The After Party

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At first his disciples did not understand all this. Only after Jesus was glorified did they realize… John 12:16

I really don’t know why it’s so often only AFTER the moment that things become clear to me; that I think of just the right thing to say, the perfect thing to do… Maybe that’s why the above verse intrigues me so much because even Jesus’ disciples it says didn’t realize that all these things had been written about him until AFTER. After He had been glorified.

John 12:41 tells us Isaiah spoke about Jesus because he had seen Jesus’ glory. According to my study, Isaiah spoke primarily of the glory of God and John spoke of the glory of Jesus making no distinction of the two as they are one. The thought of glory is complex combining opposites to one end. Hard hearts and healing, death and Resurrection, rejection and triumph, humiliation and glory. If this is at all confusing join me in praying Psalm 119:18 Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law.

Now look at John 12:19…Look how the whole world has gone after him! The whole world yet who stands with Jesus when He is on trial, falsely accused and headed toward the cross?! Where is the whole world then? Where is the leper and the blind man that He healed or the 5,000 that He fed with 5 loaves and 2 fish? Where were the 12 of His closest companions?

Isaiah 53:3 He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. We esteemed Him not…. It wasn’t until after He, took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, and we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. It wasn’t until after He had been, pierced for our transgressions, crushed for our iniquities that we realized He had taken OUR punishment upon Himself thus bringing US peace. It wasn’t until after He was wounded that we realized we have been made whole through His breaking. (Is. 53:4)

It was only AFTER the moment. Can you imagine how much harder it made being IN that moment for Him because we didn’t get it, we didn’t realize… it added to His pain and heart ache I’m sure. Just like in our moments that we cannot make sense of and we do not understand and don’t seem fair, the not knowing seems to make it harder. Yet in Matthew 5:4 Jesus Himself states, Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. The One who knows what it’s like to be in a moment that hurts and makes no logical sense says in Ephesians 1:11 In him we were chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will. EVERYTHING sweet child.

Now look at Ephesians 1:22 And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church – ALL things are under His feet nothing is threatening to overtake Him, He rose again and has overcome once and for all He is the victorious one, He is the Alpha AND Omega! He is head over everything for the church and what does Matthew 16:18 say?! ...on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not over come it. In Jesus you are His church and no weapon forged against you will prevail, and you will refute every tongue that accuses you. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and this is their vindication from me, declares the LORD. Isaiah 54:17

Jesus, it may not be until AFTER Your glory is revealed that I understand all of my confusing moments in life, so please hang on to me, increase my faith and trust in You. I want to make it to the AFTER party, when Your glory IS revealed and I will fully understand, not wanting to change a thing because You’re just that good!

Independent Read: 1 Cor. 13:12, Romans 8:28, Rev. 22:7,13

Warning: Drifting Conditions Ahead

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Recently I gave a speech in which I almost died by way of drowning; standing fully on dry ground no less! Publicly choking on a sip of water can be deadly…and most embarrassing when you almost project the rest of the liquid onto the front lines of the audience of which I failed to previously label with my “splash zone” warning signs. (Live and learn I guess.) However long story short, thankfully God kept my heart beating that day which reminds me of something Chambers wrote once, “You no more need a holiday from spiritual concentration than your heart needs a holiday from beating.”

Colossians 1:23 But you must continue to believe this truth and stand firmly in it. Don’t drift away from the assurance you received when you heard the Good News. DON’T DRIFT! The enemy is out to choke you, to trip you up, to cause you to drift, to often take a slow fading trip away from the One true treasure you’ve been given; because see he can’t take that treasure from you… you have to drift away on your own. (John 10:28)

Remember the secret?! And this is the secret: Christ lives in you. (YES!!) This gives you assurance of sharing his glory. (Alleluia!) Col. 1:27 Good golly He wants us to be encouraged and knit together by strong ties of love. He wants us to have complete confidence and understand God’s mysterious plan, which is Christ himself. In him lie hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. (Col. 2:2,3) And friends He Himself is willing to reside within us!!! Don’t drift from that Truth!!!!

We have been made aware of our treasure in His Word so that no one will deceive you with well crafted arguments. (Col. 2:4) Know Truth because those lies are well crafted especially in stormy seasons when the wind and the rain, snow and ice seem to blur those lines through tears. Col. 2:7-8 shows us our conquering King Jesus knew well about these seasons and so it is stated here, Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will over flow with thankfulness. Don’t let anyone capture you with empty philosophies and high sounding nonsense that comes from human thinking and from the spiritual powers of this world, rather than from Christ.

This world holds nothing of lasting value for us in Christ, You have died with Christ, and he has set you free from the spiritual powers of this world. So why do you keep on following the rulers of the world… (Col. 2:20) Why, is right!!?!

Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him. Col. 3:10 Do not succumb to the choking of the enemy dear one. Just as every heartbeat is precious to the sustaining of our very lives so too is clinging to the treasure which is Jesus, and the secret that He has given Himself in our place so that we could be with Him in His (John 3:16).

Oh dear one He has no favorites (Col. 3:25), He is pursuing you and He longs for you to allow Him to persuade your heart into a deeper faith and trust in His faithful, true and good character! YOU are precious to Him, don’t drift from that kind of love! Today lets choose to live, drowning/fully immersed in the freedom of His eternal life sustaining Truth which is His Word!

Independent Read: 1 John 4:4, Eph. 3:14-21, John 1:1-5

 

Toe to the line…what do you do?

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So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere  so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. For in just a very little while, “He who is coming will come and will not delay. But my righteous one will live by faith. And if he shrinks back, I will not be pleased with him.” But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved. Hebrews 10:35-39

Anyone else need those verses as much as me today?! To hear, you are NOT of those who shrink back! Cuz sometimes I sure feel like I am. But that’s not who God sees you or I to be! He found Gideon hiding at the bottom of a wine press, threshing wheat…cuz that’s normal?! That’s brave?! No, but sometimes what you’ve done or are doing really isn’t who you are. God sees the heart and purpose He created you for, and He is willing to meet you all hiding in your wine press threshing wheat no less and remind you of that! Like Gideon He calls us out and says… “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.” Judges 6:12 Through all the lies God breaks through with Truth.

God called Gideon to a mighty warriors job. He’s called you to a might warriors job… He only makes mighty warriors, do you believe that? Gideon needed some convincing too. God is head of heavens armies and He’s called each of us to be apart of it, but when your toes are up to the line, what do you choose?

Gideon gave God the facts about who he was in Judges 6:15, “But Lord,” (Sounds like me too often, “But Lord…” as if He doesn’t already know! Good grief!) Gideon asked, “how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.” Verse 16, God’s like are you done belly achen’, “I will be with you, and you will strike down all the Midianites together.” No specific game plan just the truth that He will be with you and not fail you, requiring nothing but trust in I AM Who is, and will be, all that I am not.

Fast forward… Gideon gets an army of 32,000 and God says, son, you’re going to think you won this in your own strength if I send you in with that many, and I’m trying to teach you something here that will bring you closer to My heart, so all the fearful ones were allowed to leave. (Gideon is probably thinking, can I go too then?!) So that left Gideon with a brave 10,000! But God still thought that was too many so He widdles it down to a measly 300!!

So here is Gideon, ill-equipped in his own strength and armed with 300 men up against what now?! Judges 7:11-12 states, So he and Purah his servant went down to the outposts of the camp. The Midianites, the Amalekites and all the other eastern peoples had settled in the valley, thick as locusts. Their camels could no more be counted than the sand on the seashore. 

I think this was a toe to the line moment. Gideon looks over the enemy camp knowing what he has behind him (300 men) and before him is an army thick as locusts! Their camels alone are like the sand on the seashore!!! Gideon, had I been him, would have said, Good golly Lord now I KNOW even YOU must be wishing You left me in the wine press!! I’m much better and more effective providing for Your people threshing wheat for them there!! To which God would respond, sweet child, it’s not about how much confidence you have… its about from Whom you get your confidence, and in Whom you place it.

If we place our confidence in what we know about our ill-equipped self, we will back down from the line every time. But Jesus has called us to more through victory in Him! You are NOT from those who shrink back. You are from, and with, I AM possible – trust Me.

So the next time you feel He’s called you up to the line, remember Gideon. As ill-equipped as he was he stepped forward that day in a God so much bigger than His unlikely and quite seemingly impossible situation, and over came! Don’t miss out on God’s great purpose and plan for your life because you got distracted and misplaced your confidence. You dear child of Jesus are NOT of those who shrink back!

Independent Read: Jeremiah 17:7, Romans 8:37, 1 John 4:4, Phil. 4:13

A, B, C, D – Jesus loves me.

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Ever wonder what a caterpillar must be thinking

when God calls it to start spinning?!

The little guy is just crawling along one day when God says, “Go for it buddy!”

He’s like, “WHAT?!! You got the wrong insect it ain’t me. I’m just a hungry!”

“I got no prior experience to pull from what-so-ever in cocooning!?!!”

“But I’ll help you find Your guy if You’re moving.”

“I bet You were looking for my friend spider who’s much more behooving.”

God says, “Nope,

you’re the one in My scope.”

So feeling quite ill equipped, the caterpillar starts out.

However He quickly finds there’s more to freak about!

“Now that I’ve started there’s no way I can finish!! What’s my part!?”

To which God replies, “Be still My child I’m known for finishing what I start.”

But then… “God now I’m all cramped up!” cries the caterpillar from His cocoon.

“I can’t see, and oh good heavens what’s happening to me!!?!?

“This is painful God! I thought You knew what You were doing

but now I’m booing!”

“I’m out on a limb!!”

Yet Caterpillar submits, steadfastly trusting that God will carry on and not purge.

Until one day the pain has subsided and he feels the urge…

to emerge!

“God, what do you think, am I done?”

“Common out, be free, you can do it dear one.”

So the caterpillar starts to squirm and push without caution.

Caterpillar thinks, Why is God not helping I’m at the point of exhaustion!

He breaks free! Much to his surprise the old has gone and something new has come!!

How exciting, how glorious, how grand, his hard work is done!

“I have wings! Glorious wings! Who would have thought this could be my fate?!!”

“My child not yet, you must wait.”

“WHAT?! All this and You say wait?!”

But the caterpillar again resigns his will, for his God is faithful and He said he would be free!

While caterpillar waits God teaches, “A, B, C and D

For Jesus loves me.

“Now what does A, B, C, D have to do with me? I need an evaluation.

“Well, in Me”, Jesus says, “you are A.ppointed for such a time, and situation.”

“To be who you are.”

“Not a spider.”

“But a caterpillar.”

“To B.ear much fruit to the praise, glory and display of My splendor!!”

But silly, not the kind you put in a blender.

“For who taught the caterpillar to spin a cocoon with out many tries?”

Why the Holy Spirit within those whom He abides!!

For it’s under God’s direction..

that a caterpillar performs perfectly in all its unqualified imperfection.

Jesus says, “You were C.hosen to do just that before the creation of the world!”

Now the caterpillar is still just waiting on God all curled.

Until God says, “NOW little one, spread those wings and FLY! Fly for me D.aily!!!

“So that everywhere you go

people will know.”

“Know that I A.ppooint to B.ear fruit cuz you’re C.hosen – D.aily

to be My treasured possession for the display of my splendor, mainly!”

“Well done,

My little one.”

“You trusted when you didn’t feel equipped,

and you feared you had tripped.”

“You trusted when it hurt and it seemed all wrong.

You waited even when if felt way too long.”

“You trusted in A, B, C and D.

You said, “Because Jesus loves me.”

“Well done!!”

“I needed you to struggle out of the cocoon on your own or you would have died

it was the struggle that made you strong enough to survive.”

“I needed you to wait because I needed to dry your wings, to soak them in my Light.”

“So that when you took flight,

you would not fall but soar

soar to heights you could never have dream or even imagined before.”

“To lure new hearts, for Me to ignite!!”

“I know how you felt little one, I too faced a similar plight.”

“The cross which didn’t make sense, I’d done nothing wrong.”

“But my Father sent His Spirit and I was strong.”

“So I took the cross and it so hurt

that I thought I would burst.”

“I wanted to get off but I trusted and submitted My will to His.”

“I entered the tomb

much like your cocoon.”

“But on day three I emerged alive to give life anew to all who

would choose to trust in Me like you.”

“So well done little one, well done

for on your faith many more will gain wind to soar

to new life because of the pain I boar.”

“Well done, little one, well done

Now welcome home My treasured one.”

Independent read: Ecc. 3:11, John 5:17, 2 Chron. 16:9, 2 Tim. 3:17, Hebrews 13:21, Phil. 1:6, 2 Cor. 5:17, John 3:16, Hebrews 12:2, Eph. 2:10, John 15:16, John 15:5, Isaiah 30:18, Is. 40:31, Matt. 11:6, Matt. 25:23, Mark 12:27, Matthew 28:6, Ps. 46:10, Prov. 3:5-6

Cuz good golly we got anxiety!!

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Most of the time I get… “Do I have-ta eat that?!” But yesterday my youngest looked at a large bag of mustard seeds and asked, “Mama, so should I just eat it?” Like he would be totally on board if I said yes! Can I not win?! Slave over a home cooked meal just to be denied yet a bag of mustard seeds they would try?! Go figure – I guess that’s life, you kinda have to walk around with a “mystery fanny pack”! The things that just baffle you to no end you just stuff in there till the other side of heaven when all things will be made known. (Luke 12:2)

This mustard seed conversation started as I was completing a craft with them and telling my son about the passage in Scripture from Matthew 17:20 He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” So that’s when my son thought maybe eating the seeds might be the trick to gaining the faith to move mountains.

His precious child like faith made me think… he is right if I devour His Word my faith will grow! I thought of Ezekiel 3:3-4 Then he said to me, “Son of man, eat this scroll I am giving you and fill your stomach with it.” So I ate it, and it tasted as sweet as honey in my mouth. He then said to me: “Son of man, go now to the people of Israel and speak my words to them. It will grow so much that it can not be contained but become contagious!! We’ll all be movin’ mountains to His glory!

It’s important to know the Truth. Most of us love Jesus too much to accept a lie from the enemy straight out… but what happens when the enemy speaks truth… truth about our life or situation? For example I see Jesus being tempted in the desert in Matthew 4. The devil quotes Scripture (Psalm 91:11-12) to Jesus when he says throw yourself down, angels will rescue you… But Jesus is the Word (John 1:1) so He knows when truth has been spoken over His situation and when the revelation of Truth has been given by God Himself. So Jesus replies, with Scripture (Deut. 6:16), do not put the Lord your God to the test.

The enemy disguises himself as light (2 Cor. 11:14) so we need to not just know the Word, or be able to quote the Word but we need to be able to have so devoured it that it has become part of us and we DO the Word. So when the enemy speaks truth about our situation like… you did it. We can respond with, yes…but I’m not “it”! Does this free anyone else from some un-needed anxiety!?! Well, who needs ANY anxiety right!

We are all going through something, in something, or headed toward something. You might think, well that’s real positive. But really, I am positive.. we are all going through something, in something or headed toward something and we need mountain moving faith in His Word of Truth to do it well.

Paul lists CRAZY mind blowing hardships he has been through in 2 Corinthians 11 and toward the end of his list in verse 28 he states, Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches. He is like I’ve practically died 900 times and besides all that good golly I got anxiety!!! Can anyone relate!?! But this same guy also knows Truth and it sustains Him through it all. It can sustain us too, if we will devour His Word and let Jesus just enrapture our hearts until we are held breathless with the fullness of joy that can be found only in Him despite anything swirling around us.

Praise the mighty victorious name of Jesus we have been set free, and that’s the Truth. Now devour it and move mountains dear one!!!

Independent read (Truths Paul knew): Philippians 3:8, 20-21, 4:4-8, 2 Corinthians 4:7-8

 

What do I pick up?

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What do I pick up? There is the dishwasher that needs emptying, the laundry that needs folding, the floor that needs sweeping since apparently my dog has made it his life’s mission to become hairless! Then there is the dust… but as long as no one touches it every item in my home can just be assumed a nice cozy shade of grey! So obviously I opted for the lap top.

We are all surrounded by choices as to what we will pick up and carry with us each day. For me what should be an easy choice often isn’t. Every day, every moment I can choose to pick up faith… or fear. Both beg to be picked up, both know my name and shout it loudly. Do you know this call too?

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:17

If God is not giving me fear… why, good golly, am I picking it up!!!!?????

Ephesians 1:19-20 …and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of the mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead…

See that “for us”… what’s for us? GREAT POWER and incomparably so! And as if He knew we would still doubt He explains just how great of a power He give us!! God says, dear one its the raising of the dead kind of power!

Why do I think He used that explanation? Not only does it exemplify intense power of the mightiest kind but it also informs me that anything I thought dead, too far gone, impossible, anything I failed rather than nailed He is able to redeem, restore, make new, and breath new life into a second chance.

If I picked up fear He says it’s not the end of the world My child, just put it down and pick up faith. It’s that easy and it’s that hard. But the choice is ours.  Nothings being forced into our hands but both fear and faith are knocking at the door of our hearts every moment of every day. What will we let in.

Ephesians 1:22 states everything is under His feet. There is nothing I face that my God is not in complete control over. The enemy wants me to take my eyes off Jesus because then I forget the tomb is empty. I forget He rolled away the stone. Than I forget that same power is for me if I’ll have it. Then the enemy can start to threaten to roll up over me all the stones in my life that My God has already placed beneath His feet!!

How dare the enemy do such a thing! But in Jesus, the enemy has no power over me that I don’t give him so lets decided together that right this moment we will LOCK our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith and refuse to look away so as not to allow the enemy to steal any more ground to that which Jesus has called us to.

Today, let’s pick up well. As for me it’s time to put down the lap top and make ground on clearing what hinders because in good faith I’m pretty sure my furniture has not always looked this shade of grey!!

Independent Read: Hebrews 12:2

I Could Just, Bail Out…

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And I myself will be a wall of fire around it, declares the LORD, and I will be its glory within. Zechariah 2:5

I may have found 900 things that became major priority items, that of course required my immediate attention in the short distance between my bedroom and my garage (in which my treadmill resides) early this morning. This may be why a gym membership has never gone over so well with me. If I get into my car with the best intentions of driving myself to the treadmill I most certainly can find a million and one other destinations that will most definitely trump the gym that beckons only with promises of sweat, stink, pain, and agony that hangs on for days (well maybe it wouldn’t if I frequented it more often, but that’s another blog post… moving on.)

Although I did (for the record) make it to the treadmill this morning the fight against the call to bail out was a workout all in itself! Ever been there? Fighting the call to just, bail out?!

In 1 Samuel 25 it tells the story of a beautiful and intelligent woman named Abigail (vs. 31). She was married to a man named Nabal which quite literally means, fool or senseless (poor girl). In this chapter David and his men provided protection for Nabal’s people. Verse 16 states, Night and day they were a wall around us all the time we were herding our sheep near them. However Nabal returned the favor with foolish unkindness that caused David and 400 of his men to go out on a mission; May God deal with David, be it ever so severely, it by morning I leave alive one male of all who belong to him! (vs. 22).

Now in verse 14 one of Nabal’s servants relays to Abigail the impending situation of doom. Being married to a fool this is probably not the first time her husband has brought down catastrophy on the whole clan, notice the servant comes to Abigail and not Nabal for help. Abigail is now faced with a decision… does she sit back and accept the doom, I mean, 400 mighty men along with David are coming to annihilate them and she is only one little women. She could think, my husband is a fool maybe it’s just God’s will, maybe I should just bail out and accept this fate.

If Abigail was tempted to bail out she gave it no food for thought as verse 18 states Abigail lost no time. She immediately set no choice before her but to try and save her people, fool and all! I can take a lesson from this girl right here when faced with another opportune moment to just “bail out”. 2 Corinthians 10:5 states, We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought  to make it obedient to Christ. Jesus, help me to take every thought captive to make it obedient to You! For You too have shown me how to remain steadfast in the face of a possible “bail out” moment.

In Matthew 26:36-46 the account of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane is recorded. Three times Jesus asks the Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. (verse 39). And each time He resolves, Yet not as I will, but as you will. (vs. 39). Now Jesus is about to take the cross in our place and His soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. (verse 38).

In Matthew 26:53-54 when the soldiers come to arrest Jesus and take Him out of the garden He says, Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way? So when the betrayer came Jesus said, Rise, let us go! (verse 46) and went out to face him giving Himself up according to His Fathers will to save us.

Jesus could have called down 60,000 angels to get Him out of the cross!! I’d totally call that a major bail out option!! Good golly can you imagine! I’m like, treadmill…. OR ride with 60,000 angels…hmmmm. It’s a good thing saving the world wasn’t rested on MY shoulders!!

Jesus please give me a steadfast heart and mind to do Your will, for You say the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. Matt. 24:13 It wasn’t easy for You but you took the cross and rose again to save me (John 3:16).  Reading to the end of the 25th chapter of 1 Samuel, I see that Abigail would have missed out on being married to King David had she bailed out. You say that what no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived are the things you have prepared for us who love You (1 Cor. 2:9). In the mean time like David provided a wall of protection for Nabal’s men help me to rest in the promises of protection within Your Word.  To wait for You, to be strong, to take heart and wait for You knowing that You will be like a wall of fire around me so that I can choose to fix my eyes on Your glory and not bail out of Your promised Kingdom.

Independent Read: John 3:16, Psalm 27:14, Isaiah 41:10