What’s in a Name?

IMG_6232
(How people see me.) My dog Rudy loves to boss the cows.

I’ll confess I never truly liked the name Tammy. I blame my name for all the pats I received on the head from male employers and for the punches in the arm instead of dates I received from guys I thought were cute in college. It’s my name’s fault for why I’ve worked so hard to prove myself because if I didn’t, I feared I wouldn’t get past the little white yapper image in people’s minds when they thought of me.

I read a book once about the psychology behind a name. The author stated our names shaped a portion of our personalities because it dictates how people perceive us to be and therefore how we are treated. Pretty interesting stuff! See why I blame my name for all those pats and punches?

IMG_5858
(But this is how I see myself…) Franklin the goat guard and my niece Addie.

After finding out I was pregnant at the age of 44, with my number four, my husband Jay stated if this child was a girl he wanted her to be named Isabella. Later that night, we had dinner at Donatello’s in Tampa, Florida. While leaving the restaurant, the owner handed me a rose, kissed both my cheeks, and said, “Goodnight Bella.” While the words rolled off his Italian tongue releasing into the night air like poetry–let’s just say…it sealed the deal.

Silly huh?

Well, maybe, but I went home and looked up the meaning of the name Isabella, and found it meant “devoted to God.”

Nine months later, Isabella was born.

IMG_6506

Recently, I thought about how important a name is to God. So much so, He changed several people’s names in the Bible pointing towards His plan for their lives. He changed Abram which meant “high father” to Abraham meaning “father of a multitude.” He changed Sarai meaning “my princess” to Sarah which meant “mother of nations.” God changed Jacob meaning supplanter to Israel which meant “having power with God.” Later, Israel’s sons became the twelve tribes of Israel.

Did you know Simon meant “God has heard,” but Jesus changed it to Peter meaning “rock.” Can a name shape a destiny? In my daughter’s case, I can only hope.

IMG_6473
Bella’s name should mean lover of mud.

I looked up the meaning of Tammy and it is derived from the Hebrew name Tamar meaning “Palm tree.” When I told my Momma she named me palm tree she stated, “I should’ve never named you Tammy because that set your destiny to move away to Florida!”

But there had to be more than a tree…

I looked up the Hebrew significance of the palm tree. That’s where it gets interesting…

The Palm Tree means “flourish.”  It is a tree that can flourish through the storms and drought. It can bend and not fall over because of its root system. It can produce fruit in its old age.

“The righteous flourish like the palm tree and grow like a cedar in Lebanon. They are planted in the house of the Lord; they flourish in the courts of our God. They still bear fruit in old age; they are ever full of sap and green.” Psalms 92:12-14 English Standard Version.

So, I will embrace the name Tammy even if it means a pat on my head every now and again because I’m a flourisher!

You can be too…

IMG_6478

While we endure the Covid crisis we may feel a little discarded. We may feel we’ve lost our identities. We may feel our destinies have been altered because of that job we lost, that loved one that passed away unexpectedly, or that illness we had to endure.

But here’s the light that shines through the chaos and darkness… God’s still in control. As long as you’ve placed your life in the palm of His hand your destiny is secure. Here’s the truth…your identity isn’t found in your name as much as it’s found in His.

So, if you’re like me and been like eh over your name…if you’ve accepted Christ as your personal Savior you’ve been renamed anyway. Your name is now

Chosen

Redeemed (saved)

 Sanctified (purified)

 Loved

 His Child.

What a relief that’s so much better than Tammy and palm tree! I shall hold my head high for anyone who wants to give me a pat.

Isn’t that so much better than your own name?

Hang in there. God’s plan will unfold in due time. This too shall pass.

In the meantime, if you’re bored and tired of doing those puzzles you might want to look up the meaning of your own name. I’d love to hear about it in the comments below.

Till next time…

IMG_5856

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Sound of Silence

A63789FD-B4AF-4761-8419-DA5F08D0DDC3_1_201_a

The Chesapeake Bay fueled my terror of lightning. One afternoon, a dark shadow hung over my Daddy’s boat before a bright flash bounced off a crab pot, and a sharp pain sliced through my arm as it hung over the side of the boat. For years after, Momma closed all the doors to the bedrooms and sat with me in the hallway during lightning storms. We leaned against her record/stereo player that we had to turn sideways to scoot around. Simon and Garfunkel, Motown greats, James Taylor, John Denver—whichever she was in the mood for that afternoon—drowned out the thunder.

Today, I heard again a remake of Simon and Garfunkel’s song The Sound of Silence, by Disturbed. I sang along to the words and returned to that hallway watching the water droplets slip down Momma’s tea glass, praying away the storm. You can hear the song by clicking below.

 

It was in 1965 Simon and Garfunkel released the song, The Sound of Silence. Simon claimed he’d written it as a twenty-one-year old in a dark bathroom while the water ran in the sink. He said, it was just a youthful yearning for someone to listen to me. I hear much more than that. The poetic lyrics warn of worshipping the pop culture gods we create, believing mass media, engaging with things instead of people, and not communicating. Hearing it today against the backdrop of the Corona virus the song seemed to be prophetic in a weird sense. Although the song is one of my favorites, as an abiding follower of Jesus Christ I hear the despair in its message because the song closes without offering any hope or light in the end…only darkness and silence.

246D4A9D-3AF4-4ED8-842F-D49122A40CB8_1_201_a
My daughter Bella and my niece Aubrey

.936A19FC-FAB8-41D2-A6B9-778DD35E3C6B_1_201_a

B03B53EE-CA27-47EA-A384-8F37A06DB828_1_201_a
My niece Sunaeya

But here’s truth…Light isn’t quiet. Our Heavenly Father is still speaking throughout the storms of life. Throughout this quarantine at the farm, I’ve heard Him loud and clear.

On Passover night, I heard Him in the brilliance of a super moon, He said, “And there will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth distress of nations in perplexity because of the roaring of the sea and the waves, people fainting with fear and with foreboding of what is coming on the world.” Luke 21:25-26 English Standard Version.

IMG_6384
Passover Moon

On an early morning walk I heard Him in the mixture of fog and sun settling over the pond. He said, “I have wiped out your transgressions like a thick cloud. And your sins like a heavy mist. Return to me for I have redeemed you.” Isaiah 44:22 (NIV)

IMG_6349

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On a walk in the woods we discovered tons of wild blueberry bushes and I heard my God. He said, “Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your Heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?” Matthew 6:26 ESV

594FCCD5-8715-4B5A-8E82-53C8FD04A7B0_1_201_a
My son Christian taking us to pick blueberries.

In the earnest prayers of my daughter as she points to a country on a map praying God will protect Australia from Corona. My Father said, “Whoever humbles himself (herself) like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 18:4 (ESV)

Surrounding the farmhouse wild yapping sounded from every direction, as our dog Franklin sprinted into the darkness to fight off the coyotes alone, my Father said, “For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now.” Romans 8:19-22 ESV

IMG_6566
Franklin

In the garden planting tomatoes my God said, “Sow for yourselves righteousness; reap steadfast love; break up your fallow ground, for it is time to seek the Lord, that He may come and rain righteousness upon you. Hosea 10:12 (ESV)

IMG_6276

And on a night when lightening flashed and thunder boomed, and the television screamed tornado, I stood in the swirling wind and heard my Father said, “It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; He will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” Deuteronomy 31:8 (ESV)

IMG_6601
The day of the tornadoes. The cows and birds were restless.

Masks can quiet prayers.

Fear can squelch faith.

Distance dims lights.

Don’t let it. Remember Who your Father is, and who He made us to be…

Communicators, Faith Builders, and  Lighthouses

Till next time!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mourning the Loss of Expectations

944085DD-A213-416D-A49F-CD5FCD3C3DB2_1_201_a

Feeling sad today. Missing travel. Missing Main Street, USA at Magic Kingdom. Fearing that awful, monstrous…The Unknown.

I don’t shove these feelings down.

I don’t scold myself for not trusting God enough for not having enough faith.

Please.

The Bible is pretty much ALL people who aren’t enough but for whom God decides to Be everything.

He’s always filled in the gaps, where we aren’t enough.

No, what I’m doing is recognizing that my expectation for life does not match reality.

The journey of letting go of expectation and accepting reality is called grief.

It’s a crucial part of our mental health.

Grief is tricky. It messes you up to stifle it OR to languish in it.

Grief isn’t a destination. It’s a hallway between rooms.

If you don’t use the hallway, you are stuck somewhere you aren’t supposed to be.

If you live in the hallway, you are missing out on the life waiting for you.

But you can’t skip the hallway.

I’m just walking through a little hallway today.

I’ll do it with Jesus. I’ll pause. Show Him something I’m sad about or scared about. He’ll just hold my hand while I say goodbye to the thing I’ll miss or have a good cry over my lack of control. But then He’ll gently guide me to the next thing.

Eventually, like so many times before, I’ll accept that my expectations were never anything more than that. THIS was always what was going to be. This is what God planned and will use for my good.

I’m just not there yet. I’m walking down the hallway.

It’s okay to be sad.

Just living out loud in case someone else needs permission to feel sad too.

 

This article was written by Sara Edwards. Thank you Sara for visiting The Hallelujah House today.
image.pngSara Edwards lives and works in the lovely town of Windermere, Florida. When she’s not carpooling her children, Ellie and Caleb, or working as an Office Manager for a local real estate agency, she’s co-leading a small group at Family Church in Windermere with her husband, George. Her other passion is leading worship as a vocalist in Family’s Worship Arts Ministry.

Finding Peace in the Pandemic

Preparing the Heart:

E20424F9-88F1-4489-9F82-D6A29230CBC9_1_201_a
The morning mist over the pond at the farm.

My boys are restless. I feel their bottled energy as they slug around the house with that wild look in their eyes as if they hear war drums in the distance but are forced in their barracks unable to join comrades in battle. My hunter runs off to hunt the woods daily. My fisherman runs off to catch those bass in the pond. My youngest son runs between the two. They’re biding their time in quarantine as best they can.

Meanwhile, beyond the farm fences, out there in the real-world, there’s a dangerous invader whose sticky barbs have infected every aspect of our lives.

The enemy loves to break everything at once.

Have at it, as long as he can’t break our knees.

There’s a quote in The Art of War by Tzu Sun, “Begin by seizing something which your opponent holds dear; then he will be amenable to your will.”

Which brings us to the question, what do we hold dear? Money? Time? Conveniences? Church? Education? Entertainment? Sports?

Satan has tampered with all of it. But here’s the thing…

God’s allowed it.

6AA4385A-E05E-4D3B-B3FC-3AC9B4723C12_1_201_a

Unfortunately, many times we push God behind those things we hold dear. And once God is pushed out of that space inside us reserved for Him, a vacuum is created that is filled with something dirty. On a personal level, it doesn’t have to be a virus it could be a god we’ve created on our own. That thing that started out innocent enough, maybe even it was once a good thing, until we poured our everything into it. We should all ask ourselves, is there anything or anyone we think about more than God? Is there anything or anyone we hold more dear than our Heavenly Father?

So why has dirty Corona taken over the world? Every country has pushed God out. To mention a few…

In the United States, we’ve decided to abolish absolute truth. The Word of God has become debatable around the campfires, while we shoot holes through passages establishing God’s authority on mankind. We’ve even allowed some pastors to dispute the Word of God from the pulpit. We’ve made vulgarity and sinister evil into entertainment. We’ve given Hollywood and the secular music industry the power to dictate the standards of morality. The ones who are courageous enough to take a stand for absolute truth, are pushed by political correctness to the front lines to be squelched.

Throughout the European countries beautiful churches stand empty. Worshipping God has become old school. Some churches have even been sold to be turned into restaurants, pubs, or even a skate park. Can you imagine skating on a ramp while Jesus watches bleeding from the cross? (Netherlands) In Italy, while church pews remain bare, hordes willgather to hear the Pope. Are they worshipping God or man?

China…I’ll never forget an article I read in Marie Claire featuring a dead baby girl lying in the city gutter on the street. The journalist snapped pictures of people walking on by, even stepping over her, not one person appeared shocked to see a dead baby lying there. It seemed as if this was an everyday occurrence. Until an elderly man stopped. He placed his hands on his hips and looked down for a moment. Relief, someone cared. The man went into a nearby store, came out with a black trash bag, and threw the body in it before tossing her into a dumpster. It was a perfect illustration of their cultural position on the sanctity of life.

Before we Americans pat ourselves on the back for how we regard human life, we are heading in the same direction. In the United States we’ve killed 50 million babies since abortion became legal. Case in point, in January, Governor Andrew Cuomo was so proud of passing expanded abortion rights in New York, he lit up the One World Trade Center in pink. Was he celebrating the increase of infant death? Three months later, he’s battling the highest death rate for Corona in the United States.

Corona is the natural consequence of our pushing God out of His place of authority. He’s the Decider of life or death. It is unfortunate that all citizens suffer the consequences for a nation that has thumbed its nose at God.

EF656CD6-5BCC-4843-8B4B-C549CFD99600_1_201_a

How do we prevent Covid 19 from destroying our peace or taking our joy?

Believe it or not, we can look to the source of the virus for that answer. While many churches have become bloated, boastful, proud entertainment hot spots, they lack any true power to fight the spiritual forces of darkness. Meanwhile, the humble underground meetings of devout Christians in China whose members risk everything to worship have become a beacon of light for the rest of the world to follow. We now have to worship in our homes. We are being humbled and just maybe God wants His church to transform in the process.

We fight Covid 19 in the humble repentance and surrender of what we’ve held dear. Surrendering those things to our Heavenly Father as an offering and placing Him back in our lives where He belongs as Lord will equip us to handle any weapon the enemy uses against us. It is in the surrender we find peace, joy, and contentment no matter what our circumstances. Healthy or sick.

“Open the gates, that the righteous nation that keeps faith may enter in. You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.” Isaiah 26:2-3 English Standard Version.

FF204589-DF8F-465D-B1B3-F1316F42641C_1_201_a

Tomorrow Passover begins, and I’ve been thinking a lot about the plague that entered Egypt. The Israelites protection from the plague came in obeying God’s command to sacrifice a lamb and paint the blood over their doorway. Then God told them to remain inside. If they remained inside protected by the blood barrier the angel of death would pass them by.

Today, there’s power in the blood of the perfect Lamb Jesus Christ. He provides our protection from the barbs that stick. Besides, He’s a God who’s familiar with the pain from barbs and can be trusted with your life.

Won’t you hide yourself in Him?

“Come, my people, enter your chambers, and shut your doors behind you hide yourselves for a little while until the fury has passed by.” Isaiah 26:20 ESV

If you’ve never given your life to Jesus Christ and proclaimed Him to be your Lord and Savior. It is not too late.

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him.” John 3:16-17 ESV

Won’t you accept Him today?

 

 

 

 

 

 

No Longer Doubting

Preparing the Heart:

“There’s no shadow You won’t light up

Mountain You won’t climb up

Coming after me

There’s no wall You won’t kick down

Lie You won’t tear down

Coming after me.”

Reckless Love by Cory Asbury

FB_IMG_1580423854899
Jennifer and Robert Yeager

When our family moved from Kentucky to Tennessee in 2005, Jennifer Yeager was the first person who went out of her way to befriend me. We met at the pool in the temporary housing the church provided for us.

She be-bopped up to my family and I. “Well, hello Hammonds…” she said in her Georgia accent. “I’m Jennifer Yeager and this is my husband Robert; we go to Grace and saw that you are the new pastor and family at our church. Welcome to Knoxville.”

And just like that, Jennifer and I became fast friends. Not only were we neighbors; but also, we sang together on the church worship team. I learned that a couple of months before we met, Jennifer had accepted Jesus Christ as her Savior.

“I thought I was saved when I was 12 years old,” she said. “A pastor preached a sermon on hell, and it scared me to death. I waited until I came home and, alone in my bed I asked God to save me from Hell.”

Years later, a visiting evangelist shared a Sunday message about having assurance of salvation. In tears, Jennifer approached the altar. A choir member, Beth, met her there and prayed, “Lord, I remember the night you came into my life and I’ve never been the same…” When Jennifer heard those words, it startled her. She thought, ‘I still feel the same, maybe I’m not a Christian.’ The concern plagued her. That evening, Jennifer admitted to an altar counselor, Jeanette she felt unsure she had been saved.

“Well, you’re about to get saved now,” Jeanette said.

“She led me in prayer,” Jennifer said, “and I repeated what she’d said. On April 10, 2005, Jesus saved me, and I was born again.”

Resized_20200130_170858

 

Jennifer spread her testimony of God’s grace with nearly everyone she encountered. I’d never known a person with a greater gift of evangelism; yet while leading people to Christ on a mission trip in El Salvador, she still doubted her own salvation. Desperate to conquer her uncertainty, she participated in the Bible studies I facilitated in my home and church, but no matter how much Bible she learned, she wrestled with the worst spiritual anguish. Am I truly saved?

I wanted to take her by the shoulders and shake her saying, “Jennifer I see Jesus all over you…there’s no doubt!” She suffered to the point that even reading God’s Word would make it worse. Bible verses stating, “If you don’t love your neighbor—the love of the Father is not in you,” I John 4:20 (New International Version), literally messed with her mind.

“I couldn’t say I truly loved my neighbors,” Jennifer said. “so I would question if I really had Jesus living in my heart. I probably prayed the ‘sinner’s prayer’ a hundred times. I just never felt certain. If somebody would have told me in order to stop doubting, I’d have to cut off my ring finger, or take some sort of salvation pill…I would’ve gladly done it.”

Making life more miserable, she battled a life-long eating disorder causing body-image issues, and Jennifer begged God to free her from the bondage of food addiction. After 15 agonizing years of having no true peace or joy, she began thinking, ‘This God thing is all bogus!’ Being my closest friend, Jennifer had a front row seat to my spiritual shut down, and the darkness that took me under. (You can read my story about that here…Plastered on the Front Pew  Plastered on the Front Pew (Part 2)) She thought, ‘If that happened to Liz, it could happen to me.’ Finally, Jennifer told her husband she needed professional help with her eating disorder.

FB_IMG_1581543090918
My sister, Lisa, myself, and Jennifer.

She met with both a secular therapist and a Christian therapist named Rose. Both addressed the eating disorder and identified a flaw in her belief system. The belief, “I’m not worthy of anything or anybody” was founded early in her childhood, and it manifested throughout her life.

Recently in a therapy session she told Rose, “I was told starting at a young age by a close family member, If I get fat I’ll never be loved. I’ve felt unworthy of love my whole life. I’m never going to be loved.” As Jennifer spoke those words aloud, she sensed a voice behind her interrupting, “That is not who you are.” She heard it so clear it startled her. She spun around to see if anyone was there.

“No one was there,” Jennifer said, “but I knew it was the voice of God the Father. He was telling me that I am not the things I’ve believed about myself for so long. It was in that moment I understood I’d been agreeing with the lies of the enemy, and that is why I doubted God.”

“It was as if God said, ‘That’s enough!’ Immediately, I felt free. I looked at Rose and asked her if I could pray with her, and without hesitation she nodded yes. While I prayed I saw myself differently. I was righteous covered by His Blood. I was a saint; I sin, but I’m not a sinner. I told Jesus that I wanted to give everything inside of me to Him, my organs, my blood, my skin…”

After praying, she sighed deeply and announced to Rose, “I’m not struggling. I’m not doubting anymore.”

Rose smiled. “It’s just time,” she said.

No longer doubting, God filled Jennifer with peace and joy. She couldn’t wait to share the amazing news of her deliverance with me over the phone. “Liz, I have no more tormenting thoughts. They are gone!” I joined her in praising and thanking the God Who frees us.

Resized_20200130_171148

It is never God’s will that we doubt Him. If you are doubting His faithfulness, His goodness, or His saving power…He is able to set you free. His Word promises in I John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” There are no magical words, nor a specific sinner’s prayer that saves you, rather a genuine confession that you need Jesus, and that He alone has the power to save by His grace. Even if we are overcome by a doubting spirit like Jennifer was, God’s Word remains true as it states in II Timothy 2:13, “If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot disown Himself.” (NIV)

The Bible uses the analogy of the marriage relationship when it refers to how God loves us and demonstrates his love for us. He is the groom, and we are His bride. Unlike marriages between two imperfect humans who may lie, betray, and leave one another. God reveals Himself to be lovingly faithful and committed to a covenant union (promise) with us when we accept His Son Jesus as our Savior and Lord. As His bride we are made blameless and holy in His sight, a spotless virgin, because He purifies us with His blood. He is fully devoted to us, and we can trust that one day soon, we will be reunited with Jesus Christ when He returns for His bride.

“Let us rejoice and be glad and give Him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and His bride has made herself ready.” Revelations 19:7 (NIV)

Are you ready? You can be. You can rest assured that because He loves you, you can trust Him. If you are tormented by doubt like Jennifer was, she shared her story so that you may know… God will tear down every demonic lie causing you doubt, set you free from the torment, and fill you with peace because He is faithful.

“God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may have eternal life.” I John 5:11-13 (NIV)

(If you’d like to correspond with Jennifer Yeager or hear her tell her own testimony you can find her video on Facebook or email her directly at Nolesfan24@aol.com.)

 

fullsizeoutput_4210This article was written by a member of our writing team, Liz Hammond. In her free time she loves to bake, read, and lounge on the beach which is in her opinion is the closest thing to heaven. Elizabeth’s passion is ministering to others out of her own God-story where He’s rescued her life and continues to restore her family. She desires to fulfill God’s purpose in her life in encouraging women by sharing her own story, through Bible study, and intimate friendships.

Elizabeth can be contacted at elizabethhammond8@gmail.com.

Note from Tammy Adams: The Corona crisis can lead to much doubt in our Heavenly Father’s protection, provisions, and promises. We at The Hallelujah House thought Jennifer’s story is a good reminder no matter the crisis God’s faithfulness will see you through it. If any of you have a prayer request,  please feel free to leave them for us in the comments or email one of us privately. We will be honored to pray for you during this difficult season. Raise a Hallelujah!

 

What God Showed Me in the Woods

IMG_6181 2

 

As of this writing, our family and my brother in law’s family are settled in at the farmhouse. What we thought was a few days at the farm for spring break turned into an indefinite stay. One day I felt the need to escape for a bit. With 12 people under roof—sometimes—you just need to hunt down some quiet. There is a stretch of woods on the farm where the tall pines grow in neat rows. The grass comes up bright green in this area and once it reaches a certain height the cattle are brought in for the buffet.

I sat under a tree to enjoy some quiet time. I prayed over everyone in my groups, my Bible study ladies, my church leaders, my writer friends, my inner circles, neighbors, and of course family. I prayed for God to supernaturally protect them from the virus. I told Him I believed in the promise that all things work for good for those who love Him, for I’ve experienced this first-hand, but I asked Him for some clarity. What to expect maybe? Why? Just anything…

I waited.

A butterfly fluttered by my boots, the wind blew through the tall grasses, I heard a frog ribbiting nearby, a hawk screech. I noticed creation goes on about its business while the civilized world becomes uncivilized while fights break out in grocery stores, commodities such as toilet paper have risen to the level of luxury, hospitals overflow with the sick, and exhausted medical personnel work without sleep.

IMG_6182

Several loud snaps, and large branches fell to the ground. I peered into the trees, thinking it was a large animal. I’d forgotten the pistol and radio, which my husband, Jay continually reminds me to take. I knew he’d lecture me on my return home. Another one snapped and fell. Then another. I couldn’t see anything causing them to fall except the wind.

One oak tree stood alone in the midst of the pines. The sunlight slipped through spotlighting that one lone oak. It was strange, one oak in the middle of all these pines that had been planted before we ever came to the farm. I wondered how it had survived and wasn’t chopped down.

“Oaks of righteousness” came to mind.

“Oaks of righteousness?” I said aloud.

A phrase from the ancient prophetic pages of Isaiah 61:

To comfort all who mourn;

To grant to those who mourn in Zion–

To give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes,

The oil of gladness instead of mourning,

The garment of praise instead of a faint spirit;

That they may be called oaks of righteousness,

The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.

IMG_6185 2

While the world around us cracks and falls, we must remember Jesus Christ came to plant oaks. Those that abide in the Heavenly Father will stand strong like the oak in the midst of the pines. I realized something sitting out there in the woods, things must be removed from us for us to grow strong. How many things in our lives have snapped off and been discarded with a virus? Our conveniences, our money, our relationships, our health, our pleasures, even our own traditional church service because let’s face it, we have a tendency to look to our church for the answers, instead of going directly to the Source our God. How many of the things we’ve lost were false gods to us?

Pruning is never easy, but when the end result is a closer intimacy with God the Father it’s always worth it. God uses hardships to strengthen faith. While we are becoming accustomed to the changes in our lives I know there will be financial issues, frustrations, some illness, there may even be loss of life, but remember if we keep our focus on the Light in the forest we will flourish and become strong oaks in a world full of pines.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Preparing for the Pandemic- Corona Virus

DSC_0456

I wanted to post today, to address the fears and anxieties over the Corona virus and how to prepare for it. We at The Hallelujah House have been busy preparing our homes and children for the virus as we would a hurricane coming into town. God speaks in His word to His followers on being prepared, but this does not mean preparing in anxiety or out of a place of fear. We need to recognize that fear is in opposition to faith and is a tool of the enemy. Do not wander into Satan’s camp by acting out of fear. Being prepared for troubles is wise.  Being prepared puts you in a place of calm for your household, but also puts you in a place where you can be a blessing to others who are not prepared.   “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” ~ 2 Timothy 1:7

With this particular outbreak, I can’t help but recall the story of the Israelites, being enslaved to Egypt, painted blood on the door posts of their homes as the angel of death passed by. Today, we don’t need to paint the blood of an animal over the door of our homes, we have the blood of Christ covering our souls. There is power in the blood of the most perfect lamb, Jesus Christ of Nazareth, and I pray His blood of protection over our country today.

I wanted to share with you all as to how we are preparing here at The Hallelujah House for Corona virus:

  1. First things first, we remember who we belong to, who we serve. (Preparing the heart)

Your Lord and Savior walked on water. He calmed the stormy seas with His voice. He healed the lame, the possessed, the blind, the deaf, and those covered in leprosy with his words.

He saved our souls by shedding His blood on the cross because He loved us that much.

If you’ve accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior, you are a child of the King. So whom or what do you have to be afraid of? “The Lord is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear?  The Lord is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid?” ~ Psalm 27:1

 

  1. We are praying. (Preparing the Heart)

We are praying for protection over our households and beyond. We’re spending time

praying over our families, friends, neighbors, church, city, state etc. We remember the power of prayer and we spend time daily covering individuals and groups.  “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” ~ Psalm 46:1

 

  1. We are placing our fears and anxieties at the feet of the Father. (Preparing the Heart)

“When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.”  ~ Psalm 56:3

 

  1. We are checking our food supply. (Homes)

We are buying food to ensure we can feed our children for two to three weeks without leaving home. Including buying food easy for older children to make in case we become infected. We are making sure we have adequate pet supplies. We do not buy from a crazed place of fear but from a place of wisdom.

And if you feel you can’t prepare enough in this department, or feel a panic to brawl at the grocery store remember this verse…

Consider the ravens: for they neither sow nor reap; which neither have storehouse nor barn; and God feedeth them: how much more are ye better than the fowls? Luke 12:24.

DSC_0423

5. We are inventorying our medical supplies. (Health)

Making sure we have adequate supply of any prescription medication, cold medication for children and adults, and vitamins to boost immunities.

 

6. We are bringing our college aged children and our elderly parents (where need be) under our roofs. (Harvest and Home)

 

7. We are checking on those within our sphere of influence. (Harvest) Check on your extended family, neighbors, church members. Consider partnering with other families, to help each other out with childcare, sharing meals, etc. (Harvest)

 

8. We are taking time to be outdoors. (Health)

Remember there is a whole green world out there, outside the alarming news and your four walls. Get outside. If you live in the city, go to a park and breathe.

 

  1. We are planning on homeschooling our children and the entertaining of our brood while they are home. (Harvest)

I don’t know about your state, but our kids are out of school for two straight weeks. We bought a few board games, and cheap balls and pop up nets. We purchased balloons they can fill with water and hit each other with. Today, I am taking my nieces and daughter into the woods where we look for treasures like sticks, pine combs, acorns—whatever  I declare is the treasure of the day; for them, it’s like an Easter egg hunt and for me it’s fun to imagine we are pirate treasure hunters.

Getting outside refreshes the weary spirit.

 

  1. We are committed to enjoying this time with our family to get reconnected. (Heart and Harvest)

In life families are often scattered, especially when older kids are in college. We are making up our minds to look at the blessings of being under one roof for a season. We will make the most of it and enjoy this time together reconnecting.

11. Most of all, we are remembering we are nothing without God. Sometimes we need reminding of our desperate need for a Savior. (Heart)

(On the river Jordon the spot Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist, a group of girls from Mexico, sing.)

We pray you will find some encouragement from our list and become prepared yourselves so you can face the virus in a calm state of mind, and hand all your worries over to your Heavenly Father. We’d like to include a great list of verses on fear and anxiety that you can find by clicking here: What the Bible says About Fear and Anxiety

We pray God’s favor be poured out upon you all.

The Hallelujah House team.