Tag Archives: Bible

Rejoice

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Eyes open, first thought, I’m still tired. Next, oh well, you must keep marching on. Then, ok- I have so much to do, where do I even begin? Upon rising and brewing up hope for energy in a cup, I begin- already feeling behind. My whole day seems in the deficit. Not enough. Not enough energy, time, patience, self-control. All I see is lack. Everywhere. I hear the ‘shoulds’ in my mind. My children should know better. I should have exercised more. My house should be cleaner. Maybe I should be working. Should I wear this? Should my marriage be more? Should I serve others more? Should I have said that? I’m plagued, worn down, depleted. Day after day, the exhaustion, the frustration, just piles. I don’t even have energy to sort my piles. The piles eventually become a mountain. The mountain becomes hopelessness. How did I get here? How do I get out of this? Is this just normal life? Am I ever going to feel good again?

I sit with Jesus, and I say, “Lord, why do I always feel exhausted, frustrated, running behind? Is there hope for my future? Can I make a change? Is this what life will be like from now on?”

He showed me that He has poured out into my life blessings of every kind. He has given me salvation, life, health, food, shelter, friendship, love, hope, purpose, amongst many other things. He said that it was His delight to pour it out over my life, but that He cannot make me rejoice in it. He cannot make me actually enjoy, notice, celebrate, or rejoice in all that He has freely given me.

OUCH! As I heard this from the Lord, tears silently streamed down my face. I realized that, just like the Israelites, the Lord has provided abundantly for me and yet, I still find things to grumble and complain about. My heart broke and I repented before the Lord. I asked for grace to cover my selfishness and sin.

Repentance has two parts, turning from is first.  Turn from any destructive activity, belief, or motive that is less than the Truth. Then, turn towards something true, constructive, and motivated by love for ourselves and God.  My very next question, as I dabbed the tears from my cheeks, what how Lord? How do I replace my grumbling and complaining to rejoicing? What am I called to rejoice in? All I know to do, to find the answer, is search the scriptures.

First things first- He showed me that the word rejoice actually means to make oneself glad. It’s an action. It is up to me. None can make me glad but me.

Next He showed me was that the Scriptures call us to rejoice in the Lord, in our salvation, and in the righteousness we have been given in Christ, which makes having an intimate relationship with the Father possible. That alone, in my heart, is plenty to rejoice in for all time.

Finally, for my practical application, He gave me this scripture:

Deuteronomy 12:7

“There also you and your households shall eat before the LORD your God, and rejoice in all your undertakings in which the LORD your God has blessed you.”

I have to share that as I read this passage, my current perspective on the undertakings I’m tending to was in stark contrast to what this was calling me to. I was feeling like, “I have to ………” You can fill in the blank. Now as I read these words I saw that the things God has trusted me to tend to were actually blessings and to be rejoiced in doing. So my perspective shifted from I have to, to wow- God trusted me to do this.

He reminded me of all of those times I prayed, “God use me. Send me.” And showed me right now, this is the answer to that prayer!

I’m definitely not declaring that I never have bad moments or days, but I can say I believe this key of rejoicing is turning around my anxiety. Now a morning might look like this:

Wake up- Thank You Lord for another day of life. I have a lot on my plate today Lord, I admit right now that I will need You to do any of it well. Would you go with me and help me? Brew my coffee and anticipate what treasure He has for me in His Word that morning. What truth will I have to cling to as I live a life unto Him that day?

After my time with Jesus, the tape begins playing in my head of not enough. Now I am equipped to take whatever is not enough yet, and give thanks for it and ask the Lord to bless it. To thank Him for what I do have, and to hopefully expect an increase. In my rejoicing, the thoughts that used to defeat me, now lead me to prayer.

In the undertakings I’ve been blessed with, I’m so often aware that I alone am not enough. He has called me live a life beyond myself so I would need Him and others. Living out what I am called to leads me to relationships, which require love. The call on all of our lives is to love God and love others. I need Jesus, and I need you. And now, I rejoice in that! Join me?

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As He is, so are we.

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I was graciously afforded a few days at the beach. Weary, taxed, and just plain depleted from the day to day, my husband lovingly booked me a few days away at my favorite place. For some reason unknown to me, the ocean makes me feel ever aware of the closeness of the Lord. It seems as I look out upon the vastness I can see with my eyes, I always seem to consider how much greater is the One who created this ocean. I realize in stark contrast, just how small I am. How small I am and yet, how detailed and intimately He knows and cares and values me. I am always undone by this great revelation and when I stand along the ocean shore, it hits me with such a deep force, again and afresh as each wave rolls in.

I was lying in the bed, looking around at my family sleeping and thanking God for each of their beautiful lives. Thanking Him that I get the opportunity to love each of them and to know them deeply. Thanking Him for how I see His beauty reflected in their existence. I also was hearing the waves. You see we kept the balcony door opened and were each lulled to sleep by the consistent roar of the tides. As I listened and thanked and exchanged love with my Lord, I was noticing how the ocean never sleeps, stops, gets weary, nor depleted. The Lord created the ocean to be exactly as it is, and without ceasing, it continues to produce waves, shelter sea life, bring beauty and majesty before our eyes. And with that thought, I also was considering how the Lord never sleeps nor slumbers. He does not need to sleep. He does not need to, so I can rest easy. I can rest easy because He is watching and protecting and planning and loving me and all the dear ones who are His. I found rest and peace and joy and went sweetly to sleep.

As I awoke, my dream of spending the day soaking up the sun and splashing in the waves with my children was quickly deterred by the dense fog and misty rain and gray skies. This surprised me, but I knew it didn’t surprise HIm. I asked Him what He had in mind for me and my family that day. He showed me this lighthouse a few miles away, and asked me to go there. I grew excited because my song for the year is ” My Lighthouse,” by Rend Collective. The song gives testimony to how God is the peace in our troubled seas. I’ve been seeking Him and knowing Him as such this year through every wind, wave, storm, struggle, fear, worry, or anxious place. He is my Prince of Peace and He doesn’t change even when my circumstances do.

So I climbed. I climbed and climbed and climbed. 203 steps up a winding way. Heart pounding but still fixed on hearing His voice as I was literally standing in what I’ve been calling upon Him as. I knew that He had a fresh word for me. I was expecting, asking, waiting. I reached the top and walked all the way around. The rain was hitting my face and I was waiting. Waiting for Him to speak as I was so sure He had something it would please Him to share with me, challenge me, and call me to. And then He spoke, “As He is, so are we.” He went on to share that I have been seeking and finding Him as my lighthouse. He has been the light to help me remember where I was going in the darkness. He has been he One who keeps my journey ever fixed on where the light is. He is the One who leads me safely to where I am called to go. He is the One who doesn’t change and doesn’t dim no matter how relentless the storm is. He is truly our faithful lighthouse and will never fail showing us the way as we seek Him.

And again says, “As I am, so are you Jenna.” You are called to STAND. You are called to remain when the storm is relentless. You are called to be unshakable when the wind and waves batter with no end in sight. You are called to shine brightly before all men while the storm is still raging. You are called to be the light of the world because I live in you. Your light is supposed to show the ones who are tossed to and fro in the enormous waves and winds of life, how to return to Me. How to find safety, refuge, hope. You are called to be a lighthouse to them. You are called to let your light shine so before all men. You are called, by Me, for Me, and with Me, to lead them home, out of the darkness, to safety, to hope, to life, to love.

And I wept. And I asked for help. And I prayed for wisdom. And I’m still seeking. This is what I am learning. How can I stand in the storm? How can I shine a bright light when I myself and being beaten by the wind and the waves? How can I lead anyone home? How can this be possible?

You see, if I take Jesus out of any equation, none of it would be possible, or even worth it. But He says in His word that with Him all things are possible, and I love because He first loved me. Therefore, I can’t. I can’t do any of this without Him. But I’m not without Him. He lives in me. He is the light of the world, and He lives in Me. So all I have to do, is let His light shine through me.

Do you think I can withstand battering wind, waves, lightning strikes, darkness, pain, exhaustion and doing more than I ever imagined or believed was possible for me? NO! But can Jesus? Absolutely and so much more. He can do all things. Nothing is too hard for Him! He has given me everything I need to stand- He has given me Himself. I need nothing more. Further more- through every storm when I have wavered or forgot to ask Him for help- He has still been there. He has been faithful. He has been true. All of my days, and hours, and moments spent with Him is what brings the strength to stand when it’s hard. All of my love and adoration and awareness of His presence in each day good or bad, is the truth even when I can’t see it or feel it. I can stand in the storm because who He is when it’s calm. I can choose to believe what I know when I need it the most instead of choose to question it in that place.

In each day, each choice to live for Him, each moment of decision to believe is what has prepared my feet to stand still, on my Rock, who can’t be shaken, when everything is being destroyed around me. I don’t find strength from the storm- but from the One who can calm the storm and I know Him because He is with me always. In the good and the bad- I can praise Him. When it’s a time of rejoicing or a time of weeping- I can thank Him. He is faithful and He is true and I can trust Him. He is always good and I am always loved, no matter what it feels like. As He is, so are we. I will choose Him. I will choose to love and trust and stand upon Him- in all times and rejoice in all things.

1 John 4:17 17 In this [union and communion with Him] love is brought to completion and attains perfection with us, that we may have confidence for the day of judgment [with assurance and boldness to face Him], because as He is, so are we in this world.

Matthew 5:16Amplified Bible (AMP)

16 Let your light so shine before men that they may see your [a]moral excellence and your praiseworthy, noble, and good deeds and [b]recognize and honor and praise and glorify your Father Who is in heaven.

Matthew 5:14Amplified Bible (AMP)

14 You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.

Ephesians 6:13-18The Message (MSG)

13-18 Be prepared. You’re up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it’s all over but the shouting you’ll still be on your feet. Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them. You’ll need them throughout your life. God’s Word is an indispensable weapon. In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other’s spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out.

Job 38:8-11New International Version (NIV)

“Who shut up the sea behind doors
    when it burst forth from the womb,
when I made the clouds its garment
    and wrapped it in thick darkness,
10 when I fixed limits for it
    and set its doors and bars in place,
11 when I said, ‘This far you may come and no farther;
    here is where your proud waves halt’?

Luke 1:37Amplified Bible (AMP)

37 For with God nothing is ever impossible and no word from God shall be without power or impossible of fulfillment.

Misplaced Keys

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Lately, the Lord has been reminding me of “keys” to life He has specifically given me over the course of my life. Some things I carry with me always- and use almost involuntarily- like breathing. Others, I utilized for a season, and once that storm passed, I sort of misplaced or forgot about.

I have been sensing the notion for where we are headed as a whole, this whole entire world, I am going to need ALL of the keys He has placed in my hands. It has been so sweet and beautiful how He is taking me to find each misplaced key I have set down along the way.

Some keys that are life to me include:

– Holding each thought captive and making it obedient to the Lord.

      – To do what I have been created to do, the bring forth my unique reelection of Jesus on the earth, I cannot afford to think whatever thought agrees with my emotion. I can only afford to agree with the TRUTH found in God’s Word. Every other thought cycle causes me to spiral down- but when I think on what is TRUE- I lift my eyes up to see TRUTH Himself- and get lost (or found if you will) again in what He says is possible and who He says I am. 

-Gratitude

   -We enter into His presence with Thanksgiving. When I am not being intentional about gratitude- I often find my natural mind leads me to disappointment. When I fix my eyes on what is right and declare it- it seems that I gain momentum in finding right things. The opposite is also true. Long story short- someone always has it better, and someone always has it worse- when I could be praying or blessing others- why would I waste my time thinking about myself and all that I WISH was different? NO GOOD FRUIT COMES FROM ANY THOUGHTS THAT ARE NOT ROOTED IN GRATITUDE!

-Praise before the answer

  -David would lament before God in the psalms from verses 1-7 (just for example), and then in verse 8, he would be greatly praising the name of God! I asked the Lord once, where the transition was, because I had yet to be able to experience such a dramatic shift. The Lord revealed to me, that David knew God was faithful, and so after he poured His burdens out, before he saw the miracle, he would praise the One who now held the power to do the seemingly impossible. Now, I praise before I see God show off- because I know Him, and  I know He is faithful and trustworthy and will bring about something even better than I am hoping for!

-Saying Yes Lord.

  -This is by far the hardest key of life for me- because it causes me to die to my flesh constantly. But I have resolved that the kind of life I want to live, and legacy I want to leave, is simply being a woman who says yes to God. This hurts, but the fruit from every time I have surrendered my will to His, has been enormous- so much bigger than just me. His ways are always higher- and I long to walk in step with His spirit.

-Being Passionately Patient

  -From our perspective it seems as though God always has us waiting. But what I’ve noticed about all this waiting- is that in the waiting is the preparation. Interestingly, when I await a promise of God to be fulfilled the stuff that is buried deep in my heart when things are going my way, suddenly erupts when I have to wait. I come face to face with the yuck in there, and as it surfaces, I have a decision to make: will I allow Him to cause it to come out and refine me, or will I stuff it back down because I will decide it will be too arduous of a process and now is not the time? Well, if I am in the waiting- I guess now is the time! I am so thankful for the seasons of preparation that have come from the waiting- for if not for these times, I would  constantly be in over my head and set up to fail- oh but He loves me too much to do that to me. He loves me through the refining process, and I seem to reflect Him a little more each time! THAT IS GOOD!

-Not trying to figure out what it will look, feel, or be like.

  -I have wasted SOOOOOOO much time trying to predict the future. When something happens, I begin to project what may happen next and how that will affect this, and then this should be next and blah blah blah. However, NOTHING EVER GOES THAT WAY! Life has a myriad of variables that can be unleashed in any given moment. Who am I to think I could know what is going to happen? I have resolved ( and especially again recently) to take each moment as it comes. Living life in the moment IS SO MUCH LESS STRESSFUL! I find peace and I find Jesus easier as I do not trip over my own idea of what SHOULD BE happening by what time table. I am not talking about not making goals, having dreams, and accomplishments- but surrendering those to Him, with an open hand and being flexible if He has a different way to get there. I am simply saying, I choose not to add my own agenda to what He has asked me to do or said He is going to do with, in, and through me. 

These are just a few keys to life for me- that He has specifically given me to be able to become who He has created me to be and do what He created me to do. He gives us keys to be able to unlock, open, or lock and shut doors. We need every single key He has given us to be able to stay the road He has specifically called each of us to journey. Do you have any keys to life? Any misplaced keys? I’d love to glean from what He has shown you too!

 

Matthew 16:19Living Bible (TLB)

19 And I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven; whatever doors you lock on earth shall be locked in heaven; and whatever doors you open on earth shall be open in heaven!”

2 Corinthians 10:5The Voice (VOICE)

We are demolishing arguments and ideas, every high-and-mighty philosophy that pits itself against the knowledge of the one trueGod. We are taking prisoners of every thought, every emotion, and subduing them into obedience to the Anointed One.

Psalm 100:4The Message (MSG)

Enter with the password: “Thank you!”
    Make yourselves at home, talking praise.
    Thank him. Worship him.

 

 

Beautiful Rejection

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Strange title? Maybe- but perhaps it will all come together.

These last two years, I have been facing waves of rejection that have sought to take me out, silence my voice, and cause me to believe that I am not who God says I am. No doubt- this rejection has come from sources that are most painful- the ones you would consider “closest and dearest”. We have an enemy, who is intimidated by anyone who seeks to do the Father’s will, and will stop at nothing to either destroy or distract you from staying on that path.

Here is what I am learning: Jesus- our sweet Jesus- loved in the face of rejection- even unto His death. He never wasted time considering why He was being rejected, for He knew full well that they were rejecting the One who sent Him. Jesus- blessed and prayed for those who persecuted Him, but never once took a victim’s stance. He never took His eyes off of His Father, and kept choosing to remain in communion with the Father, knowing that would be the only way He could fulfill His purpose and to be certain that He was about the Father’s business.

In every event in our lives- we have a choice to make- do I make it about me? Or do I allow the Lord to use it to make me more like Him? Rejection- it is beautiful- solely because as I take it to Him, place it at His feet, and ask Him to work it together for good- I find my heart being purified of pride. I find that the places where I have so longed to gain this person’s approval, or to be “seen” or “known” by others as this or that- those tendencies are dwindling away. Why? Because the more man rejects me- the more forced and desperate I am to find out how God accepts me. Friends, He accepts me, accepts you- FULLY- and how incredible is that truth when we see it in it’s entirety. He accepts fully who He knows fully. None of our masks- none of our charades fool Him- and HE STILL ACCEPTS US! Beautiful is the gift of man’s rejection- because the acceptance of any person can change- but God- oh our God- He never changes.

As this rejection journey is unfolding- I am also beginning to see how rejection can be a beautiful gift even to the one who is doing the rejecting. The Lord has shown me how unnecessary it is for me to be “right” or even “understood” by the ones who have tried to squeeze me into their box of ‘who they think I should be,’ or ‘who they would be more comfortable with me being.’ He has taught me about how He is my defender- and anything I would say solely to try and defend myself would never bring resolution, but most like;y cause more damage. He has shown me how humility- admitting I’m not perfect- even though I’m also not who you are trying to say I am, can change everything. As I choose to stay humble, continue to pray, and accept His open doors in His timing, I can actually be used by Him to minister healing to the very ones who have wounded me. Beautiful- rejection can even be beautiful to the ones who have done the rejecting.

You see, if any of us has any amount of calling on our lives- we will face heaps of man’s rejection. The more we come to understand this is FOR us- and allow it, and any other challenge, to drive us to His heart- we allow Him to upgrade us, thus leaving us more prepared and equipped for that very calling. He can make anything work together FOR US- however, I am learning to be in that position, it is my choice. I choose to align myself- to follow His leading, and see from His perspective. When I don’t, whew, someone ugly rises up- with ugly thoughts, that are definitely not founded in love- more like revenge and pride. But when I lay my flesh down, pick up my cross, and ask Him to redeem this- to bring healing and restoration, and even allow me to be an instrument if He so chooses- I find myself being healed and restored in the process. The Kingdom of God is win-win. Beautiful Rejection- actually Beautiful everything, when we invite Him in.

Some practical lessons for us as we respond to those who are clearly rejecting the Christ in us:

-Be slow to anger, slow to speak, and quick to listen. ( I could probably stop right here and spend a lifetime learning this!)

-Being understood, is separate from being able to love. ( I can love those who will NEVER get me!)

-NEVER speak from fear! It cuts off the voice of God. (Love and Fear cannot co-mingle. We are always choosing one or the other.)

-When you start to feel afraid, PRAY, and don’t make another move or say another word until you remember who you are!

-Love keeps no record of wrongs. ( This is so hard to lay down especially if we are still struggling with wanting to prove a point!)

Let’s choose to consider those who have rejected us- and be humble enough even to consider those we have rejected along the way. Can we begin to be people who really place value on what God values? He valued love- above all. He LOVED this world so much that He laid down His own life. Can we come to a place of love where what people say, do, or think about us cannot effect our love walk on the Earth?A place where we understand I am not perfect, and I do not expect anyone else to be either? But where we recognize it as a piece of the process or challenge and invite each other to come into the process of a life shaped by holiness we get through our time spent with Jesus? I know this is impossible for me on my own- but I am praying- asking- seeking- for Jesus to work this process out in my life, knowing with confidence that ALL THINGS are possible with Him. One goal, life dream, I would have would be to get to Heaven and meet my Maker and Him to say, “Daughter, you loved well.” I want to know HIS definition of love through and through and to have that response be my first response for each opportunity. He said, ” You won’t get this right every time, but that is ok. The lessons you learn from messing up are as important as getting it right.” He doesn’t expect us to be flawless- just to be seeking, teachable, and then align ourselves with the new level of truth, of love, that He gives us!

Beautiful- this gift of rejection- because it is purifying me and teaching me how to love- when it’s hard to love, a love sort of like Jesus gives to me daily, hourly, moment by moment. Oh how I long to be His reflection on the Earth- I will keep dying daily to myself and choose to let Him live- to love- through my life. Will you join me?

 

Inertia….what does it have to do with me?

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Inertia.

-A tendency to do nothing or remain unchanged- unless changed by an external force.

-idle, sluggish

– a power of resisting by which everybody as much in it lies, endeavors to preserve it’s present state, whether it be of rest or of moving uniformly in a straight line.

I was praying a few weeks ago and the Spirit of the Lord gave me this word and I didn’t know it’s definition so I promptly looked it up. Wow! Endeavoring to preserve it’s present state- being unwilling to do anything or be changed! Does this sound familiar to anyone?

Are you at all afraid of change? Have you ever resisted the leading of the Lord to grow, and tried with all of your might to keep things just the way they are? Or has the Lord ever nudged you to turn left or right, when in your own plans you were headed on a straight line to getting to where you want to be? And to deviate from that plan? That would be just CRAZY! Right?

Wrong! What is crazy is thinking that we know more than God! Thinking that our finite minds can be equal or higher than the infinite will of the everlasting God! What is crazy is bowing down to fear and not having faith in the ONLY One in our lives who has been proven to be totally faithful, unchanging, constant, dependable, reliable, and always motivated by Love.

So I was wondering- if inertia was on God’s mind, and the emotion I felt was that this was effecting His body (You and I individually and corporately as one) what would be the opposite of this? What would be the effect of choosing to step out of inertia?

Here are the antonyms of inertia:

action
busyness
liveliness
activity
animation
life
moving

So I propose this to you for contemplation during your own time with Jesus. Are you being effected by inertia? Is there any area in your life where He has been longing to draw you out, stretch you, and change your position or experience where you have been afraid to yield to His leading? Ask Him to show you what the root of that fear is, repent and turn from it, and ask Him to give you true courage to say yes to Him in this area. Is there any direction He is trying to lead you in that you are resisting because it doesn’t align with your own plans for your life and future? If so, ask Him to show you how to take a step in that direction and to meet you there. He loves our obedience that comes from a place of knowing He is faithful and for us and that we can trust Him more than our own understanding.

Have you been idle when He is asking you to move? Ask Him, is it the time or season for me to become more alive, get active, busy, or moving on anything. Express to Him that you want to walk in step with His Spirit and be about His business- not to waste any of your life being afraid to move or be changed- but to trust Him! He will speak to you! He will show you the way. He will reveal your part, and you will be stirred deep in spirit with a sense of purpose and direction that you have been longing for.

Also, I challenge you to pray for your church and the churches across the nations, that wherever the Body of Christ is stuck, or has surrendered to fear or come into any agreement that is lower than God’s best- that the Lord would make it clear to the leaders, and their hearts would be pliable and they would surrender yet again and be truly about the Father’s business.

Let’s start making some motion by stepping out of inertia and into movement for the Kingdom of God in the specific ways He leads!

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!

 

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.