“What We Think is Not Always What it Is” by Lisa Burkhardt Worley

Have you ever thought that someone was angry with you when they actually weren’t? They just had something going on in their own life that made them appear distant. Or maybe you hadn’t heard from a friend for a long time and you deduced they no longer want to be a part of your life, when in reality they were in a difficult season requiring total focus.

Sometimes what we think is not always what it is.

This week, I was reading in 1 Chronicles 19 where the King of the Ammonites, Nahash, died, and Israel’s King David wanted to show kindness to Nahash’s son, Hanun, upon the death of his father. David sent messengers to the land of Ammon to comfort Hanun. But Hanun listened to the wrong voices. His princes said, “Do you think that David really honors your father because he has sent comforters to you? Did his servants not come to you to search and to overthrow and to spy out the land?” (NKJV) So Hanun decided to humiliate David’s servants by shaving them, and cutting off their garments in the middle, exposing them on their backsides. David’s loving intentions were misinterpreted, eventually leading to a war that David’s army won.

Sometimes what we think is not always what it is. Our wrong thinking can lead to worse situations like what happened with the Ammonites.

If you are spiraling—without all the facts—it’s important to go to prayer about what you are thinking. It’s also good to have a gentle conversation with whomever you think has wronged you. It’s the best way to find out and face the truth.

Remember Philippians 4:8: “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things” (NIV). It’s always best to give the benefit of the doubt and think the best until you actually know what’s going on.

Power of Words by Mayada Naami

The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit

(Proverbs 18:21, NIV)

For those of you that know me you are going to find this hard to believe, but I struggle with communication. I grew up in a family of talkers, but no one really listened. I remember, as a child, sitting at a table where everyone seemed to be talking at the same time, and I would sit back and wonder who was listening. I shrugged it off thinking this was the norm. Later in life, I married someone who wasn’t a good listener and who liked to argue, which caused me to further struggle with verbalizing what I wanted to say. Only recently, through writing, have I been able to verbalize what I want to say. Over the last few years, my prayer has been for God to give me the ability to speak. In June of 2021, God answered my prayers at Gateway Church. I met a person, his name is Paul, who was very big on being “impeccable with your words.” At first, I thought, I am impeccable with my words. What was he talking about? But, as we spent more time communicating, I realized that he was right when he corrected me after I said things that were not aligned with Truth rooted in Love.

But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken (Mathew 12:36, NIV).

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It is said working males average 2000-3000 words per day, and females speak 10,000-20,000 daily. However, both average about 500-700 words of actual value. What I learned about myself the last few years is that I talked a lot but was not saying anything of value. After meeting Paul, I started to be more aware of the words that I was speaking. Today, as I was driving him to the airport, I made a general statement that he was quick to correct. I used to get defensive, but now I realize he is teaching me to be impeccable with my words—and I welcome it. There are over 100 Bible verses referring to the power of the tongue. I cannot quote them all today, but I encourage you to read them and reflect on what God is saying to you through His Word.

In Ephesians 4:29, the Bible says, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” Let us, as the Church and the Body of Christ, make a daily intentional effort to lift each other up instead of tear each other down with our words.

 “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account(Hebrews 4: 12-13, NIV).

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Join the Pearls Team next Wednesday, May 25th from 6-30-7:30 p.m. for our last POP Chat on Zoom before we break for the Summer. Mayada will be presenting the message: “Spiritual Battle-Warrior Princess.” Gifted songwriter and singer Renee Rollins will provide the worship. Email us at: info@pearlsofpromiseministries for more registration.

Arise in God’s Power by Lisa Burkhardt Worley (Part 3 of 3)

There is no escaping the hurricanes of life that can blow in unexpectedly. Illness, deaths of loved ones and betrayal can happen in an instant. The uncertain times we are living in can turn us upside down. If it were up to me, I’d stay in bed and pull the covers over my head—but that is not what God calls us to do. In 1 Corinthians 16:13 Paul said, “Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong.”

I took Hebrew last year. I had always wanted to learn Hebrew and while I do not remember all the words I studied, there is one word that stuck and it is “hazaq.” It means “strong.”

This word “hazaq” is used in Joshua 1:9. You probably know the verse: “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Be “hazaq” and of good courage; do not be afraid. God was encouraging Joshua because he was about to lead the Israelites into the Promised Land and there would be a lot of opposition and war in order to capture the territory.

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but there is a lot of opposition in the world today and we need to be hazaq. I believe we are living in the end of the days prophesied in the Bible. What a privileges to be alive in this season but God chose us for this time in history because we have Chutzpah. Chutzpah is a Yiddish word for the confidence or courage that allows someone to do or say things that may seem shocking to others. In our case, we as believers should not afraid to speak the truth! We will not back down from what we have seen and heard in Christ Jesus.

The prophesy about end times is happening in front of us. Isaiah 5:20 says people will call good evil and evil good. We are seeing that in our own country. The police are bad. Lawlessness is good. Morality is bad. Anything goes is good.

Daniel received many prophecies but in Daniel 12:4 he was told that in the end of time many will run back and forth and knowledge will increase. We’re not living in the Little House on the Prairie anymore. We are over extended. I know I am and running to and fro, to this meeting and to another. On zoom for school meetings and in person for others. Juggling a thousand different things. I am a learner and I love using search engines to look up facts about something I want to know more about. We don’t have to wait for the morning paper to arrive to find out what is going on in the world. Do you remember those days? When the newspaper didn’t show up, you felt disconnected from the world. Those days are gone and now we simply navigate to www.foxnews.com.

It’s all a sign.

Persecution and censorship is also increasing for Christians. Our words and actions are under scrutiny—we can only stand for truth with the undergirding of the hazaq of the LORD.

Paul said in 2 Corinthians 12:10, that he’d rather boast about his weaknesses, so that the power of Christ would dwell in him because when he is weak, then he is strong. Isaiah 40:29 says God “gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless.” Psalm 73:26 encourages, “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”

We can only arise in God’s power. The pandemic, now the war over in Ukraine. The crazy weather patterns, the lawlessness. It is a scary time in which we live. It would be easy to shut down and hide in a corner. But as men and women of faith in these last days we have our marching orders.

I played competitive tennis for about ten years, but I knew when it was time to stop when I started tearing every ligament in my body. One day, I pulled my back muscle and I could not get up. It took two women to help me walk. So humbling.

And that is how we need to be in these End Times. We cannot stand alone. We cannot walk one step without God raising us up. We also need each other. Let’s drop the competitiveness and unify to accomplish the work of the LORD.

We have to humble ourselves, fall to our knees and let the LORD infuse His hazaq into our being. It’s the only way we will survive. It’s the only way we can be used as a mouthpiece that glorifies Him.

It’s the key to arising in His power.

Armor of God by Mayada Naami

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people (Ephesians 6, 10-18, NIV).

A friend of mine shared a story with me this weekend and it fit in perfectly with the blog that the Lord had already placed on my heart to write that morning. She was telling me about the childhood trauma she had carried with her all her life which had manifested itself into a reoccurring nightmare for over 20 years. I won’t go into the details of the nightmare, however, during one of her night terrors, when confronted with the evil assailant, she fled and ran for her life. As she was approaching the light, almost free, she heard God say to her, “Go back and face your enemy, tell him you are covered in the blood of Jesus.” She turned around and went back and faced the assailant. When she told him she was covered in the blood of Christ, he disappeared. That was the last night she saw the assailant and her nightmares ended.

But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin (1 John 1:7, NIV).

When faced with a perceived harmful event, attack, or threat, our body reacts with a natural physiological response to fight back or flee. In my friend’s case she was fleeing, which is what most people do when they are afraid. We run—hoping that we can escape, and sometimes we never stop running for fear that the threat is still at our heels. The interesting thing is that when we put on armor, the only thing exposed is our back. Consequently, when running away from our enemy, we are exposing our back. Why not put on the Armor of God and face your enemy with the sure knowledge that the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you (Deuteronomy 31:6, NIV).

Arise in God’s Power by Lisa Burkhardt Worley (Part 2)

2. Rise Above Circumstances

The Jewish name on my father’s side was “Adler.” Adler means “eagle.” And like an eagle we need to look at circumstances from a higher perspective.

Here are some of the characteristics of eagles:

  1. Eagles have sharp vision. We need to ask, “How does God see this circumstance?” His vision is sharper than ours.
  2. Eagles are not afraid. They are fearless hunters. There is a lot going on in the world right now. Is fear rising up in us? If so, we have to remember that the Bible says “Perfect love casts out fear” (1 John 4:18).
  3. Eagles are loyal to their families. They mate for life and nurture their young. We have to be mentors to our own families and be examples of how to handle both the good and the bad in life.
  4. Eagles are high flyers. They can soar up to 10,000 feet above sea level. That’s way up there and God can provide a higher perspective in any scenario if we ask Him.

The war between Ukraine and Russia is one example. We are all distressed by what is going on, but what I see is that prophecy is being fulfilled as many Ukrainian Jews are headed to Israel to find refuge. Jeremiah prophesied about this: “Behold, I will bring them from the north country, and I will gather them from the ends of the earth—among them the blind and the lame, the pregnant together with she who is in labor with child. A great throng will return here. With weeping and supplications, they will come” (Jeremiah 31:7–8). At a recent Jerusalem Prayer Breakfast a political leader from the Israeli Knesset said 500 are declaring Aliyah every day, with 10,000 waiting in a nearby country for entry into Israel. It’s a sign of the end of days!

How does God see the irritating person in your life?

I met a woman once who was sharp with me more than once. My first thought was to stay clear of her, but then I decided to meet with her and ask questions. I found out about the emotional wounds she experienced in her childhood. It was then that my heart poured out to her because I began to see her from God’s vantage point, not my own.

It takes God’s power to enable us to rise above circumstances. We cannot do this in our own strength. So today if you have something trying to take you down, ask Him to give you an eagle’s vision of the situation. It could be a perspective that will provide healing.

But those who wait on the LORD Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint (Isaiah 40:31).

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