedspread and the slight, intermittent heat that blows across my face, brings with it the fresh hope of promise for this day.

Psalm 18: 3 says “I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to e praised; so shall I be saved from my enemies.” There are many reasons to praise the Lord, but the simplest, most basic one is that “He is worthy to be praised.” In Hebrew the word “praise” is halal, meaning to “praise with a loud voice.” The most primitive meaning of halal is “to cause to shine.” When we choose to praise, we are throwing the bright spotlight on who our God is, for He is “worthy to be praised and glorified.” The more we shine the spotlight on our awesome God, the more brilliantly He will shine.

Mental health professionals will tell us that bringing a depressed person into a bright room, greatly helps in promoting healing from depression. When we praise the Lord, giving Him the glory due His Name, how much more will our praise open the door for the light of the Lord to permeate our darkness, bringing us into the powerful, freeing joy and peace of the Lord.

To praise the Lord in the good times is easy. We see and understand what He is working and how He is answering prayer. It is clear and obvious to us. But in the dark times of trial and testing, we can’t see clearly and easily understand what is happening. Isaiah 50:10 says “Who among you fears the Lord: Who obeys the voice of His Servant? Who walks in darkness and has no light? Let him trust in the Name of the Lord and rely upon his God.” This passage goes on and encourages us not to go out and start fires on our own to try to help light our way. Isaiah tells us to stand in the dark and trust and rely upon our God. When we try to create a false light, not true praise to God, but our own reasoning and thought, we will lay down by the false fires we have created. It will not end well.

Praise brings the genuine light of the Lord to shine brightly in our circumstances. So, praise brings halal—to cause to shine, the brilliance of Almighty God to come and His light and Presence to be enthroned over each and every situation as we praise Him. It’s a conscious choice—praise Him and His light will shine. Don’t, and we will remain in a shadowy place. Our choice. I know what I will choose for this day. What about you?

Kendrick Lamar

The Rapper Says

The chart-topping rapper Kendrick Lamar is preaching more spiritual truth than most of the dead… So reads the article title in Charisma News. Kendrick is one of the hottest rappers, not just in the U.S, but the entire world. He is rebuking us, Christian leaders in America. Kendrick shines light on the idea that people are rarely ever hearing the words “sin” “repentance” and “judgment” from the pulpits of America and from influential leaders in the Christian world. Kendrick has won seven Grammy Awards and last year Time named him one of the top 100 most influential people on the face of the earth.

“Lamar, the 29-year-old rapper whose fourth studio album (expletive) is sitting atop Billboard charts, believes the churches that only focus on the idea of hope are one-sided.” Charisma News. Lamar went to a local church awhile ago to find the same program and practice that he had experienced when he was a young boy. The same message that “someone’s season was approaching,” pushing the whole idea of hope he says. Yet he felt “a sense of emptiness” when he heard the same sermons he had heard as a boy. He said he left churches feeling “spiritually unsatisfied as a child.” I can relate to that. When you have experienced the genuine presence and power of God, nothing else will satisfy.

Lamar goes on to say that “too many churches fail to address this “hard truth” about the Christian calling.” I know why the Gospel is watered down—we are afraid if we do preach the Word as it truly is, we risk offending those who do come, and thus substitute life-saving truth for hope and blessing messages rather than redemption from sin found in Jesus Christ.

Where’s the manifest Presence of God? Where is the power of the living God coming so strong among us that you can’t help being changed? That’s what the heart of man is longing for, yet we, as fleshly man think we have to manipulate the atmosphere and create comfortableness, etc. We forget that its all about Jesus, not about us. No wonder His glory seldom comes.

Psalm 127: 1 says, “Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it.” The only place of solace for me as a Christian leader is to find my place in intercession, listen to the leading of the Holy Spirit and being careful not to, as Kendrick Lamar challenges “not to preach watered-down messages…” but in unconditional love preach the real Gospel.

Lamar concluded his message by sharing that in light of his recent discovery, he feels called “to share the joy of God, but with exclamation, more so, the FEAR OF GOD…Knowing then power in what He (God) can build, and also what He (God) can destroy.” Charisma News.

In 2 Timothy 4, Paul warned that a day was coming when apostate Christians would “not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears.” I believe there is a day coming when the modern Christian and nations will stop surrounding themselves with teachers and preachers who would only tell them what they want to hear. May we be awakened to the reality of sin, getting on our faces for a fresh, new anointing to preach with wisdom and compassion the reality of eternity and not be afraid to speak the truth about every form of sin and perversion in our culture today. This is when the love of God truly floods into our souls, sets us truly free and infuses genuine change and hope. God help us; God have mercy on this nation and the world and set us on holy fire from above.

hand over mouth blog pic

Keep My Mouth Shut

Sometimes things in life can take a weird turn. Not just one thing goes wrong, but just about everything goes wrong. Tax bills, flu bugs, people around you making wrong choices and somehow weaving you into their drama. The list goes on and on, seemingly never to end. These pronounced seasons give us all pause. This is when I must choose to hang out with an old friend, Madame Guyon. She writes about her life in her autobiography of how she learned to receive everything as from the hand of God. What I am going to say is not for the immature and those who do not truly want to mature. But, the story of Job speaks to us that Satan had to receive permission from God to test Job. God told him he could test him, but not take his life. In other words, God was saying “Have at him. He will not deny Me.” And thus the testing began. I have sat many a time on the ash heap of life with Job, questioning God, trying to figure Him out. Let me tell you, there are times when you will not figure God out. He is God and He knows exactly what He is working and doing in you. We must surrender ourselves to Him in these moments and seasons.

The other night I said to the Lord as I was falling in to bed, “Lord, I am tired of surrendering my all to you. I don’t know what else I could surrender to you.” I have been so to the end of myself that I didn’t have the strength to even lift my arms up one more time. Those are the nights I’ve cried myself half to sleep, just long enough for my soul to get quiet and for my spirit to recognize the still small Voice of God speaking to me, “Put your hand over your mouth.” It wasn’t my thought, it was the still small Voice of God. I knew where that thought came from—Job 40:4-5, Job speaking, “Behold, I am vile; What shall I answer You? Once I have spoken, but I will not answer; Yes, twice, but I will proceed no further.”

So, long story short, Father is telling His daughter, Meredith, to put her hand over her mouth; more succinctly said, “Keep your mouth shut.” Don’t whine, don’t complain, don’t become the “victim,” don’t fall into the pit of self-pity, don’t rail at your Father. Be still. Put your hand over your mouth. Embrace what I am processing in you. Listen to My Voice, for My direction. Embrace Me. Look to Me, not the billowing bile of sin and worry, of failure and unnecessary pain others bring. Look to Me. Embrace Me.

Once His words soak into my dry, brittle spirit, I hear Him whisper again—“Remember how the last chapter of Job ended. I know what I am doing and what I am working in you. Choose to yield to Me. Be still. Trust Me completely and watch and listen. Let me mature you out of your circling, cycling immaturity into someone who truly knows Me. Isn’t that what you’ve prayed and asked Me to do so many times?” My choice…and I am choosing to put my hand over my mouth. What about you?

ship going around in circles

A Cruise to Nowhere

I read a story awhile ago about a cruise you could buy to go nowhere. You purchase your ticket and get on the ship, which then takes you out to sea where you travel around in circles for three or four days. You eat, sleep and play away your time and end up at no specific designation but right back to where you began your journey.

It is humorous, yet sad. It reminds me of the way many of us choose to live our lives. We won’t slow down long enough to ask God to show us what He created us to be doing, and then get the plan of how to begin to do it. Proverbs 28:18 reads, “Where there is no vision (no redemptive revelation of God), the people perish; but he who keeps the law of God, which includes that of man)—blessed (happy, fortunate, and enviable) is he.” In our society, we are taught to foster what I call a “me”ism mentality. Think of yourself first, what you want and how much you can escape by getting others to do it all for you.

When my children were teenagers, they had a friend whom I would often hear them complaining about. Every time they go out as a group, he would say he wanted to come but he didn’t have any money. Kindly, one of the others (sometimes one of mine), would pitch in and pay his way. He would come along and hang out with the group as long as someone else footed his bill. When the kids began to catch on to him, he left them for better pickings. The sad thing is that he probably had more money in his pocket than most of the others that were willing to bless him.

Where does such an individual as this grow to, always expecting others to make their way for them, thinking someone else is responsible to make them happy? They are going around in circles.

It is important to set goals, have a vision and then make a plan to get there. God has great blessings along the way for us as we move forward. Never wait for someone else to come along and make things happen for you in your life. Get moving forward towards a goal.

If you constantly feel you need to be affirmed to go forward, you will only move by a few inches upon occasion. To achieve, you must give up affirmation. Let God be the one to affirm you. Affirmation of man is as illusive as the wind, here one day and gone tomorrow. You cannot base a vision upon the words of man. Analyze your gifts and talents, your desires and dreams. Dust them all off. Don’t be afraid to look at this! Remember, where there is no vision, you perish. Oh, you may not physically wither up and die, but inside, where no one sees but you and God, you know you are not truly living. Inside is where you die.

I challenge you today my friend! Arise on the inside! Come to life! Embrace the vision that God has created you to do! Don’t get sad and despondent, and start confessing, “I can’t do it.” God says nothing is impossible with Him. I think when God says nothing, He means it! Take time today to talk to God about every detail of what is rolling in your mind and spirit. There is a clear designated goal and plan, a vision, He has for you!