- Susan Shultz
A Season of ACTS
Updated: Feb 22
("God's Unfolding Message" Series 1, Post 16)
*Please pray about going back and reading previous blogs or watch the videos, both under “God’s Unfolding Message” for God builds upon His message with each word.
With no real thought I grabbed a lavender shirt to wear to church. It wasn’t until after I put it on and once again expressed my struggles to my husband, that I started to think that maybe God had inspired me to grab this shirt for a reason. For, what came to my mind is that not only did that color represent Spring and the fact that the day was May Day, May 1st, but that this also happened to be the shirt I was wearing when I was inspired to make a video in my gloom testifying to how God had called me to keep testifying and putting myself out there even if no one was looking. He had said to me then, “Stars don’t stop shining just because people don’t look up.” I couldn’t argue with that, or with the fact that there are countless stars in an unfathomable universe that only God sees. Yet they still exist to glory and please Him. God had told me months ago that I would go through dark days and that they would be based on the fact that people wouldn’t be paying attention to me. This is my dirty laundry. And yes, I am far from perfect. I know it isn’t about the numbers and having tons of followers, but yet, it is a struggle to know God wants you to step out in faith and put yourself out there when no one is looking. It is also hard knowing that God has spoken so many wonderful words through me that no one is hearing. I often don’t understand.
Well, God addressed my concerns in church, bringing my focus back to Him. Although I won’t share all that He spoke directly to me, I have been inspired to share a portion with you. When I got to church, God said to me:
Why downcast oh My daughter? I have given you no reason to doubt Me. I told you this dark season would be upon you but hope for a new day will arise Susan. Darkness is about to flee and My ever-increasing faithfulness will overtake your life, so much so that you will find yourself a testifier like never before. Be the light Susan. Never stop shining even when you feel alone, distant, and uninspired for you are My Star and I desire for you to shine even when you don’t feel like it.
Never stop shouting out My goodness. Means to an end. Who are you to define the means or My timing? Seasons come and go but My calling on your life has never changed - Testify by any means possible and NEVER stop even when no one is looking. A flower on a mountainside that no one ever sees still brings Me glory and great delight. Be this flower My Lily Star. Never stop blooming. Never stop shining, even if for only Me. I am worth it.
What powerful words. If you haven’t read or watched any of my precious messages, my name means Lily Star and the call from God for me to Shine like a Star and to Bloom where I am planted, have been consistent themes within my life. They should be consistent themes in all of our lives.
After God was done addressing me, or renewing my focus, He told me to write this down for all of us:
Don’t take Me for granted My people for I am everywhere and in everything whether you choose to see it or not. Within the good times, I am there. Within the bad times, I am also there. My purpose exists within both, within both the mountaintops and valleys. So, ask Me. Ask Me what each season is for and what I wish to teach you through both. You were not made for this world. Your seasons on earth are meant to teach you and refine you for eternity. So, seek Me to see what lessons I wish to come forth through your seasons, whether good or bad. When you do, the good seasons will become greater and the negative feeling seasons will bear fruit, fruit you will partake of when you go through even harder seasons. Seasons come and seasons go but ALL belong to Me and ALL have great purpose. It is your job to seek Me and seek the answers. It is the glory of God to conceal a matter and your honor as My kings and queens to seek it out. Be seekers! True seekers. I will not disappoint for I always show up within the lives of true seekers. You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with ALL your heart. I will be found by you, every single one of you. Believe. Believe and take possession of what is truly yours - a relationship with Me in which I WILL manifest My presence within your heart, mind, and life. I long to show up in your life. I long to reveal Myself to you, but you MUST take the first step in faith and BELIEVE that I will show up in your life and manifest My presence. I am real. I am God. I can and will show up in your life, no matter what you are going through, no matter the season, for I am the Giver of life, the Giver of all seasons, good and bad. But what is bad to Me? Nothing. It is simply another means to My end. It is simply a season meant to refine you and empower you onward to your true final destination - the Kingdom of God, a Kingdom overflowing with refined, perfected kings and queens. So, arise My people. Arise and shine. Shine for your Risen Savior. He conquered death so whom and what should you truly fear? No one and nothing. NO ONE and NOTHING. Fear only Me. IT IS TIME TO RISE! IT IS TIME TO SHINE! No more going off emotions or even worse, fear. Fear be GONE! I command you to flee. You have been defeated. Faith, hope, and love. These words My children are not fantasy or myth, therefore put them into true practice. Have faith, pure faith. Have hope, pure hope. And have love, TRUE love for ALL. You will not be disappointed when you truly put My words into motion for it is not enough to simply know My Word, Scripture, but you MUST also LIVE IT! You must actually be living epistles. You must be the Word made flesh for a time such as this, Christ’s Hands and feet and voice. So, walk Christ. Speak Christ. And realize you have the very presence of Me within you to actually be Christ in this world. You have been set free and commissioned My people, so LIVE. Live life within My Spirit. Don’t take Him for granted. You may think you aren’t My people but I assure you He is quenched. Most of My people have never truly experienced Him fully which means they have not truly experienced ME fully. Oh, you may have a great head knowledge. You may know Scripture well but life in Me was never meant to stay head knowledge but transformed heart knowledge. I was meant to be lived, not just known. Live Me! Breathe Me! Experience Me fully! This is the abundant life I long for you to live. You live this way and every valley will feel like the mountaintop and every mountaintop like Heaven itself for My Kingdom is now. NOW My people. Now. Not someday but NOW! So, step in FULLY, not half-heartedly, but with all your heart, strength, and mind. Oh, what joy awaits you there - Me in all My fullness. Come My people. Step into that desert. You will find Me there and I will lead you to the promised land.
After this, when worship was ending, my pastor was inspired to reference Luke 24:13-33 which is where Jesus appears to two on the road to Emmaus. He mentioned that they were sad until they realized that they had been walking with Jesus all along. He said, “He walks with us, not only in the good times but also the bad times . . . Open your eyes to the fact that He has been there all along.” He then said as a prayer-like statement, “You will even be in the fire with us. You will even be in the celebration with us.” What a confirmation to the words I wrote down!
My pastor’s sermon revolved around the Book of Acts. He said, “It’s known as the acts of the Apostles but it is really the acts of Jesus and the Holy Spirit through the Apostles.” Amen!!! My pastor then referenced how Jesus spent 40 days with the Apostles before leaving earth and then mentioned that Jesus also previously had spent 40 days in the desert, where He was even tempted by Satan, before His ministry on earth had begun. With that statement these words came to my mind:
“Don’t despise the desert or hard seasons for God has a reason for them and here is proof that even Jesus had them and that they were used to empower and prepare Him for GREAT things, GREAT purpose, for God’s fulfillment. God has and always will bring all His children through the desert. He brought the Israelites through the desert and He brought Jesus through the desert, not only as a man but also as a child for as a child He was sent to Egypt with Mary and Joseph. So, do not despise the desert or the fact that God calls us there, for as a child of God, this is a process that proves we are not illegitimate. God disciplines those He loves and the desert, or seasons that give us a negative feeling, are truly useful and needed in order to become the children, the people, the Kingdom, that God desires us to be.”
My pastor then brought up Isaiah 53:2b (NIV) which says, “He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.” Boy, did that verse actually make me think about myself. God is constantly calling me to shine, to testify, and to put myself out there, yet I don’t naturally shine. I have never been someone that woos people and I definitely have no ability of my own to get people to take notice of me, yet God still calls me to shine, to testify, and to put myself out there. This whole process, is just one more way that first, God is and will get the glory, but can and will continue to use my life as great symbolism. For, we are all meant to be like Christ. No matter if you are outwardly beautiful, handsome, or have a wooing personality or not, we are called to be vessels for Christ’s light, not our own. God got the glory through Jesus’ life and appearance because He made sure that what wooed people to Christ and His message wasn’t due to His natural appearance. Instead, it was His love and His message. Well, it is our time! As my pastor kept pointing out, we are still within the time of Acts. Like as the Apostles, it is still time, our time, to do wonders through the power of the Holy Spirit, to be Christ’s continued wooers be being His modern hands and feet and voice.
The purpose of my pastor’s sermon was to highlight what Jesus spent time teaching the Apostles within the 40 days before He left. He spent time teaching them what they must know for the work/battle that laid ahead of them, for we know what lied ahead of them but they did not. The first point that my pastor brought up was that Jesus wants to be seen, that He wants to manifest His presence. He showed up many times over the course of those 40 days.
The second point that was made is that we must have dependance on Christ alone. In John 21:2-6 we see the disciples return to what they know and were good at, fishing, yet once again they caught nothing. As my pastor said, “Even though you are good at something, you need to be dependent on God alone.” As Jesus says in John 15:5 (NIV), “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” 2 Corinthians 3:5 (NIV) says, “Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God.”
The third point my pastor made was that we need passion for His presence. We need a hunger for God. In John 21:7-8 we see that once they recognized that the man on the shore was Jesus that Peter jumped into the water and swam towards Him. As my pastor said, “You may be the only one seen as a fanatic. Everyone else stayed in the boat. Peter didn’t care what the other’s thought.”
The final point my pastor made was that it’s not the size of your net, that every fish counts. He said, “God will use little nets to do big things when He is in it . . . You need to learn to minister without excuses. ‘If only I had (fill in the blank).’” He then said that “The overflow is God’s capacity,” and referenced Matthew 14:13-21 where Jesus fed the five thousand with very little means. That just now made me think of God’s call on my life to “Testify by any means possible.” “Any means,” God can and will use it all. I, we, must keep our focus.
What God brought strongly to my mind at this point was something He said to me long ago, back when I believed in His promise that He would bring my bridegroom back to me but was still waiting. In a rather angry tone, I yelled at God, asking, “What are You waiting for?” In my sin, He didn’t have to answer me but in grace He chose to, and probably gave me the most profound, all-encompassing statement He has ever given to me, one that completely defines His character. For, He responded to me with, “For the moment when My glory will be best revealed.” He silenced me. How could I argue with that? I couldn’t and in that moment, for the first time ever, I got a true glimpse into the root nature of God. It truly is all about Him and His glory. He is the Potter and I am the clay. And, He has NOT changed.
I needed this reminder, which is why God brought this to my mind for I have found myself within this same place yet again, believing in God’s next promise to me for a ministry but wondering what He is waiting for. I struggle, as you know, with why God would call me to put myself out there and speak so many prophetic words through me, even though no one really seems to be listening. But this is why the last point my pastor made of “Every Fish Counts” was the one I needed the most. In Luke 5:8-11 Jesus called the disciples to be fishers of men. In John 21:10-11 (NIV), after this scenario was repeated during Jesus last 40 days, we read, “Jesus said to them, ‘Bring some of the fish you have just caught.’ So Simon Peter climbed back into the boat and dragged the net ashore. It was full of large fish, 153, but even with so many the net was not torn.” My pastor pointed out that the exact number of fish they caught was recorded this time, 153. He then said, “It’s okay to count fish but when you’re fishing for men, every fish counts.” He then pointed out the difference between Luke 5 and John 21. In Luke 5, Jesus gets into Peter’s boat and after they catch lots of fish their net begins to break. In John 21, Jesus isn’t in the boat. He is out of the boat and this time their net doesn’t break. The symbolism is amazing. In Luke 5, Jesus shows that He is there to be with them, and calls them, calls them to be fishers of men. The net breaking symbolizes that the fish are not as important as men, as the people that Jesus wants to teach them how to catch for the Kingdom. In John 21, Jesus being out of the boat, on the shore, symbolizes the fact that He is leaving and that the next chapter of Acts, will be through them as fishers of men. These fish that they caught, even more so symbolize people which is why we see the exact number that is caught and that the net did not break. For, God sees everyone, loves everyone, and doesn’t want a single one to perish. Every person is accounted for, and God will not let our nets break. He will supply all our needs to accomplish the Act of being fishers of men.
As my pastor then said, “As He prepared them, He is preparing us because Acts is not over. We are onto chapter 29.” The Book of Acts has 28 chapters, but my pastor is correct, onto the next chapter. You know, I once asked God why He didn’t just take us all now and once again He gave me a profound answer that I couldn’t argue with. He said, “Because it isn't only about people. There is still an enemy out there.” He could have also said to this question that He is waiting for the moment when His glory will be best revealed. My friends, we are still within the times of Acts. We are still within an on-going battle. Like God said, it isn’t just about people, about us, but also about what God wants to accomplish through us. There are still fish to catch and there is also an enemy to defeat. But rest assured, we will overcome. We will overcome by the Blood of the Lamb, because Jesus spent time in the boat, or in this world, and shed His blood to overcome, and we will overcome by the Word of our testimonies – our Acts, our experiences of Christ in and through us in a new way, through the power of the Holy Spirit (Revelation 12:11).
People keep wanting Christ to come back and come back NOW, but we need to remember that Christ is gone for a reason. God has a reason that this “not in the boat season” is still going on. So, instead of fight it, embrace it. Act! Get to work. We have work to do. We have fish to catch and an enemy to defeat.
My pastor finished by talking about one of the first things the angles said to the women at the tomb. After telling them to go and tell the others, they specifically said, “and Peter” (Mark 16:7). Oh, what joy! Jesus is our Redeemer. He gives instant redemption. Barely out of the grave and barely words spoken, yet some of these words are “and Peter.” This was a sign of that instant redemption, that there is hope for all of us failures and broken vessels. Peter denied Christ at the most pivotal moment in Christ’s purpose on earth, yet forgiveness was at hand. As my pastor said, God says to us, “Your failure isn’t going to stop what I am going to do through you.”
What God then brought to my mind was one of His last messages through me about “Everything Lost Can Be Found; Everything Old Can Be Made New” where God spoke after a series of events led to my brother’s old broken glass table being fixed and made new. I finally got to see the new table and what God brought to my mind is what it is currently being used for. Still in my mom’s house, it currently due to its height and size, is being used for my daughter and niece to play with. They have been using it to have campouts and tea parties. But what great symbolism for God has talked about one of the main purposes of getting us to experience Him anew and to find our testimonies is to prepare future generations. That is also one of the main reasons for Acts chapters 1-28. This book of the Bible is to prepare this future generation. It isn’t just a good read my friends. It isn’t just Scripture to memorize. It is Scripture to LIVE! They are battle plans. They are their testimonies written down for future generations and I am SURE glad they wrote their experiences of Christ and the Holy Spirit down, aren’t you? I am so tired of the comments I get from people that tell me that the acts of the Holy Spirit and what was instilled at Pentecost were for them and not me. Whoa to you! Don’t be deceived for as God once said to me, there is still a battle going on and an enemy to fight. Satan is still here. Hopefully you can at least see that for the evidence of his existence is stronger than ever before. He knows there is a battle still going on, do you? As redeemed, new creations because of the Blood of the Lamb, let’s get to work, let’s start joining in the on-going battle that Jesus taught the Apostles to fight and that they in turn taught us to fight, for those still lost fish and for our future generations. Come Holy Spirit Come!
I loved that Sunday was May Day, the 1st of May for as God has alluded it is our time to BLOOM. I love the MercyMe song “This Life.” When I first sang it in 2010, I got the words wrong but have jokingly continued to sing it wrong every May as a sweet reminded between God and myself that I want Him to make the most of me every new Spring. For, the line goes, “Make the most of me,” but for a long time I thought it said, “Make the most of May.” Well, after church, alone in my car on the way to lunch I turned on that song yet again proclaiming to God to make the most of me in May and I love, LOVE, that I ended up behind a car all the way to my destination that had a license plate that read “May Day” for it was May Day. Let’s bloom. Let’s rise and shine. Let’s all pray to God to make the most of us within this New Spring that He promises is upon us. Amen and amen!