Encountering the Word – Haggai

I always try each year to read through the Bible, and found it hard to follow some of the plans out there, since they were jumping around from verse to verse. So, we (City Gate Lancaster) decided to make our own, because we value reading whole books of the bible. It’s called Encountering the Word {a daily bible reading guide}, which you can get from us at City Gate Lancaster.

With all that being said, today’s reading was the book of Haggai. I found it spiritually epiphanyinteresting that today was the Book of Haggai and it is the beginning of the “Epiphany Season”, the season after Advent and prior to Lent. It’s a season of Shining Forth. “Who is this king of glory” from Psalm 24.  It’s the season of the year we recognize the significance of Jesus, His Identity as Christ, where we see who Jesus is, where he is found, what is He about.

So going back to Haggai, as I read I was hit with some of the questions asked.

  1. Is it time for you  to dwell in paneled houses and this temple to lie in ruins?  If we make this personal, do I spend so much time making the building pretty, while the temple inside me is in ruins? Do I know HIM, or about HIM? Do I identify with Him or with the things of him?
  2. You have sown much and bring little; you eat, but do not have enough, you drink but you are not filled with drink….Thus says the Lord of host; consider your ways! We spend so much time in programs, pageants, platforms but are we bringing little ? If we have all these books, schools, church buildings then why are we still hungry for the presence of God?  Is it time to consider our ways ?

Haggai then moves on to say because of this, we are in ruin, therefore Heaven above withholds the dew and the earth withholds the fruit.

Is it possible that we are living life to the fullest but not in the fullness of Heaven?

The book goes on that there is a shaking coming and I know that there is. But I think many will be surprised that the shaking is way more personal.

There is a word in verse 14 that says: so the Lord stirred up…and they came and worked on the house of the Lord.  Now if the Lord dwells in me, then the house that needs stirred up in the one inside of me, the on that needs fixed is the one that dwells in me.

I think it is time to stop offering with our hands what is unclean (2:14) and to begin the process of cleansing the temple within us.

I don’t want to be sowing so much, but bringing little.

I want to be like 2:18-19. Consider now from this day forward…that the foundation of the Lord’s temple was laid – consider it. Is the seed still in the barn? As yet the vine, the fig tree, the pomegranate and the olive tree have not yielded fruit. BUT FROM THIS DAY, I will bless you.

I want this day to be the day. The day that myself and many others begin to put God first, begin to ask Who is this King of Glory in me ?

In my commentary, it says this verse if the plea of Haggai to the people to keep in mind the motives.

Let our motives be that we want to know Jesus, identify with him, learn from him, seek him and find him.

Shine forth my friends. Let the King of Glory shine forth in you.

 

 

 

You can’t have my oil.

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anointing_of_fresh_oilI think God wants more from us in 2017. We are really good at loud intercession, warring prayer and band led worship and events and gatherings. But, Jesus lived his life in the secret place. He drew away and spent time alone with God in the quiet secret place.
We need to learn to live from the quiet before we shout in the street.

I have been feeling for over a year, God telling me that he wants more and I have been struggling with what is more? How much more can I give?

But as I have been studying and asking, I really feel the body of Christ is to learn about living in the secret place, and from there we go and shout.   But it seems that we have taken to the secret place the same thing we do in the public place. We just do it by ourselves. That isn’t what God is asking.

He is asking for us to come fully into this place of intimacy and quiet, of quiet talks, and relationship – deeper than we have ever gone before.

There will be an intimacy and trust that grows from this secret place that causes our prayers to be bold and effective. When I am abandoned to Him, His prayer flows out of me and are His purposes and His promises.

Trust me this is tough. I have been involved in the prayer room movement, the house of prayer movement for years, but this is more than that. It is possible that we have substituted our time in these places for the secret place and it isn’t.

It is a Matthew 25 time.

The Parable of the Wise and Foolish Virgins

25 “Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Now five of them were wise, and five were foolish. Those who were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them, but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. But while the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept.

“And at midnight a cry was heard: ‘Behold, the bridegroom is coming;[a] go out to meet him!’ Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the wise answered, saying, ‘No, lest there should not be enough for us and you; but go rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves.’ 10 And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door was shut.

11 “Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open to us!’ 12 But he answered and said, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you.’

13 “Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour[b] in which the Son of Man is coming. (NKJV)

If we want to be among the wise with oil, then we have to do what it takes to get the oil.

This oil comes from relationship, intimacy, friendship, quiet times, solitude, waiting, breathing, seeking. It doesn’t come from events, stages, lights or lasers.

Not that those things are wrong, but from my experience intimacy only comes when it is between two people.

And I can’t give you my oil. I had a dream that a dear friend came to me and was begging me for some of my oil. She had oil at one time, but had let it run empty. She was doing all the same prayer gatherings, events and such, but her oil was empty.

I can’t give you my oil.

It isn’t that I wouldn’t want to share my oil with you, I literally can’t. It doesn’t fit you, It is my intimacy oil.

It won’t smell good on you, because it is my oil fragrance.

The verse ends with you have to go and buy for yourself, your oil.

You can’t have my oil. You can’t live in my secret place.

My friends, hear my heart. I love worship gatherings, and spiritual warfare and loud intercession, but they won’t be sustainable if my life isn’t full of the oil it takes, from the secret place of relationship.

It is at the very end of this passage that the virgins that didn’t have oil, come running in – and the Lord responds “assuredly I say to you I do not know you”

This is what happens when we don’t cultivate a prayer life in the quiet, secret place. When we only offer prayers of lists and give me this”

In 2017 I feel God is asking, will you go deeper? Will you fill your jar with oil? Will you?

 

Take & Eat

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I am learning to be thankful.

To give thanks and offer thanks. It seems it is a lost art in our culture, especially with our political world and an election on the horizon.

Just a simple thank you.

But let’s go a little deeper.

When was the last time you just thanked God for being God. Not for what He does for you, or did or is doing. But just thanking him for being Him.

I have been doing this great praying and writing the scriptures of Thanksgiving that my friend Candance at http://www.mercyisnew.com compiled. I am writing, praying then actually digging into the original Greek or Hebrew of words in the scripture.

Today, was Matthew 26:26. “And as they were eating Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said “take, eat, this is my body”

We normally take this verse as part of our communion, where we drink the ‘blood’ and eat the ‘body’ of Christ.

But I think this was to be a daily time of thanksgiving and remembrance, not just an Easter or Christmas thing we do.

The word body in the text is the word Soma (so-mah). It means as a sound whole, substance, different from flesh, but soul or spirit, the whole man.

So think of this as you daily ask – to take and eat the entireness of Jesus, (not his flesh) but his spirit, his soul, the wholeness of him.

It really puts our thankfulness in a different place since now we aren’t asking for the bread as in the flesh (which really has been hard to understand or explain right?), but for the entireness of Jesus to be what we partake of.

God, as I take this bread (the word) that you have given me, I ask that you bless it with all that you are, and want for me, I take and eat of your wholeness, your substance, soul, spirit, I take and eat of your whole being, so that I can in turn offer thanks to you, because you are God.

 

One Day Legacy | Song of Solomon

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I am so excited to share with you the first book in the One Day Legacy series!

Song of Solomon!

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My passion is to help people learn to love and pray the Word, and begin to seek God first. God showed me that what I read in the bible is prayer.  So I wrote a little bible reading journal to help you discover and journey like I did. Document your spiritual journey as you learn about our Father God, His Son and The Holy Spirit.

Reading the bible is like reading a relationship in prayer with our Father. But let’s face it we all struggle to find time to read or keep up with journaling and praying. Where do we start? How do we enter into a praying life with the Word? So, I wrote combining study and reading of the word with personal journal reflections as prayer, using the acrostic P.R.A.Y. It’s called One Day Legacy, because each day we are creating a legacy for ourselves and for others. My prayer is Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom…(Colossians 3:16)

This book has been on my heart for quite some time, and Song of Solomon is one of my life’s teachings that I share often.  I really pray that as you read, write and pray through the books of the bible that your relationship with God and His Word deepens.

 

You can purchase at:
https://www.amazon.com/One-Day-Legacy-Solomon-Write/dp/1539011321/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1477419645&sr=8-1&keywords=one+day+legacy+kim+zimmerman

 

 

 

Something has to change….

One Day Legacy

something has to changeSomething has to change.

I think we can all agree that something has to change. We can’t live any longer the way things have been going. Something has to change.

I, with all conviction of the Holy Spirit and God my Father, believe what needs to change is me. You. Us.

There is something to the fact that my husband and I are pastors, lead a 24/7 prayer ministry called City Gate, and oversee several other ministries, and then God telling you, something has to change. This isn’t a sin issue that needs addressing. I promise there isn’t sin in the camp. But there is a tension. A holy pulling or tugging, that started at the beginning of 2016.

So I did what everyone else probably does, and thought about it. Then pretty much ignored it. But the tension in my spirit kept growing to the point that I could…

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Something has to change….

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something has to changeSomething has to change.

I think we can all agree that something has to change. We can’t live any longer the way things have been going. Something has to change.

I, with all conviction of the Holy Spirit and God my Father, believe what needs to change is me. You. Us.

There is something to the fact that my husband and I are pastors, lead a 24/7 prayer ministry called City Gate, and oversee several other ministries, and then God telling you, something has to change. This isn’t a sin issue that needs addressing. I promise there isn’t sin in the camp. But there is a tension. A holy pulling or tugging, that started at the beginning of 2016.

So I did what everyone else probably does, and thought about it. Then pretty much ignored it. But the tension in my spirit kept growing to the point that I could barely function in my roles because I felt like such a fraud and failure. Again, please hear me! This isn’t a sin issue. It became a Son issue.

I surrendered.

For those who know me, I am an avid reader. Books, the Bible, commentaries, stories, it really doesn’t matter. The best gift in the world to me is an amazon gift card. God usually uses books and specific authors who I trust and value to mentor me. So it wasn’t by chance that the books I was planning to read in July were all different titles, but the same message.

Something has to change.

Seriously, I started with “Operating in the Courts of Heaven” by Robert Henderson and it confirmed how prayer needs to change.

I read “Rooted” by Banning Leibscher and again, we need to go back to our original root system of living in the secret place, prayer and intimacy with God. Change is needed in our approach of life to be rooted in Christ.

Then I read “The Intercessors Handbook” by Jennifer Eivaz and it just confirmed what the other books I read were telling me. Change is needed.

“Angel Armies” by Tim Sheets. I thought this was going to give me a break in my reading about something new. But no. Change is needed. Movement it needed. We can want all the change in the world, but if we don’t move, nothing happens. Something new is needed. And Change is needed to move.

Finally “The Jesus Fast” By Lou Engle & Dean Briggs, put the seal on the change.

I knew God was telling me for quite some time that “This doesn’t happen but by prayer and fasting”. Lou’s book, along with several others just confirmed to my spirit, that the change that is needed, is us changing.

In order to do what Jesus did, we have to do what Jesus did.

If we do not do what Jesus did, then we wont’ do what Jesus did.

We will have lots of meetings and events, hype and great worship. But no change.

The change is personal in that is has to be me and you making the change.

Something has to change if we want to see Thy Kingdom Come.

Acts 2 happened and the world as they knew it began to change, but they had to start in Acts 1.

What did they do?

Prayed. Fasted.

What happened?

The Holy Spirit happened.

When I say we need to change in our prayers, I am suggesting that we begin to pray what God already told us to pray – His Word.

When I say we need to fast, it isn’t to get something, it’s to give something. Our time. We need to change how we spend our time.

For so many, and for so long, we think that if we attend a big event with big names, then we have done our part. But we come home and are the same on Monday.

Something has to change.

God is pulling us in a new (yet ancient) direction. A new movement, a change. And for any movement to work, it takes movement.

What are we willing to change in our life, our structure, our agenda to allow God to move?

The something that needs to change is us. If what we are doing is working so great why are we still so thirsty?

Here is my suggestion. Get in the Word. Read your bible like you read Facebook. Spend as much time in the Word as you do Sports Illustrated. Pray prayers from the Word like Ephesians, 1 & 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Colossians. Fast.  Give up one meal a day, and spend it reading and praying. Give up something that you love to show you love God more.

We cannot keep doing the same things we are doing and expect a new thing to happen.

Something has to change.

Are you with me?

 

 

I want/need/don’t read my bible.

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I have many people ask me how to read their Bible. Or how to study the Bible. My first thought is, well, you have to open it, look at the words and begin reading the sentences. bible-and-coffee

It isn’t that people don’t know how to read it. It really comes down to we don’t really want to read it. Everyone knows how to read. We read each and every Facebook update perfectly and even respond to some. So reading isn’t really the problem.

We even read books on how to read the bible. Doesn’t that seem a little crazy ? To have a book on how to read your bible ? We have replaced self-help books with self-help read your bible books.

So, if reading isn’t really the physical problem, then what is it?

Desire. The ‘want to’ read it, but the ‘want to read everything else’ is stronger.

We are all on this journey, if we have chosen to be. And it is a progressive journey. Just like the Shulamite woman in the Song of Solomon, it may take us 8 chapters to fully comprehend this life we have chosen.

In chapter 1 of Song of Solomon, she asks –

Tell me, you, the one I love:
Where do you pasture your sheep?
Where do you let them rest at noon?
Why should I be like one who veils herself
beside the flocks of your companions?

Today that would be – where are the ones to look up too? Where can I learn to follow you rightly? Where do I rest in your presence? Why should I be like the ones who say yes, but never do yes ?

He responds:

 If you do not know,
most beautiful of women,
follow the tracks of the flock,
and pasture your young goats
near the shepherds’ tents.

If you aren’t sure follow those who are already living in my presence, eating my Word and are truly living the ‘yes’

So here is my suggestion; open your bible and begin to read. If you don’t understand, then try another version. Visit a bible study that helps keep you accountable with the reading, but make sure it really is a bible study, where the bible is read and shared. Where you are learning and growing in the Word, not in a ‘topic’.

Sit with someone who you see that really reads the Word and has a passion for it, not just trying to sell you a book or method. Methods are great, but we can focus on the method and all the colored pencils and still not be reading.

I encourage you to read entire books, not just verses. Start with James, read the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John), read ‘God Eats Pop Corn’ (Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians)

Just read.

The more you read, the more you will want to read and the more you will fall in love with the author. Which really is the point – reading the Bible is the way we begin to know God as our Father and how he talks to us.

I use a bible without study tools or added features for reading. Sometimes the added study tools, although awesome, can distract you from just reading. I do use a study bible, or several for when I want to dig into the Word at a deeper level.

I hope this encourages you to open the most beloved book from the most loving author.

 

 

 

The Lord is near…

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….to all who call on Him.

This is usually how we end this verse. We encourage people saying “God is near”. And He is. But not near as in a vending machine, that when I am hungry, I plug some cash and get His presence.

I think this is what happens when we read the Word for a quick fix or to find a verse to fit an argument, or like a band-aid. We just cut and paste a verse to fit my or any situation.

What would happen if we read the whole verse from Psalm 145. Or actually read the whole Psalm 145 ?

You would have a better understanding on why and how He is near.

Lets again read verse 18 (which often we only read the first line)

The Lord is close to all who call on Him,  yes, to all who call on Him sincerely.

From another translation is reads:

The Lord is near to all who call out to Him, all who call out to Him in integrity.

What is my point?

In our prayer life, we know that God is near. From all of His attributes we know that He is omnipresent and omniscient. There is never a time when He isn’t near me.

But how He responds to that nearness with me, depends on how my heart attitude is. It says with sincerity, or with integrity.

Just like our physical posture can dictate, so can our heart posture. For example it isn’t magical to stand during worship or kneel during prayer, but it does do something to my heart posture to kneel, stand or even raise my hands in surrender.

I think most times we begin to demand things, like “God you are near me, so do this and that NOW”.

Can you just hear the arrogance in that ?

Then, we are so very disappointed that God didn’t do what I just told him to do. Loudly. Because I probably screamed at Him like a spoiled child.

When my heart comes to Him sincerely, with integrity, other versions say “call on Him in truth (without guile), that is showing a posture of understanding that He is God. And I would have known that if I read the entire psalm 145.  Just saying.

He is near when I come to Him in Truth. What is truth ? The WORD.

It tells us in the Word, that the Word is the spirit of truth. I can come to Him when I am coming speaking truth in my heart, because His Word of truth is what I am declaring from my heart.

The Lord is near to all those who call on him, with sincerity of heart, with integrity, without guile, but in Truth –

Do you see how that changes things?

I can know and feel His nearness by how I chose to receive His nearness. I receive it by knowing it, declaring it and allowing His nearness to take me even deeper in walking out that integrity and sincerity.

If I am just screaming out that God is near, and I want Him to do what I say, I probably won’t feel His nearness. Why? Because if I have to tell or demand God to do something, I am saying that I know more than Him, which makes me a god telling God what to do. As if He is waiting in Heave for me to tell Him what to do.

To be a person of the Word, we have to really read all the Word.

The Word backs up the Word. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.

It’s a promise and God keeps His promises. He is obligated to and by His Word.

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perfume, soap and hope {five minute friday}

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This is a story that exposes a part of my life that I never thought was a big deal. But God has a way of even making the small things HUGE lessons.

Hope. I do have hope. I have always had hope. But now my hope has taken a turn and has been mixed with trust and a little repentance.     Hope painting

We (our house church) have been studying Nehemiah – (which I highly recommend that everyone reads and studies) and this past week was on how he dealt with finances, and finances and leadership. How he steward’s his finances.

I really have been dealing with this in my life lately. How am I stewarding finances. Basically for me (and probably many reading this) the overspending and over splurging using that darn JCP or Kohl’s card. That Kohl’s cash is like a drug to me !

I know that God has been pushing me to give them up, and stop using them – but it appears my hope was in the plastic instead of the listening.

So I began the process of surrendering my will in the shopping arena to God. Repenting of over spending, greed, thinking I needed something I really didn’t. I really didn’t have hope that I would ever get or purchase things I wanted or needed. {insert eye roll here}

It is funny how when I was at the mall, I really wanted to just go buy those pesky soaps at Bath and Body – it was a sale for Pete’s sake !!  When would I ever get to purchase 7 for $25 again ??? But I walked past.

Then walking through Kohl’s seeing designer perfume on clearance – I immediately thought I NEED PERFUME – and for all intent and purpose I really love perfume, and have been out of ‘good’ perfume for a while. Come on – you know what I mean !

I even had items in my hand at both stores. They were on sale people ! Who doesn’t love to save money and who doesn’t love a sale !

But I didn’t purchase.

Instead of buying, I actually began to sell some things that I didn’t need any longer.

So I actually told and shared with our church that night about how we don’t even realize how much our finances are either honoring God or not – and I was not honoring him with my spending. Of course my husband was smiling, and I wanted to smack that smile….but I am a nice person, so I smiled back.

Here is where my hope story grows.

A sweet couple brought items from their home they didn’t to share with us at church. I looked in the box and thought, eh, nothing I really want there.

Then after church (after I shared) I looked back in the box and there was a brand new – not open  bottle of perfume. NOT KIDDING. And a NEW bottle of Bath and Body hand soap. I AM NOT making this up ! It really was there – and I knew that it was a lesson from God.

IF we truly put our trust and hope in Him, for every area (even the areas that we think we did, but didn’t, so do ), if we give Him our will, lay down our guilt – He immediately responds.

How Great is our God ? !

How merciful !

He is waiting for us to give Him every area so that He can fill us and actually show us what hope looks like.

cute_heart_shape_empty_perfume_bottlesFor me hope looked like a new bottle of perfume. (do not despise the day of small beginnings)

What does hope look like to you ?