Monthly Archives: September 2012

Overcoming even in the Wilderness

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Can you take a minute to read Luke 4 before going on?
Something that stood out to me today as I read in chapter four was that satan waited until Jesus was really really hungry, probably almost desperate to eat, probably feeling very weak before he started to tempt Him.
It said that Jesus had been in The wilderness for 40 days and had not eaten a thing before satan started to tempt him.
I have personally had this type of experience with the tempter, aka accuser. I have had many times where I was beaten down, at the end of my rope, overwhelmed with fear of the unknown, and just plain desperate and that is when I would get kicked the hardest. I have had many “wilderness” experiences where I felt all alone, and even sometimes separated from God. Satan loves to kick us while we are down. He loves to tempt us when we are desperately fighting, and he especially loves to tempt us with what we are desperate for.
I strongly believe we were given this example because Jesus showed us how to handle every type of temptation we would be faced with. He showed us there is NOTHING satan can throw at us that cannot be defeated by the TRUTH in the Word of God. He showed us that in order to deny satan from defeating us, we will constantly have to deny our flesh, meaning our physical needs, our pride, our need to prove God to others, any desire we have that does not line up with the plans of The Lord on our lives. He showed us that the only strategy needed to live in victory is to be in relationship with the Word, JESUS! It’s serious. He came to give us a perfect example of living a human life completely dependent on The Lord and this was His only and very specific strategy for overcoming every temptation. What an awesome example.
So how can you really apply what Jesus was teaching us? Here is something I try to do. I pray this scripture: Psalm 139:23-24
23 Search me, God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.
When I deliberately ask for this, He does reveal any offensive way in me. Often times, it would be something I would never otherwise have paid attention too. But mostly, if they would be left in the darkness to grow, it would take root and be much more painful to rip up and out. So although it is painful to see it at all, I’m grateful when it is revealed to me at just the beginning.
So next I have to make a choice to agree with God and line my heart up with His will. I have free will, so this is my responsibility. I have to choose to say, “Yes Lord, I recognize that is not from You, what are we going to do about it?” Often times, I don’t want to say that, but because I know Him, and I know He is FOR ME, I trust that He is saving me from future pain by revealing it to me. Then as I search the scriptures, He gives me truth to defeat the lie attached to the offensive way. So now that The Lord has made me aware of this thing, I’m hyper sensitive to it. I can now recognize the ploy and I have the specific strategy from The Lord, the specific scripture(s) to defeat the enemy. Together with The Lord’s help, with Jesus alive in me, I can overcome! Praise The Lord!
Lord Jesus, thank you for providing everything. Thank you for being the Truth! Teach me in your ways. Deepen my desire for holiness and continue to make me aware of every offensive thing in me. Cleanse me, purify me, make me more like you! Oh Lord, that is the deepest desire of my heart! I love you and it in in your name, Jesus, I pray. Amen!

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I’m HOPEFULLY devoted to You!

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So I am reading through the book of Luke with some amazing women and yesterday as I read Luke chapter 1, the Lord really spoke to me. As I was emailing them with what He brought out for me, He made it clear that this was a word to be shared with all. So, here goes…..why don’t you read Luke chapter 1 and then continue reading. (If you don’t have a bible handy, I LOVE biblegateway.com)

So, as I was reading I took notice of Zachariah and Elizabeth. The Lord had said He was going to give them a child. The bible states that they were both very old. Elizabeth had been unable to have a child, she even called this a ‘disgrace’.

25 “This is the Lord’s doing. He has shown his favor to me by removing my disgrace among other people.”

As I thought about this couple, who,” were both righteous before God, blameless in their observance of all the Lord’s commandments and regulations,” and had their dreams crushed time and time again. I can just feel the pain of month after month, no pregnancy. Prayers left unanswered. I can feel the sting of constant disappointment and heartbreak. And yet, they still continued to serve the Lord wholeheartedly.

The Lord began to show me how this can apply to all of us. Have you ever felt disappointed because the desire of your heart was not given to you in the time frame you were hoping for? Have you ever been heartbroken by seemingly unanswered prayers? Have you ever given up hope on a dream because it seemed the time had past, the circumstances would never be right again, you had missed your window of opportunity, or maybe feel you are just too plain old to dream a little dream?

Well, what was the Lord doing for this devoted couple? He so longed to give them the desires of their heart. I know He was hurt watching their suffering, all the while knowing He had such an incredible honor and blessing for them. He sent them a child, in their old age, who prepared the way for the Messiah, Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior! WOW! AMAZING!

So what I believe the Lord is saying through this awesome example is, He could have given them the desire of their heart on their timing, but He loved them too much to allow them to miss His best for their lives. He chose to answer their prayer in a MUCH BIGGER way than they could have ever hoped for. He chose to bless them in such a supernatural way that everyone took notice and PRAISED GOD for this miracle, realizing that NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE FOR GOD. He chose to use their blessing not only to bless them, but all of us for all generations.

EPHESIANS 3:20(NIV)

 20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us

I believe what God is saying is that if He makes us wait, it is because the blessing we receive, the answer to our prayers, the giving of the desires of our heart, will be so much grander, and have such a greater purpose than we could ever hope for or imagine, that it is worth the wait!

Also, we can learn from their devotion. They were called righteous, and it was noted they kept the Lord’s commandments. Can you imagine if the one thing you have asked God for, you felt He had asked you to surrender, and having such gratitude and reverence for WHO GOD IS, over who He seemingly wasn’t, and still serving Him with all of your heart? This is a big concept for me. Their example of being righteous, and serving the Lord, despite their hurt, confusion, and sorrow, has definitely caused me to ask the Lord to help me mature, so that this will be my choice in the midst of the storms I will face in life. I believe the Lord could use them for this honor and miracle because of their obedience, their love, and their wholehearted devotion. This lifestyle has become a desire of my heart.

So I guess what I have been asking myself, I will ask you too. Do you really believe, “37 For nothing is impossible with God?” Are we living in relationship with who God is, or with who we have known Him not to be? Are we remaining faithful through our hurts, heartbreak, and let downs?

Friend, we do not have the details of how they remained devoted, but I know the people in the bible are not fictional characters, they are real people just like you and I. I believe they were not perfect, in fact righteousness is a gift from Jesus, meaning: right with God, and that only comes from Jesus. I believe they were able to be real with God,expressing their deepest wounds and finding rest and peace above their pain in His love. This is not a message of :Suck it up and serve anyway with a smile on your face.” This is a message of: take your broken heart to Jesus, asking Him to make a beautiful mosaic out of it, more creative and passionate than the original. Run to Him, not from Him. I believe this is the only way we can remain devoted through our struggles. Lay down your need to understand, recognize He is God and we are not, TRUST HIM, but be real about where it hurts. It is in this vulnerable posture that His love will begin the healing process, and once you have been there and received from this place, you will NEVER want to be anywhere else. This is where true devotion, true righteousness, true deep and passionate intimacy with the Lord begins and never ends. Will you go there? I hope so.

Lord Jesus! Thank you for such awesome love. Thank you for being our healer. Thank you for knowing us so intimately that you can restore everything we have lost in the battle. Thank you for caring about us so passionately, that you won’t give us everything, to ensure we can be available to receive Your best. You are the best. All I want is You! I love You Lord. I need You Lord! It is in Jesus’ name I pray. Amen!

Step by Step, Day by Day

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GENESIS 1:3-4 (NLT)

 Then God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.And God saw that the light was good. 

GENESIS 1:9-10 (NLT)

 Then God said, “Let the waters beneath the sky flow together into one place, so dry ground may appear.” And that is what happened. 10 God called the dry ground “land” and the waters “seas.” And God saw that it was good.
 
The Lord reminded me this morning about something He showed me about five years ago. He was speaking to me about progress and completely shifting my perspective.
 
He said to me, “The expectations you have placed on yourself, are not from Me. In fact, they are actually distracting you from the very plans and purposes I have created you for!”
 
He began walking me through a journey of saying, “I do not have to be a perfect_____________.” You can fill in the blank with any hat you wear. Mine included wife, daughter, sister, friend, hairdresser, Christian, among others. I would literally look myself in the mirror and speak this truth over myself until I began to feel a shift in my spirit, in my belief system, and in my atmosphere. 
 
What He was undoing was my attitude towards myself which constantly left me dancing faster, working harder, and always feeling as though I was in a state of playing catch-up. I felt like I could never make it in time, or be good enough at the right time. And while I can tell you plainly today that is how I was feeling, and I can also tell you while I was enduring this “Performance Mentality” I had no idea I was suffering with it. This was a completely subconscious cycle that was not made known to me until it was tested against the TRUTH in God’s Word.
 
The Lord made me come completely unglued one day because He spoke to me, “You do not have to DO anything to earn my love or approval. I am proud of you simply because you are my child.” It took a long time for me to start understanding this. Actually, it took motherhood because I am so incredibly proud of my son, and he did not have to earn it. That came natural along with the unbelievable amount of love I have for him, also which he did not have to earn. 
 
So the next thing the Lord said was, ” Your goal is no longer to get there, reach there, achieve this, perfect that.” I had no idea what to say or think or do because striving had been the only way of life I had ever known. So I simply asked, “Then what do I do?” He so lovingly replied, “You do a little better today then you did yesterday, and then you CELEBRATE IT!” That is when He showed me His example of when He was creating the Earth. Each step He did, it states, “He saw that it was good.” He took a moment to celebrate His progress, even though it wasn’t finished or complete. He celebrated every step in the right direction.
 
And lately, He has been really bringing me to a new level of freedom because He has taught me to seek Him for my daily bread, and not to worry about tomorrow. He has been encouraging me that progress and change occur by consistent small right choices. I had always tried to make big huge change, to be left disappointed because I had no foundation for them to succeed on.
 
So I would just like to encourage you today to seek Him, ask Him what He wants from you. Ask Him to redeem any wrongly placed expectation you have been striving for. Ask Him what small right choices you can make with His help today that will encourage lasting change, and really break negative cycles in your life. And then tonight, reflect on your progress and take a minute to see that it was good. CELEBRATE your progress with the Lord. You do not have to wait to ARRIVE before you are worth celebrating!
 
This is a new prayer I have found myself praying daily:
Lord,thank You for this day that You have made, I will choose to rejoice and be glad in it. Lord I ask today that you would provide everything I need for today. And Lord I ask that you would bless me with supernatural wisdom that I would be able to make the most with every opportunity to place in my way and make wise choices with my time, resources, food, and words. I acknowledge that You are God and I am not, and I am utterly dependent on You. Lord please meet me in my weaknesses and strengths. Please be strong where I am weak and strengthen my strengths. You are an awesome God, and I love You Lord! It is in Jesus’ name I pray, Amen! 

MATTHEW 6:11(ESV)

 11 Give us this day our daily bread,

MATTHEW 6:34 (AMP)

 34 So do not worry or be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will have worries and anxieties of its own. Sufficient for each day is its own trouble.

Ask! ASK! AAASSSKKK!

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Ask ask ask! The Lord keeps reminding me, ASK SPECIFICALLY. He shares with me a message to give to someone, “Stop settling for what you can see, I have more for you than that, but you have to ASK.”

I feel led to send a friend a  picture text with a word of encouragement about her gifting and talents from the Lord. She replies, “Thank you! This is an answer the a very specific prayer.”

At the leading of the Lord, I have been asking Him much more specifically when I am in prayer, and He is answering specifically. I almost feel like He is showing off. =) All kidding aside, this is for us. This grows our faith. Everything He does is because He loves us and has our best in mind. He is always for us!

So, when He first said, ASK SPECIFICALLY, I got a little nervous. I almost felt like I would have more opportunity to be let down. Once I realized I was believing this very sad lie, I started seeking the Lord as to why I initially felt this way. Basically, the root is fear. I was afraid of really believing God for miracles because I didn’t want to give Him the chance to hurt me, let me down, or make me feel really stupid for believing with all of my heart. I begin wondering who else do I have this attitude towards, but that’s a story for a whole other entry! =)

Why are there times when we ask, ask, ask and it seems like none of our prayers are being answered? Or maybe the opposite of what we have asked for is what happens? I believe what the Lord has showed me is how He is God and we are not. There are times when we will have to surrender the need to understand why something happened, or didn’t happen, and recognize that there is a bigger picture and all things will be worked together for our good. It is also important to realize the effect of sin. We do have free will, and so does everyone we love and pray for. There are consequences for sin, and we need to be careful not to blame God when sin is the cause of destruction. He is way bigger than sin, but we have to come to Him, and ask for forgiveness, turn to God and away from sin, be redeemed by the blood, to walk in His Will for our lives.

The next question I had was, “How do I know what to ask for?” There is scripture that deals with asking according to His will. then also, there is the one about delighting myself in Him, and then He will give me the desires of my heart. He is teaching me to ask Him to show me what He is up to, before I begin asking for what I think I want, in any given circumstance. It may go something like this:

Lord Jesus, thank you for so and so. Lord I know you created them fearfully and wonderfully. I know you have a plan and purpose for their life. Lord I know you love them. Would you show me what you see when you look at them? Would you show me your will for their life? Would you teach me how to pray for them? How to love them? What is Heaven’s heartbeat over so and so?

Usually, after I ask this way (and often this prayer is about myself and my circumstances) He totally changes my perspective. Most of the time there is at least a sliver of judgement in my heart, and He totally undoes that by humbling me with His incredible love for each person (including me) that I pray for. There is power in agreement, and this shift in my prayers has allowed me to come into agreement with the Father’s heart. It is when I come from this place, that I do not feel afraid to ask specifically, because I feel confident that whatever He wants for whomever is totally possible.

So today, I want to encourage you to allow Him to upgrade your relationship with Him. Allow Him access to the part of you that you have been saying, “I’m not ready to go there yet.” If He is prompting you, it will be worth it. ASK ASK ASK. Do not be afraid. Find out what His will is, what His perspective is, and come into agreement with His heartbeat. You are about to see specific answers to specific prayers that is going to grow your faith like crazy!

P.S. I wanted to share a bunch of scripture on asking, but felt led to take them off because He was telling me that He wanted you to dig for them. Have fun excavating the truth! There is a treasure to be found for sure!