Monthly Archives: March 2014

Intimacy- Open to Me- Into-me-see

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A few years ago- the Lord began to ask me if I would open to Him. I could tell this was a call to allow Him deeper into my heart- and I wasn’t so sure that is what I wanted out of our relationship. I was pretty happy to love Jesus and to know He loved me. I was pretty happy for our relationship to not cost me much but to have some benefit in my life. I was pretty content just knowing we were good. But He was asking for more. When He asked me to open to Him- I saw a vision of my whole body being opened down the middle, exposing my innermost parts- my heart. Totally exposed, totally opened, nothing able to hide……

My dear friend is a potter and she described to me how what I was seeing was similar to what the potter does when working with the clay. First they work the clay in their hands, softening it, warming it up to respond to their touch, preparing it to be stretched, shaped, and molded into their organic vision for that particular lump of clay. The next thing is the throw it on the wheel and center it. After being centered, they begin to open the clay up by putting fingers right down in the middle of the lump. It’s the opening process that allows for something beautiful, unique, the vision of the potter to become known to others. The process is so delicate she tells me, that sometimes when she is working, she can’t even breathe, she keeps her eyes fixed on what needs to stay, what needs to go, and what needs to be stretched so gently to encourage the original design to become the outcome of what just a little while ago was a shapeless, purposeless, lump of clay.

My heart began opening to the idea of being opened more to the Lord. I felt loved that He wanted to shape my life. I felt ‘seen’ that He wanted to form purpose for my life and that He was going to personally decide what needed to stay, go, or be added to ensure that His original plan- design- His vision would be what I actually get to become. However, can I tell you that there was a massive part of my heart that knew this was going to be painful. costly, and a long process- possibly life long? Can I share with you that I felt so drawn to know the deeper places of His heart- but I was afraid of what would be revealed as He excavated the recesses of mine?

I knew that saying “yes” to His invitation to really be His- with all that I have, would change everything. I could hear the deepest places of who I am crying out yes- but fear was telling me to hold back- to wait- to just be happy with what I currently had. So I began asking Him- “How do I open to you?” And do you know how loving our God is? This process wasn’t as big and scary as I was making the decision out to be, it is step- by- step. As I said yes- He would dig a little into the parts of me I was trying desperately to hide- out of shame or fear of being exposed. Then, as He gently revealed it needed to go- the decision was always mine- I would say “Take it- I want to look more like You.” Then the next thing would be something He wanted to add- and the choice would be mine. I would say, “Ok Lord, I’ve never done that before, and it seems scary, but will You help me?” Then, sometimes He says that something is good but it needs to change a little to be a more excellent portion for my life and the ones I’m called to minister to. By now, I’ve been in this process for a while that I can recognize the feel of the pull to open and I mostly yield quickly because I’ve learned a common thread- the process is FOR ME- it’s because He loves me that He does not desire to allow anything to be part of my journey that is destructive or will lead me astray if left unattained to. WOW- what a kind King. 

I am not saying that the process is any easier than it was when I first began opening to Him. I am not saying that I often understand why something isn’t allowed in my life or why the timing is the way it is, in fact, I rarely understand- I obey by faith. I am saying that the common thread through the entire “opening” journey I’ve been on has been love. Most often, as I listen and open, I can look back and see how much protection I’ve been given- how much I have been saved from before it even became an issue. I can see how much I’ve been stretched and how much I can believe for because of how faithful He has been- and I know that He never changes.

I began to look up the word “open” in the scriptures and I found something interesting. Open and Commit are interchangeable. They are both like rolling away the stone from the tomb. Wow- isn’t that what happens when we say yes to, commit our lives to Jesus? He takes us from the grave of our life- He opens it up and resurrects us to new life with Him? And also, isn’t the point of every attack in our lives to cause us to close up- to hide- to run from intimacy? What if you and I decided to have a new resolve? What would happen in our relationships with others and with the Lord if we chose to commit- to stay committed- stay opened up- even when we do not understand what is happening or why it is happening?

The enemy loves to get us to doubt the goodness of God- His faithfulness- and His love for us. When we don’t believe any longer that we are being loved- we retreat and begin to self-protect and take a defensive stance. But if I have said yes to being opened up- to being seen- known- and clay in the Potter’s hands- then my response to life cannot be closing up. I am going to continue to commit- to open to the Potter- and allow Him to use every thing that flies at me to shape me, mold me, and create His unique shape and purpose for my life. Will you also commit and open to the touch of the Potter? Will you say yes to intimacy with Him? Will you let Him “into-me-see”?

Although it is terrifying to take that first step, and maybe even the next 500 are rather shaky, Who you get to know and who you get to become is worth doing it afraid. He said you were worth it as He journeyed to the cross- and from that extravagant sacrifice and offering, you can rest assured that anything He is calling you to is more than worth the cost!

Jump all in- say yes- and then say yes again! You WILL NOT regret it!

 

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Agree with the enemy?????

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A bunch of years ago a friend shared with me a way to overcome the assault of the enemy on our minds. They encouraged me to “agree with the enemy!” I was instantly offended and almost stopped listening because for many years that what I was doing and the result was depression, terror, fear, anxiety, and defeat. However, at that time, I was learning how much my listening muscle needed to be strengthened and I was intentionally being quick to listen and slow to speak. I also was choosing to not just look like I was listening, but to be actively listening. So I listened!

As they continued, it was explained to me that the plan of the enemy is always to hit us in our weakness. He always likes to kick us while we are down, and speak hopelessness into the area we have the hardest time believing God for to begin with. When he unleashes his arsenal into a weak point, it is usually a more effective attack, because we often come into agreement with his lies much easier then if he attacked a place we were confident in and firmly believed God for.

So, why agree with the enemy? Isn’t that ludicrous? Well, what they were trying to convey was to take the point of attack as a tip off to one’s weaknesses. Use the enemy’s spotlight of a certain area in your life, identity, relationships, or circumstances to take that specific thing to the Lord.

For example,a part of the call on my life is to have a voice. The Lord has called me to say what He tells me to say, to use my voice to set the captives free, and to not fear rejection of man because He is with me and for me. So most often the attack on my mind sounds something like, “No one cares about what you have to say,” or, “You talk too much, they are tired of listening- you are being selfish by saying so much- you should let someone else have a turn.” Sometimes it comes through individuals, often who I have felt “safe” or “known” with- who have declared that I am a fraud and am living my life the opposite of what I say I believe. OUCH! Both hurt, and both make me want to sit down, shut my mouth, and blend in. BUT GOD SAYS what?

This is how we “come into agreement” with the enemy. We say, “Oh Lord, can you remind me what You say about the voice You have given me?” “Lord, remind me of how You called me?” “Lord, bring to the forefront of my mind the purpose for which You created me?” “Lord, You know my innermost parts- can You search me and show me any offensive way in me, and also Lord, will You show me what you love about who I am?”

So you see, I have allowed the attack to cause me to draw near to God. I use the attack to highlight the weakness in my believing or agreeing fully with what God has said. I allow the Lord to use the attack for good by bringing it to Him immediately, choosing not to lean on my own understanding to draw conclusions about what is true. HOW POWERFUL!

As I began intentionally handling the assaults on my identity with this strategy, do you know what happened????? The enemy QUIT attacking me this way because I was gaining so much confidence in who God says I am, and specifically what I am called to do and why.

That was years and years ago- and sometimes- in the busyness of life- we can forget a particular strategy. Yesterday, was a battle for me. I was struggling with where I am at and why I am here and what choices I am making and needing to remember my why. I was seeking the Lord for clarity where confusion was growing and asking Him to show me, to remind me, to say again what was true! I was led to Psalm 18 which was incredibly amazing, affirming, and a huge blessing. Then, my Bible literally turned to Nehemiah 6 on it’s own. I began reading and for the first time I saw this strategy in scripture.

CHECK IT OUT!

Nehemiah 6:8-9
New International Version (NIV)
8 I sent him this reply: “Nothing like what you are saying is happening; you are just making it up out of your head.”9 They were all trying to frighten us, thinking, “Their hands will get too weak for the work, and it will not be completed.”But I prayed, “Now strengthen my hands.”

Did you catch it? He was being accused, he stood on what was true, and then he took the specific attack, THEIR HANDS WILL GET TOO WEAK FOR THE WORK, straight to the Lord and PRAYED- NOW STRENGTHEN MY HANDS!!!!!!

How powerful! It’s scripture! And in the next chapter- just 52 days later- the work was completed! The work that was so desperately trying to be defeated- was completed less than two months later- it was just around the bend- and if he would have listened to the voice of the intimidator or the defeater, the work that was almost done- wouldn’t have ever been done. AND GUESS WHAT?? The finished work prepared a place for the exiles to come home to! 

What work is it that you have been called to? What purpose has God called you to that you just want to give up on? What voice or message are you coming into agreement with? Are you willing to try a new strategy or revive a strategy you have learned before and maybe forgotten about? YOU ARE AN OVERCOMER! Your victory is only around the bend. STICK TO WHAT YOU HAVE BEEN CALLED TO DO- and others will be brought home- to their rightful place- because you said YES to God in the face of all of the obstacles, attacks, and opportunities to give up. YOU ARE MAKING A DIFFERENCE even if no one but God knows it or believe it yet!

Galatians 6:7-10
New International Version (NIV)
7 Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. 8 Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. 9 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. 10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.

Be patient and pray……

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Morning:
New Scripture to memorize: Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying. When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality. Bless those who persecute you. Don’t curse them; pray that God will bless them. Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with each other. Don’t be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don’t think you know it all! (Romans 12:12-16 NLT)

Today’s Focus: Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying.

The other day I woke up so weary, so heavy-laden, and downtrodden about some current circumstances in my life. I woke up trying to think of how I could fix it, what could be a possible solution, what could I do to cause the others to see the truth? In trying to figure it out on my own, I quickly felt hopeless and defeated. And then the Lord gave me this (see above) scripture. I was to first of all rejoice in Jesus- which took my focus off of me and my understanding. The next step was to be patient.

Is this hard for anyone but me? I want to see things resolved. I want to see a resolution reached and everyone come into agreement somehow and be able to move forward in harmony. I do not LIKE having situations that are not figured out and filed away. YUCK! But the Lord was saying to me- it’s not the time or the season- you have to be patient.

But what is awesome about this verse is we see scripturally that being patient is NOT a passive stance- we are called to be patient AND keep on praying. So I chose His way yet again. I laid down my sense of urgency- I decided to trust in Him and His timing and keep praying for the perfect will of God to be done in this set of circumstances.

You know what? I didn’t get what I wanted out of that process- I wanted resolve- but I got MORE- I found Jesus, and His ways, and another portion of His love for me.

Today will you join me? Will you ask Him to show you where you are trying to hasten His pace? Will you choose Him and His ways? Will you keep praying and choose not to try to FORCE your agenda to happen? It will go well for you if you wait upon the Lord!

Jesus, waiting and waiting patiently is something we cannot do without YOU! Lord, I want to experience every last drop of what You created me for- and I praise You for intercepting my destructive cycles with Your word and Your instruction which brings life. I choose to go Your way and live on Your path. I need more of You Jesus- I need more of You. I love you Lord and today I choose to freely receive all of Your love, protection, blessings, and goodness into my life. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen!

Opportunity for Upgrade!

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There is no emotion too high, far, wide or deep that by entering into the presence of God cannot be brought under His authority and made to be obedient to His truth. This hurt will be transformed from not serving you and your journey, to be a catalyst to the very things which you were uniquely created to do. Everything which comes wrapped in pain can be an opportunity for an upgrade in character, if we surrender it to Him at His feet and ask Him to bring us into even further alignment with His perfect will, plans, and purposes through the Truth setting us free by allowing HIm to excavate the root of our emotions.

For example, “Lord, what is it in my heart or spirit that comes into agreement with the accusation made towards me? Show me what You say about me and set me free from this lie- take it out by the root and replace that territory with Your truth.”

Our emotions are not always the truth, they do however tip us off that something out of the ordinary is going on. We have a choice then- as we always do- to lean on our own understanding and draw conclusions that are probably going to cause us to remain wounded or wound others- or take it to God- trusting Him completely- and become more like Him and be further equipped to bring life to others.

Not easy- but WORTH IT! He said I was worth it when He journeyed to the cross- I declare HE IS WORTH IT as I journey to the foot of the cross again and again- laying down my flesh- and choosing Him over being right, being justified, being known, or being heard. I trust completely that my Defender alone is Jesus!

Been stuck…but trying again.

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Hello Friends! In the face of accusation, I was believing I had nothing worth while to bring and further more that my life wasn’t worthy of being shared and if I’m not even received well by those who have known me the longest, then perhaps I should just be quiet.

But do you know what the Lord showed me? He showed me how Jesus wasn’t even received by those who had known Him the longest. In His own hometown, He could not be free to be His truest self because the familiarity of “knowing” Him kept the people from seeing the real Him. WOW!

The Lord also showed me how Hannah was tormented by someone in her world and it would often reduce her to tears and keep her from eating. Rejection and accusation hurt- but they only get to define us if we come into agreement the message which is trying to convince us that we are less than the Lord says we are.

Thankfully, I serve a greater authority than any other man- I serve Jesus. Jesus gets to define who I am. Although it is difficult- any time I begin to ponder on what these other people have spoken over me (which has silenced my voice for over a month as I have struggled deeply to discern what was true) I have to release them to the Lord and pray that His blessings, His love, and His kindness would be upon them. And then I ask Him to speak to me, yet again, of who He says I am.

One particular night, after an extremely troubling encounter full of accusation which brought deep sadness and heaviness to my heart, I asked the Lord to speak over me all night long who I am to Him. The first thing I heard were the words to this song:

You’re My Beloved, You’re My Bride, To Sing over You is My Delight, Come Away with Me My Love.

I sing over you my song of peace,Cast all your care down at my feet ,Come and find your rest in me

I’ll breathe my life inside of you, I’ll bear you up on eagle’s wings, And hide you in the shadow of my strength

I’ll take you to my quiet waters ,I’ll restore your soul, Come rest in me and be made whole.

And I was lost, yet again, in His love. My soul needed restoring, and I was weak and hurt and vulnerable, and the only place I could feel safe was in the shadow of His strength. I needed so desperately to know I was His and that He STILL delights in me, even though others express utter disgust with me. Do you see how powerful it is to bring your wounded places to the heart of the One who can heal them? Do you see how differently I may feel about the ones who are currently accusing, rejecting, and hurting me if I couldn’t turn to Jesus and ask them to bless, love, and heal them also?

Friends, my mind wants to take control- my thinker wants to defend myself, to lash back and PROVE that I am not any of the things they are saying I am- but what did Jesus do when He was being attacked- He shook the dust off of His feet and kept moving. He blessed and loved and kept His eyes fixed on the Father, staying in His will. He was not delayed, distracted, or defeated by any who did not receive Him, He simply kept focusing on the ones who did.

Although, my heart is still hurting, I am receiving this season of conflict as an opportunity to upgrade my response and to become more like Jesus. And I would love to encourage you today, that if you are being misunderstood, or accusation is being hurled in your direction, or if you are sharing in any of the sufferings of Jesus, accept the opportunity for upgrade. Keep your eyes fixed on Him who is the Author and Perfecter of your faith, and release those who are hurting you to the Lord believing HIs goodness and kindness will minister to their wounded places which are ultimately trying to wound you also. He is always the way!