No Retreat!

Today is one of those days when I realized that God is not going to let me off the hook! Hopefully, this will make sense to you. It begins with a small whisper from God about an idea, vision or portion of His plan for your life. Being hesitant, you acknowledge his voice yet you make no deliberate action towards the “thing”. So life proceeds on and there are preached sermons and quantifying situations where you KNOW that God is reinforcing that which you do not bring up in conversation. He can bring it up but you won’t!!!

At times, you can see that he is not letting up on this “thing” and you begin to relax to his plan and perspective. Just when you think you’ve found a safe space with God and at least, you’re not avoiding the “thing”; God drops a whammy! Holy Spirit, Jesus, and even the angels are in attendance when God pulls the rug from under you. This experience can be misread as tumultuous and hard yet God’s perspective is “time to go”! Me, I try to feign ignorance when I can’t wrap my head around it with confidence. Whether my confidence lacks due to my fear or lack of understanding, I am hesitant for a reason. Hesitancy convinces us that we’re buying time to adjust but for some of us, we’re just playing with fire essentially wasting time being unproductive.

Today, he pulled the rug and I couldn’t be upset because it slowly dawn on me after the initial pain, that God allowed it and I needed to accept his will for me. So I am in between a rock and a hard place because I refuse to go back. In front of me the way is unclear yet its bright enough for me to take a step in his direction. I describe it as walking the plank or toward the edge of a cliff and looking up to find that the path before me has shortened significantly and there is no room for retreat! These are the times that the word of God comes into action…”I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.” Philippians 3:14 NLT

Breaking through

Life is full of twists and turns, we tend to think that the best way to handle it is to buckle down and build resistance to it. This mode of thinking causes us to build plans in sand to avoid the wipe-out of the tide. The enemy deludes us with deceptive tactics to push us into thinking that by our own strength and depending on our actions, we can stop the turbulence of our life’s journey. Turbulence (the twists and turns) is to be endured.  The Bible is full of answers to enduring them. Why? Why would God give advice on enduring them instead of eradicating them?

Proverbs 13:11 (AMP) says, “Wealth obtained by fraud dwindles, But he who gathers gradually by [honest] labor will increase [his riches].” Turbulence helps us to avoid building homes in vain by slowing us down and causing us to consider our way. Vanity is fraud, it is built on my perspective and ‘I think‘ mission statements. As believers, our lives are not our own. If this is hard to receive, I would suggest a restart of salvation because this is the truth. We have submitted our lives to Christ and He is our Lord. Our Lord directs our way in this life and we learn to trust Him. We trust Him, He leads us.

Our life’s journey of twists and turns may become uncomfortable, if so, let’s refresh our choice and turn to Christ, submit to His Lordship. How? We acknowledge our need for Him, wait for His insight and trust the process. We know that whether He is speaking or silent, He’s still with ud. And as long as He’s on the boat (Matthew 8:23-27 AMP), the storm can’t win. And if you’re really trusting, you’ll begin speaking to the storm yourself…Life and death are in your tongue (Proverbs 18:21 AMP), you can have what you say! See trusting in the Father produces fruit that reflects the knowledge of Him in whom you trust. So when you speak, your words carry His voice. Psalm 103:20 (AMP) says that angels hearken to His voice so action begins when you speak what He is speaking.

Let’s really get to living and stop building our own houses. Jesus has already gone ahead of us to prepare our places for us (John 14:2 AMP); our part is to focus on learning to occupy it. Our faith is developed through turbulence and our triumphs through Christ will be like the sun breaking through the clouds after the storm.

I’m a Mess!

Living as a Christian is not the ride of life that we imagined when we first surrender ourselves to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. As you may know or may be just finding out, this life has difficult terrain as well as days along the seashore. If we are not careful or attentive, we may miss out on some of the best moments of our lives. Not knowing the terrain ahead as well as not preparing for days of rest, we can be bombarded with foolishness sent by the enemy or outgrowth of our own issues that disturb us.

One issue that most of us deal with yet never want to openly discuss with others is the nature and experience of shame after salvation. On this matter, we stuff shameful ideas and experiences inside of our souls and manage around “the elephant in the room”. For me, learning to live in the light of Christ continually where there is no shame has been one of my best weapons to living out my purpose and enjoying it.

Noah Webster Dictionary 1828 defines shame as “A painful sensation excited by a consciousness of guilt, or of having done something which injures reputation; or by of that which nature or modesty prompts us to conceal. Shame is particularly excited by the disclosure of actions which, in the view of men, are mean and degrading. …that which brings reproach, and degrades a person in the estimation of others.”

In the scriptures, we see shame appear repeatedly. This reflects that it is a constant weapon of the enemy against us. Today, we live in a world that thrives on living in false realities, playing among the shadows, and playing two entities against each other. This is the same world that Christ came into and overcame; overcoming its trends to provide us victory to do the same. An example in scripture of how shame bears down on the weight of its victim is 2 Samuel 9:1-13. Mephiboseth (muh-fib-uh-sheth) was the grandson of Saul the king of Israel, son of Jonathan. He was disabled from birth. Seeing that King Saul was rejected and both he and Jonathan were dead, Mephiboseth, was left in shame.This shame stemmed from an historical royal lineage gone wrong where rejection passed down from King Saul (when rejected by God) resulting in destitution plus the inability to be physically capable of his own work or trade. Mephiboseth was dejected and filled with shame.

King David recalls his promise to Jonathan (1 Samuel 20:12-17) and seeks out any descendants of Jonathan. Mephiboseth was unaware of such a promise, so when he was found and brought before King David his first words to the King was the deception that shame and desolation had laid upon him, he confessed himself as “a dead dog”. We may not say such things now in this way yet, in many ways, we act out in unseemly ways. Our pain, anguish, and circumstances have been so loud as to dictate who we are. When we don’t know God’s mind toward us or believe what we have heard, then we act in line with deception that says we are not worthy of kindness, success, peace, friends, fulfilling occupations, etc.

As a child of God and co-heir with Christ, we will face times of being like Mephiboseth. The way we overcome those moments, being a child of God, is different from how he handled it. We don’t confess our agreement with the deception, we confess the “word of God that is able to save” (James 1:21). We must confront areas of shame within us by using the word daily, speaking it out loud and aligning our actions with our confession. Faith requires corresponding action so we believe the word and our actions show our agreement. So we do not say we have victory through Christ and stay in the bed moping or binge watching some television series. We respond like Mephiboseth, once he heard the kindness of the King toward him, he stayed with King David and he feasted on the blessing of favor and position afforded him (2 Samuel 9:13). So we get up and be about living! We are positioned under our King Jesus and he has favored us so we can shake off, refuse, and detest shame that would hinder us from enjoying the goodness of God.

Here’s an extra bit of something that you can consider in your own meditation…Mephiboseth is noted as still disabled in verse 13, yet it did not stop him from receiving favor and living in the blessing as royalty. How would you apply this to your life? What have you perceived about you that you wanted to change in order for you to receive God’s best? Are your thoughts God’s thoughts about your situation? Are you possibly stopping yourself from receiving God and his fullness of blessing? Mephiboseth and his son, once destitute, were now richly provided for in every way despite his unchangeable situation.