(I just finished writing this and it’s a bit different from the others, as well as a bit longer, but it’s important you read it all the way through because your presence where you are is vital to the move of God. May you be blessed by this post. May your eyes be open by the impact you have on and in your city. May you be encouraged to keep going. God’s hand is on you. His light is shining in and through you – it’s blessing all those around you, whether you realize it or not.)
What a week! This weekend will be somewhat exciting, but I will force myself to rest next week. As you may have read in a previous post. I am what they call an “ambivert.” I am a mix of extrovert and introvert…I would say I’m an extroverted introvert. The only reason I lean more towards introvert is because I get my energy from being alone, in stillness. I love being around people, but if I don’t have my alone time, I will get drained. But, I digress…this is not why we are here today.
Proverbs 11. Another chapter full of wisdom-filled nuggets to help us through life. I did notice that through out this chapter there is a theme. Righteousness. That’s not really a commonly used word today. It’s a word that scares us a lot because in Christianity we associate that word to Christ alone. Our righteousness comes from Christ alone. While that statement is true. Over and over again we see many other individuals throughout the Bible called righteous in God’s sight; even people before Jesus was around, such as Abraham, Noah, and Moses.
While I’d love to go into a word study on righteousness, it will derail us from Proverbs, so I will leave that for another day. But, what I’ll do to help make the word more relatable for us today and not be such a “Bible” term, is define it. There are 2 dictionary sources here.
Righteous = a person or conduct that is morally right or justifiable; virtuous; acting in accord with divine or moral law; free from guilt or sin
Back to what Proverbs 11 is all about. Living in righteousness. In Christ, it’s much easier to live as a righteous person that in the days of Solomon. I say that because we have the Holy Spirit to empower us to live right. This chapter also speaks of integrity and character, which to me all tie into righteousness. In todays world, I would say that one who walks in integrity and character is a “righteous” person.
In a world where selfishness is preached and applauded, righteousness is a way of living that is other-centered. That is why it’s a light in the darkness. That is why it’s so admirable. Other gasp with their mouths wide open an awe when they see someone living a life filled with character and integrity in any situation. Why? Because in many way it’s selfless and goes against our current society standards.
So, let’s look at the scripture that popped out at me today. Today will be a bit different from the others. It’s obviously going to be personal, but I’m focusing on another area of my life today with this chapter. There are so many verses in this chapter that can apply to the situations I’m being faced with currently, but just like yesterday, they are reminders…and we’ve already discussed that. Today, my heart is leaning towards others.
The blessing that rests on the righteous releases strength and favor to the entire city…
The blessing of favor resting upon the righteous influences a city to lift it higher…Proverbs 11:10a & 11a (TPT)
When it goes well with the righteous the city rejoices…
By the blessing of the upright a city is exalted.Proverbs 11:10a & 11a (NASB)
I’m focusing on the first part of these verses because I tend to focus on how I should live, what I should do, and what I should say. While understanding the consequences of behavior is important, most times I prefer to spend my time on where to aim – what to shoot for – where to place my gaze.
While I know there are some who are close to me who read my blog, most of those who follow me don’t know me. Writing as I have over the last 2 weeks has placed me in a very vulnerable position. Especially since I’m going through a really tough situation right now and my writings have been mostly focused on that.
Over the holidays, while I was writing, I realized that I write mostly for myself. The Holy Spirit speaks to me through my writings and it’s been a huge source of encouragement for me. So, fortunately for me, and unfortunately for you, my writings have been focused on continuing this journey despite the attacks. What I’m hoping is that it’s providing you a little insight into who I am, who Jesus is in me, and the deep faith I have in my father.
Today though let me share a side of myself that most of my friends know, but may be new to you.
I moved to Florida in June 2016. I had an encounter with God in my kitchen in October of 2016 that changed my life. You can read about it in the post called The Morning My Life Changed. That day started a journey that I’m still on until today. In the winter or 2017/2018 I was experiencing new things in Jesus and one day the Holy Spirit laid out something in my heart for Jacksonville, FL.
I was not living in Jacksonville. I was about 1-1.5 hours south in a quiet beach town that is considered a retirement town. I was raised in the city and had no interest in ever living in a city again. My family and I were constantly traveling the hour to Jacksonville to attend gatherings and meet with people. My husband also works in Jacksonville so he was commuting every day. I was extremely happy with my living situation, especially because I no more than 5 minutes from the beach. God, however, kept speaking to me about Jacksonville. He was constantly connecting me to people in Jacksonville that I felt drawn to.
I loved where I as living and had no desire to move, but God continued to lay out plans for Jacksonville that He wanted me to be a part of. My heart began to be drawn to that city and the need for my family to move there kept getting stronger.
One morning as I was praying in my bedroom, there was a blueprint set before me of what I was to bring forth in Jacksonville. I said to God, “but I just moved to Florida and I don’t know anyone.” He responded “Don’t worry. I know people. I will introduce you.”
That evening my husband and I decided it was time to move to Jacksonville. This decision wasn’t easy for me and I can’t say I was rejoicing. I cried. I loved the home I lived in. I lived close to family. I was super close to the beach. I was living in a little town that I’ve loved for years. I literally was living exactly where I had wanted to be for years…and now, it was coming to an end. My time of rest after the hardest years of my life were coming to an end. I knew that to be fulfilled and live an abundant life I needed to be where God had purposed…that’s where I’d want to be, but it was still hard.
We started looking for houses and had some very specific criteria. You see, while in Palm Coast we started hosting Bible studies and prayer meetings at our house. They began out of a desire people had to come together in an intimate setting during a conference we were at, so we decided to host it. Moving to Jacksonville wasn’t going to change that. So, we were looking for a home that had a large living area where we could host the gatherings, as well as one that had ample parking for our guests. I was also concerned about schools for the kids, so we had few areas within Jacksonville. We went and looked at many houses, probably around 10 before we found the one we leased.
The day we moved to Jacksonville, we had a group of friends come over to help us load the truck in Palm Coast and then others joined us in Jacksonville to unload. Here I was, in this new place and surrounded by such amazing people. It didn’t take long for the Holy Spirit to start moving. Soon after the truck was unloaded we were in the living room with worship music playing. The Holy Spirit moved so strongly we had people on the floor, people hunched over the couch. There were people laughing, people crying – it was beautiful. The next morning we baptized someone in our bath tub. It was an incredible moving experience…reminds me of the song Tasha Cobb sings, This is a Move. It was definitely “a move”.
We began hosting the worship gatherings that very week and the house was being referred to as “the Jesus house,” and that is how our ministry was named. Jesus House was born and next weekend marks the two year anniversary of Jesus House in Jacksonville.
Since we’ve moved to Jacksonville, I’ve met AMAZING people who are lovers of Jesus. Passionate lovers of Jesus. People have shown up at my door to purchase items I was selling on Facebook, only to find out they are exactly the kind of people I needed to know to begin the work my Father had set before me. I also began to meet people by researching the city of Jacksonville and reaching out to organizations that seemed to be doing what God wanted me to be a part of. I don’t like to reinvent the wheel. I believe in building upon…
Today, not only do we have Jesus House, but we also have a school called Be Love Go Academy. I’m part of organizations in Jacksonville that focus on city wide transformation, as well as Church mobilization and unity. I love the city of Jacksonville so deeply. When I say I love the city, I’m not saying I love the city in itself…I love the people. I love all the people in this city. My heart cries out for this city, Christian and non-Christian alike.
So, this finally brings me to the scriptures I referenced for today’s Proverb.
Here are 2 verses that reveal to me why God has brought so many amazing lovers of Jesus to my city of Jacksonville. Together, living in Christ and blessed by God, we cause this city to rejoice and to be exalted. Not so that the city’s name can be made great, but so that the people can be transformed and blessed, living in abundance, love, joy, and peace as Jesus promised. It’s not about the city in itself. It’s about the people that make up the city. A city isn’t a city if it’s void of people. The people of the city are vital for it’s ability to thrive.
So, as a resident of the city of Jacksonville, I, along with all my fellow brothers and sisters, bless this city and declare that these proverbs be made reality in Jacksonville. I declare that Jacksonville rejoices because of the righteous that live here. I declare that this city be blessed and exalted because of the blessings of the children of God in this city. I declare that the love of God may lead all into repentance so that they may experience reconciliation with the Father. I pray that they may be overwhelmed with the love of God, just as I was; that it brings transformation into their lives and homes. I declare that the Holy Spirit infuse each person with the knowledge and revelation of Jesus Christ and empowers them to overcome the ways of the world and extinguishes all shame from their lives. I pray that we as a whole may live the life that Jesus promised; an abundant life filled with unspeakable joy and peace that surpasses understanding clothed in love that removed all fear.
I am not in this city by chance. God purposed that I be here and I simply surrendered to Him. I sure do miss Palm Coast, but I love my life in Jacksonville. I love my Jacksonville family. It is the family that I am now surrounded with in Jacksonville that has allowed me to experience Jesus in deeper ways.
God isn’t finished with Jacksonville. He is faithful to finish what He has started. All that we have been experiencing in this city is just the beginning. There’s so much more to do. But, there’s already so much that has been done…so much that has been conquered.
This city, the city of Jacksonville, is filled with sons and daughters of God who are not only city changers, but world changers. It is because of each of these children of God that Jacksonville is as blessed as it is.
May you realize just how instrumental you are for the success and blessings of the city or town you currently live in. Know that you are a light in that city. The city is blessed because you are there. Don’t resent where you live. Bless it and watch what God will do in and through you. You are a light set upon a hill for your city. Maybe just in prayer or maybe by city-wide organization, don’t underestimate the need of your presence in your city. God has placed you there. You have an impact whether you realize it or not. May your eyes be open to see God’s purpose in your life and so that you can see just how much of an influence you have over your city.
Let’s go, friends. Let’s go change the world. Let’s expand the Kingdom of God. The living breathe of the Holy Spirit living in you is enough to make it happen. Believe.