Urgency in the Atmosphere

There’s urgency in the atmosphere – there’s no time to waste and wander because this life is a breath.  Let us get to the call to make disciples and run our races looking unto Jesus – following Him, our crosses in tow because living crucified means living amplified.  It is the only way our lives have any weight.  It’s the only way we truly LIVE – He must increase, and me?..I must decrease.

He is trustworthy.  He is worthy.  He is worth it. Our very great reward.  The only treasure worth seeking.  He is King Alive and for Him, we lay down our lives because He laid down His.  King Alive, King of my own Heart, and King of the Universe.

Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.  James 4:8

I really feel an urgency in the Spirit of the Lord to get up and get moving with the things He’s put in our hearts.  Obviously, we wait upon Him and you may KNOW you’re in a waiting season.  But, I also believe there are people who are hanging back thinking there’s “all the time in the world” when in reality, the time is short.  That’s what I feel like the Lord is saying to someone today.  And the wonderful truth is that when we draw near to Him, we will hear from Him.  He will speak to us…we just need the Spiritual guts to obey, don’t we!

You may be wondering about the reference to King Alive. This Name for Jesus came from a very brief dream I had several years ago. In the dream, the Church gathering that we attended was called “King Alive“, and it just stuck in my brain.  And now, just between Jesus and I, sometimes I refer to Him in that way.  I believe whole-heartedly that He still speaks strongly in visions and dreams today.  He wants to reveal Himself to us more and more.  If He wants to say something to me, I want ears to hear it, and I don’t care how!  In my humble opinion, we don’t have time to waste wondering ‘if’ He does or ‘how’ He does it.  We are the branches and we need to be continually IN HIM, our True Vine!  So press in to Him today!  Ask Him for the ability to hear His voice however He wants to speak to you, and then pay attention!  Our King wants to show Himself very Alive and very Active in our lives every single day.

Just a personal note:  I wrote the upper section in my journal at 5:02am exactly 1 month ago (3/21/18)…and as I was searching for something else this morning, it caught my attention.  I haven’t published anything on here since the end of 2016!  I didn’t realize that until I actually signed in to my blog account today.  When I started this blog 4 years ago, I heard the LORD loudly and clearly in my Spirit to only publish things when He tells me to.  I felt that release to put this word out today.  It actually feels quite strange to type this, but it’s clear to me this is one of those “now” words for me to REMEMBER, maybe someone else needs it, too.  I trust the Lord with it!

Father, if there are things You are reminding us are “NOW” for us, give us the boldness to move, the trust in You to say “Yes, Lord” and then step out in faith no matter what.  Give us ears to hear what the Holy Spirit is saying to us.  Increase our faith, Father!!  We need You, Lord, every second of every single day!  You are the Vine, Jesus, and we want to stay “in” you all day long and never turn aside.  You are the kind of Shepherd King that leaves the 99 for the 1, we are each that special to You, would You extend an awareness to each heart that she (or he) is THAT important to You today?  Your are glorious, and You are mighty, and You are WONDERFUL.  Show Your goodness to each one today, Lord, and be glorified in us, be glorified in Your Church, be glorified in our Nation today, in Jesus Name Amen!

On the Waves: When Jesus doesn’t do what you think He’s going to do

Great faith chooses to get out of the boat.

Great faith chooses to walk toward Jesus and believe Him when He calls.

Great faith keeps her eyes fixed on His eyes and looks full in His wonderful face.

Great faith chooses HIM regardless of the temptations that are swelling all around her.

Reality is that life outside the boat can be flat-out scary.  Minimally, it can be uncomfortable.  All manner of temptation lurks attempting to take your focus off of Jesus.

  1. temptation to look around at the progressive waves of your own flesh and Satan’s attacks ready to take you under, one after another…after another

  2. temptation to consider the actual depth of the waters you find yourself in

  3. temptation to know the vast limitations of your own swimming skills and your general lack of endurance

  4. temptation to lean on your own understanding that walking on water is, in fact, not humanly possible

  5. temptation to think that you can do this water-walking alone or that your way is perhaps better than His, which is blatantly preposterous given points 1-4, and yet remains a temptation never-the-less

  6. temptation to hear the safety of the boat beckoning you to get back in for goodness sake and dry off and get warm, are you crazy? who does this?  protect yourself!!!

  7. temptation to tell Him “no thanks” the next time He invites you out, this water-walking of great faith is fine for someone who is stronger than you or knows more than you or actually has the mustard seed’s worth of faith He asks in order to see some kind of miracle like this

But, Jesus.  But, JESUS.  BUT, JESUS!!!  Praise His Name!

He never leaves.  He always rescues.

I don’t believe I’ve ever been out on the deep waters of faith like I am right now.  Certainly not this deep.  I don’t recall having an opportunity to believe for the impossible as much as I have this year.  The first 3 months of 2016 were smooth sailing, quite honestly.  Not many waves at all, it wasn’t very scary and quite frankly I had literally received every answer I wanted from the Lord for some pretty bold requests. Particularly, I had been tracking dead-on with my expectations being very high in what I knew God could do and expectations very low as to the “how” He might do them.  But, last night was the 2nd time in 2 weeks that I got a neti-pot style cleansing of the sinuses with salty sea water (great analogy brought to you from last week’s episode of Living Proof with Beth Moore)…because last night I took my eyes off my Savior for a second and looked fully at what my human brain was willing to wrap around.  This is not an effective tactic when you are out on the water.  Just ask Peter.  It’s always better to recognize Who Jesus is, and stick with Him.

In this particular situation last night though, I saw only what did Jesus not do instead of what He did…even though He performed a total miracle.  Have you ever done that?

Then, I sulled up.  I don’t know if that’s actually a word, y’all. But that’s what my Dad says when a horse he’s training stops responding to him; basically the horse goes into lockdown about to throw a fit.  It’s the same word we use in our family when people act like that (finger pointing directly at ME).  All in my heart.  Every bit of it.  Outwardly, I was saying words of thanksgiving and gratitude and acting how I was supposed to act when God comes through in such a massive way.

Mere words never fool God though.  He doesn’t care all that much about our “external” looking good, does He?  He tells us over and over and over again it’s the condition of our heart that He’s concerned about.  And when I woke up this morning after partially repenting and knowing my heart was not right, He was right there inviting me into full-on repentance.

I was not the 1 leper who came running to Jesus’ feet when I realized what He had done like I should have been (Luke 17).  He deserved massive praise from me!  He deserved tears of joy and my heart to have been leaping out of my chest in thanksgiving!  But, that’s not what He received from me last night.  The sin of pride crept in mightily underneath me and enveloped me and brought me crashing down hard, as pride always does (Proverbs 16:18).  And no one else knows.  Only me and my patient, kind, Holy and wonder-working God.  (Well, now y’all do…but we are to confess our sin to one another, right? (James 5:16))

I was offended that He didn’t perform the miracle I was believing Him for in the way that I expected it.  I was annoyed in my spirit that His method of healing was different than I had made my mind up that it would be.  He didn’t follow my orders.

My hands literally shake even typing those 5 words.  But, it’s the truth.  That’s why I withheld my praise.

I ask the Lord continually not to let my flesh get away with anything displeasing to Him.  And, He didn’t.  He didn’t let me stay hard-hearted very long, praise His Name.  He didn’t have to beat my wayward thinking out of me, either. (Insert memories of stubborn horses who have not been so fortunate).  For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it (Hebrews 12:11 ESV).  He always knows what we need.  He’s a good, good Father that way, isn’t He?

As Romans 2:4 says, it was His kindness that led me to repentance.  And as only God can, He timed it where I had to read Matthew chapter 11 out loud to my family in our nightly Bible reading when all of this battle was happening in my heart.  It’s the story of when John the Baptist is in prison asking if Jesus really is the One.  It’s when John is sitting there thinking, “There is NO WAY if Jesus is who He says He is that He’s leaving me in this prison!”  And you know what Jesus sent John’s disciples to go back and tell him…

Blessed is the one who is not offended by Me.  (Matthew 11:6 ESV)

He loved John so much.  But, Jesus didn’t do what John expected.  John had a really hard outcome awaiting him and he had to trust that Jesus was who He said He was.  And Jesus wanted John to experience blessing.

Offense never brings blessing.

Humility before and trust in Jesus always does.

And when I woke up this morning I heard the Lord say to my heart, “Look fully into my face.”  In other words, He was asking me to look at His eyes.  Just like I try to get my sulled-up 4 year old to do when he’s upset so that I can speak truth and life to him.  Just like Jesus was doing for John the Baptist.

He’s so kind.

He knows that if we will look at His eyes our feet will not sink into the ocean of doubt surrounding us.

And you know what is starting to well up in my heart right now…12 hours after my highly disappointing water-walking performance?  I’m starting to feel Him call me out there again with Him.

He has brought me way too far to turn back now.  I’m out here with Him.  Come what feels like hell or at least high waters, I am His.  The truth is that the gates of hell actually will NOT prevail!  It can feel like it, it can look like it, and it can seem like all of it is breaking loose in your circumstances in front of everyone or maybe only in your own heart where no one else knows.  When Jesus said, “It is finished.” He meant it, and Satan knows it.  Our battle with flesh and enemy are not over just yet, but we can rest assured that we are overcomers because we belong to Jesus!

And He is always good.  And He never leaves us.  And He never forsakes.

He loves us, as my little boy says, “Really MUCH!”

He is an ‘again’ kind of God.  He delights when we humble ourselves and realize how much we need Him.  I had to realize that I have NO idea what all He did in this situation.  Someday I will find out, and He will put an exclamation point on His sovereignty.  And, I’ll rejoice again that He did not leave me in my pit of haughtiness.

We know that it’s impossible to please Him without faith.  And I want to please Him.  I want to hear Him say well-done.  I know you do, too.

We want to look full in His wonderful face because it’s that same face that bowed before the Father and sweat drops of blood because His own will was not matching up with the Father’s at the moment.  He was willing to deny Himself and take up His cross so that you and I could get out of the boat with Him one more time in great faith.

He’s trustworthy for a million reasons…mostly because He’s been where I am, but He didn’t fail.  He has felt all the emotions I have but didn’t sin.  He’s felt more pain than I’ll ever imagine, and walked through more heart-breaking situations with His children over millennia and it didn’t keep Him from radically leaving His throne to rescue the 1.

I want to be more like Him.

Whatever He says, I’m in again.  Wherever He leads, I’m going.

Whatever He is doing in the Earth and has a mind to invite me to walk with Him…I’m all in with Jesus.

And it’s not because I trust me.

I don’t.

I trust Him.


All to Him I Owe…

If You didn’t do what You did, I would not be able to live.

If you didn’t do what You did, I’d be lost as I could be.

I’d be blind, begging, dying.  And all without hope.

Lost, blind, begging and dying in a lost and dying world…

BUT, The Cross.

BUT, our Good Good Father saw fit to make a way so it didn’t have to be that way.

BUT, YOU, my precious Savior.  The perfect, spotless, blemish-less, sinless Lamb Who laid down Your life of Your own accord.

You went.  You suffered inconceivable pain and shame and separation for me.  For them.  For all of us.

Every act foretold in days long, long past.  Every detail fulfilled.

From the senseless hatred that drove men to kill.

To Your brilliant mercy & grace that would tear the veil of separation once and for all.

All of this, SO THAT sinners could be saved.

…like me

…like you

…like the very high priests and religious leaders who offered Him up on false charges that day

…the same crowd members on Sunday, who were pleased to shout Hosanna waving palm branches with one hand while the other launched their cloaks into the dust for Him, by Friday screaming “Crucify Him” with all the other sheep who had gone astray.

…like every single one of us

We were all lost and dying without hope.  Lost and dying and deserving hell.

BUT, Jesus.

BUT, You!  Yeshua, our Hamashiach – You didn’t back down.

You didn’t flee or crack under the pressure.

Quite literally the weight of the entire world for all of eternity was on You.

And you bore our sin.  On purpose.

The enemy really thought he had you.  He thought he won.  But, my oh my, what a surprise  he must have had when You got up!

The victory that I get to claim is the one that Jesus won.  And He gave it to me.

Is that not the greatest and most unfair and excessive gift in all of time?

Life for death.  And a crown of righteousness for my head.

Not only that, but He covered me in a robe of righteousness.  He exchanged and bore my sinful nature so that I can be adorned in jewels; a bride pure and spotless.

He took my tears and gave me joy.  He took my evil and made me holy.

In Him, my regret becomes hope.  My ugly past is redeemed for a beautiful future.

He took my spirit of heaviness and gave me a mantle of praise.

My broken heart was made new.

My broken mind was made pure.

My broken spirit was made whole.

He got wounded and I got healed.

And I think I owe Him my life.

I really do.  I look at all of that, and as I write these words it just makes total sense to me that my life is, in fact, NOT my own.

He sought me and then He bought me with His redeeming blood.

And pouring my life out for Him, holding nothing back from Him, living to obey and follow and listen for His voice every second of every single day is actually what makes sense to me.

If Jesus paid it all, then ALL to Him I owe.

He’s worthy…and He’s worth it!!!

He is risen, we are free and I am rejoicing!  Happy Resurrection Sunday!!!

Spread It Out Before The Lord: a look @ 2 Kings 18-19

There is an account in the Old Testament that I return to repeatedly as I walk with Jesus. The Lord has prompted me to use it in my prayer life time and again when life gets hard, overwhelming, or when I feel the enemy is threatening me in certain contexts. What compelled me to share this with you today is that I actually experienced it again yesterday morning – right before church I had gone into the prayer room to spread some things before the Lord and pray, and during the time I was pouring my heart out to Jesus, He sent someone with an answer to what I had just asked Him!

I want to pull out a few things from 2 Kings 18-19, because I believe we need to know about this passage and put its truth to immediate use in our lives! Let’s begin with King Hezekiah, we are introduced to him in 2 Kings 18.  The year is 701 B.C., Hezekiah is 25 years old when he takes over as King of Judah in Jerusalem, he reigned there for 29 years, he removed all the pagan shrines and rid Judah of anything the people had begun to worship other than the Living God. This is what God’s Word says about him starting in verse 5:

Hezekiah trusted in the Lord, the God of Israel. There was no one like him among all the kings of Judah, either before or after his time. He remained faithful to the Lord in everything, and he carefully obeyed all the commands the Lord had given Moses. So the Lord was with him, and Hezekiah was successful in everything he did. He revolted against the king of Assyria and refused to pay him tribute.

But, in Hezekiah’s 14th year of reign, the evil King of Assyria, named Sennacherib, broke into the walled cities of Judah and overtook them, which sent Hezekiah into a tailspin of sorts. He freaked out. This King Sennacherib had conquered basically every other kingdom around, and now he had begun conquering the cities in King Hezekiah’s kingdom, even the ones that were supposed to be fortified and protected! So, Hezekiah completely bails on his strong plan not to pay this evil king any tribute (v. 7)…he buckles under the enemy’s pressure. Ever been there? It was easy for Hezekiah to refuse to pay the evil King of Assyria all the loot he demanded when there was no actual threat, but when rubber met the road, or rather when enemy chariot wheels hit the soil of Judah – King Hezekiah’s great strength of will didn’t stay so strong. He caved and started gathering all the gold and silver he could find in an attempt to ward off the attack of Assyria on Jerusalem.  (v. 14-16)

I wonder if those words have rung true in your life somehow? A commitment you made, then in the heat of the moment that commitment seemed to fly out the window. An area where you believed you heard God say something, but your circumstances are so far from it you can’t quite make sense of it? A relationship that you thought would never be threatened and now you stand in danger of losing everything you thought was yours forever? We have a very real enemy. He means to steal, kill, and destroy. Just like the evil King of Assyria, our enemy threatens and lies and uses every means possible to defame the Name of our God and cause us to retreat into serving anything or anyone but the One True God.

As we return to our narrative, King Sennacherib is sending messengers to make sure that King Hezekiah remains fearfully under his mind-control.  He spews threats and atrocious statements against God for the remainder of chapter 18. Let me give you a quick sampling of some of the Assyrian messenger’s malicious and vile statements:

  • 19b “This is what the great king of Assyria says: What are you trusting in that makes you so confident? 20 Do you think that mere words can substitute for military skill and strength? Who are you counting on, that you have rebelled against me?

  • 24 With your tiny army, how can you think of challenging even the weakest contingent of my master’s troops, even with the help of Egypt’s chariots and charioteers? 25 What’s more, do you think we have invaded your land without the Lord’s direction? The Lord himself told us, ‘Attack this land and destroy it!’”

So, now, you have this messenger sending these statements of hate and intimidation to King Hezekiah, and they even have the nerve to say it’s The Lord Who is instructing their evil invasion! Isn’t that just like the enemy to twist reality into such a lie that he would even want us to believe it is God Himself causing all the destruction and strife.  There is no doubt that God allows trials, and we will discuss that momentarily, but the rock we must stand on is the fact that God’s heart toward us is love.  That is exactly why we MUST get to know the character and heart of God.

Our God is the God of provision, He builds up what is good, He tears down what is useless or destructive in our lives, He calms our fears and sings over us with joy, He is the lover of our souls, He sees us, and He defends us by His mighty right hand. The God we serve is unchanging yesterday, today, and forever. Indeed, what an awesome and mighty and Holy God we serve. But, our enemy does not want us believing or relying on any of those truths about The Lord, does he? Let’s skip down to verse 31 now, where the threats and lies just keep coming from Sennacherib’s messengers. This time they are addressing not only King Hezekiah’s representatives, but the very people of Jerusalem:

  • 31 “Don’t listen to Hezekiah! These are the terms the king of Assyria is offering: Make peace with me—open the gates and come out. Then each of you can continue eating from your own grapevine and fig tree and drinking from your own well. 32 Then I will arrange to take you to another land like this one—a land of grain and new wine, bread and vineyards, olive groves and honey. Choose life instead of death!  “Don’t listen to Hezekiah when he tries to mislead you by saying, ‘The Lord will rescue us!’

  • 35 What god of any nation has ever been able to save its people from my power? So what makes you think that the Lord can rescue Jerusalem from me?”

When is the last time Satan tempted you with a lie that sounded really, really appealing? It is the way of the devil to arrange his temptation in a way that it would seem he is offering LIFE when he is packaging death and destruction up really nice so that we never even question what is actually inside. When I read these verses immediately it reminded me of when Jesus was in the wilderness being tempted for 40 days. Luke 4:5-8

Then the devil took him up and revealed to him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. “I will give you the glory of these kingdoms and authority over them,” the devil said, “because they are mine to give to anyone I please. I will give it all to you if you will worship me.” Jesus replied, “The Scriptures say, ‘You must worship the Lord your God and serve only Him.’”

Satan always has a counterfeit for God’s best. Always. If he can get us to look at what we don’t have, and offer it to us on a platter laced with death and destruction, he will do anything to divert our attention away from the truth and bait us into taking the poison.  It was the original temptation he used against humanity in Genesis 3.  This is exactly the kind of temptation the Assyrians were offering to the King Hezekiah’s people. And exactly the kind of temptation the devil offers us…just for example:

If you are single, “just compromise a little on what God’s best is and I’ll give you someone with money who can take care of you for the rest of your life, he’s handsome, nevermind the fact that he doesn’t know God or care to at this point, look at all he has to offer you”…

If you are married, “you don’t deserve this, you didn’t sign up for this, you need more and you need someone better, you can have someone younger, more beautiful, more sensitive to your needs, you can just scratch this whole thing and start over, everyone does it”…

Have you ever heard those kinds of lies in your head?  If not in the area of relationships, what about other parts of your life? It is your enemy who seeks to kill, steal, and destroy.  Undoubtedly, that is all the Assyrians had in mind for Jerusalem. And without doubt, that is all Satan has in mind for you and I.  But, praise His Name, the One True God has other plans for us! He has plans that are for our good, to give us a hope and a future!

Intelligently, when he was faced with these threats and lies, Hezekiah sent for wise counsel from a man he trusts.  Now we’re in 2 Kings 19: 5-7:

After King Hezekiah’s officials delivered the king’s message to Isaiah, the prophet replied, “Say to your master, ‘This is what the Lord says: Do not be disturbed by this blasphemous speech against me from the Assyrian king’s messengers. Listen! I myself will move against him, and the king will receive a message that he is needed at home. So he will return to his land, where I will have him killed with a sword.’”

No matter how oppressed we are by the enemy’s lies or intimidation, God is our defender. What He says goes. Every. Single. Time. We have to understand that the devil is not the opposite of God, he is not the “bad guy” and The Lord is the “good guy.” Make no mistake, The Lord our God reigns. There is no comparison of power.  Every inch of ground the enemy gains is only ground that God allows him. God may allow him to sift us as wheat, but every single time it is for our good and for his great glory.  Back in Luke 4, it says the Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.  And by the Word of God, Jesus destroyed the devil’s attempt to bring Him down.  I’m also thinking of what Jesus told Peter in Luke 22:

31 “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift each of you like wheat. 32 But I have pleaded in prayer for you, Simon, that your faith should not fail. So when you have repented and turned to me again, strengthen your brothers.”

I’m thinking of Abraham in Genesis 22, where his faith is tested by God.

15 Then the angel of the Lord called again to Abraham from heaven. 16 “This is what the Lord says: Because you have obeyed me and have not withheld even your son, your only son, I swear by my own name that 17 I will certainly bless you.

Trials are rarely enjoyable at the time, but The Lord absolutely has purpose in allowing us to be tested and tried. 1 Peter 1:7

These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.

In our account of King Hezekiah, we are not yet done with the threats from the enemy. Sennacherib makes one last attempt to scare Hezekiah into surrendering. He sends a letter that pens example after example of all the Kingdoms whom have fallen at his hand, over and over again he gives Hezekiah examples and reasons why he should give up the fight, because after all – why in all the earth would Hezekiah stand up to an enemy who is so strong and so devastating?  (2 Kings 19:10-13) Now – the next verse is what just captures my heart. This one is what I started off the post today telling you that I have used as a pattern in my prayer life so often, even as recent as yesterday. Oh – I cannot wait for you to hear what King Hezekiah does!

2 Kings 19:14

14 After Hezekiah received the letter from the messengers and read it, he went up to the Lord’s Temple and spread it out before the Lord.

There you have it. I hope you’re not disappointed.  Perhaps you feel this is anticlimactic, but I beg to differ!  Think about what this means! I want to give you points we can take from Hezekiah’s decision. Regardless of threat. Regardless of lie. Regardless of what pawn Satan is using to discourage you in your life right now. Here is what we can do:

  1. Get to a quiet place with God.

  2. Spread it out before Him. 

I am an avid prayer journal-er (that is obviously my own word, but you get my point). I journal my prayers. I have an entire shelf full of prayer journals starting from when I was about 18 years old. If you looked through them, you could find time after time that I have made a list of all the issues I need to spread before the Lord. When you put pen to paper with your troubles and trials, do exactly what King Hezekiah did. He met with the Lord all by himself, and he essentially said to God in a demonstrative way, “Here it is, Lord!  Look at what the enemy is saying, Lord, look at where his lies are trying to trip me up. I want you to see, Jesus, this is where I need help, I am admitting my desperate need for You to intervene.”

I am telling you now that Jesus Christ is already interceding for you, and the Holy Spirit is interceding even when we have no idea what to pray for.  It is not as if He needs us to clue Him in! But, there is power in you demonstrating your need before the Lord. There is power in our lives when comparatively, we can see what the threat is vs. Who our God is. There is no match or comparison! And finally, the third thing I see here:

  1. Pray with some authority to the One and Only God, through Jesus Christ your Lord, by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Hezekiah opens his mouth and takes this straight to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords:

15 And Hezekiah prayed this prayer before the Lord: “O Lord, God of Israel, you are enthroned between the mighty cherubim! You alone are God of all the kingdoms of the earth. You alone created the heavens and the earth. 16 Bend down, O Lord, and listen! Open your eyes, O Lord, and see! Listen to Sennacherib’s words of defiance against the living God. 17 “It is true, Lord, that the kings of Assyria have destroyed all these nations. 18 And they have thrown the gods of these nations into the fire and burned them. But of course the Assyrians could destroy them! They were not gods at all—only idols of wood and stone shaped by human hands. 19 Now, O Lord our God, rescue us from his power; then all the kingdoms of the earth will know that you alone, O Lord, are God.”

I love King Hezekiah’s prayer. He acknowledges Who God is. He acknowledges God’s power. He appeals for The Lord Himself to listen to and see the enemy’s defiance of God. He admits and understands the reality of the situation at hand. He asks God to intervene for the sake of and the great glory of His Name. Notice that Hezekiah does not come asking for God to protect Hezekiah’s name.  There is no self-driven, self-protective, self-centeredness in his prayer. He doesn’t even see Sennacherib’s threat as toward himself, he sees it for what it is – a threat against God. You see, Hezekiah realized that it was not about him.  Maybe we should read that sentence again.  You see, Hezekiah realized that it was not about him.

Oh yes, he was definitely the one the threats were hurled toward, and he totally had to be the one to take action. But in reality, his enemy was not Sennacherib – it was satan. And the object of the threat was not him – it was God. I wonder who we may “think” is our enemy?  An employer? A former friend? A family member whom you can no longer trust? A credit card company? A prodigal child? A thief? An ex-spouse? A government entity?  A terrorist group named ISIS? Ephesians 6:12 tells us:

For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.

Be encouraged – listen to Colossians 1:15-16

15 Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation, 16 for through Him God created everything in the heavenly realms and on earth.  He made the things we can see and the things we can’t see—such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world.  Everything was created through Him and for Him.

Regardless of what our enemy wants us to believe, he has NO authority in our lives. He is no match for God.  And wherever he seems to be winning or gaining ground, you stand firm in the Power of the Cross. You spread it out before the Lord Your God and receive the victory He already won for you on Calvary! We are going to finish with the beautiful, amazing truth in Romans 8:31-39. Drink this in as total refreshment for your soul today. Just as King Hezekiah came through an overwhelming situation – you can, too!  The God we serve is the same God he served.  Your enemy is real, but his power has been broken. Your victory in Jesus is real! He is worthy, y’all, and He is so worth fighting the good fight!

31 What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us? 32 Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else? 33 Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for his own? No one—for God himself has given us right standing with himself. 34 Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us. 35 Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? 36 (As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.”) 37 No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. 38 And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. 39 No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.


Let 2015 Be the Year you Have because You Ask

When I started this blog in March 2014, I really felt the Lord impress on my heart that I was only to write what He was teaching me, nothing more nothing less.  Not compelled to meet any deadline or any quota, but to listen to what the Spirit was saying and to respond by writing it.  I have felt like He was teaching me so much in November and December that I could not boil it all down to 1 subject.  Then there were days that I felt so dry that nothing was coming, even when I read His word or attempted to journal.  I love how we go through seasons with the Lord, and in each one, though some are hard and some are sweet…He never changes.  He is always good.

Speaking of His goodness, for the past 5 years the Lord has done something really astounding for me on or around January 1st. He has either given me a specific scripture or a word for the upcoming year. Last year was John 4:23 and teaching me to become a true worshipper. Throughout the entire year I was able to hold on to that word, and view my circumstances through the lens of Him lovingly leading me to worship Him in spirit and in truth as John 4:23 says.  On January 1st of 2013, I woke up with the words to a Kari Jobe song ringing in my head over and over and over, “Nothing is impossible with You” followed by the words, “With You all things are possible.”  And that was my Word for 2013.  2012 had to do with radical giving, etc…you probably get the idea.  And His Word for 2015 I received yesterday – “Do not let 2015 be the year where you do not have because you do not ask.”  In other words, I feel Him pressing in on my prayer life, pressing in for intimacy that I’ve never had before, pressing in to spark something in my spirit that He really did mean what He said in James 4 and Matthew 7 about asking Him.

I want to dive into those passages and some others on prayer in the coming weeks here on Living Amplified, but today I want to share an experience I have had with God.  I want to testify of His Goodness.  And first, I want to ask you – where are you in your prayer life?  Are you dry?  Are you lacking something?  Well, you are certainly not alone!

Prayer seems elusive to me at times. I get in ruts of praying certain things, and asking Him for much, much less than He is able to do. At the same time, I feel strongly that I have the freedom to ask Him anything, and confident that He is good and nothing is impossible with Him – and yet I know I hold back sometimes. Maybe it is because I’m afraid He’ll say no, maybe it’s because I don’t want to admit my need in a certain area, and maybe it is because I have never seen what I am asking for (especially in the realm of massive culture-changing revival).  Lord, help to to believe even if I do not see!  But, often I know it is because I get lazy. Like this spirit of laziness comes over me and I begin to believe the lie that I am just staying silent on an issue because “He knows anyway.” And He does know. And He still wants me to engage in prayer.

It astounds me that Jesus is interceding and so is the Spirit, and what really drives my heart is that I want to know Him well enough that I can come praying what He is praying. But, to pray believing and to pray in His will is to know Him through His Word and through experience. It takes time to develop that kind of closeness with the Lord, and there is no better time than now to press in to Him!

Good. Night. This is so huge!!!

If you and I do not open our mouths and talk things out with Him, or write them out in a prayer journal (or the note section on your phone if necessary) – I am convinced that we will miss His clarity and vision and answers in many ways. He is a personal God. There is so much we need to receive and so much that He wants to give!  He see us, and He hears us, and He knows us…

Why, then, are we content to stay silent with Him?

And believe me – I know there are times to be silent in His presence so that we can hear Him speak to our hearts…but too often I know we stay silent for the wrong reasons.

Prayer is our submission to Him, it’s our admission that we are in such desperate need of Him to come through for us.  It’s a meeting with Him constantly throughout the day – constantly seeking – constantly asking – constantly worshiping – constantly trusting and communing – constantly desiring to be aware of His presence no matter how we feel – no matter what our circumstances.

Matthew 7:7-9 is Jesus talking directly to us about prayer:

Effective Prayer

“Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.  “You parents—if your children ask for a loaf of bread, do you give them a stone instead? 10 Or if they ask for a fish, do you give them a snake? Of course not! 11 So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him.

I have been reading a new book on prayer by Timothy Keller. I first heard about it on John Piper’s blog www.DesiringGod.org.  I love so many quotes from this book already. It is called Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God.  The truth of his words echoed in my ears because it juxtaposed what God was calling me to do last year (worship Him) and this year (ask Him):

“Seasons of dryness can return for a variety of causes. We don’t spend a discrete amount of time in dryness until we break through permanently into joy and feeling. Instead, the vivid reorientation of mind, and the overall sense of God on the heart, comes more frequently and sometimes in startling ways—interspersed with times of struggle and even absence. Nevertheless, the pursuit of God in prayer eventually bears fruit, because God seeks for us to worship him (John 4:23) and because prayer is so infinitely rich and wondrous.”

Excerpt From: Timothy Keller. “Prayer.”

You might need to read that again.  I’ve read it no less than 20 times in the past couple days and I keep mining gems out of that collaboration of words.

On New Year’s Eve, my best friend, Julia and I experienced a vivid reorientation of mind, an impressive sense of God in our hearts, and the infinite richness and wonderous-ness of prayer. With her permission, I want to give testimony to God’s infinite goodness and kindness, one of those good gifts that only our Heavenly Father could have orchestrated and accomplished.

For Jules, 2014 was painful and terrible in many ways, yet contained some of the greatest miracles and victories she has ever experienced.  2013 ended with great strife in her marriage, and 2014 began with her husband demanding a divorce that she did not want, which was eventually finalized against her will. We prayed, we sought God for that miracle of healing and restoration, we wept, we questioned, we counseled, we prayed more and I watched my best friend walk through perhaps one of the most painful seasons of her life trusting Jesus. Not only did she trust Him, but really truly depended on Him for the strength to draw her next breath. And I saw her pain and I felt it. I am convinced the reason I felt it so much is because I went to battle for her in prayer. It was the hardest and most precious thing I have ever been privileged to do for someone. Through it all, the Lord was teaching me what it meant to truly become a prayer warrior for another sister in Christ. And He as literally astounded us with His faithfulness to answer prayer. He did not restore her marriage or change that man’s heart, but He healed her and changed her, and He changed me, too. And we will not forget what He has done!

Such an interesting thing began to happen in her relationship with the Lord when her healing had become a reality. When it was no longer a miracle to get through a day without crying, when she no longer depended on Jesus to lift her head enough to look at her computer screen at work, when she did not have to eat/sleep/breath scripture just to keep from completely falling apart…then everything seemed dry.  Have you ever experienced something like that?  When you go through such a shocking and tragic loss, depending on Jesus for everything is a necessity. When He comes through, you begin to heal, it transitions from necessity to choice. I think that is actually the much more difficult thing. I remember telling her once that she had to be the 1 leper out of the 10 that returns to give thanks. And that’s what I have witnessed her doing, praise Jesus!  But, it has not been without struggle against the dryness. And, just as Pastor Keller’s book was quoted above…seasons of dryness really do finally break through into joy and feeling again.

She was actually supposed to be here celebrating New Year’s with us this weekend. There is currently a record-breaking ice storm between here and where she lives. So, we prayed and we sought wisdom as to whether she should brave the icy conditions.  Even when she tried to get out in the ice and come against our better judgment, the Holy Spirit gave her such incredible conviction she had to turn around and go back home! My attempts to buy her a plane ticket were thwarted by flight cancellations.  And as God would have perfectly timed it…she is stuck in New Mexico. Alone.

So, I did what any best friend would do…I pouted.  Ha! I was seriously walking through the store with my husband yesterday, and silently contending with the Lord as to “why He would make her be by herself instead of with all of us who love and miss her so much.”  Well, little did I know, He was going to tell me why he kept her in New Mexico a few hours later.  And so quickly I forgot – He loves her more than any of us could!

Fast-forward to last evening, New Year’s Eve. I told my husband that since we were not going anywhere, I really wanted time to take a long, kid-free, hot Epsom-salt bath to soothe my aching muscles from starting a new workout program earlier this week…and because of the awesome guy he is, it actually happened! (Those of you who have ever had small children know what a miracle that is in itself)!  So, with all my quietness I was praying, and specifically I was praying for Julia. I was just bolding approaching the throne on her behalf as I have so many times over the past year. And, suddenly I got the strongest word from the Lord concerning her. One of those instant downloads from On High where I knew I better record or write it down ASAP so that I would not forget it.

I called right away to tell her what the Lord laid on my heart that He wanted to say to her. I had to leave it on her voicemail. My heart was beating 100mph it seemed, and therefore I spoke 100mph so I could say everything without getting cut-off. She called me back in tears and praising Jesus and telling me that it was the exact thing she had been needing and wanting from Him. I had no idea, but some of the secret things she had told the Lord, He confirmed them through what He told me. I was just as overwhelmed and amazed as she was! She was crying and laughing when she told me she was totally content if that is why she had to stay home alone so that I could have been by myself away from the crowd in prayer and hearing a word from Him that perhaps will set the course for her life in 2015.  I do not want to say that He sent the storm to keep her home, but He might have.  I do not know how to fully explicate it, but we were closer together right then on the phone discussing God’s faithfulness, praying together though 7 hours apart, than we could have been if she were right here in my living room.

I cannot describe the gratitude I feel that God is that big. He is that personal.  Our best plans for New Year’s Eve paled in comparison to what He had a mind to do in us and for us.

He knew what she needed to hear because she had been coming to Him in prayer and being honest with Him, even in the drought of her heart.

He knew that I needed to be still and to listen, and to pray and experience exactly what He desires to be my reality for 2015…boldly approaching the throne of grace to receive what He has to give.

But, you see, it’s not merely about me and Jesus, or Jules and Jesus, or you and Jesus. He is too big for that. The word He gave me about not letting 2015 be a year where I do not have because I do not ask – it has to do with being His representative in the Earth.

We really can experience God in such a profound way that we are forever changed, and so often He accomplishes that in response to us being alone with Him in prayer, listening and pursuing His heart.  Matthew 6:6 is where Jesus says, “But when you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father in private. Then your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.”  He takes what He teaches us in private, and moves us into the context of the people He places around us.  He means for us to be in community. He means to use our lives to impact those around us with the power of His presence, with the glory of His goodness, with the kindness of His mercy…and He prepares us for all of that in the secret place.

I love this next quote from Pastor Keller’s book:

“The traditional forms of prayer—adoration, confession, thanksgiving, and supplication—are concrete practices as well as profound experiences. We must know the awe of praising his glory, the intimacy of finding his grace, and the struggle of asking his help, all of which can lead us to know the spiritual reality of his presence. Prayer, then, is both awe and intimacy, struggle and reality.”

Excerpt From: Keller, Timothy. “Prayer.” Penguin Group, USA, 2014-11-04. iBooks.

Sweet sibling in Christ, I don’t know where this blog post finds you today, but I pray that you will experience the Lord in a refreshing way this year – by intimacy in prayer in the aloneness with Him. Press through days that are dry and difficult, where you feel like He is not there and when it seems He does not see you. He is & He does. Press in to His Word, let Him write His truth on your heart. Press in to His goodness and allow Him to astound you with what He is doing in, around, and through you. May you have eyes to see, ears to hear, and a heart that seeks Him and His will on the Earth.  Press on in this walk with Jesus, know the reality of His presence…He is worthy and He is so very worth it!

Isaiah 43:18-19, 20b NLT

18 “But forget all that—it is nothing compared to what I am going to do.

19 For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it?  I will make a pathway through the wilderness.  I will create rivers in the dry wasteland…

20b Yes, I will make rivers in the dry wasteland so my chosen people can be refreshed.

What do I really want from God? (My prayer today)


To be easily orchestrated by You,

To seek your face,

To ponder the things of God,

To marvel and to wonder at Your ways,

To see You move,

To hear Your voice,

To know Your Word,

To receive my assignments with joy,

To go where You send,

To stay beneath the shadow of Your wing,

To love You more today than I did yesterday,

To grow in my faith,

To surrender my entire life to You,

To represent You well,

To tell of Your goodness and Your mercy and Your love,

Oh God, to hear You say, “Well done, good & faithful servant!” as I enter eternity,

That my heart would continually give thanks to You,                                                           God my Father, through Jesus the Son, by the power of the Holy Spirit.


A Promise from God when Parenting is Difficult

I’ve been reading Psalm 18 lately.  I love so much of what it says, but the fact that it starts in verse 1 with this:  I love you, Lord;
    You are my strength.

Well, we’ve definitely needed strength at our house lately.  We have a 2.5 year old son.  If you have ever had a 2.5 year old, chances are that I need not say more.  And I won’t.  Just that we’ve need some wisdom up in here as to how to discipline our child.  Not according to another person’s method, but according to how God created our baby boy to think and relate and operate in the world.  I realize that the things God put in him, and how his personality is today, are what will make him effective in this world for the Cross of Christ.  And that is why we are here and that is why God gave him to us.

So, I’m praying and thinking about all this and asking Jesus for all kinds of peace and wisdom and patience for my husband and I as we face each day.  On Sunday, when I got to church I flipped to Psalm 18 again, and these verses leapt off the page as they often do when the Holy Spirit highlights them for you.

Psalm 18:34-36

34 He trains my hands for battle;
    he strengthens my arm to draw a bronze bow.
35 You have given me your shield of victory.
    Your right hand supports me;
    your help has made me great.
36 You have made a wide path for my feet
    to keep them from slipping.


That’s exactly what I’ve been feeling.  We’re in a battle, not necessarily with our child (although there are moments) but we are in a battle with our own flesh, and the world, and the enemy of our souls, too.  Godly parenting is not easy.  And the Accuser would much rather we take the easy route and give-up & give-in because then we no longer receive the training we need for future battles.


When I think of a bow, automatically I start thinking about arrows.  So, immediately, by the power of God my mind went to this scripture:

Psalm 127:3-4

3 Children are a gift from the Lord;
    they are a reward from him.
4 Children born to a young man
    are like arrows in a warrior’s hands.

Bow and arrow.  And this is what I heard the Lord tell me in my spirit…

We are all 3 in training.  Training is never easy.  My husband and I are being strengthened to draw a bronze bow, as we are training up our child in the way he should go.  If we don’t go through the hard training, our arm will not be strong to pull this bow, last I checked bronze is quite stiff.  But the whole entire point of pulling any kind of bow is the arrow being launched.  And our boy is a gift from the Lord, he is His reward to us, he is like an arrow in our hands.

I don’t know about you, but we want an arrow coming out of our bow that is effective in life, we want our arrow to have a heart for the things of God, to love God’s Word, and to take up his cross and follow Jesus wherever He leads him.  Our arrow is the most important thing that God has EVER entrusted to us!

And back to Psalm 18:35-36, God tells us the results of the training and the strengthening:

You have given me Your shield of victory.

Your right hand supports me;

Your help has made me great.

You have made a wide path for my feet to keep them from slipping.

What a good God we serve!  A creative and thoughtful and wonderful and mighty and smart and Holy God!  This is exactly the reassurance that I needed.  I needed to know that The Lord is with us, even though I knew it in my head.  Sometimes when our human mind is at such a loss for answers and in such desperate need for endurance and patience in a situation…we need the Holy Spirit to highlight something so unmistakably that we cannot miss it.

And He does that.  And He uses many avenues, but His Word is paramount.  If I had not been searching Him in the scriptures, I would not have received this and I would not feel the strength I do today to continue on in the training for the battle.  Our God is promising us that if we will continue in the training, He will strengthen us to pull this bronze bow.  It is not easy, it takes endurance and patience to gain the strength needed to launch this little precious and awesome arrow.  God will give us victory, His right hand will support us, it is by His help that we can be great at what we are doing, and it is the path He makes for us that keeps us from slipping.

Lord, we want to be on Your path, not another’s!  We want to be faithful to the assignment that You give us.  We want to be great parents, and we can only be that if You are the One we are training under.  You know our children, it is You who knitted them together, and we want to hear from You everyday, and especially on difficult days how to walk this parenting thing out.  And we need discernment from on High as to picking which battle we will engage.  I ask You, in Jesus Name, that every mom or dad reading this would be supernaturally filled with wisdom, patience, and endurance.  We need You, Jesus!  And, Lord, that the Peace of Christ would rule in our hearts, and the Peace of Christ rule in the hearts of our children.

This prayer of Paul’s in Colossians 1:11-12b comes to mind, I pray this for all of us:

We also pray that you will be strengthened with all His glorious power so you will have all the endurance and patience you need. May you be filled with joy, always thanking the Father

I am filled with joy today.  Not because my child is easy to handle today, in fact, he is still asleep right now.  But because I know God is with us.  I know that if we ask Him for anything according to His will, that He will give it to us.  And I know that our God loves our little arrow more than we do.   Bless you today as you walk this thing out…He is worthy & He is worth it, Love Y’all!

Consider the Wild Flowers: How God Broke me out of my Striving

consider the wildflowers1

So, I have woken up two mornings in the last seven with the scripture out of Luke 12:27 on my mind, and specifically where Jesus tells us to “Consider the flowers of the field…”

I love blueletterbible.org because you can learn things about the original language and delve deeper into the knowledge of God’s Word, and you don’t need a degree!  That’s what I love to do when The Lord gives me a particular scripture to meditate upon.

Luke 12:27 NIV  Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.

The word, “Consider” here means:  to perceive, remark, observe, understand, to consider attentively, fix one’s eyes or mind upon

That word for labor in Greek is quite interesting, too.  See if you can relate.  It means:

to grow weary, tired, exhausted (with toil/manual labor or burdens or grief)

Goodness. I’m not sure I know what to say about that because almost every woman I know has some level of exhaustion or weariness going on in their body or their mind or both. Are you tired?  This whole idea of growing weary and tired and exhausted because of toil, burdens or grief pretty much covers the spectrum in our lives.

I have always loved hard work. I was the kid who amongst all my friends would wake up instead of sleeping in on the weekends and in the summer because (and I quote myself here), “Why would I spend half the day sleeping when I can get things done?” and so is my life. I like to get stuff done, I am by nature an accomplisher.  Don’t get me wrong here, I love having a strong work ethic because so pervasive in our world today is a serious lack of work ethic. But, our 2 year old runs around the house singing the catchy phase from a Gatorade commercial where they sing, “Haaard….work!, work!” And often he will tell my husband and I when he’s playing, referring to himself in the 3rd person, that he’s “working so hard.”  I do love it, and I believe that Jesus Christ was into hard work and strong work ethic.

But, there are 2 things The Savior did that we often miss…

#1 He was about His Father’s business. He was not about His own business and then asking God to bless it. No, He was about the Father’s business.

#2 He pulled away, set Himself apart in the inner room of prayer, and He rested.

Luke 2:49 (AMP)  And He said to them, How is it that you had to look for Me? Did you not see and know that it is necessary [as a duty] for Me to be in My Father’s house and [occupied] about My Father’s business?

Really, truly – what is it that we are occupied by?

I will confess to you that I get occupied by a lot of things that are NOT my Father’s business. And previous to the Fall of 2010, I was WAY busier than I am now and I want to tell to you that I was about my own business. Literally. I’m a business-owner, and my hard work was aimed almost entirely at being a total and utter success. And, looking from the world’s perspective, I was and I was accomplishing good things. I wanted to help more people, and I wanted to spend my time making it possible for others to live healthy lives and teach them how and to be available. I was co-leading a bible study, I had even started to do some speaking engagements at churches and women’s groups teaching the Word of God, and I thought that I really loved people. All the while, I was ignoring my husband, with my laptop securely placed on my lap staring at the screen and typing away every waking moment that I wasn’t actually at my office or outside running.  Hard work.  And it was hard.  It was hard on me and hard on him.

In late September 2010, I remember as clear as day when I was driving into town, and praying out loud as I very often do when I’m driving by myself, I heard the Lord say to me, “Why don’t you just quit striving?” And it marked me forever. It was as clear in my ears as if He were sitting right there with me in the flesh. Have you ever experienced that? If you have, you never forget it.

Immediately I knew what the Lord was asking me to do. He was asking me to leave the business-coaching program that I had been a part of for the past 4 years. Because of my perfectionistic type-A personality and sin pattern, being a part of that group was causing me to be extremely stressed and focused on building my earthly empire. My own sin was the root of my striving.

Here’s a direct quote from my prayer journal on September 25, 2010 where was apparently compelled to make a list of the things on which I spent my time (we were in the middle of Nancy Leigh DeMoss’s bible study called “Seeking Him” which I suppose prompted me to ask this question of myself and therefore come up with this honest answer:

“I spend my time: (and here I listed 15+ things that were grossly self-centered and worldly, you can fill in the blank with your own list), and on and on and on and on. It’s relentless this schedule I’ve made of my life because it doesn’t quit. There’s always more to be done and more to plan and more to think about and more to strive for. But, Lord, all of that chokes out You. And I would ‘say’ that You are my purpose for living, You are my joy, You are my passion, You are my life. And when I read that list I just made, I know it’s true, it’s more about me than it is about you. My thoughts, my dreams, my plans, my opinions, my knowledge, my tastes, my perceptions, my feelings. What do those amount to? Filthy rags, dirty garments. All of what I consider in my humanity to be ‘so good’ is trash & rubble before my King. Most of it is chaff that will be instantly consumed by the Holy Fire of your perfect and righteous judgment. And rightly so, Lord, because You are I AM…”

Internally it was the most awful existence of self-centered living and striving to make my name great, all the while on the outside I was kind and loving and helpful and concerned and loved Jesus, and loved His Word. Duplicity at it’s finest…double-minded in all I was doing. To quote from my prayer journal again, this time from about a month later (this was after God broke me out of my striving once & for all) it reads, “Father, I confess to You my duplicity, my walking down 2 paths, straddling the fence of the Word & the world…” And I was, and He was not going to let me keep straddling the fence.

You see, The Lord was not done asking me questions. Within about a week from asking me if I would quit striving (He gave me a few days to realize that I WAS striving, and that was the reason I was so worn-out). By the way, for a wellness doctor to feel worn-out and it not be fixed by a run or a green smoothie, IT IS GOD GETTING ONE HARD-HEADED DAUGHTER’S ATTENTION, and I’m so glad He did.

So, one morning I was on my way to meet some of my sweet sisters from our Tuesday night bible study in my office parking lot, because we were car-pooling to the True Woman 2010 Conference in Ft. Worth.  And I had no clue that God was about to show me His Glory in a way that would CHANGE MY LIFE FOREVER. So, I was driving the 20 minutes it took to go 7 miles on that winding little road we call Fallcreek Hwy, and I heard the Father again as if it were out loud, asking me, “Will you put it on the altar?” And I knew exactly what He was talking about again.

He meant my practice as a whole. All the things I was spending my time on. He meant the business I had worked so hard to build and pressed so hard to maintain for the past 4.5 years, he meant the very thing that I staked my livelihood upon, He meant the thing that had become an idol in my life, He was asking for me to place Clearview Chiropractic Life Center on the altar, and trust it to Him.  If He provided a ram great, if He didn’t, I would have to sacrifice it all and allow it to die.  I’m not sure how I can explain what a BIG deal this was to me, and my Father knew it was.

Later that night and the next day I had an encounter with God (much like what Isaiah did) except I didn’t actually see His train or smoke fill the temple but I definitely perceived it, and my oh my did I come undone and realize I was ruined.  As Mary Kassian talked about the pervasive cult of feminism that had entered our world in the 60’s and 70’s, and how my generation (even those of us in the church) had been so engrossed in a culture where it was accepted and even expected from young women to live exactly as I was living (self-promoting, self-endulging, self-centered, self-seeking, self-everything because after all, we don’t need men to do anything for us, we can accomplish our way into feeling worthy…) – that we no longer even saw our lives for what they were. We were all little frogs in our own little boiling pots never knowing we were in the waters of self-destruction.

I want y’all to know that I staunchly THOUGHT I disagreed with the idea of feminism. True story: my best friend & I watched Disney’s Mulan when we were about 16 years old and we were utterly disgusted with the girl-power message. I didn’t hyphenate my name when I got married, I have brothers whom I adore and I got along with all the guys in college.  I didn’t hate men and I absolutely wanted them to open the door for me. But, I had a wrong belief about my own self.  I thought too often about myself and thought too highly of myself. And I was in that boiling pot fixing to destroy my life, until Jesus rescued me. He rescued me before I ruined my marriage, and He rescued me before I defamed His great Name, and before we had a child. He broke me free and rescued me.

Praise.  His.  Name.

And I’m about to tell you that I have never, ever, ever wept like I did that night when the Holy Spirit, through Mary Kassian, challenged us to repent. I was overcome by His goodness and His grace, but before that, I was overcome by repentance. I laid on the floor of that prayer room inside the convention center and wept until my eyes were swelled and my abs were sore. And when I walked out, I was free.

I was like a heroin addict that put it down and never used again. Oh I’ve been tempted no doubt, even as recently as last month, but when you have been a captive as I was to self and worldly thinking, and your Savior has broken your chains, you do not soon forget the magnitude of it. I know what those chains feel like and the Holy Spirit makes me sensitive to hearing those shackles clankin’ if they even come near.

He asked me to quit striving and lay it on the alter, and so I did.

I quit advertising. I quit the coaching program I was in that continually pushed my type-A perfectionistic-bent self to accomplish more. I put my laptop down at home and had conversations with my husband. I quit analyzing and statistically obsessing over my practice. I quit striving.

And you know what? I started loving.

I would have told you that I loved Jesus, and my husband more than anything previous to that encounter with God. And that I loved my family and my friends and my patients. But, until I laid that burden on the altar, I couldn’t love anyone fully. So much of my life, my thoughts, my energy was tangled up in that thing, that thing of making my own name great, that it was strangling my relationships that mean the most to me.

And I started loving the people God sent into my practice for help and healing. I didn’t need or want anything from them anymore because I was being filled by God’s sufficient grace and love and abundant power. I no longer took on the guilt of someone who didn’t want to get well. I was free to love and serve and give because my emotional and intellectual wellness was found in my Savior, no longer in how other people responded to my will. It was the beginning of death to self.

I quit trying to make all the decisions in our house. I let my husband lead.

The scary thing is that all the time I was striving for things related to my own business, I would have told you that I was about my Father’s business.

Have you ever done that? Been so blinded by the enemy’s twisting that even good gifts from the Father, and callings He puts on our life somehow become the idol you are committed to instead of Him?

The child(ren) you prayed for?

The husband you couldn’t rest until you had?

The bible study you were determined to lead?

The choir you felt lead to join?

The business that you felt called in to?

The volunteer opportunities?

Y’all ,the thing we give most our mind and energy to is the thing we worship.

Get this, there is another place where we are told to “Consider” is in Hebrews 3 (it’s the same exact word as we saw in Luke to consider the wildflowers).   Oh, I know this will bless you as much as it did me!

Hebrews 3:1-6 And so, dear brothers and sisters who belong to God and are partners with those called to heaven, think carefully about(same Greek word for ‘consider’) this Jesus whom we declare to be God’s messenger and High Priest. For He was faithful to God, who appointed Him, just as Moses served faithfully when he was entrusted with God’s entirehouse. But Jesus deserves far more glory than Moses, just as a person who builds a house deserves more praise than the house itself. For every house has a builder, but the one who built everything is God. Moses was certainly faithful in God’s house as a servant. His work was an illustration of the truths God would reveal later. But Christ, as the Son, is in charge of God’s entire house. And we are God’s house, if we keep our courage and remain confident in our hope in Christ.

Are our lives an illustration of the truths God wants to reveal to the world?

We should all want to be and even strive to be faithful servants in God’s house! But, did you catch v. 3? The Person Who builds the house deserves more praise than the house itself.  And v. 4, the One Who builds everything is God.

It does not matter, my friend, what good thing you are striving to do or accomplish, even if it is a noble and worthy cause…if the created thing is getting more praise/time/attention/love/thoughts, etc. than the CREATOR, something is amiss. Repent. You will be blessed. I am and I was when God revealed my duplicity.

We do not have time on this earth to waste it wearing ourselves out being about our own business, or even about the Father’s business in our own way & our own will. We must be about His business, in His way, according to His will – and to be about His business is to be about Him, and the way to be about Him is to be in the inner room of  prayer & about His Word…

The fact that God’s Word is alive and active is all the truth we need to take the next step with Jesus. It is through His Word that He will reveal places in our life where we are straddling the fence of the Word and the world.

Hebrews 4:12  For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.

If there is any question as to whether what you’re toiling at is God’s business or your own, go to His Word and go to Him honestly in prayer. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires. It exposed mine. There is no lie from the enemy that can keep us blinded when we are continually exposing ourselves to the Light of the World. He will break us free, our chains will fall off if we keep exposing ourselves to the Truth.

Studying the Bible is the most mind-stimulating and heart-changing activity on the planet. According to the authority of the scriptures, and by the powerful Living Word, God communicates to us exactly what things we can assuredly be blessed by fixing our eyes & mind upon. And the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace. It is His utter kindness that leads us to repentance. No greater gift has He given than His life laid down that we might repent and be made free.

Bless you today, my brother and my sister. Let God access the areas that you think you have or need to have under control. Let Him show you what’s really wearing you out, physically, emotionally, spiritually, mentally. Be unshackled by His Word and by His Spirit, in Jesus Name from your striving.

Consider the wildflowers, for they are decked out in more splendor that the greatest and wisest of kings, and they don’t toil and stress and work themselves to exhaustion. Consider Jesus, the Author & Perfecter of our faith, Who pulled away from the busy-ness and entered the inner room of prayer with the Father regularly, and He rested.