In 2015 I Have Noticed...

Note: Linking up with Emily P. Freeman and other bloggers to share what we've learned in 2015. Wheee! I haven't linked up much before so this is practically a first! Another rarity is the following list was written as if I had been jotting thoughts down in a journal instead of a composing a perfectly planned post all gussied up for company. If this were an afternoon tea time, instead of an elaborate affair for guests, it would be a single cup of hot cocoa with an afghan, cozy socks, messy bun, fisherman's sweater and leggings curled up beside a roaring fire. There! the stage has been set. And now onto the post...

The final days of a year are used by many as a time of both preparation for the year to come as well as a period of reflection on the year that has passed. Busy days usually seem to fly by with little to no time available for preparing or reflecting. Surviving motherhood is frequently a matter of putting one foot in front of the other and doing the next best thing. Wanting to establish healthier living practices, however, this year I am taking a few minutes to jot down a few of the lessons Life has provided me throughout the past 12 months.

In 2015 I have noticed...

  •  Every time I experience something an opportunity to learn from that experience is present; what I do with this opportunity is up to me.
  • Whatever I do not intentionally train my children they learn from me by default. For example, if I do not intentionally teach my children basic courtesies, they will do/say whatever I do, or do not, do/say. Yikes!
  • My children will also learn from other people in their lives. Rarely can I do anything about the things learned from others, except pray for God's ways to be my childrens' greatest desire and be an example of faithful devotion to God myself. 
  • A foundation of God's Word as the absolute authority is essential for me and my children.
  • Children must work out/through their own personal relationship with God. The only thing I can provide for them is an example to follow. Dear God, please help me do this in the way that pleases You most.
  • Any and every truth taught from a foundation of fear will bear ungodly fruit.
  • What is taught from a foundation of love will bring forth a rich harvest of fullness.
  • However, what is taught by fear from out of a foundation of love will still bring forth a good harvest. This is God's mercy and grace in action. 
  • The harvest produced from a foundation of love through the use of fear, though good, will not be as rich as the one taught by faith out of a foundation of love. 
  • Fear contaminates faith.
  • Love does conquer all. Teaching and training by fear out of love will bring forth a good harvest, but even though the harvest will be good, it will be also be contaminated because of the use of fear. 
  • Fear is not a fit tool for teaching righteousness, or anything else.
  • If the learning of a thing requires the use of fear, it should not be taught until love is used instead of fear. 
  • Teaching/training from love by love is best.
  • The kingdom of darkness uses fear. 
  • The Kingdom of God uses love.
  • Fear is not of God. 
  • With God all things are possible, even the removal of fear by God's perfect love.
  •  God is faithful. 
  • Mercy always triumphs over judgement.
  • Man's ways are not God's ways.
  • God's ways are higher. They often do not make sense to men.
  • I like God's ways best. 
  • The longer I know Him, the better His ways are to me.
  • The longer I know God, the less I like man's ways.
  • God has always been present in man's ways, yet man seems to have always been trying to get away from God's. 
  • If any confusion is present, God has been removed in some way.
  • If truth is lacking, God is also lacking because He is the way, the truth, the life. He is truth. He is not a man that he should lie. 
  • Satan is the father of lies. 
  • God hates lying, and all liars will be thrown into the lake of fire. Scripture says this. There will be no exceptions. 
  • Partial truth is a complete lie.
  • Lying does not please God. 
  • I want to please God.
  • Therefore, if I recognize I have lied, even unknowingly, I will stop and repent. I love God more than I love my own way.
  • My desire to please God is greater than the desire to please myself. 
  • I would rather be hated by men and loved by God than loved by men and hated by God.
  • God is most important of all to me. 
  • Lying makes me sad because I know it displeases God and because those who lie will suffer greatly if they do not repent and confess their sin. 
  • Mankind needs God. I have always known this, but this year I have come to know it on a deeper level somehow. Not sure I can explain so won't try any further.
  • Little else is as delightful as the fully abandoned laughter of a child.
  • Maturity is greater and more powerful than knowledge.
  • Knowledge without maturity can be dangerous. 
  • To the immature, maturity appears boring and no fun.
  • It is not truly fun to be immature and foolish.
  • Immaturity and foolishness are traveling companions.
  • Boring is healthier than temporal pleasures and entertainment.
  • A vertical focus on God produces a longer lasting harvest than a horizontal focus on what can be seen and touched.
  •  Relying on my own understanding is dumb at best.
As we travel the few remaining days of 2015, may God Himself be with you more intimately than He ever has before. Prayers and blessings for each one of you in the name of Yeshua.


Reordered Thinking for a New Year

 Happy Day to each and every one of you! I pray that the Holy Day (holiday) season finds you well and blessed beyond measure. Please read the following article! It provides instruction in the renewing and reordering of our thinking. What a refreshing fount of life giving truth it is! I am looking forward to sinking my teeth into it and intentionally devouring every word. May the remaining days of 2015 be full to overflowing of life, love, and joyous laughter, and may you not only enjoy every moment to the full but may the love and laughter also serve as preparation for savoring the upcoming year. In Christ's Love ~ Abundantly Blessed

"5 Ways to Renewed Thinking for a New Year" 
Garris Elkins, Medford, OR
Dec 27, 2015

One of the early indicators that revival and reformation are coming to the Church is when we begin to realize God is renewing the way we think. Each new season requires an adjustment in our thinking in order to move us forward into a fresh expression Kingdom life and revelation.

As we approach the threshold of 2016, the Lord is inviting us to take inventory of our thoughts to help align our thinking with His heart and Kingdom purpose. Normally, I calendar a time at the end of each year to process these things with the Lord before the New Year comes, but this year an event took place that began that process a month early.

When the Paris terrorist attacks occurred, our daughter, Anna, was completing a month-long teaching trip that began in Morocco and ended in Paris. She was part of a team helping people learn how to become storytellers. On the day of the attack, Anna had walked through the very neighborhood the terrorists first struck only hours before. When Anna and her team heard the first reports of the attack, they gathered together in an apartment only a quarter of a mile from the café that experienced the first assault. The nation of France went into lockdown. The borders were closed. Anna was scheduled to fly home the next day. Her return home did not look like it would happen.

Jan and I knew nothing of what was taking place in Paris. We received a cryptic text message from Anna saying, "I am OK. We are all together. Safe." I immediately went to a European news outlet to find out what was happening and watched the developing story as it continued to unfold.  

When we first heard the news, Jan and I began to pray. We also took our initial thoughts captive and submitted them to the good God who loved our daughter and in whose hands she was held. Anna and her friends remained safe throughout the night, and the next morning they were able find a taxi driver willing to take them to the airport traveling along the deserted and fearful streets of Paris. They made it to the airport in time to board their return flight home. Anna's text message sent from the seat of her return flight brought us great relief.  

The attacks in Paris caused me to pause and reorder my thinking for the coming year earlier than normal. I believe the Lord had a purpose in this earlier review of my thoughts. As a result, I came away with several points of reordered thinking I feel were not only words for me but for the larger Church as we consider how to represent the Lord to our families, our nation, and the larger global community in the coming year.

Thoughts to Reorder Our Thinking for the New Year

1) Taking the higher road of faith in seasons of intense cultural stress will always seem foolish to those on a descent into fear.
The higher road of Kingdom thinking is always up – up and above our current understanding of reality. The road of descent into despair and over-reaction is an easier road to take because it is navigated downward by human emotion and logic without the uplifting effect of the Spirit's wisdom. The higher road will require faith to navigate because it is paved with things not yet seen with the natural eye. Those who are descending may call you a fool for following this higher path of faith, but in the end its destination will be your testimony of God's faithfulness.  

For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so My ways are higher than your ways and My thoughts higher than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:9 NLT

2) An image of goodness has the power to displace an image of sorrow.
Today, take a break and turn from the images of sorrow and the overwhelming struggles taking place in culture. I had to do this with the repeated images of horror I was seeing from Paris. Reset your sight to Heaven where you now sit with Christ at the right hand of the Father. This is your current reality and God's preferred future for each broken person and every painful situation you will encounter in the coming year.

Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. Colossians 3:2 NIV

3) Forgiveness is the highest form of spiritual warfare.
Jesus was sent to set the captives free. He died and rose again to offer all of humanity the gift of forgiveness. Forgiveness is the starting point of all He does in our lives. Without forgiveness a new beginning is not possible.
Every new thing God does in our lives can trace its beginning back to an original work of forgiveness. As you consider the possibilities of 2016, make sure you have allowed that work of forgiveness to have its way in each of your relationships. This will be a fight, but well worth the effort. You will know you have forgiven when you no longer desire to punish the offenders in your life.

So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. John 8:36 NIV

4) A captive thought can no longer move with unrestrained freedom.
Every thought we entertain requires the Lordship of Jesus Christ. A thought not submitted to His Lordship will represent another kingdom and its failed disposition for the affairs of life. Jan and I had to repeatedly take our thoughts captive because our distance from Paris did not allow us to help our daughter in any tangible way. In these moments of disconnect it is easy to feel helpless and grow desperate.  

Do not allow any thought to linger without requiring its submission to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. As this process of Lordship deepens in your life, you will begin to evaluate your thoughts with the mind of Christ. This renewed thinking will bring freedom and peace.

We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:5 NIV

5) Hope is always present in each and every circumstance of life.
The fear currently invading the minds of our culture wants to invade the thinking of the Church. Fear comes when hope is absent. Our hope is not anchored in political resolutions or the temporary alignment of earthly kingdoms. Our hope is secure in Heaven beyond the influence of earthly matters. Our faith is a tether to that anchor. Each time we choose faith in response to fear we will feel the tug on that line reminding us we are not flailing about in life unattached to something eternal. We are always secure in Christ no matter what takes place in this life.

We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure... Hebrews 6:19 NIV

Our minds are being filled with an increasing display of images fueled by despair and grief. I saw a lot of those images coming from Paris as I waited and prayed for my daughter to return home. In that personal drama, I discovered once again the power of prayer, worship, and words of hope. These spiritual disciplines have the ability to transform how we see the events of this life and give us hope in times of uncertainty. 

The power of reordered thinking allows us to see this life from Heaven's perspective. That is the perspective of reformation and revival. God has a distinct impact planned for our lives to make in the coming year. That impact will be traced back to how we allowed ourselves to think.

Our cooperation with the Spirit as a renewed thinker will yield supernatural results in 2016. Get ready! The goodness of God is coming in force to displace the works of darkness. The reality of this goodness requires a renewed mind to believe in its possibility.

Garris Elkins, Author and Prophetic Minister
Prophetic Horizons
Email: info@prophetichorizons.com
Website: garriselkins.com

Garris Elkins' ministry, Prophetic Horizons, is a ministry of teaching, writing, and prophecy committed to raising up a prophetic generation to speak to the cultures of our world with the empowered voice of Heaven. Garris and his wife, Jan, are a spiritual father and mother to many, both in the United States and abroad. They live in Medford, Oregon, where they just completed 33 years of pastoral ministry, with the last 15 years as Senior Leaders of Living Waters Church in Medford. Their ministry involves traveling, teaching, and mentoring leaders and churches. Garris and Jan have two grown children, Anna and David.

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Meeting Jesus As...

Alpha and Omega
Revelation 22:13
Wonderful Counselor
Isaiah 9:6
The Mighty God
Isaiah 9:6
The Everlasting Father
Isaiah 9:6
The Prince of Peace
Isaiah 9:6
The Firstborn of All Creation
Colossian 1:15
Unspeakable Gift
2 Corinthians 9:15
Lamb of God
John 1:29
Good Shepherd
John 10:11
Bright and Morning Star
Revelation 22:16
Mark 8:29
Matthew 1:23 and Isaiah 7:14
Holy One
Mark 1:24
Light of the World
John 8:12
Luke 1:78
The Word
Revelation 19:13 and John 1:1
Matthew 12:18
Zechariah 9:9
Rose of Sharon
Song of Solomon 2:1
Lily of the Valley
Song of Solomon 2:1
Matthew 11:19
John 4:42
Genesis 49:10
Ancient of Days
Daniel 7:9
God With Us
Luke 2:1-20

Merry Christmas!!!

Merry Christmas!!!
Christmas 2015
Jewish year 5776

The days before Christmas are dwindling. Only one week until Christmas Day remains. What will I do with this week? For that matter, what will I do with today? None of us know how many weeks, days, hours, moments have been allotted us. None of us knows whether this day, this moment, might be our final one on earth. With this thought in mind, what will I do with each and every moment of each and every day? 

 Reports of terror, slayings, traumatic occurances all want to gather round and strangle the joy out of everyone's celebration of Christ. The question that is begging to be asked is "What will I do about all of this evil?" Will I allow the joy robbing emotions produced by the presence of wickedness to squeeze out the beauty of Christ this Christmas, or will I allow the joy of the Lord to cut through the lurking fear and unrest that loom? Will I allow Him, the Light of the World, to penetrate the darkness and celebrate Him more fully than ever before - in the middle of the terror and torment? What am I going to do?

As the days of the one remaining week until Christmas go by may I lovingly bless you in the name of Jesus, the One whose birth we remember in celebration? Dear readers, friends, it is with a heart full of Jehovah's love I speak blessings of love, peace, grace, and joy over you. In the name of Jesus I give great thanks for each one of you, for your faithfulness to me, and the encouraging support of your presence here at Abundance House. May you, and those you love, be filled to overflowing with the overwhelming goodness and love of God, not only at Christmas but all the year through. May you also experience and come to know personally for yourself everything God has planned and desires 5776, this jubilee year of abundace to be. If you haven't met Jesus, the One we celebrate with love, may you encounter Him and meet Him yourself. In the name of Jesus. Amen - may it be so.

Merry Christmas dear friends,
Abundantly Blessed