Today is the 41st day that we have been counting the omer.

Luke 24:49-53 (NLT), “And now I will send the Holy Spirit, just as my Father promised. But stay here in the city until the Holy Spirit comes and fills you with power from heaven.” Then Jesus led them to Bethany, and lifting his hands to heaven, He blessed them. While He was blessing them, He left them and was taken up to heaven. So they worshiped Him and then returned to Jerusalem filled with great joy. And they spent all of their time in the temple, praising God.”

Acts 1:8-11 (NLT), “’But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about Me everywhere – in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth’. After saying this, He was taken up into a cloud while they were watching, and they could no longer see Him. As they strained to see Him rising into heaven, two white-robed men suddenly stood among them. ‘Men of Galilee,’ they said, ‘why are you standing here staring into heaven? Jesus has been taken from you into heaven, but someday He will return from heaven in the same way you saw Him go!’”

Jesus had done all He could do to ensure that the disciples were convinced beyond any possibility of a doubt that He was alive. He had meals with them; He continued to teach them about the Kingdom of Heaven. He connected the dots for them from the prophets and through all the writings found in the Old Testament. He proved to them that He was the Messiah and would return to be the King over all the world. He knew all the persecution that would follow. He knew who would be the first to die for proclaiming that Jesus is the Messiah. And, He already knew who will be the last to die for faith in Jesus. For 40 days, He worked diligently to confirm His Father’s truths to them. He knew that they would be put on the witness stand and would have to be convinced beyond convincing that what He had told them was true. And now, He was leaving.

He commanded them to return to Jerusalem and stay there until they were baptized by the Holy Spirit. He did not ask them if they wanted to do that. He commanded them to do it. According to Jesus, it was essential, not optional. He knew that despite the fact that He had just spent 40 days confirming and reconfirming, teaching and reteaching, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit was the critical piece that would be required if they were going to ready to be put on the witness stand of the world. He knew that the methods that would be used to bring about their deaths would require the indwelling of the Holy Spirit if they were to stand firmly. So He commanded them to stay in Jerusalem.

If it was essential for them, it is essential for us. More believers are dying for their faith today than at any time throughout history. We in the United States have not been persecuted like those in the rest of the world. But as we come down to the end of this age, it would not surprise me if we begin to see terrible persecution. Will we be ready? Only through the power of the Holy Spirit will we be able to stand! This was His last command, the last thing on His mind before He left. We must not ignore this command. It is ESSENTIAL.

Pastor Ann

May 22, 2020


Today is our 40th day counting the omer.

In some places, today is called Ascension Day because 40 days after Jesus rose from the grave, He ascended from earth to heaven where He “sat down in the place of honor at God’s right hand” (Mark 16:19 NLT). Jesus had been with His disciples teaching them about the Kingdom of God. Paul told the Corinthians in 1 Corinthians 15:6 that Jesus was seen by more than 500 at one time after His resurrection, “the majority of whom are still alive, though some have died.”

What a day that must have been for the disciples! They had been following Him through all the days of ministry and had been so elated when they discovered that He really had risen from the dead. To have Him there with them for another 40 days must have been the icing on top of the cake! But now they have come unknowingly to the day that He would leave them, never to be physically seen again in their lives. Jesus took them over to Bethany, just a bit less than 2 miles from Jerusalem. There He finished reinforcing the most important things about the Kingdom of heaven. Suddenly, His feet started lifting off the ground! Maybe it was slow at first, but He just kept going up and up.

I do not know how long they stood and watched Him ascend. Evidently it was long enough for two angels to come and stand among them. They were probably still looking up when the two angels began talking to them. “You Galileans! Why are you standing, staring into space? This Yeshua, who has been taken away from you into heaven, will come back to you in just the same way as you saw Him go into heaven.” (Acts 1:11 CJB) I do not know what the disciples were thinking as they walked back to Jerusalem. Perhaps they were mulling over all the events in their minds. At some point, they remembered what the angels had said, “This Yeshua, who has been taken away from you into heaven, will come back to you in just the same way as you saw Him go into heaven.” They had so much work to do to proclaim to all the world that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, but the promise was forever in their minds – He’s coming back just like He left.

We most certainly would have been right with them staring up into the sky and outer space. Our thoughts and emotions would have probably been a very mixed bag. But as we stand here, almost 2000 years after He ascended, may we never forget that He will return in the same way that He departed. May we be so convinced that He will soon return that we will work harder than ever before to expand His Kingdom using all means possible! And, may God help us not to be caught flat-footed when He returns.

Pastor Ann

May 21, 2020


Today is the 39th day that we have been counting the omer.

The fourth chapter of Joshua has a very interesting statement found at the end of the crossing of the Jordon River. Twelve men have just picked up stones from the middle of the riverbed and brought them to the west bank. Joshua tells the people, “In the future, when your children ask, ‘What do you mean by these stones?’ you will answer them, ‘It’s because the water in the Yarden was cut off before the ark of the covenant of Yehovah; when it crossed the Yarden, the water in the Yarden was cut off; and these stones are to be a reminder for the people of Israel forever.’” (Joshua 4:6b-7 CJB)

The statement that jumps out to me the most is, “It’s because the water in the Yarden was cut off before the ark of the covenant of Yehovah; when it crossed the Yarden, the water of the Yarden was cut off….” Stop for a moment and read that verse again. Notice that the water was not cut off because of Joshua, it was not cut off because of the priests. The water was cut off because of the ark of the covenant! I do not know how long Joshua thought about what he was going to say, but what he did say was very profound.

His statement reinforces to us today the fact that it is not by might nor by power that things are accomplished, but “it is by My Spirit says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies” (Zechariah 4:6 NLT). If we ever get to the place that we think it is by human strength, force or ingenuity, our plans, or our great brainpower, we will fail. The Presence of God is what stopped the water in the Jordon just as His Presence stopped the water in the Red Sea, opening both so that the people could cross on dry land. Oh yes, people had their roles to play. Moses had to hold up his staff; Joshua had to give the order; the priests had to step into the water and stand firmly, but it was God’s Presence that commanded the water to move out of His way!

And it will be the same for us today. We will see Him work as we do exactly what He says. We cannot make it about us. It is simply us doing what He tells us to do. It is not about us doing something that we have thought up. It is about Him! My challenge to us today is that we carefully listen to Him and follow Him precisely. This requires an intentionally intimate relationship with the God of Heaven’s armies. Then, we can expect Him to show up and demonstrate His power and majesty to all who will have eyes to see and ears to hear.

Pastor Ann

May 20, 2020


Today is the 38th day that we have been counting the omer.

As we moved through the end of Deuteronomy, we found that God designated a new leader to lead the Israelites across the Jordan River and to bring them to possess the land that God had promised to their forefathers. That leader was none other than Joshua, the son of Nun. God had used Moses to deliver the Torah and now He commissioned Joshua to take the land.

It took two different leaders to get the job completed. Moses was the teacher; Joshua was the commander of troops. Moses had learned as he went. He argued with God from time to time. He stood in the gap between God and the Israelites particularly when God was ready to destroy the nation and start all over. He told God not to order the people to go forward if He, God, was not going with them. He was loyal and compassionate toward the people. He put up with the grumbling and complaining and became frustrated but instead of giving up, he treated them much as a father would treat children – sometimes being the disciplinarian and sometimes showing mercy and giving grace. At times, he saw them as children and at other times, he saw them as adults. His last instructions to them reflected his understanding that he could tell them the right way to conduct themselves until his last breath, but they would still choose to do their own thing. His personality was critical to bring Israel from the mindset of slaves to a mindset of freedmen.

But his successor had a different personality and mindset. As a military commander, he realized that he had to accomplish his mission to take this multitude from Point A to Point B while at the same time securing all of Points C, D and E. His thought processes were not so much those of a father encouraging his children to grow up as they were of a commander who knew what had to be done to reach the objective. I’m not sure where he learned combat maneuvers, but he was gifted from the first battle while Moses was still in charge, to the last battle in the Promised Land. The whole book of Joshua has a different feel. It was still the same God, but He was working through different personalities.

Both these men were taken by God from lowly beginnings. Moses was a shepherd on the back side of the desert in Midian when God called to him from the burning bush. He had to be poked, prodded and then built up to start the long trek of leading the children of Israel. We don’t see such an obvious uncertainty in Joshua, but if we look carefully, we find that God told Joshua three times and Moses told Joshua once to “Be strong, be bold; for you will cause this people to inherit the land I swore to their fathers I would give them. Only be strong and very bold in taking care to follow all the Torah which Moses my servant ordered you to follow…Haven’t I ordered you, ‘Be strong, be bold’? So don’t be afraid or downhearted, because Yehovah your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:6-9) Both men were uncertain that they were actually the ones who were called to do the work. They had to be reassured that they could do what God had called them to do. And they had to be reassured that God would be with them. But they chose to ask, listen, and follow the word of Yehovah. As a result, they were victorious.

The truth is, no matter the personality, victory is dependent upon courage or faith in God and obedience to His teachings. Our personalities are different, and God has called each of us to different pieces of His mission to expand His Kingdom. But there is one truth that does not change despite our differing personalities. We must know that the only way we can accomplish the task is by building up our faith in God and staying obedient to His teachings. The only way we can keep our faith and stay obedient is by intentionally choosing Him, His word, and developing intimacy daily with the Almighty.

May God help us to intentionally choose Him every minute of the day!

Pastor Ann

May 19, 2020


Today is the 37th day that we have been counting the omer.

As we come to the end of Deuteronomy, we find Moses blessing all the tribes of Israel individually. This is consistent with the Jewish tradition in which the father, as he nears death, blesses his children. In the 33rd chapter, Moses points out that the inheritance for the community of Jacob is the Torah, the teachings and requirements of Yehovah. All the blessings that could possibly be experienced will come through the Torah. It is like a treasure box that is jammed full of the best things, both physical and spiritual.

Additionally, Moses looks forward to the ultimate fulfillment of God’s promise to His people. Deuteronomy 33:5 (CJB) says, “Then a king arose in Yeshurun when the leaders of the people were gathered, all the tribes of Israel together.” (The term Yeshurun is a term of endearment for Israel.) Moses is looking forward to a time that is still to come. He is seeing a time when “the LORD became king in Israel” (NLT). It appears that Moses is referencing the time when Jesus the Messiah will rule over all the tribes of Israel and the world from His throne in Jerusalem.

How do we apply these things to our lives? How do they help us intentionally deepen our relationship with Jesus the Messiah? First, I think that God wants us to see His teachings and requirements to be holy, as inexplicably marvelous promises, filling our days with goodness and richness that can be found in no other place. As our spirits and souls continually seek increased intimacy with the Almighty, He pours out blessings that cannot be numbered! And these blessings are not only spiritual, but they are also physical! Oh, that we would come to the place as David did when he wrote in Psalms 119:97, “How I love Your Torah! I mediate on it all day.” Second, I think God wants us to recognize that the time of Jesus’ return is remarkably close at hand. All the tribes of Israel are back in the land that God promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Israel became a nation in one day, and now their capital is Jerusalem. Time is marching quickly forward to fulfill everything that God said would occur. May the Holy Spirit help us work diligently and deliberately to enlarge His Kingdom up to the very moment of His return!


Pastor Ann

May 18, 2020