My classroom called life…Kingdom lessons

My desire is to abide

Hidden Meaning of Pomegranates November 29, 2007

Filed under: Revelation and Growth,Uncategorized — charredsmore @ 6:02 am


The Hidden Meaning of Pomegranates

  • Exodus 28:33–34 directed that images of pomegranates be woven onto the borders of Hebrew priestly robes. 1 Kings 7:13–22 describes pomegranates depicted in the temple King Solomon built in Jerusalem. Jewish tradition teaches that the pomegranate is a symbol for righteousness, because it is said to have 613 seeds which corresponds with the 613 mitzvot or commandments of the Torah. Interestingly, there have been studies that seem to show the legitimacy of this claim.

613 Mitzvot

The 613 Mitzvot or 613 Commandments (Hebrew: תריג מצוות transliterated as Taryag mitzvot; TaRYaG is the acronym for the numeric value of “613”are a list of commandments from God in the Torah. Jewish tradition holds that the Torah contains 613 distinct mitzvot.Traditionally, of these 613 commandments, 248 are mitzvot aseh (“positive commandments,” commands to perform certain actions) and 365 are mitzvot lo taaseh (“negative commandments,” commands to abstain from certain actions). Three-hundred and sixty-five corresponds to the number of days in a solar year, and 248 was believed to be the number of bones and significant organs in the human body.Three of the negative commandments fall under the category of yehareg ve’al ya’avor, meaning “One should let himself be killed rather than violate it”. These are murder, idolatry, and forbidden sexual relations.

Significance of 613

According to the Talmud (tractate Makkoth 23b), a Biblical verse states that Moses transmitted the “Torah” from God to the Jewish people: “Moses commanded us the Torah as an inheritance for the community of Jacob” (Deut. 33:04) However, there were two commandments which God delivered directly to the Jews: the first two of the Ten Commandments; these are phrased in the first person. The Talmud calculates that the gematria (numerical value) of the Hebrew word “Torah” is 611. Thus, Moses’s 611 commandments combined with the two directly from God add up to 613.Many Jewish philosophical and mystical works (e.g. by Baal ha-Turim, the Maharal of Prague and leaders of Hasidic Judaism) find allusions and inspirational calculations relating to the number of commandments. Other works dispute that exactly 613 mitzvot exist.The tzitzit (“knotted fringes”) of the tallit (“[prayer] shawl”) are connected to the 613 commandments by interpretation: principal Torah commentator Rashi bases the number of knots on a gematria: the word tzitzit (Hebrew: ציצת (Biblical), ציצית, in its Mishnaic spelling) has the value 600. Each tassel has eight threads (when doubled over) and five sets of knots, totalling 13. The sum of all numbers is 613. This reflects the concept that donning a garment with tzitzit reminds its wearer of all Torah commandments.

* Taken from Wikipedia.


Deborah Grace

Filed under: Revelation and Growth,The Word — charredsmore @ 5:52 am

When I asked God for the name by which He calls me, He told me Deborah Grace.  This is quite a story in itself, but I did want to share some revelation about Deborah from Judges – a book in the Old Testament.

Revelation on Deborah (Devora)

Taken from Judges 4 & 5

 A woman whose personal relationship with God affects the destiny of others and the inheritance of our King!  Give me a life like this Lord! 

·        Prophetess

·        Judge of Israel (Leader)

·        Married to Lappidoth

·        Held court under the Palm of Deborah

·        Settled disputes for Israel, wisdom lead her (wisdom = Christ)

·        Spoke to Barak with power and authority when speaking God’s words and direction.-No hesitation – only confidence.  This takes faith to speak to someone about the VICTORY that God will give.  Not only for a person, but a people group, and a nation! 

·        Barak leaned on her faith to get him on the battle ground.  “If you go with me, I will go.”  A man leaning on the faith of a woman?!?  This is powerful.  He trusted her.  Felt safe with her.  They had a brotherly/sisterly love.  -God is restoring these sibling relationships to be pure, and not  tainted by the enemy. 

·        She went with Barak to Kedesh.  She let him do his job to summon the 10,000 troops.  She walked with him.  We are to walk along side people, not taking over, but serving “under”.  Encouraging, mobilizing, equipping.

·        She let people use their giftings, she was not hungry for power or prestige, and she positioned them. – Let us have wisdom in the position you have given people, and support that.

·        She knows when to speak out and when to support.

·        She knows God’s timing and declares it!-Judges 4:14 “Up!  This is the day in which the Lord has delivered Sisera into your hand.  Has not the Lord gone out before you?” Deborah  spoke to Barak with such confidence, authority, and certainty of God’s will and timing.-Barak responded to her.  He heard the voice of the Lord speaking through her, which gave him confidence and faith in what the Lord was calling him to do.

·        The Lord sent the enemy to Barak and his men.  Then they were given complete VICTORY over the enemy, by the sword.  -This is a picture of God giving us victory over the enemy by His Word.

·        That day the nation of Israelgrew stronger against Jabin, the Canaanite King – until they destroyed him. -The Lord will increase our strength as we fight the spiritual battle, until the enemy is completely destroyed.  This can apply to specific strongholds in our life, family, city, nation.  Keep fighting!  He will increase your power and strength.

·        Judges 5 – song of Deborah (along with Barak)-Lord, give me a victory song!  Let me praise you with my lips all of my days! 

Please feel free to add anything the Lord has spoken to you about Deborah, I would love to hear your insight!


Cairo WILL be transformed. November 28, 2007

Filed under: Ministry Spotlight — charredsmore @ 7:22 pm

Cairo Video

Sara and Kristy put this video together in T-2 last year when we were in the process of applying for Extreme Makeover (Community Center addition).  I wanted to share it with you because it is amazing tool in describing the town in which I live and love.  Check it out when you have time. 

We have not recieved the Extreme Makeover, however the Lord has provided almost all of the things asked for in this video including: a new cieling for the gym, new sinks for the kitchen, a convection oven, painted walls, a new roof…

 The “Dies” sign has now burnt out!  For more on this story, read Sara’s entry below “The lights went out”



Filed under: Friend Spotlight,Travel — charredsmore @ 7:08 pm


1.  After Thanksgiving I had a nice visit with my sister.  We went to her apartment in Saint Paul and watched some movies while making jewelry.  I was able to connect with her roommate Sara who I had been a prayer partner for while she was in Alaska doing YW working with my good friend Amanda.  Random coincidence – NO “divine appointment” that my sister ends up being Sara’s roommate.  God’s provision for this season.  Thank you Lord.

2.  Went shopping on black Friday….even though I pretty much despise this day, somehow I was out there with the rest of them feeding our consumer hungry appetites.  Good things did come out of it.  I ran into my old friends Bethany and Robert (whom I worked with at Camp) at Burlington Coat Factory.  Funny how God will put you in the same place at the same time just so you can re-connect with people.  Bethany was also looking for a new coat and we were literally found ourselves facing each other as we looked at the same rack of coats.  I will have more time over the Christmas holiday to visit with them, but this was a special blessing.

3.  Going into Kohl’s department store at the Maplewood Mall I ran into Mike and Megan.  We worked together at YW and he still works there.  Mike actually spent his GreaterWorks year in Cairo, so I was able to update him on the happenings of this small town and share the goodness of God in this season.  They are thinking about coming to visit sometime this upcoming year.  Praise God.

4.  After the shopping extravaganza, I was dropped off at Jennifer’s house (Heather’s sister) and we drove to Cokato together.  A sweet time of fellowship with this woman.  I appreciate her honesty and growth that the Lord has produced as a result of life’s trials.  I am looking forward to seeing the Lord continually glorified in her life.

5.  At Heather’s place we were served as queens.  Corine and Greg have a way with hospitality, service, generosity, and cooking like no other couple I have met.  I appreciate the way you walk in and feel like you are in your own home.  I appreciate the way you can do such a wide array of activities in one night.  Dinner, discussion, computers, crafts, sewing, trying on prom dresses, and movie all in one night.  Corine loves crafts and has made herself a craft room out of Heather’s old bedroom.  It is interesting to see all the projects she has been working on.  She is my inspiration in starting to bead with the Savorski beads.  When we left the next morning it was like we had strolled into Hobby Lobby and everything was 100% off.  She sent us off with material for making skirts, beads, crafts for the kids, and DVDs to watch.  Thank you Corine and Greg for your warm hearts. 

6.  We got off to a later start, but still hit up our prayer stop along the way.  We asked the Lord to send revival to the hearts of those in prison as we layed our hands on the building.

7.  Finally we were on our way to Sioux Falls, SD for Joel and Kristin’s wedding.  We were running a bit late so we changed quickly in the car and at a gas station.  Good times.

8.  Were ushered down the isle to a front seat in the church to witness our brother get married.  When the three of us gals saw him bring his grandmother down the isle, tears started welling in our eyes.  This man has taught us much – we had spent a whole year together during our GreaterWorks experience in Minneapolis.  I am so glad that we were able to sneak them away for 10 minutes of rapid fire prayer before they left for their honeymoon. 

 – The Gackles and Topps really know how to get down!  The second the DJ switched on the music the dance floor was pakced!  We had a great time dancing through the night.  Of course, we were some of the last ones on the dance floor, as we couldn’t get enough. 

9.  Of course, we didn’t really know where we were going to stay for the night.  We just had the simple faith that God wouldn’t allow us to sleep in our car on a freezing cold night.  Heather and Stacy re-connected with an old college friend (Justin) who was in the wedding – Joel’s brother from another mother.  These guys are seriously twins.  Anyway, his parents had come for the wedding and got a large hotel room – a separate bedroom with a King sized bed.  Justin was gracious to give us his bedroom while he slept on the floor.  Thank you brother.  We had a great time fellowshipping with him and his parents before we left and were able to pray together.  I love how God is strategic in the Body of Christ making unique connections.

10.  We left SD in pursuit of KC.  This time we would be staying with my college friend Amy as we took time in the prayer room and going to the evening service.  We got there just in time for the evening church service after visiting a bit with Amy and her new puppy, Harriett.  Someone I frequently run into at IHOP is my friend Peggy whom I met two years ago when our team did the internship there.  Of course, coming out of the restroom, I nearly bumped right into her!  We decided we would pray for each other after the service in the prayer room.  This is usually how we interact with one another – through prayer.  I love it!  After the service Stace and I went to the prayer room to hook it up with our prayer appointment.  We ended up using a side room – actually the travail room for the nations.  What I thought would last for about an hour ended up being THREE hours.  It was amzing.  God’s Spirit was there to encourage, uplift, and bring specific words of promise to our heart.  Thank you Jesus!

11.  The next day was sweet as we all spent time with the Lord in the prayer room and coffee shop.  The time always goes by so quickly, but yes it was indeed special.

12.  On the way out of town we had been invited to visit some new friends, George and Nola.  I “randomly” met Nola as we were in line for the restroom one time at IHOP.  We ended up praying for each other and now are pen pals.  Sara and I were able to attend a Camp Meeting that their church hosted not far from us.  About 70 miles outside of KC sits a small town named Houstonia.  We found their home and had a wonderful time of visiting.  Nola had made yummy cookies and muffins for us.  Before leaving she wanted us to spend time blessing her prayer room.  Heather whipped out her guitar and we took time to worship the Lord God Almighty in song and prayer.  I look forward to them meeting the whole team!  There is a unique connection here.

13.  We rolled in to Cairo unpacking our goods and I reflected on the goodness of the Lord over these past five days.  Surprises, blessing, fellowship, provision, and an abundance of love.  Praise you Father for these travels..


5 States in 5 Days November 23, 2007

Filed under: Family Spotlight,Travel — charredsmore @ 8:50 pm




As for this Thanksgiving, I will be traveling through five states in five days.  I wanted to share with you what my Thanksgiving has looked like so far.

  •  Left Cairo at 4:30 am!  I love the morning hours, when hardly anyone else is awake. 🙂  Drove with Heather, Stacy and Melissa to Saint Paul to meet my sister in order to travel further north to our parents new log house in Grantsburg, WI.  Before we headed off to our parents, we made a few stops.  I had to pick up a guitar tuner at Schmidt Music, then we stopped off in WBL (my home town) to meet up with an old high school friend.
  • Finally made it to my parent’s house, after driving over 15 hours!
  • Hit the pillow for a great sleep in the north woods cuddled in my warm PJ’s.  Strangely I awoke at 6:18 – which has been the norm for the past few weeks (waking up before 6:30 without an alarm).  I feel a bit like Evan Almighty – is God trying to give me a message through numbers?!?  I think it is because I am living in Matthew 6 – each verse has significance.
  • After running some quick errands I was surprised to see my oldest nephew come to the door.  They are early!  Kelly, Jon and the boys came earlier because they had to also go to his side of the family to celebrate.  She brought some delicious breakfast foods with her.  Egg bake is a familiar dish that we also serve to our visitors when they come to Cairo, but she also brought a french toast dish that I must try out with my Cairo family.
  • My dad ran to the store to pick up some last minute items, including a couple ingredients for my sweet potato pie.  Yay, the store is open today!  I can make my pie for the family.  Thanks to Clarence for giving us that ginormo box of sweet potatoes.  This northern girl is not used to such foods.  Most of my family had NEVER tried sweet potato pie, and thought they would dislike the flavor, but were pleasantly surprised to have yummy sweetness melt in their mouths.  Yes, if you can’t tell, I am a bit proud of my creation. 
  • I trained my two older nephews – Talon and Andrew to be my little photographers for the day’s festivities.  They took all sorts of great shots.  I will post some when I get back to Cairo.
  • I was greatly appreciative that my cousin Cole came this Thanksgiving since I have not seen him in over a year.  He just recently became a father – his daughter’s name is Zoe Alexis.  We connected over guitar – he has some amazing guitar playing skills.  He also helped me bake the sweet potato pie.  Who knew he wanted to go into Culinary Arts? 
  • Great convos with my mom, grandma, and neighbor Carol as I was really honest about my relationship with God and about living on faith.  I wanted to tell my parents in person, rather than over the phone.  Of course, they aren’t pumped about it, but I think they are starting to understand.
  • Currently I am at my sister’s place in Saint Paul, waiting for her to get up so we can get some Christmas presents.  I know, I hate black Friday too, but I might as well get some of my presents today.
  • Later today I will be heading out to spend the night at Heather’s family’s house.  Corrine and Greg are amazing hosts and love to bless people with food and kindness.  This will be a treat!
  • On Saturday morning we are heading out for Sioux Falls, SD for Joel and Kristin’s wedding.  We lived across the hall from Joel during our GreaterWorks Internship.  It was such a blessing to watch their relationship unfold and now they are getting married!
  • Still don’t know where we are spending Sat. night – but I know God will provide a place for these travelers.
  • Heading out to Kansas City, MO to divide up our trip on Sunday.  Staying with my old college friend Amy, then heading back to Cairo on Monday.
  • That’s  my trip – 5 states in 5 days.  Good times!

PS  I am looking forward to reuniting with my good friend Amanda Dums on Tuesday, as she is returning from her year long trek around the World (as a missionary with AIM – World Race)!  She is coming to visit us in Cairo.  You can read about her travels by clicking on the link to the right – Amanda’s blog.   


The lights went out (written by Sara Rust) November 20, 2007

Filed under: Friend Spotlight,Ministry Stuff — charredsmore @ 4:20 am

It seemed foolish really, at first. Earlier this year, God laid it on my heart that our team should go to the outskirts of town to a gas station and lay our hands on the big neon sign you can see from highway, and pray that God would use it for His glory.

This sign has, for the last 4 + years, since I moved here, lit up the skies with the word “DIES”. It should read “DIESEL” but the last two letters blew out and so it just sits there, ironically and sadly proclaiming death over this little town. Seems silly, just a burnt out sign, but one that so many have noticed. I just had a thought that maybe like the “high places” of yore that the prophets and kings often took down in the Old Testament, something needed to be done about this sign, that it would no longer proclaim “Death” over Cairo. To many people, I reakon, including myself about 2 years ago, this would seem like an absurdity. Why would God call you to pray over a stupid sign, it doesn’t mean anything. But the Old Testament is full of people doing absurd things at the instruction of the Lord, so why not us? I bit the bullet, and our whole team went and prayed over the sign.


With great faith, i thought the lights would come up all of a sudden, or the sign would grow dim. But nothing happend. For months. Nothing happened. I began to feel a little bit like an idiot. Maybe this was all in my head, just a silly whim, just a fantastical hunch. Maybe God really doesn’t work this way anymore, maybe He’s really not the same as He always was and always will be. Ill just add this to the list of things I made up in my head, that God would actually at the sound of our prayers erase this proclamation of “Death” over Cairo.

So on Wednesday this week, I was heading to the gym, already in a state of spiritual frustration. Running through things in my life I still had to lay down to Him, grieving things He was asking me to give up for this time. Frustrated by how foolish my life looks to man, frustrated that I cared a flip what my life looked like to man. Desperate to see Him move, desperate to see answers to two years of crying out for a community I still don’t know how to love. Desperate and weeping. I drove by the sign, and cried out in my weakness, “And then there’s the sign – would you flipping do something about that sign, Lord?!! I know it’s silly, but I don’t think you want this sign to say “DIES” over Cairo anymore – so do something!!”

I go to the gym and get lost in swimming through my emotions.
I drive back into town in the evening, now dark and look over my shoulder as I exit the highway to see that big familiar sign.

But I don’t see it.

I can’t see it.

Because after 4 + years, the entire sign is now out.

Forgive my unbelief. I welcome the absudities of following You, Lord. It may look foolish to man, but this is life to me. This is reality to me. You are worthy of my foolishness.


A transformed life…Eduardo Verastegui

Filed under: Ministry Spotlight,Power of Prayer — charredsmore @ 2:36 am

<a href=”



Filed under: Uncategorized — charredsmore @ 1:53 am

A movie that inspires love…

<a href=”“>Bella


7 on the Mississippi November 15, 2007

Filed under: Ministry Stuff — charredsmore @ 10:54 pm


Yesterday our team time looked a little different.  We took a trip out to Thebes to scope out the land that Kristy just purchased from the tax auction.  For some time now she had been praying about purchasing property, various opportunities had failed through and God opened this unlikely door. 

7 acres on the Mississippi waterway in Thebes (a small town just a bit east of Cairo – 25  miles or so).  Beautiful property that has been used for camping.  There is a boat launch, a pavilion, picnic table, electricity, water, and sewage hook up for each site and a beautiful view of the river.  We walked the length and breadth of the property asking the Lord for His vision and plans.  In our natural mind we can think of 100 great ideas of what the land can be used for, but we choose to hand it back over to him.  I wanted to share some of the specific things that came up in our conversation with the LORD…

  1. There have been prophetic words/prayers released over the Mississippi river.  This is a powerful waterway that flows from MN all the way down to TX – the whole length of our nation.
  2. The city and county have been disputing over this land for a while, and we are praying that somehow God would bring a testimony about for His glory.
  3. I felt the Lord spoke, “I released the land to KT because I can trust her to hear me and move in the plans I have.”  Kristy has released the land back to the Lord, trusting in His will not her own.
  4. God is extending territory – from Cairo to Thebes.
  5. Let this whole place be a testimony for the Name of our God.
  6. Bring a unanimous decision (with our team), when it is time to move forward on something.
  7. Cutting off strongholds attached to this land in Jesus Name, and ask for angels to be released to do His will.
  8. Picture of our whole team riding on Aslan’s back the length and breadth of the land. 
  9. This is another mystery (just like when we purchased the house on 26th and it is now Hannah’s House) that God will unfold in time.  Let us be obedient to walking it out.
  10. Jeremiah 32 – God had him purchase land even though it would be used for a later time.
  11. Asking for wisdom and understanding.
  12. Declare healing on this land.
  13. Guidance as we look into the history of this land.
  14. Song “This land is your land, this land is my land…”
  15. He may call her to give it back, she will be lead of His hand.
  16. Have mercy on the leadership here Lord.  Let their eyes be turned to you.
  17. This land is in the same county as Cairo (Alexander).  This river flows down to Cairo.
  18. Bring peace when we move in your direction.
  19. Bless this process Lord.
  20. This could be the answer to someones prayer.
  21. 7 acres, hello – 7!

God’s economy is so different than our own, and the ways of the world.  Please join us in prayer.  I will keep you posted.


Jess, you will be missed. November 14, 2007

Filed under: Friend Spotlight,Ministry Spotlight — charredsmore @ 8:20 am


Top 20 reasons why I am going to miss my beautiful roommie…

20. She is an amazing cook and is always trying out delicious recipes for all of us to taste test.

19. She is flexible and adaptable.

18. She has a servant heart.

17. She is stinkin’ hilarious!

16. She has a way of pulling truth and revelation from the Word of God and speaking it to others.

15. She is an input person and always has random facts to share.

14. She helps me stay on top of current events.

13. She challenges me.

12. In many ways we are opposites. As iron sharpens iron, this sister sharpens me.

11. She desires to grow in the Lord and follow Him.

10. She takes care of our cat Jewel.

9. Who else will act as my spell check in the office?

8. She enjoys going on hikes and bike rides with me.

7. Who else will sleep in the yard with me?

6. She keeps the 411 on friends who write blogs, and shares the info. with me.

5. She is honest. In love will share the truth with people. This is hard to find.

4. She is a great roommate!

3. She keeps me in check.

2. She loves the Lord with all of her heart, mind, soul and strength.

1. She is a wonderful friend and sister. No one will be able to replace her in this house or on this team.