If You Will

Independence. We are taught from a young age, and I mean a really young age, to start doing things on our own. Totally healthy right? Sit up on our own. Eat on our own. Sleep on our own. Walk on our own. As we grow, we continue this journey of independence at every stage. Make our own lunch. Walk ourselves to school. Manage our time. Get our own job. Buy our own things. Get our own home. Its growth and it’s good and natural. The challenge is, heaven runs on dependence.

Dependence. God spends all 66 books of His Word, wooing you and I to dependence on Him. People who seek to be in close relationship with God quickly find out that their own independence is required as the price.

“He must increase, but I must decrease.” John 3:30

“Whoever loves his life loses it, whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.” John 12:25

God wants it all, every single part of your life. He wants you to be totally reliant on Him for everything. That doesn’t mean that you lose your ability to think for yourself, it means that you turn to Him to for discernment and direction. It means that in all things, we will seek first God’s input before moving forward. It means willingly sacrificing “me” for “Him”.

The loss of independence goes against our grain. For some people, it is the reason they don’t follow Jesus. The idea of being completely dependent on someone is terrifying, especially if the people here in your life have let you down. It’s hard, but critical, to fully grasp that God simply cannot let you down. It’s not in His character or nature to disappoint. The times when we feel disappointed in God are because He didn’t come through the way we wanted, not because He didn’t come through.

Psalm 91 is one of my favorite! I love how it is written in the Message translation, especially the last two verse.

If you will hold on to me for dear life…I will:

  1. Get you out of any trouble.
  2. Give you the best care.
  3. Answer.
  4. Be at your side.
  5. Rescue you.
  6. Throw a party for you.
  7. Give you a long life.
  8. Give you eternal life.

God is desperate for a relationship with us. He is asking for us to hold on, get to know Him and trust Him and when we do, we won’t even want independence because that life is miserable compared to a life dependent on the King of Kings, Lord of Lords and Creator of your soul.

If you will.

Shalom,

KA

Advertisements

Help Them Grow

Let me set the stage: Jesus has been in ministry for a little while now. He has a nice sized following and has been teaching and healing all over the region. His reputation as a man of God is growing and He is spreading the Good News of heaven. Things are good! From a completely human perspective, we would say that His ministry was growing and people’s lives were being changed. Awesome!

Then He makes a trip home and the ministry takes a hit. Jesus finds Himself teaching in His home synagogue. That should be amazing! Hometown kid returns from the mission field with a message to share! Where are the parades welcoming Him home? Where is the celebration go see Him? No where. Instead, as the people who know Him best, judge Him.

“‘Where did this man get his wisdom and these mighty works? Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not his mother called Mary? And are not his brothers James and Jospeh and Simon and Judas? And are not all his sisters with us? Where then did the man get all these things?'” (Matthew 13:55-55)

Do you hear the judgment in their questions? Instead of being amazed with joy and pride at how Jesus has grown, they are perplexed as to how He could be so powerful. Instead of listening in, like they would have to a special speaker, they are recoiling in judgment and missing the message.

“And they took offense at him. But Jesus said to them, ‘A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and in his own household.’ And he did not do many mighty works there, because of their unbelief.” (Matthew 13:56-57)

Because they couldn’t get over their judgment of Jesus, they stayed in an offended mindset and that cost them dearly. They missed out on the blessings of heaven because Jesus couldn’t work in them. They were so tied up in who He used to be, they were missing who He had become.

How many times do we do that to the people closest to us? We hear someone’s story of overcoming challenges and we are in awe. When someone in our family has a similar story, we tune out or downplay the situation. When a nationally known preacher or speaker comes to town we listen intently. When our teen says they heard something from God and they want to share it, we don’t make the time. When someone else in our church has a child going into the mission field, we jump for joy. When our own child feels that call, we question them and try to deter their decision.

Every nationally known minister you know of right now, started off small. They started off in ministry at church. They spent hours reading their bibles and praying, listening for God to speak to them. They received training to build their skill set. God was training and equipping them and I wonder how many of their close friends and family missed out in blessings because they were too caught up in who they were as a kid, instead of who they were becoming in Christ.

We all know people in our lives who God wants to use in vocational ministry. Are we providing a safe space for them to share their dreams of ministry for the future? Are we praying for them and seeking ways to help them grow? Are we providing opportunity for them to share their stories and how God is moving? Are we seeking to learn from them? Or, are we offended and inadvertently sending the message that God won’t use them?

Don’t miss out on miracles and blessings because you are offended or taken aback by God’s call on the lives of the people closest to you. God may have a pastor, missionary or speaker growing in your home or community right now. Make space for them to feel safe and step into their call. Help them grow into who they were created to be.

Shalom,

KA

A Name

Jesus. What a name that is…Jesus! In that name we find perfect peace, healing, redemption, unconditional love and quite honestly, everything we’ve ever been looking for in life. Jesus is the beginning and the end, and all points in between.

Sometimes, though, the points in between get us tangled and twisted up inside. We look in the mirror and we see and speak names like fat, ugly, failure, suicidal, unstable, unremarkable, and so many other names that we give ourselves. For me, my name means warrior and grace and I’ll admit, I rarely speak those names over myself. More often than not, I speak words like fearful, damaged and broken. What words do you speak over yourself when you look in the mirror?

There is a name greater, higher and more powerful than ALL the names in the world! A name that when called upon, crushes every other name out there. Jesus! Philippians 2:9-11 says:

“Therefore God has highly exalted him (Jesus) and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

The name of Jesus is above all the names you give yourself, but you have to speak that out. You have to enter into your names, enter into your trauma, and speak Jesus over it all. This isn’t a one-time act, it’s a commitment to transformation and it takes time. The names you have given yourself that carry pain, carry that pain for a reason. Jesus is bigger than your pain. Jesus is the healer of your wounds. Jesus is the lover of your soul. Jesus looks at you and fully sees all of the names you have declared and says “I love you. I died for you. I am for you. I am Jesus.”

I know it’s scary to enter your dark names. It’s terrifying because those names, while painful, are familiar. I know better how to operate in trauma than health. However, the more I speak Jesus over my names made in the dark, the more the light of Christ shines into the corners of my heart and the more healing I receive. When God says that there is no more condemnation for those who are in and claiming the name of Jesus (Romans 8:1), He means it! God doesn’t see you as a failure, no matter what you have done. God sees you as His beloved child. That’s a hard truth to accept because the power of the names you have named yourself feels so heavy. Speak Jesus.

Speaking Jesus as the name above all your other names will feel weird and clunky. You may be reading this thinking “How on earth do I start doing this??” Pray. Ask God to show you how to speak Jesus over all of the other names. Just simply speak out loud “Jesus”. This isn’t about a perfect prayer, there is no such thing. Jesus will take whatever you can give Him and He’ll move into that space to shine His light of love. This is about your heart, not eloquent words.

Jesus IS the name that brings healing and freedom. His name is above every name you’ve given yourself. His name is the only way to break the chains that keep you tied to the darkness. I’m praying for everyone reading this, that you speak Jesus over your life.

If you want me a prayer partner in this journey you are on, leave a message here and I will pray with you.

Shalom,

KA