Alone in the Stands

Today was hard.  Getting Josh in the car was much more difficult than I’d hoped.  His dad came along to help.  It was the first time, I’d had anyone go with me on a Josh appointment.  And even though in the past, I’d managed (solely by the Grace of God) to get him to and from check-ups and MRI’s and therapy sessions all by myself, the present situation seems heavier.  It’s like the load has increased, even though the circumstances are clearly not as severe as last time we went through this…. not that it’s ever ceased at all.  But the roller coaster ride of this storm just seems so fragmented this go-round.

I feel weak. My back and neck have been killing for days and I just can’t seem to plan and communicate with Josh well on the techniques that are needed to move him safely.  After a difficult day commuting to the med center, Josh made a decision that would be a HUGE FIRST for this family.  He said he didn’t feel like it was safe to try and transfer from the car with just me, and decided not to try and attend our son’s football game tonight.

Lil Josh has played football since he was 6 years old.  It was his first love and it’s brought me so much joy watching him over the years.  But my emotions couldn’t compare to how it made his dad feel.  That lil guy has always been his dad’s pride and joy.  He just lights up bragging about our son and sharing his video clips of his awesome plays.  In many ways, I think it’s been one of the most driving factors of his recovery.  Last year, Josh was determined to get well enough to make Lil Josh’s first football game.  Even though he was in a wheelchair, he was there.

Ten minutes before the game Lil Josh called my phone, “Mom!  Where are ya’ll at?  The game’s about to start!”  He sounded worried.  I told him I was almost at the stadium.  “Dad too right?”  He asked me.  I explained how much Josh wanted to be there.  But it was just impossible this time for me to get him in the car by myself.

I knew the game would be somewhat emotional for me, worrying about how Josh was doing at home, (although I knew he’d be fine with his mom there watching him), and wondering how my son would feel taking the field without his dad there cheering him on.  I know this may sound silly to some but football was THEIR THING.  It’s just this strong bond they had together – it always has been this magical connection between son and father.  Josh poured his heart into training our son and teaching him everything he knew about the sport.  And, Josh wouldn’t miss watching his kid play football for ANYTHING.  Yet, today, he had no choice.

I found a seat alone in the stands and it took me awhile to find Josh – he wasn’t in warm-ups with his team.  Then I spotted a tall, lean kid throwing a football back and forth in the endzone with another player, wearing the number 17.  Well…That did it for me.  I started balling.  I’ve asked him so many times to wear 17, but he never would.  Seven has always been his number, because that was his father’s number back when he used to play football.  But tonight, to my surprise, my son was wearing MY number!

Lil Josh didn’t play like himself tonight.  I knew deep down he was only partially in attendance.  A piece of his love for the game was missing tonight and that was clear to me.  But the angels were there with us, comforting us.  Even though I felt so strange sitting in those grandstands by myself…. I know I wasn’t alone.  The Lord is with us each step of this journey.  He’s there catching every single tear I cry and storing them in his bottle.  Every first I face and the heartbreak that looms reminding me of how different our life is now and everything we’ve lost, I still somehow find peace and strength to get through those moments.

In a strange way, I think the Lord gave Lil Josh that jersey tonight.  Lil Josh would’ve never chosen it on his own.  Tonight God gave me 17… my number on my baby boy’s back.

After the game, Lil Josh said he’s thinking of hanging up the helmet for awhile.  I can’t begin to imagine all of the things that goes through this sweet boy’s thoughts.  I know this has all been tougher on him than probably any of us.  But, whatever he decides and whatever path he takes, I believe God’s plan will be completed in my children.  And on the other side of hurt and disappointment and the heaviness of these trials, we will reach a beautiful place one day…

Bitter sweet…

The Seed of Jesus and The Vessels that Carry the Seed – Birth of a NEW CREATURE

It’s no accident I think, that I had no desire to bear a child.  In my own selfishness, I didn’t want to be responsible for another’s life – and whole heartedly believed that God planting a seed of life in me, would be the biggest mistake ever.  I didn’t know anything about babies, and I didn’t want to know.  I had a career that I was after, a young romance that needed to flourish and a body (exterior appearance) that I desperately wanted to keep looking flawless.  That, was one of my greatest gifts without question (my looks).  I had no room in my life for crushed career dreams and a fat, sloppy droopy, ruined appearance.

I called upon the powers of false gods by the self-centered desires of my own heart – something I’ve never truly realized until this moment as I write this.  My heart was set on money, success and prosperity.  The details of what I did aren’t important, but the result of me doing everything I could to promote MY DESIRES, was a positive pregnancy test.  I’ve never even spoken out-loud to myself about the alignment that I knew deep down was awfully coincidental. Because what happened was pretty much my worst nightmare (the opposite of what I wanted).  The desires of my heart were nowhere near the desires of God’s heart, but that really didn’t matter because He decides what to do with those who belong to Him.. a long, heart-wrenching and yet amazing revelation of my journey that continues to unfold still today.

I cried for at least a week straight.  I remember my mother scolding me with the same disgust I felt in myself.  “You realize your life is ruined right?”  In wordless agreement with her, I completely realized it.  There was no chance the big company where I had been interning at would hire me for a the permanent position I was chasing, once the knew I was pregnant.  Not only that, I knew the hours, travel schedule and physical requirements of the marketing role I would no longer be able to perform.  And to make matters worse, my boss, the VP of Marketing openly despised pregnant women in the workplace and wasn’t shy about expressing the uselessness of women carrying babies that “belonged at home”, as he used to put it.  So… my career dreams were finished.  And, my body was too.. and potentially, my engagement.  Although Josh seemed like the only one happy about the pregnancy, I knew deep down that he was quite vain – very much in love with the outward woman and since my appearance was about to be destroyed, I worried that his affection towards me would also be gone.

I didn’t want a baby… in any shape or form – this was my worst nightmare come true for me at the time.  And sadly, a part of me was hoping that I’d miscarry in the early stages.  I did not.  Yet amazingly, as the doctor visits continued and my belly grew larger, I began changing.  Excitement, fear, sorrow, love, anticipation – too many emotions to even name welled up inside of me, increasingly more severe with everyday.  Within only the first 2 months, I had become so committed to the life that was growing inside of me, I had changed nearly everything in my outward life.  For example, I had quit smoking and drinking caffeine, cold turkey.  I wanted nothing to do with anything that could potentially cause harm to the baby that I was carrying.  I changed all of my habits – taking long walks instead of hitting the rigorous gym routine.  I rested when I could, began keeping the house immaculate in preparation for providing the baby with a sanitized environment and I even quit my dream job and humbled myself to work retail in the mall.  I was embarrassed about it all, so I applied at the mall that was in a neighboring community – not wanting people that I knew to see me working minimum wage with a huge belly at the age of 19 – a far cry from the path I’d previously been headed down.  The sports car that I loved so much I traded in for a beat up Honda pathfinder that barely ran.  And Josh and I even sold the house that we’d saved up for so long to purchase – moved in temporarily as his mom’s rent house to decrease our mortgage/rent and prepare financially to take care of a child.

As time continued to pass, the changes outward were almost meaningless to the the ones that were happening to me inward.  I spent all of some of my spare-time watching baby shows and balling buckets of tears at the stories of childbirth.  I volunteered at a local daycare to learn how to change diapers and make bottles.  And when I wasn’t cleaning, crying or learning about babies… I was spending time with the baby.  I wrote her letters and spoke to her almost constantly.  I told her my secrets and cried to her.  I humbled myself by the minute to the hour of everyday to let her know how much I loved her and how happy I was to know her and how I didn’t want to let her down.   I changed my whole world for her – every single of fiber of who I was, transformed into something new… called a mom.

I loved someone that I couldn’t even see MORE than I loved myself.  I watched my every want and every desire die because she became my heart’s ONE DESIRE… that baby girl that started off with no physical evidence of her existence.  Imagine how they felt back before we had pregancy tests.. They were just believing that new life could be created in them but they had no way to verify if the seed had been planted.  And look how the signs start…  morning sickness (that doesn’t sound very good)… – throwing up, loss of appetite, tired all the time, lack of energy… getting pregnant is very similar to coming down the flu.  But in the afflictions of happenings that are very uncomfortable to the flesh, we start to see the evidence of the seed planted.

“I think I’ve caught a have a horrible disease… No you’ve fallen into the hands of God and He’s planted a seed of Jesus in you”… ever wondered about this?  Why is getting pregnant with so many awful side effects to the flesh?

But as the seed grows inside, the outward evidence of LIFE inside of the vessel carrying the seed becomes evident.  I wonder if this has anything to do with how pregnant women “glow” with a radiance, as was described of Stephen as he was dying…  But before any signs outwardly are seen, through the sickness and feeling awful, the woman begins to rejoice with FAITH that NEW LIFE has began growing inside of her….

Most recently, I’ve been seeing so many connections to “the seed” and Jesus”, with a growing understanding that HE IS the seed, (the good seed).  I’ve been in this amazing walk with the Lord on my eyes being opened to new understandings of the “Kingdom inside of us” that Christ explained and the tie to “the Kingdom is like a mustard seed.”  God led me to teachings by a man named Terry Bennett that really cracked open a new part of my heart to understand the opposition of “self life – ME” and “Christ life – HIM”…  the new creature and the necessary dying of the old creature (once again me).

So today, He revealed to me the seed of life..  Christ (life) in me.  He showed me the change that takes place as the pains and discomforts intensify in the woman carrying the seed.  She has to get rid of her old self (ALL OF HER WAYS) in order to be a vessel that holds and prepares for the birth of the child.  And as crazy as this may sound, I feel like I’m pregnant, (spiritually)… yet at that early place that I’d been before… Crying about the changes in my life and the strangely unanswered desires of my heart.  What I wanted (the life I saw for myself) is not what God had in mind… And through that 9 months that followed the news of the seed planted in me, I had to be crushed (everything that I wanted, all of my self-desires, self ambitions, priorities that brought me self esteem and self love and self gratification… they had to be destroyed… I had to lose my job, my body, my dreams, my comfort in the strength of my relationship with my fiance, my pride (illustrated in me running to another town to be pregnant and on minimum wage), my habits – I still remember how my flesh groaned when I cut off nicotine and caffeine (the headaches, nauseousness and mood swings were horrible).  Absolutely everything that defined “me” and made “me” comfortable had to die – a process that was developing a new love in my life – a love for the LIFE within me.. no longer me who lives, but MaeKenna who was living in me – JUST LIKE PAUL SAID ABOUT JESUS…  It was no longer Paul who lived, but Christ within him.  Paul said that he was crucified (dead) with Christ..  Paul lost his identity of “me”… As the seed of Jesus grew in him, his life didn’t matter anymore.  His dreams and desires and all self-centered fleshly things passed away and the Love of GOD began to dwell in Paul.  That real love – sacrificial love… the love Christ demonstrated when he laid down his life for us.

Jesus said that He went to prepare a place for us..  I wonder if that place was within us..  Circumcising our hearts and emptying out everything of “self-love” so that the Kingdom of God can dwell in us… LIFE internally that leads to life eternally because Christ IS LIFE.. His seed in us.  The miracle of God giving life and the miracle of God resurrecting life, playing out in the same sequence of internally change that a woman in travail experiences as she awaits the blessed hope of the new creature inside of her being completed and ultimately delivered.  Deliverance… my gosh…

As the Lord gives me more on this later, I will share.  He truly is amazing and loves us so much… even as He rips apart the outward man in order to plant the seed of JESUS/LIFE in us, which sometimes seems so awful and hard to get through.. but its HIS LOVE in that process giving us LIFE

 

Thank you Lord.

The Word of God – Sharper than Any Two Edged Sword

Last night as I was studying Ecclesiastics, the Lord told me “Read like you’re the only one on Earth”…  I felt a sense of shame come over me in realizing that I often make decisions in my mind about which verses are about me and which ones are describing others.

Then today, I was reminded that the Word of God is sharper than any two-edge sword.  I did some quick research on a two-edged sword and read many opinions on the meaning of this passage in Hebrews, but none of them are lining up to what I feel the Lord is showing me and convicting in me.  There are also references in the bible that warn us “those who kill with the sword will be killed by the sword.”  I’m seeing reference to the two kingdoms (the outward and inward) in alignment with the two edges of this sword – also with two uses.  And the Lord is showing me that one use is what’s referenced in Hebrews 4:12…

For the word of God is living, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

This is also in alignment with the work of God in circumcising – one is outwardly (the flesh and the law) and one is inwardly (the circumcision of the heart) – See Romans 2:25.

The outward circumcision requires living by the law – which we know has never been achieved by any man, except Jesus Christ.  The inward circumcision is a work OF GOD (not us), in the Word of God written on our hearts, meaning Jesus Christ planting the seed of HIM inside of us and only God can give the increase.

If I can try to explain this the best I can, God is showing me that the Word of God serves two purposes in us – to condemn others and to convict ourselves.  So, in essence, I believe the reason the Lord told me to read the Word of God as if I was the only on the earth, is because in allowing myself to know His word, as a tool to judge someone else, I’m killing with the sword – I’m condemning others by the law – using The Word of God to point fingers at my brothers and sisters.  But if I read the Word of God as if every single word was written directly at me, well then conviction pierces even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, circumcising my heart (showing me myself and my pride and my carnal minded foolishness waring against the Spirit of God), and revealing the true intents of my own heart… which leads to repentance, FEAR of THE LORD and humble desire to be possessed fully by His Son Jesus Christ, My Savior – the only one who can save me from ME.

Father help me to not use your Word to harm, judge or condemn others, but instead to eat your Word as the sword that will transform me into the new creature, circumcising my heart and leading me to repentance, in Fear of YOU always as I have FAITH in the good seed you sew in me and the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross.

The Lord said “Gazingstock”

Only the Lord knows the heaviness on my heart this week and the deception within myself that has come to surface.  I don’t try to hang out in a place of “pretend” but still often find that reality is much worse than I would like to believe.  If this is vague, it’s meant to be.  But there will be a day when all things that are hidden will be revealed. (Mathew 10:26, Luke 8:17, Mark 4:22).  That day belongs to God, not me.

I was picking up the house and taking down all the of the decorations from MaeKenna’s graduation party this morning, as the Lord spoke to me one word – “gazingstock”…  I didn’t think much of it, lost in my own thoughts – but it lingered and boldly returned to me two more times before my complete attention was on this word He gave me.  I wondered about the meaning, thinking perhaps it has something to do with herds or animals – I think I know what gazing means but I don’t know what a “stock” is… So, as I sat down to study the meaning of gazingstock I was led to the Bible.  The word appears three times – once in Nahum, once in Hebrews and once in 1 Corinthians.

In Nahum God spoke to the destruction of the bloody city and the harlot – these people and systems in the context are strong and mighty, WELL FAVORED in sight of the world and full of themselves – yet God says he will make them a gazingstock for all the nations to look upon after he destroys them with fire and captivity.  It’s a scary text as the Lord says,

Because of the multitude of the whoredoms of the wellfavoured harlot, the mistress of witchcrafts, that selleth nations through her whoredoms, and families through her witchcrafts.

Behold, I am against thee, saith the Lord of hosts; and I will discover thy skirts upon thy face, and I will shew the nations thy nakedness, and the kingdoms thy shame.

And I will cast abominable filth upon thee, and make thee vile, and will set thee as a gazingstock.

In the mention of gazingstock in the Old Testament, we see a people that were “well favored” and God was against them promising their end would be destruction…  In the New Testament, we see a people that were not well favored in sight of the world, but they had the promise of redemption in Christ from this low place they had been brought down to.  It’s like an opposite reference to two different journeys in.. what is seen (external favor) vs what is unseen (the sacrificial love of God in the Kingdom of JESUS WITHIN broken vessels)..

Hebrews 10 says this…

31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

32 But call to remembrance the former days, in which, after ye were illuminated, ye endured a great fight of afflictions;

33 Partly, whilst ye were made a gazingstock both by reproaches and afflictions; and partly, whilst ye became companions of them that were so used.

34 For ye had compassion of me in my bonds, and took joyfully the spoiling of your goods, knowing in yourselves that ye have in heaven a better and an enduring substance.

35 Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward.

36 For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.

The living hands of God is exactly where we want to be – because we have to first be IN THE HANDS OF GOD, in order to be protected by God so that “no man can pluck us out HIS hand” (John 10:28).  Yet, Paul is telling us in Hebrews that falling into God’s hand is a fearful thing.  Why would that be?  He goes on to tell us about a process of being illuminated.  This speaks to me about how when our Lord Jesus was illuminated when the heavens opened and the voice of God spoken over Jesus saying “this is my beloved son in which I’m well pleased” – immediately after Jesus was illuminated, the Spirit led him into the wilderness where he was starved, tried and tempted of the devil.  Paul says after you are illuminated, the next step is enduring “a great fight of afflictions”…  So after God picks us up into His hand, we are full of FEAR of the Lord, and then we are placed into a fight against great trouble.  And then the word “gazingstock” appears – in the greek it means “to be a spectacle to people” – “to be looked down upon”… That doesn’t sound like a blessing does it?  It sounds like the world are looking at these people as if they were cursed in all their trouble..  And in that process we are made companions of others who are fighting that same fight we’re in… people that are afflicted, looked down upon, “reproaches” to the world – meaning a “DISCRACE” in the greek.  Paul goes onto wrap this up as he says, “You’re going to need patience, so that you can receive the promise AFTER you have done the Will of God.  So what’s THE WILL OF GOD HERE?  That these people who are snatched into God’s loving and mighty hands would FEAR HIM, be illuminated by Him and then suffer great afflictions (set apart through the trying of their faith), and be despised by people and be a spectacle of disgrace to all who look at them… a gazingstock…  wow…. but God wasn’t done with this word he gave me yet.

In looking into the word gazingstock as used in 1 Corinthians, I saw an expanded explanation using a translation I would never even entertain.  Yet this spoke directly to my heartbreak today.. and I know the Lord led me into this short study to see this…

It seems to me that God has put us who bear his Message on stage in a theater in which no one wants to buy a ticket. We’re something everyone stands around and stares at, like an accident in the street. We’re the Messiah’s misfits. You might be sure of yourselves, but we live in the midst of frailties and uncertainties. You might be well-thought-of by others, but we’re mostly kicked around. Much of the time we don’t have enough to eat, we wear patched and threadbare clothes, we get doors slammed in our faces, and we pick up odd jobs anywhere we can to eke out a living. When they call us names, we say, “God bless you.” When they spread rumors about us, we put in a good word for them. We’re treated like garbage, potato peelings from the culture’s kitchen. And it’s not getting any better.
The KJV version says… “For I think that God has set forth us the apostles last, as it were appointed to death; for we are made a spectacle unto the world and to angels and to men.
Right after all this, I got a phone call from a very sweet lady that hired me to sell her lakehouse several years back.  She said she “butt dialed me on accident”… but then immediately asked how Josh was doing.  Her husband had a stroke a few years before Josh did.  It was the reason she had to sell her lakehome – she didn’t have the ability to maintain it or afford it anymore.  I remember back then feeling so sad that this elderly couple was losing everything that they’d worked their entire lives for, due to the disability.  I ended up talking on the phone with her for over half an hour as she shared with me her pain and disappointment – and how lonely she feels.  She said that their family and friends act like they aren’t alive anymore.  They never call to check on her or her husband and the few times she has spoken to anyone, people act like she’s stupid with all of their easy solutions to fixing her troubles, saying things like “well you should hire these services or you should put your husband here or there”….  She said she’s so hurt that not a single one of them ever offer to help her (even if its just a day of relief once a month – it would mean the world to her), and worse, she said that people they knew treat her like she’s of a different species now – like she’s cursed with this hardship and they want nothing to do with her problematic life.
I got teary-eyed as we talked and I realize once again I’m only able to have compassion for her because I know exactly how she feels.  She told me at least 10 times, “It’s so nice to speak with someone that knows what I’m enduring.”… and I felt the same towards her – glad to get that accidental “butt dial”, which I know was no accident – the Lord dialed her phone to mine today.  So that I could see Hebrews 10:33 and 34…  It’s like the Lord was telling me WHAT I AM IN HIS WILL at this moment…  I’m a gazingstock… “becoming companions with those who are also used for the same purpose in the Will of God” during this difficult season of life.  He’s telling me that he knows I’m hurting but he’s commanding me to be patient, so that I might receive the promise…  the saving of our souls…  “Knowing in yourselves (Christ within us), that ye have a BETTER and an ENDURING SUBSTANCE” – Hebrews 10:34

37 For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry.

38 Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.

39 But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.

I want to thank the Lord for showing me “gazingstock” today and for loving me even though I did nothing to deserve the bloodshed of His Son and the salvation that might be obtained if He grants me the patience and faith to finish this race, obedient and in LOVE WITH HIM more than anything here, as Jesus so beautifully demonstrated in the sacrificial work of the cross – not saving Himself, but dying to the flesh to save others, eternally.  Father, even as I write this I feel foolish (as you already know all of my thoughts)…  I feel like the revelations you give me are a “killjoy” to the flesh-nature and that no one wants to read what this gazinstock called me writes on this page.  But Lord, I know you have a purpose in all things.  Jesus I know YOU are the author and as I give you the pen to write upon my own heart, I know that you are instructing me to speak to your people – even if it’s only one..  Or perhaps Lord, once I’m gone this will be read by someone one day, walking out the carrying of a cross that you’ve placed in their hands.  I pray Father that our eyes might be opened to seek JESUS the person, not the empty promises this world is selling..  I love you and I’m sorry that I shed so many tears asking so many questions like the fool that I am.  I thank you so much for speaking to me today and giving me this revelation of HOPE and this warning of patience.  Help me to decrease so that Jesus in me can increase.

Why Were You So Focused on Josh Living?

A few months ago, I went on a Christian television talk show and was interviewed about the book, “Father Please Let Him Live.”  The question was asked of me, “Why were you so focused on Josh living?”  And you know, I struggled to answer it.  There was an evident switch in my answers from spiritual to carnal that I was aware of as my lips stuttered to find words.

Ironically, a close friend of mine that I speak to daily about the Lord and study with, asked me a similar question within a few weeks of the tv interview – only worded differently.  She said the Lord impressed it upon her heart to ask me, “Why do you want Josh to be healed?”  This time, the answer within was different.

And as the Lord continues to unravel my carnal thinking and show me His hand in every single detail of my journey, another veil has been removed from my eyes – having to do with the tile of this book.  I had so many “creative” ideas.  And if you know me, you know that’s my cup of tea.  After a few decades in marketing, trained by some of the best of the best, I am an idea person.  But all those fancy titles didn’t work – the Lord gave me the title and I knew when He showed me “Father Please Let Him Live” that creativity had no place in this project – it had to be authentic to the language of the heart.  “The Heart Cry” would be center stage of a testimony that only He can design.  I did not know the fullness of my prayer that would become the title of this writing.

The Lord absolutely answered my prayer.  Josh lived.  However, it was not a carnal life that was saved or sustained – to live is a present and future state of existence that can only take place inside of the source of life itself – Jesus.    If “life” was the essence of what we see with our earthly eyes, then life is nothing more than death.  The evidence of that is our current reality – NOTHING that is born into this earth remains…. Whether the baby is taken before it leaves the womb or the vessel lives to see 100 years of age, it has a time-clock on it that is certain to expire.  A crucial point of the power of the resurrection was in the demonstration of a time-clock defeated by God in His Son Jesus who was seen by over 500 people after the thing called death (carnal life) was exterminated…. demonstrating that this thing we’re doing temporarily is NOT life.  Life is actually a person named Jesus.

So, my friend Angie asked me, “You realize that if Josh had been miraculously healed in an instant, you would have allowed him to be paraded around as an external miracle?”  I wonder if she knows how powerful that question is on my heart… because not only is she right, but there’s minimal power in that demonstration of a “miracle” as demonstrated by Jesus.  If external miracles (what the outward man can see with their own eyes) is THE POINT of God’s Hand in our lives here, then why did the Pharisees kill Jesus?  And taking that a step further, why did they question everything He did in terms of the miracles they saw with their own eyes as being evidence of the power of GOD IN HIM?  They saw the miracles… they admittedly witnessed amazing things as they proclaimed AS THEY crucified Him on the cross.  But they still killed the Son of God…  Even with all the mind-blowing miracles they witnessed, they couldn’t receive the sacrificial love of God in Jesus on the cross, inside of their hearts.

I have to cut this short but will write more on this later… but just a quick point in “Father Please Let Him Live” – my heart cry to God…  “Living” was not the gift of another day or even another 40 years here on earth.  Instead, living was the seed of LIFE planted into Josh… Jesus entering into Josh (the seed of the new creature – which is CHRIST inside).

I asked Josh a couple of days ago.  Do you think God gave you this stroke?  He said, “Absolutely He was present in ALL OF IT and at the least, God absolutely allowed it and has a big purpose in it.”  He followed up with, “I don’t know what the purpose is yet, but I know it’s big.”  The amazing thing about Josh’s response is that he has never read the word of God.  He’s heard scriptures and he’s heard sermons that quite honestly teach the opposite of the answer that he gave to me.  But the truth of his heart, came directly from his heart – not from something he’s read or heard from men.

I know God gave Josh divine knowledge when Josh was in the valley.  I witnessed the presence of spiritual encounters that I couldn’t see or hear myself, but I know they were there.  I know Josh spoke with angels and much has surfaced from those moments.  I also believe Josh when he says he spoke with Jesus and his grandpa Harry.  And it’s beautiful to me that Josh told me then, “I can’t tell you what was said to me. It’s not time.”… and he continues today in his “outward mind” to have limited recollection of those conversations.  But something out of this world was taught to Josh’s heart.. something I can’t begin to wrap my thoughts around..  Yet, I see that the miracle of GOD, Jesus in us, is doing a work inside of my husband that is far beyond any miracle we could see or touch or witness with these limited carnal senses.

Thank you Lord that Josh lives (not externally and temporarily.. but internally and eternally).. by the only source of LIFE…  Jesus Christ.

The Heaviness of Me

I fail at so many things.  I look at all the masks that I wear from moment to moment.  Being a wife, a mother, a business professional and my heart’s desire to be a child of God – there’s a heaviness that seems to always hover above the juggling act of all these roles – and many more that come and go through each day.

I’ve learned how to throw my hands up in surrender, yet the desire to swim against the current never seems to leave.  I always have somewhere to be, something to share, something to overcome and something to demonstrate – all those somethings run together like a cloud of broken crowns – and the continual task of putting them back together again, adding soap to the dirty, and painting gold over the rust.

I woke up with the song on my mind, as the lyrics go “Is it too late to say sorry.  I know that I’ve let you down, but is it too late to say sorry.. now?”  I’m not even sure if that’s the way the song really goes, but that’s what I was singing to myself.  All my failures just came tumbling down on my shoulders as I started crying and I don’t even know exactly why.  I just began saying “I’m sorry Lord” over and over.  And as I picked myself up and wiped away the tears, the conversation in between my ears was so telling of something bigger than me.  That urge to cry seems almost foreign to what my mind can understand, and the phrase kept repeating itself, “I sometimes have the urge to cry, and I don’t even know why.”

Romans 8:26 says, “Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.

Groaning in the greek means “an unutterable gushing of the heart”…  I sometimes wonder if these groanings I experience so often lately are for others, who I don’t even know… Or if they’re working to bring to surface things in me – things I would never pray for in the carnal mind.

The heaviness of me seems to be a battle between carrying the burden of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and carrying the weight of the flesh that was defeated on the cross – wants, desires and even needs that war against the inner Creature of He who planted a seed of salvation in me.

Father I just ask you today for your will to be done.  I can’t frame up anything with these unclean lips or filthy hands, but may Your Spirit in me continue to say “yes Lord”… no matter what I’m facing, no matter what I’m failing at and no matter how strange the grieving may seem to a mind that struggles and seeks to comprehend the secrets of YOU.  Help to me be still IN YOU and to deny the “me” that I must surrender everyday to the ONENESS of Your Son IN ME.

I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
 – Galatians 2:20

The Butterfly.. Thank you Lord

Yesterday is gone, and I’m glad about that.  Sometimes it seems when a truth is opened up to me and I can see a new thing differently than before, a testing of my faith follows that truth on subject of the very thing I’ve been shown.

There is so much worry in the mind – like a constant conversation taking place between our ears of checklists and deadlines and questions that we seek to silence by grasping at solutions – formulating plans that match every “what if” that comes through our thoughts.  I battle against many “what ifs”.. and the solutions sometime just aren’t there.  It’s like a debate of knowing my hands are tied and my life is subject to the fullness of the will of God, yet trying to seek answers of my own that will never work out… and led back to seeking Christ – the source of all things – the things that comfort us and bring us inner joy, as well as the things that humble us and bring us to heartbreak… for our ultimate good.

Yet fear and worry is very telling of the subjects that we often reverence in fear, and the word of God reveals that this kind of fear is not of the Lord.  Fear is a spirit – as written in 2 Timothy 1:7.  He says God did not give us the spirit of fear.  Do I believe that means that it’s given from a source that’s not in line with Jesus?  Yes, as the Lord said to take captive our thoughts, along with countless warnings to “not fear things of this world…. but to only fear the Lord.

Mathew 6:4 gives instruction to us – “Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?”  This is a hard directive to swallow if I really grasp what is being said.  Jesus is saying – Don’t think about these things!  What things does He not want playing inside of our mind?  He doesn’t want us to think about what we will eat, drink or what we will be clothed with…  the basic necessities to living here on Earth are not supposed to be of concern to us.  He follows this by saying that God knows what we need.  And then He gives the answer – IF we seek the Kingdom first, then all things will be added unto us.

At first read over these scriptures, I get a picture of what my carnal mind wants to believe in interpretation of Jesus’ warning and promise here.  That if we live a Christian life, we will be blessed with an abundance to satisfy our needs.  Yet I know that “all things” have nothing to do with the abundance in this place, but the source of all things.. JESUS.  He is the “all things” that will be added unto us.  And if I keep reading, the carnal desires are again not in line with the next directive – “Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.” 

This is a guarantee that we will have problems.  Not only is he saying, don’t think about tomorrow.. don’t worry about tomorrow – He’s also saying in the same thought, you’re going to have some issues tomorrow…. count on it.  Evil is going to be there.  Problems will arise, but do not think about it today.

I watched a short teaching by John Piper recently and it was just beautiful the breaking down of this daily grace that’s given to us – only sufficient for today, (not tomorrow).  And I can see how the carnal mind wars against the plan that the Lord laid out for our journey here.  We so easily let time rule over our thoughts because we want tomorrow’s manna.  Isn’t that what the Israelite’s faced in the wilderness?  They were given daily manna and they were given daily struggles but God got them through just one day at a time.  Yet they wanted more than what He gave – they wanted security for tomorrow.. instant deliverance..  They wanted the finish line without the journey… They wanted the promised land without having to travel through the wilderness.  And I thank how easy it would be for God to just deliver them to the promised land without any effort, if that were His plan… He would’ve done it.

What I’m seeing more and more is that God can do absolutely anything He wants, whenever He wants.  He can change our circumstances in an instant.  So why doesn’t He?  I mean, if God’s definition of salvation was to pick us up and give us everything our carnal hearts desire, He’d just do it, right?  There would be no hunger or sickness or struggle or pain or death or loss or trials in this life.  So what is God after?  A people to call His own….  A people that can dwell in His presence.  He’s not into changing our circumstances, (which He can so easily do), He’s into changing US… –  a process that’s sometimes so difficult and uncomfortable.

I’m sitting on the patio and a butterfly just came right up in front of me and made a few circles by my face… and I’m reminded of what the Lord shared with me about the butterfly months back when I first made this website and placed the butterfly as the image of Broken is Beautiful…. I’m reminded of the destination –  “a new creature”…  I’m reminded that caterpillars have to wallow in the dirt, day in and day out until its time for them to die to themselves.. they stop eating and they curl up in a ball and digest their own flesh to form a cocoon… and then that creature that looks like its left for dead, breaks free from that cocoon, spreads its new wings and flies.  I see the work of Jesus on the cross in the demonstration of the butterfly and it’s a beautiful demonstration of the process we are in.

If you’re outward man is facing struggles, like so many of us are…. if your heart is broken or your dreams seem shattered… if your problems seem too big to face and your worries seem to never end..  Well, I can relate to you my friend.. and I just want to say this from the deepest part of my heart that wars against the darkest parts of my carnal mind…  The gift of Jesus is a dwelling of HIM inside of us, changing our inner creature into something beautiful, as the outward creature decays.  The outward process of this change in us is never comfortable, that causes the inner man to cast away the desires of a broken world and only SEEK HIS FACE.  We are on a journey and the blessed hope of the finishing of our faith is HIS WORK.. and HE promises to complete it….  This caterpillar might be losing its strength, starving and weakened on the outside… but INSIDE… the seed of Jesus is growing into something so beautiful that our minds can’t even comprehend the gift.

Father, I thank you that your process has begun in so many of your children, as our hearts are set back onto seeking you, fearing you and chasing after your SON in us.. and we learn more each day that your son IS THE ONLY LIFE there is and ever was.. not a temporary fix but an ETERNAL promise.  I thank you that though we wallow in dirt, that is not the ending of us – it’s just the journey of us and that when the AUTHOR, JESUS CHRIST finishes our faith, the inner creature you are creating (Him inside of us) will break out of this cocoon to spread His wings and fly with our Lord and Savior.

“Ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds of the air, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish of the sea inform you. Which of these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this? In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind.” (Job 12:7-10)

“In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind.” (Job 12:10)

“The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.” (Romans 8:19-21)

“When you hide your face, they are terrified; when you take away their breath, they die and return to the dust. When you send your Spirit, they are created, and you renew the face of the earth.” (Psalm 104:29-30)

“You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.” (Isaiah 55:12)

 

What is Life More Abundantly?

One of the scriptures I see so commonly used in discussing God’s will for us is found in John 10:10.  Jesus describes the enemy’s task and HIS task with clear separation.  He says, “The thief comes not, but to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10). How does the thief steal, kill and destroy?  Well those three descriptions I believe line up with the three temptations, as illustrated when Jesus was tempted by the devil.  1 – He tried to get Jesus to eat of something other than the Word of God, (one was a fleshly food and the other a spiritual food).  Perhaps this is illustrated in our desires to quench our appetites and thirsts with wells that run dry, other than everlasting well of Christ.  2 – He tried to get Jesus to end his race, disobedient to the will of the Father.  3 – He tried to get Jesus to take the bait of his fleshly desires by showing him the kindoms of this world and all the riches within.  If you’ll just bow down to me, I can give you all of this “stuff”…  I can see these so dominant in what we face today.  Obviously, nothing the enemy was selling had anything to do with “life more abundantly”… the statement in itself demands complete contrast.

When the Lord began to unravel my way of thinking, I would often get so overwhelmed with revelation I couldn’t hardly hold it inside of me.  I called my mom nightly and talked her ear off discussing what the Lord was showing me and sharing scriptures with her that I was led to.  It was really beautiful to share this process with her because I could feel the intensity of breakthrough that made the flesh squirm in both of us – but rang so true in our spirit that neither of us could let go of the ongoing conversation.  She would often call me or vice versa randomly in the middle of the day to discuss a conversation with someone that came in her store, or a message from the Holy Spirit while she was driving or I would share with her something that happened to me.  It’s hard to explain to someone who’s never had these confirmations unpacking with such clarity but what I was finding out is that when the Lord is teaching me something, it lingers and pops up repeatedly.  He does things with confirmation – almost like little winks to show me that He has me on the right track concerning a thing.

Anyway, I remember one night my mom had experienced a really bad day.  She was really upset and she confessed to me something to the effect of, “I just don’t know if this is God’s will for us to struggle.  Jesus said He came to give life more abundantly.”  Chasing after God seems to be a process of receiving and waiting.  And waiting upon the Lord is not very pleasant.  In fact it’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever done – especially considering patience has always been one of my weakest areas.  Yet sometimes, I get these brief moments where I just GET IT.  I mean, something will unravel and it’s so mind-blowing that I know that I know that I know I couldn’t have taken in all of the pieces that were formulating at one time because there’s no way I could’ve handled it or digested it.  Perhaps this is what Paul spoke of when he told the church of Corinth that he had to give them milk because they were babies in Christ – they couldn’t handle the meat.  Disclaimer – I completely consider myself a baby in Christ at best.. Not puffing myself at all like I’m full of wisdom..  that will make more sense in a minute.

So tonight, i was making the bed and this scripture came back to mind.  And I know there’s meaning that is completely hidden to what seems good “on the surface of carnal thinking” because all of the other revelations the Lord has shown me concerning the purpose and “change” (boy did things change when Jesus defeated the cross), and I know there was never an intent for the children of God to chase after abundance or reverence abundance in the natural form (earthly abundance).

The word abundance in the greek is Perissos, (exceeding) – and it’s root word is peran, which means “from beyond” or “from the other side”.  And we know that LIFE is defined as Jesus – HE IS the LIFE.  So in this context, “Life more abundantly” means Jesus, HIS life.  It’s not ours at all, it has little to do with OUR life… as James clarified when he said “Whereas you know not what shall be tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor, that appears for a little time, and then vanishes away.”  James is saying basically that MY LIFE is of no value, no importance and no substance – it’s a temporary form of matter that evaporates into the nothing.. When he says vapor, I think of those e-cigarettes that produce a cloud of vapor that you could hardly catch with a camera before it disappears into thin air..  It can only be seen but for a moment and there’s no substance to make it last or preserve it.  It’s virtually NOTHING.  Jesus spoke on this also as he apparently placed no value on OUR LIVES, stating that we must LOSE OUR LIFE in order to gain LIFE.  And what is life gained?  HIM.  He is life.  So when Jesus says that he came to give life more abundantly He’s speaking of himself.  He came to give HIM (THE LIFE) and He is the only thing that remains.  So does this mean we are meaningless, temporary, nothings?  Yeah.. without Him, we’re nothing.

The only thing we can ever be is a vessel (a body part to him), otherwise, we’re nothing but a corpse.  And this truth has ruffled my flesh so much that I begin to see the battleground very differently – not me against the world.. but me against HIM.. I am my own worst enemy because my mind and my ideas and wants and desires for myself are for MYSELF.. (as God said the carnal mind is enmity with God) – it wars against Him because it thinks ITS important and deserving and in some shape or form holding some sort of control or power to become and manifest into what it wants.  When in reality, vapor can never manifest into anything… when the vapor is gone, there will either be nothing left or the revealing of something that was hidden inside and the only thing inside that can remain is JESUS (the life).

Life more abundantly is not a description of our lives or anything we can achieve here – it’s not even anything the senses of this body can behold.  Hence why Jesus told them they can’t “see” the Kingdom.  It’s within.  It’s a possession of life inside of something that otherwise has no life, (like this vapor).  Hence why Paul said “it is no longer ME that lives… But Christ IN ME” – Life had entered Paul and that LIFE, who’s name is Jesus had manifested inside of a vessel (the kingdom within).  When God sets this place in flames, the only thing that will not be burned is the source of LIFE and the consuming fire himself – Jesus.  If His seed, planted in this dirt (cause that’s all I am – made from the dust and to dust I’ll return) – but if HIS seed in me has occupied and flourished into the fullness of HIM, then HE in me will remain.. HE IS LIFE and LIFE MORE ABUNDANTLY – it’s not a catchy phrase “I am the LIFE the WAY and the TRUTH”… It’s literal and spiritual beyond measure of the mind’s comprehension of carnal things.

HE IS LIFE… everytime I say that to myself I just feel so small, grasping to understand how big HE is.  I feel so non-existent, which is a beautiful thing to helps me see that HE IS existence.

Thank you Lord for this day and in all of my errors and mistakes, thank you for the grace of Jesus not yet finished inside of me, but HIS seed flourishing more each moment, until the harvest is ripe.

 

He must increase, but I must decrease.

He that cometh from above is above all: he that is of the earth is earthly, and speaketh of the earth: he that cometh from heaven is above all.

And what he hath seen and heard, that he testifieth; and no man receiveth his testimony.

He that hath received his testimony hath set to his seal that God is true.

For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him.

The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand.

  • John 3:30

Self Love and Self-Made Philosophies VS the Sacrificial Work of God

Last week when I was walking out of Subway, the Lord laid a question on my heart.  “Would you walk through fire to get to me?”  And over the last few days, this has been a lingering subject within my own heart.  Yesterday I just felt this need to take a walk and as I was rounding the neighborhood pond, I got the answer of truth within myself.  “No, I wouldn’t choose to walk through fire to get to you.”  I can make excuses as to why that authentic answer would be so telling of myself – that it’s because there would be another way or provision that a loving God would send to me – that a Father who loves me would never require me to walk through fire…  But the spiritual discussion didn’t stop there.  As I dig deeper I see that the requirement is upon my life and it’s because of my flesh waring against His spirit that HE does the provisions needed… and in this I find greater meaning to “what’s impossible to man, is possibly only to God.”

Jesus said he had the power to lay down his life and pick it back up again.  And Jesus did lay down his life in demonstration of the purest, most unselfish love known to all of creation.  But would I choose that?  Do I have the power to walk into a sacrificial love affair that denies self – that kills the flesh and all of its desires in order to receive something my physical eyes can’t even see?  When the rich man told Jesus that he had followed all of the commandments and lived for God, Jesus said there’s something else required of you – you must sell all of your stuff and give it to the poor.  He couldn’t do it.  And seeing this, the disciples were alarmed, because they knew that they too couldn’t do it.  They basically said, “Well if so much is required, then who could possibly be saved?”  And that’s when Jesus said, “what’s impossible to men is possible to God.”

So how does God accomplish this in us?  And, I feel like the Lord has shown me repeatedly this mingling of His greatest work finished on the cross, with the first sin of all… self love.  Self love is what plants a seed of entitlement in our lives – to not be content with what we have, as scripture directs us to do, but to seek to exhalt ourselves by our own means and ideas, fighting against God’s will for our lives that is seated second place to our own will for our lives, our wants and desires.  Self love is what was the one ingredient missing from the cross that they held against Jesus in their speech that day.  They didn’t understand it – that the will of the Almighty God would exclude the salvation of flesh in His Son Jesus Christ, but was instead sacrificial in nature to the flesh.  But yet, this is the finished work of our “forerunner” who sent His chosen ones into the world to follow in His example.  He sent them out two by two with nothing.. not even shoes on their feet and equipped with instructions and warnings of what they would endure – they would be hated as He was hated.  They would not be accepted and would walk through many afflictions and trials and suffering along the way.  But, they would receive the comforter to lead them, guide them and comfort them “internally” as that is where the Kingdom of God lives.

I watched a teaching yesterday in study of Jesus’ words when he told the pharisees perhaps the most profound thing ever spoken.  You can’t see this kingdom. It’s not here.  Meaning everything your eyes can behold and your hands can touch on this earth is NOT the Kingdom of God.  And this Kingdom that was established when Jesus rose to the right hand of the Father is something that had never existed before in this dominion – the angels even wondered and looked into it.. and the prophets of old foretold of it, as none of them had yet received this promise but foretold of it to come… Jesus.  God in us is that Kingdom – an internal relationship that stands when everything else is shaken.  It was the evidence of the power of the Holy Spirit in Jesus as he laid down His life for the sake of others and it was power of the Holy Spirit (which had then entered them), that sent the apostles into great danger and even gave them supernatural “internal” strength as they faced their own deaths and argued things like “Turn me upside down when you kill me because I’m not worthy of being killed in the same manner my Lord was crucified.”  Why weren’t they begging for their lives?  Why didn’t they seek to save their lives (Jesus said those who did this would lose life.)… So what life did they lose and what life did they gain?  – I can’t find anything in the Word of God once that final gift was given, Jesus Christ and the comforter that followed Him going to the Father… that illustrates a desire of self-righteousness, self-made will or self promotion in the lives of his apostles He sent into the world.  I can’t find anything that speaks of them chasing after love affairs with women, mansions or riches – I can’t even find them chasing after life in the flesh, in any shape or form… In fact the one prayer where Paul cried to the Lord asking for the thorn in his side to be removed, God said “no.”  The boldness of their faith in Christ in the unseen things that awaited them after their race here is finished (not in the here and now), is mind-boggling to me.  I feel that they DID walk through fire to get to Jesus.

Here is what I feel like the Lord is showing me as I sift through this on a very deep level within myself.  What I’m not able to lay down, he will lay down for me.  If I make a god of anything here, he will lovingly take that thing from me.  And I think sometimes these things are small and subtle changes… but then at other times these are permanent and life-shattering changes.  But in the end of this process, the babylons within myself will ultimately be destroyed and only then does our loving Father begin to reveal to us the mysteries of the unseen in which HE LOVED US SO MUCH, He would be long-suffering to us – pained when we’re pained… with heart-felt weeping as our hearts our shattered, but unfolding the sacrificial love of losing my life to gain true life as a loving Father that removes everything out of us that would’ve eternally killed us.

In my own walk with pride and control, I continue to learn that self-made philosophies are a delusion that will fail in the lives of anyone who is called by God.  I have been shown repeatedly that thinking anything of myself in having the power either spiritually or physically to will MY desires into existence both with and without the word of God as a tool of for self-seeking gain, exhalation and benefit has stood against the POWER OF GOD that reveals the sacrificial person of Jesus Christ on the cross – now within us… The only love affair that completes my heart.  In self love we paint the picture of a god that wants to give us our heart’s desires in the flesh, and dismiss that the gift was Jesus himself – Jesus the person who is Himself preeminent and all-inclusively THE LIFE, THE WAY and THE TRUTH.  He is the secret place where joy is made full and there is nothing else to gain or want or desire, but HIM.

So what happens when, the things we hold so dear are ripped away from us?.. permanently...?  Eyes begin to open.  When the things of this world can’t fix the problem.. can’t replace a loved one that is lost… can’t bandage our heartbreak and can’t repair the emptiness that is hinged upon our deepest dreams and desires of what WE HOPE our lives will look like here on earth… we begin to see HIM as the goal.  The only goal.  He is the God that gives and takes away and He loves us so much HE GAVE us the one thing we need.. Jesus Christ.

Father, I just want to know Him more…  I want to find that place of boldness where nothing in this world that hurts me, pains me, persecutes me or damages my earthly life beyond repair can hinder the gift of the Kingdom that you offer in the invitation of His sacrifice.  I don’t want to get lost in the fairy tales the enemy is selling and I don’t want make idols of anything, including myself.  Father help me to walk this out with inner joy and to be transformed into your daughter that LOVES YOU above all things.. wants YOU more than anything else and walks through the fire rejoicing because you stripped all the things that would have killed me away from me in order to show me the only thing I really need….  Jesus.  And Lord help me to not be deceived as so many here come in your name proclaiming to know the secret things of YOU – to have the truth and the life and the way.  But the way Jesus demonstrated, doesn’t match these worldly philosophies that tickle my ears and please my flesh and give me hope in the temporal things..  Help me to hear your voice and shut my ears to everything else – please don’t let the enemy tempt me, beguile me or sift me as wheat.  Lord help me to hold onto the blessed hope of the finishing of my faith and the glory of Jesus that can’t be compared to the temporary suffering in this place.  Thank you for your grace and mercy.  In Jesus’ name.

______

“But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days.  For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, without love of good, traitorous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God,…” – 2 Timothy 3

While Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately. “Tell us,” they said, “when will all this happen, and what will be the sign of Your coming and of the end of the age?” Jesus answered, “See to it that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, claiming, ‘I am the Christ,’ (the way the truth and the life) and will deceive many.… – Mathew 24

 

The HEART CRY that Opens the Door to Him

One of the words given by Jesus in the book of Revelation – within His messages written TO THE churches that has captivated so many of my thoughts in seeking understanding from the Lord is found in the warnings and instructions for the Church of Laodiceans.

To set this up, I want to emphasize that this message from Jesus was to HIS CHURCH – not to those who don’t believe in Him or those who aren’t called to Him. And that’s really important because in reading the book of Revelation in times past, I would skip through that book like all of the horrible events written within were directed at people who don’t know the Lord. But the fact is, the first three chapters of this book are specifically speaking to the 7 churches that belong to Jesus – filled with warnings and instruction to each one.

The church of Laodiceans Jesus describes as “warm”.. neither not nor cold. The Lord spoke to me about this one night while in prayer and meditation and he showed me the meaning of warm is comfortable. Which is SO INTERESTING considering the Holy Spirit is called “the comforter” and why would anyone need or want a comforter if they’re already comfortable?  Paul talks about this and basically says that in our troubles we were sent the comforter and now we are able to comfort others.  So back to warm, or comfortable… – Warm is a place where we have false securities, beliefs and ideas of where we stand with God. I know this place well because I believe that was my so-called relationship with Jesus for most of my life. I thought if I went to church, prayed daily and had been baptized with the prayer out of the way where I asked Jesus into my heart, I was good – nothing else required of my life…. Until disaster struck and I entered a process that continues today in understanding things very differently.

Jesus warns that he will spew this church out of his mouth – a very harsh description of rejection. And he goes onto explain why.. He says this church thinks they don’t need him, basically. These people are warm (comfortable) in their walk with the Lord. They are living lives that aren’t plagued with extreme circumstances – they have food to eat, they’re increased with goods and they’re getting by pretty well. And Jesus says that they’re thinking is a lie. He says the truth is that these people are wretched, miserable, poor, blind and naked. And the truth is a spiritual truth – not in the physical. We know this because the physical, carnal mind is an enemy of God. So the things that the mind seeks, will never be in line with what the Spirit of God seeks.

Jesus then gives THE WAY to this church (the answer). Our Great Counselor says “I counsel you to be gold of me tried in the fire”.  And He says, then they will be made rich, (meaning to be covered in white raiment), then they will be clothed, no longer in shame of their nakedness and THEN they will be able to see. I want to again mention, these people Jesus are speaking to THINK they are doing good. They think they’ve got all they need, they obviously think they can see just fine and they are covered in all the things that make them happy (but they don’t get it… Jesus is warning them that they’re carnal minded thoughts are backwards).

So here’s the big question… What does HE mean when He instructs them to buy gold of him tried by the fire? Well, it’s not an earthly type of gold, it therefore can not be bought with money – remember the 10 virgins; 5 were wise and had their lamps full and 5 tried to go out and BUY oil for their lamps when the Lord called them. The ones that tried to buy their oil in this world were left behind. And then, what kind of fire is this? Gold is referenced in 1 Peter 1:7 with FAITH – it says Faith is MORE PRECIOUS than Gold, though it be tried with fire. Jesus is talking about our Faith. He’s instructing them to NOT seek the gold of the carnal minded man (things that make us comfortable in this world), but to seek from Him that our FAITH be made perfect – tried by the fire – the thing that is far more precious than gold.

Jesus goes onto say that as many that HE LOVES, he rebukes and chastens. Chasten in Hebrew means to correct by punishment or suffering. In Hebrews (12), it’s written that if we do not endure chastisement, in which ALL are partakers, then we are bastards – not SONS (of God).

Jesus continues in this message to this church by saying He’s at the door waiting for us and if we knock, he will come into to sup with us – in Hebrew this means to dine with us – to eat and drink. Remember He did this with the disciples and he also told the disciples that they would indeed drink from HIS cup. That cup Jesus was ordained to drink from is found in His prayer to the Father when Jesus was sweating blood, asking the Father to take that cup from Him, “but either way YOUR will not mine be done.” This is a beautiful demonstration of Jesus relating to our most horrific moments of our lives, when we’re asking the Father to remove our situation – to fix it and deliver us from having to walk through troubles and carry that cross that Jesus said we must pick it up and carry if we want to follow him.
He ends this message by delivering a promise to those in this church who “overcome”.

I feel led to write about this today because, if I’m being honest, very difficult circumstances are what caused my heart to cry out to God – I mean REALLY cry out to Him… not the little “keep my kids safe and give us money and good jobs and easy lives” types of prayers that I’d prayed my entire life. This was a “change our hearts” type of prayer – I literally prayed referencing scripture from the Word of God that had nothing to do with physical gain. And when I did that, more trouble came my way. And it’s confusing at times and I’ve spent so many nights thinking through all this wondering where I went wrong. But in the hardest of days and in the most desperate moments of my life, those were the moments when I felt His presence, received His revelation and understood His plan (even if it’s just a tiny glimpse)… but undeniably so.
Perhaps the heart longs for the thing we are most confused about and terrified of all in one breath – FAITH…. The richest of the rich in His creation that we can possible possess on this side of Glory.. to know Him and believe upon His name with a testimony that moves mountains in not only our lives but in the lives of others. God is near to the broken hearted… it’s not just a scripture to skip over, patting ourselves on the back with motivational thoughts.. HE is found in life’s storms.

So I keep reminding myself of the question the Lord asked me earlier this week, “What are you praying for?” And I look around at everything that moths can eat, including my own flesh, and I just ask the Lord to strengthen us in Jesus to give us Understanding (not the fruit from the tree of knowledge this world is selling), but the TRUTH that can only be known when HE opens our eyes and causes us to surrender to Him and all of His ways that our minds can’t understand.

Broken is beautiful… because it’s part of the journey to HIM.  It’s that awakening when everything seems destroyed, that the stuff of this life just seems gloomy and empty – and the Heart breaks free from the temporary things and seeks the only thing that is everlasting… the ALPHA and the OMEGA… Jesus Christ.

Revelation 3:14…
And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God;
15 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.
16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.
17 Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:
18 I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.
19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.
20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.
21 To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.
22 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.