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Psalm 27:1– “The Lord is my light and my salvation-whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life-of whom shall I be afraid?”

The foundation of our relationship with God is faith. Our relationship began in faith and everything of God’s in our lives continues by faith. The promise of salvation in our lives was received by faith and every other promise that we will ever experience is received and manifested in our lives by the same truth – FAITH. Jesus said it like this in Matthew 21:22,”Believe and Receive.” Or, in other words, doubt and do without. One of the unchanging characteristics of God is, He is good! One of the main characteristics of the devil (our enemy) is he is not good. Fear is one of the main tools of the devil. Fear is faith, just in the devil and what he is wanting to do. The Apostle Paul tells us in 2 Timothy 1:7 – “God has not given us a spirit of FEAR….” Simply put, if it’s of fear then it can’t be of God. Fear can also be identified as unbelief. On several occasions Jesus would ask his disciples, “Why are you so faithless?” Because fearfulness is the same as faithlessness. God warns us of the sin of unbelief. In Hebrews 3:19, God says that His people, the people He promised the land of blessing (the Promised Land), missed out because of UNBELIEF. Unbelief always seems like a safe place because it always gets what it expects. Unbelief will always keep us from the blessings God promised to us.

Like faith, fear is a substance. Satan has no power over the believer except when we come into agreement with his unbelief and fear. Dr. Mike Murdock said, “What you tolerate, you authorize to exist.” When we give in to the enemy’s fearful suggestions, we come into agreement with him. This agreement with the enemy allows the existence of every lie, deception, and fearful thing to continue.

Faith in God and His Word will always overcome every attack of the enemy. Because faith moves God and heaven on your behalf, it causes the promise that you are in faith believing God for to come into existence. So, I ask, what promise are you in faith believing God for? The writer of Hebrews said, “Without faith it is impossible to please God…” Everything God has done, He did by FAITH. He created the earth by FAITH. He gave His son Jesus to be our redeemer, by FAITH. He is the God of FAITH. So, he expects the same from us His sons and daughters. Without faith it’s impossible to please Him – BUT – with FAITH we please Him.

Today is your day of victory and break through so stand up and take your place. Claim the promises that belong to you as a son or daughter of our faith-honoring Father. Then, everything that He has promised will come true in your life.

My prayer for you today is that you will conquer and overcome every fear tactic of the enemy’s by standing in faith on God’s Word. Be FEARLESS and see every promise that God has made become yours.

Pointing People to Jesus,
Rocky Byers
“On Earth as it is in Heaven!”

Psalm 23:6 (NKJV) – “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life;”

The other day, Psalm 23:6 popped up in my head. I didn’t think too much about it, but it wouldn’t go away. It was like that annoying commercial jingle, or song that’s played on the radio every five minutes or for me the Paw Patrol theme song. I know the verse from memory because God only knows how many times I had to memorize Psalm 23, but I can’t shake it, there is something more.

Finally, I sit down and read it, “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life”. Then it hit me, it’s the word “follow”. I ask myself, why would God just be lingering behind me? I vision my 14-year-old dog Mango. When he was young, he used to basically take me for a walk. Now he follows me with a look saying, “Why? I could be sleeping on the couch”. But the word “follow” in this verse is not like Mango’s way of following.

The Hebrew word for follow in this context is radaph, meaning, “to pursue, chase, run after”. God promises to pursue and chase you with His goodness and mercy. It’s more like the Looney Tunes cartoon with Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner. Instead of having ACME bombs and gadgets, God has goodness and mercy.

No matter how far you think you have strayed away from God, He is right there pursuing you day in and day out. Even during your sin, God is chasing you with His goodness and mercy providing a way of escape. He is the kind of God who chases you, who pursues you, who tracks you down all the days of your life.

This He has promised us. As humans, this can be a difficult concept for us to understand. We easily break promises, have mood swings, and change our minds. But not God. It says in 2 Timothy 2:13, “If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself.” And Numbers 23:19 tells us, “God is not a man, that He should lie…” God’s goodness and mercy is not temporary, it is relentless. His desire is for us to be in constant communion and have complete faith in Him and His promises.

I urge you that when you are feeling defeated or caught up in sin you don’t know how to get out of, turn around to God. You may be saying in your head, it’s not that simple. But God tells us over and over, yes it really is. I am here pursuing you, chasing you and running after you. I want to encourage you to ask God to reveal what areas in your life you need His goodness and mercy. I pray that you come to the realization that His goodness and mercy never run out and His promises remain true until the end.

All For Him,

Melissa Byers-Bond

Isaiah 1:19 – If you are willing and obedient, You shall eat the good of the land;

Oh, Girl Scouts! You get me every year with those little discs of chocolate and mint yummy goodness. And then when I put you in the frig, I just can’t stop at one sleeve. Why does the Bible say flee temptation? Logic says, I am helping young girls learn life lessons and receive badges…right.

In the church, when you hear the verses on fleeing temptation and youthful lusts we usually only interpret it as referring to sexual sin, drugs, and alcohol. Which is correct but what about the temptation to believe God doesn’t have a calling on your life? Or that He has forgotten about you. Romans 11:29 says, “For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.” Irrevocable means not able to be changed; final.

Final. That’s a strong word. We use it for things like final exam, final draft, and final game. When God uses it about us He means, I have called you for a much higher purpose than just paying bills, buying a house, getting a nice car or getting multiple degrees. That’s all nice and good. I’m not saying God doesn’t want us to prosper. He tells us in 3 John 2, “Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.” I’m referring to that longing in your soul (like my stomach longs for more Thin Mints) that knows there is more to this life.  You were created for a Kingdom purpose and your soul is crying out for more.

We put up mental roadblocks as reasons why we can’t fulfill or figure out our calling and purpose. Being a parent is not a roadblock. It is an opportunity to grow in patience and perseverance. Last night when my daughter decided to use an entire bottle of body wash for bubbles and then hands me the bottle and asks for more, I was tempted to lose my patience, I didn’t lose my salvation. But I did practice patience and love. Our children, without them knowing it, teach us how to love in ways we didn’t know were possible. Having a job is not a roadblock. It is an opportunity for us to learn to communicate in ways we never knew we could communicate. My husband is a manager at FedEx and every night he must communicate to his crew their goals, load rates, scanning numbers all while motivating and encouraging them. It’s an ongoing opportunity to grow in the calling of God.

God wants us to use these opportunities, our gifts, and talents for the calling He has placed on our lives. It’s not for us to separate the two. Someone needs to hear your story. What has God delivered you from? You don’t have to know every verse in the Bible or read a One-Year Bible to be able to pray with someone. 1 Peter 4:10 says, “As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards…”

Just open your heart to the people around you. Be still and listen for the heartbeat of God. It beats for the hurting and the lost. One day God told me to go buy a plant for a worker at my daughter’s daycare. I don’t know why but I did it. Ultimately, God’s calling for us is to be willing and obedient. Then we will prosper and be blessed.

All For Him,

Melissa Byers-Bond

Isaiah 54:2 -“Enlarge the place of your tent, stretch your tent curtains wide, do not hold backlengthen your cords, strengthen your stakes.”

As I prepare myself for what God has for me this year, I glance back at 2017 and realize that many people have also experienced the same thing. The enemy has been harassing, almost like what the Apostle Paul encountered in 2 Corinthians 12. The enemy’s attack seemed like a “thorn in the flesh” trying to get me to shrink back and lessen my territory and impact. As I have been fasting these past two weeks, I believe that one of the prominent Words the Lord is speaking into 2018 is Isaiah 54:2. This year God will break through the boundaries that we have been experiencing!

This year will be a season to stretch our faith for more. More of God in our lives causing us to take more territory for His Kingdom. God is wanting to expand our tent pegs beyond our limitations. I believe that God is wanting to do a “new thing”, that we really don’t have a paradigm for. We must not settle for comfort, but we must push forward for the greater. God is always challenging us to grow but this year He is calling us to ENLARGE our territory and sphere of influences. Go for it, that BIG DREAM that is in your heart. I ask, what do you have to lose? God is saying, “ENLARGE, STRETCH, LENGTHEN, STRENGTHEN, DO NOT HOLD BACK!” In other words, GO FOR IT!! Grab your tent peg, rip it out of the ground of comfort and stretch to a place that seems impossible. In Psalm 42:7 God says that, “Deep is calling unto deep.” But before we can STRETCH or lengthen there must first be an enlargement. An enlargement of God in our lives, an enlargement of vision, an enlargement of His heart in us. God is saying, “It’s a new season that I am calling forth the deep things that are in you.” There is treasure in you, dreams in you. Dreams that you may have ignored, pushed down or even forgotten about. This is your year to “Just go for it!”. When Canon Andrew White was struck with MS he was given some advice, “Don’t take care, take risk.” God is calling us out of the safe place to take risk. We all are comfortable operating at a certain level. It’s usually a place that doesn’t require us to take risk. This year is different, God is calling us out into the deep to take risk.

In this season, God is waiting for you to step out of the boat of comfort and familiarity to experience what He has set up for you in this moment of your life. God has called us to partner with Him, not just work for Him. He wants to anoint us and empower us to ENLARGE, STRETCH and LENGTHEN our reach of influence. But it is going to require us to step out in faith and take risk. According to Hebrews 11:6, God always rewards faith. So, the greater the STRETCH the greater level of reward you will receive.

My prayer for you is that you will be thankful for what you have experienced but realize that it’s not enough. My prayer is that you will hunger and thirst for more of God and His presence this year. A deeper spiritual hunger that will cause your heart to become one with the Father’s.

Pointing People to Jesus,
Rocky Byers
“On Earth as it is in Heaven!”

Acts 9:9 – ” Paul was three days without sight, and neither ate or drank.”

I absolutely love this portion of scripture…

Right after Stephen finished preaching an anointed, convicting gospel message, Saul had him stoned and murdered. I have to believe that the Holy Spirit that was all over Stephen and the message that he preached was convicting Saul. The reason I believe that is because when Saul left the stoning, he was headed to Damascus to arrest and kill other Christians. On his way, he had a direct encounter with Jesus which knocked him off his feet (slain in the Spirit). After Saul is knocked to the ground, the first words out of his mouth were, “Who are You, LORD?” The Holy Spirit used Stephen’s last message to convict Saul and bring him to Christ – leading ultimately Saul to become the greatest apostle of the Bible. You never know who your life is touching or influencing. It might be the next apostle to nations. Like Stephen, our lives are communicating the everlasting message of the Kingdom. Because your life has eternal, divine purpose.

After Saul has this encounter with Jesus and is converted, the very FIRST THING that the Lord has him do is FAST and PRAY. This gives me great encouragement. Saul is a brand-new convert in the Lord, yet because of this encounter with Jesus he had the strength to fast.

Over the next two weeks as we are embarking on a new year and committing ourselves to Fasting and Praying to hear from God concerning His Will, direction, and purpose for this year, I want to encourage you to keep this portion of scripture handy. Refer back to it often to energize and encourage your faith. There are a few very specific things that happened for Saul during this FAST. We should have an expectation during our time of fasting and prayer to hear from God – as Saul did.

Though the Bible doesn’t say at what point, I believe that it was during this fast that Saul, the disciple of Gamaliel (Jewish Rabbi), received his new identity as Paul the apostle of Jesus Christ. I believe that during this time of drawing closer to the Lord, God will increase your awareness of your new identity In Christ. Maybe you’re like the old man (Saul) being controlled by fear, insecurity, and deception; I implore you by the GRACE OF GOD to REPENT, let it go and see it as passed away and your new identity being totally infused with Christ. You are no longer a stranger or an orphan to the covenant, but you are now a SON or DAUGHTER, an heir of the Kingdom.

Through this fast, Paul received God’s vision for his life. God desires to do the same for you. Whether affirming what you might already know or giving you greater clarity and commitment, God wants to communicate with you. As you seek God with your whole heart, He will faithfully meet with you to give you greater vision and direction for your life.

My prayer for you during this time of consecration is that your heart will become closer and more open to hearing from your Father. He has plans (Jeremiah 29:11) that He wants to reveal to you.

Pointing People to Jesus,
Rocky Byers
“On Earth as it is in Heaven!”

2 Samuel 5:20 – “So David went to Baal-perazim and defeated the Philistines there. “The Lord did it!” David exclaimed. “He burst through my enemies like a raging flood!” So, he named that place Baal-perazim (which means “the Lord who bursts through”).

I love that David exclaims, “The Lord did it!” Yes, David had Breakthrough – Victory and Success – but only because he sought the Lord. Like the waters bursting through a dam, the Lord can suddenly and dramatically change what’s in front of you.

If you want a Breakthrough year, then you must begin by seeking God. I cannot find anyone in the Bible that had a Breakthrough that didn’t first seek God. David sought God, and God answered. Jehoshaphat sought God, proclaimed a fast, and God answered. When we prioritize seeking God, He is always faithful to show up! He desires to be with us. But, He wants us to invite Him into every part of our lives. If it matters to us it matters to Him. Because He desires relationship with us!

The truth that we all must come to understand, is that no matter how hard we try, the truth is that we were not created to be self-sufficient. God in His love will allow us to attempt to live that way. But, most of us have found out the hard way just how flawed we really are. Jesus says in John 15:5, “Apart from me, you can do nothing.” The truth is that we can do a lot of things on our own, but the impact and fruit of our efforts really will amount to “nothing”, unless we ask for His wisdom and strength, then Jesus empowers us.

Do you need a Breakthrough? Then BREAKOUT! Break out of the norm and do something different! If you keep doing or giving the same, you’ll keep getting the same thing. Some people have been tipping God so long and have settled for a trickle of God in their lives, believing that’s normal. BREAKOUT- by giving God the whole 10%. Others have become satisfied with a little 2% or 3% annual cost of living raise. BREAKOUT –  do something different, start by giving God above and beyond the 10%, then you’ll see the God of the Breakthrough come in like a flood and defeat your enemies. Let your dissatisfaction motivate you to do something different. I believe God wants to make your life in 2018 a year of incredible Breakthrough. BREAKOUT, step up in faith, by doing something different. Make this year – 2018 the year of distinguishable BREAKTHROUGH!

Pointing People to Jesus,
Rocky Byers
“On Earth as it is in Heaven!”

Romans 5:8(NCV) – But God shows his great love for us in this way: Christ died for us while we were still sinners.

As children we are taught that the basis of gathering information and problem solving is to answer the five W’s – Who, What, When, Where and Why. It sounds so simple. I hear it from my children daily. Who is that? What are we doing? When are we leaving? Where are we going? And my favorite – Why? Sometimes when I get frustrated with all the why questions (and I know I can’t be the only parent who does) I say, “just because”.

As I’m getting older, I have found why to be the hardest question to answer. Why me? Why am I lonely? Why so many scars? Why am I here? And then the ultimate, why did He give His life for me? Me…really. My mind explodes at the thought. I can’t fathom the answer to that why. And He tells me, “just because I love you”. The Bible says in 1 John 4:9-10, “This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.”

He denied Himself and gave His life out of pure, unexplainable, and unconditional love. It says in Jeremiah 31:3 that, “I have loved you with an everlasting love”. And Lamentations 3:22-23 tells us, “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; 23 they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”

I’m not sure why but this makes me think of that new car smell. I’ve only purchased one new car but man every time I got in that car it just felt so good. I just sit there, take a deep breath and smile. I love that smell. Now try and think, God has that feeling about us, love for us everyday all the time. His love has no end. We read in Psalm 36:5-6, “Your love, Lord, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies. Your righteousness is like the highest mountains, your justice like the great deep.”

I believe God wants us to be an expression of His love. When the world and media is cramming hate down our throat, He wants us to break free from that bondage, change our mindset, be the example of pure, undeniable, and unexplainable love. Get rid of past offenses and breakdown the walls of hatred. Speak over ourselves Psalm 2:3, “Let’s break the chains that hold us back and throw off the ropes that tie us down.”

I am sure we all know someone who reads the back of a book before they decide to read the entire thing. Now the crazy thing about God is that He has revealed the back of the book. His love conquers all and He wins. But it’s not just enough to know the conclusion, what are you going to do with that information?

Reflect on:

  • How are you going to write the chapters in between?
  • And answer the “Why” of your life?
  • Spend time thinking about how you can be an expression of God’s love.

My prayer is that you go into this new year with the desire for more. More of God’s power, freedom and ultimately His love.

All For Him,
Melissa Byers-Bond

Your Love Oh Lord

Romans 8:5 – “Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live according to the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.”

In order to experience the presence of God in a greater way we must remove the presence of everything else! That happens more effectively through fasting and prayer. As we begin to take power away from our flesh, our spirit will gain stronger influence in our lives.

It’s time, 2018 can be the greatest year of your life. By conquering everything that has been standing between you and God – between you and the person that God has called you to be! Strong, Victorious, Overcoming, Healthy and Prosperous!

Jesus instructs us in Matthew 6:18 – “that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees everything, will REWARD you openly.” When we devote ourselves to Him in prayer and fasting, He changes everything for us.

In Joel 2, Jacob wrestled with God alone. When we commit ourselves to His presence through fasting and prayer He will never leave us in desperation. God tells Jacob in Joel 2:12 – “Turn to me NOW, while there is time. Give me your heart, with fasting.” Jacob fought fiercely, refusing to let go until he was blessed. God blessed Jacob and gave him FAVOR publicly!

Are you preparing to join us on our annual 21 days of Fasting and Prayer? Are you willing to make temporary sacrifice for your long-term gain? You must be willing to change your position to change your condition. Fasting takes us to the place of a humbling position before our God so that He will lift us up to a new condition (James 4:10). If you can push past your flesh through fasting, there are answers for you in His presence.

My prayer for you this new year is that you will experience God in a greater way as you consecrate yourself unto Him.

Pointing People to Jesus,
Rocky Byers
“On earth as it is in Heaven!”

Isaiah 7:14 – “The Lord Himself will give you a sign; The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call Him Immanuel.”

Christmas is to be a season of “Great Expectation.” It’s a time where once again our hearts are filled with the majesty and the mystery of the Incarnation of Christ with all its implications. Because He came as the “Hope of Israel”, we now have a future and a hope too! So, I encourage you to lift your EXPECTATION in this season. The King came! The King is here! and The King is coming!

Growing up as a child, I went to a church where they celebrated the tradition of Advent. The season of Advent is intended to make the journey toward Christmas full of meaning. The word Advent means “coming” or “arrival”. The focus of the entire season is the celebration of the birth of Jesus the Christ in His First Advent and the anticipation of the return of Christ the King in His Second Advent. Advent is marked by a spirit of expectation, anticipation, preparation, and faith.

There are many variations of the traditional Advent wreath and candles but the one thing they all have in common is the meaning attached to hope and expectation. Advent reminds us that the HOPE of the whole broken world (which includes whatever situation you might be currently facing) is found in Jesus.

Consider the hope given to us by the Apostle Paul in this scripture, “But when the FULLNESS OF TIME had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those (us) who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons” (Galatians 4:4-5).

Because Jesus is “The Word”, when our “Great Expectation” meets His “Fullness of Time”, every Promise in His Word that we are standing in faith believing becomes our  REALITY! Most of what God wants to do in and through our lives is directly connected to the proportion of our EXPECTATION…our FAITH. In Matthew 9, Jesus asked the blind men, “Do you BELIEVE (have faith) that I am able to do this?” Then Jesus said, “Be it done unto you according to your FAITH” (Matthew 9:28,29). Their “Great Expectation” met the “Fullness of Time.”

So what are you expecting God to do in your life during this season of Advent? Do you have “GREAT EXPECTATION”?

My prayer for you this Christmas season is that you will have “GREAT EXPECTATION” of encountering Jesus as the greatest gift ever given.

Pointing People to Jesus,
Rocky Byers
“On earth as it is in Heaven!”

John 3: 16 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

Your gift has great value. The Bible says that a gift is as a precious beautiful stone (Proverbs 17:8). A gift is of value and our gift makes room for us (Proverbs 18:16). In other words, our gift will open doors of opportunity for us. God gave the first and greatest gift. The idea of a gift making room is not something new. God was the very first to act upon this law of reciprocity. The Bible says, “For God so loved the world, that He gave…” (John 3:16). And throughout Scripture we see that the most important gift of God is Salvation through His son Jesus Christ! Now, a gift can create opportunity. Because God gave to mankind, His gift created the opportunity for Him to have more than His one “only begotten Son.”

You see, Jesus is referred to as the only begotten Son of God. But now because of Jesus THE GIFT, the Scripture describes Jesus as “the firstborn among many brethren” (Romans 8:29). The word “begotten” means born of. So that now when someone receives Jesus as Lord and Savior, that person is born of God. That makes you as a believer a begotten son of God. You are as much a child of God as Jesus the Anointed One is. As a believer the Bible describes Jesus as being your Elder Brother (Hebrews 2:11). The elder brother always had the responsibility of modeling the family’s values to his siblings. Jesus’ life always expressed the Fathers heart for His family and the world. Acts 10:38 makes it clear, “God anointed Jesus with the Holy Spirit and power, and He went around DOING GOOD and HEALING ALL….” Jesus our elder brother has shown us how we are to live as begotten sons and daughters.

The Bible even calls the Church, Jesus, because it says that Jesus is the Head of the Church, which is His body (Colossians1:18). The Church is the Body of Christ. And Jesus is the Head of His Body, the Church (Ephesians 1:22,23). Well, if the head is in one place, then the body must be there with the head. Because where the head goes, the body goes! Spiritually speaking, Jesus is the Head, and we are His Body. That is why the Apostle Paul gives us the revelation “That we are raised up and seated together (NOW) with Christ” (Ephesians 2:6). Heaven is not only a place that one day eventually we get to enjoy. Heaven is our home NOW because our Father resides there with our elder brother Jesus and us, His sons, and daughters. God gave us His most valuable gift, His Son Jesus so that we could become begotten sons and daughters enjoying the benefits of the family NOW (Psalm 103:2-5). This benefit plan is a GIFT provided through our big brother Jesus. Obamacare (or any other insurance plan) can’t compare to it. Whatever family benefit that you need you can NOW access through the name of your elder brother “Jesus” (2 Corinthians 1:20).

So, God gave us the gift of Jesus. That gift opened our heart to God and it created the opportunity for Him to receive a multitude of sons and daughters. If you’re a believer, then you are a son or daughter representing God your Father and His Kingdom so that through you He can receive more sons and daughters. Because you are the possessor of a gift, you are a gift to the world and a gift makes room! It opens doors of opportunity! Ask God to open your eyes to these open doors of opportunity to DO GOOD and HEAL ALL.

My prayer for you today is that this Christmas season will be the greatest Christmas ever for you and your family because you CELEBRATE JESUS! The greatest gift ever given.

Pointing People to Jesus,
Rocky Byers
“On Earth as it is in Heaven!”