Wednesday, June 22, 2016

"Peace in the Storm"

If you are in a storm, READ THIS!

Have you ever longed for peace?  Searched for joy?  One of my favorite places is sitting on the balcony during our family beach vacation. I am always mesmerized by the ocean crashing against the shore. I have said on numerous occasions that this is my happy place.  As I look across the beautiful methodical movements in this massive body of water, I know that the seas are not always so calm.  Storms WILL come and disrupt the peaceful scenery before me.
I am reminded of Mark 4:35-5:20, when Jesus and His disciples got in a boat to cross over to the other side of the shore.  Once in the boat and on their way, Jesus laid down to rest while a storm arose and began to rock the boat.  His disciples became afraid and worried for their safety and their lives.  I have to admit, I find some comfort in knowing I'm not the only one who, on occasion, worries and frets in the midst of the storm.  However, this time as I read over this scripture, the response from Jesus, took on a whole new meaning to me, as if the light just came on.  It occurred to me that, we as Christians, walk with Jesus on a daily basis.  We talk with Him, experience His power and might and love and grace and freedom.  However, when storms come or the boat gets rocked a bit, our first response is to fret and worry and doubt.  Jesus was in the boat.  Just like the disciples, we immediately move into panic mode as if we have to WAKE Jesus up in our lives in order to be rescued.  We proclaim, "Don't you care if we perish?"  All the while Jesus is with us and hasn’t changed. 

I love what Jesus did in response to the disciples question.  He got up, turned to the storm and rebuked it and said, "Quiet! Be Still!"  And it obeyed and calmed.  Then, He turned to the disciples and asked, “why are you afraid?" "Do you still have no faith?".  This seems so odd because our natural response is to be afraid in the storm, but Jesus has authority over the storm!  I believe Jesus was showing us something so powerful at that moment.  I believe He was showing the disciples that they have been given authority over the storms in their lives.  That even in the midst of chaos, turmoil, fear, and disaster, there is a place called peace that we can reside when we understand that Jesus is in our boat.  

When Jesus rebuked the wind and the waves, there was a bigger picture at play that He wanted the disciples to see. Romans 14:17 reminds us, “The Kingdom of God is righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit”.  So here's what He did.  He declared "peace!" and "calm!" Not only to the wind and waves but across the waters all the way to the shore, where there was a man who was demon possessed and living in utter torment. A man who had no righteousness, peace or joy. He lived in inner turmoil and chaos day and night.  Jesus wanted to demonstrate that His very presence in our lives can bring that order and unity in our lives. The peace that was declared caused a chain reaction to where it demanded a response. Not only did the elements of nature come into submission to the voice of the one who created it, but on the other side of the storm there was freedom in progress.  Our response to the storm will determine what happens on the other side. Jesus didn't just rebuke the wind and the waves but rather the outcome of the storm.  So many times we get so focused on the storm, we don't see that there will be an aftermath to that storm.  Matthew 6:33 says,  "But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well."  The very declaration of peace caused the storm in the demon possessed mans life to submit and fall at the feet of Jesus when He arrived on the other side of the storm.  Are you seeing this?!  Jesus' very presence in the storm stirred up the desire for righteousness in that man's life and as a result he was set free and he was brought into a place of PEACE and JOY.  We know this because the Bible says that when the people came out to see what had happened, they saw the man who HAD BEEN demon possessed, sitting there dressed and in his right mind (peace).  Then Jesus told the man to go and share what had happen to him with his family so that his family would be restored (Joy).  
What I have learned is that, while storms are inevitable, and circumstances are at times out of my control, I can walk in peace and joy at all times when I understand true righteousness and faith in Jesus being in my life.  The dictionary describes faith as this, "complete trust or confidence in someone or something".  The question we have to ask ourselves is this, "do we completely trust God in all things?" I know I trust Him when life is going great, or am I really just trusting myself?  To fully trust God is to submit and walk in obedience during the great and during the not so great. Seek first God's kingdom and righteousness and peace and joy will be your constant companion.   
On the boat with His disciples, Jesus was speaking peace to the very spirit of man.  He clarified this again when He said in John 14:27, "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid." Our response to fear needs to change, and as a result, the aftermath will be one that brings freedom.  We are called to walk in daily peace no matter the circumstances or situation.  Peace is not an emotion but rather a place in Jesus that our spirits reside.  
Today if you are walking thru a storm, then I encourage you to get up and see Jesus in the storm with you and speak God’s truth and His words and declare "Peace!, Be still!"  Allow the authority that Christ has given you to defeat the plans of the enemy in your life and cross over to the other side into freedom! Learn how to worship where you should have died to get to the other side!  Isaiah 26:3 says, "You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you."  The storm is not the problem.  It stirs our faith to then respond and activate our faith and trust in the almighty God to experience peace and joy like we've never seen before.  What you call a tombstone, God calls a mile marker!  Life is a great big adventure with God, embrace the journey!

For more on finding peace in the midst of your storm, watch Karen share on Episode 3 of The Breathing Room.  Click the link below:

Friday, May 20, 2016

Encounter At The Well

I have traveled across the world speaking a message of hope and restoration, and the statement that I hear over and over again is this: “I’m so dry and exhausted. There has got to be more to this life that I am living.”
There is a cry coming from the throne of God for an awakening to take place in this generation. The busyness and struggle of everyday life can not only exhaust us but also strain our relationship with God! One morning God spoke to my heart and said that the best word to describe how most of us feel is dehydrated!
“We are so thirsty!” Those are the words my family echoed late one afternoon after we had finished a long hike into the mountains. In our carelessness we had not carried enough water for our journey. Luckily we made it out of the woods to the water bottle waiting for us in our car, which was parked at the end of the hiking trail.
Have you ever felt that way—dry, thirsty, and desperate for refreshment? I have learned that, too often, you don’t even realize you’re thirsty or dehydrated until it’s too late in your journey. By that time it has taken a toll on your body, both physically and mentally, and your body screams for refreshment.
The same is true of the life journey. So many people are thirsty and desperately seeking relief for the issues that have left them empty, parched, and exhausted. They are desperately seeking answers!
Life has a way of depleting our spiritual “wells.” It’s time to head back to the well to get refilled. The Bible is filled with the answers we need. In the story of a woman Jesus met at Jacob’s well, the Bible talks about our desperation and thirst, and provides the relief we are seeking.
In John 4:10 Jesus told the woman, “If you knew the generosity of God and who I am, you would be asking me for a drink, and I would give you fresh, living water” (The Message).
So very often, we go to the well out of desperation. With our buckets in hand, we present our cases to God. We pour out everything to Him, dumping our guilt, shame, fears, concerns, insecurities, anxiety, and sins. Rarely, however, do we drink of the life-giving water He wants to provide. That water would keep us refreshed and free from spiritual dehydration; but instead, we walk away still dry and thirsty, without receiving the living water He offers freely.
The “Well Experience”
As a young girl I was lonely, insecure, and hopelessly searching for identity and purpose. One hot, muggy, Florida morning, while sitting alone on a concrete bench in the middle of the school courtyard, I began a journey that would change the course of my life forever. There on that bench, I learned to hear the voice of God as He sat beside me and talked with me.
This is the place where Jesus sits, on the well of Jacob (the deceiver), so that we can see truth clearly and live in continual freedom and joy and peace. That is where I found Him that day, on a concrete bench that became my personal “well experience” with Jesus. Throughout my ensuing years as a wife, mom, pastor’s wife, and evangelist, I have had many more encounters that have led me to taste the living water. Those encounters have changed me from a dry and barren land to a fountain that is able to pour out and lead others to their own well experiences with the Savior.
There is a well experience for everyone. It’s that moment when Jesus sits down to talk with you alone. The Bible says that Jesus sat down at Jacob’s well (John 4:6). In doing so He set the stage for a supernatural encounter with God. The power of the encounter! It is the moment when Jesus silences the voice of the deceiver (the enemy) in your life. It is a divine appointment, a specific time when God “shows up” on your behalf. The moment is marked by His presence, power, and deliverance. It is a realization that change has been waiting on you, and there is more avail- able than what you have settled for in your life so far.
This message is for those who long to walk to the front and worship in God’s presence but feel that the guilt and shame of the past get in their way and keep them chained to their seats. It is for those who feel they don’t matter or don’t deserve to have a real relationship with a loving, caring, healing Savior—those who have become too tired, overwhelmed, and dry to fight the enemy.
God is waiting on you. In the middle of your desert, in a life that might feel like a wasteland, He has streams of refreshing, life-giving water. All you have to do is show up and drink, and you will never thirst again.
Our physical bodies can go without water for only three days before they start shutting down. At that point we become unable to function as we were created to, and our minds start playing tricks on us. In the same way, when we aren’t regularly filled up spiritually, we are unable to function properly as Christians. Because of spiritual dehydration, our hope deteriorates, we lose focus, and we become ineffective in life.
As you take this journey with me, I challenge you to open yourself up to the God encounters, the well experiences that will change you from the inside out. In them, you’ll be transformed for a lifetime, not just a moment.
No matter where you come from or what is in your past, God still wants to spend time with you, so take these words to heart:
Forget all that [is behind you]—it is nothing com- pared to what I am going to do. For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.
—Isaiah 43:18–19, NLT
He wants to set you free and give you a fresh start. He issues second chances upon request. It’s time for you to realize that your life matters and that God loves you and has a purpose for your life. You’re not here by chance. He is waiting to have a personal relationship in which He walks with you and talks with you and leads you on an amazing adventure full of life and joy and peace and fulfillment.
Buckle up, because this journey will force you to challenge everything you thought was normal in your weary life. God uses the dirty, messed up, forgotten nobodies; He heals and sets them free and uses them to clean up this messy world. It happened to the woman at the well. She didn’t deserve the kindness Jesus gave her, but He decided that she was worth His time. God had bigger plans for her than she had for herself—and not just for her, but also for those she would encounter.
As you embark on this journey let me ask you: Does God know where you are today? Does He know your circumstances, issues, and struggles? The answer is absolutely! He knows, and He is preparing an encounter just for you and Him to have a conversation about that plan for your life. He has called you to rise up! If you will allow Him, He will walk you through a journey to find freedom, joy, fulfillment, and purpose as you read these pages.
Your journey is both temporal and eternal. There will come a day when you and I will hear these words: “The Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come!’ And let the one who hears say, ‘Come!’ Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life” (Rev. 22:17).
He is waiting to meet with you. Are you thirsty today? Are you dehydrated by the world and the issues of life? Will you come and drink?

You can order "Dehydrated" by Karen Schatzline by clicking here.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Quenching Your Thirst

Dear friends,

I have always wanted to write a blog. After years of writing articles and then the release of my new book, "Dehydrated," I decided to begin this new blog. This will be a blog dedicated to seeing lives refreshed. Please help me spread the word. Feel free to leave comments! - Karen Schatzline

I believe that our nation and the whole world are in the greatest famine in history. The famine I speak of is not in faraway sub-Saharan Africa or Southern Asia. It is in our midst - and it is much worse than anything we could ever imagine. This famine is in the hearts of men and women who are dehydrated and desperate for the water of the Holy Spirit. It is a famine for truth, and for the Word and presence of God.

Truth is so despised in our culture that it is now seen as hate speech. In this toxic environment, the enemy of truth is silence. People are starved for truth! My husband, Pat, and I have traveled across the nation, and everywhere we go, we see people at the altars, bent over with the deep longing for refreshing. They are thirsting for the truth - the streams of living water.

The truth changes us. Jesus declared in John 8:32, "You shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free." The woman at the well was desperate for the living water. Her encounter with Jesus awakened her to the truth of God's freedom and purpose.

We must awaken this thirsty generation to their season of refreshing! We ought to have a burden for them! There is a prophet in the Bible we rarely hear about. His name is Amos, which means "burden bearer." Amos carried a very heavy burden. He lived in a time when indulgence and perversion had overtaken the people of God. They worshipped God but had very little relationship with Him, much like many people today.

What I love about Amos is that he came out of nowhere. He didn't come from a long lineage of prophets. He was a simple shepherd and farmer who had a word from God.

Amos was a "minor prophet" with a big burden. Amos made clear in his writings that he did not come from a family of prophets, nor did he even consider himself one. Rather, he was "a grower of sycamore figs" as well as a shepherd (Almost 7:14-15). Amos' connection to the simple life of the people made its way into the center of his prophecies as he showed a heart for the oppressed and the voiceless in the world.

Amos wrote about injustice and made sure people knew that God was their Judge. In today's culture, we work so hard to tell people about God's love that we forget to remind them that He is also our Judge. Amos did not make that mistake. He knew that destruction was coming and used word pictures to get his message across. He was like the guy who stands on the corner holding a sign that says, "The end is near!" No on wants to make eye contact with a guy like that, but they desperately need to hear from him.

Jesus told the woman at the well that "whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water that I shall give him will become in him a well of water springing up into eternal life" (John 4:14). He also said that her people, the Samaritans, did not know whose they were worshipping (John 4:22). They had no idea what to worship. So when the woman met Jesus, she didn't even know what was missing in her life. She was lost and searching for answers because her people, her husbands and even her false religion had rejected her. She didn't know what she believed.

Then she was exposed to Jesus, who knew everything about her. He not only knew her past, but He loved her enough to awaken her future. She was suddenly aware of the living water that He offered and of her own thirst. It's time that we allow God to awaken our thirst again!

As we pursue the living water, we must lead others to it. In our pursuit of God, we should live so purely and passionately for Him that it produces a thirst for more of God in all whom we encounter. The culture is calling us to worship everything except the one true God. in their search for truth, many have settled for the lies that are disguised as the real thing.

We are in constant pursuit of things that can never fulfill us. Without God, fleshly desires, promotion, acceptance and selfish ambition only leave us empty. He is what we really need.

Our fulfillment must be in Him and Him alone. We must allow our parches spirits to engage a living God once again. The Bible declares: "Come! Say the Spirit and the Bride. Whoever hears, echo, 'Come! Is anyone thirsty? Come! All who will, come and drink, drink freely of the Water of Life!" (Rev. 22:17, MSG).