What is God Saying to me?



The Value of What?

The Value of What?

Pop quiz!  Quickly jot down ten things in nature you are thankful for.  I’m guessing rainbows, puppies and butterflies may be in there somewhere?  Anyone write down lice or fleas?  No???!!  Since October 31, 2019, as part of my devo time, every morning I have written down ten things I’m thankful for.  If I were to glance back through the 1,980 items, I’m pretty sure there would be neither lice nor fleas mentioned.


In 2004, our family had a surprise lice visit.  My husband had just accepted a job transfer and our family moved to Minnesota.  Within days of moving into our new home, one of our children came home from school with the dreaded little bugs jumping around her head.  Still thinking about it makes me cringe and itch my head.  We didn’t have a washer and dryer in our new home yet, so I hauled all the bedding, clothing and stuffed animals to the laundry mat.  Everyone in the family had their hair treated.  This was all in the midst of the chaos of unpacking and the start of a new school year.  It was an interesting way to kick off our new life in a new state.  Had I been asked at the time if I appreciated lice, I wouldn’t have hesitated to say absolutely not- it added a bit of stress to our lives.  However, I believe God did have a reason for the lice, beyond my understanding.  Those little pests caused me to feel quite humble – because it felt like it was something I couldn’t cope with or control.  It’s funny how adversity brings us to our knees.



During the summer of 2017, my husband and I traveled with friends to Amsterdam.  A highlight of the trip was a guided tour through Corrie ten Boom’s home in Haarlem.  Her incredible story of faith, obedience and forgiveness during the Holocaust was recorded in her biography, The Hiding Place.  Seeing every room of the little house made the reality of the events in her book very real.  Corrie and her sister Betsie, daughters of a watchman, worked with their father to help many Jews escape the Nazis from the Holocaust during World War ll by hiding them in their home. They were a strong Christian family who believed that God wanted them to protect Jews.  The entire family was eventually caught and arrested.  The sisters were incarcerated in Ravensbruck concentration camp, where Betsie died at age 59.    

There was a particular flea situation in the book that caused me to have a new perspective on fleas and other “little” things in life that cause distress.  The following is a paraphrased excerpt from the book.  In their barracks, there were a series of platforms stacked three levels high and packed in so tight the women were like human sardines.  Rancid straw placed on top of the platforms served as mattresses.  Not exactly sanitary conditions.  At one point Corrie became exasperated as she was being bitten by fleas.  “Fleas”, she cried.  “Betsie, the place is swarming with them…Betsie, how can we live in such a place?”  And then Betsie did something incredible- she began to pray.  “Show us.  Show us how….Corrie!  He has given us the answer, as He always does!”  In a smuggled, hidden Bible, Betsie asked Corrie to read a passage they had read together earlier that morning.  1 Thessalonians 5:14-18:  “Comfort the frightened, help the weak, be patient with everyone.  See that none of you repays evil for evil, but always seek to do good for one another and to all.  Rejoice always, pray constantly, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus.”  Betsie had a revelation- to give thanks in all circumstances.  She and Corrie thought of every thing in the barracks that they could be thankful for.  It all sounded great until Betsie thanked God for the fleas.  Corrie went along with this even though she was sure Betsie was wrong.  As time went on, Corrie came to realize that Betsie was, in fact, correct.  There was a purpose for the fleas.  The sisters discovered that the guards were very aware of the infestation and refused to enter the platforms, leaving the Bible undetected, and ultimately protecting the women who were housed there from the abuse of the guards.


As I reflect on the flea affliction, our lice situation, as well as other times in my life that I have had to endure  pain and hardship, I can see that God had a purpose for it.  Beyond what I could see at the time.  And I have always had a choice.  I could choose to become bitter and resentful.  Or I could choose to humble myself and turn to God, and be thankful in all circumstances.


Looking back, I can see numerous blessings that occurred during the two years that we lived in Minnesota, despite the rough patch at the beginning.  When the unwelcome pests invaded our new home, I immediately drew closer to God.  I turned to Him at a time when I could have easily gotten caught up with the “we are in a new place and have to start over with everything” phase.  Our spiritual lives in Minnesota grew immensely and we became closer as a family.  It was like God had hit a re-set button.  It was the first time in our married life we found a church that fit biblically and challenged us to work out our faith.  All of the obligations that had piled up in New York fell away when we moved to Minnesota.  We had redeemed time with our children and they thrived.  Bottom line, I am thankful for the lice as this may have been the pivotal moment when I turned toward God.  Maybe lice will be #1,981 in my gratitude list tomorrow morning…


I pray that our hearts and lips overflow with gratitude as we live life out in this unusual time.  Even when faced with discouraging circumstances, we all can turn to the Lord, who continues to be an ever present help in time of need.  As we focus on God’s blessings, may our hearts be lightened so that we can become more able to serve God, our families and our communities and ultimately spread His light to a world in need.
-Rebekah Zehr


Singleness of Purpose

Singleness of Purpose

For this reason I, Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus on behalf of you Gentiles— how the mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I have written briefly. assuming that you have heard of the stewardship of God’s grace that was given to me for you, ‘how the mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I have written briefly. “ 1

On Sunday, May 3rd, we heard a message from Pastor Matt & Eliza from Ephesians chapter 3. Pastor Matt stated that we are called out as both a prisoner and priest of Jesus Christ. The example from the life of the apostle Paul is laid out before us in Scripture in how to live as a prisoner and priest.

In my recent daily Bible reading, I recently was reading in the book of I Chronicles, and the following verse struck me as I was reading in chapter 12. “Of Zebulun 50,000 seasoned troops, equipped for battle with all the weapons of war, to help David with singleness of purpose.2The key phrase that stuck out to me was, ‘singleness of purpose’.  For a few moments today, I want us to consider what that means for us personally and corporately as a local church who seeks to bring Heaven to Earth in our community with singleness of purpose as a prisoner and priest. 

At the beginning of a new year, many people often find it helpful to document a few resolutions or goals that they want to achieve during the year. In many cases, there is likely a primary goal or objective they are seeking, and the other resolutions are checkpoint markers to ensure the goal can be attained and to help guide their purpose as they progress throughout the year. There is a singleness of purpose that drives all other actions and decisions; a waypoint marked on the compass to judge direction against. There is an element of confidence, sure-footedness, in the stated goal that this is right, and it is good.

As a teen and/or an early adult Saul sought out to persecute Christians and to thwart the spread of the gospel. His goal was to stop the spread of the good news; this was his singular purpose. Acts 8:3 states, “But Saul was ravaging the church, and entering house after house, he dragged off men and women and committed them to prison.” 3 His pursuit of persecution of the early church provided proof of the focus of his heart’s purpose. “But Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. “ 4 If we are honest with ourselves, we all can recall times where we have been prisoners to our sinful nature and ill-devised plans that are not rooted in the Word of God and His righteousness. We were prisoners of our sinful and fallen human nature. We have a time where our focus is ‘but (insert your name here)’ pursuits that only lead to emptiness and destruction.

…But God

For those who have experienced new life, salvation, through the transforming work of Jesus Christ and the love of God the Father we can testify that the compass of our heart has been redirected as we are transformed from death to life. It is not only a one-time transformation, but a daily renewal of configuration that our heart’s compass is pointed in the righteousness of Jesus Christ and acts of out of the goodness of God. Ephesians 2:4-7 becomes real & personal; ‘but God’ overwhelms the shame & guilt of our past, gives us a new name, purpose, and guides us on tracks of never-ending light as we journey through life as an ambassador of His mercy and grace. We become prisoners to Him as we rightly divide the word of truth as priests in our personal walk, our household of faith, and the spheres where we work and play to disciple others in a relationship with Him. Our singleness of purpose is built on the chief cornerstone, Jesus Christ, and the goodness of God.

But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ— by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.” 5

Saul had a memorable transformation experience that we can read about in Acts chapter 9. In verses 8a and 9b, it says, “Saul rose from the ground, and although his eyes were opened, he saw nothing…and for three days he was without sight, and neither ate nor drank.” We fast forward a handful of verses to verse 18, where it is recorded, “And immediately something like scales fell from his eyes, and he regained his sight.”. During the span of those three days, I am curious to know what he experienced:

  • Did he experience fear in the loss of his human sight?
  • Did he experience amazement at the wonder of God & His promises being presented by the author of life?

My personal belief is that during those three days there was a radical transformation taking root in the life of Saul to turn him into who we commonly refer to as, the Apostle Paul. The Father’s purpose for Paul’s life from the beginning of time was downloaded into Paul and grafted into the purpose of his heart. I like to envision that Paul experienced a taste of the outcome of what the rest of his earthly life would produce for the history of the church for all of time—even at the expense of his own life. At a young age, Saul was trained in the Old Testament law under the teachings of Gamaliel. Saul declared himself a Pharisee of Pharisees but was also born with Roman citizenship; in that day, Saul was on a right course, the compass was set for success. However, Saul still needed to be physically blinded to allow the Father to reset the compass of his heart and fill him with all the fullness of God so that the Apostle Paul could display & declare the manifold wisdom of God throughout his missionary journeys and letters to the churches.

I trust that each of us can find personal encouragement in the story of Saul’s transformation experience and how God has used and will continue to use transformed hearts and lives with singleness of purpose to further declare His manifold wisdom and love. The Father is seeking for warriors, mighty men, and women of valor, fully equipped with gifts & talents from the Holy Spirit to serve as prisoner and priest to God for the sake of the world. May our prayer echo that which Paul penned to the church in Ephesus at the close of chapter 3.

For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” 6


-Shawn Moshier

A Heart for Home

A Heart for Home
He who has found his life will lose it, and he who has lost his life for My sake will find it. Matthew 10:39
As we entered the Easter season a little differently this year, I thought about these words and considered their meaning. A devotional I was reading said that to follow Jesus meant we “must carry our cross”, a phrase we’ve most likely heard many times. By choosing our faith and committing our lives to God, of course we’ll carry our cross, and we have ideas about what that will look like.
It was the next sentence in my devotional that really made me pause and consider what Jesus meant with these words. The author stated “We must give up our lives, die to ourselves – our expectations, dreams, and rights – in order to be surrendered to His Kingdom…”
Our expectations, our dreams, and rights… in the midst of a pandemic, sequestered in our homes, attempting to adjust to an ever changing reality, how many of us have given up these things? I thought about how in the last few weeks our worlds have been turned upside down in so many ways. People are out of work, schools are closed, many are working from home, special events are cancelled or postponed indefinitely, the list of changes and disappointments are endless… and yet while we’ve certainly been forced to give up our “normal” in many ways, have we handed them over to God?
I’m not sure anyone would have thought dying to ourselves and carrying our cross meant giving up our dreams and expectations in this way. And yet, God has brought us to this place during the Easter season. Perhaps He’s brought us home together in this pandemic to remind everyone that we are merely temporary residents waiting for our eternal home with Him. And if during this time at home, we are willing to pursue Him with our hearts, to surrender our dreams and expectations, we will find the One who gave everything for us is there waiting.
Marcy Petzoldt

The Love of Easter – Easter Reflections

I love Easter… For a Christian it is the apex of our Holidays that celebrate our faith and our Savior. I love that Easter falls in spring and that resurrection life and new life is coming up all around us. I love that much like Christmas, even the world sets aside a day to remember and acknowledge Jesus’ existence and importance in history.
During the week leading up to Easter I often think about the steps Jesus was taking, what he endured, and what my freedom cost. I think about his sham trial, about the beatings and taunts he suffered. I think about the cross he bore and the agonizing death and separation from the Father he faced for me.
Then I think about the joyous and victorious resurrection we celebrate on Sunday morning. Easter Sunday is, and will always be, a day when I can’t wait to be in church so I can worship, celebrate the grave being emptied, and celebrate death’s defeat. Even now, just thinking about the morning of the resurrection fills me with emotions of joy and gratitude. But have you ever thought about Saturday?
On Wednesday this week Pastor Matt asked me if I would be willing to write something that he could share with the body on Saturday. His text said he would like me to write, “Reflections on what Saturday or Easter means to me.” My first thought was, what does Saturday have to do with it? Then in the way God so often does He graciously opened my eyes and spoke to me and said, “Saturday is just as important as the day of crucifixion and the resurrection”.
Saturday in the story of the resurrection is a glorious day.
On Saturday Jesus’ earthly pain and suffering were over. It was calm and still for him. The world was still running about, frantically trying to do what they had always done. For the Jews it was the Sabbath and the Passover, so it was historically a time of rest, but the events of the week had many on edge. For the disciples it was a time of fear and anguish as they had lost their friend and the Messiah. The pharisees were still trying to make sure Jesus’ story was dead with him. Pilate was compelled to place guards at Jesus tomb and to seal it. But for the body of Jesus, it was rest. The battle had been fought; he had followed through with obedience to his Father’s plan. The work was complete, everything now was in the hands of the Father. Jesus knew the prophecy in Psalms 16:10 “You will not leave my soul among the dead or allow your Holy one to see decay”. For the body of Jesus and heaven, they just waited.
As I began to understand what God was showing to me there were two main points that spoke to me.
If we are to find true life in Jesus, we must be willing to die to our flesh so we can dwell in His Body. “Very truly I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains alone. But if it dies, it bears much fruit.” John 12:24
Far too often, we as believers focus on the death and the crucifixion, without realizing when we die there is rest as we wait for the Father to do his part and bring forth the harvest. Give up the fight and enter His rest. He who seeks to save his life shall lose it but he loses his life for my sake shall keep it.
Saints, let this life go and enter the rest that can be found in the grave.
Today as the world frantically scrambles with disease, distress, and doubt we can be found in the grave with our Lord resting in him, knowing all things are now in the hands of the Father.
What glorious hope that with each passing second, we draw closer to the moment when our Father steps onto the scene and shouts, “Son or daughter come forth!”. Imagine the moment when the things that have guarded your life to control you are vanquished. When the seals of the tomb are broken, and resurrection light comes pouring in.
As I considered what Saturday meant to me, I felt greater expectation and excitement knowing the move of God, resurrection life, was right around the corner. Can you just imagine the anticipation and excitement the hosts of heaven, the Father and the Son felt waiting for the word to be fulfilled and the glorious revelation of a risen Savior and the dawning of a new age?
We are living in that new age. I am sure as you read this many, if not all of us, have areas in our lives where it seems death is reigning, but you need to know you are living in Saturday. You are so close! The darkest hour of death means the dawn is right around the corner. The glorious unfolding of the power of God in your situation is just moments from exploding! Don’t give up! Don’t give in!
As a family at Abundant Life we have been like a body in a grave. For three years we have been on a prophetic mission and this year we turned our focus outward. The present crisis should be an indication the enemy is trying to thwart what God has called us to in this time. I believe with all my heart he won’t succeed because the seals of the tomb are cracking and the first ray of sunlight is cresting the horizon, Saturday is about to become Sunday and a resurrected church is about to come out of the tomb. All creation is groaning for the revelation of the sons and daughters of God. Romans 8:19
Do not despise Saturday it just means Sunday is moments away.
Day turned to night, His friends scattered, and death thought it had won. But heaven just started counting to three.
I love and miss you all. I can’t wait to be reunited with my church family and worship with you.
Steve Byers