Praise Warrior

We know that often times we are called to battle in prayer and allow God and his angel armies to battle on our behalf. But we also need praise warriors, those willing to lead into battle praising God for the victory that remains unseen.

When Joshua fought the battle of Jericho he put the worship band in front of ark. The worship was key to the victory. You may have to shout to the Lord a victory cry before the walls in front of you fall. When you offer your praise in the midst of a battle you are tearing down walls and strongholds.

“Seven priests will walk ahead of the Ark, each carrying a ram’s horn. On the seventh day you are to march around the town seven times, with the priests blowing the horns. When you hear the priests give one long blast on the rams’ horns, have all the people shout as loud as they can. Then the walls of the town will collapse, and the people can charge straight into the town.”” Joshua 6:4-5 NLT

When King Jehoshaphat found himself in an impossible situation he cried out to God and the Lord sent a message to his people. It says that the Spirit moved on Jahaziel and gave the Word of the Lord.

“But you will not even need to fight. Take your positions; then stand still and watch the Lord’s victory. He is with you, O people of Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid or discouraged. Go out against them tomorrow, for the Lord is with you!” 2 Chronicles 20:17 NLT

This is the message we all long for, we want to skip the battle and walk in victory. But it didn’t say they were going to skip the battle, it says they won’t be the one doing the fighting. So what were they doing?

Early the next morning the army of Judah went out into the wilderness of Tekoa. On the way Jehoshaphat stopped and said, “Listen to me, all you people of Judah and Jerusalem! Believe in the Lord your God, and you will be able to stand firm. Believe in his prophets, and you will succeed.” 2 Chronicles 20:20 NLT

Sometimes you have to stop and remind yourself what the Lord said. You have to build up your faith and prepare for battle.

After consulting the people, the king appointed singers to walk ahead of the army, singing to the Lord and praising him for his holy splendor. This is what they sang: “Give thanks to the Lord; his faithful love endures forever!” 2 Chronicles 20:21 NLT

After quick auditions, kidding, but it does sound like the said “OK, who here can sing?” The worshippers were on the front lines again. When we walk into battle with our focus on worshipping our God, full of splendor, and forever faithful, we dispatch all of Heaven to fight on our behalf.

At the very moment they began to sing and give praise, the Lord caused the armies of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir to start fighting among themselves.” 2 Chronicles 20:22 NLT

They didn’t see the battle, all they saw was the fact that the battle was already over when they arrived on scene.

That situation you are stressing over right now, it is in Gods hands. He is calling you to become a praise warrior. Begin thanking Him for all He has already done. Begin acknowledging Him for who He is. Let your faith arise. Don’t sit on the sidelines, you’ll still have to face whatever is ahead. The difference is that when we lift our praise to Heaven we never walk into battle alone. We serve a God who can work it out before you ever get there. But even if not, He will be with you and that is victory in itself.

Where’s Your Focus?

The Lord’s been dealing with me a lot lately on where my focus is, what my thoughts are centered on, and how that impacts my actions. Sometimes we can take something that is from God but we can focus on one aspect of it; instead of keeping our focus on God and what He is wanting to do, and we can miss what He’s doing by focusing on the wrong thing.

Recently the Lord gave me a word, and I had no doubt it was from Him, but I took what I interpreted and began to run with it. The verses God gave me were in Isaiah 54: 1-3

1 “Sing, barren woman,
    you who never bore a child;
burst into song, shout for joy,
    you who were never in labor;
because more are the children of the desolate woman
    than of her who has a husband,”
says the Lord.
“Enlarge the place of your tent,
    stretch your tent curtains wide,
    do not hold back;
lengthen your cords,
    strengthen your stakes.
For you will spread out to the right and to the left;
    your descendants will dispossess nations
    and settle in their desolate cities.”

Many of you know that I am a single foster mom. So these verses spoke directly to me. I’d been praying about expanding my home so that I would have another bedroom available for foster children if I needed to separate them into separate bedrooms. I felt like this directly addressed that prayer. In my mind, it meant that I was to build on to my house. I already have an addition on the right side of the back of my house, and I felt the Lord was telling me to add on the left. So I began to take action. I reached out to people I respect and got recommendations and started getting quotes for this work.

Now the Lord also gave me some common sense and a business mind so I’m not going to just move forward without weighting the cost of this investment vs the value. As the quotes for this addition began to come in I began to doubt that I had heard correctly from the Lord. I mean, I knew it was going to be more expensive than if we did it ourselves but I just had no idea the cost would be so great. I didn’t feel like it would be wise to invest so much into my house for one room ($54K – $85K). So for a few days I felt defeated, like I had really somehow missed what God was saying. But the Lord is gracious, and He doesn’t just walk away shaking his head at us when we run off ahead of Him. He’s way more patient with me than I am with my kids, and I need to work on that, but that’s a whole separate blog.

As I continued to pray about this I didn’t feel like the Lord was saying give up, you’ve missed the mark, I felt like I was just focusing on the wrong thing. I still believed He was telling me that I was to have this extra room. I began researching more and looking into other options to accomplish my purpose. I needed a place for extra storage for all my foster gear and also to have an office. My spare room is currently serving that purpose, but to use it as a bedroom, I have to move those things elsewhere. So I began looking at sheds. you know there’s some really cool looking sheds out there and we’ve all heard the commercial about the she-shed. Did you know that you can get a shed just as large as the room I intended to build for 10% or less of the costs I was quoted to add on? Did you know that the Lord is faithful and when we are looking for Him and His will he will reveal it to us?

Last Friday afternoon, after my online research, I took my parents with me to go look at some sheds in the area. We looked at several lots but there was this one shed that just stood out. We asked about it and the salesman immediately dropped the price. He said someone else had said they were going to take it but it had been more than two weeks since He’d heard from him. I believe God had it on hold for me. This Thursday, they’ll deliver this little shed that has storage space up top and room at the bottom for me to setup an office and I’m so excited to work on it and with the help of my parents to fix up the inside. Now listen to how God works, because I waited, I didn’t keep running ahead, I just know he worked this all out. I paid about $3300 for this little shed. I know the price is not your business but I won’t you to see how God works. He’s alway working on our behalf!!

Sometimes we think we have to have it all figured out. We think that when we get a glimpse of what God wants to do that we have permission to take off running with it. But in reality we need to be more like Jehoshaphat. In 2 Chronicles 20:12 the second part of the verse says “We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.” We need to make sure that even when He gives us a nugget or a next step that we don’t take our eyes off Him and start sprinting towards what we think we know. We have to keep our focus on him so that when things aren’t going like we thought they would, we can look up and see that He’s still there, ready to guide us.

Lord, today I pray for whomever is reading this, that you would show them that you are there, ready to lead and guide them. Show them that they can’t get so far ahead that you can’t hear them, or so far behind that you don’t see them. You are there to lead us and guide us through every decision and every difficulty. When they are in a place of uncertainty, help them to remember this prayer. “Lord, we do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.” Thank you that you hear us, you see us, you love us, and you have a wonderful plan for us. In Jesus’ name, Amen!

When my Heart is Overwhelmed

Aren’t you thankful than we don’t have to be prefect to serve Christ?  When we come to Christ, none of us are perfect, and after serving him for more than 35 years, I can assure you that I am still far from it.  Perfection is not a requirement to be a follower of Christ.  As a matter of fact, we are encouraged to daily go to the Father in prayer and ask him to forgive our trespasses, our shortcomings, in the prayer that Christ taught to his disciples. (The Lord’s Prayer Matthew 6:12)

We all go through trials in our lives.  I think too many of today’s “Christians” come to Christ under the prosperity teachings or under the guise that if you give your life to Jesus all your problems will suddenly disappear.  That, my friends, is simply not the truth.  When people are won to the Lord under those pretenses, it doesn’t take long for a problem to come along in their lives, and then they have no foundation to stand on to back up what they were told.

Jesus told us that we would have trouble in John 16:33, it’s not something he tried to hide from us, but what makes all the difference in the world is the last part of that verse where he tells us that we can be of good cheer, or to take heart, because He has overcome the world. Our hope doesn’t rest on this world being full of peace and us never having problems, it rests in the One who has already overcome and who has equipped us by his Spirit to be overcomers ourselves. Let me remind you today that you are more than a conqueror in Christ Jesus.  You are the head and not the tail.  You are a child of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. 

You’re going to have times in life when what’s going on around you or even within you will overwhelm you.  The diagnosis, the unrest, the phone call you’ve been dreading, the unknown of it all, if you allow it and let you mind stay in that place, it will completely consume you.  But we are not powerless.  No, we can’t control what other people do or say.  We can’t control disease and sickness or the economy.  We can take precautions and prepare best we can, but in the end, there are way more things in life that you have no control over than the very few things you think are under your control.  When David was crying out to God in Psalms 61, he used a key word in his prayer.  He didn’t say “if” my heart is overwhelmed, he said “when” my heart is overwhelmed.  There’s no if about it, life will overwhelm you.  But I am a firm believer that when my heart is overwhelmed, I can go to my Rock, my sure foundation, the lover of my soul, and He will speak peace in the midst of my circumstances. 

Sometimes Christ speaks peace and the circumstances change, the storm becomes still, like when the disciples were with him in the boat and he spoke to the sea (Matthew 8:26).  But there are other times when the storm will continue to rage all around, but He speaks with that gentle voice, that quiet spirit, right to the core of your heart, and the peace settles on you.  Not one thing outside of you has changed, but everything within you has, because the one who created you, and loves you beyond all imagination has spoken peace to your heart and mind. 


Father, I pray for the one who is reading this that is feeling overwhelmed.  I ask that you send your Holy Spirit to them right now.  I pray that you would speak peace to their heart and mind. Not peace that the world offers, peace that comes from you that no person or circumstance can steal.  Oh Lord, we ask you to speak peace to the storms going on around us, but if you choose to allow the storms around us to rage, we’ll trust you.  We know that you will keep us and carry us through the storms.  We can make it if you are with us, and your peace goes with us. We will overcome instead of being overwhelmed because you are with us.  In Jesus name, Amen!

The Lamp

When it comes to finding God’s will, hearing from God about our future, we often want the 10-year plan or the 20-year plan. What does my future look like? When will I be healed, when will I be married, when will I have children? We want the whole map, the big picture but instead, we are given glimpses into what God has planned.

I remember when I was in high school, maybe college, I attended a Bible Study once and the topic was understanding God’s will, His plans, for our lives. The leader explained that God has a beautiful plan for our life, but what we can see of it often looks unfinished and damaged. It’s like a cross stitch, from the top you can see the beautiful design that the creator planned out and worked tirelessly to complete. From the bottom side, which is our view, all you see are the hanging stings, the knots, and a few colors. It’s hard to make sense of it. But we have to trust that the Father has a beautiful design for our life and He is working out all the details.

I’ve seen a theme in my Bible Study the past day or so that tells me the Lord is trying to show me something. Psalm 119:105 says “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” When we need direction for our life, as Christians, we turn to the Word of God. But again, here it’s showing us that the “Word is a lamp to my feet.” It’s not a spotlight that shines way in the distance. I know and understand that the Bible is full of prophecy to be fulfilled with the return of Christ and such, but I also know that when we are seeking direction we are looking for how the Word applies to our personal lives here and now. A lamp is meant to put off light for those in close proximity. It provides just enough light to see what you need to see when you are close by. God wants us to stay close to Him, to his Word, and to keep seeking Him. He sheds light on our path so that we can see the next step or maybe two. He wants us to take those steps and trust Him for what lies ahead. We want flood lights, to see the end from the beginning! But if we saw that, we would rely on ourselves and our own plans to get there.

Abraham knew all about following God, trusting him along the way. Hebrews 11:8 “By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as an inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.” True faith and obedience means stepping out in faith when you are called to, even if you have no idea where that step will lead. Sometimes that looks like going to an informational meeting about foster care, not knowing that it would lead to nineteen little blessings within two years. Sometimes it means planting seeds of faith in someone else when you know that you have need as well. I don’t know what that step is for you, but if God’s lamp is showing you a step of faith, you’ll never regret it.

“Be strong and courageous, and take action; do not fear nor be dismayed, for the Lord God, my God, is with you.” 1 Chronicles 28:20a AMP

In Pursuit of Christ

What does it mean to live in pursuit of Christ?

For me, pursuing Christ means living daily with the goal of serving Him, seeking Him, and fulfilling His purpose in my life. When you are in pursuit of something or someone you are chasing after them. It means that I haven’t arrived at my goal, I’m working towards it. “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.” Phillippians 3:12 NIV

Now I don’t mean that I am striving for His saving grace, He gives that freely to all who ask. “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.” Ephesians 2:8 NIV I am pursuing Him to know Him more and to better understand His ways. It’s like when we are interested in starting a relationship with someone, we do our homework, and find out what they are passionate about. Building a good relationship requires an investment of time in someone else; talking to them, listening to them, eventually whatever is important to that person becomes important to us. That’s my desire, that I would continually learn more about Christ so that what is important to him becomes important to me.

For those who don’t know me personally, let me introduce myself. My name is Melissa Kelley. I am a single foster mom, an accountant by trade, a worshipper, a spirit-filled believer of Jesus. There are so many descriptions of who a person is based on who is asking. I’m a teacher at heart, and love to lead others in worship and devotion. My prayer is that this blog will be a blessing to others and will encourage you in your pursuit of Christ.

I invite you to join me on this journey. We will search the scripture and see how God will reveal Himself to us.