I was watching a discussion yesterday and I felt a great amount of care and love towards two individuals who were participating in the controversial talk – as atheists.  But the elephant in the room – the labels that we wear and the ideas that are attached to them… they are so sad.  It’s like we’re placed in these groups with the utterance of a single word.  We’ve been trained to define another’s heart by the representation of a world that seeks to define everything, while misrepresenting everything.  And honestly, who we do we think we are?  If Jesus is the author and the last will be made first, how important are the days that we live in and the ones who are called in the final hour?  Only God can see the heart. 

One of the guys I was able to speak to alone for a few minutes, while we were standing outside of the studio.  He talked about his busy life and how art has been an escape for him from his PTSD that he believes he developed from many years of witnesses horrific trauma as an EMT.  I could sense the pain in his eyes as he spoke on the surface of something very difficult and deep that haunts him internally.  And I can only imagine the severity of what this man has seen – thinking through my own issues of panic disorder and sleeplessness following the horrific things I’ve experienced.  When the subject of God (in a religious sense was on the table) I could feel his anger and disappointment.  He shot out a few examples of horrible deaths he’d watched and the circumstances that destroyed lives.  “I just don’t believe that a good God would allow these things to happen.”  He concluded.  And one would (under a trained belief system of robotic response), likely call this blasphemy or ignorance.  But do the ones who travel through great trials land in ignorance because they don’t seek?  Or is that burning question that’s been tattood on their hearts perfectly situated with great purpose?  Truly seeking answers requires true reason to do so.  Everything else is face-value and on the surface.. bologna – meaningless.  Not one that came to know the Lord walked an easy path to wisdom.  Bless this man’s heart.  I feel his pain and I know his journey.  And I believe if it is the Lord’s will, an authentic revelation will manifest in this man’s pain.

The other man who said he’s an atheist had a more colorful approach to his beliefs – though also tinted with pain from experiencing the murder of a close family member – his grandfather, who happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time.  He too had a bit of anger resulting from the way his grandfather’s murderer was set free to walk the streets and live a normal life after taking so much from he and his family away.  Where is the justice?  Where is karma?  Where is any of this recorded and how does it make sense?  The temporary things perhaps never make sense but in God’s timing it certainly will.  The young man talked about our ignorance as a people in not educating ourselves on different beliefs, cultures and religions around the world.  But he spoke softly and lovingly about his beliefs in loving other people and treating people with respect.  He talked about caring for the poor (many beautiful ideas that should grace all of our hearts).  When I asked him a question using the name Jesus, I could sense the offense in his body language – his distaste in what he described as “religion” and specifically “Christianity”.

Is it ok to admit that I know exactly how he feels?  Is it ok to confess the opposition that I’ve felt towards Christianity, beginning when I was a child, outside looking in to behavior of a people that seemed outright backwards to me.  And is it ok to be transparent in the blatant hypocrisy that I’ve seen and felt and ran away from – driving my own questions, research and concluded disbelief in accordance to the populous called “Christianity” that I’m surrounded by?

Over 70% of the US population says they are Christians.  There’s a christian church of some sort (hundreds of variations – different belief systems and denominations) on virtually every corner of every city in this country.  And as we look at a broken system full of broken people that seems to worsen with every passing day, is it practical to ask ourselves what is wrong with this picture?  How a people of a “Christian nation” who profess the name Jesus Christ are responsible for a way of life that I’m not sure anyone can argue, is completely and utterly disgusting.  If that offends you, you’re not paying attention to whats going on in our communities and our world.  People are broken…. broken badly.  And who cares?

So what’s the answer to darkened hearts, lifestyles that are focused on selfish desire and self exaltation – a people that have zero to little care for the sick or the poor (we literally throw away our elderly and disabled as a system), we focus our efforts on a “what’s in it for me” mentality, we headline disputes with hatred, division and intolerance and we somehow do all this while wearing the label “Christians”.  We are masters at destroying one another and tearing people down.  We see little value in this competitive rat race to lift others up anymore.  Jesus said “don’t be conformed to this world.”  He said “many are called FEW ARE CHOSEN”.  He said the “path is narrow and FEW will find it”.  Yet somehow, we have merged culture with religion and stirred up this yucky pot of vomit to call this way of life we live “Christianity.”…. and we would be so naive to think that this 70-something percent of the population of the United States is actually on that narrow path that few will find…. the folks that Jesus calls “few”.  Where are these few today?

I remember as a teenager, in a very fragile time of my life, making a decision to attend church by myself.  I was in a really low place and I felt lost.  I was looking for answers and it didn’t matter what the preacher taught or what the point of Christ stood for, the thing I remember was feeling like an outcast – feeling nonredeemable and out of place – like a lost cause, a species that just didn’t fit the mold.  I remember thinking if Christ is real, he doesn’t like me much.  I stopped believing in Jesus.  Not that I every truly believed – but I opposed the teachings that I’d been brought up with.  And privately, I remained that way most of my life.

Today, I know for a fact that Jesus is Lord.  But this reality for me has nothing to do with what others say or claim. It has ZERO to do with what I’ve been taught.  In fact, today I struggle to find a people that I can relate to inside of a building called a church.  I don’t look down on these establishments and certainly respect the people that put their time and heart into these places, I just don’t feel the Lord in these gatherings – instead, I often feel the WORLD in them.  It seems like in present times, we take the Word of God and mold it into a tool to make us feel better about ourselves – motivational messages of self-help, self-healing, self-advancement – meshing the old with the new to create a wine that speaks the name of Jesus without a convicted change of heart – without a desire to lay down our lives, pick up a cross and follow the one we say we believe in.  And the sword that points directly at our hearts, we so easily redirect, placing a target on everyone else’s head.  Like we’re better than others – self-righteous discernment of good and evil that never delivers us to face the true enemy in the mirror.

When talking to those beautiful people yesterday, I just felt the resistance inside of myself, wanting to say, “Please don’t put me in that mold – in that group.”  I’m not religious – religion never saved me from anything.  I’m not judgemental – I know how horrible I am as to need a savior, so how can I look at you with hypocritical eyes?  I don’t claim Jesus because the world around me said so.  I know Him because in my disbelief, he revealed who he truly is to me.  But sadly, the label has been established and it’s a stronghold in our culture today.  Christianity means what anymore?  Again… where are these few?

I just feel so sad about this idea – loving people and yet feeling like they look at me with opposition, expecting me to be judgemental or holier than thou at the mention of the name of Jesus.  And that’s the opposite of how I feel in my heart.  I’m sad that it’s become this way, although I know that was framed way before I was ever placed here.  I’m sad about our lack of knowledge.  I’m sad about the twisting of the Gospel that’s taken place for thousands of years (and by the way, Paul spoke of this too).  1 Corinthians 4:15, he was trying to correct them – he spoke of the 10,000 instructors in Christ that tried to persuade this people, and he basically said, don’t buy into them, listen to ME.  I’m sad that the ways of the Western world hide under the name Christianity having no fruit of the love, compassion and sacrificial work of our Lord Jesus our Savior.  I’m sad that the wolves are indeed in sheeps clothing.  I’m sad that the enemy has successfully picked up the most crafty alibi possible — masquerading as an angel of light, implanting self-love, self-will and the very sin he committed that resulted in him falling from heaven.. into the eyes and minds and hearts of a broad path to destruction… and with it comes the label..

I don’t know… I mean who am I to even make a conclusion to where the world is at today or where the battle lines have been drawn?  It’s in trouble, I feel that strongly.  The earth is changing so rapidly and there’s pain and suffering every direction we turn.  Yet, it’s like we remain in this little bubble of false-securities, oblivious to all that hasn’t yet made it’s way into our own homes.  I’m just a girl on a journey with a broken heart for this messed up place that I know I don’t belong to.  My heart hurts for the lost… for the hurting… for the ones who feel I have and aren’t sure where to turn for answers and hope.  I know Jesus is with us.  He’s everywhere.  He knows and he sees and he has empathy and compassion for us.  I know He’s already won.  I just pray we can break free from ourselves and our foolish pride to truly find his mind and his heart and his love before it’s too late.  I pray that he’d reveal himself to us directly, because that’s the only thing that’s real.  I pray that we stop following others, and seeking answers from pharisees and doctrines of devils and that we humble ourselves and seek HIM DIRECTLY.  I pray that he breaks through our mountains of lies and convicts us for real to know Him and live for him with whatever time we have left.  I pray that HIS NAME be exalted in all the nations and these ideas and cultures and beliefs and things we’ve created to use against one another get torn down forever.  I pray that the veil be lifted and the tricks of the enemy be destroyed.  I pray for the first because we don’t seem to care about the last and I feel we’re all walking on dangerous grounds.  I pray that these groups and labels be exposed and the truth within our hearts come to surface.  And I don’t even know how to express that Lord.  But I know you’re near to the broken hearted and you save the contrite spirit.  Tear down the proud and get it out of me too.  I don’t want anything to do with it.  I don’t want to ever look at another human being and think that I’m above them in any way… that I’m smarter than them or wiser or better molded…. or that anything I have to give can save them..  I can’t even save myself.  You are the potter and I’m nothing without you.  None of us are.  Whatever we believe in Lord, it’s by your design.  Open the eyes of the ones you choose and whoever that “few” is…  Lord I pray for their strength and your protection over their hearts.  Your will be done.

I’ve found there are two types of convictions in our desire to know the Lord.  They oppose one another and one of the two is just simply not real.  It’s a knock off and a counterfeit (just as Satan himself is a fraud that masquerades himself as an angel of light)…. just as the wolves are wearing sheeps clothing… the ways of mankind have crept into our reasoning as it relates to ways of the Lord.

A few nights ago the Lord showed me something of importance.  I didn’t know why it was so important and I don’t know why I’ve not seen this clearly before.  Most of us have heard the story of Jesus sending out the disciples two by two.  There are some details that I’ve never really thought much about.  And as I was reminded of this event, I kept hearing, “Imagine what they look like…  Can you see them?”

In Luke it says the Lord told those that he was sending before him, “behold, I am sending you out as lambs in the midst of wolves. Carry no moneybag, no knapsack, no sandals, and greet no one on the road.”  There’s the visual I was led to seek deeper.  Imagine it…. These men were sent out broke and poor (no money with them), no food with them, no bags – nothing in their hands.  They were sent barefoot on their journey.

The very next morning, my daughter asked me to read over a paper that was due for her college English class.  She was assigned to write a paper about the single moment in her life that has impacted her the most. As I reached page 3 of her writing, I could feel the hair on my arms standing up.  It was a divine appointment with the Lord and a completion of what He was showing me with the description of the image of his disciples that He sent out.  My daughter has been through a lot.  She’s had her life shaped and molded through many trials at an early age, and this was the moment that impacted her the most of all the moments in her life thus far?

She writes:  “Why would he lay hands and pray for me?  I have everything I need and this man has nothing.”  The encounter she speaks of happened two years ago.  She was participating in a homeless simulation for a class project at AHS, in which they took this group of Juniors by bus to Waco, Texas, stripped them of all of their personal belongings and allowed them to keep only 3 items.  One sock for example, was 1 item.  Then they through them on the streets in downtown Waco as moneyless, half-dressed homeless kids.  After 3 days of walking miles in the hot sun with nothing to eat or drink and sleeping on the cold ground without blankets, my daughter’s group encountered a homeless man that she will never forget.  She told him the truth – that she’s not really homeless – that she lives a life with luxuries that we take for granted.  She has a nice home and clothes. She has running water and plenty of food to eat.  After explaining the situation to the man, he told her that he’d been homeless for over 20 years, and he seemed to pity her as he asked her if he could pray for her.  He prayed for Jesus to be the guidance of her life and he prayed for her eternal soul.  I can’t explain the impact that only she knows from this experience.  I can’t fully understand how this man changed my daughter, as she wrote about in her paper.  But I can say how amazing it is to read this paper of hers the morning after revelation of the condition of the disciples that Jesus sent out.  I could see the connection.  The disciples didn’t look like me.  They looked like the homeless man that prayed over my daughter in the park.

Jesus said in Mathew to those who are selected to inherit the Kingdom of his Father, “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in.”  And in response these people didn’t know they had done ANYTHING for Jesus – which I interpret as, he appeared to them in ways they didn’t identify as him, or expect.  And reading into this further, I see the disciples again.  I see the homeless man that encountered my daughter.  I see the irony of WHO carries the word of the Lord and how different these vessels look than what we might anticipate.

If only I could understand how truly backwards my way of thinking is… how truly opposite my carnal thoughts and expectations are to the ways of the Living God.

My daughter wrote a word in her paper to conclude her encounter with the homeless man….. CONVICTED.  That man didn’t pray for her to have food to eat or clothes on her back.  He didn’t pray for her to have an easy life or to be sheltered from trials and suffering.  He prayed for her eternal soul… An alignment with the Will of God that is so simplistic, yet so difficult to grasp in our temporary state of foolish desire.

Lord thank you for sending a true disciple of your light to my child and giving her this milestone to always remember.

So… my iphone had been sitting on my dresser charging while I was in the other room.  Suddenly it started playing a song – apparently Siri chose it, as the song of choice isn’t anything I’ve ever heard of it and apparently doesn’t even exist anywhere on the internet outside of a post in itunes.  I can’t even find it by title.. no lyrics.. nothing.  I listened the best I could on repeat and I think this is the lyrics…

As I charted out my passage

Took a punch and i’ve been had

borrowed wisdom for my tender

self made plan and a self made man

Bankrupt dreams and empty promies

Do not ever satisfy

topshelf bottles life’s hard choices

swallowed hard but left me dry

sunlight’s gone the shadow branches

and I thought I saw you there

just a swaying dancing

to the music in the air

you’re right outside along the edges

of what I saw and thought I knew

Til the veil was finally lifted

and all things sad became untrue

I want to hear a real good story

and I want to pass it along

To anyone who might be listening

To the weak and to the strong

to the hungry and the helpless

til the right replaces wrong

til the author of the story

fill the earth with his good song

you’re right outside along the edges

of what i saw and thought i knew

til the veil is finally lifted

and all things sad become untrue

 

One of the bible verses I think I’ve seen most placed in people’s homes and shared so widely is 1 Corinthians 13: 4-7.  The version I’ve seen repeatedly goes something like this…

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged.

That translation isn’t even remotely close to the older texts.  In fact the word “jealousy” isn’t even in the NIV version of the Bible, yet somehow it’s been added in all of the prints of this text regurgitated in images and household gifts – mainstream quotes.  The Lord showed me a few weeks ago the importance of the power of jealousy.  And in knowing that God is LOVE, I try so often to frame up in my own thoughts of what LOVE means.  We have an almighty, all-knowing, all-capable, all-powerful God that created mankind for HIS glory.  And then we have a history of mankind betraying God for it’s own desires and self exaltation.  And somewhere in the middle of this it seems we’ve adopted as a people, the idea that God has changed… that God no longer requires all of our hearts and that God no longer is in the business of destruction, chastisement and ultimately wanting what HE wants.  It’s become all about us – what we want.. what we desire… our happiness… our comfort… our accomplishments and works.  I feel like we keep ripping the pen right out of Jesus’ hands to place God in a box that makes sense to our carnal minded desires and to shape the Almighty I AM into a character that makes us feel good about our lack of reverence to the one who made us with a purpose that has little to do with us and everything to do with him.

In the book of Exodus, it says the Lord’s NAME IS JEALOUS.  And throughout the Bible God’s Jealousy is discussed – as a warning of sorts.  It’s says HE is a jealous God and His jealousy is what provokes Him to anger.  In Deuteronomy it says if our Jealous God’s anger is kindled against us it will wipe us off the face of the earth.

I talk a lot about Fear of the Lord because I’ve been shown that it’s a life or death matter, eternally.  He loves us but HE’s NOT PLAYING WITH US!  And it’s so important that we stop playing a game with Him.

When I look at my relationship with the Lord, I’m ashamed.  There’s no candy-coating the fact that I adopted and bought into a modernized drive-thru version of Christianity.  A religion that justifies the evidence of Christ in our lives for the most part by one simple factor… Do you attend church on Sundays?  And that “membership” with a place and a people solidifies in our minds a commitment to Godly living.  It’s the pattern of society that’s found in virtually every part of our lives today.  We don’t have time to make meals so order food through a window.  We don’t have time for family so we designate days and call them “vacations” to make memories and make-up for the loss of our relationships that are held captive by our busy schedules.  We don’t need get-togethers and face to face human interaction, we’ve supplemented relationships with social media – tagging Grandma in pictures instead of visiting our loved ones regularly.  And in all this transition that we’ve been forced into for the most part, our relationship with the Lord has been captured by the same type of convenience that suits our busy lifestyles.  Why read the word, why pray, why work out our own salvation with trembling and why battle for a personal relationship with God when we can simply attend an hour sermon once a week and employ someone else to tell us who we are, why we’re here and what our Creator thinks, feels and demands or holds lack-of-demand in relationship to us.

Jealousy is one of the most powerful emotions known to mankind, when it stems from Love, (which is a very different thing from envy, which stems from self-desire, not love).  There’s only one time in my life that I’ve actually feared my husband – been afraid of what he might do… it came from jealousy.  A perfectly sound person (if there is such a thing), when in love with another, can be moved by anger that roars like a raging fire to when jealousy is ignited.  You can say that’s crazy if you want to but if you’ve ever really loved someone, you probably have felt the fire of jealousy at one point or another.

So here we are, smiling and clapping our hands once a week, shouting “amen” to ideas we haven’t even fact-checked by the Holy Spirit that’s available to all who will seek God with all their hearts.  We’re passionate about the Lord but we put him on the back-burner and trade-off conviction and heart-changing revelation for motivational speeches and encouraging uplift meetings.  We speak of the blood of Jesus like it’s a free pass to live for this world, be conformed by this world, to love this world and even convince ourselves this world is home and will never perish.  Jesus made it clear HE IS NOT OF THIS WORLD and this world WILL PASS AWAY.  This world did not accept Christ.  The ways of this world and the systems of this world were exalted above the Son of God and out of envy this world crucified Him and rejected his ways…. and nothing has changed under the sun.

Set me as a seal upon thine heart, as a seal upon thine arm: for love is strong as death; jealousy is cruel as the grave: the coals thereof are coals of fire, which hath a most vehement flame.

I pray today that we will fight against everything of this world that misleads us, consumes our minds and belittles the presence of God in our hearts.  I pray that we will WAKE UP and stop listening to mankind and the empty teachings that tickle our ears but do not pour truth into our hearts – that we remember the words of Jesus as he prayed that HIS PEOPLE would be set apart and sanctified – and that the Lord would give us understanding that anything that looks like the world, talks like the world and agrees with the world is NOT OF JESUS, who is NOT OF this world.  I pray that we see the Love of God as the consuming fire HE IS and find heartfelt reverence to His name and the sacrifice of His Son dying for us, with a burning desire to live and die for him.  I pray that we turn away from ideologies, doctrines and man made theories and seek the Lord for truth, while it can be found.  And I pray that the Fear of the Lord, which is the beginning of understanding will convict us, teach us and change us into a people that turn away from the corruption of our flesh and the lies that glorify the flesh, to seek the face of the Living God who loves us and is jealous for us and demands reverence to HIS WILL – the God who is and was and will always be on the throne of all of creation.

I’m convinced that if I could see all of God’s plan, I just wouldn’t be able to handle it.  So, it’s a beautiful thing how the Lord walks us through each day and each season, part by part, revealing Himself in new ways as we go along.  I think one of the most beautiful gifts the Lord has given me to this point, is showing me my own brokenness – not in ways that I expected him to do it.  You see, I didn’t know that the very areas of my life that seemed good, were the ones that had to be discarded.  And in begging the Lord to fix the areas that seemed broken (on the outside), He began to show me just how backwards my thinking is…  He wants the parts of me that I try to hold in my own hands – the parts of me that I believed I didn’t need his help with.

When the outside is broken, the inside is emptied.  And as we decrease, He increases in us.  This morning I want to write the words of Jesus in the book of Mathew (9:15) – when Jesus was asked why His disciples didn’t fast like the pharisees fasted, And Jesus said unto them, “Can the friends of the bridegroom mourn, as long as the bridegroom is with them? but the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken from them, and then shall they fast.”  I really only have one true experience with what I would consider a LONG fast and it wasn’t planned.  I didn’t even think about it and as I look back I’m not even certain how long this fast lasted.  I would guess it was somewhere around 10 days that I didn’t eat.  I also wasn’t sleeping and I wasn’t drinking initially.  Although after several days I began drinking very large amounts of water – almost as if to flush out my system completely, even though none of this was planned – it was just what my body craved… It was like a detox orchestrated not by me.  This fast occurred through a time of very intense tragedy.  Many of us have had one of those seasons, when the world is so far upside down we can’t eat or sleep – barely surviving off of adrenaline.  And we fast without any intention or forced ideas.  But during this horrible time in my life, on these days when I fasted because I had not strength in me to do anything other than fall apart… that’s when I heard the Lord’s voice for the first time… and with a tear-stricken face, swollen eyes and a body that was so weak I coudln’t even peel myself off of the floor of that hospital room..  His embrace was so beautiful.

Jesus said when HE left, then His friends will fast.  Then he went onto talk about something I’ve always found difficult to understand in carnal thoughts – the old garment and the old wineskin.  Jesus made it clear many times that HE planned to come “into us” – inside…  In John 14:20, He said, “At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you.“…  and in a discussion with the Pharisees as they inquired about WHERE the Kingdom of God is, Jesus said, “it’s not here!”  He said we can’t see it with our eyes, it’s not a place!  Luke 17:20 – “The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.”  He also said that it was in favor of the disciples that He should leave because then the Holy Spirit would come INTO them.  So, back to Mathew 9, Jesus said we don’t put a new patch on an old garment.  The old garment has to be done away with completely to receive a new one.  And then He adds to this saying that you don’t put new wine in an old wineskin.  We are a vessel (an unclean vessel), and what Jesus offers – is to pour out Himself into us, but He makes it so clear here that He can’t come in with the new, without ridding of the old.  We have to be cleaned out and emptied and there’s no way to get inside without breaking the outside.

One of my friends talked about revelation she received from the Lord recently about “the body”.. Jesus told the disciples that the bread represents his body and the breaking of the bread was necessary before the bread could be dipped in His blood (the wine), and they could drink of Him.  What the Lord showed her was that HIS BODY that’s broken, IS US!…. In 1 Corinthians 12:27 Paul says, “Now YOU are the body of Christ.”  The bread (His Body) was broken before they could eat of Him.  And then after that, they were to drink the new wine (His blood of the new covenant).

It’s hard to grasp that God would ordain for his children to be broken, just as it was hard for Peter to step out of the way as God’s will for His only begotten Son was to be crucified on the cross for our sake.  This isn’t a concept our human minds accept easily.  But as the Lord leads us through these trials we face, so often we stand on the other side of a great storm and realize that the circumstances that BROKE us, while they were difficult and awful, yet the outcome of what has changed inside of us is so beautiful.

Be encouraged that the Lord is on the throne and in control of everything that we go through.  Changing our circumstances is so easy for Him.  Look no further than all of the miracles in the Bible that God did to glorify His Son..  But let us remember also the manner in which “It is finished.”  Jesus holds the keys to death my friends and he doesn’t want any of us to be lost eternally.  We are to be equally yoked with Him eternally, and eternal is the point.  Jesus said, “Don’t take thought of your life and what you will wear or eat or drink.”  And James said our life here is so temporary, it’s like a vapor or a mist.  Sometimes the very things that seem so horrible in our temporary journeys here, are the very things that are needed to break the old wineskin, because God is going to pour the everlasting wine inside of us…. Jesus himself living in us.. He fills us with HIMSELF (The LIFE), and His Kingdom is being set-up within us.  Let us hold onto HIM with all we have and trust that He will finish the process he has started in us.

Blessed are those who endure when they are tested. When they pass the test, they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.”  – James 1:12

Father, today I just thank you for Jesus.  I ask for your guidance and your will to be known to your children, Lord that we may be of one accord with you.  Help us to not rebuke the circumstances that you have ordained in our lives but instead to have eyes to see your eternal plan and ears to hear your voice, that we may be given wisdom from you and strength of our Lord Jesus to endure as he endured.  You know Lord that we can’t pass the test without you so please pour out yourself into us today, give us YOU, our daily bread as YOU are the hidden manna that we so desperately need.  Help us to rejoice even in our trials as you send your Holy Spirit to comfort us and fixate our eyes not on our circumstances but on the hope of Glory, which is YOU Jesus.. and always has been and always will be.  You are our portion Lord and I thank you for loving a wretched woman like me.

In Jesus Name, Amen!

I’m just going to start typing and asking the Lord to speak what He wants to say – pushing aside the things I think in my own thoughts and asking Him for a revealing of the messages He’s placing on my heart and speaking today through His Spirit on subject of self awareness and self consciousness.

Self consciousness is tiered in two ideas – one being physical and one being internal, however the physical is a strong hold that battles against the internal.  To be self conscious in the spiritual is to see ourselves as a connected source of God that has no individual existence without Christ.  The physical self is a diety of what lies in the background, or the past – an image of the very thing that was nailed to the cross with Christ as he was made a curse in the flesh to destroy the fleshly nature of men for all who will accept Him internally – surrendering ourselves, dying to ourselves, denying ourselves and empties of ourselves to be filled with HIM – see the wedding where Jesus instructed all of bottles to be first emptied before he poured the new wine into them (water turned to wine) only by the blood of Jesus.

The mirror is a tool of self consciousness in the physical battling against the spirit of God to show us a reality or existence that sets outside of the unity with God in a shell or body that exists in the past – prior to being nailed to the cross with Christ – Paul explained this as he said it’s no longer who lives but Christ now living in Him and said he was nailed to the cross with Christ so that he may rise with Christ.

The physical state of self consciousness will always appeal to what it wants – it’s desires – what the physical eyes behold and either enjoy or wish to improve upon – it’s very difficult to be content with what we have, seeing ourselves in the physical.  No matter how beautiful we may think we are outwardly, we are always by our human nature displeased and found wanting – wanting more, wanting something different.. wanting improvement and wanting exaltation from the current physical place of reality we behold.  These thoughts are a consistent, and often-never ending attack upon our spiritual walk in Christ and the carnality of our minds are an entanglement that is against the spirit of God – as scripture says, the carnal mind (human mind) is enmity with God.

The human mind is never satisfied, never content, never surrendering to joy in its current circumstances no matter how good or bad they are – the human mind is always looking for a better outcome.. it wants more, it wants change.  This characteristic is in alignment with the fall of satan, who was in the Heavenlies when his heart said it will exhalt ITSELF above God.  The heart is made sick once self has taken form from thought.

Heavenly Father I pray that your children near and far are awakened by you to see the battle – the intense battle that we are in with ourselves.  The mind that your word says we must take captive of its thoughts in obedience to Christ.  Father give us eyes to see the mustard seed that you have implanted in us as the seed of Christ that YOU increase when we surrender and seek after your kingdom within.  Father help us to stop looking at one another as if we are the point and others are the enemy, but instead to see that we are the portion of the Lord and our brothers and sisters are one with us as that portion that belongs to you.  God you know all things and your Spirit speaks beyond the chatter of these minds, speak louder Lord, shake us up and help us to find our way Home to you – illuminate the narrow path and guide us to find it.

 

Thank you Jesus… <3

 

 

The relationship between a child and a parent is so telling of our relationship with our Heavenly Father. We raise our kids in love, give them everything we possibly can to make them healthy and happy… We love them so much we’d die for them… Yet when they are no longer little children, the world starts pulling them in different directions.. tempting them with counterfeit relationships as they face a burning desire within to move on from the world of security they’ve known… to go out and explore.. to remove the strings that tie them to home. And as you try to protect them and guide them, they start seeing you as an enemy – the one holding them back and restraining them. They don’t like your advice, they think you’re stupid and old fashioned… If you’ve had teenagers, you probably know what I’m speaking of.. I feel like this is what we do with God in many ways. We’re born into a sense of wonder and joy. Our imaginations are connected to the source of love.. but as we grow we want something else… to be independent from him… to go at it alone and explore our “self-life” using the talents and gifts he’s given us.. In the parable of the prodigal son, that boy took his gifts from his Father and left Him… went out into the world and ended up in a pig’s pen.. begging for food. Yet when he returned home, wishing to be just a servant in his fathers kindgom, as he no longer felt worthy to be called a son, the Father welcomed him with open arms and threw a party to celebrate that His son had come home. Last night I was in prayer and I felt the Lord showing me His heart’s desire… for His children to come home to him. Not a physical place of travel.. much bigger than that.. a heartfelt place where the source of Love is reconnected with His sons and daughters in a way that our number one cry from within is to be wrapped in the arms of our Father… to rest in Him and abide in Him as our place of refuge…that secret place where Jesus resides and we in Him and Him in us.

Who is The Bride of Christ?  In a study through the book of Revelation tonight I was shown something I’ve not before seen – a certain reward only spoken of by Jesus to a direct group – the Church of Philadelphia.  Jesus describes these people as faithful to Him through their trials and tribulation.  He talks about their patience, (which is referenced throughout the bible as a result of enduring affliction and trial), he talks about their current state – having only a little strength left.  This people I believe corresponds with the parable Jesus spoke in the book of Luke about the wedding feast – the first ones that were taken weren’t in very good condition.. they were the blind and the sick and the weak and the lame.  Likewise in Jesus’ message to the Church of Philadelphia he said that he will keep them from the hour of temptation…. this Church of Philadelphia.  But here’s a really amazing thing he said.. He told them that to those who overcome He will write the name of his God (sounds like a wedding… the bride takes the name of the groom), and then he said that he will write the name of God’s city on them, which is New Jerusalem.  In Revelation 20, John saw the bride of Christ.. He says this, “And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.”…. New Jerusalem IS THE BRIDE, and the Church of Philadelphia is the only church Jesus promised to write God’s name on them and New Jerusalem.  Who is the bride?  I believe the bride is the church of Philadelphia.

But what about the 7th church?  Who are the Laodicians?  This is the church that most people I think don’t want to be part of, as so many talk about the “lukewarm church” as a group that’s in great danger.  And they very well may be, as the Lord issued a threat to “spew them out of his mouth”… but He also issued a way and a very great promise to this 7th and final church in his messages.  He told them that they must buy gold of him “tried by the fire”.. and then said they must endure AS HE ENDURED.  And if they do these things, he promised them that they will sit with him on the throne.  This is huge.  If you recall, the disciples asked Jesus for this right.  They requested to sit at the throne with Jesus.  Jesus told them that they didn’t know what they were asking for and then asked if they could drink from HIS cup…. that cup was so intense it caused Jesus to sweat blood as he prayed to the Father and asked Him to take the cup from him.  What is required to sit at the throne with Jesus?  To endure AS HE ENDURED.  What does this mean to the often looked down upon group of souls that belong to this church?  It means they’re really important to God.  It also means they have a very tough road ahead of them, yet a very amazing reward awaiting them…. to sit at the throne with Jesus?  I’ve not found that promise offered anywhere else in the bible to anyone.

The first will be made last and the last will be made first…..

Many say they are the bride of Christ, and I believe that revelation is only one that can come to a person directly from the Lord.  But to all who have been told by God that they are part of this important group of tried and sanctified, loyal lovers of Christ, I would suggest this… the role we have as a bride is of the utmost importance to those who follow.  Because the “lukewarm church” that so many of us discuss like pointing fingers at the guilty – trying to define who’s who in these messages given by Jesus, happens to be a VERY important group to God.. perhaps the most important of all, considering this is the only church offered a reward to sit at the throne with our Lord an Savior.  So, I just pray tonight that the Lord will reveal to us through His spirit who we are and why we’re here – what mission he has for us in serving Him and the ones He sends us to… and that we see ourselves as servants (below the ones who are called by God to endure as Jesus endured).

The first 3 hours of Jesus on the cross, was passed with a great amount of chatter by those witnessing his crucifixion.  In all 4 Gospels we see a picture of a great crowd mocking and laughing as they spoke about Him and to Him.  Did they do this because they did not believe?  This is an interesting scenario because these people testified of his words, his miracles and then requested proof by “their standards – what was acceptable to them”.  And these words written of weren’t just ANY people, either.

In Mathew 27:41, the scene is set and he describes people passing by, shaking their heads, saying “Thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, save thyself. If thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross.”  They knew the words of Jesus… which means, they were THERE or witness to a certain event that took place when Jesus spoke these very words to them as it written in all the gospels…  So going back, Jesus went Into Jerusalem, into the temple courts, where he found them selling stuff in exchange for money… Where?  IN THE TEMPLE COURTS – the Holy Place, where the people served God – it was corrupted with buying and selling.  And so Jesus drove them out of there and turned the tables upside down and told them who were selling doves, STOP making my Father’s house a place of merchandise. (John 2:17).  It’s interesting that many describe the symbolizing of a “dove” among the Israelites as the “spirit of God”…  Were they selling the spirit of God to make money?  And Jesus said, (Mathew 21:13), “It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.”  So at that time, they challenged Jesus who had corrected them and said, “What sign shewest thou unto us, seeing that thou doest these things?”… It’s like they were saying, “why should we listen to you?… Prove to us that you have the authority to tell us we can’t make money in the temple”….They seeked a sign and Jesus simply answered with this, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.”  Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days?  But he spake of the temple of his body. – John 2:21… 

So back to the cross… Who were the people walking by wagging their heads saying, “Thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, save thyself. If thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross.”??  Well, it would seem they were the same people that were standing in the temple courts (the Holy Place) making money off of God’s things – the ones who had AUTHORITY over the religion of the jews to do what they wanted in the temple – they were setting the rules, making the standards and MAKING A PROFIT off of God.  And they probably didn’t appreciate Jesus coming on the scene, busting up their show and demanding “you stop doing this in my Father’s house.”  So they were angry.. perhaps offended by Him.. or maybe they just didn’t like HIS way.. the way of selflessness and meekness…. but did they BELIEVE He was who he says He is?

In the accounts of the conversation taking place at the cross, along with those wagging their heads and mocking him, it’s identified that “Likewise also the chief priests mocking him, with the scribes and elders, said” – we have another description of who was leading this wolf pack of mockers who stood against Jesus.  They were the leaders of the church, at that time, (if it’s OK to call it a church – it was at that time the leaders of the religious people)….. The elders… the scribes…  THE CHIEF PRIESTS?  And what did they have to say?….

“He saved others; himself he cannot save. If he be the King of Israel, let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him.” (Mathew 27:42)

They are testifying of the signs and wonders of Jesus Christ.  They saw him save people… they saw him heal people.. they saw the power of GOD in Him… yet they stand against him, mock him and STILL SEEK A SIGN.  It’s like everything Jesus did that was good made them more violently seek the demise of Jesus, and so they threw a testimony with an accusation at him, basically saying, “We KNOW he saved others and did all these amazing things but if HE’S REALLY THE KING, he would save himself.”  Why is that?  Is a King supposed to exhalt himself?… take the gifts of God and use them for self-gain – as they were selling God for money and Jesus taught that what they were doing was wrong.  The one and only true King chose to lay down his life as the ultimate gift of God… and they rebuked that example… Why is that?

Mathew 16:4, Jesus says – “A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given unto it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas.” And he left them, and departed.

What sign are we seeking?…  Sometimes I wonder if we look for the evidence of Jesus Christ living in us the same way these people did – “Jesus, if you’re really who you say you are, make me rich and healthy and give me a life full of all the finer things…. EXHALT me, and then I’ll believe you”…

It seems like lately, the thing that moves me most emotionally, is reading or hearing of testimonies from others who have found Jesus, through their suffering.  I can relate to that – I know HIS power to plant the good seed inside the fertile soil of a broken heart – deep into the core of everything that had to be broken into pieces and emptied of everything, in order to be filled with HIM….. Just like his flesh had to be broken… before he was raised back up… ahh, the simplicity of the truth.

There’s a song that I found recently called “Give me Faith”…  The Lyrics go like this..

I need you to soften my heart
And break me apart
I need you to open my eyes
To see that You’re shaping my life
All I am, I surrender
I need you to soften my heart
And break me apart
I need you to pierce through the dark
And cleanse every part of me
All I am, I surrender
Give me faith to trust what you say
That you’re good and your love is great
I’m broken inside, I give you my life

We seek knowledge… we seek self-proclaimed righteousness..  we seek control over the gifts the Lord has granted us..  and we seek to show signs of HIM through what we achieve… when the only choice that ever was and ever will be is SURRENDERING OURSELVES COMPLETELY TO HIM.

Matt Chandler said in one of his sermons I watched recently, “If this doesn’t make sense to you that’s ok.. it just means you haven’t bled enough yet.”   Father thank you for the ONE who bled for us, even as we bleed too.. but because HE ROSE.. we are risen with HIM.

I’ve spent most of my days contemplating what I deserve – like a spoiled child, questioning why others have more than me, better than me, less hurt or less trials.  And in spiritual ideas that lack truth I looked upon the story of a broken world taking no responsibility for the decisions of Adam and Eve.  Why should I suffer because they made an error?  Why do I have to live in a broken world because two that came before me made a mistake that offended God, our creator?  Doesn’t God know we (me) don’t deserve to live in sickness, pain, struggle and heartbreak at the hands of people we’ve never even met?

And I realize in this season, that I am them every single day, making a choice.  God is love, yet I betray his love second guessing his instruction, looking to the lies of this world for answers – chasing the American dream, accumulating stuff that doesn’t profit my soul, pondering that his ways are out-dated or somehow not relevant to the times we live in – as the serpent whispers, “he didn’t really tell you that did he?  Oh, that’s nonsense, you won’t surely die.”  God is love, yet the spirit of Cain causes me to look at others in comparison and bitterness.  I wonder why they appear to be living in favor while my efforts never seem to pan out the way I want.  God is love, yet the spirit of Abel causes me to seek revenge upon those who have caused me harm, treated me unfairly, spoken awful things about me or placed judgement on me, when judgement belongs to the Lord – Abel’s blood cries out to the Lord in accusation.  God is love, yet the gentle yoke of Jesus Christ – Yeshua Hamashiach, and his simple instruction to love others as myself and to love my neighbors and my enemies too seems to be so difficult.  If the Lord says its easy, how can it be difficult?

Oh Lord, please show us who we are.  Father, pour your spirit out upon all flesh and open our hearts to see the truth.  I pray to you to keep my children safe and far from evil, yet I struggle to follow your commands.  I’m a hypocrite and a liar and a thief and murderer all the days of my life.  Purge me Father – remove the sin and death and decay by the blood of Jesus, I beg you to make me whole, lacking nothing, wanting nothing, with the fruit of the spirit as a witness to your glorious work, that I may be transformed by love, kindness, meekness, patience, long-suffering and self-control.

I deserve death.  But God, in your mercy you’ve made a way for me to return to you through the price paid by the blood of Christ.  Let me not send him to that cross in vain.  Father, help me to accept the gift you give me freely and to abide in Him and Him in me for the rest of my days.  Destroy the adam and the eve and the cain and the abel inside of this filthy flesh and prosper my soul in spirit, that I may prosper by your will and in the goodness that you have promised to all who are called according to your purpose….. In Jesus’s mighty name, my Lord and My Savior, Yeshua Hamashiach, I thank you, Amen.