grow in faith

Here, the journey begins. Up the mountain we go.

You’ve said yes to Christ. Now what’s next?

You’re on the most wonderful journey of your life. A journey following Jesus. The most beautiful Person in the world. On this journey, you will not travel alone. You will have brothers and you will have sisters in Christ. But most importantly, you will have the Holy Spirit. He will guide you into all truth (see John 16:13) and adventures beyond comparison, some that just might take your breath away. Are you ready? Ready or not, here we go.

I’m so glad to be on journey with you. And honestly, I’m ready to pour into your cup what the Lord has poured into mine. Some things are so precious they are only for him and I. But many things are for the edification of the believer. To build you up. So that you can grow and learn. You’ll find the basics here and can go deeper with articles on the supernatural when you click here.

He wants you to live a life daily empowered by his Spirit because that is how you will live in victory. This is going to be amazing. Let’s go.

Resources and tips are below. Sections – THE WORD, WORSHIP, THE CHURCH, and OTHER

But first things first. Let’s pray – Holy Spirit, I want to be on journey with you til the end. Keep me on the path that is pleasing to you. And show me how to surrender to you all the days of my life. I give you my ears. I give you my eyes. I give you my heart. Guide me into all truth, I pray. In Jesus’ Name, amen.

START WITH THE WORD

It’s the first and most effective way to get to know God, to sit down with an open bible and Holy Spirit right there with you. What we know of God and even the Names he has given himself, which reveal his character, are found in the Bible. To try to know the living God without reading the Bible would be like going through life intentionally blind. It is not just another book. The Bible is alive. It carries the very heartbeat of God. “For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.” Hebrews 4:12 (NLT). The Bible will not only show us God, but it will show us our hearts as well. The good, the bad and the need-to-be-loved-on parts. Below are some ideas and tools to help you along the way.

A Quick Warning

The devil is a liar and does not want you to be in the Word of God. The Word is how Jesus overcame the devil in the wilderness while he was being tempted. The Word makes us keenly aware of God and ourselves. The enemy wants us to be dull and ignorant. He wants us to stay the same and go around the same track instead of going on the new path the Lord has set out for us. Jesus is The Word. (John 1) And the enemy definitely doesn’t want us to know Jesus.

Also, our flesh does not want us to be in the Word. Our flesh wants to be in control of our lives. But it is our spirit-man that must take first place. Because Jesus Christ has made our spirits pure when we received him, we can now submit to the Spirit of God within us and say no to the flesh and yield to the Spirit. The Holy Spirit loves to give wisdom, understanding, purity, guidance and all things beautiful. It is Who he is. And as we yield to him through the Word of God, we will begin to become more and more like Jesus.

When we say yes to the Spirit and no to our flesh, our flesh begins to die and we begin to feed our spirit the things of the Spirit. When we say yes to the spirit and silence the enemy, we are telling God, “I think you’re smarter. You know what is best for me than anyone else, including myself.” Hallelujah. Now you’re talking!

A word of warning to the perfectionist and over-achiever. I can talk to you because I’ve been set free and am being set free. Thank you, Jesus. Listen, I want you to succeed and God wants you to succeed. But what is success in this journey? This is a unique journey. It’s not a class that you can compare yourselves to others by grades or even the subjective opinion of a professor. This is a journey, or course, if you will, that you are taking right alongside the precious Holy Spirit. HE gets to say what is success. And for those that feel that is too undefined, get used to it. Why? Because it’s all about relationship and where he is taking YOU, not your neighbor.

So, I want to say something very strong to you before you begin. And it will help you to not crash and burn. TAKE IT SLOW. Yes, like a turtle. Take it slow. Open your bible. People say, “Where do I start?” I always say, anywhere. Start anywhere. Because, especially with perfectionists, the fear of not doing it right will stop you before you even start! How crazy is that? And I know that kind of crazy. Anyway, what I need to tell you is – just start! Holy Spirit will guide you into all truth, remember?

To the over-achiever who likes to write lists and make big goals, that’s great. But do not let this become a checklist for you. Reading the Word is not about doing something on a checklist. It’s about knowing Jesus. The creator of the Universe. So, enjoy him! Take a little bite and chew for a while. Digest the Word. Let it sink in. And don’t get discouraged. You’re gonna let yourself down sometimes. It’s okay. There’s grace for that. Get up, dust off your pants and take the next step. Jesus is right there extending his hand to you and he’s never gonna let you down. He’s the only One who knows the way up the mountain. Hallelujah. We follow you, Immanuel.

Exhale. Now are you ready? You got this.

By Yourself

  • Set a place where you can have a quiet atmosphere or put some headphones in.
  • Find a time when you’re most alert. You’re going to need to press through distractions.
  • Put your phone on Do Not Disturb and turn the ringer off.
  • Get set with a drink, a pen, some paper, highlighters or whatever else you might need.
  • If it helps you, put on some instrumental soaking music. Jumpstart link – Times of Study
  • Take your time. There is no need to rush into his Presence.
  • Open the bible. Take a deep breath and pray. Invite the Holy Spirit to speak to you.
  • Read. Read out loud. Read slow. Pause. Pray. Write. Draw. Ask Holy Spirit questions.
  • Ask these questions for a simple way to get started: 1. What does the Word say? 2. What does the Word mean? 3. What is God saying through his Word to me?
  • Listen to what the Lord says and respond.

This is how you begin a friendship with the Lord. Can you feel the fresh air coming into your heart?

Websites to help you research:

Bible Gateway is a wonderful tool and has many languages and translations available, including commentaries. biblegateway.com

Bible Hub is a quick reference to see a bunch of translations of a single verse all at one time. It also has commentaries. biblehub.com

Blue Letter Bible is amazing because it has easy access to Strong’s Concordance to quickly find out the original word meaning in Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek. It has commentaries as well. blueletterbible.org

Note: It’s important to remember that commentaries are just that. They are men’s commentary on the Word of God. So, always ask Holy Spirit what he thinks about the subject you’re looking into.

YouVersion is an app that you can interact with, make “verse of the day” pictures, and add friends to see what they are highlighting and/or invite them to do a study. But mostly, I like this app because it has an audio option for some of the translations. It’s fun to listen at times. youversion.com

With a Friend or Group

  • Choose a book of the bible to study.
  • Set a time and place to meet. Be consistent.
  • Decide what format you want to use when discussing (i.e. pre-determined questions or each participant share insights they have received while studying).
  • Read and prepare for the study. See ideas in “By Yourself.”
  • Pray. Have fun. Be sensitive to the Holy Spirit. Make sure every voice is heard.
  • Listen to the Lord as a group. Share what the Lord says or shows you.
  • Have a group memory verse and challenge each person to recite it the next week.

Local Bible Studies to attend:

If you’d rather go to an established, more structured bible study there are two groups that I’d recommend. I’ve studied at both and they both have men’s and women’s groups available. You can find a location by putting in your zip code on their website. Or join one at a local church.

Bible Study Fellowship bsfinternational.org

Community Bible Study communitybiblestudy.org

The Word is Your Weapon! You’ve got to have it to fight the good fight of faith. Memorize what you can. And use it often to decree and declare what God has spoken about you, about your family and about this world. He loves us so much and desires us to walk in victory!

Go deeper with articles on the supernatural when you click here.


WORSHIP

Worship is the place I love to rest. Right in the arms of Jesus. Adoring Who he is and how much he loves us. Knowing the Word of God helps us worship the Lord in deeper depths. Worship the Lord in spirit and truth (John 4:24). Worship is a way a life. Worship is what you keep your eyes on. To worship the Lord, is to keep him in his rightful place. Above all others. Even above our own thoughts and “wisdom.” HE is above all. HE is King of kings and Lord of lords. Worship will give you victory over the enemy because when you worship, you are remembering Who God is and who you are in him. Hallelujah! Our God be praised.

At the end of this section, you will find links to music for various occasions. If you are in our area, click here for house worship night info.

Because worship entails the time you spend on something and the devotion/honor you give to something, we have to realize that we will be worshipping something. Whatever takes first place in our lives is what we adore. Often it is easy to spot by the amount of time given to something.

The beauty about worshipping the Lord, is yes, it is a matter of time as well, but it is a matter of the heart and what the default of your heart is. Let me ask you a question. When you’re at work or at school and you have to answer the phone or pay attention for a lesson, what’s the next thought that comes to mind after that task is done? Is it the Lord and his beauty? Or is it something else? What do you automatically revert to?

When your thoughts begin to go back to the Lord after being “interrupted” you know you are beginning to walk in a lifestyle of true worship.

So, if that’s the case, it’s a matter of what you are feeding your spirit. When you are feeding your spirit the things of the Spirit, there is truth to draw on in the still moments of life. We have to feed our spirit the things of the Spirit to be in tune with the Spirit.

What are the things of the Spirit and how can you enter into a lifestyle of worship? For articles on the supernatural click here.

Here are a few ideas to help you begin a lifeystyle of worship and discover the things of the Spirit –

  • Reading and decreeing the Word. Choose a verse that reminds you of Who God is. Pick another one that reminds you who you are in Christ. Say them to him. A lot of this process will be healing for you. You will begin to say Who he is to you, and you will find out who you are to him. Who he has made you to be. It is very powerful to come into agreement with the Lord and begin to see things from the past break off of you. He has a healing balm like none other. Allow him to minister to you. Open up your heart to him and let him come into the places that have been hidden. The door might be creaky but, regardless, let him in. He has come not to condemn you, but to take what is broken and heal it. To take what is messy and clean up. He wore his apron. He brought his broom. He’s here to help, not condemn. Thank you, Jesus. Now, as he begins to show you truth in his Word, ask Holy Spirit to help you memorize them. Here are two examples –
    • The LORD your God in your midst, The Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.” Zephaniah 3:17 (NKJV)
    • But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.” 1 Peter 2:9 (NLT)
  • Pray. Spending time set apart for God is worship. Yes, you can pray anytime, anywhere, all the time. But right now, I’m talking about having a special place you can go, to spend intentional time with the Lord. Don’t be a perfectionist about it either. If you can fit in the place and it’s where you can pour your heart out to God, then so be it if it’s a closet that’s just big enough for you to stand up. That’s your space. Claim it. He’s right there. Just open up your mouth. Open up your heart. Open up your ears and tell him you want to know what’s on his heart. The more you meet, the more precious it will become. He wants to be there more than you do! “Come close to God, and God will come close to you.” James 4:8 (NLT) I’d encourage you to have a pen and paper beside you to write it down when he speaks. Even if it’s one word. Life gets busy and you don’t want to forget what the Living God said to you. And it also shows him you treasure what he said. The more you value his words, the more he will speak to you. If music helps you set the tone, here is a link to jumpstart your prayer time – Times of Soaking
  • Repent. Spend time before the Lord confessing your sins. This is a form of worship because you are acknowledging that he is God and you are not. Remember, that goal is know his love that surpasses knowledge (Ephesians 3). When we come to Jesus he washes us clean from all our sin, and as we grow in him, we want to have our hearts in a place where we can hear best. Our “pipes” can get clogged if we are walking in sin and that displeases God. Since he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the Kingdom of the Son he loves, it is our joy to come before him and say “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.” Psalm 139:23-24 (NLT) Anything he shows us, we ask forgiveness for and talk to him about it.
  • Other spiritual disciplines. There are many other ways to worship including giving of your tithe and offerings, giving of your time, giving praise and thanksgiving and fasting. There are many scriptures you can find regarding these topics. They are all beautiful because they set God above yourself. Fasting, particularly, is a new-found discipline in my life that is a wonderful tool to get closer to God. When I first began to fast it was difficult and as I would get hungry, my stomach would growl. I chose to say, “Lord, I want you more.” That was a way to quiet the flesh. The flesh cannot be in control of your life. The spirit-man must take control. That is why you will feed the spirit the things of the Spirit. Fasting has many benefits. Including hearing the voice of God more clearly.
  • Listening to worship music and singing. Ah. We finally made it here. How to feed your spirit with the things of the Spirit? MUSIC. It’s so powerful. I love it and have the privilege of helping with it at our church. And this is one of my most favorite ways to worship the Lord. Honestly, I worship (sing) anytime, anywhere. My family is used to it now. Ha! God likes music. He’s the one who created it and the One Who created the ability to sing and/or play an instrument. It is a beautiful thing to hear someone playing under the anointing of the Holy Spirit. Their offering of worship helps us ascend to a place in the spirit where we can truly begin to adore the Lord. God has much to say about music and he encourages us in his Word to make new songs. “Sing a new song of praise to him; play skillfully on the harp, and sing with joy.” Psalm 33:3 (NLT) Another way to sing a new song to Lord is to sing songs in the spirit. The first time this occurred in my life was shortly after I receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit with the evidence of tongues. I was in my living room and out came a new song. But it was in tongues! I actually chuckled and was very surprised. But then as I read the Word, the Lord showed me a few places where it was. So, now I often worship the Lord this way.
    • Well then, what shall I do? I will pray in the spirit, and I will also pray in words I understand. I will sing in the spirit, and I will also sing in words I understand.” 1 Corinthians 14:15 (NLT)
    • Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts.” Colossians 3:16 (NLT)
    • Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Ephesians 5:18-20 (NIV)

Worship is Your Weapon! To acknowledge God and his place in your life, whatever form that is, worship is a key tool to defeating the enemy on this journey. He wants to take you out, but the fact is he has already been defeated on Calvary and been made a public spectacle for all to see. (see Colossians 2:15) Jesus rose! Death has been defeated and it is our JOY to worship him!! Glory, hallelujah!! Our God reigns!

Music links below.

For more info on the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, see that section by clicking here.


Here are links to some of my favorite YouTube music to help get you started –

Times of Worship

Times of Study

Times of Soaking

Times of Warfare


FIND A CHURCH

This is so important. The church is the body of Christ. No one is a Lone Ranger. You are not to travel on this journey alone. To love God and be with others who do. It’s where iron sharpens iron. Christ is the head of the church and we are his body. “And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.” Hebrews 10:25 (NLT) The church is where you will grow, where you will be edified. It is where you will discover the gifts that God has placed in you and be able to use them. You will want to use the gifts he gives you. They are for others. So that others can be changed into his image as well. Glory to God. Thank you for your church, Jesus.

SOME GUIDANCE ALONG YOUR WAY

YOU’RE NOT PERFECT, NEITHER IS THE CHURCH – Let’s start right here. This is a good place to be. The reality is, you’re excited, you’re fresh, you’re ready to go and discover all God has for you. And that’s great. God has begun a new work in you. And you know there is much more to do. There is much more to do in me too! Now, remember what was just said and apply it to the people you’re gonna meet. They have had a work that God has already done, and work that God is doing in them as well. They will love you and they will let you down. Forgive. And be forgiven. Number one thing: remember what you came for. To know God deeper and to serve him. The relationships will come. Oftentimes, true, deep relationships take about three years to develop. And that’s with putting in effort. I pray it will be a shorter time for you.

As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.” Proverbs 27:17 (NLT) That’s the intention of biblical relationships. For each of you to be growing in the Lord and when you meet or text or email, you are encouraging each other with your stories of how God is moving in your life. This time should be filled with words of encouragement, prayer and dreaming together. My friends, who are truly spiritual sisters to me, have been a huge piece of my puzzle as I’ve grown and discovered Holy Spirit with them. The Lord loves when you talk about him, and often his Presence will fill the room and we can tangibly feel him around us.

HOLY SPIRIT, COME – Find a church who is regularly and actively seeking the Presence of God through the wonderful Person of the Holy Spirit. This will be evident by the love that is in the body of believers there. You will also know it by the times of worship. Can you sense the Lord’s Presence? Is there freedom? Is there joy? “For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” 2 Corinthians 3:17 (NLT) Another way to tell if the Holy Spirit is there will be whether the gifts of the Spirit are welcomed and being used. (see 1 Corinthians 12:8-10, Ephesians 4:7-13, Isaiah 11:2-3, Romans 12:3-8) To see the Spirit of God move is so beautiful and often people are touched emotionally and can sense the tangible Presence of the Lord. Also, check to see if the Word of God is being preached with power and are there people that are being saved regularly? The Holy Spirit is the One Who draws people to Jesus, so this will be evidence that he is near.

HONORING THE WORD OF GOD – You must be in a place where the Word is preached, taught, valued and held at a high position. It is the very word of God written to us to help us know him and grow in him. It is where we get our understanding of Who God is and how he sees us. It is also where we get direction for our lives: what to do and what not to do. “How can a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Your word.  With my whole heart I have sought You; Oh, let me not wander from Your commandments! Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You!” Psalm 119:9-11 (NKJV) If the Word is being neglected and there is a greater emphasis on the Spirit without the backing of scripture, then you need to consider finding another place. And vice versa. If the Spirit is being overlooked or stifled, and the Word of God being preached as dry and legalistic, it’s time to move on. We must not neglect the Spirit of God. He is Ruach! Life, Spirit, Wind. He’s the one that makes the Word of God come alive to us.

GET OUT OF THE DOOR – Ask around to see where others are going or use a google search for “Spirit-filled” churches to check out their online presence. Plug in. Plug in. Plug in. You will be more able to grow with the close fellowship of believers instead of hiding behind a screen watching online. If you’ve been to church before and said it wasn’t for you, go again. With fresh eyes. An open heart. Ask the Lord to protect you and set your face like flint as you press forward. The enemy is not going to like that you are going to church. Nor will your flesh. Your body is gonna want to stay in bed, feel sick, be grumpy. Trust me. It’s real. Push back and say, “No! Not today. I’m going.”

And, if after much prayer and seeking, you cannot find a church in your area, perhaps, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, he is calling you to begin your own home church? Fast and pray. He will make it clear to you.

BOTTOM LINE TO REMEMBER – Who’s in charge? Jesus is in charge. “And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence.” Colossians 1:16 (NKJV) When Jesus gets pushed out of his own church, he’ll let the people fill their time and spend their resources on all kinds of stuff, but it won’t be where his heart is and what his Spirit is breathing on. We cannot be busy doing our own thing and refuse to stop long enough to be still and listen for direction that comes from the Head of the church, Jesus Christ himself. We are his body. Not his brain. Ask him what he’s thinking, then carry out his thoughts with action as we partner with him. That’s what the body of Christ does. We say, “Yes, Lord. At your service.” And accomplish it in the power of the Holy Spirit. “Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts.” Zechariah 4:6 (KJV)

Scroll below for a suggested local church and online church.

Fellowship is Your Weapon! Why, because the body is strong when it is together and together we storm the gates of hell. That’s why the enemy will always try to isolate you, offend you and keep you at bay any way he can. He’d rather you be alone. Because there’s less disruption in his kingdom if you’re not there. BUT – you’re not gonna hide. You’re going to take your rightful place in the body. Find out your giftings. Stay close to the heart of the Father and trust him for his plans for your life, not the enemy. “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” John 10:10 (NKJV) Hallelujah. Our God be praised!

I’m so proud of you and excited for you on this new journey! God is going to RICHLY bless you for seeking him. Why do I say that? Because it’s in his Word and he promises. “He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” Hebrews 11:6b (NKJV) “And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work.” Revelation 22:12 (NKJV) And the most beautiful reward is Christ himself!I am my beloved’s, And my beloved is mine.” Song of Songs 6:3a (NKJV) Yes, Lord!

There are deeper depths. Check our articles on the supernatural when you click here.

ONLINE & IN-PERSON CHURCHES

(**The views expressed on this website do not necessarily reflect the views of the churches listed below**)

Reclaim, Hutto, TXYouTube InstaGram Website Facebook

Jesus Image, Orlando, FL – YouTube InstaGram Website Facebook


OTHER RESOURCES

I’ve found myself often saying: Life is better with a buddy. And it’s true. Most everything is better when experienced with a friend. Even work. This is where you will find a few more resources, including links to blogs written by my dear friends, one who has been diagnosed with MS. There is also a link to my sister’s cookbook. God has given her a gift to love people through serving food and she has loved well. She was in the catering business for 20 years and had two successful restaurants. Currently she is a camp food director at a local retreat center, and I am always up for being one of her taste-testers.

MY FRIEND’S BLOG

Ash’Leigh Harris, Leigh Leigh Speaks, filled with encouragement, honesty and a Christian perspective on how to face trials, including an MS diagnosis – Blog

Leigh Leigh Speaks– Living A Radically Free Life Under God’s Goodness & Mercy Umbrella

MY SISTER’S COOKBOOK

This is my sister’s cookbook! I’m so proud of her! These are yummy, doable recipes, including gluten-free and keto friendly ones.

Lil’ Country, Lil’ Gourmet, Lotta Variety Cookbook by Jennifer Truitt

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