Tuesday, November 15, 2016

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!
Love ya!

Thursday, March 3, 2016

SELFIE...SELFIE...SELFIE

Politics.  Conspiracy Theories. End Times Events.  Movies. Cell phones.  Video games. Television.  Soap Operas.  Talk Shows.  Game Shows.  Music Videos. Sports. Relationships. Social Media. Entertainment. The Economy. Terrorism. Finances.  Sickness. Disease. Wars.  Traffic.  Jobs.  Food Prices.  Gasoline Prices.  The Past.  The Future.  My Body.   My Health.  My Church.  My Life.  My Finances.  My This.  My That.  My Plans.  My. My. My.  Selfies.  Selfies.  Selfies.

Each one on the list above could be a blog post all its own, but for the sake of time and space, I've just picked one to use as an example for this word...

I can't and won't watch much on television anymore.  There is so much filth pouring across the airwaves these days.  Has been for many years now.  All of the sex, violence, deception, verbal attacks, hate and lies...and while we all know that's the case with many television shows and movies, one could even say that's also the case in the political arena.  But it's more than that....  It's way more than that....

Recently, I listened to the presidential candidates and was once again amazed that some individuals who are running for the highest office in this land are more than willing to lie their heads off to the American people.  I hear loved ones talking about it, and read the posts of some friends on Facebook who love the LORD.  They're spewing ridicule, anger and hate because of their revulsion toward the candidates because of the condition of our nation and the wickedness of some of those who are running.  They're angry about where we are as a nation now.  I understand that.  So am I.  But we're not pointing our fingers in the right direction....  (That's a whole different blog post for another time...)

While my heart is saddened by what I see, read and know to be true from public records, this blog post isn't about politics.  It's about something much more important than who the president of the United States will be for the next 8 years.  This is a word from the LORD that resonates deep within my spirit and which must be shared with as many as will hear.  

People are running all over the place, caught up in this or that 'cause' or thing or pleasure - good or bad makes no difference with regard to this point - and they have allowed it to consume their thoughts, time and energy.  And in the process, the enemy has been able to draw their attention away from where it should be focused first and foremost:  On the LORD, the relationship with Him and doing what He wants.  

Please allow me to explain.  Since I used politics in the example above, I'll stay with that subject matter for the moment.  But whether it be politics or the obsession of taking endless pictures of ourselves (selfies) and plastering them all over social media every five minutes, the point is the same.  

We're distracted.  We're fighting from a place of weakness and no strength, because we're using our own wisdom and arguments...  We're centered on ourselves and not on our Creator.  We're looking into the physical realm instead of the spiritual realm, consulting our limited little brains and making our decisions or choosing our own plans instead of searching GOD'S heart.  We're weakened because we've allowed ourselves to become distracted.  We've lost our focus and our purpose for being created and sent to this earth in the first place.  And the kingdom of darkness loves it.

Last week I had the opportunity to address a group of people who are brothers and sisters in Christ.  They meet weekly to learn about the underhanded and behind-the-scenes things going on that most people in the nation don't seem to know.  I overheard someone calling this group 'Conspiracy Theorists'.  I choose not to label them, aside from acknowledging their faith in Christ.  We have far too many labels we pin on people as it is.  And most of those labels are more than divisive...

Anyway, after the video was finished, the facilitator shared his thoughts and additional information about the video we had just viewed.  Eventually, the conversation took a turn toward the presidential candidates and there was some slightly heated discussion about several of those running for president.  All through the evening, however, my thoughts were directed to the LORD, asking Him why He had me there and what He wanted me to know/see/hear/say.  This is one of the things He told me and what I want to share with you today, regardless of the country in which you live, or the conditions in which you find yourself.  And while there are those in the Body of Christ who may not be in this place at this time in their walks with Christ, this is a word for almost all of GOD'S people everywhere...

The enemy has brought distraction to keep you from your true call in this life.  It makes no difference what the distraction is!  It is designed to keep you from focusing all that you are on YHVH and from getting your orders from HIM.  We don't have the wisdom to figure everything out.  Even when it comes to the next leader of our nation, we do not have the wisdom to know who the best person for the job is.  People can and do say just about anything to get their way.  We watch and listen, we weigh the words and actions...but do we really know the heart of the person we are watching?  I think not.  Only GOD knows the heart of a man or woman.  And only GOD knows to whom He wants to give that authority.  Are we willing to ask Him what He wants?  Are we His agents in the earth, or only concerned about what He wants as long as it agrees with our agendas?

But there is infinitely more than just distraction going on, Beloved Friend, for with distraction comes deception...  They walk hand in hand.  Just as Adam and Eve were distracted by the enemy and deceived by his words, we must ask ourselves if we have been deceived to look to the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, instead of looking to the Tree of Life for our direction.  

YHVH is the Tree of Life.  He is the Direction.  Staying focused on Him requires discipline...but then, if we are truly His disciples, we'll exercise discipline and look to Him for our answers and direction...for our life...for our purpose...for the glory of His Kingdom!  

Look at the list in the first paragraph again.  Do you fit too comfortably into any of these areas?  

We can be so consumed by something that we are drawn off of our mission here on this earth.  To love the LORD with all of our hearts, might, mind...our strength...all of it.  And then to love our neighbors as we love ourselves.  Things are out of whack, though.  Remember Noah?   The people were going their own way - THEIR OWN WAY - eating and drinking and marrying and giving in marriage - when finally GOD had enough.  Yeshua/Jesus said it was going the be the same when He returns...people doing their own thing, pleasing their own selves....  Selfie...Selfie...Selfie...

If you have already made up your mind about something, but haven't sought GOD'S heart to see what HE wants, then you've made your opinions more important in your own mind than His desires.  Are you a distracted lover, a 'Selfie', putting other things, peoples, ideas and opinions above GOD?  If so, repent!!! There's time.  Don't be discouraged or depressed about it, just be faithful!  Remember: He's merciful....  

If you're on the 'Selfie Train', get off Beloved Friend!  We've got work to do for the Kingdom of GOD and it's exciting, wonderful and it's TIME!!!


Monday, February 8, 2016

SATISFIED TO BE

To be.  To be His.  To be about His business, even as Yeshua/Jesus was about Father's business while he was on the earth.  To be content in whatsoever state (circumstances) we find ourselves, even as the apostle Paul wrote in his letters to the believers.  To be at rest in our hearts, because we know to Whom we belong.  To be full of the hope of His glory.  To be fully confident that the One Who began that good work in each of us will be faithful to complete it, even as He promised through His word.  To be satisfied to simply 'be', knowing that above all else, He Is, Always Has Been and Always Will Be The One True GOD.  Nothing can change that.

For many years I was always in a hurry for the 'big thing' the LORD was going to do in my life...always pressing, always racing, always dissatisfied with where things stood and how slow the clock seemed to be ticking, when there was so much to do and it didn't seem as though much was getting done to propel me into my 'destiny'.  It seemed that the 'big thing' Father had for me to do was just about to happen, but something always seemed to get in the way or fall apart and the 'big thing' was just beyond my grasp.  Most of the time, I felt frustrated, dissatisfied, let down and unhappy.

Do you hear desperation in the language of that last paragraph?  Do you see the focus on the self-seeking, self important ME in those words?  I believe another word I could easily slip into the description would be pride.  Do you hear the pride in the whole thing?  I was so sure, so very sure that GOD had put so much 'something' in me that surely the world needed to get what it needed from me!  Ha!  Wow.  Did I have a few hundred lessons to learn!!!

Oh, I'm not saying that my desires to honor GOD and do what He wants me to do weren't genuine.  As a matter of fact, it would have been hurtful to hear someone tell me that my plans were all based in part on my indispensability in the work of the Kingdom.  In other words, I didn't feel proud and didn't feel like my motives weren't pure.   But then, we don't always know the motives in our own hearts, do we?  Father does.  He sees.  He knows.  And He isn't willing that those unclean self-serving ways should remain.  So, He continues to work away, purifying, refining, cleansing...  

But where I missed it was in the 'being'.  Instead of trusting that GOD knew what I needed, when, where and how to provide or use me, I was always restless.  Instead of believing that I should take all of the opportunities to Him and ask if those were things He had for me to do, my know-it-all self would just go blithely running ahead, giving no thought (or even dismissing the thought) that it would be a good idea to consult the One Whose ministry in which I claim to be involved!

I needed to learn to be still.  I needed to learn to sit at His feet and truly trust that - even as I go about my daily tasks - He is still able to work in and through me without me trying to force things to happen.  I needed to learn, over and over and over again, that He is GOD and I am not.

Beloved, we can't pursue our own ideas of what GOD wants, without involving Him in the decisions!  We can't just run ahead and expect Him to catch up to our plans.  His ways are not our ways.  His thoughts are not our thoughts!  He is so much higher and greater, deeper, wider and much much more wise that perhaps we give Him credit for being.  He really is very interested in finishing the work He's started in each of us.  

We don't need fame or glory.  Let me say that again... we don't need fame or glory.  And let me say in a very loving way (trust me, I mean this with all gentleness and love) you don't need fame or glory.  Neither do I.  We don't need to be running around, trying to build our own little kingdoms.  It's not only a waste of time, it's offensive to GOD.  His kingdom is the one we are to be supporting.  Everything else will fall to dust or burn up in the fiery flame of His jealous love.  He said He will not share His glory with another.  We are the clay.  Only the clay.  He is the Potter.  He is the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last, the King of all kings and the LORD of all lords.  And He knows what He's doing!

He knows how to build us up or tear us down.  When we get too big for our own britches, He knows how to knock the wind out of our sails so that we don't go around blowing others out of the water with our self-important glory-seeking ways.  He loves us far too much to do anything else! 

And so, He teaches us to be.  Whatever it is He has for us to be. He patiently works and works and works in us, knocking off the rough edges, cleaning up the deceptive heart, drawing out the harsh and hateful ways, binding up the broken places that cause us to stumble repeatedly into unhealthy ways.  He labors over us, watching and teaching and humbling us until what flows from us is clean - what flows from us is fruitful and faithful to Him.   And while we are waiting on Him in worship, praise, prayer, study and whatever else He calls us to, He will do what He wants to do, if we will just get out of His way and obey Him.  It's how we show that we love Him, according to His word in the book of 1 John.  We show Him we love Him by our obedience.  

We are all little pieces of His handiwork with our own individual parts of the fabric of His love.  We all have something to give, something to do and something to learn.We must remember that none has the whole tapestry.  Only He has that.  Love others fully - without judgement, harshness or unwholesome criticism.  Don't gossip or tear down.  Don't be impatient or mock or belittle others.  Don't think more highly of yourself than you should.  You are His.  So settle down and learn to be...His.  Learn to be satisfied in all of the right ways.  

Beloved, I pray that you will always find contentment in letting Him lead you.  If you are one who wants a deep and personal, intimate relationship with Father, then I pray that you will learn to embrace the priceless gift of contentment and unspeakable peace that can only be found waiting on HIM.  Find rest in sitting at His feet and adoring His glorious magnificent goodness.  Find satisfaction in learning to be all and only His, seeking His face, listening to His voice and following His command.  Just be who you were created to be - and be satisfied to be!  Now that is something wonderful to pursue!