Our pastor has been doing a series on John 15 and I had a friend casually make a comment (in the middle of church service by the way) about how rich it was, so I added it to my reminder list to read. This morning I was awoken around 2:45 am, with that on my heart. So I started reading. If you want to hear some deep teachings out of this book and not just what is highlighted to me, go listen to this series “Get Connected”. Y’all! It’s SO GOOD!
Anyway, I am sharing this one verse in hopes that it will awaken some things in you. John 15:7 stood out so strong to me. Now, I am sure most church goers have heard and read this verse many time, as I have; however, I’m not sure I have ever really allowed the weight of this promise to come to life in my heart. This verse gives a promise that God guarantees He will do. GUARANTEES! because all of His promises are yes and amen!
“If you abide in me and my words in you”… abide here means… not to part from, to continue to be present, TO BE HELD CONTINUALLY. It also means…. to continue to be, not perish, to last and endure. The finally portion of the meaning… to remain as one, to wait for. WOW! The only thing the Lord wants from you is you. He wants you to be present in a relationship WITH HIM. He wants to hold you continually and for YOU to Hold onto to HIM. He wants you to last and endure WITH HIM through this life. And He wants to remain ONE with YOU! Isn’t that SOOO GOOD! However, that’s not what screamed at me! I know God wants an intimate relationship with me, and I want and pursue that with Him for sure!! So for me, I know I must be with Him and present in the relationship for to live.
“Ask what you wish”… This was the meat for me.
How many of us allow ourself to wish about what we want? After this last season of my life, I’m pretty sure I had no wishes or dreams left. I was just doing and being what I felt God wanted me to do. However… right here… He says WISH! Wish here means… to will, to be determined, to purpose (that i do pretty well). It also means… to desire, to like to do a thing, to be fond of doing, to take delight in, HAVE PLEASURE. Somewhere in life, I stopped wishing for the pleasures. Either thinking it was childish, selfish, or unnecessary. Probably all of the above. I allowed my wishes and dreams to determined and altered by others, disappointments, insecurities, and hurts; instead of by God. I had stopped taking delight and having pleasure in what I was doing, actually If we are being honest; I think I was scared to. But GOD WANTS US TO! this is why He says His burden is easy! He wants us to have a desire, to do things we delight in, have things we wish for. He says, when we are in Him and His WORD in us we should WISH and He promises to give it us. We have to give ourselves permission to wish again.
So often we feel guilty about asking God for the desires of our heart, thinking we don’t want to “burden Him” with that frivolousness. Seriously? Burden God? lol He wants us to dream, wish, and desire! AND He wants us to ASK for those dreams, wishes, and desires! He didn’t say just wish upon a star and hope it comes true! He said stay with me, allow me in you, and then let ME DELIGHT in giving you the desires of your heart.
So, I challenge you today… think about your desire, your BIG DREAMS, and start to wish and ASKING again! Because the next verse says that by doing these things you are Glorifying God… and isn’t that what we all really want do?
This season has been the hardest yet. It seems that I have lost so much, made so many mistakes, hurt so much, and am looking at what appears to be not much left at all.
You don’t realize what it takes to walk this faith road until you are stopped in your tracks. If you would have asked me anytime before the last two weeks, do you have faith? Or is your faith strong? ABSOLUTELY! would have been my answer. I love my God above all things. All I want is to do what He has for me to do. I have come to learn: that.. is.. not.. faith. When your faith is put to the test and challenged… what it is rooted in will show it’s strengths and weaknesses.
I have learned faith is not my love for God. It is also not about my obedience. You see, just because I love God and obey Him may not mean I trust Him confidently. If you had asked me if I trusted God I would have immediately answered, Yes 100% but how do you know until it’s tested with action and not just words? And how deeply does it run?
Faith comes down to this: how do you relate with God when you feel like you have lost everything? everyone? Do you believe or trust that He is there with you in it all and through it all? Can you or WILL you rely on him in those times? Or just lie in your place of darkness? Stuck in the mess that you can’t get yourself out of?
Our faith must be tested for it to grow. The root of where MY faith lies must be tested to be strengthened.
When it all comes down to the nitty gritty…. after I weeded through all the limbs that had been cut off or blown down… sitting lifelessly at my feet… in the midst of all that appeared loss… I had ask… now what?
All this appears to be and FEELS like death. I would be lying if the thought of walking away didn’t cross my mind. Actually the thought didn’t just cross my mind, it camped out a little while and stayed for a short vacation. Looking at the wreckage piled at my feet I said to myself, it’s too much…I just can’t, and I’m not even sure if I want to. So now what?
Now what? …when I asked HIM... was followed by such a sweet peace kind of answers.
Lord, I know you forgive me, but what if they won’t? They will because they love Me…
Lord, I am hurting and can’t make it stop. I have hurt relationships and can’t fix it… Now what? I can, if you will let Me? Trust Me with them.
….but Lord, I don’t trust them. Do you trust Me?
Did I really trust Him? Did I have faith that believes He holds it all, sees it all, and wants to make the best of it all? …In the middle of all the PAIN … FOR ME? Like right now…in this situation…do I trust that HE WANTS to do this for me and WITHOUT ME? Does my belief in HIM withstand the pain I am in? And the pain that I have caused? Do I trust and believe that He is faithful and just in it all? And for ALL THOSE INVOLVED?
You see, it wasn’t my LOVE or OBEDIENCE that was tested.
It was my BELIEF and TRUST in HIM towards ME that was being tested!
My belief that HE WILL do what HE said He would do, even when I am unworthy and have made a mess. MY trust that HE would WANT to lift me up out of the miry clay I was stuck in and WANT to set me feet on His solid rock. My belief that He is who He said He is…and would do what He said he would FOR ME and in spite of me.
For FAITH is the confidence…the foundation….the actual existence of something or someone being real in your life and circumstances. Are you allowing Him to be real in your life and circumstances? Faith is the steadfastness of mind, courage and resolution of firm trust and confidence IN HIM.
Confidence that says, He is in it all, and wants to be. I didn’t drag Him in or beg Him in. He is here because He wants to be. He loves me because of who I am, not because of what I have done.
This is my now what… My Faith.
Let me propose a question to you. Would you alter someones reality and life if you could? Let me explain. Think of someone you love dearly, someone who has a part of your heart that you love unconditionally. Perhaps they have made not to great life choices. Perhaps they have experienced some pain you could not help them avoid. Perhaps they are in a relationship with someone that you think isn’t good for them or you are not not fond of. Perhaps it’s all of this and much more. Would you, if given the opportunity, alter their reality and their life for the better if given the chance? Say they suddenly had amnesia and couldn’t remember certain things from the past, and when asked you could change how they viewed things….in their life…in their relationships for “the better”. Would you do it? Would you tell them the truth and let the chips fall as they may?
I had this presented to me and I had to really think, what would I do? We all want the best for those we love. We want them to be happy, healthy, and in great relationships with awesome people, right? Would I tell them the truth as I see it? Even if it is painful to them and would destroy the reality of what they have now and how they view life and the people in it? Would I tell them what I thought they needed to hear to have what I would consider a better situation and relationship or would I tell them what they needed to hear to keep their reality as it is. If I tell them “the truth”(according to me) then their life certainly would change. The opinion they had of this person, or that situation would certainly be different then what I thought. OR would I tell them what I knew they felt and thought to be in the reality and life they now have. Tough one. You wouldn’t think it would be, but it is.
This one challenge made me think deep and hard, how prideful am I to think that my opinion matters so much that I have the RIGHT to change the reality of the ones I love so much? Even if I can see it is harmful, or that they deserve “more”, the truth is they have the right to live the life they have chosen and made, regardless of my opinion of it. AND IF there is a relationship involved, I don’t have the right to harm it or change it with my word or opinions(even if in my view it is the truth and right). Can we truly say we love someone without asking ourself, “God, what do they need to hear? What is best for them” before we speak? Can we set our flesh, our opinions, our desire for that person aside and trust the Father to answer what they need vs. standing on our own accord to state and speaking what we think they need?
It’s not my place to change someones reality and life, it’s God’s. So, if I truly love you, I will seek Him first to answer and love you they way HE know you need it, not simply the way I may think you need it. Humility produces for others, while pride destroys.
If you don’t know, I am a straight forward, cut to the chase kind of person. I like things presented to me in a “no ruffles” kind on way. I have however noticed that in the church we tend to fluff things up a bit to make them a little “easier to swallow” or a little “more palatable” for the general public. There is nothing wrong with this, as long as the Biblical truths stay just that, truths. I just happen to be the kind that prefers an in your face approach. Secrets of the Secret Place by Bob Sorge writes just like that. A clear cut, no frills approach to an intimate growth with God. It is not a read for the easily offended, but for those who are willing to hear real truths and do whatever it takes to grow a more intimate relationship with God. This book is awesome.
In his book Bob gives direct, easy to read, and short ways to become closer to God. This is not a salvation issue, but a growth plan. I encourage you to look into this book. I just finished Chapt. 5 The Secret to Rapid Repentance. I know what your thinking, I repent daily! DO YOU? After you have been a Christian while you learn the “what not to do’s.”
You learn to “kill the flesh” as the church world would say. You don’t sin. No lying, stealing, fornication, pornography, hatred,drunkenness, or not tithing(yes that’s a sin). Those sins are so obvious that you don’t even need the conviction of the Holy Spirit to know your in disobedience. So your a “good Christian”, trying hard to please the Father in all you do, and don’t do. However, have you ever thought of repenting of your iniquities? Do you even know what that is? Bob, explained it the best way I have heard in this chapter.
“I’m not talking about obvious sins; I am talking about repenting of our iniquities. Iniquities are the hidden faults that we don’t see, the wicked residue of our fallen nature that discolors the fabric of our thoughts, motives, feelings, responses, and desires. Iniquities are wrapped up in much more subtle area of sinfulness, such as pride, rebellion, unbelief, envy, selfishness, ambition, and covetousness.”
OUCH! We have to learn to become a good repenter is we want to move forward in God. “If pride hinders you from repenting, get over it. You’re a wretch. You need mercy so badly, it’s scary. Wise up and master the art of repentance. Call your sin its worst possible terms. Grovel. Eat Dust.” I told this book didn’t mince words and wasn’t for the easily offended. He continues to write, “We all have hidden pockets of iniquities, and we all need God’s help to see them. You can’t repent of something you don’t see, so God will help you see them. Paul says in 2 Timothy 2:19-21, that the Christian life is founded on two powerful realities: We are known by Christ, and we depart from iniquity when we see it.”
“When we repent quickly of those thing God’s word is revealing, we experience the pleasure of the Father in a palatable way…A consistent pattern of rapid repentance will cause us to become a vessel of gold or silver, refined by the fire, useful for the Masters noble services. Those who resist repentance do not necessarily lose their salvation, it’s just they do not progress beyond a vessel of wood or clay. They are useful to the Master only for dishonorable purposes(in the great house there is a need even for a toilet plunger and dust pans.)” OUCH!
“The assurance of the above passage is clear: Rapid repentance from iniquity will cause us to progress forward to a more noble purpose in God’s great house and will deepen our knowing relationship with Him.
Enough said, Selah.
As most of you know I run a non profit called Beauty Will Rise, We were promoting a community wide education event that we have coming up this weekend at a friend of ours church. As we were listening to the evening’s study given, this word and scripture just seemed to blow up inside of me and reminded me of where I have come from. I remember this place all to well, even though it was years ago, the remnants of the miracle will never fully fade away. The Holy Spirit just began to freshly remind me of the true extent of what He has done and what He wants to do for all those that feel like they are losing life.
Mark 5: 25-34 25 And a certain woman, which had an issue of blood twelve years, 26 And had suffered many things of many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse,
I was that woman. I had an issue.
You see the woman mentioned in this verse, had in “issue”. An issue that was draining her of her life source. Blood is THE life source to our body. It is what gives life to things, heals things, and gives energy to the body to do what it needs to do. If you have ever had a low blood count or been anemic, you know what I mean.
This “issue” was literally killing her from the inside out and she knew it. Her life source was being lost out of her, every moment of every day. Life was not flowing like it should be. Her heart wasn’t getting what it needed. Her mind wasn’t getting the life it needed to work as it should. Her feet weren’t getting the life source it needed, therefore she was weak and weary. Her reproductive organs weren’t getting life as they should and so she was unable to produced little, if any. This “issue” had drained her entire being FOR YEARS, and was killing her.
And it’s not like she didn’t try! She tried to understand WHAT was draining her. She spent ALL she had! Time, effort, and money trying to diagnose the problem to make it stop! She wanted it to stop, she needed it to stop, before it killed her. How many of us are like that? I know I was. I knew my life was dying. I knew my mind was in a constant state of chaos and confusion. I knew my heart was hurt and weak. My walk everyday was exhausting and a struggle. My life was hemorrhaging, yet I didn’t know why. I didn’t know what was causing or how to fix it! Good news. Neither did she.
I had tried church and doing all that I was suppose to do. I tried being the good wife and mother. I tried filling my heart with what I had hoped would make me feel full. I tried distractions, time filling activities, and outside help to try and remedy this inside turmoil that was killing me.
Yet, none of it work. Here is where desperation will make you do desperate things. Could it really be as easy as touching His garment? After looking, searching, researching, spending all she had finically, could simply be as easy as pushing through? Pushing through the things and people that were in her way keeping her from Jesus and her healing answer? It was her last resort.It was HER decision to make, no matter what anyone said. She was so tired of her life being taken from her that going after Jesus was her last resort or the “issue” would kill her and she knew it.
I am so thankfully reminded that I don’t NEED to know what’s draining my heart. I don’t need to know what is confusing or tormenting my mind. I don’t need to understand what my “issue” is that causing me to lose my Life-Source. All I need to know is WHO can heal my Life source. She knew that He could make her whole, if she could just touch a remnant of Him. Do you know that? If you can just get with Him and touch Him in worship, in prayer, in relationship, you can then exchange your hemorrhaging life source…that feeds you heart, your mind, your body, and soul…. for His healing life source that makes you whole.
It’s been an “odd” season. So many things happening yet it seems like a my progression has been like molasses in the winter. Last night the Lord and I had a real face to face talk….OK maybe I had a temper tantrum and cried like a two year old but whatever. After my whinefest episode that drifted me sleep, I decided this morning I may need to go back and really ask Him for direction VS just crying about it to Him. The Holy Spirit led me to Mark 10:46-52, the story of Blind Bartimaeus. I knew He was trying to say something and so I started digging into this passage for the original meanings of certain words and phrases that stood out to me and here is what I found.
Mark 10:46-52 (ESV)
46 And they came to Jericho(meaning fragrant and pleasure). And as he was leaving Jericho with his disciples and a great crowd, Bartimaeus(meaning son of the unclean), a blind beggar, the son of Timaeus(meaning Highly prized), was sitting by the roadside. 47 And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out and say, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” 48 And many rebuked him, telling him to be silent. But he cried out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” 49 And Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.” And they called the blind man, saying to him, “Take heart. Get up; he is calling you.” 50 And throwing off his cloak(inner or outer garment, mantle), he sprang up and came to Jesus. 51 And Jesus said to him, “What do you want me to do for you?” And the blind man said to him, “Rabbi, let me recover(meaning reclaim from a bad state, regain strength, composure, balance;to get back) my sight.” 52 And Jesus said to him, “Go your way; your faith has made you well(heal, preserve, save).” And immediately he recovered his sight and followed him on the way.
So in my temper tantrum of “God! I’m having a ministry identity Crisis!!!!” I literally said to Him through saturated tears…I have no vision left…. I don’t know what to do now…I don’t know where to go with this ministry you have given me. So here I am, as blind as Bartimaeous was, sitting and waiting for…..what? I didn’t know.
The definition of all these phrases then came alive like 3D glasses put on for the show of I’ve been waiting to see….If you are sitting in a fragrant place…you can perceive it…it’s all around you…you know your where you are but you have no vision to take in the fullness of where you are or where to go. **Take note**. According to these definitions, you and I have the birthright from that which is highly prized. By legal right right it is yours! But don’t allow that fact that you once came from the unclean stop you. Bartimeous meant son of the unclean, however His father’s name meant Highly prized, therefore His legacy came from a high prized place! We came from the uncleanliness of sin, yet Christ was Highly Prized and paid for our new birthright through His blood. We all lose sight as where we are and what God has all around us at times. Sometimes we even take on the old names and identities others gave vs. the legacy our Father above has given to us and this leaves us blind. In those times what do you do?
What did Bartimaeus do? He cried out to Jesus….He was tired of sitting in the middle of pleasureable and fragrant place and not fully enjoy it or being a part of it. He was tired of sitting on the side lines begging for other peoples crumbs. HE was so tired of it he made a ruckus so Jesus would hear him. Are you tired of where you are?Tired enough to make a ruckus during your prayer time? Crying out to Him…”JESUS, hear me!! Have mercy…have compassion on me!!! I don’t want to stay in this state anymore!”
However, Bartimaeus didn’t just cry out, throw a fit, or whine. He didn’t just draw attention to himself for attentions sake. When others rebuked him for his “unsavory actions” he ignored them and continued crying out to Jesus….until Jesus called him. Not answered him….CALLED for HIM. He summoned Bartimaeus in, He invited Him. You are called! I am called! He has called us! The question is are you still sitting there on the sidelines waiting on something or someone else?
Bartimaeus GOT UP and went to Jesus. He threw off the old cloak…the old covering that he identified himself with …He threw of the old mantle that he had on when he was blind and came to Jesus! Are you willing to get up and throw off what you have identified yourself with? Covered yourself with(on the inside or out?)? Are you willing to take the mantle off that you have been sitting so comfortable in to see what new vision Jesus has for you? Or are you ok with the unknown and sideline seat?
When Jesus asked Bartimaeus what he wanted, he replied let me recover. RECOVER. This means he once had vision! He could see! He once knew the full scope of the pleasure of where he was. He could at one time see the the amazing things that were so fragrant to his nostrils. He missed it and wanted it back!
So, when we lose our vision for our life path… or for our ministry? Does it mean it’s over? When we feel blind and lost in what we should do, where we should go, or what is next…What do we do? Quit? Beg? Sit on the sidelines? NO! Bartimaeus was still called and had more to do!….We are still called and more to do! Cry out to Jesus for a recovery of vision, a recovery of sight, a recovery of the fullness of the pleasure and fragrance in the life He has called you to.
So my crying and whining, followed the Lords leading into the scriptures for me to once again know and see that He is good. My vision only has to see as far as Him. No sidelines accepted …. site recovered…and like Bartimaeus…following Him on the way.