Monthly Archives: July 2015

The Heart of the Matter: Post Script to “Trying not to lie: A lesson in waiting”

The Heart of the Matter

As I mentioned in my previous blog post about waiting, God dealt with me all day yesterday. I expected nothing less from Him. He is persistent, but gentle. I guess He knew He had to be. In the end He got what He was asking for and I prayed and meant what I prayed. Sigh. However, while I was battling instead of surrendering, He decided to show me a few more things and I thought I would share those with you. Perhaps it will make a difference if you find yourself in a situation where you are trying to decide whether to fight or to surrender. (Hint: If you are fighting with God, you might as well go ahead and surrender or you will be miserable.)

After I wrote the blog post, I called a close friend and read it aloud over the phone to see what her thoughts were about what I had written. While I was crying and trying to explain what God was doing in my heart, I brought up the subject of the story in the Bible we sometimes call the “Rich Young Ruler.”

The story is in three of the four Gospels: Matthew, Mark, and Luke. I mentioned to her that I felt like Jesus was looking at me and digging deep into my heart to find what I wasn’t giving up to Him. He knew I was waiting and that I was praying for answers and thanking Him for His promises, but He knew I wasn’t happy about it. So, He dug into my heart and pulled that out and showed it to me and said: “I want you to tell me that you don’t mind waiting.” I told her I felt like the young man in that story. He told Jesus everything he had done and Jesus showed him what he felt he could not give.

I really believe that I know how the young man felt that day. God was asking for what I didn’t know I could give. So, we decided to read that story and I read it in all three books. Here is what I found:

Each version of the story has something to add and is a little bit different. In Matthew, the story says the young man came to Jesus and he called him “Good Master.” Jesus proceeds with the question and asks why the young man is calling Him good, when there is none good but God, and then tells the young man that to enter into eternal life he must keep the commandments. The young man asks Jesus which commandments he needs to keep and Jesus lists them for him. Then the young man tells Jesus he has kept all those since he was a youth. He asks Jesus what is still missing and Jesus tells him that if he wants to be perfect then he needs to go and sell what he has and give to the poor and that he will have treasure in heaven and to come and follow Him. The young man when he heard this went away sorrowful because he had a lot of possessions. (Matthew 19:16-26 KJV)

I am running through this because I want to give you an overview of all three versions and then show you what I saw in them. So, let’s skip Mark’s version of the story and move to Luke:

Luke says a young ruler came to Jesus and asked him what he should do to inherit eternal life. He also says the young ruler calls Jesus “Good Master.” Jesus responds by asking him why he calls Him good and doesn’t wait for an answer, but proceeds to tell him that he already knows the commandments and lists them. The young ruler answers the same way saying he has kept all these from his youth. Jesus looks at him and tells him that he lacks one thing and gives the command to go and sell all he has and distribute to the poor and that he will have treasure in heaven and to come and follow Him. The young ruler was very sorrowful for he was very rich. (Luke 18:18-23) However, Luke does not say the young ruler went away. I want you to take note of that.

Now, let’s go to Mark’s version of the story. (P.S. If you are reading this J.A., I am sorry that I got Mark and Luke backwards when we were discussing it yesterday. Usually Luke is the one writing with compassion and emotion. This time it was Mark.)

Mark begins with…Well, let me just copy it here because I don’t want to leave anything out:

Mark 10:17-22 KJV

And when he was gone forth into the way, there came one running, and kneeled to him, and asked him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?

18 And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God.

19 Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Defraud not, Honour thy father and mother.

20 And he answered and said unto him, Master, all these have I observed from my youth.

21 Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me.

22 And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had great possessions.

Mark starts off with the man running to Jesus. That tells me his need was great. He knew Jesus was his answer and that is why when he knelt at His feet and he called him Good Master. He knew he was lacking something. He had done everything he knew to do, but something was missing.

Jesus still asks him why he called Him good, but He doesn’t wait for an answer. He then begins to repeat the commandments while the man waits. Now, this next verse is what pierced my heart. This man is kneeling before Jesus. He has poured everything out to Him. Jesus lists all the commandments the man already knows and tries to follow, but Jesus is just going through what has already been written. He knows this is not what is missing in the young man.

“And Jesus beholding him loved him…”

He saw the young man in his position at His feet and dug straight down into his heart to get to the root of the problem. Jesus knew what was going to happen. His compassion and His love overflowed for the young man even as He knew what He was about to ask would be the hardest thing the young man ever heard. When I read that yesterday it brought tears to my eyes again. Jesus will let us have our form of religion and holiness and rule following and when we come before Him and tell Him that we have done all these things He looks at us and loves us and then He reaches down into the heart of the matter to find the root of the problem. Mine went something like this:

Jesus,

I thank You for all You have done. I thank You for this day. Please forgive me of anything I have done that is not pleasing to You. Lord, I have thanked You every day for working a miracle in my friend’s life. You asked me to do that and I am doing it. I have written and posted and shared the Living Free videos. I have been open about what this has done in my life. Yes, I struggle and have to ask You for help, but I am doing all I know to do. Why is nothing changing? What do I lack? What is wrong? Why do things seem to get worse in some areas? Please show me what I need to do….

Does that sound familiar? Perhaps not, but that is me. Then Jesus looked at me and He loved me. Right there in all my emotionalism. He saw me…meaning He saw into my heart just like He did that day with the rich young ruler. And He sees that I have asked Him what else He requires, so He just goes for the heart of the matter….I need you to tell Me that you don’t mind waiting.

You see Jesus loved the rich young ruler and He knew everything about him. He knew that he was rich. He knew that he had possessions. He knew that his security lay in those things whether they were connections he had from his wealth, relationships he had, stuff he collected, or whether it was the security of the lifestyle he lived. Jesus knew the man was in a position where he could keep all the commandments and still live the life he wanted to live in the comfort of his wealth and possessions. He wanted his way AND eternal life. The heart of the matter was what he held dear and could not imagine living without. Jesus went straight for that because He knew the young man held all that above serving Him.

So…Jesus told him to go and sell all that he had and give to the poor and to come and follow Him. All of the versions say the young man was sorrowful because he had great possessions, wealth, etc… Mark says he went away grieved because he had great possessions.

Luke does not say he went away and I am hoping that in his grief he stayed somewhere on the sidelines because Jesus immediately went into the parable about it being hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.

The disciples and those around Him were astonished and begin to question and Jesus tells them about the dangers of trusting in riches. Then Mark says:

“And Jesus looking upon them saith, With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible.” (Mark 10:27)

But that is not all. Peter then says to Jesus that they have left everything to follow Him. And Jesus says:

“And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel’s,

30 But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life.” (Mark 10:29-30).

Somehow I cannot help but wonder when Jesus looked upon them that He was looking for that rich young ruler. I cannot help but hope that somewhere in his grief on the sidelines the young man heard the rest of what Jesus had to say. I hope he did not walk away with only half of the promise.

Jesus challenged him by getting to the root of his problem. He saw his heart and he spoke directly to it. Jesus had to know that young man would give up anything and everything to follow Him. He had to know it just wasn’t following a bunch of rules, but that the young man’s heart was truly sold out to Him. He had to know that no matter what He asked, the young man would be willing to do it. Jesus had to know that young man meant it when he called him “Good Master.”

I like to think the young man was still there and he heard what Jesus said in those next few verses. I like to hope that he didn’t leave defeated and hopeless. Luke did not say he went away, so there is a little loophole for my hope because if he stayed, he would have realized that Jesus doesn’t take anything away that He will not restore a hundredfold. Those verses prove it. That is not just talking about in heaven, but in this present life as well.

It reminds me of Job. We read forty-one chapters in Job where everything is taken away. It took me a while to realize what the root of Job’s problem was…it was pride. He considered himself a righteous man and self-righteousness is as filthy rags according to the Bible. God had to get to the heart of the matter with Job, so He allowed the captivity to come and the losses.

But, we have one chapter that gives us the rest of the story as Paul Harvey used to say. God restored everything, twice as much to Job. In Job 42:10 it says:

“And the Lord turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends: also the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before.”

The word “captivity” stands out to me because of all I have been reading and watching lately. Job was bound by pride. The rich young ruler was also bound by pride and possessions and things and relationships and connections, etc… Neither were willing to give them up for God.

God knows what our hearts are holding back. He gets right to the heart of the matter. We are captive to those things we do not surrender to Him. He can only do so much with us when we are not completely surrendered. It is only when we realize and hold nothing back that He can come in and do what He needs to do.

God will never be indebted to us. If He takes something away, He will provide something else. If we give to Him, He will give back to us more. I want to believe the rich young ruler stayed around to hear the rest of Jesus’ message to him that day. I know Job stayed around and when God showed him where the root of the problem lay, he repented.

I have given my impatience to God. I was finally able to tell Him that I don’t mind waiting. I will continue to tell Him that each day and refresh it in my mind to keep my priorities straight just like I will continue give myself to Him again each day, so that I will be reminded to stay in full surrender to His will rather than my own.

I pray there is something in this that you can use, but if not it will serve as a reminder to me there is nothing worth holding onto if it comes between me and Jesus. He is a jealous God, but when we completely surrender He will come and give back to us far above what we held and considered precious and thought we could not let go.

I don’t mind waiting on you, Lord.

Until next time,

C.

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Trying not to lie: A lesson in waiting

 

I hate waiting. It is hard for me to sit and wait in a doctor’s office. My mind has too much time to think about the possibilities which gives the devil a lot of room in which to work. I like to organize and plan things and when loose ends are left undone it bothers me. It is hard for me to wait for a surprise and I can be analytical and ask questions until I spoil things from my curiosity.

So when I am in the middle of a difficult situation where there are no answers, it is very hard for me to wait. I have been there often. That should tell me God is trying to teach me something. One situation in my life took twenty years of prayer and heart ache before peace and a resolution came. Other situations did not resolve themselves by providing concrete answers to questions I asked for a couple of decades. The situations just played themselves out and I had to accept what happened and move forward. God gave me peace and the questions disappeared when I realized I would never know why in some areas.

People make choices that take them down paths. Life is all about choices. Sometimes we get caught in the middle of other people’s choices and it causes us to get hurt. Sometimes we place ourselves in situations we shouldn’t be in and the choices we make cause us to get hurt. And so, life goes on…

So, today God has been dealing with me about my life and about His promises to me. I just wrote about Living Free and being delivered of things in my life. It has been the greatest event and I cannot tell you how God has come in and given me peace and lifted things from me that I have carried for years. It is as if a great weight has been taken away.

It doesn’t mean that things don’t affect me and it doesn’t mean that I am perfect. This last week has proved that. Stress will come and it is my choice how I deal with it. My emotional eating has regressed since I had that experience with God, but I have still made some wrong choices due to convenience and the need to rush through eating to move on to other things. I am sure there have been situations that I have not handled in the best possible way. I am human. However, I am making progress and God has been very real and close to me lately.

One of my best friends in the world has mentioned to me several times when I am writing that sometimes I try to smooth over things or not say things because of upsetting others or just trying to keep personal details to myself. I don’t want to do that when I write. So, today, I need to tell you something…

I have a story that has been unfolding for many years. There are many factors to this story and I will write about them one day. The problem is that we are just about in the middle of the book right now. The story is not complete. There is already enough to create a New York Times bestseller, but I can’t write about it yet. There are other people involved and their story intertwines with mine.

One day I hope to be able to write the entire story. Today, I have been told to wait. Today, I have been asked to pray these words to God and to mean them. The words are:

“I don’t mind waiting on you, Lord.”

I have tried to pray them, but I don’t want to be lying when I say them. Something has to take place in my heart that changes me so that I can say them and mean them because only then will I break the chains that are binding me. I don’t want to have trust issues with God. I believe what He has already told me and what He has promised, but it is so hard to go through this part of the story.

So, I write this with tears rolling down my face. God has been dealing with me since I awakened this morning. First the Martins were singing “Wait on the Lord…” based on the Scripture:

“Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord.” Psalms 27:14

God kept gently whispering to me that is His answer for now, but not only did He whisper that, He asked me to tell Him that I don’t mind waiting. It is the ultimate test to see if my will is surrendered to Him because I DO mind waiting. I wait impatiently. I try to help make it happen. I pray and beg and plead and ask others to pray.

But God is whispering so consistently to me and He is reminding me of His promise:

“But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31

He will renew my strength. He will help me to endure and not be weary. He will help me to put one foot in front of the other and move forward without fainting.

He is just waiting for me to say to Him: “I don’t mind waiting.”

Will I be able to do it without lying? I am crying so much right now that I can barely see to type. He is telling me to trust Him. He is waiting for my answer…

I think this is like forgiveness. You can choose to forgive someone, but it might not change how you feel inside at that moment. You just choose to let it go and move on so that it doesn’t fester inside you and hurt you continually when you see or talk to that person. You remember what was done to you, but it no longer has the power to hurt you.

My heart is screaming that I am so tired of waiting. I have seen glimpses of His promise and I have thanked Him for it every night. I have prayed. I have almost held it in my hands and the glimpse of it has kept me going. Little blessings along the way have held me to the path and kept my faith strong. Moments when God has been so real to me have given me additional strength to endure, but I still don’t want to wait.

I want to see the results of all the prayer and the fasting. I want the hurt to stop and I want healing for this situation like never before. I want the people involved to receive what God has for them. I want their lives to change forever for the good, so that they can share their part of the story. I want to be able to victoriously share my part of the story.

And so I argue with God…and He says:

Tell me that you don’t mind waiting.

I just cry more. He knows my heart. I cannot lie to Him.

The best I can do right now is to lie before Him bowed down and to ask Him to help me not to mind waiting. Today, my prayer will continuously be to help me not to mind the wait. I will repeat the words of the song: “I don’t mind waiting on you, Lord” until I mean what I say.

We all have to wait. It is hard. We want to be able to tell our story and we want the happy ending. We want a testimony, but can we wait? Do we mind the wait? Are we impatient while we wait, or do we gently tell the Savior that we don’t mind waiting with Him?

Until next time,

C.

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Red Sea Situation…Thoughts for Today

I told you just to leave me alone. I knew it would end up like this. No, it wasn’t the best where I was, but I was familiar with it. I could function and navigate around and I knew what I was facing, but this…this is worse than where I was before and now there is no hope.

So what if you promised something better? It didn’t happen. I am trapped. I am here and I will die here in this forsaken place. At least where I was I had food and shelter. I was tormented, but this is a different kind of torment because I hoped and now it is hopeless. How could you bring me here?

I don’t want to hear it!! I cannot go back and I cannot go forward. I am trapped on every side. Don’t try to tell me that God will make a way. I don’t want to hear your lies. I will die here…here in this wilderness where no one will even recognize or remember me. I will die alone, forsaken, hopeless.

“And they said unto Moses, Because there were no graves in Egypt, hast thou taken us away to die in the wilderness? wherefore hast thou dealt thus with us, to carry us forth out of Egypt?

 Is not this the word that we did tell thee in Egypt, saying, Let us alone, that we may serve the Egyptians? For it had been better for us to serve the Egyptians, than that we should die in the wilderness.” Exodus 14:11-12

I cannot imagine the plight of the Israelites as they looked back toward Egypt and saw Pharaoh and his army barreling toward them in the wilderness. They had endured plagues. They had listened to Moses and the promises God gave him and followed. No, they were not happy and they doubted and every time God hardened Pharaoh’s heart, they thought everything they had hoped for would be destroyed.   I can feel the defeat sweeping over them. They would not even have a proper burial, but be left to die in the wilderness. What was the use in all of it? Why had they listened to Moses? What part of their hearts had opened up and allowed that faint glimmer of hope to spread through when they knew they would be disappointed once again?

Captivity and bondage and defeat had been their companions for so many years. How could it be any different now? Bitterness and hopelessness settled on them like a heavy cloak. There was nothing to do but wait for Pharaoh to come and kill them all for even slavery was lost at this point. They had run away and there was no going back. There was no running forward into the future, either. They were trapped…hopeless…as good as dead.

I have felt that way. Maybe I haven’t been in a situation physically where I was trapped with no way out, but I have been in situations that spiritually and emotionally seemed hopeless. I have tried to think of every way possible to get out. I have tried to fix it, change it, pray it away, or take some type of action that I thought would be God’s will, but that I actually hadn’t really prayed about, and found that it all backfired in my face.

Once again, there I stood. Hopeless. Alone. Afraid. Defeated.

The next part of this situation with the Israelites goes against everything that we are as humans. When someone is chasing us our instinct is to run. When something is causing us pain, we want to get away from it or out of it, or we want to do something to stop it.

God had an entirely different idea…

“And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will shew to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever.

14 The Lord shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.” Exodus 14:13-14

God needed for them to be still for a minute. I don’t know if you have ever dealt with a child that has worked himself into a panic and cannot even speak because he is crying so hard. I have dealt with this exact situation. The first thing I do is to get a tissue and I tell the child to sit down, stop crying, dry his eyes, and when he has calmed down, then we can talk.

That is exactly what God needed for the Israelites to do. He needed their attention. He needed for them to stop grumbling about where they came from and to stop worrying about where they were going, or not going in this case, and to just stop for a minute.

Once He had their attention, then He told them that He would be their salvation. He took away their past and told them they would see it no more after that day.

Once He stopped them and told them He would get rid of their past, then He told them about their future…

“ And the Lord said unto Moses, Wherefore criest thou unto me? speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward:

16 But lift thou up thy rod, and stretch out thine hand over the sea, and divide it: and the children of Israel shall go on dry ground through the midst of the sea.” Exodus 14:15-16

He got their attention, dealt with their past, and led them into their future, all within moments. The Israelites walked into the midst of the impossible and were not killed. They were not swallowed up by the waters. However, their past was drowned as they walked into their future…and saw the Egyptians ‘no more, forever.’

How many times have I taught this story in Sunday School? I don’t know. Probably at least twenty times. For the first time today I realized the promise God gave the Israelites about their past. Maybe it doesn’t mean that much to you, but it spoke to me today.

Our past can haunt us. It can rise up against us and cause us to believe our future is hopeless and that we are caught between a rock and a hard place and can never be free, but that is a lie. Just as the Israelites were promised they would never see the Egyptians again, so God can remove our past from us and lead us into our future.

Are you trapped and do you feel hopeless? Then you are probably in the right place for God to get your attention. You are probably one stop away from walking into your future and leaving your past behind you forever. And I did mean to say “stop” not “step.” You need to stop before you can step. Stand still…see the salvation of the Lord…leave the past behind…step forward onto dry ground and into the promises of God.

His ways are higher than our ways. What does that mean? That means when all you see is impossible, God comes in and makes it possible. When you can no longer do anything to help yourself, that is the perfect situation for a miracle. He will take your present situation to rid you of your past and lead you into your future.

He still fights battles today.

Until next time,

C.

 

 

 

 

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Living Free, Truly Free, Free Indeed!!!

Robert Morris’ Free Indeed video Series

Each video has a lot of pop ups when it first comes up, but just click on the x to close them and you will be able to see the entire video. Also, in the middle they go back to the screen saver, but wait a moment and it will come back and continue where it left off. You should not miss anything. Please feel free to email me if you have any questions or would like someone to pray with you. I hope everyone who views this is set free, In Jesus Name!

Until next time,

C.

Please watch them in this order:

Under the Influence:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MFwCl6LW9JU&list=PLv_OzdrCbmk_h7EEN3gGqWvI2DzMCd9aM&index=1

Permission Granted:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4t8zz86J4Ks&list=PLv_OzdrCbmk_h7EEN3gGqWvI2DzMCd9aM&index=2

Believers in Bondage:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nSziDEYyJWs&list=PLv_OzdrCbmk_h7EEN3gGqWvI2DzMCd9aM&index=3

Beware of Demonic Spirits

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UE9wjBKzET0&index=14&list=PLv_OzdrCbmk_h7EEN3gGqWvI2DzMCd9aM

The First Open Door

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o7dbJiTOIZE&index=5&list=PLv_OzdrCbmk_h7EEN3gGqWvI2DzMCd9aM

Fighting for Your Life

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o7dbJiTOIZE&index=5&list=PLv_OzdrCbmk_h7EEN3gGqWvI2DzMCd9aM

Wounded Warriors

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o7dbJiTOIZE&index=5&list=PLv_OzdrCbmk_h7EEN3gGqWvI2DzMCd9aM

Set Free

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o7dbJiTOIZE&index=5&list=PLv_OzdrCbmk_h7EEN3gGqWvI2DzMCd9aM

James Robison’s Testimony

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cLPnM5ydU4U

 

 

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