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Tuesday, January 9, 2018

WORRIER OR WARRIOR

 “Worrier,” I said into my phone.  I needed the definition for a bible study. The voice search activation came up with “Warrior”. I did it again.  Same results.   “Third times a charm,” I thought to myself.   I should have said “Strike three and you’re out!"
Either I do not know how to pronounce the word, or God is sending me a message.
 I became physically ill because of worry.  My fibromyalgia grew worse and I could not sleep.  I was a new follower of Jesus.  I spent many years thinking for myself.  I was good at solving problems.  If I could not solve them I was good at worrying about them.  I was also good at worrying about others’ problems.  So what’s a worrier to do?


Then Jesus said to his disciples: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. Luke 12:22

Thank you, Jesus for telling me not to worry, but how do I stop?

I felt like I was in good company.  The Disciples worried.  They worried about how to feed the multitudes, they worried about who was the greatest and they even worried about dying.
 Seem like good things to worry about. Right?
Many times Jesus told them not to worry.

 “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matthew 6:34

But make up your mind not to worry beforehand how you will defend yourselves.” Luke 21:14

Lord, you need to teach me how to “make up my mind beforehand so I won't worry”.

     I lived with a couple from our church.  When you live with someone for several months, especially over the holidays, you see what goes on in their lives; the pain, hurts, trials and triumphs. Jan never seemed to worry about anything.  I asked her why she replied,
 “I chose not to worry” and she shared this verse with me.

 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7
I committed that verse to memory.
With continued practice, worry turned to faith. 

Now I give my worries to God.
I envision approaching the throne, leaving the person or situation with Him.
I walk away. Every time I have an inkling to worry, the Spirit impresses on my heart, "Do you really want this back?"

Peace permeates my soul the more I practice leaving my worries with God.  
Freedom from worry gave me more time to pray and converse with the Lord. 
I became a Prayer Warrior; exchanging the title, 
worrier to warrior.

What is a Prayer Warrior?

A person who intercedes in prayer for others and themselves knowing that God will hear. God will prompt you to pray for others as you listen to His Spirit.
A warrior stormes the gates of Heaven with full assurance that God will fulfill His promises, according to His good will and purpose.

You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.” John 14:14

Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.”  John 16:24

When we pray, “In My Name” – We are coming to God in Jesus' name, not in our own.  We are praying for the Lord's will.
Prayer is not a verbal vending machine.
It is going into the throne room of the Almighty asking Him to intervene on behalf of His child.
     Prayer is a battle cry asking God to release the forces of good to demolish the forces of evil!
 Battles are won when the saints are on their knees. Will you join me and leave worrier and become a Warrior?
What worries keep you from prayer?
Join the conversation.





Tuesday, December 26, 2017

PROPHECY IN A CAROL

JakeMcCandless and Cherrilynn Bisbano partner to bring you prophesies Jesus fulfilled at His birth.
May the prophecies Jesus fulfilled bring you closer to Him as We look back for strength to go forward.


 The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,

    because the Lord has anointed me
    to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
    to proclaim freedom for the captives

    and release from darkness for the prisoners
Isaiah 61:1



For 28 years I sang Christmas carols without understanding the words.
Now that I am a precious child of God, Carols bring life and hope to my soul.

One of my favorite carols is O Holy Night.

 My favorite line in the song,


"Chains shall He break, for the slave is our brother, and in His name, all oppression shall cease."


Jesus humbled Himself and entered the world to break every chain 


I was in chains.  Chains of self-doubt, worry and unbalanced expectations.


I saw myself as unlovable, worthless, without a purpose.

Jesus changed me when I believed His truth.

As we celebrate the birth of our Savior, let's take a look at my favorite verse in O Holy Night and compare it to Scripture.


Chains Shall He break 


He brought them out of darkness, the utter darkness, and broke away their chains. Psalm 107:14 NIV

I am your servant, LORD, I serve you just as my mother did; you have freed me from my chains. Psalm 116:16 NIV


For the slave is our brother

 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant (slave), and coming in the likeness of men Philippians 2:7 NKJV


For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother Mathew 12:50 NIV


For He who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one source, That is why He is not ashamed to call them brothers Hebrews 2:11 ESV

and in His name, all oppression shall cease


Then we cried to the LORD, the God of our fathers, and the LORD heard our voice and saw our affliction, our toil, and our oppression. Deuteronomy 26:7 ESV

From oppression and violence, He redeems their life... Psalm 72:14 ESV

I still get chills when I sing this song.

In Luke 4:18 Jesus declared that He is the fulfillment of Isaiah's prophecy.

I envision people walking out of jail cells with no shackles, leaping for joy at their newfound freedom.

Heads lifted high to greet the sun instead of staring at their feet. Hearts that once craved love now possess complete acceptance in Christ, who is Love.

As we celebrate His birth and enter into a new year, let us never forget that He is the Messiah.  The promised one.

Emmanuel, God with us.


He is the only one who breaks chains, heals wounds, and sets the captives free from the bondage of sin.

My heart rejoices and I want to fall on my knees in reverence and worship.

Let's join the angels and praise the Holy one for all He has done for us.


What effect do Christmas carols have on you?

Join the conversation.




If you are going through a difficult time, don't go through it alone.  Contact one of us.  We will pray with you.  We can seek the face of Christ together.  
Jake:  jake@prophecysimplified.com
Cherrilynn: godsfruit@juno.com

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

JESUS BORN OF A VIRGIN: GOD WORKS THROUGH US WHEN WE LISTEN



JakeMcCandless and Cherrilynn Bisbano partner to bring you prophesies Jesus fulfilled at His birth.
May the prophecies Jesus fulfilled bring you closer to Him as We look back for strength to go forward.



Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son
Isaiah 7:14


When God speaks, we must listen, no matter the circumstance.

Stranded with my church group on a dirt road in Togo, Africa,  my head pounded from the smoke of burning fields. Locals flocked around us to watch. It's a rare site for white men to break down in their village in the middle of the night.

Five months before this moment my mind was not on Africa but was on our baby due March 6th.  We were very excited.  

I had such relief hearing the heartbeat at my 13-week visit to the doctor. With one baby already in heaven, I knew God would not take this one too. Following that appointment, I met a friend for a movie at the IMAX.  I left dizzy and sick to my stomach, I assumed the symptoms were from the 3D movie and vertigo.

Two days later I was balled-up on the floor with stomach cramps.

Another child was gone and my heart was in pieces.  This goodbye was more difficult than the first.

We now have two babies in heaven. We named our first, Michael Corban (a gift dedicated to God) and the second Talitha Grace (little girl of grace).  Naming our babies gave us closure, even if we didn’t know if they were a boy or girl.

My solace, then and now, is knowing the first face my babies saw was the face of God.

And now here I stand five months later across the globe, broken down on the side of the road. The medication I took for my headache had soothed the pain.


Still, on that roadside, the Spirit impressed upon my heart—Go witness to the locals. I dragged myself out of the van.  As my eyes adjusted to the dark I looked to my left, grass huts. In front of me, I saw a few of my fellow missionaries and local tribesmen examining the tire.

I admired how the locals wore western attire. Very clean and crisp.  I wondered how they kept everything so nice amidst all the dirt.   To my right, another group of men joined the midnight party.

In my heart, I heard, “Go speak with those men, now.”

I grabbed my husband’s hand, “Let’s go. God gave us these men to witness to.” 
The locals were very happy to meet us.
A few of them understood English.  We shared the Good news of Jesus Christ. 

I sensed that they understood but I wanted to make sure. We asked Pastor Mike, the local pastor traveling with us, to come explain the gospel in their native language (Ewe and French).

As he explained the free gift of eternal life a few men stepped back.  I found out later that Pastor Mike asked them to walk away if they did not want to make a decision for Christ.  He said, “This is a very important decision; do not do it if you are not committed.”

Five men stayed and accepted Christ as Savior.  Hallelujah!  As we were praying the Lord reminded me of the Sunday morning before we left for Africa.  I stood in the front of the Church devastated, missing my child crying out, “Lord if I never have my own child, please give me babes in Christ when I go to Africa.  I only want to serve you Lord”

As I stood there, on that dirt road in Africa, holding my husband’s hand, tears streaming down my face. The Lord spoke to my heart and said, “These are your babes in Christ.”

The Holy Spirit spoke to my heart, I listened, and I was able to be part of changing eternity for five men.

The Virgin Mary and Joseph listened to the Angel of God. Gabriel proclaimed that she will give birth.  Mary replied, “How will this be since I am a virgin?”  Gabriel says, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.”

Later the angel encouraged Joseph  not to fear to marry Mary with these words: “What is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit." 

Joseph had every right to divorce Mary. In fact, Mary would have been stoned to death for infidelity—but Joseph chose to listen to God's messenger and married Mary.

They both listened and took part in the greatest event known to mankind. The birth of the Savior of the World.


Aren’t you so glad they listened and obeyed even with unimaginable circumstances?
I know I am so glad I obeyed God and stepped out of that van in Africa.

I am so thankful God allowed me to be obedient and take that mission trip even after facing such pain in my life.

Have you listened to the Spirits prompting in the past?

Has God sent a messenger to you with a word that defys your common sense?

Again when God speaks we must listen, no matter the circumstances.


Join the conversation. Let us know a crazy step of obedience that you are thankful you have taken. 

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

GENEALOGY DOESN'T LIE?


JakeMcCandless and Cherrilynn Bisbano partner to bring you prophesies Jesus fulfilled at His birth.
May the prophecies Jesus fulfilled bring you closer to Him as We look back for strength to go forward.

Genealogy Doesn’t Lie

The Messiah would be a descendant of King David
Of the increase of his government and of peace
there will be no end,
on the throne of David and over his kingdom,
to establish it and to uphold it
Isaiah 9:7

It’s Christmas morning; you’re in your pajamas with a cup of coffee. You watch your family open presents.
Life is good. You say to yourself.
“Open it,” your loved one says as they hand you the prettiest box you’ve ever seen.

“You’ve been talking about this all year.” Your loved one smiles.
I talk about many things. It’s too small to be a car, could it be the keys?  You say to yourself.
You unwrap it with care.
“Hurry, it’s only paper, just rip it!” Your loved one is anxious to take a picture of you as you see the surprise.
“A DNA Kit! Thank you!”
They were listening.

All across the world, this scene will play out on Christmas morning. DNA kits have been one of the rave gifts this year, but why genealogy for Christmas?
There are many reasons we might want to trace our ancestry. Maybe it’s the novelty of knowing that someone famous is in our lineage. Are other more practical reasons like to trace a family inheritance, trace land ownership, find birth parents, trace medical conditions, validate old family stories, or reconnect with family.
DNA kits help us discover our ancestors through genetic matching. These trending kits guide the user in collecting their own DNA samples and then results are received by mailing the samples into a lab. The result from the testing is compared to other DNA samples from around the world, detecting similarities that trace back generations and connect us to the lands of our ancestors. Although DNA tests are fun and have become a recent hit, they are not always accurate.
These tests reveal what people groups are in your lineage, not specific individuals, which is still fascinating. 
With shows Finding Your Roots, Who Do You Think You Are, and Genealogy Roadshow, as well as, websites like https://www.geni.com, http://www.ancestor.com/, https://www.myheritage.com/, and https://www.ancestry.com/cs/finding-your-roots we can trace our lineages. 

We can trace our lineage with accurate records.
Jake and Cherrilynn have discovered a pirate, Vikings, WWI General, Cowboy, and Farmer in their combined genealogies. Cherrilynn is a descendant of Sir Francis Drake, a pirate, and a pioneer. Cherrilyn attributes her plundering her sister's candy and her love for travel to her lineage. Jake has confirmed old family stories of Vikings through his ancestry. Jake finds encouragement in his ministry looking back at the transformation of many Vikings on their hearing of the Gospel.
You may or may not be on the DNA Kit bandwagon this Christmas, but there is a great benefit to knowing our ancestry. Whatever inspires us to solve the mystery of our past, many find healing, strength, and a sense of belonging and purpose through the research.
Matthew and Luke who both tell of the birth of Jesus, also highlight Jesus’ genealogy. Obviously, they didn’t use a DNA kit, but the results are just as incredible. The difference between our lineage and that of Jesus is that his birth was predicted hundreds of years before the event. Isaiah prophesied about the Messiah. Along with other prophets, Isaiah told that the Messiah would be a descendant of David, and therefore a descendant of Jesse and Abraham.

In that day the Root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples; the nations will rally to him, and his place of rest will be glorious. -  Isaiah 11:10 (NIV)

But even beyond the prophecies, we learn In Matthew and Lukes’ lists that Jesus had a King, shepherd, and prostitute in His lineage. The King may be expected in Jesus’ ancestry, but a prostitute? Yes, a prostitute. And in those days shepherds were considered quite lowly. There are also many other unsavory characters in that list, but Jesus wasn’t ashamed of his genealogy. He knew he had a mission and joyfully accepted it. His mission was to be the Savior of the World and bring ultimate peace.
Matthew's genealogy begins with Abraham, the father of the Jewish nation, shows the relationship of Jesus to all Jews—he is their Messiah. This agrees with the theme and purpose of the book of Matthew—to prove that Jesus is the Messiah.
The purpose of the book of Luke is to give a record of the life of Christ as the perfect human Savior. Therefore, the genealogy record of Luke goes back to Adam, to demonstrate the relationship of Jesus to His creation.

He is the Savior of the world.
As you open your gifts this Christmas, as many of your ancestors did in the past, remember the best gift is to know that Jesus' genealogy proves He is Savior and Lord. It also proves that Jesus was and his later sacrificial death was for everyone. The King, the popper, and yes, even the prostitute.

Genealogy doesn’t lie.

Have you tested your DNA or searched your ancestry? Or is a kit under your tree?
We’d love to hear about it.
Join the Conversation.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

God’s Itinerary Will Not Be Denied-Jesus Born in Bethlehem


Merry Christmas, The entire month of December Jake McCandless and Cherrilynn Bisbano partner to bring you prophesies Jesus fulfilled at His birth.

May the prophecies Jesus fulfilled bring you closer to Him as we look back for strength to go forward.

Jesus Born in Bethlehem


Have you ever watched a mystery thriller series? In early episodes, the guilty suspect is revealed to the viewers, but the investigators in the show have no clue. You know how the series of shows will end, but you have no idea how the show will reach the conclusion. The current situations make that final scenario seem impossible to be fulfilled. You sit on the edge of your seat, dying to see the conclusion.

God works like this. He reveals our final destination —but the winding road to the journey's end, makes His revelation seem impossible. 
One example of this in Scripture is Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem.

The prophet Micah prophesied seven hundred years before Jesus’ birth that the promised Messiah would come from Bethlehem.
             
But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times. - Micah 5:2 (NIV84)


With this prophecy in mind, imagine that you are an omniscient spectator in the first century watching the unfolding of Jesus’ arrival. As the viewer, you know the Messiah must come from Bethlehem. Yet, for nearly nine months Bethlehem wouldn’t even be in the picture.
Mary and Joseph individually receive news that Mary is pregnant with the Messiah. But it couldn’t be the Messiah for she lives in Nazareth—seventy miles from Bethlehem. So, either the couple is wrong about the Messiah or God is not going to keep His Word. This would make Micah a false prophet or God a liar.

You continue to watch as the plot twists lead Mary in different directions, none of which bring her to Bethlehem. For a brief moment, it seems Joseph will turn Mary in for adultery, and the locals would stone her to death. But Joseph contemplated divorcing her quietly. Suddenly an Angel of the Lord appeared to him and said, 
“Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.  She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” (Mathew 1:20-21)
He believed the angel and married Mary.
 The story would take another turn as Mary travels to Jericho to visit Zachariah and Elizabeth. The trip brought her closer to Bethlehem, but there was still no reason to travel there. Mary returned to Nazareth, time appears to be running out. Will Micah’s prophecy be vindicated? 
While hope for fulfillment seemed bleak, God is at work. Two surprises enterer the story—the Roman census and Joseph’s Davidic roots.

Happening behind the scenes was the rest of the story. The Roman census forced Joseph to travel to Bethlehem leaving us with this fulfillment recorded by Luke.

 Joseph also went up…to Bethlehem …while they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son... - Luke 2:4–7 (NIV84)



They weren’t thwarted in the birth of Jesus.

They weren’t denied in the countless similar “mystery thrillers” in Scripture.


And they won’t be denied in your life.
How does knowing Jesus fulfilled over 100 Prophesies change your life?  Join the conversation.

Jake McCandless is the Executive Director and lead speaker for Prophecy Simplified. Jake is an award-winning author and writes for several publications. He has a Bachelor of Arts in Bible from Central Baptist College and an Advanced Masters of Divinity from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Previously, he spent twelve years at Mount Vernon Baptist Church in Mount Vernon, AR  as a lead pastor and directed a seminary extension center. Before that Jake served as a student pastor and youth evangelist. Jake is married to Amanda. She’s an elementary school teacher. They have two daughters Andrea and Addison. Jake enjoys time with family, ministry, hunting, bass fishing, coffee, and college football. 
 Learn more about Jake and follow his writings at www.jakemccandless.comhttp://www.prophecysimplified.com/

Cherrilynn Bisbano is a writer, speaker, literary agent, and editor.  Her passion for helping people is evident.  She loves Christ, coffee, chocolate, and cats.
Managing Editor at Serious Writer & Almost an Author, Acquisitions Reader and Junior Agent for Literary Agent, Cyle Young. Host of Genre Chat www.seriouswriter.com
Speaker with Women Speakers & By Design ministries, Leadership Certified by Christian Leaders Institute. http://bit.ly/2j9vzaT
She is a two-time winner of Flash Fiction Weekly. You can find her published in Amramp, More to Life (MTL), Christian Rep, Refresh, Southern Writer, and other magazines. Cherrilynn is a contributor to, Breaking the Chains.
 Cherrilynn proudly served in the Navy and Air National Guard earning the John Levitow Military leadership award.  She lives with her fifteen-year-old son, Michael, Jr., and husband of 19 years, Michael, Sr.   





Tuesday, November 14, 2017

RED BASKET SERVANT

God called me to be a Red basket servant. 
Yes one of those
red plastic baskets some restaurants use to serve fries, chips, and chicken wings?
Let me explain.
As I stormed the gates of heaven begging God to use me, He showed me a picture in my head of a red basket with some pita bread, broken into pieces. 
The image made me hungry-sorry Lord.
The Spirit impressed upon my heart, You are the basket...my servant, always be prepared. Now go to the Bible and study both stories of Jesus feeding the multitudes.

I opened my Bible, after I had a snack.
I read:
Mathew 14:10-21 The story of Jesus feeding the 5000 after the beheading of his cousin, John the Baptist.
Jesus was heartbroken. He tried to go to a desolate place by himself but He was followed by people who wanted to be healed.  He had compassion on them, He healed them and then fed them.
Mathew 15:29-39  Jesus was on a mountain healing many. He was joyful; the people glorified the God of Israel because of all the miracles.  Then Jesus fed them.

As I compared these two stories the Spirit echoed in my heart,
Like Jesus, I will use you to feed many. Whether you are in physical or emotional pain, in a desolate place, or on a mountain top, filled with joy.  No matter the circumstance, you are my servant. I will use you when I want and how I want. Always be prepared.
I thought of the red plastic basket in my vision.  It has no great value, but it held bread, the sustenance of life.
I hold The Word of God in my head and heart, which can nourish many.  

God tests me as His Red Basket Servant.  
He has called me to serve out of fear, pain and joy.

At times I'm so weak and tired, I don't want to minister to anyone.  I want someone to minister to me.
Have you ever felt like that?
God reminds me that I'm a Red Basket Servant and it's His Spirit that empowers me to serve, no matter how much pain I'm in.
I have served reluctantly, but God changes my heart when I see how He is glorified through my obedience.

My favorite Red Basket moments are when God uses me to encourage a group of ladies. I love to teach the Word and serve God in this capacity. I am so excited when I observe the Spirit change someone's countenance from sorrow to joy.

No matter when or where I serve, my Savior reminds me that I serve in His power, for His glory.   

We are all Red Basket Servants, called to be broken and used by our Master, when and where He desires.


At times I feel more like a basket case than a Red Basket Servant.
God reminds me that He loves me no matter what.
We get to serve the King of the Universe.
Please share with me how God has used you as His Red Basket Servant. 
Don't be shy, join the conversation.
It's all for His glory.
Praise His holy name.


Monday, October 16, 2017

What did I say wrong this time?

"Christians are hypocrites!" my friend said.
"We can be," I replied. "We are not perfect, and will mess up."
"I can't believe in a God or a religion that allows so much evil, the babies, animals being tortured, death....I just can't believe a god would just watch and not do anything," she said.
As we sat at my kitchen table, she continued.
"My other religious friend sends me all this stuff. about Jesus. I don't read it and I don't like it."
"There is a difference between a religion and a relationship with Jesus. Religion in man's way to God, Jesus is Gods way, through a relationship. Jesus died on the cross so we can now have access to God" I said.
"I can't believe in your religion!"
My heart broke. I want my friend to know the love and peace of Jesus.
She keeps calling my relationship a religion. I know she does not understand.
After many months and conversations, prompted by her questions about the origin of sin, Jesus' life, and the fall of man, she still replied,
"I can't believe in your religion!"
 I looked her in the eye,
"Can you do one thing and I will never mention this again?"
"Depends on what it is," she replied.
"Jesus is a historical figure. He claimed to be God and proved it by dying on the cross, being buried and rising from the dead. This event is recorded by historians that were not believers. His resurrection was witnessed by over 3000 people. Please ask yourself the following question, 'Who is Jesus and what am I going to do with that information?'"
My friend shrugged her shoulders, looked at me and said, "May I have some more soup."
Recently she has heard other born-again believers say things like,
"Christians are held to a higher standard than non-believers."
"God hates gays."
"God is mad at all those people so he sent the hurricane to punish them."
As my brothers and sisters in Christ, may I ask you a question? Should we say these things?
Will non-believers want to know our loving God when His children talk like this?
I've been guilty of building a wall, instead of building a bridge.(tweet this)
I pray daily, sometimes all day, for God to cultivate my friend's heart to receive the Word. 
I ask God to show me what I may say or do that hinders her from seeing HIM.
I know it is God who calls and saves, but I desire to be a light that reflects the love of God into her life.

My friend has some good questions.
How would you answer my friend?
Will you join me in prayer and ask God for wisdom and discernment when speaking to others?