Spiritual growth comes in stages. There is a process to spiritual maturity.


There is no time limit for each stage. You can only proceed to the next stage when God sees fit. You may spend years in the first stage and only weeks in the last. Chances are, you are in one of these stages.

Pruning- We are a human and develop traits based on life experiences. Maurice White (of Earth, Wind, and Fire) sang, " A child is born with a heart of gold but the way of the world turns his heart cold." In order for God to effectively use you, He must cut away everything not like Him. During this time - things, behaviors, even people are cut away. Honestly, this stage is painful. You will pray, fast, even cry. This is in my opinion the most crucial. If you don't complete this stage, you will not make it any further. Many of us spend a lot of time in this stage. We have a tendency to want to hold on to the things God is trying to cut away. A great deal of struggle occurs here.

Pressing - How do you get the greatest fragrance from a flower? You crush it.When you squeeze an orange, you get orange juice. Likewise, when a Christian is squeeze, you get an undeniable anointing. This is the stage where anything that can happen, will. God's anointing is always going to cost you something. This is the stage of refinement. God is tweaking you, as it were. Everything did not come out during pruning. There were still somethings you held on to. You may feel aloe during this time. Even as if God has abandoned you. But He hasn't. He sits as a refiner holding onto you in the midst of the "fire" or trials. This stage is painful as well. There is a level on warfare that you have never experiences before. You are being purified during this stage. You will learn how to fully rely on God.

Hiding - Oh, what a blessing to be hidden in God. Everyone does not see it that way but it is. Here, the enemy is going to try to convince you that you are a forgotten child. People may not be aware of all the God has done in you at this point, but be patient. God hides those He loves. When wine is being made, it goes through a similar process. The grapes are cut, stomped, then aged until ready. This is when God is most protective of you. He is building you up, encouraging you, and brooding over you. For some this is the hardest stage. When you have be pruned and pressed, you feel that you are ready to walk in your calling. But, God knows when you are ready. He will not release you until it's your time.

Be encouraged today! You are on the road to maturity. You may not enjoy all of it but it is a journey with immeasurable benefits.

God Bless

John 15:1-5 (New Life Version)
The Vine And The Branches
1 "I am the true Vine. My Father is the One Who cares for the Vine. 2 He takes away any branch in Me that does not give fruit. Any branch that gives fruit, He cuts it back so it will give more fruit. 3 You are made clean by the words I have spoken to you. 4 Get your life from Me and I will live in you. No branch can give fruit by itself. It has to get life from the vine. You are able to give fruit only when you have life from Me. 5 I am the Vine and you are the branches. Get your life from Me. Then I will live in you and you will give much fruit. You can do nothing without Me.

Carrying Another's Burdens

"Why me? Why do I have to pray for him/her? Why do I have to fast? He/she is eating. They are the one that's going through. I have my own problems."

Have you ever felt that way? We all can be selfish at times.

It is a blessing to be able to carry another's burden. As you mature in God, He will trust you carry the burdens of another. Don't take it lightly that God would trust you to fast or pray for another. There will be times when God calls you to focus on the issues of someone else and help them get a breakthrough. You may be dealing with your own "stuff" in the midst of it. Know this, while you are interceding and going to war for the breakthrough of someone else, God is setting you up for a breakthrough as well. How do you get your breakthrough? Go to war for someone else. I promise God will bless you. Remember He sent His son to carry yours.

God Bless

Galatians 6:2 - Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.

Prisoners of Hope

Victoria Boyson: "Prisoners of HOPE--What Feels like a Prison Cell to You, God Sees as a FORTRESS"

There are times during the birth of your destiny that you feel as though you would like to give up hope, but God will not let you. It feels as though you are held captive by hope.

"Return to your fortress, O prisoners of hope..." Zechariah 9:12

There are times during the development of your dream when your hope seems to have turned into a prison. You cannot make your dreams come true, and you find it impossible to stop believing in them. You cannot go forward any faster than God will let you, and you cannot return to where you once were before you became pregnant with the promise from God. God will not let you give up! During this time you might feel like saying, "Okay, God, this is enough! I don't want to hope anymore! I am tired of being pregnant with this promise! I want out of this prison of hope!"

It is during this time that your dreams feel so real to you, yet to others they are not. The conflict between what you feel in the Spirit and what is evident in the natural grates at your soul. You feel much like you are on a Ferris wheel. You have your up times when you can see your dream's fulfillment far into the future, but you also have your down time when you cannot see anything. You think to yourself, "Am I crazy to think that God could use me?" The enemy comes in like a flood and you begin to doubt, causing anguish to your soul. This is the time when God is doing His greatest work in you.

It is Because He Loves You

You feel as though you are ready for your destiny, but once again God directs you back to the refinery for more tweaking. Oh how weary you are of the awful refinery and that seemingly endless tweaking. "Okay, God, You can stop now," you scream. But He does not stop. You are caught in a prison of hope and He will not let you out until He is finished with what He began in you.

It is like a child who has a sliver. They do not like the pain the sliver causes them, but they hate the misery of having that sliver taken out. Getting the sliver out is important, but they do not necessarily understand that. Even if they did, it is hard to keep still while it is being pulled out. Well, we all have spiritual slivers that we need God to take out, and sometimes it really hurts, especially when the sliver is way down deep in your heart.

This is when the refining process REALLY hurts, because He is getting down to the very core of your soul, to the deep regions of your heart. He is developing things in you that you did not even know that you lacked; things you did not even know that you needed. You think, "Okay, God, this is deep enough." But every builder knows you must dig down deep to lay a proper foundation first, before you start to build upward. And the greater the height of the structure, the deeper the foundation must be.

It is because God loves us that He will not allow us to enter our destiny until our foundation is secure. If He has held you back and you feel like a prisoner, He has done it out of love for you. He does not want to see all that He has worked to build in you crumble, because He did not take the time to develop a sure foundation. He loves you that much!

Even though it hurts you, He needs to hold you in the prison cell of hope until it is safe for you to come out. Even though you are sick and tired of hoping, of believing, of waiting; He will still make you hope, believe and wait even longer. And this can be the hardest thing He has asked you to do yet. But when you feel like giving up, but continue to carry on, you begin to sense a strength rising in you that you did not know you possessed. And really you did not possess it previously, because it was your reward for enduring this painful process. It is a gift from God that the enemy cannot take away from you, because you have earned it.

Held Captive by Hope

In the word of God we can find many people who have been held captive by hope. For examples, there are Moses, Joseph, and Abraham. But I think my favorite is David. It is his honesty in the face of misery that attracts me to him.

God had promised David the Kingdom of Israel, and Samuel had anointed him for it (1 Samuel 16:13). But after he had been anointed as king of all Israel he had to go back to tending the sheep. It was many years before the promise ever came to pass for David, and he spent many of those years being chased by the man whose throne he would inherit. I am sure he never dreamed, back in the pasture on his father's farm, that he would have to hide out in caves or that he would pretend to be a crazy man in order to save his life. After all, God said he was going to be a king. A king does not have to do things like that does he?

In Psalm 119:82, David cries out to God in song and says, "My eyes fail, looking for Your promise." I can relate to that. It feels sometimes as though the promise will never be fulfilled. But in fact, it was fulfilled for David and it will be for you too, if you do not give up.

Hopeless, No. Helpless, Yes!

Do you feel sometimes as though you are hopeless? Well, you are not without hope; you are not hopeless, but helpless. God has put you in a position of helplessness or complete dependency on Him and you are helpless to help yourself. You struggle to gain back some measure of control over your life. But your pride (that you did not even know that you had) is being crushed, and the only thing for you to do is to surrender. You may feel hopeless, but really it is the condition of helplessness that is causing you pain. God wants you completely dependent on Him, and He will keep you a prisoner of hope until you are.

Return to Your Fortress

Your fortress is trusting in a loving God. Trusting Him in spite of all the reasoning of your mind; in spite of the circumstances that surround you. You were content to give God control of your life until He decided to do something with your life you did not like. You were happy to surrender all to Him, until He decided to give your promotion to someone else. You believe in His sovereignty, until His sovereign will conflicts with your will. Then you are sure He has made a mistake. You want to run from Him, but He is your refuge.

How do you run from your refuge? How do you run from the only One who really loves you or understands you? The answer don't. So, return, my friend, to your fortress and remain a prisoner until He is done with you; until He decides you are ready for all that He has for you.

What now feels like a prison cell to you, God sees as a fortress. And of course He is right. He loves you and if you give Him control of your life He will guard it for you. Perhaps what feels to you like a prison cell, may really be your place of safety and protection. David did not like being in a cave, but it saved him from King Saul. You may not like the circumstances you are in now, but do not run from it. It may be what is saving your life!

Double for Your Trouble

The second half of Zechariah 9:12 gives us the answer we are looking for. Why are we going through what we are going through? It says, "Return to your fortress, O prisoners of hope; even now I announce that I will restore twice as much to you."

God says, "Even now I announce to you that not only will I restore to you all that has been taken from you, but I will give you double for all the trouble you have endured." He says, "Don't stop now...keep trusting Me, because I can see your future and it is very blessed. Keep walking with Me and keep trusting in Me and I will give you rest."

"Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest" (Matthew 11:28). When we have learned to "rest" in God in the midst of our storm, God is mightily blessed. Because it proves to Him that we trust in His goodness no matter what our circumstances are.

It pleases Him very much when we trust in Him, and when He is pleased He will burst forth blessings from Heaven. He just cannot help Himself, He loves to bless those who trust in His goodness.

He, as He did for Israel in Zechariah 9:12, will stand up and announce to all that He is proud of you and intends to restore double to you for your continued trust in Him through all you have endured. And this is the beginning of your dreams coming true. Enjoy it, friend, because you have waded through the river of adversity and your heavenly Father is proud of you.

Return to your fortress, O prisoners of hope...

Victoria Boyson
Speaking Life Ministries

Permission is granted (and you are also encouraged) to reprint these articles in hard copy form, as well as sending them to your own email lists and posting them on your own websites. We ask only that you keep ElijahList website, email contact info, and author contact information intact.

ElijahList Publications
310 2nd Ave SE,
Albany, OR 97321
Phone 1-541-926-3250

My Name is Victory

1 Corinthians 15:57
But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Remember who you are! God has given you authority to conquer the enemy. He wrote in your destiny that you would be victorious over any situation the enemy brings your way. It is written in your DNA. You weary from a battle that seems endless or you may be weary from fighting a series of battles back to back. It seems the enemy has stepped his game up lately. He has! It's time to step yours up too. Intensify your worship. Spend more time in prayer. Eat the Word of God continually. Praise God like you have lost your mind.

The enemy seems to have forgotten who you are. It's time to remind him. When the enemy whispers his junk in your ear,shout in the face of the enemy. Tell him - My name is victory!

God Bless

From Here to There

The Christian walk is a journey full of ups and downs. The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 13, we know in part. God is so loving that He shows you the plan His has for you in snapshots. They come in the form of dreams, visions, prophecies, desires, hopes, His word, and so on. He has given you a glimpse of what He has prepared for you. When you look at where you are and think about the end result, you begin to praise God. The funny thing is, we forget about the middle. It may be difficult right now. Between where we are and where we're going is filled with trials, disappointment, confusion, doubt, tears, heartache, fear...the list goes on. The enemy would have you to focus on your present circumstance. But don't get distracted! You are being processed and strengthened for His purpose. It is easy to rejoice over the snapshot of the expected end. It is another thing to put on the garment of praise when you have just enough light to see the step you're on. When the enemy tries to get you sidetracked and frustrated, put on the garment of praise!

Remember, it is a process to get from here to there. Just know that your steps are ordered by a loving Father.

God Bless

Jeremiah 29:11 King James Version

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end