My IHOPKC Experience: 

 “Keep trying. Not good enough.” These were the words that had woven themselves into the core of my belief system. I begin here with my story because these were the very words the Lord would serve at the table He prepared in the presence of my enemy. These words would be the enemy’s bread.

When I was asked to write about my journey and experience at IHOPKC, I didn’t see it as anything anyone would want to read about, and as such felt ill-equipped to write. So, I’ll do my best. This is my story.
When I first came to IHOPKC, I would often sit in amazement as I would listen over and over again to the countless supernatural stories of how people had been drawn to Kansas City to come to be a part of what the Lord was doing at the International House of Prayer. Some testimonies were more dramatic than others, but nearly all were pretty supernatural.
And then, there was my story. Truth be told, I came to IHOPKC because I didn’t see any other option for my life, and that’s so mediocre and certainly not supernatural, and well . . . who cares, right? You see, there were no series of miraculous events—no angel encounters, no prophetic thus-sayeth-the-Lord-get-thee-to-Kansas-City instructions. For me it was more like: Why not? You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
I knew absolutely nothing about the global end-time prayer movement nor about the purpose of the praying community I was going to join (which exists to partner in the Great Commission of Matthew 28 by advancing 24/7 prayer with worship and proclaiming the beauty of Jesus and His glorious return). I also knew nothing about the harp and bowl model—a model the singers and musicians use when praying and singing, that helps to sustain them for prolonged periods of time in the place of prayer; it is a term taken from the pattern of heavenly worship seen in the book of Revelation. The “harp” speaks of worshiping God with musical instruments, and the “bowl” speaks of the intercessory prayers of the Church. And I certainly did not know anything eschatological (the study of the end of the age and the return of Christ). At IHOPKC it is often referred to as the “forerunner message.”
While I did not have a supernatural experience that ended with my moving to Kansas City to be involved with the house of prayer, my years here have been nothing short of supernatural—but probably not in the way you may think.
You see, I believed, albeit unknowingly, that God was mostly a disappointed and stern being. Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines “stern” as a) having a definite hardness or severity of nature or manner and b) expressive of severe displeasure. It defines “disappointed” as defeated in expectation or hope. Think about that with me for just a moment. I viewed God as being hard in nature and felt He was severely displeased with me and that He may not have any hope in me; but I could just “keep trying” because, well, I was not “good enough.” I know, it’s sad. I would soon learn that there were so many others who had this same belief system.
I have worked hard serving God and His people nearly all my life, and I have often cried in His presence telling Him how much I love Him. But I had never considered for a minute that He really delighted in me, much less that He rejoiced over me.
There is a saying that we view God through the lens of how we viewed or view our parents. And that we relate to God through the lens of how we were or have been treated. I wish I knew who said that; but no matter, this happened to be my case. I was raised in a home where my love and devotion were measured by how much I did, and it was “never enough.” I was angry, offended, and bitter. I just wanted to serve God so that He would be pleased with me, and I unknowingly believed that devoting myself to service and work might one day be “enough.”
I remember several months prior to learning that I was accepted into the Intro to IHOPKC internship, I had been battling discouragement, and I could not feel the nearness of the Lord—He seemed so far away. I had had recently experienced some very troubling, difficult times—situations my church had helped me to believe had disqualified me from ever being able to serve God free from the “scarlet letter” I felt I was now wearing.
One afternoon, as I was walking out of a grocery store, I began a conversation with the Lord about my being discredited and disqualified. I began to cry aloud right there in the middle of the public parking lot. It became an emotional and demonstrative “scene.” I slammed the grocery store cart up and down as I held it with clenched fists and screamed out, “God, all I ever wanted to do was to serve You. Now what?”
I came to a complete stop. Weeping, I stood there paralyzed, unaware of potential onlookers. Then suddenly, in the kindest and gentlest voice, I heard deep inside me, “I didn’t come to be served; I came to serve and to give My life a ransom for you. That ransom is My love. I love you, and you can love Me right back. But it’s not the way you think. Allow Me to show you.”
I managed to collect myself, gathered my groceries, jumped in the car, and drove away. With windows down and the hot summer air blowing my tears into the wind, I drove in silence, thinking, How? How will God show me this?
I suppose in hindsight, that was pretty supernatural. (My theatrics, that is.) I did not know that following that incident the journey into the joyful love of God would begin for me and that it would begin with a beautiful, furious vengeance . . .
Fast-forward, I move to Kansas City and begin my internship. During the internship, I heard for the first time Mike Bickle say, “God is mostly glad.” It was as if he was speaking another language. Months went by, and I continued to struggle to wrap my mind around those words.
One day during a morning worship with the Word set those early weeks at IHOPKC, I glanced over where Mike Bickle was seated, like he always would. My eyes caught a glimpse of the shoes he had on. They were slippers! I wasn’t sure exactly what to think in that moment, mostly due to my surprise. This man was so comfortable in the Lord’s presence, he was sitting before Him with his slippers on.
I know this may sound silly or even ridiculous, but anyone who knows me knows how much I love my slippers! I especially enjoy coming home after a long day slipping them on and relaxing. To just be is important to me. I felt as though the Lord was saying, “I have my slippers on, and I want to relax and just be with you.” This tender scene turned the key and unlocked a door in my heart—my understanding was opened to the simplicity of God’s gentle and joyful nature.
There have been so many beautiful things I have learned in my 12 years here at IHOPKC. I have countless testimonies of things that have happened to me in this magnificent place—financial provision, miraculous healings (both physically and emotionally), an understanding of the Scriptures and of prayer as such as I have never known. But this one tiny, unassuming act is the one that marked me in a specific way. It was the start of understanding the Glad God.
As I sat in the Global Prayer Room that morning so many years ago, listening and engaging with the prayer leader, singers, and musicians as they were praying and singing, I began to understand just “how” God would do it—He would show me His gladness; He would use words and prayers to break chains of misunderstanding and wrong perspective; with His cords of kindness and bands of love, He would draw me to Himself (Hosea 11:4).
I am unsure of what everyone else was doing—praying, busy journaling, singing, all amazing things. Not me. I would sit in the fifth row on the left from the front for hours, taking dictation and handwriting the prayers Allen Hood, Mike Bickle, David Sliker, and so many others would pray. (I was a stenographer by trade, so I could take dictation rather quickly.) And God used every word, every prayer, and He drew me further unto Himself. The well-known song saying, “I will rejoice for He has made me glad,” became my anthem.
God tenderly watched over His own words that He spoke to me that day in the grocery store parking lot. He began to allow me to experience how He took delight in me and made me glad as He is. He surrounded me with His songs of deliverance (Psalm 32:7). Gladness and joy were the new portions served to me. And I have looked on watching as God laughed at my enemy and fed him the very lies the enemy had been serving me all my life.
Mike would often say that a lover will outlast a worker any day. And I wrote those words a thousand times on hundreds of sheets of paper. God needed to write them on my heart only once.
Imparting this portion of Himself to me—of who He is and how He feels—was paramount for me and continues to be as I sit for hours in the prayer room “just being,” and as I embrace the forerunner message and gain knowledge of the end times. It is helping me to live unoffended before Him, without accusation, and to pray and cry out for the Lord’s return. And well, yes, sometimes I bring my slippers.
In His wisdom, God knew I could never and would never be able to stay the course in crying out for His return unless He first healed me and imputed to me a right understanding of His nature and heart. He will do it for you also. For me, it just happened to be at IHOPKC.
How can you grow in your understanding of God’s heart? 

Speak Lord, for Your Servant Is Listening

     This January our city experienced a huge winter storm, a blizzard that dumped eleven or so inches on our ground, leaving thousands of homes without power for several days. During that time everything seemed so still—silent. It was as though the accumulated snow was a blanket that God had woven and made to cover the earth; made to act as a sound absorber. Schools and businesses shut down, even church services were canceled. Everything stopped.

     I felt like the snow was making a statement, beckoning us—or better stated, prophesying to us, “Will you stop a moment and rest from all your activity? Consider the silence.” When I was a kid, I learned in science class that seasonal snow is an important part of the earth’s climate system, because the snow cover would help to regulate the earth’s temperature and provide long-term refreshment for the land. I gazed through the window, watching the snow flurries fall to the earth at heaven’s command—dancing to a music I could not hear. It made me long to hear the intangible.

     I thought about what I had learned in science all those years ago. I would turn and walk away, returning on the half hour, continuing in amazement as the ground and surrounding trees were blanketed in pure white stillness.
     My thoughts raced again. What if the Lord really was prophesying through the snow? What if He was inviting us to take a rest from all the things that make us weary, ministry and work included? “Slow down; come listen in the quiet; allow Me to refresh, reset, and regulate the temperature of your life.”

     Ecclesiastes 3:1–8 (NLT) says that “for everything, there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven. . . . A time to be quiet and a time to speak.” I know, maybe you thought the Beatles wrote that! But really, one fascinating thing about seasons is that we don’t get to choose them—they change with or without our permission or approval. And, we never know what they hold—below freezing temperatures or intense heat?

     I would never allow my children to stand at a bus stop in below-freezing temperatures without first preparing and providing for them to do it in a way that would help them stand against the harshness of the season. And I bet you wouldn’t either. No, we would be sure to give instruction: wear your coat, keep your gloves on, wrap your scarf around your neck and mouth, put your boots on, etc. And we would follow it up with: “Did you hear me? Are you listening?” As a parent, I recall the satisfaction I felt when my own child would respond with, “Yes, I am listening.” All good parents try as best they can and want to be sure they have prepared their children on how to make themselves ready in any season.

     There is a story in the Bible where we can read about a spiritual season, a time when things change dramatically in the life of a young boy. We read how he is given instruction on how to prepare himself for the season, a season where he shifts from not knowing God to knowing His voice and walking with Him. I think it is so for all of us—every season we face, we have an opportunity to listen, grow, learn, and change; to posture ourselves to hear the Lord’s voice, receive instruction, and walk closely with Him.

     The complete story can be found in the first book of Samuel.
The boy Samuel ministered before the Lord under Eli. In those days the word of the Lord was rare; there were not many visions.
. . . Then the Lord called Samuel.
Samuel answered, “Here I am.” And he ran to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.”
But Eli said, “I did not call; go back and lie down.” So, he went and lay down.
Again, the Lord called, “Samuel!” And Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.”
“My son,” Eli said, “I did not call; go back and lie down.”
Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord: The word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him.
A third time the Lord called, “Samuel!” And Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.”
Then Eli realized that the Lord was calling the boy. So Eli told Samuel, “Go and lie down, and if He calls you, say, ‘Speak, Lord, for Your servant is listening.'” So Samuel went and lay down in his place.
The Lord came and stood there, calling as at the other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” Then Samuel said, “Speak, for Your servant is listening.” (1 Samuel 3:1–10 NIV)
     And through his one simple act of obedience, Samuel learned what the voice of God sounded like; and he received a word from God’s heart, as God shared with him His thoughts and intentions. Samuel’s entire life shifted that night. God imparted to Samuel what was needed for the strength to go forward and to keep going.
     The season was changing for Samuel, and the Lord was inviting this young boy to participate and to partner with Him. The Lord used Eli that night to instruct young Samuel on how to posture himself before the Lord with anticipation, waiting for the Lord to speak, to initiate conversation—silently listening. Samuel had first heard his own name being called out, but it was when his listening was intentional and deliberate and when he obeyed as he had been instructed that everything changed. This obedience and correct posture set Samuel up to listen for and hear the Lord, to then understand His heart and begin speaking on behalf of the Lord to his nation. He grew in stature, and in favor both with the Lord and the people. So much so that none of Samuel’s words fell to the ground (1 Samuel 2:263:19).
     Over and over throughout the day, as I watched the snow continue to fall, the silence grew louder and louder, as my thoughts continued to trail back to the boy Samuel. I was seeing the parallel between the snow commanding silence and the voice calling to come away and listen.
     I may never get to experience having the Lord stand before me in person here in this life, as Samuel did, but one thing is for certain (and I can be sure of it), that when I choose to sit silently before the Lord, everything changes; for it is in resting in Him that we are saved and in quietness and confidence that we receive strength (Isaiah 30:15, paraphrased). This is a truth that, if allowed, will blanket and cover us in a way that can never be uncovered or removed.
     Let’s be purposeful in our silence. Let’s not just be silent, thinking that maybe we have heard something in the distance. Samuel heard his name and ran to Eli. He knew one thing for sure: if his name was being called, it was for a purpose. He just needed to learn how to respond. There is a difference between listening in silence and merely being silent. When Samuel was sleeping, he was silent, but he was not intentionally listening. He could hear with his ears but could not discern what was happening.
     Similarly, we may read or hear about God and even learn the things that please Him, just as Samuel was being trained to do. But the Scripture is clear that Samuel had not known God nor had he known His voice until his focus and attention turned to receive and to listen for what was being said. It is in knowing God’s heart that we learn His will and His ways.
     Would that we would do as the young boy Samuel—to wait upon God, purposefully expecting Him to respond when we pray, “Here we are, speak Lord, for Your servants are listening”; and that in so doing, the same would happen for us—a repositioning would take place, and we would come into a greater understanding of the call of God on our lives. Just as it was for Samuel.
     May God grant us all the kind of obedience the boy Samuel walked in, to grow in knowing undoubtedly that the Lord is with us—so that when we speak, none of our words fall to the ground.
As for me, I will wait silently before Him. I will listen. I think I heard Him call my name. Can you hear yours?

Inquiring of the Lord—Posturing Ourselves for Success

When we seek the counsel of God, He gives us inside information and the edge on every situation we may encounter or find ourselves in. However, how much we inquire or whether we inquire at all is our choice to make. But to inquire of Him is the best way to go if we want to be spiritually successful. It is possible to live a life of victory, satisfaction, and divine favor—a life of miracle—when we inquire of the Lord and follow Him in all we do.
When we look deeply into David’s life and writings, we find an example (a road map, if you will) on how David postured himself before God and how we also are invited to live our lives. We were created and fashioned to succeed in all we do, having been made in the likeness and image of God—who has never and will never fail, because successful is who He is.
Most people are aware of King David’s shortcomings, sins, and failures, but fewer are aware that David was known as a man after the very heart of God. In Acts 13:22 it is said of David,
“[God] raised up David to be their king, concerning whom He also testified and said, ‘I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after My heart, who will do all My will.'”
God certainly knew that David would fail, but He also knew that David would try again. He saw David’s sinning and was aware of every shortcoming (as He is for each one of us). But He also saw into David’s spirit and knew that David would run back into His arms—the arms of a loving Father—willing to do and obey all that He would command. God knew that David was a man of absolute faith and resolve in Him.
King David longed for many things, but he understood the truth of where true success and value would be found. He demonstrated it when he wrote and possibly even sang these following words as his own personal anthem.
One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek, inquire for, and [insistently] require: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord [in His presence] all the days of my life, to behold and gaze upon the beauty . . . of the Lord, and to meditate, consider, and inquire in His temple. (Psalm 27:4 AMPC)
Yet as beautiful and descriptive as these words are, there is no instruction as to how David went about obtaining the answer—or is there? How do we obtain the spiritual guidance we seek? Is it just to simply pray those same words? Or is there some hidden mystery, some undisclosed truth that made David desire the presence of God all the days of his life? Exactly how did David run after the heart of God and obtain His favor? How did David gain this glorious success of beholding and gazing upon the beauty of God?
David’s example on how he went about obtaining his “one thing,” his “one request of the Lord” can be found hidden within the lines of his many Psalms. There we find a great road map, one that demonstrates David’s heart of prayer and pursuit of God in all things, sometimes despite his every emotion.
The following steps are just a few of the many golden nuggets David wrote that can be used to aid us in approaching the Lord to obtain answers and cause us to inherit a successful life in Christ.  
1.  We begin with assurance, knowing that when we, like David, call upon the Lord, He answers.
In my distress I called upon the Lord,
And cried to my God for help;
He heard my voice out of His temple,
And my cry for help before Him came into His ears. (Psalm 18:6 NASB)
2.  We live with a repentant heart.
For the sake of your name, Lord,
forgive my iniquity, though it is great. (Psalm 25:11 NIV)
3.  We embrace humility. Inviting us to step into agreement with who God says we are, humility enables us to harmoniously follow our Shepherd’s leading and to grow in wisdom as we receive His guidance.
He leads the humble in what is right,
and teaches the humble His way. (Psalm 25:9 ESV)
4.  We must choose to trust. Trust is a valued character trait the world lacks, and because of this, many find it difficult to trust an invisible God. However, when we choose to lean into God by learning of His heart and His ways, we begin to rely on Him in every circumstance and in every area of our lives. And as we learn Him, we are able to remember His faithfulness, which increases our capacity to trust Him.
Some trust in chariots, and some in horses;
But we will remember the name of the Lord our God. (Psalm 20:7)
5.  We choose to love Him. David understood that the choice to love God comes from recognizing and agreeing with the truth that God is the one who gives us the strength to do so—and God’s strength never fails and never gives up.
I will love you, O Lord, my strength. (Psalm 18:1)
6.  We practice devotion. Being devoted to something means being focused on that particular thing almost exclusively.
I have set the Lord continually before me;
Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. (Psalm 16:8 NASB)
7.  We give God the recognition that belongs to Him. Praising God and giving Him the recognition due His name is best done when we wholeheartedly profess our faith and proclaim His marvelous deeds.
I will praise You, O Lord, with my whole heart;
I will tell of all Your marvelous works. (Psalm 9:1)
8.  We know that He is faithful.
Surely Your goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life. (Psalm 23:6 NIV)
9.  We live obediently before Him.
Give me understanding, so that I may keep your law
and obey it with all my heart. (Psalm 119:34 NIV)
10.  We are intentional in our pursuit of Him. In Psalm 63, David pens the purpose for his existence—to pursue God earnestly as his one desire, his one delight, his one defense.
O God, You are my God;
Early will I seek You;
My soul thirsts for You;
My flesh longs for You. (Psalm 63:1)
When I remember You on my bed,
I meditate on You in the night watches.
Because You have been my help,
Therefore in the shadow of Your wings I will rejoice.
My soul follows close behind You;
Your right hand upholds me. (Psalm 63:6–8)
We can achieve success despite life’s obstacles and challenges when we keep our eyes on the Savior and make Him, as David did, our one thing. He is the one who holds our course steady. And He will complete His work in our lives. 1 Thessalonians 5:24 reminds us of this truth, saying of the Lord, Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass.
When David wrote verse four of Psalm 27, he was responding to a lifelong call and invitation from God Himself to draw near and ask of Him. God is drawing us also. When Jesus is the primary focus of our desires and our lives, we ultimately experience victory instead of defeat and spiritual growth instead of stagnation.

This is my most recent blog: As an in-house writer for the International House of Prayer.
Be encouraged.

Untie The Donkey, The Lord Has Need Of You

by Selenia Vera  
“Go to the village ahead of you, and at once you will find a donkey tied there, with her colt by her. Untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, say that the Lord needs them.” (Matthew 21:2–3, NIV)
In Jesus’ time, a donkey was a valuable possession for the ordinary middle-class family. On the day of His triumphal entry into Jerusalem, Jesus instructed His disciples to head into the city, untie a colt from its post outside a certain house, and then bring it to Jesus for His use. The only explanation that the disciples were to give to the owner was that “the Lord has need of them.”
Many folks, much like the untied donkey in Matthew’s gospel, feel as though they have come to the end of the road. Waiting. Never really discovering what for. I have found it even more common for those of us in our fifties, sixties, and seventies to play the conversations over and over asking ourselves, What’s next? What now?  As ones who have absorbed life’s blows, endured the wounds of failure, enjoyed our accomplishments, and relished in our successes, we find that we still wonder. We converse with friends, we seek counsel, we pray, and we search for that which matters. We long to know about our significance. If this is you, I have good news! The human spirit will always cry out for more—God created us this way. And because of this, He calls out to us and draws us to Himself. He is coming after us!
We are certainly not donkeys, but I’d like to submit that our relationship to this story may be this: many of us are tied up. And like the untied donkey in the story in the gospel of Matthew, one of the hardest things to come to terms with when we face transition is our usefulness.
Allow me to pose these questions, Are there ropes holding you back, keeping you from knowing which direction to take? Are there ropes that keep you stuck? Have you accepted the lie, agreed with the argument, that life is over and there is nothing left? Do you hear the whisper, “I’m too old, too much time has been lost”? Do you wonder where to start? Do thoughts of starting over overwhelm you?
Jesus knows this, beloved one, and as the Anointed One in your life, He comes to untie the ropes that are holding you back, to break every yoke, and to declare to you that your life is not over. There is still much to be done. The Lord has need of you! He is in the business of untying donkeys—of breaking people free from that which holds them back.
You were not created to stay tied up on the post of the city gate. If you feel ordinary and insignificant, I submit to you that He uses ordinary people, strengthening them in the significance of relationship with Him—all for the advancement of His kingdom.
My friend, the Master is waiting for you, and the time to flourish has just begun. Don’t you see you have been untied from interruptions, work duties, deadlines, and obligations?
Or are you tired? Run down? To you I say,
Have you never heard?
Have you never understood?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of all the earth.
He never grows weak or weary.
No one can measure the depths of his understanding. (Isaiah 40:28, NLT)
You no longer must bear the burden; the time has come to meet the burden-bearer Himself!
Father God who made us has planned a wonderful future beyond the certainty of growing old and ending our days on earth doing nothing. His purposeful, significant plan is just ahead—eternity with Him. But for it to be accomplished, He has need of you!
He is looking for men and women who will stand in the gap as intercessory catalysts, people who proclaim His promise, whose lives are patterns to be followed, who pave the way for younger generations, whose prayers invoke His presence, and cry out for His return. He is calling those of us who are in our fifties, sixties, and seventies, proclaiming there is yet much to be done, “I, The Lord, have need of you! Will you partner with me?”
You don’t have to spend your latter years in the shadows of yesterday’s accomplishments—there are many new and glorious ones ahead. Indeed, the Lord has need of you!
They shall still bear fruit in old age;
They shall be fresh and flourishing. (Psalm 92:14)
“Even to your old age, I am He,
And even to gray hairs I will carry you!
I have made, and I will bear;
Even I will carry, and will deliver you.” (Isaiah 46:4)
Yes, the Lord has need of you for there is yet another triumphal entry He has planned—one that will not happen until the spirit and the bride say come.”
May your heart be stirred like the man Simeon in Luke 2:25–35,and may you hear and answer the call to partner with Him in your latter years. Join a generation that is crying out for the glorious return of Christ!
Find more information about our three to six-month Simeon internships for individuals who are 50 and older, and how the Lord is strategically using this generation to prepare the way for the Lord’s glorious return.

Selenia Vera

  • IHOPKC Staff Writer
Selenia resides in Kansas City. She enjoys writing and is the author of Go Quickly. She is on staff with the International House of Prayer where she serves in the Marketing department. Visit her blog:

It's watermelon season again. 

It made me think of a Facebook post I wrote on my page back on July 2, 2016...

     The watermelons were on sale today, I love watermelon! I was so excited I scooped up two and hurried to the checkout counter.
     As I was standing in line I had this thought,"You never used to eat watermelons." I didn't really like. In fact, most of my life watermelons grossed me out. It was connected to a repulsive memory. When I was a little girl my mother would buy watermelon and cut them into really fun slices. She would call us in from outside and talk about how wonderful and sweet the watermelon, she would call us in and talk to us about how sweet wonderful and sweet the watermelon was and as she was calling us in we would hurry inside. Once she served us the watermelon, she would then make us go to the back porch where we had to stand in front of this giant metal garbage can.

Those were hot summers in Chicago. We had no air conditioning and on the really bad days, the humid days, there would be no breeze and the sweat would just drip down your back. Just imagine that scenery and being told you cannot come in the house because the watermelon would make a mess.

She would make us lean over and into the garbage can to eat the watermelon all while inhaling fumes of garbage that of course was several days old. (garbage pick up was only one day a week)

Now picture the flies as they swarmed around your ears and face. It was a revolting experience, to say the least, one felt as though they would vomit. I am certain you can imagine. The fun of eating watermelon was soon diminished or as in my case, removed altogether.

You might say, "Why didn't she just send you outside?"

Well, there were lots of children in the neighborhood and we were poor. There wasn't enough watermelon for everyone. I suppose my momma meant well, she wanted to treat us to something special like "A watermelon that was on sale."

As I stood in the line waiting for my turn to check out, my thoughts were drawn to how the Lord redeems things in the lives of His children. And as I waited I began to thank the Lord or watermelon and how much I loved it now.

I was trying to recall when it was exactly that I changed from hating watermelon to loving it. It had to be sometime when I was in my early thirties when the conversation came up and a friend said to me, "Well, you're not on our momma's back porch anymore."

They were right! My location had changed and I now had been given the luxury of air-conditioning and the ability to make the decision of how and when I would eat watermelon. And so, I ate watermelon and I loved it!

Suddenly, I was free from the memory of those early years.

As I continued to wait in line, I began to thank Jesus again for watermelon. This time I could hear the Holy Spirit whisper to me, He said, "You know, your being able to eat watermelon today and not have it connected to the emotions and experiences of your childhood is so likened to how Father God restores 'original design' to his children."

He heals us and restores us to the person he created us to be, with the characteristics he designed us to have.

He breaks the strongholds off of hearts that prohibiting us from living our lives to the fullest. —He invites us to come off the back porch.

He heals the injustice. You know, those things that happened in our lives that aren't necessarily considered "bad," but were incidents that the enemy used to twist our perception and rob us of joy—The Lord removes the garbage can.

The enemy comes to distort, to warp, to muddy up everything that surrounds our character and our purpose. He comes to make us feel putrid and undesirable— So the Lord causes the flies to go away.

Yeah, the enemy strikes against your soul, your original design, your purpose.
But watermelon was created to be refreshingly enjoyed in fun celebratory surroundings and so were you!

The Lord is always very simply and sweetly coming to us to say, "You don't have to stay on the back porch anymore. I can change your location. allow me to serve you. When I'm around, the watermelon is always on sale."

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