Tuesday, September 23, 2014

His heart, your heart



Your love God, cannot be contained. It pours- overflows onto us.
Whatever the season may be- season of laughter, mourning, loss, gain...- He is singing over you. Singing how much He loves you.
There is no max of how much He loves; there is no thing that would change how much He loves you.
He longs to hear you say, "I love you."
He leaps and looses His breath when you give your heart wholely to Him, over hearing you say you love Him.
He gasps at the sound of your voice, your gaze at Him. He is overcome by it.

You long to hear His heartbeat- how much more He longs to hear your heartbeat... your heart beating with His- in sync- one in the same- unidentifiable of whose is whose.
Beating as one, you & He- together.
That is how He meant it. That is how He designed it.
If He created you after His own image- this means His heart is in you. His purpose was to walk with you, hand in hand, heart in heart, no step taken out of order,
The original design.
What was the purpose of giving you His heart?
Jesus' inheritance is your heart.

What happened?

I find myself standing at the foot of the bed, looking on as the surgeon is cutting open different parts of the heart.
The lifeless heart- cold, unmoving- held in the hands of the surgeon, the surgical tech, & the physicians assistant.
symbolic threesome???
Each heart has a different problem- dissection, dilation, clog, placque, dead tissue, no electrical circuit firing.
Each heart needing mending in a different way- in the natural & the supernatural.

Why are our hearts so filthy, so bruised & broken & sick?
Because we have defiled them- we have given our hearts to other things or people.We have given our hearts over to the one who is against everything of God.
We have robbed Jesus of His inheritance.
Family lines have generational tasks or purposes that have been incomplete for years, some for centuries.
Why do you think some diseases are hereditary, passed down like high cholesterol or diabetes or cancer, just to name a few?
Generational strongholds.
These things can be broken off & mended.


He is in the business of healing hearts. His priority is to glorify His Son- whom He sent- who chose to sacrifice His life for you.
His heart overflows with neverending bloodflow to wash over each of our hearts.
How?

Love


But the greatest of these is love.
God is love.
Jesus loved us that much. The greatest form of love is sacrifice of life.
If His blood heals all- I want it flowing through my heart & body- every crevice of me.
What about you?


Thursday, August 14, 2014

back in the waiting room


0545 this morning, I began my drive to work this morning. Having been in an odd funk or feeling for the last several days- I had yet to put words to what was going on.
The sun peaked over the clouds, painting the sky multiple shades of orange, pink, & purple.
I thought... this is no warning to sailors- this is God's canvas He has began so early in the morning.
 

Thank You, God for Your beautiful paintings that never look the same.
 
I thought of how He is a constant, yet every changing God. Constant in know He loves me, He will never leave me, He will never forsake me, He will discipline me when needed, He will hold me & heal me when needed, YET, He is always changing because He is so creative. Always creating things on this earth, in me, all around me.
How can this be???
My small capacity of brain & intellect cannot figure it out- but... I receive that You are always changing yet always constant. And I thank You.

So- as I made the turn onto 283- I remember my eyes filling with tears.
Why?? What is wrong with me??
I have everything I  could ever need & joy beyond belief, yet I have tears flowing down my face.
Why God? Why am I crying? You know me better than I know myself- tell me please why I feel this way, what is happening to me.
I am haunted by the inability to focus on things beyond my daily activities.
I am frustrated & tired & itching at the seams to run!
Why cant I run yet???
Why cant I sit still and wait with You?
Didn't I just learn how to do this? Didn't I just get through this, yet here it is again?
Why?
Why haven't you sold my house? Why have you put me in a new job that takes me completely out of my comfort zone? Why cant I begin to save money for the move I know is coming?
Why?! Why?! Why?!

Then... just in that moment- a car goes speeding by me. Knowing the speed limit all the way to Harrisburg is 65mph with some road work areas- I am pushing 70mph- he was going 80-85mph.
As his car flashed by me- I stated out loud in my car (like he would hear me, haha)...
"oh my word! how impatient people in the US are. I guess it isn't just in the US- it's everywhere. Why are they in such a hurry to get to where they are going?"
DING!!!!
dang it!!!
I heard- "hmmm, that's you April.

the feeling of dejection & frustration came over me- wow! If that wasn't for me...
Thank you Holy Spirit for Your revelations.

That speeding car was a reminder that I am hurrying to get to the next place
I may know the next destination- but only He knows what the road is like up ahead, what curves or traffic are ahead of me.

Repentant heart- I began to pray & cry & praise Him.

What an amazing Daddy You are- that You see what is ahead, You give me glimpses of potential things to come, You know that I am imperfect & will fail so many times, You know that I am impatient beyond belief, You know that I want to dabble my hands in the cookies before they are cooked- and yet...
You pick me up, You set me down in the perfect garden, You wait for me to wait for You.

Thank You- that You are willing to create in me (constantly) a newness, a wholeness, qualities and attributes that You want to last, & beauty greater than the physical.
Thank You Abba, for loving me that much....




Monday, June 30, 2014

Inbound or outbound

Maybe I'll be able to stretch out, maybe a 4 row of seats will be available. I might actually get to sleep on this flight! 
Not...
A small village of ultra Orthodox Jews surrounded me. And they brought their kids. 
This should be interesting. 

A mother of 3 sat next to me. Her 9 months old in her lap. He was cute... Or so I thought till he began screaming and throwing everything in his grasp at me!
He wouldn't sleep- I thought... Kid, it's 1am. You should be passed out! 
Oh no... He wants to grab and smack me. 

Food service- that will fix everything temporarily! 
Oh wait... You ran out before you got to me. Super!!! Don't you know how many people are on this flight and plan accordingly? Hmmmmmm
Lady next to me had a kosher meal though. And ate her sandwhich till it was gone! 
Oh well- I don't need food this late anyway. 
Mom fell asleep and ended up with her 2 yr old who was also asleep in her lap. The baby and 3 yr old fell asleep finally in dad's arms across from us. 
Slight turbulence met...
Oh no... This is your first time flying... Oh no... Your pale... Your clammy... Your hot - not a good combo
Where's the bag... I can't find it fast enough... Oh no... It's coming... I know that look...
Bag open- and it began!
Small space... No air... Heat is on... Pinned next to the window...
Just turn your head april!
I had the quickest memory of traveling to Illinoise as a child with my grandparents, brother, & cousin zack in the boat... Well what we thought was a boat anyway but resembled a Cadillac. We left early in the morning, stopped to get mcdonalds breakfast & by gosh zack WAS going to drink that orange juice per Granny Mae. Ten minutes down the road we hear- I don't feel so good. 
Sitting in the back seat if the caddie was quick like a boat and very easy to get car sick. Jacob on one side, me on the other, Zack in the middle,pillow in lap... "Granny, I'm going to..." 
Granny's cat like, I'm the mother of 4 but many more than that, reflexes emptied the tissue box just in the nick of time to catch the ever so smelly orange juice throw up. Windows were now down in the back, noses couldn't get far enough out of the window without taking our seatbelt a off, and that wasn't an option- Pops was still driving steady without a glitch in his step. 
A few dry heaves from me... 
Hope she liked that sandwhich again. 
Sleeping child, still asleep, still sweaty, sliding ever so slowly down her lap.
I'm pretty sure he's going to hit the floor. 
The dinosaur calls stopped- thank You Lord!
Now for clean up... Oh wait- there's no house keeping in flight. Hahaha
What was I thinking. 
One soft an later with a some sips of sprite... She is resting nicely. 
Still in her many layers and hat slight disheveled to the side, but that bad boy ain't coming off!

No sleep- no food- no reading- no writing- guess I'll pray. 

Friday, June 27, 2014

Mandy

While on his travels, he met such a creature.
He was captivated by her becoming look.
She saw him walking over to her... Curious she was 
Her gate quickened as she caught the gaze of another moving toward him. Her slender legs widened as her stride lengthened, her knobby knees followed suit.

She slowed... He turned...
Their brown eyes met... Her heart began beating faster... Wildly out of control
She stopped at the only thing separating her from her new found interest-- 
How could she free herself from this barrier? 
She would have to settle for this mediocre closeness to him. 

Cautiously... She elongated her neck- he slowly reached his hand out 
His skin collided with hers... 
Her soft caramel brown hair was slightly tangled... Patches of coarse hair throughout peaked his curiosity...
How could he tell this beautiful creature of his interest in her? 
 Feeding her? Washing her? Caressing her?
As he thought, he saw her jealousy for his attention when the others came about. 
She firmly but loudly made known her territory. 

He spoke to her with his soft kind voice.. 
Her heart yearned to hear his voice, feel his touch, to just be near him. 

He did not know how long he could be in her company but he had to know...
What should I call her? 



Meet Mandy ...













Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Gone fishin




Fisher-man: one who fishes for men. 
Fishing takes time, quiet, peace, focus, ease, grace.  


Once you catch a fish- then what?
You gut it, wash it, prep it, season it, fire it up, and it serves it's purpose. 
Each part happens in its own timing and for its original design. One part done before the other results in a massive redo project. 

Isn't this what the disciples did? 
Isn't this what we are to do? 
If we "fish for men"- I have to say we are out of a job. 



Why?
Why do we continue to lack in this area? Are we waiting for them to come to us? Are we waiting for our lives to be perfect? Are we waiting to be ready for it? 
All of the above and more. 
We are too distracted by self seeking, immediate satisfaction, self gratification, & self glorification, that we continue to miss the "fish" or opportunities or we are just plain scared or maybe we just don't care. 
The enemy has us sitting stagnet in fear or distraction. Stalled. 
When will we wake up and begin to fish again? And be successful at it? 




We- being those following after Christ with a willing heart and yielded to His will- must acknowledge and accept the call each one of us has to "fish" for those who do not know Him. Doing this- we will be obeying the Lord's will. And following after Christ's heart and desire... The entire reason He died on the cross... "That none would perish."

So many people are hurting. So many people are searching. Searching for the One thing that was meant to fill our hearts desire. 
We have done an excellent job at being distracted or even better- judging. 
Judgement on people not the sin. Judging a person is not our job. Holding accountable a person to their sin is part of the function of the Famibily (aka your Biblical Family) . 

The Church has said "you can't mess up here. You must look and play the part. Nothing is wrong in my life. With Jesus, my life became unmessy and perfect." 
We are believing a lie. 
Truth is- shouldn't within the relms of the Body of Christ we be able to mess up and fail, be picked up, corrected, & guided in a loving way? Isn't that what Christ did with the disciples? If we are free to mess up in the Body, then we wouldn't be messing up out in the world as bad, judging instead of teaching, We wouldn't be turning so many off from Christ. 
We are responsible for scaring the "Fish" away. We have made too much of OUR OWN noise. 

Be in the Word, Be still before God, Be in fellowship, Be in accountability, Be under a spiritual mother & father... Be yielded to God- fully and wholehearted. 
We might be able to help God fix what we have unaligned from His original intent... to be Fishmen for Him 


Monday, June 23, 2014

Lost...

As we travel each day, I am loving seeing the land and the people. I see it so differently now since I have been awakened by God. 
Traveling is no longer just for my pleasure- it means business. Business not in the sense of always having to be busy or doing, but remembering- I am constantly being watched, I am Christ here on earth, I am the hope of glory. 
Business- of Light exuding, Glory giving, in awe looking at He who has called me for His purpose. 
It is serious yet so simple 
I am listening... still... silent...
Overwhelmed heart of joy
I wish I could have walked all the way around the Sea of Galilee with Jesus as Mary Magdalen did. 
To sit at His feet... 
To stay there a while...
Lost in the moment with Him... 
I want more...


Friday, June 20, 2014

FamiliOR stranger ?

Is God a familiar stranger to you?
Do you know Him? His likes, His dislikes, do you know what makes His heart beat, His heart move, His heart jump? Do you know what makes Him smile, what makes Him cry, makes Him sad, makes Him angry?
Do you know Him? Personally... Relationally... Emotionally... Physically...
If all He wants in this world is for you to be in relationship with Him- what does that relationship look like? 
Is He like a distant relative you visit a few times a year or only at big family get togethers? Or is He like a close friend? Twin? Brother? Sister? 
Do you know Him more intimately or closely than your spouse? 

He desires you. He delights in you. He wants you near Him. He wants you talking to Him. He wants to hear about your day, your fears, your problems, your thanks, your praises. He wants to hear your voice more than you want to hear His. 
He wants to hear it all day long. 
He longs for you, He smiles each time you speak to Him or think of Him. He melts every time you turn your gaze to Him. 
Did you know how much He loves you? 


Is your relationship with Him the most important thing or do you just use God when it benefits you or when you need something or when something goes wrong? Do you have an adulterous relationship with God because of your lack of discipline or multiples of life distraction? 
Are you using God as your fire insurance? or do you have an actual daily, continuous relationship with Him? 
If He is the most important relationship you should have- how often do you talk, have a meal together, drive together, sit quietly together? When was the last time you asked Him a question about Himself instead of just requesting something for yourself? 
When was the last time you said "Hi" to the One who makes each new day you have?
He hasn't gone anywhere- He is waiting for you...

Thursday, June 19, 2014

His butterfly


she said...
I see you as a butterfly dripping with gold.
Rare.
Beautiful.
Captivating. 
With each flutter of your delicate wing, golden glitter flits into the air, like sprays of wet dew that quench your skin from the blistering sun. The drops of gold settle on those so intently gazing. Wherever you go... Whomever you engage... They see the beauty from inside out- seeing its difference, longing for what has created it- or who created it. 
It's golden beauty does not run dry for the butterfly flutters by to the source of its Everlasting beauty. 
The Water of life- the Well that never runs dry- the Spring in the most desertous places. His water brings life, His water is life, His water always and forever more quenches. 
His water can flood- wiping every evil thing away, His water can fill- to give life to those who partake, His water grows- as the plants in the grown, His water nourishes- as the sustenance of life itself. 

Who am I- that someone sees His light flowing all around me, as well as being loosed into the atmosphere where I reside and on anyone who comes near. 
Who am I-that You would entrust Your secrets to, Your heart to, Your love to? 
You alone have called me Yours
You alone have saved me
You alone get all the glory
You alone are God

                                     

This is your life to Him, April!
He makes you beautiful... 

His tower over me is strong

A tower... A self supporting structure that stands alone or part of a surrounding structure. They are subject to varying winds and weather. Users take advantage of the elevation in surveying the defensive positions and obtaining a better view of the surrounding areas, including battlefields. They were constructed on defensive walls, or rolled near a target. They were also used to communicate information over greater distances.

The Tower of David- King David's palace...
What did David do there?...
Pray
played music
sang praises to God
wrote
meditated on The Lord
I like to think he sat still and silent, listening for His still small voice

As my hands ran across rocks that were laid thousands of years ago, I can't help but think of David running his hands the same places and for the same reason- to pray for the city and it's holy people called by God.
As my eyes watch people, my heart breaks.
Did David's break at seeing and hearing the lack of reverence and immense adultery to our holy God?
The psalms say time and time again- praises to you God, save me, deal with my enemy, deal with sin, but thank You for Your mercy.

I see David- standing- looking at his tower, turning to pray- thoughts of the once great city, hopes of the future in which will happen.
                               

And yet- my spirit leaps to think of the New Jerusalem not built by human hands; no inhabitant against His perfect nature, no violence, no strife, no pain, no worry; all inhabitants able to stand before a holy God because of Jesus. We, standing as the Bride- pure and whole
Is this what he longs for?
As David prays for his people, for his city, for Jesus to hasten his return- I ask-- what are you doing to change what we see before us- darkness prevailing in the land because of new forms of ungodliness, because of old forms of ungodliness, denying the Messiah, the Body of Christ accepting what was never meant to be within us- sin. 




"Thy neck is like the Tower of David built with turrets, whereon there hang a thousand shields, all the armor of the mighty men." (Song of Songs, 4:4)

 This means, setting your will to obey God.
Will you- at all cost- obey the One who paid the highest price for your life, whose blood is the veil for God to look upon you? 

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Fearful

Fear- a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain,etc., whether the threat is real or imagined; the feeling or condition of being afraid.



What feeds it? 
Where does it come from?
Is it normal?
What can be done with it?
How can it be overthrown?

What do you fear?   Pain, losing something or someone, spiders, snacks, dogs, mice, death?
Why?

Fear began in the Garden. Adam & Eve, after eating the fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, feared The Lord. Why?
Disobedience. 
And so began the fear that was not meant to be apart of life for us. It is not how God designed it, but He knew it would happen. 
Why do we fear as children? 
All that we know and learn from infancy to early childhood is taught, purposefully or not, by our parents or siblings or family. When a child first begins to fear it is being separated from its parent. Not that they had never not come back, for most kids anyway, but the enemy crept in, placing thoughts of abandonment in the child's mind. 
Children get hurt or see a scary movie or see scary pictures or the unknown= this creates things to fear and stays with them for most of their lives. 
Adults allow things to come in with or without knowing of the danger that creates fear. 
It happens without our consent most of the time. Or there is a lack of boundary. 
As life continues more fears creep in and others flee. 
Circumstances in life bring more fear- but not because we ask for it, but because we don't know how to or the fact that we have the power to overcome it. 
Angst, worry, & control are particles of fear. 
The enemy THRIVES on it! 

We were not created with a spirit of fear. We were created to rule over all things here on earth and to live in peace, but most of all to glorify God. 

Fear focuses on the dark. 
How do we counteract it? 
                Focus on The Light! 
We are called to see through the darkness to what darkness is trying to hide. 
The enemy is trying to hide that which God is trying to mend or use or purpose for His glory. 
The enemy wants to keep us at bay- hidden in our fear and shame so that we cannot be used or healed or restored. 
Stop listening to fear. It will control you and devour every ounce of joy and life. 
But know... God is able to do immeasurably more than we can imagine or ask. 
He does not want His children to live in fear. Just like you don't want your children to live in fear. 
So... How do we overcome fear?
Declare what God has promised. 

"The fear of The Lord is the beginning of wisdom." 
This fear is reverence to the holy God who creates life and everything of this world. To know who created you and why. 
The Lord is perfect love & "perfect Love casts out all fear."




Every time the feet of a Jesus follower hit the ground- the enemy trembles in fear of the One in which we stand!!

So what do you fear now?


Sunday, June 15, 2014

Hello Dennis

Meet Dennis 
He came out slightly charred, but very handsome. Smelled divine. Like I could eat him up! 
He sacrificed so much to be there for me. We have similar taste- he really loves carrots and onions. He enjoys a good warm pita, in fact he prefers them. He did nothing but smile at me all night. His dark brown eyes gazed so intently at mine. Nothing could keep us apart... It was love at first sight. The lemonade we drank tasted so fresh against the spice from the salad. His silence captivated my interest and curiosity of how much people raved over him. His inability to stick around longer than one night was less than appealing to me but I succumbed to wiles. 

Meet Dennis... 






















His Sun/Son

                                 
As I was watching my first sunset in Israel- I thought of why God called the sun the sun. All of Gods created things revolve around it, it gives light to all it touches, it cannot be looked upon because of it's brightness and brilliance, it gives light to all, it warms you, it melts away things that are hard icey and cold. 
Ironic... That the sun is so similar to The Son

He gives life
He is light
He melts cold hardened hearts
He cannot be looked upon because of His bright brilliance
Everything revolves around Him
His eyes are like flames of fire
He warms you
He is the light of life

The Son & sun is the most important part of our lives


Thursday, June 12, 2014

His hands at work...



The next journey beginning... The old way left behind. 
The feeling is odd but good, fresh but scary, exciting all the same!
I want nothing more than to do engage in my favorite hobby of traveling, and God has opened the door. This time- my heart is different. My focus has changed. I want to be His hands on this earth. 
A new heart, a new way, a new focus... And the first place He chooses is His holy land. 
My expectation... God
He has said, " "you must go to everyone I send you to & say whatever I command you. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you & will rescue you." Then The Lord reached out his hand & touched my mouth & said to me, "now, I have out my words in your mouth. See, today I have appoint you over nations & kingdoms to uproot & tear down, to destroy & to plant.""-- Jeremiah 1:7-10

Thank You Lord, for choosing me- the unqualified- to qualify and equip me to speak Your truth so that other may see who You are & believe. 

Monday, May 26, 2014

Cross reality

the Cross
a man nailed to it... a King... the Prince of peace... the Son of God... suffering the imaginable...
the One who had at His disposal legions of angels in a blink of His eye
but why did He not call them? why did He keep silent? why did He endure?

the depth that He endured is overwhelming in the physical realm but in the spiritual....
Christ, being a part of the Trinity, did not want to be separated from His Father. He did not want to be ripped away from the Father, Holy Spirit, Himself. It was unheard of, unthinkable, impossible to do... but He is the One of impossibility. 
Why did He allow it then?
As much as He did not want to be separated from the Father, He saw it worse for YOU to separated from the Father because of your sin nature. 
He laid His life down- to take on ALL sin- past sin, present sin, & future sin. 
When Christ was nailed to the cross, you were nailed there with Him- Your sin, your sin nature, the old way. When He rose, you rose with Him. Raised to life with Christ, a new life, a new man. 
There is no prayer for salvation. Salvation is believing in Christ as the One who died for you and gives you life. Salvation is walked out, continual process, dying to self, humbling yourself before The Lord  walking in reverence and fear of who He is. 

Christ gave up His full inheritance for you. Not because you deserve it but because He loves you that much. He loves you so much to lay His life, His place in heaven with God, His everything  so that you would be able to come before The Father and stand. So that you could spend eternity with God. 
Risen... Defeated death. Making those who believe in Him and what He did immortal. 

What then is stopping you from giving up things to God? Why are you holding on to things that don't really matter? 
We should be so willing, so addicted to Jesus, to give all things up for the sake of His name. 
Does this mean we quit our jobs and sell everything? For some who are called to do that, yes. But for the rest of us- we need to adjust fire. Readjust our lives. Focus our gaze on the ONLY thing that matters, the only thing that gives life. The cost for your life was priceless, what then will it cost you to get closer to He who gives you life? 

What do you fear more- not having what you think you need or desire, tangible in your hands or life OR not having what you know gave up everything for you to have life? 
This is reality- Christ gave all for you, what will you give up to allow Him to be the priority? Will you return to your first Love? Or will you continue to walk in adultery? 









Your house of vision & peace

Two years ago, James & I had 48 hours to search & find a house in Lancaster, PA, our new home. I had to fly back to Augusta GA to finish up my active duty & James had a few weeks to get out the lodging paid for by Armstrong. We looked at 24 houses in one day & had 4 more to go. We tossed a few houses out off the bat, liked 4-5, & we were getting tired. 
We came to Kauffman road. We looked at a big house that had a shared driveway then we looked at the house 2 down from it. 
As I walked into the house behind the Realtor & James, I immediately had a vision. 

Kids were running up & down the foyer staircase & in & out of the kitchen & backyard, & the living room was filled with people. I knew in that moment that this was it. 
We could stop looking at houses now. 
I kept quiet what I had seen & how I felt about the house. 
Later that evening, James & I agreed on 5 houses that we liked the best. Then the weeding out began. 
We narrowed it down to 2 houses. 
Then 1. 
We were unanimous on the Kauffman house because of the location & resale. 
I finally spoke up about the picture I saw. I immediately thought the children were our children running through the house & it was our biological families in the living room. It was what I desired. 

As time went on, I quickly realized & felt the unrest in our home. Then things began to change as God began to change my heart to how He originally designed it. 
How does this house become a place of peace, rest, love? What needed to change?
EVERYTHING!!!!
I remember one day as I was on my face before God, the revelation came that this is not mine. This house belongs to God. 

Present day... Resurrection Sunday 2014
As I entered the house after letting the dog out, I turned and looked...
children running up & down the stairs, in & out of the back door through the kitchen; the living room full of chairs & pillows for people to sit & hardly any room was left open. 
I was hit with... this is the original vision given when I first walked into the house. 
Oh My Goodness!!!
God- You are amazing how You just fulfilled what You allowed me to see 2 years ago.
How creative You are & how surprising You are. 
They were not my own children by James, nor were they my biological family flooding my living room. 
It was my spiritual family!!!!

Thank You God for using the Johnson home for Your purposes & for Your place of Peace to others & myself. I stand in awe of who You are & what You do.

Isaiah 54...

Thursday, May 22, 2014

heartbeat

Hit with a heavy heart today.
After an interesting conversation with a girl about who God is & what He was saying to her through me, I was hit with the revelation again that I should be praying for the hastening of the Lord's return coupled with that none should perish.
This is the Father's heart.
He desires each one of us- we were each predestined to Him. It is our choice to respond rightly to that predestination.
People are being disillusioned to who God really is. There is light & dark; right & wrong; true & false. There is no gray area with God.
The Enemy is out to kill, steal, & destroy. He is out to create chaos for everyone, but even more so if you believe in Christ. He can come as the angel of light; he can deceive with what appears to be blessings; he will lie and create illusions that God is not true; he knows the scriptures & can use them & twist them.
This is happening all around us. We are just so distracted by the busyness of our day and things that he doesn't have to do much to get us off track from the Lord.
That's how it was with me.
I thought I had life planned. I was independent, smart, self-reliant. I knew what I wanted & I would figured out how to get it. Type A personality who could make things happen. I grew up Christian, was saved, went to college, joined the Army, married, no school debt, I had a plan for my life. I was in control.
HA!
I was crawling with disillusions of who God was to me & about my relationship with Him.
I knew God as my personal Lord & Savior. I knew He died for me & took my sins. I knew what was right & wrong. I was a good person, I helped people, I didn't get drunk too much, I didn't curse all the time, I asked for forgiveness for all my sins after I did them. God was my fire insurance.
I never figured it would look anything like it does now.
God is jealous for me. So when He began to tell me so & show me, my heart began to change. My eyes were opened to who He really was. 
The revelation of Jesus. 
It is the most beautiful thing. To know that the One sent from glory and an unspeakable inheritance from God, willingly came to earth (the ungodly wrenched place it has become) to live life pure and holy, so we would have an example of what it looks like. Knowing from day 1 that He would be rejected, beaten, spat upon, ect... ByHis own family, His own people, with the end result of being sacrificed for each person, for every sin committed, every soul - so that we might share in what He has. So that we would be able to come before the holy God and be looked upon and loved. Through Jesus' blood, He riped the physical veil to create a supernatural veil (His continuous flowing blood over us) so that our Holy Father would be able to see us- complete.  
When you chose Christ, you chose life. You were nailed to that cross with Him. Your old nature, sin natures died. Now the new way- life and light- lives. There is no death for you. There is no reason to live under the hooves of condemnation if you have truly been saved and surrender- learning with each day what it looks like to walk out your salvation.
Christ defeated death for you. Christ took your sin and shame. Why hang on to it? He knows every detail of your sin. He took it upon Himself & dealt with it.
What's next? How do we live?
We live the new life. A new way of thinking, being, acting, existing. Not of the world, just in it. There is no striving for it, no act of good deed, no number of hail mary's... just believe and walk.
Surrendered.
 

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

faith waits

Despair... the complete loss or absence of hope.
How great is the temptation of despair at times. "Your soul becomes depressed & disheartened, & your faith staggers under the severe trials & testing that come into your life."
You begin to hear in your mind... I cant bear this any longer!
God tells us not to despair.
      
So, what am I to do?
When you are physically weak what do you do... lean on the shoulder of a stronger loved one; completely rely on, become still & trust the other person's strength. 
Why do we find this difficult to do with the only One who will always be there, will always be strong enough, who knows why the weakness, who loves unconditionally? 
Tangibility...  ability to be touched or felt
We are so consumed with immediate gratification, feelings & having what we need or want in hand 24/7 that we find it more difficult now to believe; To  believe in what we cannot see... Faith. 

When you become weak through fires of affliction, don't try to be strong... Know that He will sustain you & bring you through the fire.  
A person who is at rest has only achieved it through conflict...
            the serenity & quietness following the storm brings fresh, purified air!
Once the initial shock is over & you look up, you can say, "it is the Lord." 
Faith begins to lift our shattered hopes & securely bind them to the feet of God. The result is confidence, safety, & peace

Mark 9:23 " everything is possible for him who believes"
This does not always come by asking, because God is always seeking to teach you the way of faith. Your training for a life of faith, discipline of faith, the patience of faith, & the courage of faith comes in many stages before the final result. 
When you have made your request to God & the answer still has not come, what are you to do? Keep on believing His Word! 
When you remain unswayed from your stance of faith, even in the view of supposed contradictions to God's Word, you grow stronger on every front. Only through discipline will you then be equipped for the work to which God has called you. Times that try your soul are times of spiritual growth & development. Only He has spoken His promise to work, it is truly hard to wait as you see the days go by with no fulfillment... but wait!



Sunday, May 4, 2014

you are loved

Beloved,
God wants you to know that you are His. He wants you for Himself- as your FIRST love.
A young girl once told me that every other lover would fall away. I had no idea what the meaning behind it was... Until it began to happen!!!!
Commandment #1: love the Lord your God with all your heart mind soul & strength.
"place no other gods before Me."

God as my first love... does this remove completely the love for my husband or family? No... it actually enhances it, brings a freedom or ease to loving someone.
I have only ever known one way to love. This way is how the world says we love. What culture states as the norm. The love is physical, romance, a feeling, happiness, emotions, butterflies... should I keep going?
We have it all wrong.
"Love... is patient, kind, it does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud, it is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs, it does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth, it always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. It never fails." (1 Corinthians 13)

Each description is that of Christ. He was all of these things here on earth & remains all these things in Heaven.
If we were to grasp this concept before we began to search for the love from another human or things- everything would be different
Searching for the feeling someone else can give you but always knowing they will at some point disappoint because, face it, we are all human.  BUT
God will never fail you nor will His love for you ever cease!
We were created to love God first.

So how do we manage to not love God first?
idols:
"an image of a deity other than God"
We become distracted with other things... cars, money, jobs, popularity, success, shopping, stuff, people, food, marriage, children, love,  ect...   anything can be an idol.
We begin to depend on these things over the One who made them. 
Why... because we do not stay connected with the Creator of the things we so long for.
We doubt that God will actually provide the things we long for or need or want. 
"no good thing will He withhold from those who seek Him"
God promises time & time again to take care of you- He has plans to prosper you, plans of good. 
He made us in His own image, for His purpose & glory... do we not think the One who created us will take care of the things He made for Himself??
Stop fighting and let yourself be loved by the One who is Love.



Friday, May 2, 2014

reminder...

At the National Day of Prayer tent yesterday, we began to pray for family- spiritual & physical, I was reminded of what the Lord has already done in my family so far.
I grew up in a Christian home, but at the age of 9 my parents divorced. I remember my parents tolerating each other as my brother & I grew up & had events for the families to get together. Realizing there really is no side to take & finally being able to forgive them both, I began to pray differently for them both- waiting expectantly to see what God was going to do.
Remembering back to just short of a year ago- I came home from Austin Tx to find the normalcy of my home in dysfunction. (I will remind you that- dysfunction & confusion is not from God but from the enemy who only seeks to destroy & kill.)
I was shocked at what was happening, the lack of communication, & my flesh was yelling at me to take control. Knowing I was in the least bit of control of the situation except for my own actions, God continued to hold me up.
I hit my knees as I found all of my husband's belongings removed from our room & placed in the guest bedroom. I fell face down before the Almighty, unsure of what was happening & what was coming next. All the while, I felt Him holding me, picking me up, doing the next thing. I was the puppy on the end of the leash in constant dependency of the Father.
My mother knew something was happening, but didn't know how to help being so far from me & knowing that the Lord was present. My mom picked up the phone & made a call to my dad. "Something is happening with April & James. I cant get there fast enough to help them. Can you help?" My dad called me shortly after. "What is going on April?" "Dad, I really have no idea. Everything is changed & everything is in chaos." I heard a difference on the other end of the phone- one I had never heard before. He was on a mission, but what sort?
The next afternoon I received a knock on the door. It was my dad & mom standing at the door. Together.
My dad began praying & covering holy water over each doorway & through the house. He had bread & wine set out on the table, then asked me to fix lunch.
As James sat & ate lunch with my parents & I, the small talk was very awkward.
"So, I need to ask for forgiveness, James & April," said my dad. "I have not been actively involved with your lives & have not been praying for you in the way a father should. I also want to ask you, Evelene (my mom), for forgiveness of all the wrongdoings & unforgiveness toward you for all these years."
"Thank you Roy, (my dad), & I want to ask for forgiveness for all of my faults & wrongdoings for all these years."
I was speechless. Was this really happening before my eyes?
The conversation continued till James had had enough & left.
We facetimed my brother- who was shocked that mom & dad were at my house together.
The 4 of us began praying & praising God for what He was doing.
With tears streaming down our faces- we praised God for restoring a broken home after 20 years. My parents were friends again, & my brother & I felt as if there was a new wholeness that happened.
The Master Creator designed family a certain way & for a certain purpose. It is our own selfishness & sin that creates the disfunction, but I have witnessed what the Father can do to bring His family back to its original design.
Oh to be a member of the greatest family in the universe- the Family of God.
I can attest that God makes all things new- we just have to be patient.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Israel 2014

Hello beloved family & friends
The last year has been a worldwind of a journey & continues to be as God is leading me on His original plan & purpose for my life. There are no adjectives that can express how difficult yet amazing it has been. God has been  incredibly faithful to me every moment of everyday & He has poured His love on me in a way I have never known before.
Since the events of last year occurred with James' departure, I have been hard after the Lord, immersing myself in Him & what He has for me.
I remember while in college, after I got married, & while driving home from work through the corn fields one morning in Lancaster- God saying, "I have more for you..."
I began asking what that was &  have begun to live the "more" now!!! And how sweet, exciting,& hard it is, but very worth it!
I began to ask the Lord to move my heart for what moves His. So, as I began to dive deeper into what the Father's heart is for, He began to reveal things to me & open doors.
As I got more involved with City Gate (local prayer room in Lancaster), the Lord impressed upon my heart the importance of prayer. Not just- Dear Lord... thank you for this day- kind of prayers, but what He wants me to pray. What does it look like, what does it sound like, what do you want me to do & say, how do you want it to look?
As I began reading a few books on prayer & more doors began to open. With the closing of the book Break Anointing & the opening of Prayer Altars, I felt the Lord say, Its all about the prayer altars. Im going to teach you how & I want you to teach them how.
What better way to learn how to pray than in the Holy Land as His people do!
So- June 14th I will be departing the United States for TelAvive for 2 weeks.
I have been given the opportunity to participate in the Israel Project hosted by the Louisiana Messianic Communities led by Rabbi David & his wife. I will be traveling with 6-8 other people. We will be involved with the Isreal Outreach which entails working in distribution centers, home fellowships, 24/7 houses of prayer, & working with the local missionaries & believers. We will be seeking the Father's will for each day & learn the art of listening prayer on the ground in Israel. It was best explained to me as a "prayer bootcamp"!!!
And all of you know how much I love the challenge of a "bootcamp."  
I cannot wait to see what the Lord has in store for me in this time of learning & helping others in whatever way they need. 
My request then to you, is for prayer. Knowing the work we will be doing in Israel, I am expecting resistance from the enemy. I ask that you pray for protection & guidance during this time; pray that we will hear & promptly obey the Lord in His asking; that lives are transformed by God in others through us; and that His will will be done.
If you would like to support financially, it will be gracioulsy received. You can send any contribution to me at:
April Johnson
The total cost of the trip is roughly $3000 which includes airfare, lodging, food, transportation, & entrance fees.
You can go tohttp://www.lamessianic.com/israelproject.htm to check out the ministry website. 
I am so excited to see what the Lord is doing worldwide & to be apart of it!
Thank you for your support & prayers. I will keep you updated during the preparation process, before I leave, & of course when I return! I cant wait to share with you about my adventures.
Peace & blessings!
April

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Showed up & showed off

June 2013- left Lancaster at 0315... to BWI for a 0515 flight to Nashville, TN. As I am singing & praying & taking in the traffic even this early in the morning, I realize I am not going to make my flight. 
"Lord, if You want me in Nashville, You are going to have to hold my flight for me because I am not going to make it."
Parking signs, not helpful... unable to find long term parking, so parked in short term... running to catch the bus that was pulling up... through security at 0500... already accepted I will be waiting to catch the next flight to nashville. Still hopefully running to the gate though
As the lady behind the counter peered over her glasses, I asked, "that flight to nashville, there's no way I could still get on it is there?" She looks at the gate, shrugs her shoulders, and says, "we can go see." We walked over to the already closed door to the walkway. She unlocks & opens the door saying, "if the plane door is closed at the end, turn around & come back."
As I was walking to the plane, a head pops out of the plane door. It was the flight attendant. "Are you April?" I looked at him & said cautiously, "Yes..." "We have been waiting for you," he states. 
I stopped dead in my tracks. God- are You kidding me!!!! You just showed up & showed off!!!!!
I continued my walk through the plane door laughing.
Did He really just hold this plane to Nashville for me?!?!
As I was half way to my seat- with several seats empty toward the back of the plane- 2 people rise and move toward the back of the plane. I stopped just short of my seat & they look at me & say, "we have been waiting for you." 
Laughing again as I am seating myself, I begin to praise Him.
Through the flight I was praying- Lord, You are so good to me. You are writing this story. I am willing to do whatever You want. You just held a plane for me. Use my story for whatever purpose, in whatever way You want. I am willing!
As I am waiting on my aunt to pick me up & to face my family for the first time since my life was flipped upside-down, I get a phone-call. 
"April, I am preaching at church this Sunday. I want to use your story in my teaching. Do you mind?"
I was floored!!!
I began crying and praising Him yet again for answering me so quickly. 

His purpose, His story written through me, for His glory...
He has made beauty out of ashes!


Africa...

May last year, I was given the opportunity to go to Nigeria, Africa to offer my nursing services in whatever way I could.
All the plans had been made & finalized- until everything changed.
I remember prior to leaving not really sure how I was going to get to the airport let alone get there in general. I was being hit from every angle by the enemy to stop me from going.
My world- as I knew it- had crumbled all around me- just as the walls of Jericho fell the 7th day the Israelites marched around it.
"Lord, if You want me to go to Africa... You will have to pick me up & get me there." All odds were against me- but the faithfulness of the Lord prevailed!!!
At the perfect moment the day before my flight- God provided a ride & the strength. I had all the money I owned in my pocket, an airline ticket & my bags standing in the airport ready to go. The Lord wanted me in Africa...
I thought I was going to change lives... little did I know, they were going to change me
                                                           

I questioned, why do You have me here Lord? what do You want me to do while I am here?  The answer was... I want you to learn to be loved on. Allow these people you came to help help you. Rest here, be loved here... because you are going home to fight the battle against evil.
As time went on in Africa... my heart was heavy but learning to lean in on My Beloved. 
The first experience I had was in the chapel of all the nursing students. The chapel was packed, hot and humid, noisy from the singing, yet the only place in the world I wanted to be. Tears were streaming down my face as I listened to the harmonies being sung acapella. I saw the young girl sitting next to me get up & begin searching for something. She went to every row. Then finding what she was searching for, came back & sat down next to me. She began to write something on the bulletin. She then finished and handed me the bulletin. 
"don't cry. the Lord has everything in His hands."

The days went by & the Lord showed Himself more & more faithful. As I read scripture & my new found book, "Girls with Swords" by Lisa Bevere, I began to hear His still small voice. He so tenderly confirmed what my spirit was feeling & was feeding me life through His word. 










Tuesday, April 22, 2014

meet my dog

Azariah- "YAHWEH has helped"
Oh how God has helped!! 
I was lonely in my big house all alone in want of a buddy. I sought the Lord for months about getting a dog. But no definitive answer. 
The breeder had 2 puppies left- so I began to drive to Maryland to take a look. 
Enroute, I began to doubt & question if I should get a dog. Would I have the time? Would the puppy take away my time with God? Is this what You desire Lord?
With no definitive answer & many people saying yes & no- I continued my drive. 
As I was praying & singing in the car, I felt as if the Lord was saying- "April, it is a dog- just make a decision & stick with it. I know where your heart is." 
As I was playing with the 2 last puppies, both 14 weeks old, I knew one of them was coming home with me. 
I decided on the ORANGE puppy. orange being the color the breeder painted his nails to differentiate between the pups. 



The 3.5 hr drive home was eventful... 

vomit X1, pit stop to void X1, slept in the lap
As we arrived home & he proceeded to fall asleep on my lap in the living room, I looked down at the little creature who was so innocent & relied solely on me & loved me without conditions. I began to weep- God was answering my desire. It was as if He was saying, "april, this is how I want you to be with me- completely dependent on the Hand that provides, gives, takes away, disciplines, loves unconditionally. I want you to follow Me as this puppy follows you. And how he loves you, I love you like that, but greater!!" 
I was in awe of God's sovereignty. He created this puppy at the perfect time for the perfect person- me.
Az is growing in size, appetite, curiosity, & vocally. I am often irritated that he wont sleep all day with me after I have worked all night, but how can you resist this face...
He reeks of love & I am astounded at how quickly he is learning. It reminds me of how slow of a learner in life I have been. God is teaching me so much through this puppy. 
Thank You Daddy for Your blessing shown through this little creature. 
-aej


faithful

writing finally... 
As life continues, I am trusting God in every moment. Knowing what I have encountered, not knowing what is coming, but knowing "the plans He has for me are plans to prosper me & for good."
 
He is writing a story with my life- one that He has asked me to share when the opportunity arises. All for Him to get the glory. 
I have no words for who God is accept- faithful