Baaaaa!

Ah, those shower revelations!  Aren’t they wonderful?  You know, when you mindlessly go through the routine of a shower, all the while talking with Jesus.  And then He inserts one word or one thought that totally changes the course of the conversation – and your life.

Though it’s only been a few days, I can’t even remember, now, what question I wrestled with, what I tried so hard to understand . . . this time.  What I do remember is the sudden heart understanding that I don’t need to try so hard to understand everything, followed immediately by:

Proverbs 3:5-6 NKJV  5 Trust in the Lord  with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; 6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.

Despite repeating these verses to myself many times over many years, somehow, I really haven’t “gotten it,” the absolute bottom line truth that the Lord knows it all, and I don’t have to.  Period.  If I need to understand something, He will show me at the right time, but I won’t have to work my brain so hard to figure it out.  He will reveal it through His Word by His Spirit in such a way that it makes perfect sense and I’ll wonder why I didn’t “get it” before.  Until that time, I might as well simply trust that He knows and understands – beyond what I ever can with my finite mind.  This is resting in Him.  This is the only place to find His peace.

photo by Martin Baldwin, http://www.martincreative.co.uk

As if to bring the point home even more clearly, Daddy then reminded me of natural sheep and the shepherd.1  Sheep don’t lose sleep trying to figure out what their shepherd is doing.  They simply follow him, leaving the thinking and planning to him, and he makes all the decisions – all for their good, their benefit, their protection, their provision, their lives!  There is a reason Jesus calls us sheep; likewise, that He refers to Himself as the Good Shepherd — that we might so live.

Psalm 23  KJV  1 The Lord  is my shepherd; I shall not want.  2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.  3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.  4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.  5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.  6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord  for ever.

 

1 I know not all sheep are compliant and trusting. That is, however, the absolute best way for them to live, just like us with our Good Shepherd.

 

It’s Just Impossible!

Hebrews 11:6 NIV  And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

We know this verse.  It was probably one of the earlier ones memorized as we began our journey in Christian life.  We were probably taught that we must work hard to have the faith with which God will be pleased.  So, much of our Christian life has been spent trying to do just that.  Sadly, what we never heard about was the freedom in this verse – but that’s all changing right here, right now.

It’s not some deep, hidden secret that only the most intelligent can find.  Instead, what I found as I continued my recent Hebrews feast, savoring the words like tasty morsels, were verses that have been skipped, ignored, or at least mishandled – those leading up to and following verse six..

Hebrews 10:39-11:1 NIV 2012  But we do not belong to those who shrink back and are destroyed, but to those who have faith and are saved.  1 Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.

The faith we need is to believe in the finished work of Jesus Christ.  Period.  (Read more in Faith Gone Wrong.)  To help even more, Ephesians 2:8-9 reminds us that this faith is not of our own efforts, our own working it up.  This gift from God comes by His grace.  In other words, God graces us (gifts us) with the faith to believe in Christ (also a Gift), apart from our effortsHint: Gifts are only gifts if they are freely given without cost to the receiver.  Because we have received the Gift of Jesus Christ, we belong to those who have faith and are saved.

Skip a few verses (I promise to include them in a future post), and read verses 5 and 6 together, because it is the only way to understand the possibility of the impossible in verse 6 already working in us.

Hebrews 11:5-6 NIV  (2012) By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death: “He could not be found, because God had taken him away.”  For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God.  And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

Isn’t it mind-boggling that Enoch – so soon after the creation of the world, and so long before Jesus came as Messiah – already knew about Him and His future coming . . . and believed?  For that alone, Enoch pleased God.  With something God gave him in the first place, Enoch pleased God.  Because of his faith, Enoch was promoted to heaven!

Wait a minute!  The Bible tells very little about Enoch.  Besides this mention in Hebrews, he’s listed in the begats, where we find he lived 365 years and had children.  That means he also had a wife – at least one.  It also means he had to work to support them.  And that he interacted with people day in and day out, with good days and not-so-good days.  He was not continually alone with God.  He was a living human being, just like us, involved in the stuff of life.  He was no more perfect in his flesh than we are.  He needed a Savior, just like we do.  By grace, he had faith in the promised Messiah1,and that’s why God was pleased.  Period.  By that same grace, we also have faith in the promised Messiah, and God is also pleased with us.  Period.

For all these years, we have focused on what seemed impossible, and maybe it was.  When we focused on trying to have faith – or have enough faith, or the right kind of faith, or great faith – with which God would be pleased, we missed the simple truth that what He requires to please Him, He provides in the first place.  Ours is simply to receive.  It was possible for Enoch, and it’s possible for us today. In fact, in Christ, we have already received this glorious impossibility.  And, even now, God is pleased!

1 Jude 14 states that Enoch prophesied about Christ’s coming.

Photo credit to Mark J. Lehman, http://misusingecards.blogspot.com/

What’s Needed?

Sorry for the longer-than-normal delay since my last post.  I’ve been in a season about which I will share soon, but writing hasn’t been my focus.  As I’ve spent more than the normal time resting recently, I’ve kept my Christmas music going in the background, and realize an overall sense of joy and peace has resulted from those words and music resonating in my spirit.

Since we are only 1 ½ weeks from Christmas Day, most people are probably heading into frantic mode with gatherings, shopping, wrapping, cooking, etc.  It is my prayer that this song will minister that same sense of joy and peace to you as you listen, and maybe even sing along.  After all, what we really need, always, is to focus on Emmanuel, Christ with us.  Let’s Ring the Bells!

Filling Up at Thanksgiving

This week, I share this video entitled Inheritance, by Jonathan David Helser.  It is my hope that you will find a time in the midst of the busy activities of this season to stop for 10 uninterrupted minutes to receive a refreshing of the Spirit of God.  Though I am amazed and thankful for His wonderful love for me, wanting to know it more and more, my heartcry is for each of you to know practically, through experience for yourselves, His love for you.  May this video help bring you greater revelation!

Let it not be the words of this post that reveal more of Your love for us, Abba, Daddy.  But may Your loving presence be tangible – in the way they need – to each one who hears the words of Your heart.  And may each one experience greater freedom because of knowing personally Your amazing love more fully.  Because of Jesus Christ and for Your glory, I ask this in full assurance of faith.  Amen.

It’s Simply True

This post is pretty simple – definitely not eloquent.  I suspect there will be others similar to it, for the Lord has infinite ways to show what is so big in my heart right now.  He wants it personal enough that it seems as if it’s written just for you.  You see, no matter who you are, this is His personal word for you.  Abba, your heavenly Father, wants you to know He really loves you.  The simple truth in this verse is too important to be glossed over:

John 3:16  NIV  For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

His love wasn’t just to get you to heaven.  It was to restore, through Jesus Christ, relationship with Him here and now – because He loves you.

God loves you.  Your creator loves you.  Jesus, your Redeemer loves you.  Just as you are.  Eat, drink, and sleep with this, beloved brothers and sisters.  Let it go deeper than ever before.  God loves you.