What if you strive to compassionately accommodate other people’s needs and live out on a daily basis the Golden Rule in action? As a Christian, you don’t only have a testimony, but you are the living testimony of the Messiah. You breathe, labor, play, eat, slumber, speak an example of “peace in the chaos” love. Then if something goes too far, or you’re maxed out, under pressure, and don’t get the same courtesy; in fact, you’re at the receiving end of rude treatment by loud, aggressive, hotheads (seems like there’s always one in the mix); it only takes one irrational instant, a slip of the tongue once to cause bridges you’ve built with others come crashing down. You can blow up your testimony just like that--poof—gone.
I’m not picking on those loud, aggressive, even self-proclaimed hotheads. There’s nothing wrong with that—oh, wait! Yes, there is. That unbridled behavior is always unreasonably unleashed at the expense of another, and to that person it’s belittling, plus it’s unpleasant for everyone. And the self-proclamation is not a hotspur’s badge of honor or excuse to carry on without check. But we can’t control other people’s conduct or reactions to situations, can we? We can only, and oft times should only, gauge our own responses. Sometimes we might deliberate an attempt to calm things down, especially if in leadership positions. Those gifts of discernment and diplomacy can really come in handy! And if we don’t have those gifts, we might ask our Creator for them.
There was an incident whereby I witnessed the eruption of an altercation involving many hotheads. It was fun! —(tongue-in-cheek). Fuming individuals went at it in a shouting match. I’m soft-spoken and couldn’t get a word in edgewise. The irony was that the incident everybody took interest in and fought over was mine. It happened to me, involved me, and at the end, it would be my decision what to do. Nobody else had anything to do with it; I think they were just bored that day, opinionated (aren’t we all), wanted to get riled up or something. Because it wasn’t their place to figure out the circumstance. It escalated to a ridiculous level of forgetting what got them from the bowels of the volcano in the first place. In other words, this unasked-for situation heightened needlessly. When I did finally raise my voice to say that I’ll handle things, it’s okay, the group turned on me. I’m not an angry person, but this rare twist made me mad. I had the strongest impulse to tell them all to "bleep" off.
I removed myself from the situation and walked away, literally biting my tongue. Shaking my head, too, because as I left, it wasn’t lost on me that they were still hashing out a circumstance regarding me that they could do nothing about anyway. I stewed all night on the episode but tossed my fuming thoughts toward God and had a kvetch session with The Almighty. “What is wrong with people?” I complained to him. “What is wrong with YOUR people!?” I thought about how volatile our testimonies are, and just like that I almost said something I knew I’d regret in the midst of unbelievers who knew me; almost unleashed a curse to those who understood quite well my spiritual stand on things. It didn’t matter what they said or how they said it, as things had already spun out of control in this case. It only mattered how I responded.
In my discussion with God, I began to understand the delicate balance between being an example of the “salt of the earth” and slipping up in one instant that causes a testimony to crumble. I’m only sharing this as one case. It’s not like this type of situation hasn’t happened before. We’re human and we have episodes that push us to the limit… unfortunately, over the limit sometimes, and against each other. I have events in my past where I have not held my tongue and I’ve regretted them. In this event, I did everything—not in my power but in God’s—to walk away in a controlled manner that I could cleanly return the day after this altercation more prayed up. And guess what? Everything was great, in fact others were apologetic—not that I was seeking apologies, but I sure appreciated them, and I guess I appreciated their weirdly protective compulsion to concern themselves with my affairs. Anyway, everything was good again, we were all good. Maybe even stronger.
“Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.”—Proverbs 18:21
“No human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be”—James 3:8-10
We strive; we slip-up; we strive… It’s daily—a daily renewal. And those situations we regret, well, we can ask for forgiveness (from God and from others), then those regrets we can let go.
Micah 17:18-19: “You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy. You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea.”
If God throws our iniquities into the depths of the sea, we should too. Each day we have is a brand-new chance to come clean, behave with tact, and if we speak, to speak with spiritual salt (i.e. the fruit of the tongue, sweet and beneficial).
In loving others, peace, and tongue-control,
With the war in Israel, and all that means for my relatives and friends abroad and here in the U.S., amid the new wave of antisemitism that’s come to replace the old wave of antisemitism, well, it’s a turbulent time. I have a lot to say, but I’d probably erupt like a volcano right now. And the Lord has been bringing something else to mind, nudging me to write about another upheaval that is a crisis for any American.
One day last year, my son’s school went on lockdown. Not a drill this time, but a hard lockdown; the real deal. Long story short, it was purported that armed students planned to do some real damage had it not been for the quick response of the local police and county sheriff’s departments. They took control and managed the situation with the utmost concern and skill; calmed everybody down. Among many, I am grateful to them; nobody got killed or hurt that day.
Beyond sad, though, it’s also ridiculous that this sort of scenario has become its own epidemic, a crisis of epic proportions. What happened at my son’s school went mostly under the radar. Barely a blip on the local news. Yet many kids were traumatized; it would be several days before many of them would return to class. Makes me wonder how often this kind of stuff happens around this country and we just don’t hear about it. It was surreal, but I also felt sadness over the offenders of the day—just mixed up, messed up teenagers, who need some real help and divine intervention in their lives... just as do terrorist-aligned groups (ehem).
So during this episode last year, I had to have that conversation with my son. In another way, I feel privileged to have had it (some haven’t in other scenarios), but it got me thinking about the conversations and moments we have with our loved ones. There were many moments in the height of that episode where I felt the Lord’s hand of protection and peace; that is divine intervention. It was in the thick of it, classroom lights off, doors locked and bound, tables overturned for taking cover as well as stacked against the door; the commotion, the wracked nerves as the high schoolers waited like sitting ducks. It was then that the flurry of calming texts between my son and I were about what’s most important. The guarantor of peace in the storm, the words of familial bond, of God’s sovereignty, of love. I had to receive and absorb in my heart my only child telling me he’s made his peace with God, come what may.
Of course, I love my son, but not just because he’s my own, but I love WHO he is; he’s a solid in every way. I told him so that morning as he left for school. I told him when we texted back and forth during the threat and we didn’t know what was happening—or about to happen—one minute from the next. I shared with him when I saw him next, right after a long and safe hug. And even if he hadn’t proven himself a solid but consistently struggled with one or more things, I’d still remind him of his qualities—because every person has them—and build him up, and love unconditionally, that is, love even when it’s frustrating or scary. I’m thankful that things (words) evolved with us the way they had on that day. There have been a few days when we didn’t start off on a good foot, or he slipped out the door before I got the chance to say, “I love you,” or “Have a great day!”
This event (along with the current affairs of the world) has amplified the importance of moments, each moment we have, and our words and actions, one toward another. But the facts are the same: Nobody is guaranteed tomorrow wherever we are; we might not even have the rest of today. Life is fragile. So what does your day look like, and how are you handling it, especially with your loved ones? Have you told your important someone that they matter? Was the last word you spoke to them a kind one? Because if/when the threat or tragedy occurs, you might not get to say what you wish you could. In the moment, if you only have the moment to ensure another of what’s most important between you, what would you say? And then, this most important one: Have you made your peace with God through his son Yeshua?
I did a thing. Started posting on a YouTube channel. The Lord has been bombarding me with visions and dreams with prophetic words meant for other people. I asked him what he wanted me to do with them all. He spoke to my heart about sharing the prophetic words through video. I’d been dragging my feet on the idea, because I couldn’t see myself buckling up in a car or down in a living room to record my talking. I’m just not that chatty. Long story short, something came about. I have a communication channel that fits how he’s created me to express. Still, it's a bit of a learning curve, as I’m not too technically inclined, and I had some nerves to iron out. But I’ve learned to do a lot of things in life by just starting, facing trials and errors, while having a limited budget. My YouTube material is a small beginning, and very fresh—not quite a week old—but had to start somewhere, so here I am. Turns out, though, I really like the process. I find flow and creativity in the undertaking. And I get a good Holy Spirit soak while I create these videos, asking for guidance and anointing as I go.
Social media pages are in development, as well, as this will not be a “Tessa Stockton” entity. It is its own, and I believe the start-up of a ministry. I most likely won’t be sharing much here from there, and so wanted to invite you to visit, watch, subscribe, like—whatever or however the Lord leads. I hope to be posting content regularly via YouTube at this time, or as the Lord continues to give me visions and dreams meant to be shared.
You can find me on YouTube at (click on the banner below):
The Jewish New Year can be celebrated in different ways. Warm, fun, and food-centric with festive meals and treats, but also quiet and symbolic. Wish others a happy new year with, “L’shanah tovah” (For a good year), which is part of a longer phrase meaning, “May you be inscribed and sealed [in the Book of Life] for a good and sweet new year.” And blow the shofar to declare God the King of the Universe.
Rosh Hashanah, meaning Head of the Year, includes reflective prayer and meditation on repentance. There is a custom of Tashlich, meaning to cast, where we go to a body of flowing water, water with life, and cast bread into it, representing casting our sins. It’s symbolic of God casting our sins into the sea of forgetfulness (Micah 17:18-19), where he remembers our wrongdoings no more, and they are carried away (along with the old year). I personally don’t know many people who actually do this. I haven’t always done this, but let’s be honest; we ought to repent daily. A daily renewal with the Lord is required if we want to go higher and deeper with our most holy God.
I’m Messianic. And this Hebrew year 5784 is an important one for believers, the Ecclesia, the called-out ones of the faith, the church. The year will necessitate continual repentance and a steadfast abiding with Yeshua. This is a message he’s been communicating for a while. Our need to be girded up and ready. Seek his face, living moment-to-moment with him. Keeping mindful of him, his voice, his guidance. Stay close.
So Ruach HaKodesh, the Holy Spirit, compelled me to do something different. Led to a weeklong fast preceding the new year, I performed Tashlich during my fast, but was instructed to take only three small pieces of bread. I rolled the pieces so they resembled little doughy balls. Wrapped them up and took them to a designated brook; I reflected, repented, tossed the bread balls in, and they submerged partway in the clear water but floated there. I prayed, and I felt the Lord’s hand on me when he received my offering; I felt his warmth and smile. It was very sweet. Then the balls erupted into a hundred fragments and began to move, floating away toward the connecting river. I sensed the words: small beginning, large increase. Then heard him say, “I will bless you immeasurably.” I broke the fast by the Lord’s appointment at 3:33 on Friday, and with the sweetness of apples dipped in honey.
If you’re wondering about the significance of the number 3, the meaning of it depends on the context. The Lord has been highlighting 3 lately in a variety of ways to see, hear, and receive. In this, it’s a reminder of hope… of new beginnings, advanced blessing of undertakings, purity, walking with assurance of identity in Yeshua, and as connected to a land flowing with milk and honey—such as the promised land that the Israelites entered. Yes. This is a good year.
L’shanah tovah tikateivu v’teichateimu.
An intercessor’s life is peculiar. We require a lot of quiet and reflective time, praying, fasting, pushing aside things—sometimes important things—in a moment’s notice when the Holy Spirit prompts. We are dedicated, reliable, sensitive, sacrificial, and disciplined. Some of the requests, places in the spirit world the Lord wants us to stand-in-the-gap over, can be wild stuff. We are enabled to see through God’s eyes regarding particular details. Sometimes we get a glimpse of the fruit of our labors, oft times we don’t, but we do this thing called intercession anyway. I love my life of intercessory prayer because it’s more time spent with the Lord. The process heightens how we hear his voice; it expands how we depend on him. And it’s for the sake of others. Heart for God; heart for his people. But we’ve all had our struggles with the calling.
The hardest part for me is finding balance… the fine line between being empathetic while you’re pouring yourself out over an assignment and investing in someone else’s spiritual journey, and remaining objective so that the process doesn’t consume you. Intercessors often operate under a sense of need to help others. It gets heated, intense sometimes, especially when coming against principalities and demonic warfare. It’s emotional. I am an all-or-nothing person. This makes me a committed and fervent prayer warrior; also, a basket-case when an assignment lifts or concludes, where I’m wandering about without aim or inspiration. We have to learn how to trust in between commitments, stay prayed up and not let our guard down, and be obedient in letting go. For it all belongs to the Lord, from the beginning to the end. Occasionally I’ve had assignments I wish I hadn’t, with awful warfare, and felt relieved to get through them. Yet the biggie for me more often is letting go. Because I still feel tied to circumstances and people I’ve prayed for, in a personal way—especially if it lasts for months or years.
An example of this is when, not that long ago, a maritime assignment lifted. My spiritual obligation over this one lasted quite a while, and it was a journey, as some of you might already know. It began with the Holy Spirit alerting me to specific seaports, then ships and crewmembers. And I prayed over a whole gamut of conditions and seafarers (also floating church planting and port outreaches). Near the end of this task, the Holy Spirit would give me the name of a ship and where geographically it was positioned. Found these nifty little apps that can track ships, so discovering each of these named vessels was like a treasure hunt, and a joyous confirmation of the Lord’s lead. Each called out ship was exactly as the Lord said it was and where. He also gave me Words of Knowledge to understand what the vibe was on board, the spirits, the challenges, the sailors… and sometimes who might the Lord want covered in a specific way. I knew via the Holy Spirit when he gave me the name of the latest vessel, that it would be my last—at least within this format at this time. Understood that my prayer voyage here would lift at this ship’s next port. It was so very sweet when I discovered my last port of call would be Seattle. My hometown. I’ve lived in East Tennessee for so long it’s home to me now, too. But I grew up in Seattle. It’s still my home. I prayed, and watched via satellite in real time, as the tugboats came along and assisted this vessel into the Port of Seattle—arrived! It felt like a homecoming party. I celebrated. And these people, this crew, had no idea a crazy intercessor was praying for them, watching them, fasting on their behalf (or maybe they did, as the Lord told me there were firm believers on board). I always wonder, does somebody sense it when a prayer warrior across the oceans has gone up to bat for them? Fasting and praying, fighting and rejoicing? Probably many someone’s, as I’m not the only spiritual-crazy out there. But… then it was sad for me to let go. I felt invested in the task. I also stretch and grow during these times. The Lord takes me through a journey, asking if I’d do this or that, how much am I willing to commit, how far will I follow his lead? I also have to press in sometimes for clarity, just to understand if I’d heard God correctly. By the way, the Lord has a very special love for seafarers. They were his first choice as his disciples.
Well, another commission came fast on the heels (stern) of that last ship. For the Lord clarified that many in my missionary/ministry circle were in or are walking into a new season. We are all in different seasons; rather, varying places within the same season I’m inclined to think. But it seems almost everybody I know has been in a series of whirlwinds to prepare, get ready, and launch or expand into something greater, different, or newer. I’ve been watching and interceding over these launches, committed to holding their arms up like Aaron to Moses and prayed as the Spirit guided. I get to pray often for those beginning new ministries—and I love that. While praying on the phone with somebody recently who was experiencing frustrating hindrances, I got a vision, and in fact had the same vision for a handful of people. We prayed it through, knocking down the demonic gatekeepers and obstacles, and asked for an angels’ charge to carry them onward. We received instant results. Thank you, victorious and glorious God!
Now, many of those I know who are being sent have begun, are all set; at least for now. And I rejoiced. I also grieved. I spend much of my time uplifting others, interceding for others, watching them go, and celebrating with them. And I’ll be there for them when they need a supportive, praying sister. But sometimes, the lowly human in me gets caught up in the flurry and then feels left behind. I wish I was the one going. I wish I was commissioned to go out in the field. I’d had that calling once. Perceived God’s call into ministry when I was a young child. Later answered the call and went into full-time ministry through Christian performing arts and worldwide missions. I really enjoyed the field, thrived in challenging environments and all. It was a good fit for my fundamental nature of yearning to absorb adventure, travel, and that deep love for different peoples and cultures. I flubbed up when I stepped away from that path, when I never should have—and God didn’t ask me to. Rather, I didn’t seek him, just did my own thing.
I’ve since come to terms with my decisions/mistakes that put a cement stop to all the “moving around” kind of ministry. Repented. Made good with serving the Lord in the best way that I can under my circumstances. I’ve sought his face, pursued his heart. I’ve been obedient. Have written a lot. Realized that I’d learned things I wouldn’t have had I not gone through the erring and wandering ways. Found humility in a place of despair, among a myriad of better things from a firmer Biblical perspective. The entire development has made me stronger. For that, I’m grateful. And I feel called again. Actually, I’m not sure the calling ever left… even if one walks away from it for a time (a long time) in life. For in Romans 11:29, it says, “For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.”
Irrevocable: “not able to be changed, reversed, or recovered; final”
So, no, maybe I’m not picking up on somebody else’s radio frequencies. They’re my signals, intended for me. If the Almighty called me once, the call is still there. And stirring. One of these days, it will be my turn to go, to embark again on a very real-life, real-time, hands-on way, and he’s going to blow my mind when he does it. And instead of my saying with spiritual eyes, “He’s doing that thing over there.” It will be with both spiritual and natural eyes, “He’s doing this thing over here,” and I’ll be reporting about it from somewhere online. When my confession grows into my testimony.
Last Thursday, another call-to-prayer over someone lifted. Right after, a cloud of oppression dropped over me. It was heavy, thick crud, and I couldn’t shake the rot off. And that’s just like the creepoid enemy; when the devil sees a vulnerability, he’ll seize the opportunity. Lasted for several hours. It was all I could do to listen to worship music and utter (even when I didn’t feel like it) “Thank you, Jesus.” Then the attack cleared with a snap (hey, maybe someone from afar was praying for me! Sure felt like I had help, and if so, thank you…) and I praised the Lord freely. But I did ask then of my savior, “Lord, what’s next for me?” And I didn’t mean a prayer assignment from my confined seat or closet.
He gave me a vision. I saw a fortified, thick-beamed entranceway. I’d been in a dark space, and this large, bold door appeared. It was holy. I think it was already there, but it only just became visible to me. There were two tubular neon-ish lights, each distinct, yet wrapped around the door and pulsating together like the aurora borealis. I could also hear and feel the pulsating energy. The one in front was rich red, the one behind was sapphire blue; the thick frame between was white. So it appeared like a living triplet of stripes… two separate and distinct colors welded together and supported by this strong inner/middle white frame. Through to the other side, steps away, was bright, beaming, living light; fluctuating and revolving as if a hundred lighthouses of holy fire. It sliced darkness. Took my breath away, especially with the sense of purpose and joy that came with this powerful vision. I wanted more, to learn more. In one word, I asked him, “Lord?” And he gave me one word for now: “Apostolic.”
And so there it is. You’ve heard it from me here. You’ll hear again from me from there. One day.