Not My Job

Changes continue for me and my writing.  The Lord spoke to my heart on the pages of my journal again, and what He spoke is for now.

stepping stonesI considered my writing to be transparent, but realize I have actually been quite guarded in my transparency. 🙂  Daddy has made clear that it’s time for my guard to come down.  It’s called trusting Him more.  I’m not sure exactly what the posts will look like, and expect Holy Spirit to make changes regularly.  However, I am certain you will feel as if you are listening to a private conversation between a Father and His child – for that is what it is.  This child sometimes questions, sometimes withdraws, sometimes marvels, and sometimes has tantrums, but she always wants to know her Daddy more.  And she wants His other children to know Him more, too.

I invite you to listen in as He reveals this very thing to me . . .

It’s not my job to convince (or even try to) others of what the Lord reveals to me.  As soon as He begins to show me something, my mind goes into “How do I write this?” or, “How do I tell this?” mode – all for the purpose of convincing others . . . not convincing them that it is “Truth” or “right” or “God,” though I fully believe it is.  But, reality check.  It’s so “they” will not reject me for yet one more “oddity.”

If I had to draw what it looks like, there’s this large group of people around me – seemingly connected by Christianity.  With each new revelation of Daddy, of Jesus, of Holy Spirit, of the kingdom of heaven, some of those people drop away from me.  Over time, the group gets smaller and smaller – noticeably so – to the point that I’m aware of what sharing another revelation will mean.  While I want very much to be so much more aware of my Jesus everywhere, in every situation, and be radically set free from the things of this world, there’s still one big thing of this world that hinders – the desire to be liked, agreed with, approved of, accepted.  Thus, the effort to explain “logically” to convince my readers, hearers, acquaintances, etc., so they’ll not leave me.

And what does that do?  It keeps me from experiencing in full that which my Daddy is revealing to me. It’s not that He won’t have others exposed to it through me.  It’s that it’s not my job to expose them, to explain “it,” to convince them.

Neither is it my responsibility to keep people liking, accepting, approving of, or attached to me in any way.  This is not in your face: “I’ll be who I am and if you don’t like it, forget you.”  Rather, it’s the love walk of Christ.  I AM lives in me, loves me, loves you; therefore, I love you unconditionally and will not intentionally offend or harm or reject you in any way.  By the same token, I understand that what I know of our Christ and of our Daddy may be so radically different from, even opposed to, what you have known thus far as to create a divide you feel you will no longer cross in order to maintain any form of relationship.  It doesn’t affect Christ’s love for either of us.  And it doesn’t affect my love for you, either, even if we never have contact again until we are in heaven seeing clearly what neither of us ever could while on earth.

My writer’s instinct is to bring this all together, to tie it up with some nice, neat closing.  But, it’s not my job!  Besides, that’s where that particular revelation ended that day.  Conversations with Daddy are like that – ongoing.  I daresay We will revisit this very conversation many times, possibly every time someone disagrees with me. That’s part of this journey of life and love in Christ.

Stay tuned . . .

The Promise

There it was, a simple sentence written in the margin of my Bible.  “I want to see this in my life.”  However long ago that was written, the yearning has only intensified since then.  The catalyst for this heart cry?  It started days ago as I read about Jesus speaking to His disciples before ascending to heaven.

Acts 1:8 NIV But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.

My attention was gripped by this verse more than ever before, as I put myself in the place of those disciples.  What did Jesus’ statement mean to them, and what effect did it have on them?  Those in the early church did not know what the power of the Holy Spirit coming on them would be like.  As for being His witnesses, they may have had ideas – before the night Jesus was betrayed and they all scattered.  The rest of the book of Acts lets us see the changes His Holy Spirit made in them, and the changes He made in the world through them.

Is this what we see in the church today?  Is this what I see in my own life?  Maybe our pre-conceived ideas of “being His witnesses” and “the power of the Holy Spirit” have limited us.   We emphasize “be my witnesses” without equal emphasis on “receive power when the Holy Spirit comes.”  As such, we rely on our own self-efforts to do something for Jesus, as we do witnessing.  But Jesus called us to be witnesses to others day in and day out as the life-transforming power of His Holy Spirit works in and through us.  Succeeding chapters show example after example of the early church being witnesses everywhere they were – because they received the power of Holy Spirit, Jesus’ promise to them.  They relied on Holy Spirit power to make them what they could never make themselves – representatives of Jesus Christ in word, action, and life.

Acts 5:15-16 NIV  15As a result, people brought the sick into the streets and laid them on beds and mats so that at least Peter’s shadow might fall on some of them as he passed by.  16Crowds gathered also from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing their sick and those tormented by evil spirits, and all of them were healed.

These powerful witnesses of Jesus Christ include Peter, the one who denied Jesus three times.  The same Peter who was so zealous that he cut off a non-believer’s ear “for the Lord.”  It’s the same Peter, but there’s been a change.  This Peter now reaches out to heal ears, not take them off.  Now, the sick are laid in the streets so that Peter’s shadow will fall on them.  People come from all around to see Jesus’ witness, and they are all healed!

This is what I want to see in my life – not by faith alone, but by sight!  And this is what I want to see in the whole body of Christ.  Jesus’ promise was not to the early church alone, but to us, as well.  I’m unwilling to settle for less than what the early church experienced.  In fact, I want to see more, but as a participant, not a spectator.  The world in 2011 needs to see the reality of Christ and His power at least as much as the world in the first century.  What will it take, Lord, for us to see?

The Radical Way of Jesus

While I might not agree with everything he has to say, what Bishop Michael Curry stated in his address to the recent convention of his NC diocese resounds within me.  I share some of the Winston-Salem Journal article here:

A church should not be concerned about its own life, but instead should follow the steps of Jesus . . . Jesus was trying to get us to understand that we need to move beyond our own individual self-interest . . . We need to go beyond our various ideologies and go where God dreams for us to be. . . The church’s goal should not be to build bigger churches, start a lot of new churches, or even fill up the pews.  I’m not convinced those goals are born of the gospel.  Instead, the goals should be to live, witness to, and share the gospel of Jesus Christ in order to make disciples . . .

You go, Bishop Curry!  Some of these statements are radical departures from “the way we do church” in 2011; yet, it sounds like the very heartbeat of our heavenly Father, as made clear in His Word.  Why should it be so radical, then, even to the eyes and ears of Christians today?  Have we bought into the world’s ways, the world’s ambitions, the world’s ideas of what constitutes success?  Have we become more competitive toward one another about which church or denomination is “best”, rather than competing against the devil for the souls of the people who haven’t yet believed and received Christ Jesus, their only hope of salvation?  Have we lost our focus, our purpose – which is truly to know Christ and to make Him known to others?

It’s time to break out of the four walls of the church (an overused cliché, but relevant here).  Maybe, it’s really time to break down those walls and not try to build newer, bigger, or better ones.  It’s time for us to realize that Jesus Christ came for a lost and dying world, tearing down walls everywhere He taught, that the world could know Him.  Why, then, do we insist on our walls, still believing we can reach the world for Christ with them?

Please don’t let this be just food for thought.  Let it become a catalyst for action.  We’re not going to make disciples – followers of Christ – of our Jerusalems, Judeas, Samarias, and the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8), until we let go of the old way and do it Jesus’ way.

Temporary Change

It seems like it’s been so long since I posted here, but it’s not because I haven’t been thinking about it.  Some of you who write may not understand this, but there’s nothing in me that needs to be written right now.  Lots of life has happened over the course of the last month – two trips to Dallas to see the new grandbaby, cataract surgery, a little iritis in both eyes (and all the additional eye doctor visits that go with that) – and it has thrown me off any semblance of a writing schedule.

In the midst of all this non-schedule, though, Holy Spirit has been drawing me to Himself in different ways.  I’m not dry at all, spiritually.  I don’t even feel dry for writing.  It’s more like the Lord is working into me to set my face to seek His face that I might come to know Him more.  What I find right now is a much greater awareness of His presence with me throughout the day.  I see new aspects of Him at work in me, but I have no unction to write about them.

Jesus is drawing me to a different, more intimate, place of knowing Him so that I can more clearly make Him known to others.  This place is new for me, and I want to stay here with Him as long as it takes before He knows I’m ready for whatever is next.  I suspect there will be a post here and there even in the midst of this season, though they won’t be as frequent as they have been.  I hope you will use my “quiet” time to draw from some of the posts already written and recorded here.  They may not be new, or even new to you, but they can still be a word in due season.

Psalm 27:4, 8 4 One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek, inquire for, and [insistently] require: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord [in His presence] all the days of my life, to behold and gaze upon the beauty [the sweet attractiveness and the delightful loveliness] of the Lord and to meditate, consider, and inquire in His temple. . . 8 You have said, Seek My face [inquire for and require My presence as your vital need]. My heart says to You, Your face (Your presence), Lord, will I seek, inquire for, and require [of necessity and on the authority of Your Word].  AMP

The End . . . or the Beginning?

You are probably familiar with the dilemma of a glass being half-full or half-empty.  It’s obvious the glass has only one amount of liquid, but it’s a person’s perception of it that colors their outlook.  Someone who considers it half-empty probably sees that there is only so much left before it is all gone – and “then what will we do?”  On the other hand, those who see it as half-full probably think, “Wow!  I still have half the glass left to drink!”  I couldn’t help but see myself in this principle during a time of change in my life.

While I recognized the hand of the Lord in the changes, I was focused on the ending of things, resulting in a sadness permeating everything I did or thought.  As I prayed before bed one night, however, knowing the next morning would be the first day following the “end”, the Lord spoke to my heart that it was really the first day of the beginning I was facing.  I was actually stepping into something brand new, not just leaving something behind.  It is an understatement to say this simple sentence changed my whole outlook!  Though I still didn’t know what I was beginning, and things really were ending, I now saw it from God’s perspective.  I now saw my glass as half-full, rather than half-empty.  Further, I could see He was beginning the process of filling it up again – with new and different experiences to add to those He had given me before.

Philippians 3:13-1413. . .Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (NIV)

Had I continued to dwell on the endings – with a half-empty glass mentality – I’m sure I would have missed much of what the Lord had for me in the changes.  I couldn’t have pressed forward with my all because I’d have been looking backwards – and that makes progress difficult, if not impossible.  God’s Word changed my perspective so I could see the glass as half-full, awaiting His refilling, no longer half-empty and running out.  Sadness was replaced with excitement and anticipation about the new things Daddy had for me in this adventure of life in Christ, because it’s not the end, but the beginning!

Proverbs 3:5-6 “5 Lean on, trust in, and be confident in the Lord with all your heart and mind and do not rely on your own insight or understanding.  6 In all your ways know, recognize, and acknowledge Him, and He will direct and make straight and plain your paths.”  AMP