The Beauty of Grace

I recently had an opportunity to get to know someone I had previously only known from a distance. This person always greeted people with a smile and appeared to be perfectly care free. When I was blessed with the opportunity to speak with her at length I learned she had a particularly painful form of Muscular Dystrophy. She mentioned to me that she lived life in constant pain and required some sort of daily pain management. I…was…shocked. I took a ‘double-take’ in my mind because I never would have guessed she suffered a serious health issue. I wasn’t shocked that she had a disease (so many of use struggle with ailments) but because of the astounding grace she no doubt receives in her life. Even though she has a constant reminder of less-than-perfect health, the disease is only a part of her story ~ it does not take center stage. Merely looking at this person or having a surface conversation with her would not have exposed her battle with pain. Ever since she revealed her area of struggle to me I think often of the beautiful way she honors the Lord during her trial…

~~~If you would like to read more of this devotional or others like it, they are located in my book A Devotional on Faith, Hope, and Love by Amanda Seipel. This book can be purchased on Amazon. I am blessed to serve you!~~~

In His grace,

Amanda

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A Personal Application of the Resurrection

“On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: ‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again. ’” Then they remembered his words.
When they came back from the tomb, they told all these things to the Eleven and to all the others. It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the others with them who told this to the apostles. But they did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense. Peter, however, got up and ran to the tomb. Bending over, he saw the strips of linen lying by themselves, and he went away, wondering to himself what had happened.” Luke 24:1-12

The women put together spices and perfumes they planned to anoint Jesus’ body with on Sunday morning. Can you imagine the meditation of their hearts as they lovingly and humbly performed this opportunity? As they traveled to the burial site with their spices, they contemplated how it would be possible to remove the large stone. Do you think their hearts were so anxious that they left without thinking about asking one of the men disciples to go with them? Maybe it was God’s plan all along to have only the women go so the hearts of the men could be tested when the women reported what they had witnessed? When the women finally arrived they were bewildered to see the stone was already rolled away! Do you suppose they felt the ‘violent earthquake’ under their feet as they traveled to the tomb? I am struck with wonder but at the same time understanding that out of ALL the people that Jesus brought healing to there were not more who desired to be with the Eleven. My prayer is that when we receive our deepest need from the King that we do not return back to our ‘normal’ life. Once we receive we are forever changed and anything ‘normal’ is impossible! Right now the example of becoming a parent comes to mind. If you are one who became a mom did you life EVER go back to ‘normal’ as before your child was born? How could it?  Your heart has been forever changed! Why would we imagine that life with Jesus would alter out life any less dramatically? It should indeed be MORE significantly altered!  Does your life reflect this?

DIVAs, we have all heard this marvelous resurrection story many times. Because we love it so it probably could never be told enough. However, because we have heard the story, let’s try a new application. We know how and what should be said at a church setting and during corporate worship but what about personal conversations one-on-one? Please give these questions serious thought – perhaps even try them out with someone!

♥  If you were asked what the Resurrection (Easter) means to you personally what would you say?
♥  What does the Resurrection mean to your faith? Why is it important?
You can do it DIVAs! Don’t forget that you are Divinely Inspired and Victoriously Anointed!

In His grace,
Amanda

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The Two Witnesses ~ Part 14

“Then I was given a measuring reed like a rod, with these words: “Go and measure God’s sanctuary and the altar, and count those who worship there. But exclude the courtyard outside the sanctuary. Don’t measure it, because it is given to the nations, and they will trample the holy city for 42 months. I will empower my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1,260 days, dressed in sackcloth.” These are the two olive trees and the two lamp stands that stand before the Lord of the earth. If anyone wants to harm them, fire comes from their mouths and consumes their enemies; if anyone wants to harm them, he must be killed in this way. These men have the power to close up the sky so that it does not rain during the days of their prophecy. They also have power over the waters to turn them into blood and to strike the earth with every plague whenever they want.” Revelation 11:1-6

Will you join me in prayerfully considering these verses?

When the temple is rebuilt in Jerusalem, two witnesses will stand at the altar of sacrifice and impact the world with their ministry of prophecy and their God-given power to stop the rain, turn water to blood, and to strike the earth with plaques. It is interesting to note why there will be ‘two’ witnesses. In the OT, the law required that facts or evidence must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses. (Deut. 19:15). Facts and evidence? Indeed! They will establish evidence that Jesus is undeniably THE Messiah! All these things will be accomplished by the power of the Spirit.

So who are these two prophets? Some scholars surmise they are Moses and Elijah. Let’s consider these amazing fellows. First, Moses and Elijah were the only prophets who had the power to inflict plaques on earth and control the elements. They also were both taken up into heaven in peculiar ways. (Enoch also was taken up into heaven (Genesis 5:24) as Moses and Elijah but his impact on Israel and the Jewish people was not equivalent to that of Moses and Elijah.) Here are some anecdotal verses on these prophets:

Moses:

† “No prophet has arisen again in Israel like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face. He was unparalleled for all the signs and wonders the Lord sent him to do against the land of Egypt — to Pharaoh, to all his officials, and to all his land, and for all the mighty acts of power and terrifying deeds that Moses performed in the sight of all Israel.” Deuteronomy 34:10-12

† Moses, at the Lord’s instruction, (Exodus 7-11) turned (1) the water to blood, brought (2) frogs, (3) gnats, (4) swarms of flies, (5) death of livestock, (6) boils on man and cattle. (7) hail, (8) locusts, (9) darkness, and (10) death of the first born.

† At Moses death, the Archangel Michael either (1) took Mose’s body into heaven or (2) buried him in the earth and then wrangled with the Devil over it!! (Jude 1:9) Can you imagine the scene!

Elijah:

† “Now Elijah the Tishbite, from the Gilead settlers, said to Ahab, “As the Lord God of Israel lives, I stand before Him, and there will be no dew or rain during these years except by my command!” 1Kings 17:1

† “As they continued walking and talking, a chariot of fire with horses of fire suddenly appeared and separated the two of them. Then Elijah went up into heaven in the whirlwind. As Elisha watched, he kept crying out, “My father, my father, the chariots and horsemen of Israel!” Then he never saw Elijah again.” 2 Kings 2:11-12 It is interesting to note that Elijah never died even though “it is appointed to men to die once” (Hebrews 9:27).

† Malachi has an interesting final statement at the conclusion of the book. The heading of this portion is A Final Warning. “Remember the instruction of Moses My servant, the statutes and ordinances I commanded him at Horeb for all Israel. Look, I am going to send you Elijah the prophet before the great and awesome Day of the Lord comes. And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers. Otherwise, I will come and strike the land with a curse.” The comment regarding, “turning the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers” is one of interest at a different level. Isn’t everything a matter of the heart? God desires the condition of our hearts to be pure and continually filled with His agape (love). Oh, that our hearts would not yield to our own desires but to His! Lord, we need the help of Your Spirit to accomplish this! Is this your hearts cry?

† “Elijah does come first and restores everything,” This is Jesus’ comment to Peter, James, and John after they witnessed His transfiguration with Moses and Elijah. (Mark 9:12)

† Remember the verse from last week? “Six days later Jesus took Peter, James, and John, and led them up a high mountain to be alone. As the men watched, Jesus’ appearance was transformed . Then Elijah and Moses appeared and began talking with Jesus” (Mark 9:2,4) By the presence of Elijah and Moses with Jesus, they were testifying (witnessing) to the authenticity of Jesus’ credentials. Whoooo! Are you with me in saying. “Like He needs any??” DIVAs, this is another line of proof of His patience.

Revelation 11:1-6 first speaks of God’s sanctuary and the altar. His two witnesses will be in the temple speaking at the altar of sacrifice of the great atoning work of THE everlasting sacrifice of Jesus! God has a dramatic plan for Israel. By bringing Old Testament representatives Moses and Elijah to Israel to speak about the Messiah, whom they do not understand, is to me a demonstration of His overflowing compassion. His love is greater than our flesh can fully comprehend. Again, who of us can fathom his depths?

All of these demonstrations will be performed by the power of the Spirit! The temple WILL be rebuilt, His witnesses WILL come, and Israel WILL receive salvation and restoration! Well DIVAs, these past 15 weeks we have been reading/praying about a portion in the book of Revelation. I pray, if nothing else it has awakened you to the things that will come. Will we ourselves see these things play out before our very eyes? Only God knows. I do believe we should not EXPECT to be ‘raptured’ out of anything. No matter what the day brings, we should live out EACH one with a thankful heart that sings, “This is the day the Lord has made let us rejoice and be glad in it!” Amen! Sweet things, He will call you up into the clouds when His timing says it is perfect, not ours. Meanwhile, He sits on His throne over all of our circumstances while His heart never stops bulging with love for us! Jesus faced some of his last hours in dread but was able to do it beautifully and not wreck His testimony in the process! We must do the same. Whether dealing with the issues of life or the days to come, our eyes must stay fixed on the Author and Perfecter of our faith and face this day and future days while keeping our testimony intact. How? Not by OUR power or might by HIS Spirt! GLORY!

In Revelation 11 we are informed that these two witnesses are finally killed by the beast and their bodies are left lying in the public square for all to see. No one buries them properly because in my opinion the beast desires for everyone to see that they are nothing more than dead, lifeless, meaningless bodies and that he now reigns. That is always his modus operandi – leaving people for dead and then gloating. But the story NEVER ends there! Remember, it will not be done by any might or power that is outside of the Spirit. After 3 1/2 days of disrespect, the breath of life from the Spirit of God enters the witnesses and they STAND ON THEIR FEET! Hallelujah! DIVAs, God always has the final say over EVERY situation! In the NT the witnesses lives on earth close with them being called up into heaven as they were in the OT. What an ending! All this while their enemies watched!

The Father loves you DEEPLY. Can you comprehend it?

In His grace,
Amanda

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Spiritual Insight Is A Necessity ~ Part 13

“Then I was given a measuring reed like a rod, with these words: “Go and measure God’s sanctuary and the altar, and count those who worship there. But exclude the courtyard outside the sanctuary. Don’t measure it, because it is given to the nations, and they will trample the holy city for 42 months. I will empower my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1,260 days, dressed in sackcloth. These are the two olive trees and the two lamp stands that stand before the Lord of the earth. If anyone wants to harm them, fire comes from their mouths and consumes their enemies; if anyone wants to harm them, he must be killed in tis way. These men have the power to close up the sky so that it does not rain during the days of their prophecy. They also have power over the waters to turn them into blood and to strike the earth with every plague whenever they want.” Revelation 11:1-6

Will you join me in prayerfully considering these verses?

It is interesting to note that this 1,260 day interval precedes the beasts’ reign. Looking ahead to verse 7 it says, “When they finish their testimony (did you catch the impact of “when they finish their testimony”? God will not allow the beast to interfere until He permits him access. Hallelujah!) the beast that comes out of the abyss will make war with them, conquer them, and kill them.”

The verse tell us that the two witnesses are dressed in sackcloth. According to Strongs, the sackcloth was dark and course, made especially from the hair of animals. The material would cling to the person like a sack, “which was worn (or drawn over the tunic instead of the cloak or mantle) by mourners, penitents, suppliants and also by those who like the Hebrew prophets, lead an austere life.”

There is interesting imagery here with the two olive trees and the two lamp stands. Zechariah 4:1-14 (please consider reading) also speaks of olive trees and lamp stands. Considering the lamp stands, when the angel in these verses asks, “Don’t you know what they are?” shows the necessity of supernatural insight. God desired Zerubabbel to be instrumental in leading the rebuilding of the temple and city and it would be accomplished “not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of hosts”. Is there any other way? No, this could only be accomplished by the plentiful supply (as shown by the bowl, seven lamps, seven channels and two olive trees) of God’s Spirit. DIVAs, we must allow the Spirit of God to lead us during our tenure under the sun if we desire to accomplish His purposes.

The necessity of having a solid Foundation is near and dear to me right now. How about you? During Zerubabbel’s tenure of rebuilding the temple and city, God’s people felt insignificant, powerless, and overwhelmed. Times have not changed that much in our generation…we can also experience similar emotions. In Zerubabbel’s time God provided two anointed ones (translated in Hebrew to mean “two men of oil”) to build up and encourage His people to accomplish His task (these anointed ones spoken of here are likely Joshua and Zerubbabel).

It is fascinating to note that Zerubabbel was the grandson of Jehoiachin, the captive king of Judah (1 Chr. 3:17) and a legitimate heir to David’s throne (Luke 3:27; Matt. 1:12). With the blessing of Cyrus (Ezra 1:1-2), Zerubbabel and Joshua (the high priest) led the first group of captives from Babylon back to Jerusalem. They also returned the gold and silver vessels that Nebuchadnezzar had removed from the Temple. God is intentional and has a plan. When Cyrus allowed God’s people to return to their promised land, God purposed that they be lead out by Zerubbabel (David’s heir) and Joshua (the high priest). He set His leaders in place to lead His people out of captivity and into freedom. He has set up the same design for you and me. He put His leader in place (Jesus) to lead His people (you and me) out of captivity and into freedom. Will you follow Him?

In the days to come, God will repeat the provision provided in Zechariah. “I will empower my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1,260 days, dressed in sackcloth.” (Rev. 11:3) I am struck with the reality that God will EMPOWER them yet they are humbled to the point of dressing in sackcloth! DIVAs, we can be a mighty force for God while dressed in the flesh of humility. Glory! This world does not understand the things of God. Would you agree that we have much more to learn? As heirs to the Kingdom let’s commit ourselves to learning more about Spiritual things.

Now, who might the two witnesses be? They could be Moses (representing the law) and Elijah (representing the Prophets and Kings). Take a look at these verses in Luke 9:29-30 “And as he was praying, the appearance of his face was altered, and his clothing became dazzling white. And behold, two men were talking with him, Moses and Elijah, who appeared in glory and spoke of his departure, which he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem.” Later, we will look more into this idea of Moses and Elijah repeating their leadership. Whoever the Lord has decided these two will be are you prepared to listen and follow no matter the cost? We will do so not by might, nor by power, but by His Spirit. DIVAs, we require it now but we will require supernatural insight even more in the days to come. Come Lord Jesus, come.

In His grace,

Amanda

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Human Pride WILL BE Humbled ~ Part 12

“Go into the rocks and hide in the dust from the terror of the Lord and from His majestic splendor. Human pride will be humbled, and the loftiness of men will be brought low; the Lord alone will be exalted on that day. For a day belonging to the Lord of Hosts is coming against all that is proud and lofty, against all that is lifted up — it will be humbled. So human pride will be brought low, and the loftiness of men will be humbled; the Lord alone will be exalted on that day. The idols will vanish completely. People will go into caves in the rocks and holes in the ground, away from the terror of the Lord and from His majestic splendor, when He rises to terrify the earth. On that day people will throw their silver and gold idols, which they made to worship, to the moles and the bats. They will go into the caves of the rocks and the crevices in the cliffs, away from the terror of the Lord and from His majestic splendor, when He rises to terrify the earth. Put no more trust in man, who has only the breath in his nostrils. What is he really worth?” Isaiah 2:10-11,17-22

This is all about the pride of man but does it bring to your remembrance the discussion of the sixth seal (referring to Feb. 2, 2016 post)?

I recently noticed the front page of a major newspaper and felt deeply troubled. My mind swirled contemplating all the places our troubled hearts can take us, recalling that our mouth speaks from the overflow of the heart. (Luke 6:45) Would you agree that pride aligns us quickly with the motives of the enemy of our souls (Satan)?

Please take note of the comments under the picture.  Do you see the pride in the statement that is coming from someone desiring to be our leader? As Christians we are to bow down to no one and we should desire that no one bow down to us. Now, we could assume this comment was not to be taken seriously. Even so, let’s keep this in mind that as leaders (if you are a Christian you ARE a leader) we must guard all of our speech!

Photo on 3-5-16 at 9.34 PM #2

Pride speaks with arrogance and contempt (Psalm 31:18) and the imagination of the prideful heart runs wild. The prideful mock, speak maliciously and arrogantly, and threaten oppression. Prideful ones speak against heaven, and “their tongues strut across the earth.” (Psalm 73:6-9) “The proud and arrogant person, named “Mocker,” acts with excessive pride.” Proverbs 21:24

It is easy to be prideful and much more difficult to be humble. One of the ways we can fall into the trap is to be caught up in the busyness of the day, all the while thinking how clever we are at handling all the demands and solving all the problems. Our feet can quickly leave the path the Lord has laid out for us and chase the many rabbit trails vying for our attention. Before we know it our focus has shifted off the Lord and on to the many distractions of life. When this occurs, spotlight goes to self and pride quickly sneaks in.

Will you join me this week in (1) asking the Lord to help us keep our attentions off ourselves and instead focusing them on Kingdom initiatives, and (2) praying for our county?  Lord….we need you.

Here is a mighty prayer offered by Daniel in Daniel 9:18-19 we could turn into our own prayer.  “Listen, my God, and hear. For we are not presenting our petitions before You based on our righteous acts, but based on Your abundant compassion. Lord, hear! Lord, forgive! Lord, listen and act! My God, for Your own sake, do not delay, because Your people are called by Your name.”  Amen.

In His grace,

Amanda

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Heaven is Prepared…Are You? ~ Part 11

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“When He opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour. Then I saw the seven angels who stand in the presence of God; seven trumpets were given to them. Another angel with a gold incense burner, came and stood at the altar. He was given a large amount of incense to offer with the prayers of all the saints on the gold altar in front of the throne. The smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, went up in the presence of God from the angel’s hand. The angel took the incense burner, filled it with fire from the altar, and hurled it to the earth; there were rumblings of thunder, flashes of lightning, and an earthquake. And the seven angels who had the seven trumpets prepared to blow them.” Revelation 8:1-6

Will you join me in prayerfully considering these verses?

Do you find it interesting that there was silence in heaven for about half an hour? Even praises were silenced? Take a look at Revelation 4:8. “Each of these living beings had six wings, and their wings were covered all over with eyes, inside and out. Day after day and night after night they keep on saying, Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God, the Almighty – the one who always was, who is, and who is still to come.” Amen!! And whenever these living creatures give glory, honor, and thanks to the One seated on the throne, the 24 elders fall down, worship, and cast their crowns saying: “Our Lord and God, You are worthy to receive glory and honor and power, because You have created all things, and because of Your will they exist and were created.” (Revelation 4:11) But, when the seventh seal is opened, there is s i l e n c e. Can you imagine it? It is interesting to note that the word silence here means ‘an involuntary stillness or inability to speak’. This is quite different than ‘a voluntary refusal or indisposition to speak’ (Strongs).

Here are some other places in scripture where we see silence is required:

“Stand in silence in the presence of the Sovereign LORD, for the awesome day of the LORD’s judgment is near.” Zephaniah 1:7

“Let them sit alone in silence beneath the LORD’s demands.”

Lamentations 3:28

What reasons can you think of to be silenced because of the Lord? I am reminded of Romans 11:33…it is one of my favorites. “Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and the knowledge of God! How unsearchable His judgments and untraceable His ways!” What else is there to say? Speaking of the ‘depth’, Paul knew the mysteries of the kingdom of God better than most yet he confesses he is at a loss; despairing to find the bottom, he humbly sits down at the limit of his understanding, and adores the depth (abyss). This indeed will cause a person to be silent, marveling at the depths of God (1 Corinthians 2:10). Human vocabulary is completely insufficient to describe His wonder and it thrills me to know this.

Let’s take a look at the incense. In Exodus 30 it is referred to as sacred. The ingredients used to prepare the incense (fragrant spices of starte, onycha, and galbanum, along with pure frankincense) were then to be season with salt, pure and holy. Do you recall that our speech should always be gracious, seasoned with salt (Colossians 4:6) and that we should walk in sacrificial love as Christ did which was a sweet-smelling aroma? (Ephesians 5:2)

God told Moses to place the gold altar for incense in front of the ark of the testimony (Exodus 40:5) and that this would be the location He would meet with him (Exodus 25:22). It is fascinating to read that when the Temple of God in heaven was opened, the Ark could be seen! In our focus verses in Revelation, the angel came to the gold altar in front of the throne with a large amount of incense to offer with the prayers of all the saints. The burning of the incense mixed with the prayers of the saints (the prayers are to be incensed, so as to (typically) render them pure and acceptable to God) went up in the presence of God – IN HIS PRESENCE! Can you imagine that He wanted that altar to be next to His throne? The angel then mixed the incense with the prayers, added fire from the altar and then hurled it all to earth. The impact our prayers must have when mixed with the fire from the holy altar of heaven! Dynamite!! We are privileged to be able to see the fulfillment of some of our prayers now but some of them will just have to wait until the One that sits on the throne informs the angel that it is time to get the gold incense burner!

I just have to tell you – I am about to jump out of my seat right now reading this!! “On the morning of the third day, thunder roared and lightning flashed, and a dense cloud came down on the mountain. There was a long, loud blast from a ram’s horn (here is our trumpet), and all the people trembled.” (Exodus 19:16) The Lord was coming down!!! Glory!! Verse 18 tells us that all of Mount Sinai was covered with smoke because the LORD descended in the form of fire! Tell me you are jumping out of your earth suit right now! In our verses in Revelation, the angles are preparing to sound their trumpets and the Lord WILL COME and vindicate his saints!!! Whew! I love the idea of the Lord coming down with such drama!

(This is an amazing song, but… I will warn you that a few images might be difficult to watch for some people.  If you do view it, make sure you watch to the end – it is my favorite part!)

Here are some other places in Scripture that speak of thunder, lightning, and earthquakes:

“From the throne came flashes of lightning and the rumble of thunder.” Revelation 4:5

“Then, in heaven, the Temple of God was opened and the Ark of his covenant could be seen inside the Temple. Lightning flashed, thunder crashed and roared, and there was an earthquake and a terrible hailstorm.” Revelation 11:19

Here it speaks about the demonic spirits gathering all the rulers and their armies to Armageddon and the seventh angel poured out his bowl into the air. “A mighty shout came from the throne in the Temple, saying, “It is finished!” Then the thunder crashed and rolled, and lightning flashed. And a great earthquake struck – the worst since people were placed on the earth.” Revelation 16:17 The wording at the end of this verse has a similar sound to Matthew 24:21 speaking of the Great Tribulation, “For at that time there will be great tribulation, the kind that hasn’t taken place from the beginning of the world until now and never will again!”

DIVAs. we must be ready. The more I read this book the more I am drawn in like never before. How about you? To me, that is nothing more than a work of the Spirit. I plan to sit a while in silence now and a d o r e the Depth. Meanwhile, the seven angels with their seven trumpets are prepared…are you?

In His grace,
Amanda

Thank you Lord for sustaining this website for two years this week!  ALL glory, honor, and thanksgiving to the One that makes everything possible!

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