Thanksgiving has been observed as a federal holiday in The United States of America since the year 1863, when President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national day of “Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens” to be celebrated on the last Thursday in November. Such a wise and humble man he was…
As we left Raleigh and touched down in Dallas last night, the airport was FULL of families traveling together and college students trying to get home to their parents. I observed their smiling faces, much laughter and joy. Statistics claim Thanksgiving to be the most heavily traveled holiday of all – beating out Christmas. We all love the spread of food upon the dining room table, the mound of desserts, the long naps, and of course the football.
It is a Thanksgiving tradition in our home to have what we call a BLESSING BOWL. This is a pretty bowl, complete with pen and paper, set to the side where each member of our family can steal away at some point on Thanksgiving Day to record the personal blessings of their own heart. No one actually reads the words written on each slip of paper. It is merely a private moment to reflect and an act of worship to our provisional Lord.
I dare say that most who gather on this wonderful holiday feel some sort of gratitude in their hearts for the blessed meal and those who sit around their tables, but are they mindful to express gratitude to God above?
In Luke Chapter 17, we read the story of Jesus traveling to Jerusalem when suddenly He is met on the road by 10 lepers. These men recognize Jesus and cry out to Him for mercy in their desperate situation. Have you ever done that? Have you ever cried out to Jesus in desperation?
Right then and there, Jesus proclaims, “Go, show yourselves to the priests – and as they begin to walk all 10 men are cleansed from their leprosy! Totally cleansed! Just think – if you suffered from an illness or a disease for most of your life and one day Jesus suddenly heals you from head to toe – would YOU be thankful? It seems like an automatic appropriate response if you ask me.
But, it was not.
The Bible records that only 1 of the 10 men returned to give thanks to Jesus. This man was most gracious, falling at the feet of Jesus with humble praise. But, where were the other 9? Were they like the many today who cry out to God for help in their difficult moments, but then totally disregard Him any other time? Were they truly unthankful or simply remiss in conveying their feelings?
Being thankful is more than an emotion we feel from time to time. Genuine gratitude is an attitude of the heart that must be expressed in action. To be truly grateful is to raise your voice to heaven – it is taking time to call that special person – it is writing that Thank You card, it is giving honor to those whom it is due. Thanksgiving is just that – the “giving” of thanks for the gratitude you feel in your heart.
Special heavenly provision is reserved for those who are truly thankful and not forgetful to convey their feelings of gratitude. As I read this portion of scripture from Luke 17 this morning a revelation suddenly jumped out at me – we already know that all 10 men were cleansed of their disease but this scripture tells us that the 1 man who returned to GIVE THANKS to Jesus was actually MADE WHOLE. You see, THIS man received more than his healing. THIS man was MADE WHOLE in every area of his life.
His IDENTITY was made whole.
His MIND was made whole.
His EMOTIONS were made whole.
His SPIRIT was made whole.
His PAST was made whole.
His PROVISION was made whole.
His LIFE was made whole.
This is Huge. We must catch this! Thanksgiving opens the door to a whole and blessed life.
With this wonderful Thanksgiving Holiday upon us, ponder this question - Are you the 1 who lavishes thanksgiving and praise upon God or are you merely one of the 9 – self focused and forgetful? Determine to become the one who daily expresses gratitude and watch a brand new, whole life unfold around you. HAPPY THANKSGIVING to you and yours. Love, Jeneen.
Obedience IS better than sacrifice but it probably won’t win you any popularity contests.
Obedience positions you in the perfect will of God – under the hedge of His protective covering – and is the navigator toward personal destiny.
Your next season is dependent upon the steps of obedience you choose to take right now and your ability to obey will be dependent upon your ability to hear God’s voice.
However, those closest to you and the onlookers peering through the circle of your life will not always support your decision to follow God. Nowadays, the general population thinks you’re crazy if you admit to hearing the voice of God, much less following that same voice in obedience.
The naysayers and others around you often reduce your obedience to their own level of natural understanding. For example: resigning from your well-paying job right in the middle of a great recession and selling the dream house you recently built just because God asked you to can be misconstrued as “You were let go by your boss because the company downsized and were forced to sell your house before it went into foreclosure.”
The judgment can be painful even though there is no truth in it but I have learned that I am not responsible to make sure everyone understands my obedience. I am merely called to obey. During these times, I didn't need to refute their misguided statements. What looked like the death of our dreams to others was ultimately the road less traveled to our next level of blessing.
We can also see this truth displayed through the life of Jesus as He suffered on the cross for the sins of all mankind. The onlookers reduced His death to punishment for disobedience to the Law. The crowd boasted that Jesus was finally getting what He deserved.
It is important to realize, the reason Jesus hung on the cross was not because He wasDISobedient but because He was acting in perfect obedience to His Father in heaven. Trust me…it wasn’t the soldiers and and the guards that held Him on the cross! Jesus could have called an entire protective legion of angels and the Roman soldiers could have never touched Him. What looked like the death of Jesus was simply His obedience on display.
The crowd begged Him for an explanation: “If you really are the Son of God then open your mouth and say something! Save Yourself!” But, Jesus trusted the explanation to the outcome…Oh, did you hear that? Jesus trusted the explanation of His obedience to the outcome! And, soon everyone witnessed the outcome of His obedience.
So it is with your life. You are commanded to obey the voice and direction of God. You are not responsible to explain your actions to the crowd. Trust the explanation of your obedience to the outcome. Your obedience will always reap blessing and when the glory and honor of God hovers over your life like a thick cloud everyone will notice.
Did you know that nothing can unlock the potential inside a man like his wife can!
It is why we were created.
God brought us out of man in order to stand us beside him. We were not created to compete with him, but to complete him. We are his helpmate and the completion of his potential. My greatest privilege upon this earth is to stand beside Stephen Edward Kohler – to pour into his life – being assured that when he succeeds, I also succeed.
A good woman is hard to find and worth far more than diamonds! Her husband trusts her without reserve and never has reason to regret it. Never spiteful, she treats him generously all her life long. Proverbs 31:10-11 MSG
One of the practical ways that I draw out the fullness of my husband’s potential is through prayer. Every Monday thru Friday that I am in town I drive to his work place, park in the parking lot and cover him in prayer. Yes, I realize that I could simply pray from home, but something powerful takes place when I pray upon the soil that God has given him jurisdiction over.
Prayer is a partnership with God. It is my joy to hear what God’s will is in heaven for my husband and then partner with God in pulling this plan down to earth through prayer. In order to do so I must remain in tune with Holy Spirit . When I do, I no longer see circumstances as they appear. My eyes are opened to the lies and strategies of the enemy and I begin to view our circumstances from heaven’s perspective.
Once my vision is clear, I then devise a combative strategy of my own:
I begin with a Blessing. With the authority I have been given as a child of God I bless my husband from the top of his head to the soles of his feet – I bless his body that he may be well and operate with a sound mind – I bless his spirit that he would be whole and lacking nothing in his spirit man – I bless everything he places his hands to – the 500+ employees that he leads at Thalle Construction Co, and ask God to favor and prosper the works of his hands - I declare Jesus Christ to be his strong portion!
Secondly, I ask for grace upon his life. Grace is the unmerited favor and help of the Lord. When we ask for the grace of God to envelop our lives, God adds His “super” to our natural abilities and equips us to do things we otherwise would not have the ability or the credentials to do. Grace makes the impossible possible! When I first married Steve he was a gorgeous athlete who idolized sports, and although his work ethic has always been unmatched he knew absolutely nothing about providing for a family. In the 28 years that we have been married, I have seen God grace my husband with opportunities that do not present themselves to just anyone. God has truly added His grace to Steve’s sacrifice, hard work and diligence and ushered us into the land of impossibility.
Thirdly, I make declarations over my husband’s life! So often, we underestimate the power of words! Words carry tremendous power. More power than any man-made weapon. Words have the ability to shift entire atmospheres. With my words I have the ability to build up or tear down. I make a conscious decision to use my words to lift my husband to incredible heights. I declare the promises of God over his life. I remind him that he is a King! I call those things that “are not” as though they were and I rejoice as I witness the decrees established in his life. (Job 22:28)
Do you desire to see your husband succeed and take new territory? You have the ability and the responsibility to unlock that potential inside your man. You are his God-given helpmate - the completion of his purpose. Start praying you powerful woman!
Recently, I have been sharing this message everywhere I teach. Why? Because it is so very crucial to our existence. The true definition of prosperity has been skewed by many and set aside as some selfish, excessive goal. Yet, prosperity is a very real and attainable position
3 John 1:2 tells us that above all things GOD desires for His children to PROSPER and BE IN GOOD HEALTH according to the condition of their soul.
Despite the many definitions people use for the word Prosper, God recently gave me a deeper understanding of this word. I now define prosperity as “steady forward progression.” In order to succeed, grow, and flourish in life, we must remain in a steady forward progression – always learning, always focused forward, and never getting stuck in one place.
The word soul is defined as a person’s Mind – Will – and Emotions. We all have one and it is controlling what we think, what we do, and what we say.
Because personal prosperity and good health are directly linked to the condition of ones soul the next important set of questions we must ask ourselves is:
What am I thinking?
What am I doing?
What am I saying?
Psalm 19:7 declares that the Word of the Lord (The Bible) is perfect and flawless, restoring and refreshing the SOUL. When we abide in the Word of God and allow it to impact our thinking – saying – and doing we will witness a vast change in our personal prosperity and good health.
A longtime friend of mine recently surprised me and attended an engagement I was teaching at in Tennessee. Three months before the meeting, she had randomly started having seizures – at times up to 5 per week. After much testing, her physician was unable to determine the origin of the seizure activity. He prescribed her a general seizure medication and recommended that she see a neurologist.
The neurologist performed further testing and changed her medication once more. However the seizures continued. Unbeknown to me, the neurologist counseled with my friend and concluded that he believed the seizures were actually pseudoseizures – nonepileptic episodes masquerading as seizures, brought on by emotionally stressful psychological thoughts.
You see, my friend had a very traumatic childhood and the memories of her torture had been suppressed within her mind for 50 years. Suddenly, as my friend began to think upon her past and relive the trauma it greatly affected her personal prosperity and good health. For weeks, she was unable to work and lived with never knowing just when another pseudoepileptic seizure would occur. It affected her life and the life of her family.
Upon attending the meeting and learning from my teaching that we have the ability to take control of our SOUL, my friend returned home and immediately began to implement 3 John 1:2 into her life. She began to align her thoughts, actions, and words to the perfect Word of the Lord. Since the meeting on May 14, 2016, my friend has not had even one seizure or episode. The Word of the Lord is alive and possesses creative power to change your life and circumstances.
YOU are in control of your own prosperity (steady forward progression) and good health. It matters what you think – what you say – and what you do. May we all perform a little self-evaluation this day and may the words of your mouth and the meditations of your heart be acceptable to God, your Rock and our Redeemer.
You and I are ambassadors of God, representing His heavenly Kingdom upon the earth. (2 Cor. 5:20) We are instruments of grace chosen to release love, light, and life. This is accomplished, not because WE are great, but because HE is GREAT through us. The Kingdom of God resides within us (Luke 17:21) and the fountain of Holy Spirit should continuously flow through us and into the lives of individuals in our sphere of influence.
Sometimes, you may not be aware of certain individuals within your reach who are in desperate need of His powerful touch. But, as you remain in intimate fellowship with God, Holy Spirit will highlight the persons He desires for you to reach.
This concept is beautifully illustrated by the passage of scripture found in Acts 9:10-19. (NIV)
10 In Damascus there was a disciple named Ananias. The Lord called to him in a vision, “Ananias!”
“Yes, Lord,” he answered.
11 The Lord told him, “Go to the house of Judas on Straight Street and ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for he is praying.
12 In a vision he has seen a man named Ananias come and place his hands on him to restore his sight.”
13 “Lord,” Ananias answered, “I have heard many reports about this man and all the harm he has done to your holy people in Jerusalem.
14 And he has come here with authority from the chief priests to arrest all who call on your name.”
15 But the Lord said to Ananias, “Go! This man is my chosen instrument to proclaim my name to the Gentiles and their kings and to the people of Israel.
16 I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.”
17 Then Ananias went to the house and entered it. Placing his hands on Saul, he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord—Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here—has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.”
18 Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptized,
19 and after taking some food, he regained his strength.
This morning, I am reminded of an incident much like this that occurred in my own life. We were living in TN at the time and I was sitting alone in our living room, enjoying time with Jesus. Suddenly, out of nowhere, I began to see a vision of a woman named Dean sitting up in her bed.
Dean was the wife of a faithful man of God who attended our church. She had stopped accompanying her husband to the services many years previous because she was offended. But now, Dean was dying of cancer and God longed to bring a release of the offense coupled with forgiveness.
In the months leading up to this, I had taken several warm meals to the couple throughout their journey with this awful disease. It was through this small act of kindness that God allowed me access into Dean’s life.
This day was different though. God desired access into Dean’s heart…
In a vision, God showed me Dean sitting up in her king-sized bed, and instructed me to go immediately to her house and lead her in a prayer of forgiveness toward her offenders.
I hopped in my car and drove toward their home. I remember everything feeling like a blur. I questioned my decision to GO…who knows if they’re even home right now? I had not called to request a visit. What if they do not feel like entertaining a visitor today? But, something inside of me compelled me to continue to drive.
When I arrived at their home, Dean’s husband answered the door. We embraced in a friendly hug and I asked, “Is Dean available?” Joe led me through the living room and down a hall to the bedroom where Dean was sitting. I found her just as I had seen in the vision – sitting up in bed, in the exact spot God revealed to me.
I walked in and sat upon her bed. Taking her hand, I expressed how God had instructed me to come. I explained that He longed to grant her forgiveness toward her offenders and fill her heart with peace. She began to weep and express feelings of inadequacy in doing so. I reminded her that forgiveness was necessary for the cleansing of her heart. With tears flowing down her cheeks, she joined me in a prayer of repentance and released the offense she had been harboring for nearly a decade.
A few weeks later, Dean left her earthly body and came face to face with her Lord. No doubt, THEY met with smiles on their faces.
Until this morning, I had forgotten this special moment that occurred in my life more than 12 years ago. Why did God choose me? I believe Dean needed to know that it was truly God beckoning her to forgive. By choosing me, an individual who knew nothing of Dean’s personal history, I was the confirmation she desperately needed. If a friend or family member had approached her, perhaps she would have questioned their motives and refused to surrender.
Many others around you desire to have genuine encounters with God.
A wise woman once told me, “You have two ears. Use one to listen to what’s going on around you, but incline the other to the voice of God continuously.”
May YOU encounter His Presence every day and become His chosen instrument for bringing about necessary change in the lives of individuals around you.
One of the greatest judgements among the Body of Christ today is the question of Money…Riches…you know the “P” word!!!!
The whole idea of PROSPERITY among Christians has become as avoidable as leprosy. Amazingly enough though, there is no argument against a Believer who is broke as a joke, but let a Believer enter into the place of abundance and he or she will be the topic of conversation every time. It is believed by many that in order to please Big Daddy God one must sell everything, take a vow of poverty and THEN you can finally be defined as a humble servant of His.
Today, I was minding my own business in the privacy of my own home when Holy Spirit highlighted a particular passage of scripture to me. It is found in 2 Corinthians 8:8-9.
“I speak not by commandment, but I am testing the sincerity of your love by the diligence of others. For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that YOU through His poverty might become RICH.”
If I’ve heard it once, I’ve heard it a hundred times…Jesus was poor when He walked upon this earth and He should be our example!
Friends, the very nature of our God is ABUNDANCE! He owns it all and He never suffers lack. Jesus is so rich in every way that when He came to earth as the perfect sacrifice for man, He had to put off His rich state and put on poverty. Jesus did not become poor as our example of righteousness. He became poor in order to reflect the definition of hopeless humanity. You see, without Christ, you and I are the destitute ones in every way, but through salvation in Him we have been made Rich in all things. Heaven is not your only reward. God has a Huge Benefits Package for you to richly enjoy!
It is the best benefits package you will ever be offered:
The Forgiveness of Sin
Dominion to Reign
And YES - ABUNDANCE!
Your benefits package is for here and now. We will not need forgiveness in heaven. We will not need to be healed anymore. There will not be a need for power or the exercising of dominion once we arrive at our promised destination. It is there that we will live in total Victory! The benefits package is for earthly living and abundance is it’s common thread.
You see, I know exactly how it feels to be poor and in need. After my parents divorced, my mother became quite ill. We lived off food stamps for a period of time. Had it not been for the thoughtfulness of mom’s family, we would have been in a heap of trouble. They lovingly filled up our propane tank, which provided heat for our home in the dead of winter and also helped with our bills until Mom could get back on her feet.
Fast forward twelve years and you find me married at the young age of 17. Steve and I did not have one thing to our name except the clothes in our closets. We had no money and no education outside of high school. My parents lovingly purchased a new home, complete with a downstairs apartment so that we might have some sense of privacy as a newly wed couple. I remember admiring the prom dresses of the other girls in my Senior class. Oh, how I longed to look like a Princess as they did. My dress was borrowed from one of my bridesmaids – the very dress she wore in our wedding. Poverty became immanent for our future…BUT GOD!!!
When I met Jesus, my whole life changed. I began to familiarize myself with my true identity found in Christ and discovered that poverty was not a part of His plan for me. I have been tested by God in times of lack and also in times of much. My true character has been revealed. For, in times of lack I remained the same person as in our times of Much.
Money does not define us, nor do we grant it any place of control in our lives. When God says sell we sell. When He says buy we buy. When He says Give we Give. The foundation of our lives is built firmly upon Christ. As I often say, Money is simply the cherry on top! However, money is needed and for anyone who desires to do much for the Kingdom of God, you will need an abundance of money!
I’m not afraid of money as some are. I have discovered that Money only makes a person MORE of what they already are! Money, in itself, has no power. Money cannot change people. Money will not cause a person to sin. Riches simply often reveal the content of a person’s heart that already existed. If you are greedy, then abundance will make you more greedy. However, if you are giving, then abundance will make you more able to give.
Herein lies the secret:
“Honor the Lord with all your possessions and with the tithe of all your income. He shall cause your barns to be filled with PLENTY and your vats to continuously OVERFLOW with new wine.” – Proverbs 3:9-10
And remember this. If you truly have an issue with abundance and prosperity then let me know. I don’t have a problem asking God for your portion too. I pray BIG BIG BLESSINGS over your life!
It was August of 2009. I can still see myself standing in our kitchen in Gallatin, Tennessee, where I heard the Lord say, “The shaking has begun. If you can walk with Me through this regeneration process, it will end in a place of power for you on the other side.”
Hearing words like regeneration and power, I quickly signed on and fully agreed to this process God spoke about. I had absolutely no idea of the details, nor the cost of such an agreement.
Up to this point, I had served the Lord twenty years. Not one day had passed in twenty years that I had not walked in fellowship with Him. I had matured in my faith and served the local church in many capacities: Sunday School teacher of children, youth, and adults, youth pastor, president of the benevolence committee, choir singer, front-line singer, Wednesday night church director, women’s ministry, nursery worker, etc. From the outside, my husband and I were esteemed as seasoned, stable, faithful Christians and we were.
However, I tell you all of that to say this…You can be a Christian fifty years and never enter into the rest of the Lord I am writing about today. Hebrews chapter 4 explains it best:
9 There remains therefore a rest to the people of God.
10 For he that enters into his rest, must also cease from his own works, as God did from his.
Entering into the rest of God requires that we cease from our own works and labor:
• Striving to be good enough/and godly enough
• Striving for perfection
• Striving to forget our past and present failures/shortcomings
• Striving to serve/please everyone
• Striving for perfect church attendance and fitting into religious molds
As much as we hate to admit it, many Believers who truly love God are still caught up in the bondage of self-works and religious mindsets. Few seem to fully understand the huge difference between religion and relationship with Christ Jesus. Religion shames us into an endless punch list of rules and regulations that are impossible to keep in our own strength. It then keeps a record of our wrongdoings and reloads the reel of memories quite frequently. It forces us to compete and compare our lives against others, producing fatal judgmental attitudes.
Religion screams for us to “DO” instead of “BE”.
In 2 Corinthians 3:9, Paul refers to religion or “the law” as the ministry of condemnation. However, he further describes a relationship with Jesus through his Holy Spirit as LIFE. Oh, how accurate Paul was/is. You see, he had experienced this transition personally. Paul had dedicated his entire life to religion and works until one very special day when he met Jesus. There on that dusty road, he discovered the difference between religion and relationship. This process of ceasing from self-works in order to find true LIFE in the Spirit is known as Regeneration. Paul gave himself to the ministry of regeneration! It was his constant teaching.
Regeneration is the renewal of what “once was” or what “used to be.” In order to fully experience regeneration, the old must die. I know that isn’t something you really want to hear, but it is true.
My personal process of regeneration required the death of a seventeen year season in Tennessee. God relocated me to an entirely new geographical location and held me in isolation for three years. Privately, I suffered the death of two family members, the death of friendships, the death of religious mindsets, the death of judgmental attitudes, the death of several beliefs I had governed my life by, the death of wrongful identity, and the death of man’s applause and pride.
God led me to change my definition of church and true worship. I discovered that some of the best church services are when good friends spend the night with us on Saturdays and we awaken Sunday mornings to a fresh omelette bar prepared by Chef Steve. All while sitting around in our pajamas discussing life, exhorting one another by the Word of God, praying and prophesying. The Spirit fills our home!
Am I against the local church? Absolutely not! I love the local church and still attend in my own community. However, I have now learned that “we – those who are born again” ARE the true church and if I miss a Sunday or two my Father does not consider me a slacker as I was told. No, I can still fellowship with others or worship privately within the four walls of my own home.
True worship is not based on church attendance. Rather, it is revealed through a life that is wholly His!
I no longer fit into this BOX called “religion”. I now live a life of joy and freedom governed by Holy Spirit. Instead of being ruled by a long list of Do’s and Don’ts, I have discovered that the Holy Spirit of Grace enables me to live a life that is fully pleasing to God and not unto a system. My relationship with Christ guides me into a life of purity, passion, and peace. It is here that I have found His rest, the place He longs for everyone. My personal death has made me alive in Christ.
I am thankful for the gift of salvation through Jesus Christ my Lord, which affords me a perfectly positional relationship with Daddy God! I never have to fear because I have full access to His throne. There I present my heartfelt adorations and find help for every situation I face in life. I am thankful that He adds His SUPER to my natural and causes me to successfully accomplish every season of life with passion, compassion and purpose! He is my every source of life. I'm thankful for trials, the pruning process and for LOVE that transforms and yields continued growth. I am thankful for His gracious forgiveness when my flesh gets the best of me. I am thankful for the loved ones He has given me to walk through life with: my husband, my children, my extended family, my dear friends, and the MANY Kingdom Connections I need to fulfill my destiny. His provisions fail me not. I may not possess the great worldly wealth of some, but I am Rich indeed. His peace and power flow through me and I have absolutely everything I need and desire. Thank you, Lord, for a sound mind; for Hope that keeps my soul anchored in Faith, for the freedom America grants me, for the Word of Truth, for wholeness of mind, spirit and body. Thank you for laughter, good food, majestic scenery, furry companions, solitude, good music, warm kisses, soft caresses, gentle smiles, the sun upon my skin, the beautiful blue skies of Texas, long talks with friends, wisdom, encouragement, and for the ability to DREAM! My life is Full and I owe everything to YOU!