Saturday, October 18, 2014

BEAUTY!

It's everywhere around us.  Look with new eyes, Beloved.  See how GOD has given us such a glorious world in which to live!  Look at the wonder of His creation.  It's a magnificent time of year - leaves changing to the most brilliant colors imaginable.  I love seeing the changes.  

I love knowing that we have a GOD who is the most fantastic designer!  He makes the trees sing with music and the grasses dance to the swaying winds that blow.  He makes the birds soar on wings that seem too fragile to carry anything at all!  He moves the sun across the sky, warming the cooler days with the reminder that HE is GOD, He is our breath and warmth and life and strength.  He is our comfort and our security, our refuge in times of trouble, our provider in times of need, our healer in times of sickness and our deliverer in times of adversity. 

He is all we could ever hope for and so much more than we will ever understand.  He is the power in the resurrection of Yeshua, the author of everything good and kind and wonderful.  He is so extravagant with His love that we are undone in His presence.  He is so mighty in His holiness that the weight of His glory can crush even the strongest man on earth.  He is beyond the scope of our imagination and outside of our ability to comprehend in all His ways.  He rides upon the wind and lives within the heartbeat of the unborn child.  He is mercy and grace.  He is perfect in every way, in every circumstance, in every part of His creation.  He is never-ending and always creating. 

He is steadfast and true.  He is not a man.  He does not lie.  We cannot see Him now, but we will one day.  If we walk with Him, we will be blessed to see Him face to face and to live with Him throughout eternity.  And we will be changed...utterly, completely changed...transformed into what we cannot know now, but one day we will know.  For we will see him and we will be made brand new.  He promised He would make all things new...  and I believe that as His children, we will be made new as well. 

For now, we live in this world.  We are not to be of it.  We are to be changed, transformed, made new in the life He's given us through His Son.  His work in us is not finished.  He is faithful to complete it, as it says in His word.  For now, He calls us to embrace the life we've been given - embrace it to the full - walking hand in hand with Him daily, loving those He puts in our paths, following Him into places that we would perhaps never choose to go on our own, but will go willingly because He loves and cares for those who are lost.  We will go because we love Him more than life itself.  We will go because He beckons to us, encourages and strengthens us for the journey.  We will go because He is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.  We will say 'yes' to Him, because He said 'YES' to the Father in order that we might be saved.  We will be hungry and thirsty and tired for him, because He is the Love of Our Lives...  We will worship and praise and honor and adore Him.  We will follow Him everywhere He leads us. 

And we will see the return of our Savior Yeshua one day.  Yes, indeed.  We will see Him come again in the clouds with His angels - with the sound of a trumpet - riding on a white horse with His robe dipped in the blood of the saints.  We will see Him and we will shout for joy and tremble for fear, hoping that He will come to take us with Him.  We will bow the knee, as will every creature on earth, and declare that He IS LORD.  We will cry with joy and shout with abandon for the One who loves us this much.  We will not be afraid to say what He tells us to say and to do what He asks us to do.  And if fear comes to steal our obedience, or if doubt comes to steal our trust and confidence in Him, we will look once again upon the glory of the LORD whose promise to us is that He will never leave nor forsake us, but will instead give us all we need to do all that He asks.  And we will be victorious, because the battle has been fought and won by our Lord and we are His people, the sheep of His pasture.  Look at the beauty in the season.  Look at the designer who made it all.  Look with awe an wonder.  Never lose the childlike quality and beauty of awe and wonder for the LORD.  He is GOOD.  His mercy endures forever!

Beloved, He has called you by name!  Roll around, sing, run, jump, kneel, get on your face, shout, cry, weep, dance, clap, proclaim and laugh with joy in the wonder - in the BEAUTY of His love!

Saturday, October 4, 2014

FEARLESS LOVE!

Ooey-gooey feelings.  Sticky-sweet, syrup-y, sugar-y, honey-filled love.  That is the definition of love, huh?

Yeah. Right.

Okay, so let’s get real.  Let’s talk about what love IS.  We just defined what it is NOT.

Love is commitment.  Love is dedication, regardless of what feelings say.  Love is NOT blind.  Love is very clear-eyed.  Love says, “I will endure to the end.  I will stay and do what I need to do to humble myself and honor and bless the one I have said ‘Yes!’ to.  I will think more highly of that person than I do of myself.  I will bow low to the ground when what I want to do is stand up and scream – or walk away – or sit down and cry and just plain give up.  Love says, “No matter what, I am in this for the long haul.  No matter what you say or think or do or believe.  I am here and I will not let go.  I will not change my mind, just because things are difficult.  I will endure to the end.  I will not let the enemy win and divide us.  I will not go away just because you are thoughtless or selfish.  I will BE here, ready to do whatever I need to do to see you grow and succeed.  I will endure to the end.  Period.  Amen.  So be it.  And that is all. That is it.  That is all there is to it.” 

And by the way, I’m paraphrasing…  Yeshua said it all over the whole Bible.  Yes.  He.  Did.

This society in which we live is so messed up.  People have given in to the whole ‘if it doesn’t make me feel comfortable or agree with what I say, think or feel, or want to do, then I’m not putting up with it’ lifestyle.  ‘I have my own truth, ‘they say, ‘so if you want to be my friend, then don’t cross me.’  Humility and repentance are two words that are bitter in the mouths of many people.  Is it any wonder that everything is so wacky now?  I think not.

Wow.  Just wow.  And that’s the way it is.  Selfishness reigns.  Anger and frustration and violence and depression and rebellion are as thick as the air anymore. 

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard people say something along the lines of, “I believe GOD wants me to be happy.  I don’t believe He wants me to go through things like this.”  It’s everywhere…  It’s all over the Christian community as well.  And people don’t grow.  People think they’re going to get yanked off of this planet before bad stuff happens.  People think they were just put down here to basically enjoy life – having bought into the lie that says they are supposed to just be comfortable.  Uh-huh.  Yeah.  Right again….

Can you imagine a soldier being on a battlefield and refusing to fight the enemy, because she doesn’t want to get shot at?  That’s crazy!  We signed up for this war.  This is not a game, or a high school dance or a sorority party.  This.  Is.  War.

Well, let’s look at our example so we don’t look at things in the wrong light.  After all, we use the Bible as our reference, so let’s do that.  And let’s look in it at the Author and Finisher of our faith…the One we profess to follow.  Just know as I type this, I tremble inside when I begin to compare myself to Him.  But He is the ONLY ONE I am supposed to compare myself to.  Not my best friend and her idea of how things are supposed to be.  Not the pastor who has fallen into deception about even the word ‘prosperity’, thinking that we are to get rich, because that’s what Yeshua wants for us.  Not the famous preacher who says that we’re not going to have to ‘endure to the end’ (even though that is what Yeshua said), but rather that we are going to escape the bad stuff because Daddy GOD is going to take us to heaven so we don’t have to go through anything hard. 

Look at Yeshua/Jesus.  Most people don’t even want to call Him by his name.  They want to call Him Jesus.  But you know what?  That’s not His real name.  His name is Yeshua.  People struggle with that.  People want to have the kind of savior that fits their western culture spoiled rotten idea of who and what He is/was/said/did.  But that’s not what He wants.  He wants genuine LOVE.

I think I probably sound a bit intense today.  I think it’s because it’s time to get serious.  The LORD said that judgment begins in His house.  Well, that’s us.  So before He has to judge us, we’d better be judging ourselves.  How serious are we about Him and what He wants?  How willing are we to go through whatever we have to go through to PROVE that?  He defined love as doing the will of His Father in heaven…and His Father in heaven sent Him here to DIE for us…to suffer and go through horrible pain for us.  So the question is, (since we now know what REAL love is): How much do we really love HIM?  Is it more than we love ourselves?  We’ve got to examine ourselves and make the necessary corrections.  No more delay.  There is no more time for delay.  The time to change is NOW. The time to repent is NOW.  The time to stop being afraid of losing ourselves and our identities is NOW.  The time to grow up is NOW.  The time to stop being afraid and RUN, RUN, RUN into the battle is NOW.  So let’s do – let’s examine Yeshua’s life for a moment.  And let’s just look at the part where He was in the Garden before His arrest.

Do you think He wanted to die?  Do you think He wanted to be beaten – literally whipped until the flesh was hanging off of His body – until He was no longer recognizable?  Do you think He wanted to be spat upon and mocked and ridiculed, without saying a word?  Do you think He wanted to go through any of THAT at all?  Do you think He thought it was going to be fun to have every sin and sickness and disease put on His body, when He had never sinned in His life?  Do you think He didn’t want GOD to take it all away and come up with a painless and easy way to go through stuff to save us – a way that wouldn’t involve suffering in any way?  Do you think He was incapable of experiencing hurt and sorrow and grief and physical and emotional pain?
Do you think it was fun to be in so much stress that He began to sweat ‘great drops of blood’?  I understand from the tiny bit I’ve read that it is possible to do so when the body is in extreme EXTREME stress.  If that is true, can you even begin to imagine what He was going through?  I don’t think so.  I can’t.  No one can really understand that.  But, by the LORD GOD ALMIGHTY, we are so glad that He did.  We are so so so glad that He did.  And He did it because of LOVE.  OBEDIENCE to the FATHER is true love.  There was nothing ooey-gooey about it.  It wasn’t ‘sticky-sweet, syrup-y, sugar-y, honey-filled’ love.  No. It was ‘down in the trenches’ love.  It was ‘rip your guts out, I’m sticking to this no matter how much it hurts or how hard it is’ love.  It was ‘I am in this for the long haul’ love.  It was ‘no matter what you say or think of me, I’m here – and I’m not going away’ love.  It was ‘I will endure until the end, because you are worth it’ love.  It was ‘genuine, faithful, devoted, steadfast, extraordinary, beautiful, pure, honest, persevering, dedicated’ LOVE. 

We all search for something and don’t see it right before our very eyes.  We get our little attitudes and climb up on our little soapboxes, telling others that we will not put up with the junk in the lives of other people and that endurance is not scriptural, unless it suits our own ideas of what that looks like.  But that’s not what Yeshua did.  Nope.  He didn’t.  HE ENDURED TO THE END.  And Beloved, you and I have the same assignment.  There is no depth in ooey-gooey, sticky-sweet, syrup-y, sugar-y, honey-filled love, because it doesn’t exist.  If you think about it, that kind of ‘love’ would draw flies and bees that bite and sting.  REAL love is solid.  REAL love is PATIENT, and KIND.  Love is written all over 1 Corinthians 13, but it is lived out in the life our LORD and SAVIOR YESHUA/JESUS.  Love conquers all.  Everything..

One last thing:  He said the servant is not greater than the master.  He said that it is only those who endure to the end who will be saved.  He said only those who do the will of His Father in heaven will make it there.  So, Beloved, we said ‘Yes!’ to GOD.  And now the question is:  Will we stay and do what we need to do to honor and bless and truly love the one we have said ‘Yes!’ to.  It means we die to ourselves, just as Yeshua did.  There’s no way around it.  Anything less is ooey-gooey sticky-sweet…well, you get the idea.


Come on, Warrior Brides.  Fearless love.  Let’s do this!