Royalty and Honor

Royalty and Honor - crown

On Royalty and Honor

Several years ago I read a couple of books that caused me to pause and reflect on the connectedness they had with each other.  One of the books, The Supernatural Ways of Royalty by Kris Vallotton speaks about our identity and who we are as Royal Heirs; the other one is, Honor’s Reward by John Bevere and it speaks of how we treat those Royals all around us.

Both are excellent books.

When we realize that we are Royal Heirs, we discover there are certain requirements and obligations that go along with it. Of course, there are many benefits also. When you are raised as a prince of a kingdom, there are things you can do that you wouldn’t be able to do if you were raised outside the palace.

There are many advantages to being a prince. In the palace, it would never occur to you to question your authority or even your identity – it’s WHO you’ve been your whole life and everyone knows it and would never question it.  It is from this place that you live your life.

When you are a royal heir, you have responsibilities that go with the title. One of those responsibilities is you need to be a leader and you need to learn about honoring those you encounter. You need to represent the King and his kingdom. I read somewhere that Moses had to be raised in Pharaoh’s palace so he would know the ways of royalty when it became time for him to lead the people out of Egypt. To me, this makes perfect sense. When we know who we are, we won’t be easily moved from a position of authority or leadership by intimidation or otherwise. We will stand and do what’s right.

However, if you had been raised outside the palace, you wouldn’t know the identity of being a prince.  You wouldn’t know how to act like one or even what his duties and responsibilities were. Well, guess what? You are royalty. You are a prince. I can only imagine somewhere along the journey of your life, something drastically changed and you became a new creation. And actually, that is what happened. When Jesus died for all of us at Calvary, we became heirs with Him; we became Royal Heirs – and that is quite a new creation! 

Now we need to learn how to be a Prince in the Kingdom.

Royalty and Honor - knight

Reading John’s book on Honor taught me very simplistically that there are 3 levels of honor.

The first level is honoring those who are in authority over us. That could mean our spiritual leaders, our boss, our parents, or even our civil leaders like Police officers, Congressmen, or the President of the United States.

The second level is honor among peers; those who are running the race with us. Those who don’t have authority over us but come alongside and go through the same trials. Our friends are also at this level.

The third level is the honor for those who are below you. NOT in a derogatory sense, but as in children, our own or those of others. (Yes, children absolutely deserve our honor – how else will they learn? We have to honor them and give them the grace to grow just like we did, both physically and spiritually.)

Royalty and Honor - children

The third level is also about honoring those who have not had the experiences or the teachings we’ve had but are on a different part of the journey than us.

Essentially…

Honor those above.

Honor those beside.

Honor those below.

All these things have been going through my mind lately. I’ve been contemplating royalty and honor as parts of a single identity and what I’ve decided is this:

I am a daughter of the King and my husband is the son of the King. Each and every one of us is sons and daughters of this same King. That is a fact.

I want to discover if our interactions demonstrate the honor of royalty among ourselves – do we display honor in our interactions and conversations with other royals, each other?

In our day to day dealings, we need to remember who we’re actually interacting with. We are the inheritance of God. He is our inheritance but also we are His. Because of this, there needs to be honor among us. The way we treat each other, the way we respect and honor each other is so important.

How we treat others is a picture of how we see God. Is that through a filter of self-righteousness? Do we see Him through the lens of religious doctrine? Or do we see God as our King; the Father of us ALL?

If we are able to see royalty in everyone we encounter and treat them with the respect and honor due, we will be well on our way to becoming Christlike. Isn’t that what God planned in the first place; to create us in His image?

My prayer is that I can begin to see and honor each and every one of you for who you really are; not for where you are on the journey. We’re all on a journey and God has placed us together for a reason. One of those reasons is so we can learn how to honor and respect each other, thus sharpening each other. I pray each and every one of you are blessed, honored and respected in this day and that you will go out and honor all those you encounter.

Love one another

 

Romans 12:10 TPT  Be devoted to tenderly loving your fellow believers as members of one family. Try to outdo yourselves in respect and honor of one another.

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Love april 17

When I commented on a post earlier today it made me realize a few things about what I said and it also made me see how much I had changed over the last few years.

I honor people not because they deserve it; I honor people because I’m honorable.

I got to thinking about this statement and what it was really saying. It said, I’m honorable, and can now extend honor because of it. Hmmm

I also thought of loving my neighbors as I love myself. We all know this is one of the major commands of Jesus – Love God and love your neighbor, as you love yourself. But what if I don’t love my neighbor? What if I don’t even like my neighbor? If I find it this command impossible to do, the lack is mine, not theirs.

If I take the honor principle above and apply it to loving my neighbors it must mean that if I don’t love them it’s because I don’t love me – and I can’t give what I don’t have. That being the case, I should back up and find out why I can’t love them. Obviously, there is something that feels unworthy of love in me. This is what needs dealing with before I can love them.

Love is a Fruit of the Spirit and is something that takes a time to grow. If there is no love growing, I need to find out why and get healed.

Walking in the Fruit of the Spirit is healing and allows the (Holy) Spirit to do a work in me. It usually doesn’t happen overnight, it’s often a process. The Spirit will send in others to walk alongside to help you with getting healed. Sometimes it’s a full-on healing session but other times it’s more talking about and processing things to see them in a new light over a conversation, in the midst of a relationship/friendship.

Fruit takes time; it doesn’t simply appear on the branches. Flowers have to come forth and they have to be pollinated before any fruit will set. After that, the fruit will begin to grow but will still have to weather storms and hang on to that branch for what may seem like a long time before the fruit is ready to harvest.  Once the fruit is harvested I now have something I can give away – I can now extend love or peace, for example.

Then I get to grow more fruit.

It works this way with all the Fruit of the Spirit. When I find that I’m being impatient and letting situations frustrate me, I’ve prematurely gotten knocked off that tree branch! The fruit of patience wasn’t fully developed in me.

The more I get healed, the more I learn about my identity – my true identity. When I feel unworthy of love because of something in my past that either I did or someone did to me I really can’t love anyone else because I don’t have any to give. But when I get all that stuff healed and dealt with, I have room in my heart to love others the way they deserve to be loved.

I’m not fruitful in all areas of my life but I have come a long way. You too can measure your own progress simply looking at how you love people who are not like you or how you honor people. This was a little eye-opening to me. I realized the places I couldn’t “do” something were the places I needed to improve on in myself. (Or get healed)

As I begin to walk more and more in my true identity I can become an honorable person, full of love and happiness. It’s a process but progress is good!

 

We honor because we are honorable

We extend love because we are loved

We cry because we now can see the broken ones

We laugh because we have joy

We are kind because we know what mean-spiritedness is

We treat people and situations with gentleness because we have peace

We sing because He sings over us

We give hope to the hopeless because He gave it to us first

We are patient because we trust in Him

We are peacemakers because we have the Prince of Peace living in us  

We are alive because He lives

 

The Fruit of the Spirit is – unconditional love, joy, peace, patience, kindheartedness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

 

Mother’s Day and Honoring Women

Beautiful-Butterfly-On-Pink-Flower

Mother’s Day is on May 8th this year and that makes it less than a month away. I have to find a victim, quick! No, really. Let me explain…

My mother passed away 7 years ago and because she has gone on, it doesn’t exempt me from honoring mothers all around me. There are single mothers who need encouraging, spiritual mothers who need honoring, sisters who have forgotten how awesome they truly are or maybe you’re a mother to orphans who simply needs someone to listen to what has happened in your day. The need is greater than we know.

I’ve heard it said that Mother’s Day is only a ‘Hallmark’ holiday and it doesn’t really matter that much but this couldn’t be further from the truth! It matters a lot. No, it doesn’t matter how the world celebrates or even doesn’t celebrate; WE are of a different kingdom and we know how important mothers are, right?!

Mothers are the very first teachers we have and they impart so much with their time, their love and their wisdom. Mothers are our first confidants and the first ones we run too when we are little. Remember those mashed up flowers we grabbed with our tiny little hands just so we could present them to our mommy’s? Remember how she kissed our owie’s away and everything was all better?

And when we are older and our relationships with our mothers were more than a little strained because WE knew absolutely everything and she was only trying to keep us from all that WE knew we could do. Right – even those days she was there; washing our sheets, making us meals and even praying for our safety and for wisdom to “please dear God” land on us! I know I wasn’t the easiest daughter to raise; maybe not the worst but in hindsight, I could have honored her more.

But this is not about regrets! NOPE. This is about loving and honoring the women who have raised us and mentored us. It’s also about those we came to depend on in our time of need. Let’s not let an opportunity pass to honor these great women. And you do realize,  whether a woman believes in Jesus like we do or not has nothing to do with it at the end of the day. Jesus knows her and He loves her well. We should also.

So, my challenge to you is this…

Find someone to honor and celebrate extravagantly this year. Take them to dinner, send them something in the mail, go clean their house or buy them flowers. And most importantly, tell them how much they’ve meant to you, how they’ve spoken into your life. How awesome they are!

And then, come back and share the testimony of how blessed they were by your kindness!

Entering the Kingdom of God ~ from the perspective of the unsaved spouse

leaves

I’ve been walking with the Lord 10 years now.  Who knew He could be so good to me!?

Paul got saved first and I’ve got to tell you, I was not happy about it. No, if fact I was pretty ticked off. I wanted to know who came and stole my husband away. What happened to my “cool” husband? He started acting really weird and quoting the Bible to Chelsea and me and frankly, it only made us both mad. Just who did he think he was anyway? He couldn’t judge us like that! HE was trying to share his new reality but it felt like condemnation to both of us. We didn’t appreciate the change in him at all.

Did this happen to you; did you get saved before your spouse or them before you? It does not make for a happy marriage I’ll tell you that much. When Paul got saved, we were living on the grounds of an Episcopal church in a one-room cottage, as caretakers and grounds keepers. Much of our responsibility entailed installing many gardens and all things landscape.

We were also members of the church and attended every time the doors were open. Due to this; I felt we were more holy than the Pope! I mean, how much more spiritual or holy can you get right?  I would later learn that church attendance had nothing to do with how spiritual or holy you were, much later.

I was also very much into the social aspect of the church because it gave me an opportunity to cook and entertain, which is my passion. This led to me befriending the new caterer who began using the church’s commercial kitchen. I thought I had died and gone to heaven! I had found my tribe.

You see, I always joked around about writing a book entitled, A Day in the Life of a “Wannabe” Caterer; only eat the ugly ones. I lived for cooking and entertaining. As my friendship grew with this caterer, I began to help out and was able to share with her the many things I knew that would be useful in her business. I began helping with the flower arrangements, menu ideas, recipes and even working for free. Of course, I also worked full time during the week in our family business too. Every weekend, I would be up at the church lending a hand and have the time of my life.

I did get paid for my work after a few months, though. We become great friends, doing everything together for many years. We took care of each other’s children, we did charity events together, and we partied and cooked together, vacationed together; we celebrated life the best way we knew how.

And then Paul got saved. . .

That changed everything. He was seriously making me not want to be around him very much. He stopped hanging out with our friends and began going to meetings every chance he got.  We were still members of the Episcopal Church but when not attending a meeting there, he would run off to meetings where he could be around other people like him who were experiencing God. When he’d return from these meetings, he wanted to share and talk about what he’d experienced, but I would have none of it; I didn’t want to feel condemned by his words.

He really was only sharing the awesomeness of God, but I only felt condemnation. I began to find opportunities to be gone when he was home which often meant I was at my friend’s house, 35 miles away.

Our marriage began to suffer and I began to not even care. I felt hopeless. We had always been able to converse for hours and hours and now all of a sudden, we had nothing to say to each other. All he ever wanted to talk about was God and I didn’t want to hear it. What I didn’t know was at the same time that I feeling hopeless and experiencing these things, Paul was also. But, he wasn’t content to let things just drift apart, no! He began talking to God about how He would have to send him a new wife because he (Paul) was so holy and pure now that he simply couldn’t have a wife who smoked and drank and cussed like a sailor. No, he needed a holy wife. (Dang!)

I was already feeling somewhat rejected and not good enough anymore so I’m glad I didn’t know he wanted a new wife! Yes, even though I was mad at him and didn’t understand what was happening to us, I would have been devastated to know what he was feeling at the time. I only learned about this years later.

God told Paul He wasn’t going to get him a new wife but instead, Paul would have to fall back in love with me. Paul needed to start making a place for me in his “new” life. This struggle continued for a couple more years.  In the mean time, we left the Episcopal Church because they began ordaining gay Bishops and although we both had personal friends who were gay; neither felt it represented God at all. When we left the church, we also had to leave the cottage we’d been living in for years and that was sad. The good news was, we were getting our own place and that was a dream come true, finally.

Paul had begun praying in the local healing rooms a year or so before and was now in leadership. He still kept running off to other meetings and conferences while I kept on catering, but now I was working with my brother. We were almost living separate lives, but God was still working on this thing!

This is just an excerpt of the journey but needless to say, Paul did make a place for me. He prayed for me all the time, without me actually knowing about it except things began to feel different. He no longer fought with me or tried to correct anything I was doing. He literally just loved me where I was. And also, by falling back in love with me again, he made a way for me to enter into the kingdom. My offenses began to fall away. God started whispering to me there in that place and I even began to love my husband again.

Prayer works as we know but it also takes honor and respect. When I began to receive that (and I absolutely did not deserve it!), my heart changed. I felt a tangible place being made for me to come alongside my husband. I had no clue what it was, or what it meant. What I did know was that it felt good and it felt safe.

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I pray my story might encourage you to pray for your spouse and simply love them right where they are. We can change nothing on our own, but my Jesus certainly can. Persistent prayer along with respect and honor is a game changer and I know we all need change to happen.

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Note: This post is about a journey, not theological understanding. Many things I believed at one time are not what I believe now. I call it a progressive revelation. That is to say, if something I have shared in this post offends you, stop it; this is not where we land. This is where we have journeyed through. We’ve all come through many things . . . GG

Encouragement – We all want it, heck, we all need it!

Encouragement – We all want it, heck, we all need it!

I’ve found that things are a little different in the kingdom than they are in the world. For instance, if I need something, I usually have to begin to give something away. If I need kindness, I need to be kind. It’s a kingdom of opposites in some ways.

What seems right to a man is death, (Prov. 16:25) Hmmm. I think this scripture may have something to do with the ‘kingdom-way’ of doing things. If I keep doing things only for me, me, me, all it will do is bring death. If I am so full of things or information and never give back or pour back out to others, I’m a virtual dead sea with no outlet. I’m dead.

So, when I need encouragement, I encourage. When I need wisdom, I first of all ask, but then I give the wisdom He’s given to me, to others seeking it too. God will always be faithful in giving to us what other’s need.

Encouragement is often like an affirmation. It’s the turbo boost we sometimes need at the very end of a project or season. When things seem like they couldn’t get any harder but still do, encouragement is the juice that will keep us contending for the breakthrough we know is just around the corner. It will cause us to stand up straighter and know that we are doing what we are supposed to be doing.

So, am I right; don’t we all need encouragement? I would challenge you to purpose your day to go out and find someone who needs exactly what you need and encourage them to not give up, to keep pressing until breakthrough comes. Tell them exactly what you need to hear, use the same exact words you are longing to hear yourself. You will be amazed how refreshed you will feel. Holy Spirit may even now be whispering to you some of the things you need to do or say to bring about this refreshing to others and vicariously for yourself.

I’ve done this before with great success. This is not a formula of course because we all need different things. But it can be a tool. One day when I was feeling pretty discouraged I went into the grocery store to pick up a few things. All I wanted to do was get what I needed as quickly as possible and then go home. When I got my things and approached one of the checkout lanes, I noticed that one of the cashiers was really looking down and discouraged. I knew that if spoke some encouragement to her and simply spoke blessings over her, she would be lifted up and maybe even begin to smile; she would be encouraged.

Of course that’s exactly what I did. I began by telling her what an awesome job she was doing and that immediately brought a smile to her face. I spoke other encouraging words over her and not only did her countenance change but so did everyone else who was standing in line behind me. By the time I left the store, which was really only a matter of ten minutes, I was encouraged myself! Win, win.

encouragement-and-words-of-kindness

The kingdom of God is here, living inside of each and every one of us. It’s not supposed to remain there. It’s supposed to be shared, transplanted in dark places or even in people who have no hope left. We have the answers to all they need. When we encourage others we are bringing light into their current darkness and isn’t that where light belongs, in the dark places? Aren’t we to be messengers of hope? I believe encouragement can be (and is) a great big doorway into bringing the kingdom to earth and transforming our neighborhoods and cities; one kind encouraging word at a time.

Let’s purpose to do this and if you do, come back and tell me about it; I will be greatly encouraged too!

So go! Get out there and encourage someone, right now, today!

Honoring Mothers

Mother's day post

Mother’s Day is on May 10th this year and that makes it less than a month away. I have to find a victim, quick! No, really. Let me explain…….

My mother passed away 6 years ago and because she has gone on, it doesn’t exempt me from honoring mothers all around me. There are single mothers who need encouraging, spiritual mothers who need honoring, sisters who have forgotten how awesome they truly are or maybe you’re a mother to orphans who simply needs someone to listen to what has happened in your day. The need is greater than we know.

I’ve heard it said that Mother’s Day is only a ‘Hallmark’ holiday and it doesn’t really matter that much but this couldn’t be further from the truth! It matters a lot. No, it doesn’t matter how the world celebrates or even doesn’t celebrate; WE are of a different kingdom and we know how important mother’s are, right?!

Mothers are the very first teachers we have and they impart so much with their time, their love and their wisdom. Mothers are our first confidants and the first ones we run too when we are little. Remember those mashed up flowers we grabbed with our tiny little hands just so we could present them to our mommy’s? Remember how she kissed our owie’s away and everything was all better?

And when we are older and our relationships with our mothers were more than a little strained because WE knew absolutely everything and she was only trying to keep us from all that WE knew we could do. Right…..even those days she was there; washing our sheets, making us meals and even praying for our safety and for wisdom to ‘please dear God’ land on us! I know I wasn’t the easiest daughter to raise; maybe not the worst but in hind sight, I could have honored her more.

But this is not about regrets! NOPE. This is about loving and honoring the women who have raised us and mentored us. It’s also about those we came to depend on in our time of need. Let’s not let an opportunity pass to honor these great women. And you do realize,  whether a woman believes in Jesus like we do or not has nothing to do with it at the end of the day. Jesus knows her and He loves her well. We should also.

So, my challenge to you is this…….

Find someone to honor and celebrate extravagantly this year. Take them to dinner, send them something in the mail, go clean their house or buy them flowers. And most importantly, tell them how much they’ve meant to you, how they’ve spoken into your life. How awesome they are!

And then, come back and share the testimony of how blessed they were by your kindness!

This is a picture of my mom when I was 8.

Mom pic