"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28
"Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The LORD is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and his understanding no one can fathom.
He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the LORD
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint."
Lord this morning, I have no great words. I can hear you breathing and I come to you knowing that you have me wrapped in your wings. Father, I let go of my resistance and let you in to whatever area you want in my life. Father God, I love you with all of my heart...I know that this is one of the largest crosses I have ever had to bear and Lord, I accept it as a sacrifice of praise to you. I lay it at the foot of your Cross, the redeeming Cross that gave me everything that I have ever had and say that mine in no way compares to yours. I praise you for your sacrifice, and Lord, I just pray for your grace and mercy as I bear mine. Thank you Lord, for loving me enough to pull this out of me, I repent for letting it get so intertwined with who I am that it seems to touch every area of my life. Lord, I have never ached so much...I have never hurt so much. Lord, I lay it on the altar and say kill it, before it kills me. In the name of Jesus I pray. Amen.
"That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet I am not ashamed, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day." 2 Timothy 1:12
I believe that the hardest thing to do is to remain in the darkness as God is working out our destiny. Not that we aren't still righteous, or that we are "back sliding" but that God has wrapped his cloak around us so that we can not see what he is doing for us. So what do you do in that place? When you can't see or hear what Jesus is doing with your life?
1. Believe - God's promises, prophecies, hold on to them.
I know a few years ago when I was really walking in the "valley of death" and didn't think that I was going to make it out that one of our Pastors had given me a word of prophesy and it had been recorded during our church service. I listened to it every time that I thought about giving up and giving in. I read every verse I could find on that area of my life and sought out every one of the promises God gave for that area of my life. Find them and believe them.
2. Abide - Fellowship with the Lord every day. Stay plugged in to your Bible, talk to Him about what you are feeling through the darkness. He knows that you are struggling with this area. He designed it, He is holding you close, don't you think that he can feel you cringe? Talk to Him about it. Cry, it's okay He's big enough to handle your pain and your anger.
3. Work Steadily - at our God-given duties no matter how difficult or mundane. Do what you know to do, do the last thing he said and keep doing it. Don't give up, don't lay down and expect it to just past. There are things that he has given you to put your hand to. Keep doing those things, whatever they are until He tells you to move, or sheds new light.
4. Overcome - (this is my hardest one) Overcome the various offenses and subtle compromises they enemy would send to stumble us spiritually or prompt us to settle for less than God's best. Don't lose your Christianity and walk back to the old ways of comfort, don't let someone say something to spin you in a different direction. Don't settle for less than the plan that God is working out for you. Don't give up and don't give in.
5. Refuse - temptation, especially the desire to run ahead of God. These places of darkness it's easy to want to light our own lamp and keep moving in a self directed manner. Don't do it, hang out in the dark until God sheds his own light.
Who among you fears the LORD
and obeys the word of his servant?
Let him who walks in the dark,
who has no light,
trust in the name of the LORD
and rely on his God.
But now, all you who light fires
and provide yourselves with flaming torches,
go, walk in the light of your fires
and of the torches you have set ablaze.
This is what you shall receive from my hand:
You will lie down in torment.
In Greg Hinnant's book Walking in His Ways, he states, "If we demand explanations, we will disobey His checks every time - and remain without revelation of His plan." Booyah! There ya go. It's like with our own children, "Don't do this", and the child responds, "Why?" How often I have berated God with questions. Why? Why not? She can, why can't I? Even now as I hear my own voice I am reminded of my daughter at 3. That's how I sound to God every time I demand to know the whole plan. My mentor has said to me close to a million times, "What may be okay for others, may not be okay for you." That is her response to my whys. It's a nice way of saying, "Because I or He said so".
Abraham waited 24 years for the fulfillment of God's promise of Issac. He did it every way he thought that he could on his own. He took a concubine and did have a child but that wasn't God's plan that was Abraham and Sarah's plan. He created his own way and lit his own torch. I think the revelation that God is giving me this morning is that when we do that, he then has double the work load. He has to continue to work on His plan for us but then he also has to extinguish our own connived torches. I believe that to be the pain that we suffer during our perseverance.
Lord, I love you and I thank you. It's been a dark few days but as you have opened you cape enough this morning to give a glimpse of what you are doing for me I am renewed. Lord, I pray that all of the torches that I have ever lit on my own, that you would extinguish them. Lord, I don't want to carry myself in a place of honor, I want to carry you. I know that it is through my suffering that you allow me to minister your love. That's why you created me and Lord I thank you for your provision for my life and the lives of my children. Lord, I thank you for the beautiful family that you have given me. I thank you for a future and a promise from you. I give you all the glory, all the honor and all the praise. In Jesus' mighty name I pray. Amen.
"Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming." Ephesians 4:14
"Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand." Ephesians 6:13
"being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." Philippians 1:6
"Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in one spirit, contending as one man for the faith of the gospel." Philippians 1:27
"Therefore, my brothers, you whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, that is how you should stand firm in the Lord, dear friends!" Philippians 4:1
"And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God." Colossians 1:10
"But now he has reconciled you by Christ's physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation— if you continue in your faith, established and firm, not moved from the hope held out in the gospel. This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant." Colossians 1:22-23
"So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness." Colossians 2:7
"For now we really live, since you are standing firm in the Lord." 1 Thessalonians 3:8
"May he strengthen your hearts so that you will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all his holy ones." 1 Thessalonians 3:13
"Test everything. Hold on to the good." 1 Thessalonians 5:21
"May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word." 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17
"Nevertheless, the righteous will hold to their ways, and those with clean hands will grow stronger." Job 17:9
"Though he stumble, he will not fall, for the LORD upholds him with his hand. For the LORD loves the just and will not forsake his faithful ones. They will be protected forever, but the offspring of the wicked will be cut off;" Psalms 37:24, 28
"You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory." Psalms 73:24
"The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me; your love, O LORD, endures forever— do not abandon the works of your hands." Psalms 138:8
"I will make an everlasting covenant with them: I will never stop doing good to them, and I will inspire them to fear me, so that they will never turn away from me." Jeremiah 32:40
"But you must return to your God; maintain love and justice, and wait for your God always." Hosea 12:6
"All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved." Matthew 10:22
"but he who stands firm to the end will be saved." Matthew 24:13
"All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved." Mark 13:13
"but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her." Luke 10:42
"Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers." Luke 22:31-32
"All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. For my Father's will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day." John 6:37, 39-40
"To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, "If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." John 8:31-32
"I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father's hand." John 10:28-29
"Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. " John 15:4-5,7,9
"They preached the good news in that city and won a large number of disciples. Then they returned to Lystra, Iconium and Antioch, strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to remain true to the faith. "We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God," they said." Acts 14:21-22
"God will give to each person according to what he has done."To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life." Romans 2:6-7
"for God's gifts and his call are irrevocable." Romans 11:29
"He will keep you strong to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God, who has called you into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful." 1 Corinthians 1:8-9
"Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. 2By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain." 1 Corinthians 15:1-2, 58
"Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong." 1 Corinthians 16:13
"Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come." 2 Corinthians 1:21-22
"It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery." Galatians 5:1
"Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up." Galatians 6:9
"For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ." 2 Peter 1:5-8
"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." James 1:2-4
Lord, today I choose to walk in perseverance, no matter what it looks like, I chose willingly to walk in your will for me. I lay aside my agenda and I lay aside my feelings. Lord, I pray for extra mercy and grace during this time. I ask for increased discernment, and I pray for wisdom that only comes from you. Lord, please don't allow others to be polluted through my process. Guard them and protect them Father. In your gracious, powerful, loving name of Jesus I pray. Amen.
I remember memorizing that entire Psalm when I went through the second part of my discipleship program at my church. At that point in my life I really had to ask others, my mentors, my friends and others around me to help me because I really had no idea what to even look for. I knew that a lot of people found me abrasive and I know that then I really didn't mind if I was so blunt that I killed you. Boy how the times have changed...or have they.
I believe that Self-Examination is one of the best things a person can do for themselves. I think that when we really look ourselves in the mirror we can see what is really hindering us and holding us back from our full potential. As I have continued on The Way to Jesus, I have found out some pretty ugly things about myself. I have been through the ministry, I have sat through the teachings and still even now, I can actually see the glow of my own light bulb from time to time. There is such a vast difference between knowledge and revelation...I have walked in knowledge for a while, knowledge of the Lord, knowledge of myself. The revelations continue to what spurs me to really change...to really want to make progress.
I didn't used to want anyone to speak into my life. I didn't want anyone pointing out my flaws or showing me my weaknesses. I have found that as I have matured (yeah to like a 5 year old child) that I am beginning to become more teachable. Although I am still very metallic is some areas that with the constant pounding of the issues of my life that I have become more mailable. I trust my authorities, even as I am beginning to flow in different areas I am wanting to acknowledge the authority in that part of my life. Some that have been my front line authorities aren't necessarily right there anymore. It is beginning to change.
I talked to my spiritual mother yesterday, she is so precious to me. As a matter of fact she was the first one to ever use that term "precious" in reference to me. I will never forget that day. Anyway, I had called her a few weeks ago about something. I don't know what she even said but in my head it went something like this. You know that pop when a baby breaks the seal from Momma's breast? That's what I heard, I heard her say to me - "I have fed you and I have been weaning you. You don't get Momma's nipple anymore". It hurt, in a way that I can't describe because it played off of my issues with my own mother, my own abandonment issues, my own rejection issues. But yesterday when I talked to her I got the full picture of what she was doing for me. She has sent an email earlier in the day and signed it MOM. So she was still that spiritual mom...but the truth of it is that there was a new baby on her lap. Not that I had been replaced but much like when my own mother had another child, I had to help. "JL, baby sister needs a diaper, can you get it for me", type stuff. As the baby's big sister, I come off of Momma and then begin to help with baby sister. I play with her, I teach her and I coddle her when she gets hurt. Ohhhhhhhh, now I get it. Not because I was told to or forced to, but out of love, I want to serve my family, I am still a child, but now I have a role, I am no longer a reservoir, now I can pass it through me.
1 Corinthians 13:7, "When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child."
The fullness of this is that I memorized 1 Corinthians in the first leg of my discipleship class. I have had the knowledge for a long time, however, this week, God has decided to tie it all together for me. I have more mentors now than ever. I am constantly submitting to new mentors in my life. The more I tend to be the mentor, the more mentors that I need to glean off of. The more women that come to me for mentoring the more information that I need from those seasoned mentors. As the Lord moves me into new avenues, I need to submit to the authorities in those areas. There is that light bulb glow again.
Lord, today I come to you and thank you publicly for the people that you have put in my life to mentor me...to teach me in your ways. Lord, I don't know what my future looks like, but what I know is that this is one of the keys of my destiny. I know that as a leader one of the essential things that I need to learn is how to be led. Lord, continue to teach me how to be led by your called authorities in my life. I love you Father, I thank you for your love in me, for your trust in me and your vision of who you created me to be. I give you all the glory and the honor forever. In Jesus Name I pray. Amen.
The room is dark, the curtains are drawn...there is a door open in the background. In comes an innocent little girl.
"Hi there little one," a booming voice says.
The Little Girl looks head on and begins to speak.
"Your never going to change, you are always going to be that broken little girl that cried in the corner and no one noticed. You are never going to live up to anyones standards, you are always going to do everything half as well as you can because you are lazy and not focused. Do you see that imperfection in your appearance? That is the only thing that people will notice. They will never see you as beautiful because of that. You are not good enough to do that job, look at all of those other qualified people...do you really think you belong among them? You are just a baby compared to all of their experience, all of their healing. They will never accept you right where you are. You are dirty and unworthy."
A small voice replies.
"Yes, I know."
How many times we allow something that looks so innocent and little come into our lives and convince us that we can't move forward. How many times we let that little innocent thing drown out the voice of our Father. How much power we give to that little voice is amazing. How much faith and truth we put in that voice must break our Father's heart. We can't take the Bible as infallible but we will believe every lie - hook line and sinker, not only that, we will use the lies to define ourselves.
"Immediately Jesus knew in his spirit that this was what they were thinking in their hearts, and he said to them, "Why are you thinking these things?" Mark 2:8
Jesus knows our thoughts. We can try to convince ourselves that they only belong to us. But they don't. He hears every lie that gets whispered. The word says that he is interceding for us. I can see him, leaning into the Father and saying, "Father, make him shut up." "Son, I will as soon as she asks me to. Right now she seems pretty content playing with the poo that he is giving her." "But Father, they are all lies, you didn't make her any of those things. You made her beautiful and in our image." "Yes, Son, I know that and you know that, but we need her to know that and to cry out for us."
I can see Jesus texting the Holy Spirit. "satan lieing 2 JL again...go TLK 2 her...she needs us right now."
"For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart." Hebrews 4:12
The Holy Spirit starts to whisper in her ear...
You are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for you to do. Take pleasure in your weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that you suffer for Christ. For when you are weak, then He is strong. You will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. He will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit.
Slowly she begins to start standing tall again. She can feel the presence of the Holy Spirit, she knows that she is being courted like a young virgin that is desired as a bride.
The same stage is set, a woman walks up to the little girl. She wraps her in her arms and says...
"I rebuke you in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth." "You are a precious baby, God's plan for you was so much more than what you have experienced. You deserved the absolute best, and I am sorry that isn't what you have received. But today, I have to ask you to forgive me. For allowing you to continue to believe that way. They are lies and none of them are true. Today I release you from the shackles of the lies. Today you are free to run and dance and jump like a little girl. Today, precious one, is a new day. The past is over. Lay it all at the foot of the cross and move forward. Repent and believe the lies no more."
Father, I come to you and thank you for the keys that you have brought me. Father, I thank you for the freedom that I can only find in you. Thank you thank you thank you!!! There are no words for the love and the passion that I have for you. You are so holy, so just and so righteous. Thank you Father.