I hope you don’t mind if I keep it real, today. I am coming off of four nights of restless sleep. And last night was the worst! I kept waking up angry. I’m not sure if it was a righteous anger, an attack of the enemy, or just not releasing to God something that has been weighing heavily on my heart the last few days. Regardless, I woke up tired and cranky…and the last thing I felt like doing was writing yet another post that may, or may not, have any kind of impact. (I’ll just go ahead and ask for forgiveness, now…)
You see, I’ve been discipling and ministering for over ten years. And thanks to social media, I am able to see how people I have ministered to, and with, are faring in their walk with God. I rejoice when I get to see brothers and sisters walking in what God has called them to! Not much else makes my heart dance like seeing Christ shine through someone I have had the blessing and honor to minister to. I also love seeing the ones who may be feeling overwhelmed, or going through something really tough, but they continue to trust God and push through…relying on His promises to move forward. To you I say, “Keep going!” Even if you do not feel like you are making progress – YOU ARE! And don’t despise small beginnings, the Lord is happy for the work to begin! (Zechariah 4:9-10)
And then there are the ones who, to be honest, break my heart. Remember yesterday when I said that oftentimes I am able to catch a glimpse of someone’s potential in Christ? Some of these dear ones still have no idea who they are and it’s pretty obvious that they are not really interested in changing (despite what they may “say”). And what’s worse is that they continue to speak death, not life, over their life and circumstances. It is fear, not faith, that drives their existence. For me – as someone whose heart and passion is discipleship – it is a discouragement. My heart grieves.
It also makes me angry. Not at them necessarily, but at the enemy who has been allowed access (whether through their own permission or by acting through someone else to bring that person pain). However, this is the image that pops into my head whenever I am feeling frustrated:
It was the image that popped into my head as I sat down to write, this morning.
I spoke at a women’s event a few years back and the message contained a lot of Scripture. Forty days worth, in fact. By the time I was done speaking forty days worth of God’s promises over the women, they were on their feet cheering and there were many tears. God’s Word was able to penetrate into the places of their heart and spirit that I could never go, no matter how much I loved those women. And for that moment, my heart swelled because I knew they heard from God.
And on the heels of that high, came the fall.
As I made my way around the room, visiting with my sweet sisters, many asked if the message was recorded or if the list of Scriptures would be made available. The message wasn’t recorded, but I said I would see what I could do about sharing a printed version of the verses the Lord had given me. I encouraged the women to get into the Word themselves, with God, and allow Him to speak His promises to them, directly. I pointed out that while ALL of His promises, in Christ, are yes and amen, sometimes there are certain ones that He highlights especially for us depending on what He wants to speak to us in that moment.
One woman said something to me that I will never forget. Something that is like a punch to the gut every time I remember it. She said, “Well, it’s just easier if you do it.”
That’s pretty much the last thing a disciple-maker wants to hear.
I attended a conference, last spring, and had the pleasure of having lunch with four amazing women of God. We came from different backgrounds, ethnicities and experiences…and all of us were in different places in our journey with God. But each brought an encouragement needed by one, or more, of the others. One woman shared something that she had heard, and it is something that made such an impression on me that I would like to pass it on.
When you (as a Christian) rely on someone else to bring you the Word or experience of God, it is much like asking someone else to be intimate with your spouse and then come back and tell you about it.
Just sit with that for a moment.
We should never give up meeting together or building one another up. We should always be there for each other to bring support, bare one another’s burdens and hold each other accountable. We need to come together to examine the Scriptures and discuss the deep mysteries of God. The Lord does provide teachers and studies to aid us in our understanding of the Word. So please hear me when I say I do not come against listening to, or reading, other’s studies or messages. I seek out godly teaching from trusted spiritual mothers and fathers. HOWEVER, if you rely ONLY on the fruit that comes from the intimacy that others have with God, then that is all you will get – someone else’s fruit. While you will reap some of the benefits of their time with God, you may miss out on what He wants to speak directly to YOUR heart through His Word. He longs for us to meet with Him in the secret place of intimacy, ourselves. That means bringing to Him our worship and thanksgiving; learning about Him through meditating on the Word and allowing the Holy Spirit to reveal to us God, Himself; and spending time talking with, and listening to, our Father in prayer.
Oh, how God loves us! He is always standing near, just waiting for us to look His way. Not because He needs anything from us, but simply because His heart is always toward us. Beloved, don’t let distractions get in the way of drawing near to the Father. Labor to pull down strongholds and to take every thought captive to the obedience of Jesus Christ. There is wisdom in His Word and the Holy Spirit is in you to bring revelation and to guide you into all Truth.
For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God. 2 Corinthians 1:20
His promises are yours. Go get them!
I did use the forty days of God’s promises in my first post on this site. It can be found in A Love Letter.
Thank you for bearing with today’s post. I would like to add that, even in the midst of frustration and heartbreak, God remains on the Throne. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. And my difficult morning doesn’t change what Jesus did for me or who I am, in Him. And in that, I am encouraged!
Have a blessed day…see you tomorrow!