Archive for January, 2016

Good Gifts

January 10, 2016

This morning I decided to go to church in my pajamas. But don’t worry! While my flannel pj’s ARE cute, I didn’t show up at a church building in them. No, instead, I stayed in bed and live streamed the service on my lap top. It was such a gift to enjoy the best of both worlds: Sabbath rest AND getting to hear the message about the PERSON of the Holy Spirit.

While I really enjoyed the whole message, and could probably write a blog post about several points made by Pastor Robert Morris, the one thing in particular he mentioned that got my attention was about how he asks God for a birthday gift every year.

I sat up and thought, “NO WAY! I thought I was the only one that did that!”

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Nearly four years ago now, my grandmother moved to heaven. I had a really special bond with my “Mamaw” as I was born on her 50th birthday. My first birthday without her was so painful. I missed her very much. I found myself on the floor beside my bed, that first year without her, crying and asking the Lord how that day could ever be special again. He said, “Leigh-Taylor, this day IS special. In fact, I have a birthday gift for you. Can I give it to you now?”

I choked back my sobs. God had a birthday gift for me??

“Sure, Lord…what is it?!?” I responded.

“Open your Bible,” He said.

And so I did. My Bible opened to Psalm 37 and immediately my eyes went to verses 5 & 6. It reads: “Commit your way to the Lord, trust in him, and he will do this; He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.”

What I didn’t mention before is that I was in a situation at the time where a major wrong was committed against me. While I had the support of many people around me, I felt like I needed affirmation from the Lord that He was my Defender, and that I could trust Him for true justice. On my birthday, this couldn’t have been a sweeter gift! Shortly after this promise was given to me, the Lord proved my case, and I was able to close that painful chapter in my life.

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Sea of Galilee

 

Well, my birthday this year was extra special. I got to spend it in ISRAEL! I woke up at 3:30 a.m. and couldn’t wait to spend time with God. I was staying in a kibbutz on the Sea of Galilee. I laughed and told God, “Hurry up! Make the sun rise!” *smile* It was the second time in my life I heard God laugh…and it was good. I found a quiet spot on a VERY LOW bench along the shore of the Galilee, and watched the sky lighten up over time while I listened quietly to praise and worship music.

At one point, I got up and made my way over to the water. There was a broken down “pier” of sorts. I decided to sit on the end of it. The mock pier was just high enough out of the water to where my pants wouldn’t get soaked from sitting on it, but I was basically sitting on a pallet in the water!

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Birthday Gift #1

I said to God, “Ok, what do You have for me this year? What’s my gift going to be?” I was so eager and expectant. I only waited a couple minutes before I heard, “Look down, and pick up that shell.” So, I looked down, reached my hand between the wooden slats of the pallet, and picked up a shell that had a plain brown outer covering but a beautiful inner lining that was revealed when I turned it over.

At that moment the Lord spoke again, and said, “Leigh-Taylor, today is going to be a day of gifts for you!”

My heart was full of joy, anticipation, and expectancy after hearing those words. I realized after a few minutes that my face hurt from smiling!

And it was true. It really was a day of GIFTS! I got a beautiful shell, was sung to by my traveling group, went to Beit She’an & saw incredible views of various mountain ranges, got baptized in the Jordan River where a rainbow appeared along with five white doves, and went into Jerusalem & saw the city for the first time!

All those things are gifts in and of themselves, but God always multiplies His gifts. There were treasure troves at each of those places, and nuggets of wisdom that He spoke to me along the way.

While I love the connection that Pastor Robert and I have made to asking the Lord for a birthday gift on our earthly birthdays, I know there are people out there who think or feel God may have a gift for them, but He doesn’t have one for me. I want to tell you that’s a lie! He DOES have a gift for you. It starts with Jesus, the ULTIMATE gift, and if you ask Him today for a gift and wait patiently before Him, I believe wholeheartedly there’s a unique special gift from God just for you!

So ask Him today. He’s the ultimate gift giver. And He always gives GOOD GIFTS!

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Word of the Year 2016

January 1, 2016

Every year, I prayerfully receive a word of the year from God. For 2015, it was BEHOLD. That word has come to be so precious to me. At one point, I thought maybe I would keep the same word. I wasn’t ready to let go of it. But that’s when God reminded me to keep holding all things loosely…even my words of the year. I want every area surrendered to the Lord, and for there to be nothing between us.

2015 was filled with many great adventures, but my trip to Israel was by far the greatest. It was there that God laid the foundation for the word He would give me for 2016.

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Truth be told, I wasn’t expecting the Wailing Wall (Western Wall) to be all that life changing for me. I had printed out a prayer that a friend had sent me, and last minute on the outside of the paper I scribbled a prayer that said, “God, release your promises here, and beyond. Amen.” Something like that anyway… I thought I’d go say a quick prayer, shove the piece of paper into the wall, and go on with our tour. We were told we had 20 minutes before we needed to move on.

 

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Prayers in the Wailing Wall

Our group had just been to the Upper Room, and one of our pastors had given his testimony about what God did in his life at the Wailing Wall. He encouraged us to be open to whatever the Holy Spirit had for us there. He anointed us with oil, and off we went. I believe our pastor’s testimony released the Spirit of Prophecy for God to “do it again”….to bring healing and direction. I was totally unprepared for what was about to happen.

 

 

I took a few pictures in front in the courtyard, and when I was ready, I approached the wall. I stood there praying for a minute then I leaned in and placed my forehead on the wall. That’s when something happened. I saw a freeze frame of my life memories, and one particularly painful memory was frozen and I could see it clearly. I had never been able to overcome this memory completely even through counseling. In that very instant, God whispered to my heart, “Today, Leigh-Taylor,  you have been made wholehearted.” I doubled over & started sobbing uncontrollably. That had been my prayer for two years! I said to the Lord, “It can’t be that easy, God!” He said, “That’s what happens when you come into my Presence.”

Healing IS that easy…emotional, spiritual, physical…any and every thing comes into alignment in His Presence.

A phrase that the Lord had given me prior to my trip to Israel was: Touch the hem of my garment. I had no idea that it would be a prophetic phrase that would be true for two occasions: my prayer shawl I bought in Tiberias, and my healing at the Wailing Wall.

A couple days after I returned home, I was asking the Lord about my word for the year 2016. Immediately, the word PRESENCE came to mind with a passage of scripture confirming it as well as another passage for my yearly declaration. You can see them below:

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And the Lord said, “My presence shall go with you, and I will give you rest [by bringing you and the people into the promised land].” And Moses said to Him, “If Your presence does not go [with me], do not lead us up from here. For how then can it be known that Your people and I have found favor in Your sight? Is it not by Your going with us, so that we are distinguished, Your people and I, from all the [other] people on the face of the earth?”

The Lord said to Moses, “I will also do this thing that you have asked; for you have found favor (lovingkindness, mercy) in My sight and I have known you [personally] by name.” Then Moses said, “Please, show me Your glory!” And God said, “I will make all My goodness pass before you, and I will proclaim the Name of the Lord before you; for I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show compassion (lovingkindness) on whom I will show compassion.” But He said, “You cannot see My face, for no man shall see Me and live!” Then the Lord said, “Behold, there is a place beside Me, and you shall stand there on the rock; and while My glory is passing by, I will put you in a cleft of the rock and protectively cover you with My hand until I have passed by. Then I will take away My hand and you shall see My back; but My face shall not be seen.” Exodus 33:14-23

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“You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.” Psalm 16:11

I know that this year holds many promises, and a heavenly release of those promises here on earth and in my life. I can’t wait to see what 2016 looks like after a year of living intentionally in His PRESENCE!

Amen.