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  • New Book Offer

    9.11.14 NEW BOOK OFFER: OLIVE BRANCH DISCIPLESHIP MINISTRIES ISBN  978-1-4984-0706-9 - XULON PRESS - A SERIES OF DEVOTIONAL TEACHINGS OFFERED FOR THE SOUL AVAILABLE THROUGH: AMAZON BOOKS BARNES AND NOBLE (also online) CHRISTIANBOOKS.COM

  • Forces at work

    9.3.14 I am struck at how doing the right thing seems to be such a struggle to some. There seems to be a real resistance. I wonder why?  We are to do the right thing because it is the right thing to do! It seems to be that we have three forces to deal with in this life: our will/flesh, the negative/demonic, and the positive/God influence.  Our problem is to chose the influence we want to be under, to have control over our life. I have been able to observe the negative of each and the positive of each. With the will/flesh, emotions rule supreme. It is quite amazing to hear how many people say they are not emotional and yet the decisions they make in  their life, for the majority, The negative/demonic are is one most prefer to ignore. Even the world recognizes the demonic with all the paranormal programs and books offered. Why does the Christian world want to ignore it all?  This is a strong and deceptive force and it is foolish to look at our world and not be able to sense that there is a dangerous, negative, and demonic force at work. This force force causes terrible tragedies, disruption, deception, and pain. Christ has given us power and authority over this force, and the wisdom and discernment to sense it (Luke 10:19). The world calls this intuition. Use it. If it 'feels' wrong or unsafe it very likely is. The Positive/God force is the Name and the Blood of Jesus as well as the force of the Holy Spirit alive and well and working in, through, and for us.  We must allow this as Christians. This force means only good for us and for our lives. This force will give you power to overcome the demonic and the flesh. This force instills in us the wisdom and discernment we need to live on this earth. This force will reveal to us whether the demonic, our flesh, or the Holy Spirit is working. Satan hates to be exposed and will try every deception possible. He is a real enemy and is dangerous. Which force are you walking along with? Which force has control over your life? Realize that each of these forces must  have your permission to work in and through you! Decide today! Helpful Scriptures: Joshua 24:15 2 Corinthians 6:1-2 Romans 2: 15, 10:9-13 - Pastor Sandi

  • Drought

    7.23.14 Drought.  The ground is so dry! I am observing as I have been out walking my yard, my ground, that the grass is turning dry, lifeless, dead. It is becoming straw. As I watched through the hot and sunny days, the ground became dryer and hard. I became concerned. There are a lot of wildfires springing up  and they are running rampant, destroying ground and homes in its way. I began to pray for rain, several days of good steady rain. Not devastating rain that will cause flooding and damage, but just the right amount of rain to refurbish and refresh the ground and to bring Life. I began to think of Elijah and how he prayed for the relief of drought and watched with anticipation for the beginning of the rain. For the sign. How he quietly waited and believed. This morning I woke up to the sound of good, steady, refreshing rain coming down in a rhythm of beats upon my ground, my yard. I am grateful. I am rejoicing. I know that because of this rain my ground will spring up life, my flowers will open and receive, and my fruit trees will greedily drink in the water to feed the fruit springing up on them. As I am aware of all this I am reminded of dry and lifeless spiritual ground that lies within each of us from time to time, some more than others. Some do not even know that they are dehydrated and dying of spiritual thirst. They are lifeless and lethargic, just moving through life with as little energy as possible. The lack of water is devastating on a human being, and the lack of spiritual water is devastating to the human spirit. I want to greedily drink from the  well of the Holy Spirit, to be washed and refreshed daily in the Word of God! I want to walk in 'life' and 'growth', and create life wherever I am and wherever I go. There is an amazing move of the Holy Spirit moving over the face of this earth, encompassing each and every parasol of ground. Water, drink, refreshing, Life! I want to be aware of it and to receive from it. Do you? Are you receiving the healthy clear water of the Holy Spirit or are you drinking out of a polluted and dirty well, one of your own making (own strength) or one that is counterfeit (false beliefs)?? Come. Let us drink of the Holy Spirit. Let us be alive with the refreshing, anointing and power of God the Father running through us. Let us have the Spiritual ability to create Life wherever we go and not to bring spiritual death. What do you think?  Invite Christ to take over your life and to bring you Life! Take a chance and see. Trust Him.....   Your life depends upon it. - Pastor Sandi

  • Storms

    4.24.14 So many storms here lately! Lots of dark skies, wind and rain! And yet there is a break in the day where the sun breaks through and brightens up the whole day - even if it is still cold. It's like the skies part and Heaven breaks through! This made me think of the storms of our life, how they come and go, how the storm rages and the wind blows and the rain pours. Sometimes the storm seems to be endless and overwhelming.  I live in a brick house and there are times that I marvel at the strength of the storm, the wind and how it batters and whips around the corners of my house. It howls and whistles, trying to intimidate me. And still, in the midst of all of that, I am held safe inside here, secure, warm and comfortable. The spiritual and emotional storms of our life can be like that. Hard, relentless, overwhelming, powerful, and endless. These storms can stir us up inside, cause us to be anxious and fearful, batter us relentlessly, howl and scream at us.  We worry not knowing the outcome and how this storm will affect us, what it will take away from us and destroy. Some of the storms we have seen in the nations have done that; destroyed everything a person has, even lives of those we know and love. It can be devastating and painful for us. The spiritual storms that the Lord allows in our lives are met to turn us to Him, for us to see something in us, to make us aware of what is going on around us, to heighten our discernment. They are met to teach us how to take power and authority over our storm in the name of Jesus. They are designed to teach us how to appropriate what the Lord has done for us, given all to us. We are to wake up and calm the storm as we go through it, in the authority given to us as Believers in Christ. Do you do that? The spiritual storm stirred up by the enemy of our faith, Satan, is met to destroy us, to discourage us, to defeat us, to bring us into fears, hopelessness, unbelief. They are met to turn our attention and our faces from our God and onto the storm - our enemy, our lack, our circumstance.  They are met to separate us from our God. Which storm are you in? How are you doing in this storm? Who are you calling out to? Are you cursing God, or are you praising His name for taking you through the storm? It really doesn't matter where the storm comes from; when we turn our focus back on Jesus, He comes and takes control of the storm. He calms it all down and turns it all around to better us. Isn't that wonderful to know? Take a look at your storm. Give it over to Him. Trust Him to calm it down, and you. Trust Him that He has a plan for you even in the midst of it all. The Son will break through! - Pastor Sandi Luke 8:24b  "He (Jesus) got up and rebuked the storm and the raging waters; the storm subsided and all was calm. Where is your faith, He asked His disciples?" Romans 8:28  " And we know that IN ALL things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose." Jeremiah 29:11-13   "For I know the plans (personal blueprints) I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.  Then you will call upon Me and pray to Me and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all of your heart." Psalm 8: 6  "You made him (man) ruler over  all the works of your hands; you put everything under his feet."

  • Busy-ness

    4.9.14 Have you  noticed how busy our world is? How busy your life is? We live in a state of 'doing' and not 'being'. Communication is everywhere, good or bad. I do have to wonder if our lives might be more peaceful without all the business and easy communication and demands upon our time an emotions. I am mindful, as I sit here quietly in the sun, of a quieter and simpler time. I let my eyes move over the yard and the plants, noticing the details and wonder of creation. I take time to look at everything and it is peaceful. God has created marvelous and wondrous things that we move right on pass and never give time to. I notice the details of each flower and leaf, of each fruit tree and bush. I notice the difference in my tiny little dog and the big dog of my daughter. They have worked out their differences in personality and size and are peaceful with eavh other now. Wonderful and amazing! Take time to reflect on our God's greatness and creative abilities. Take time to rest and be at peace. Let go of your busy-ness of life. Remember, you are a human 'being' not a human 'doer'! Psalm 104:24  Amplified Bible  "O Lord, how many and varied are your works (creations)! In wisdom have you made them all; the earth is full of your riches and your creatures." Psalm 29: 11  Amplified Bible - Pastor Sandi

  • Be a Risk-Taker

    3.15.14 In thinking over my life this morning I thought of all the different paths I have dared to take to arrive at where I am now. Sometimes they made perfect sense to me ,other times not. Sometimes I felt they were successful and other times definitely not. And, sometimes I took these different paths with a measure of confidence and other times out of sheer fear because I had to. Many times I  had to take a risk and do something new, something different that I had never done before: new training, new studies, new job, new neighborhood, new church, etc.  Fearful and exciting at the same time. Growth. Faith. Stretch. Trust. This is 'Risk'.  It means to take an unguaranteed chance or opportunity. Are you a risk-taker? Do you want something more, something different, something better? It takes courage to take a risk, it takes some measure of confidence, and it takes a level of trust. Risk is important to move forward and to gain something as yet unattainable. Life is full of risks isn't it? I can't think of one area in life that is not. However, when I took a risk in my own understanding it was indeed 'risky'. Why? Because I only saw a small portion of what it was, the opportunity or change. When I took a risk in Christ and through prayer and asking Him what to do, my risk was easier and turned out for my good. God sees the whole and complete picture of things from a 'bird's eye view'. he sees it from beginning to end.  And, He will say no to us - if we listen - when it isn't what we are to do. Safety net. I think of David and his risk in standing up to Goliath because God motivated him to; or Moses going back to stand up to Pharaoh for the Hebrews because God said to; or Ruth deciding to go with her mother-in-law to a strange land because God encouraged her to; or Gideon risking all for the sake of winning a war because God called him to.  And what about Noah and building that ark?  Because God told him to. And yet, as all these people dared to take a risk, dared to trust, dared to move into an unknown area of life, God came through and history was changed because of them. And then on the other hand, what about those who took a risk by refusing to listen to Noah? Refusing to trust him in what he tried to tell them? Fear and complacency are enemies of risk. Laziness and wishful thinking. God demands we be risk-takers IN Him, trusting Him, and having confidence IN Him. Please be brave enough to take your heart in hand and dare to step out into the unknown that life may bring you, or that God may call you out into. If you don't, you will never know the reward and blessing that awaits you on the other side, and you may remain in a dangerous situation. You may be called to change family history! Joshua 1:9 NIV  "Have I (God) not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go." Joshua 3:4   NIV  "Then you will know which way to go, since you have never gone this way before................." Psalm 56:3-4 ESV  "When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can flesh do to me?" Luke 6:46 ESV   “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you? - Pastor Sandi www.olivebranchdiscipleshipministires.com

  • Seasons and Times

    9.20.13 Seasons and times. We are entering a season of Fall. I look around and I see my fruit tree has dropped all her fruit, my transformation from life unto death, winter is hibernation and holding. I love Spring and Summer. Spring is the springing However, when I think about it beyond myself, I realize Fall is a season in our life of dying to self and casting out a seed. This seed is future and sometimes we even wonder if anything went forth. Winter is a season of life when the seed is hidden from view and we feel that there is no seed and no life. The 'ground' seems hard and unyielding. Spring is the bursting forth And yet, even in fall there really is a harvest as well. Old self becomes new self.  And winter yields a harvest of Faith. What are you seeding for? Like seed grants like harvest. Corn begets corn. To harvest spiritually be must plant the 'seed' of what we have need of - faith, health, finances, joy, patience, love, friendship, respect, etc. Why do we think we can harvest without casting our proper seed? And remember, there is a time, right after we cast our seed, that it seems to go in hiding and the ground of life can seem hard and unyielding. Our seed is being protected and begins to die to become changed into what we need when we need it. You must give God good and proper seed to work with! Then watch over your seed. Water it with Faith and Prayer- waiting, looking, Be active, be bold. Begin to cast out your seeds in Christ of what you have need of and then expect your harvest! - Pastor Sandi www.olivebranchdiscipleshipministries.com ***Be careful you do not seed Thorns!  (Proverb 18:20-21) Jeremiah 12:13   International Version They will sow wheat but reap thorns; they will wear themselves out but gain nothing. They will bear the shame of their harvest because of the Lord’s fierce anger.” Galatians 6:7-8  New International Version Do not be deceived; God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life (with Him). ............Amen

  • Christmas

    12.23.13 How I love to see all the Christmas lights as I drive around. Beautiful, shining, glittering, and bright. It makes me feel that all the city is united in this one thing. I know that we have many beliefs about this time of year and we don't all agree in them. However, there is something very special about Christ-mas and it seems to, at least, promote kindness and goodness and love. Wonderful. In church this last Sunday we sang all the Christmas songs about the birth of Christ the Savior. How beautiful it was to hear the melodic sound of many voices rising up and declaring the birth of our Lord. The music was good, the presence of God the Father was strong, the sermon was outstanding, and the fellowship was sweet. Nothing like it. The best high ever. Why not start off your new year by getting involved with the fellowship of good, kind Christians and sharing the love of Christ in a Church? Why not step out and give it a chance to see how it will change your mind, your heart, and your life. Don't sit at home any longer.  Go visit your Father. Go to His House. He's waiting for you to come into the family-fold! He has a plan for your life. - Pastor Sandi www.olivebranchdiscipleshipministries.com

  • Imitation

    10.23.13 Have you heard the saying that "imitation is the best form of flattery" ? I was thinking on this today. I like to people-watch as I am out and about and I notice children with their parents. With little boys it is so obvious that they imitate their dad in the way they walk and stand and in their gestures. The same for little girls, although they really imitate mom in their manner of speech, with words and tone, coupled with body language. It is amazing for me to watch and see that. I wonder sometimes how God the Father looks at His children and perhaps He notices that some are developing the mannerisms of Christ in the way they talk, in their tone, in their choice of words. Perhaps others are beginning to 'walk in the Spirit' as Christ did and as the Father wants us to. Do you carry the mannerisms of your Spiritual Father? Are they the mannerisms of Faith, of Christ, of His Kingdom? Or are they the mannerisms of your Father the evil one. There is no other choice, it is one or the other (John 8:42-47). I wonder if we think we are just okay and it doesn't really matter. You know, it does. People watch you too! - Pastor Sandi www.olivebranchdiscipleshipministries.com Ephesians 5:1  "Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love (His Love), just as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God."

  • the Heart

    11.27.13     The Heart Isn't it amazing how much love a heart can hold? It stretches and stretches and stretches, to hold more - to hold more people in, regardless of pain and disappointment we hold these people in our hearts.   I reflect on all those that have come into my heart and that I have held there. There have been many over the years of my life, some held more securely than others. For such a small bodily organ it can hold a lot. As I think on this, I marvel at the Heart of God. How big is His heart? It must be huge; it certainly has an unlimited capacity to welcome in multitudes and multitudes, and to love each one with an everlasting commitment. What must one do to obtain entry into my heart? Prove faithful, goodness of character, kindness in thought and action, family. Does everyone behave appropriately all the time? No, sadly, none of us do really. And, yet, once one has come into my heart I will persevere to hold them there, forgiving and understanding, but still expecting an accountability. However, once a betrayal has taken place or an abuse, the level of containment in my heart dwindles, and some even leave my heart. Have you ever thought of where you are in God's Heart? His heart is tender and forgiving, loving and kind. But also righteous and with accountability towards us and an expectation from us. No relationship will ever make it if it is always one-sided!  You must give to receive.  How does one come into the heart of God? What conditions or requirements are there? What must one do?  Recognize who He is. Ask. Come as you are right now. Today is the day of salvation. No one comes to the Father but through His Son, Jesus Christ. Have you invited Jesus into your heart, your life? He won't come in without a personal invitation, whereas the devil will just barge in wherever he can. Once you have invited Jesus Christ into your heart - and truly mean it - you are securely anchored in the Father's Heart. Then your life with Him explodes and blessings will abound, your love relationship will grow and expand. You will want to know Him more and more. You will desire to read HIs love letters to you. Why not open your heart once more to God the Father through Jesus the Son? Why not allow your heart to experience the most amazing love story ever? Step out and invite Him in.  It is more than worth it!! - Pastor Sandi John 14:6   "Jesus answered, I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." Romans 10:9-10 " That if you confess with your mouth, Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is  with your mouth that you confess and are saved (from separation from God)." Revelations 3:20 "Here I am! I stand at the door (of your heart) and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat (fellowship) with him and he with me."

  • God's Favor

    10.9.13 Psalm 5:12 "For it is You who blesses the righteous man, O Lord, You surround him with favor as with a shield." The favor of God is amazing. Every day I marvel at His favor over my life and in my every day circumstances. A 'chance' meeting with someone that can offer an opportunity, a favored parking space, a challenge of the day that encourages my growth in Him. So many things are affected by the Lord's unmerited and undeserved favor in my life. Unexpected blessings! As you are planning out your day, do you pause and give consideration for God's Favor to flood through your day, through 'your' plans? Some times this will totally change what you had planned but in the end, if we choose to look at it through His eyes, it turns out to be an amazing day that was filled up with opportunities. Opportunities to advance in our character, to advance in our work, to advance as a parent or a friend or a family member,  and to advance in our spiritual connection with Jesus. So look for Favor! Our walk with Christ is always an adventure! - Pastor Sandi www.olivebranchdiscipleshipministries.com

  • Prayer

    9.15.13 I am "pondering" on the power of prayer. Not only as I pray for others and Prayer creates an intimacy with Christ - a very personal one on one. How grateful I am that the Holy Spirit searches the heart and mind of man and brings it truthfully to the Throne of God the Father. He does it so much better than mankind can - without all the justifications, reasons, emotions. No begging, no bargaining, no deals!  This is true vision - spiritual eyes. Stop. Allow and accept change. This change takes us out of our own perception to 'see' it all through God's perception, through His plan. I just wonder how much time, energy, and emotions we have to muddle through before we stop, pray, and listen.  We have all His Promises and He never breaks one of them..... After all, prayer should be a two-way conversation with God - knowing when to speak and when to listen.................  Our God desires to walk with us and to talk with us. How is your prayer life? Are you doing all the talking? Are you begging or bargaining or dealing? Do you listen? - Pastor Sandi www.olivebranchdiscipleshipministries.com 1 Thessalonians 5:17-18  "Pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. Do not quench the Spirit.'

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