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“If I knew then what I know now, I would _________”. You fill in the blank. If you could go back to a younger version of you, what counsel would you give? These are my thoughts today as we celebrate #33. I have lots of great tips, advice, wise counsel, and correction that I would love to tell that starry eyed newlywed, who was born again and loved Jesus, yet had no clue of the pain and disillusionment she was about to get herself into. Pain that could have been avoided had she only really understood what being a born again Believer in Jesus, really meant. If she had only known what love really was, it would have saved her from a lot of senseless heartache. If I direct this advice at me, maybe no one reading this will take offense or turn a deaf ear. Maybe, if you let it, the Truth can set you free and save you from a whole lot of years of trying hard to love instead of simply becoming that Love.  That’s the key.  To BECOME LOVE. So here goes:

You need to understand that the covenant of marriage is a choice you make with a sharpie pen. There is no erasing the “I do” when things get rough. It’s for life and you don’t quit.

When you say, “I love you”, you can not have an ulterior motive, laced with expectations. “I love you” means, I give you love with absolutely no strings attached. That love can not be withheld when you feel the scales are uneven. That would make your love really just a bad case of manipulation and control.

When you get up every morning, let your motive be to “take NO thought of yourself”. When you get up, get up to become love…not take love. Love, after all, never fails.

Don’t ever think for a minute that your husband is there to meet your needs and fulfill your expectations. You won’t hear that taught a whole lot in Christian marriage counseling books and seminars, but it’s true. If you put that on him, he has just become your Lord, and you will only be doing as good as he is doing you. That, is idolatry sweetheart. Jesus is your Source. Don’t ever forget that.

God did NOT give you the feelings you grew up with. Adam did. Stop living as though your feelings were the center of the universe. That is self centeredness, sweet girl. You are to take NO thought of yourself, remember?  Live out of your new heart. Not the one that was buried when you died to the old and became a new creation.

Never ever….EVER….pray for God to change your husband. That is a self centered, selfish prayer and God will not be doing you a favor by answering it. Pray that God would reveal to him, who he truly is. Pray that God would reveal Himself to your husband. If he knew who he really was created to be, and if he realized how much he was loved, he wouldn’t be acting like a butthead. Show him love with kindness and joy filled selflessness, not with silence and anger.

Never ever…EVER…get your friends together to talk about how rotten your husbands are, and then at the end of your *itch session, call it a prayer meeting where you throw some desperate requests up to The Lord in hopes that He will change your men. God doesn’t show up for these kinds of meetings. Don’t be foolish and think for a minute that He does.

No matter what your husband chooses to do, don’t allow the sin that comes against you, become sin in you. Forgive him. Seventy times seventy times. Forgive him and let it go. If you respond to him out of hurt, anger, rejection, or any other emotion that is outside the realm of your “new creation”, you are believing a lie and the Truth ceases to set you free. You need to be reminded of who you really are, and Who lives inside of you, sweetheart . You were not created IN CHRIST to have the capacity for offense, rejection, judgement, hate, bitterness or a broken heart. That is not who you are. Stop acting like you have the ability to house these things. Let them go. They will make you sick in body and in mind.

There is no excuse, EVER, to respond with anything other than His Love that now lives inside of you. Period. Take responsibility and quit making excuses as to why you think you have a right to respond with anything other than love. Learn from Jesus. Go back to square one. Read your bible and let the Truth transform YOU.

If you are offended yet, let’s review what it means to be a Christian. Jesus said, “If any man come after Me, let him deny himself, pick up his cross, and follow Me.” Jesus laid His life down for the sake of selfless love, and He came up with the genius plan for us to FOLLOW HIM. For us to find life, we have to die to our old selfish life. He knows the best strategy. Just die already.

If he leaves the toilet seat up, maybe he is just forgetful or maybe he is being thoughtful. He may think he is doing you a favor lifting the seat so you won’t have to sit down on his pee. It’s like praying for a green light. When yours is green, the other guy’s is red! We are to prefer others, not demand our own way. Just drop the seat and let it go already. It’s not worth it.

Find out what your husband really loves and go out of your way to bless him. You will be amazed at how he will respond to that level of intentionality.

Don’t over think yourself into an emotional storm. He has no idea, most of the time, that you are even upset. Take your thoughts captive. If Jesus wouldn’t feel it or think it…let it go already.

1 Corinthians 13 is not a behavior profile that you are to strive to fit into. It’s not a description of what you should do. It’s your resume. It’s your true identity. Jesus made it possible for you to BECOME 1 Corinthians 13. Spend more time with Holy Spirit and He will share His secrets with you and make it possible for you to step into the pages of the story He has already written for you.

Focus on your husband’s strengths and brag on him to your kids. It will bring greater stability to their own identity and make them feel secure.

When you pray for your husband, ask God what HE loves about him. Ask God what HE sees when HE looks at him. I’ll say it again, don’t ask God to change him. When you do that, you are really just wanting Him to change him for your own selfish benefit. Ask God to change your eye to see as He sees.

Stay in a continual state of thanksgiving. In EVERYTHING, give thanks. Thanksgiving precedes miracles.

Remember the fallen walls of Jericho. The shout was preceded by seven times that amount of silence. The Israelites marched in silence for 7 days before they shouted and before God brought that wall down. Be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to take offense. Listen, seven times more than you talk. Be still…and know God. I mean REALLY KNOW, God. Spend time with Him; learn His ways; study His Word; spend time in His Presence. That is your lifeline.

Remember, you were not created for you. If you are demanding your way and defending your rights, you will stay angry, frustrated and disappointed. Then you’ll ask God to heal your disappointment. It’s a futile battle. You were created for the image of God. Jesus died in order to put His image back inside of you. Adam lost it…but Jesus won it back for you when He died on the Cross. Learn what that looks like and step into it by faith. Until you surrender to His Love, you will live in constant defeat. Your greatest strength is your surrender.

Stop bathing in self-pity. Stop listening to others who promote your reasons to stay in that tub and accommodate that behavior. It ain’t pretty and it ain’t God. Listen to those who are courageous enough to love you and risk offending you by reminding you who you are in Christ, not those who promote your excuses to stay broken.

Never ever focus on darkness. Fight your battle by turning your eye into The Light.

Put your hope in the Person, Jesus Christ. Not in the promises you may have misinterpreted in your attempts to save your own life instead of becoming His life. He laid His life down for others, remember? He is not your Jeanie in a bottle and His Word is not your magic wand. His Word IS a Person. Stay anchored in that Hope.

This all sounds pretty straight forward and maybe a bit harsh but you only live once. There’s no time for fluff and flesh. Live well! There is no greater joy than laying your life down in order to find true life. If you are still merely trying hard to love…you’re not loving. You’re working hard. That’s religion. Get born again!

Oh yeah, one more thing…when you blow it, don’t excuse it, but don’t be hard on yourself or condemn yourself. Take a deep breath, put your hand on your heart, and allow Holy Spirit to encourage and edify you. Speak to yourself with kindness. Don’t ask Him to change you but rather thank Him that He already has. Then step into Jesus and be who you really are. New creation…remember? We can only love others well when we love ourselves well.

I hope you take heed to these helpful and insightful lessons. I speak from many years of experience. I have done many things the selfish way and a few things the right way, but one thing I know for sure. Love. Never. Fails. Love is a choice. Choose to love that man every day and let your life’s target be to BECOME LOVE!

 

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I have been praying this one for years. “Lord, give me an unoffendable heart!”  Can you imagine such a thing?   Someone says something completely rude to you; you get criticized or teased for something you feel totally passionate about; you get cut off in traffic; you say something and others don’t respond the way you expected, or you are totally ignored; your kids don’t want to eat what you’ve slaved over for the last hour in the kitchen; you find out others are gossiping about you; your co-workers forgot it’s your birthday; your husband finds the T.V. more interesting than your personal commentary of the day, and your knee jerk reaction is to simply NOT get offended?!  This response, has not been my experience, by a L O N G shot. However, in my heart of hearts, I really do WANT to return a blessing in the face of apparent cursing and not take offense. I know it’s the right desire to have, but it’s just so hard to actually live out that heart’s desire in the daily grind of life and in the moment when it feels like my heart just got completely stung. My response looks more like this:  I shut down, put up walls and sulk. I get offended or angry. I want to lash out and defend myself.  Sometimes I do! Even if I don’t, I relive the moment for hours or even days (weeks or years), justifying myself and judging the other person. I heard someone share this recently and it really hit home with me. I believe this is a wise strategy to begin the process of cultivating an unoffendable heart.

“Every disappointment is simply a missed appointment with God”.

I believe a major reason our hearts get offended is simply because our perspective is so very limited to the full picture. A clash happens and we form an opinion based on our own understanding of the situation. We judge the entirety before knowing the full complexity of the picture.  Beloved, we will never be able to control another person’s behavior or this fallen world that we live in.  The only choice we have is to take responsibility for our own responses. And, keeping our appointment with God, is a great place to start.

The last time my heart was “stung” by the response (or lack)  of another, and I wanted to shut down, I simply stopped, choosing to own it…take responsibility,  and I asked God a simple question.

“Lord, why do I respond like this?  Why do I instantly feel like shutting down or lashing out?”

I felt The Lord’s answer to my heart was this:

“You are still allowing another’s response define and determine your value.  Your value is not determined by your perception of it.

Your mind knows the truth, but you have not yet fully embraced it to the point of violently taking it by force and making it your OWN…beyond the circumstances of the moment, when lies come to steal truth away. Salvation is free but you must choose to take it by force.  There will always be a choice, and even a fight, to receive the truth that will ultimately set you free.  You must choose to receive My Word and My Love…that once planted, will save your soul, rather than embracing the lies that will steal it away from your reality. The great chasm from head to heart is bridged by simple faith.  Hear My Word to you and beyond feeling, choose to believe it and make it your own.”

A fine diamond is priced based on the current market value, the cut, the clarity, etc.  Imagine for a moment I have a very valuable diamond in my possession, given to me by my grandmother, yet without knowing the full market value of the stone. Let’s say a person claiming to be an expert, appraises my diamond, yet hoping to defraud me, he tells me it’s not even real.  He lies, telling me the gem is really just cubic zirconia, and I believe him.  All of a sudden, my heirloom has been devalued in my own eyes.

In our own journeys, at different markers along the way, we all meet up from time to time with “experts” who offer appraisals to us of our “true value”.  And with each false appraisal that we buy into, we continue to devalue our own souls until our hearts live in a state of offense. What if others were merely responding to us based on how they viewed their own personal value?  When we see this perspective, we can then turn the offense into a prayer of healing for others. We will find it easier to bless those who persecute us and instead, offer up a prayer of blessing. I hear The Lord respond to this train of thought with this statement:

“I have set your value by the cost of My very Blood.”

Never measure your value based on your false perception of it…based on your performance…your failures or your successes…on what others say about you, good or bad. When the perception of our value is in alignment and in agreement with God’s value system…which is the very blood of His Son, Jesus…we no longer feel the need to defend ourselves or be offended. If God thinks that highly of you, how on earth can you argue?  If He thinks that highly of others, how can we think any lower of them?  All that’s left is a healed heart made whole.  A heart full of gratitude for The One Who set our value based alone on His very life.  His blood is enough!

I heard a wonderful quote from Bill Johnson today which says:

“Your promotion is on the other side of opposition. You are designed for victory….and the only way you are going to know it, is if there is opposition”.

This made my spirit leap, because I have learned the reality of this truth. We all face opposition, trials, walls of resistance, etc…but how many times do we try to avoid them or resist them or allow them to stop us, rather than seeing the opportunity for advancement in them and actually enjoying that part of the journey? I believe the problem we encounter is this…We do not yet know, nor trust the WAYS of God, nor fully know the character of God. We must resolve within ourselves, God is love, and God is good. He is for you. He will never leave you or forsake you. He will cause all things to work together for good for you.

Psalm 25:4-5 “Show me Your ways, O Lord; teach me Your paths. Guide me in Your truth and faithfulness and teach me, for You are the God of my salvation; for You do I wait all the day long.”

So here we are, walking along God’s path for our lives and suddenly, we hit a wall. What is our response to this opposition? Our response reflects our understanding of God’s character as well as our perspective of the opposition. Many times we hit that wall and because we don’t comprehend the intentionality of God’s purpose for our victory in it,  we turn….and go our own way…down our own path, deviating from The Way, onto the path of least resistance. This is where we fall into our coping mechanisms; isolation; denial; fear; blame; shame; our false securities; our self-comfort; and our addictions. Rather than running from resistance, we need to choose to embrace the Truth and press right on through it. When the obstacle presents itself, let your prayer be:

“Teach me Your way, O Lord, that I may walk and live in Your truth; direct and unite my heart to fear and honor Your name.” Psalm 86:11

Beloved, we will all face trials, oppositions, resistance, and valley seasons, but when this happens don’t bail. Don’t freak out or panic! Don’t allow the enemy or your past experiences to defile the true character of God’s heart for you. Just be still and know, He is God. Begin to ask The Lord, “what is this, and what are You going to do? What part of, I AM, do You want to reveal to me through this? What would You have me do, Lord?” Begin to declare out loud the Word of His promises to you. Meditate on His goodness from previous seasons and come into a place of worship. Lean on His faithfulness, trust in His voice to lead you, declare His Word, embrace His ways. Don’t buck the wall…and don’t default to immediately rebuking the enemy. This turns your focus on to the enemy. Sometimes it is appropriate to rebuke, but more times than not, it’s a distraction to pull you off the path. Where you set your focus is the very direction you will follow. You empower what you yield to.

“Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” James 4:7

“Let your eyes look right on [with fixed purpose], and let your gaze be straight before you. Consider well the path of your feet, and let all your ways be established and ordered aright. Turn not aside to the right hand or to the left; remove your food from evil.” Proverbs 4:25-27

Once again,”Your promotion is on the other side of opposition. You are designed for victory….and the only way you are going to know it, is if there is opposition”.

I pray as you face your walls that you stop and ask The Lord to come and reveal to you Who He is for you today. I pray that you learn His ways through experientially encountering His goodness and His love for you personally. If you have never experienced His presence personally…just ask Jesus to reveal Himself to you. I promise, if you seek Him, you will find Him. Have a blessed day!

I’ve heard it preached many times, when it’s time to take a test, the teacher is silent. If we could just remember that word of wisdom in the midst of our life tests, what a help it would be.

I’ve found great comfort in reading the book of Job this week. I know, right? Job??! Seriously though, when you’ve walked with God for awhile; discovered His love and faithfulness and go back to this book, your perspective is much different than it was before. After loosing basically everything but his very life, by the 23rd chapter, Job had had enough and he just wanted to find God (the teacher), and basically, plead his case. He wanted the answers to the test!

“Oh, that I knew where I might find Him, that I might come to His seat! I would present my case before Him and fill my mouth with arguments. I would know the words which He would answer me, and understand what He would say to me.” Job 23: 3-5

Job continues to search for answers as he searches for God. I think this is the key to every test we ever go through. It’s in the pursuit of God that we actually find God, Who IS the answer. We don’t need our questions answered as much as we just need, Him.

“Look, I go forward, but He is not there, and backward, but I cannot perceive Him; when He works on the left hand, I cannot behold Him; when He turns to the right hand, I cannot see Him. But He knows the way that I take; when He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold.” Job 23: 8-10

God’s silence is bringing forth GOLD in Job’s life.  That…is priceless. The same is true of you.

I can remember years ago, I was praying for God to answer me on an issue. I didn’t know what to do and I just wanted Him to tell me the answer. I was so frustrated and said something like, “God, if You’ll just tell me the answer, I’ll do it!! I just don’t know which is the right choice! Just tell me what to do!!! Grrrr!” Can anyone relate?  The answer I got from God came in the form of a flashback memory from my High School algebra class. Had to be God, because I have NEVER understood the point of algebra and certainly didn’t waste time thinking about it! So, in my mind’s eye, I saw my teacher writing this L O N G problem on the blackboard. It filled the entire board. She turns around and says to me, “If you don’t show your work, you won’t get credit for the problem.” Wow….I got it!

I remembered that in algebra, the answers were in the back of the book, but simply knowing the answer was not enough. I had to show my work. In doing so, it showed the teacher that I had worked through the problem.

Our journey with God is the same in many ways. It’s in the hard places of walking through problems, where we gain the wisdom to pass tests and get on to the next chapter that God has for us. God’s silence is His mercy made manifest. He knows you have what it takes to pass the test. He has already equipped you to pass so you can’t fail! You just need the confidence to press on through. We sometimes just want to be rescued from the hard places, rather than finishing the test. Can you imagine running a marathon and stopping at mile 25 because you are exhausted? Exhaustion will not deter you from enduring that last mile when you think about the finish line.

When the battle is raging against you and you don’t quite know how to finish strong…you don’t know where you stand in the battle. Is God allowing a test? Is the enemy coming against me? Is this just a result of my own bad choices or my weakness? Is this just a natural circumstance of this fallen world? I know I have all those questions bombard me when I can’s seem to hear God. But one thing I have learned through life’s journey. The “whys” just don’t matter anymore when God shows up.

I will not pretend to understand the sovereignty of God; or the justice or wisdom of God. I long to know His ways and as I follow Him I do understand more than yesterday, but with every test, comes a brand new lack of understanding His ways. What I do know is this. When I choose to worship and magnify Him in the midst of the tests and trials of life, I always find His goodness, His comfort and His love. I find that His grace is sufficient through it all. I realize, through experience of the hard journey, that my Redeemer truly does live.

Two of my favorite quotes from Job as he endured his test.

“For I know that my Redeemer lives, and He shall stand at last on the earth; and after my skin is destroyed, this I know, that in my flesh I shall see God” Job 19:25,26 He trusted that through it all, God was faithful.

“I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees You.” Job 42:5 This is where everything changed. Job encountered God. This is the point of all of life…to encounter our Redeemer. What a gift.

I would have to say, the secret to Job’s success is found at the very beginning of his tragedy though. It’s the key that I endeavor to live my life by. I don’t always get this one right, although I will always strive to make this my life’s message and my life’s goal. It’s found in Job 1:20-22

“Then Job arose, tore his robe, and shaved his head; and he fell to the ground and

WORSHIPED.

And he said: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return there. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” In all this Job did not sin nor charge God with wrong.”

When friends come to me with stories of injustice or tragedy coming against them, my response is usually this:  “don’t let the enemy steal your worship.” I know that I know that I KNOW, that worship is the strongest weapon you can ever use during your tests. You simply canNOT loose when you focus on His face. What you thought was loss becomes gain in the light of His glorious face. He is worthy of it all and I promise you, it’s gonna be worth it.

Just….worship. I promise you….it is the answer. Because HE is the One you will find as you do.

When I find that I am once again focusing on myself; my circumstances; my lack; my weaknesses; my struggles; my ever changing emotions, etc…I am actually creating the barometric pressure for my life and setting the atmosphere for storm clouds to gather within, until rains of depression pour down into my soul. When my focus is on God’s presence, regardless of my current circumstances, He lifts me above the rage of the storm that threatens to dampen my hope and by His mighty wind of the Spirit, the storm clouds are displaced by the cloud of His glory and the atmosphere of heaven.

Bill Johnson said, “When we discover springs beneath our dry moments, we attract rain.  Water attracts water.  Correctly stewarding the Holy Spirit’s work in our past…digging in dry places…attracts the water of outpouring…that which is to come.”

Psalm 43:5 “Why are you so downcast oh my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; for I shall yet praise Him, the help of my countenance and my God.”

Worship is a choice. Thanksgiving is a choice. Sometimes our praise literally is a “sacrifice of praise”…but it’s a sacrifice with only the richest of benefits because it takes us right into God’s presence.  Psalm 16 promises, “You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” There’s no place I’d rather be than in this place of joy.  I like to think of it this way….

Difficult circumstances and seasons of life are an opportunity to give The Lord a sacrifice of praise that we will NEVER, EVER, in all of eternity, have the privilege to give Him again. When we see Him face to face, we are going to “feel like it”. It won’t be a sacrifice then. When life is going great here on earth, we don’t struggle so much with entering into worship with Jesus do we? But…when we can’t feel Him; when we can’t see Him; when we don’t understand the “whys” surrounding our circumstances; when our vision is veiled and our perspective is skewed; and yet, we CHOOSE to fall down and worship the One Who is worthy…this is the most beautiful displays of worship you will ever have opportunity to give Him. Even the angels are in awe of worship this beautiful. I can only imagine how this must stir the very heart of God…Psalm 33:1 “Rejoice in the Lord, O you righteous!  For praise from the upright is beautiful.”

God IS love and because love is a PERSON, He gives us a choice to love Him in return.  Psalm 28:7 “The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in Him, and I am helped; therefore my heart greatly rejoices, and with my song I will praise Him.”

Try and push past your feelings if they are not aligned with joy today. Just choose to begin thanking God for Who He IS and for what He has done for you in past seasons. Try today to just focus on His goodness; His faithfulness; His lovingkindness. Take your eyes off of you and place them on Him. You empower what you set your focus on.

Here’s a few stats that may not surprise you if you live in Texas and are no longer praying for rain. According to the National Weather Service in Fort Worth, Texas has been drenched with 35 trillion gallons of rain in the last month. Enough to cover the whole state up to nearly eight inches deep. News 4 San Antonio reported that the amount of rain dumped over Texas just this week is enough to fill San Antonio’s water needs for nearly 5 ½ years. The Washington Post reported that in the last 30 days 8 million acre-feet of water has been added to Texas reservoirs. That’s enough water to cover the entire state of Rhode Island under 10 feet of water.  It’s also enough water to supply NYC for 7 years. Absolutely staggering!! Enough already, right?! If you live here, you have been effected one way or another by the rain. It is unavoidable.

So, last night I had a dream. I dreamt  that I saw a storm coming. I kicked into mother bear mode to get Peyton to safety, frantically yelling for her to get into the closet under the staircase.  The dream was so real that it woke me up. When I woke up, I heard Mark, on the back porch literally scooping water into large buckets to keep the flood water from coming into our 2 patio doors. Unfortunately, the heavy rain was giving him quite a fight and winning the battle. I rushed out half dazed, in my pajamas and snow boots (because I don’t own a pair of rain boots) to help him, and for at least an hour we filled big rubbermaid containers with water and dumped them away from the house as fast as we could. I finally had to stop and wake Peyton up to help, as we were less than a ¼ inch away from the water flooding the house. Survival mode kicked in.  On top of the rain flooding our back patio, our pool was about to spill over onto our patio which would have been a total disaster.  By this time, it was around 2:00am. I knew I needed to drain the pool a bit to keep us from being totally flooded, but the backwash knob on the pool equipment was stuck and wouldn’t open up. I finally got it to turn but the pool was not draining a bit!  I prayed; asking God for help, asking for wisdom, asking friends on Facebook what to do…. I went into warfare mode, commanding the rain to “STOP!, in Jesus name!”….but nothing was working. I got angry, frustrated, and was totally exhausted. We were not making a dent in the water that threatened to flood our house, and I knew our homeowners insurance didn’t cover flood damage. Great!! I was mad that I couldn’t hear God…frustrated that He apparently could NOT hear me…and I even felt a bit abandoned and went into self pity mode. When I needed Him most, I felt like He was just not helping. I needed a fix! I needed a better solution! I needed to know how to get this situation under control! remember someone saying once, that during a test, the teacher is silent. I guess I had forgotten that little nugget of Godly wisdom in my fearful frenzy.  After several hours of fighting the flood water from overtaking us, we just all gave up and went to bed. The water was still ¼” away from coming in and I knew we were expecting 3 more hours of rain but I had nothing left.  As I laid down, I simply said, “God, I have done all I know to do. I’m exhausted. I lay it all at Your feet and I just choose to trust You. Please don’t let the water flood our home. Everything we have is Yours. I trust You. Amen.”

When I woke up a few hours later, I was a bit surprised I have to admit. The water was still at the same level that it was when we went to bed. I had no idea how we avoided major water damage and how our pool never spilled over. I just said, “Thank You  Lord!” It didn’t make any logical sense…but I knew trust had a big part to play in it.

I decided to do the intelligent thing in the aftermath by running to Lowe’s Home Improvement to purchase a portable utility pump. In the event that this happened again, I was NOT going to pail water with rubbermaid containers too big to carry! Even though I was extremely sore, tired and dazed from the storm, I was anxious to have a talk with God about all of it. I wanted to know what He had to say concerning the night before. I am just wired that way. I need to know the WHY in every situation. The moral to the story…the metaphor…the prophetic message…the point…the silver lining, if there is any. What did I do wrong that I could have done right? Why was my default targeted at blaming God?  What was God trying to communicate through all of this RAIN!? Why did we have to go through the storm, with pain to show for it? Why couldn’t we have just avoided it all? Why didn’t He make it stop? Why didn’t my command in His name stop it? Why didn’t He rescue us? What was He trying to teach me? And on…and on…and on. Sound familiar? Does anyone else process life like it’s a continual allegory? I think if you are still reading this, maybe you do in some degree or another.

So, here’s the point. I asked God what He wanted to tell me concerning this whole event. What did He have to say about all of this flooding! God speaks through circumstances and through process many times. I personally need to experience things to really get the message. So this is what I heard as I asked God the question about the rain.

The revival that is coming, that you have prayed for…. cannot be controlled. It will be messy but there is nothing you can do to hold back what I am releasing. It’s going to take unity; it’s going to require trust; everyone will need to be awakened to do their part. Revival is messy and it’s not controllable. Trust Me in the midst of it. It’s going to take hard work, but it’s going to equally require rest and trust.

You know…we pray for revival, but when it comes we do try and control the way it looks. We want it to be manageable. We want it to be logical. We want it to go according to plan and according to our schedules. But, that’s just not the way the kingdom of God works. It’s more like a flood.

As I tune my ear to the The Lord this morning, I hear Him say,

I would never ask you to do something that I wouldn’t do through you. I have gone before you and equipped you to RE-PRESENT Me well. The more you let Me love you, the more conscious of that truth you will live in. When I say, “Fear not!”, I don’t say it as a pressured command to go out and conquer something apart from Me, but rather an invitation to step consciously inside of Me and watch Me take fear completely out!

So, what was Jesus’ secret to walking fearless? To walking in total victory? To walking in total security and peace? Because He tells us in His word that as He is, so are we in this world. (1 Jn 4:17)
John 5:19 – “Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner.”

Jesus lived completely surrendered to The Father as an example for us to live like Him. He spent time, much time….much, much time….just talking to His Father, and LISTENING to His Father. That was His example for us. Spend T I M E with The Father. Soak in His goodness, rest in His embrace, listen for His voice, just let Him love you. Prayer cannot be rote repetition of our “needs list” shot up at the ceiling on our way out the door…wondering if the request even made it past the ceiling, and wondering if we are even worthy of the request. It’s all about intimacy, relationship, friendship with God. The key to an overcoming life is not going to happen through years of counseling, or trying to attain that next new goal, or expecting that other person in your life will change, or when you get your answer to what you think you need from God. Your answer is always in KNOWING God and in KNOWING His unconditional love for you. The only place you can know this, is in His presence. There are no shortcuts.

Jesus said in John 17:3, ” Now this is eternal life; that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.”

1 John 4:18 says, “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.”

Do you feel tormented or fearful? The answer is a revelation of His love that only He can give to you. The key to walking in rest, in peace, in victory, in joy, in love; is in proportion to how much we let God love us – and let God love through us. We love, because He first loved us. If prayer feels laborious and dry to you, I encourage you to just put on some worship music and soak awhile. Don’t pray; don’t strive; don’t think about all the things you need to do today; don’t ask God for anything other than this….”Father, would you show me Who you really are? Would You just come love me and reveal that love to me?”

I have discovered a secret about time. The only place that time is actually multiplied and not lost, is in the presence of God. It’s quite miraculous. I encourage you to discover this truth!

The longer you soak in His love, the more you will truly believe that you are loved by God. When you KNOW that….nothing is impossible to you!