Chosen

 

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A few months back, I was disappointed (but not surprised) to see that when I searched for “Motherhood” in my BIBLE app to find edifying plans on motherhood, the first ones that came up were named, or contained the following words: Overwhelmed, Mama Needs a Do-Over, Unsupermommy, and (Un)Natural Mom. One cannot help but notice the negative connotations associated with motherhood–and the lowly place it has been given, even in the church. (It hurts me to write that).

In my search for a plan, I was pleased to find a plan on motherhood at the wayyyyyy bottom of the list–called Chosen. A bit more fitting, if you ask me, and a bit more uplifting. And isn’t this what we are? Didn’t God, in His infinite wisdom, craft our children in our very wombs–each with a plan and purpose in His great story–and are we not chosen to love them, steward them, and lead them back to Him–the One in whose image they have been made? Were they not created by Him for love and relationship with Him? And weren’t we, as mothers, created to show them that?

Isn’t what we’re called to and created for a better thing to focus on than what is quickly and carelessly attributed to motherhood today? Has anyone ever broken free from their sin by walking in a sin-consciousness? NO–quite contrary. We become free from sin when we accept what He has done for us and realize we are already washed clean and set FREE. We are no longer bound to sin. In the same way, we do not take joy in our mothering by focusing on what the world says is wrong with it, or even by exalting our common struggles. We find freedom and joy in our mothering when we accept His plan and His design, along with His perspective on mothering and the blessing that children are. We find purpose and encouragement when we draw from the truths in His Word and not from the ways of culture. I heard a Godly woman once say, “In the absence of Biblical truth, people go the way of culture.” This couldn’t be more true–especially when it comes to motherhood today.

Let’s contrast some of the ways motherhood is depicted today with what scripture has to say about it. Culture often portrays motherhood as: burdensome, overwhelming, unrewarding, sub-par, less-than, and even ‘optional.’ I’ve felt this view point while being out in public with my three little ones. People are very quick to make comments like, “Wow, you’ve got your hands full,” (even as my children are behaving well). I’ve learned to respond by saying, “Yes–full of blessings!” And ironically, they are usually surprised by my positivity. People are quick to complain about children–and childish ways–as if they themselves bypassed that season of life. Perhaps people like this see children as a burden because–as children–they were made to feel like one. How did you feel as a child? How do you view and treat children? As a child, were you always made to feel too loud, too needy–maybe like you were always in the way? Is this how you see children today? Perhaps there is a correlation.

What does Jesus say about children? What was His attitude toward them? Biblically, motherhood is depicted as a blessing, reward, honor, and gift. And children, rather than being labeled as noisy, messy, hyper, and inconvenient, were noted for being purposeful, innocent, trusting, awe-struck, and–deemed worthy of our Savior’s time. Not only did Jesus stop to spend time with the children; He rebuked His disciples for their hardness and harshness toward them and used children as our model for how to enter His very kingdom!

God, our Creator, was very intentional in His design. He created children and all that comes along with childhood–and He considered it good. It was through a woman–and motherhood–that our Savior entered this world and was loved and stewarded during His early years of life. Jesus didn’t bypass childhood and enter the earth on the clouds as a full grown man. He certainly could have, but (for many reasons) He did not. He knows exactly what it’s like to BE a child, and experienced His own design by living out childhood and growing under the care of a loving mother and father–in submission to God the Father.

Why, as a culture, and even within the church, have we rejected that–the JOY that childhood brings, and the gift and beautiful, purpose-filled role that motherhood IS? How do we get back to celebrating these beautiful roles and relationships that our Creator has lovingly and intentionally designed? How do we reset and reshape the minds of culture on this? We begin with the church, and we begin in a place of prayer, repentance, humility, and study of His Word. We, personally, begin by LIVING OUT what we believe and allowing our light to shine on those around us–beginning with those in our homes! We begin by valuing and esteeming the homemaking work that He has CHOSEN us for! We begin by embracing the privilege we have, as women and mothers, to magnify the nurturing, all-sufficient attributes of His character–humbly reflected in US!! We begin by encouraging that next wearied mother we see, and affirming the importance of her work; we begin by taking the time to SEE children as they pass by and getting down on their level–to acknowledge them; we begin by speaking LIFE into the areas of motherhood and childhood alike; we begin by understanding that we’re training up the next generation; we begin by appreciating and celebrating these gifts from our Lord; we begin by joyfully celebrating our calling rather than living in self-indulgence, self-pity, and self-sacrifice mode, as if what we’re doing is a chore and not a CHOSEN work; we begin by rejecting the lies of this world and walking in the TRUTH; we begin by keeping our eyes off of ourselves, off of our neighbors, off of the world, and focused on HIM.

Sisters in Christ, let me encourage you–live CHOSEN today–because you ARE!

For further reflection and study in your time with HIM:

  • Mark 10:13-16
  • Matthew 18:2-5, 10
  • Titus 2
  • Proverbs 31:28
  • Psalm 127:3-5
  • Psalm 113:9
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Alabaster Life: Confronting a Judas Heart

30 pieces of silver       Alabaster Jar

What got my heart in reading Mark 14 stopped me in my tracks. I could read no further. It was a passage I’d read a hundred times and a story that we all know well: “…And Judas Iscariot, ONE OF THE TWELVE, went unto the chief priests, to betray Him unto them.” (Mark 14:10). There were many from [outside] who were constantly trying to trap Him and seize Him (example in Mark 14:1) but it was one [inside] who instigated His arrest and death.

This just got my spirit in a new way. Not only was Judas a follower of Jesus, but was an original [called] disciple–one who was privileged to spend intimate time with Jesus within His inner circle. One who [should have] known Him. Wherein lies the disparity? Was Judas constantly present in body, but disconnected in heart and spirit? Was he filled only with knowledge and experience, but never with understanding and surrender? Was he merely with Jesus without falling in love with Him? Is he a first-hand example of ‘religion?’ …An example of those who attend church weekly and even spend [what has the appearance of] intimate time with Him–through the reading of His Word and various commitments that put them in His ‘inner circle’ of followers–YET their hearts are far from Him? …Those who appear to have the knowledge and experiences of those who have been with Him, yet have not inwardly surrendered and fallen personally IN LOVE with Him? …Those whose personal agendas and gains are still front and center–to the point that Jesus is given up and sacrificed–for ’30 pieces of silver?’

What a stark contrast is demonstrated just verses earlier in Mark 14. Moments  before Judas leaves to betray Jesus, he witnesses one who outwardly demonstrates the inward affections of her heart by literally pouring out all she has upon Jesus: a true expression of love and surrender poured out of an alabaster jar. Could it be that this encounter of love and selflessness was the very thing that confronted the true condition of Judas’ heart? …And instead of seeing it as a beautiful and holy thing to aspire to, he despised it and rejected its implications? …That the fact that he was called by Jesus Himself frustrated him because that call required COMPLETE and WILLING surrender? How many are sitting in churches today–with the [appearance] of intimacy with Christ–yet inwardly despise a life of TRUE and SURRENDERED following? How many look down their noses at those around them who are pouring out their alabaster jars upon Jesus? …Giving up all of their earthly securities when they have opportunities to express LOVE for their Savior–and remembering that in His physical absence– He tells us that whatever we do unto the least of these, we do unto Him (Matthew 25:40). How many are going through all of the motions and in company with all of the right people, yet are ready to give Christ up for that next ’30 pieces of silver?’ –that next personal gain?

In Matthew 7:21-23, Jesus plainly warns,

“Not everyone that saith unto me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. MANY will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied [preached] in thy Name? and in thy Name have cast out devils [demons]? and in thy Name done many wonderful works?’ –And then I will profess unto them, ‘I NEVER KNEW YOU: depart from Me, ye that work iniquity.'”

Now I’m not sure about you, but these verses have always troubled me–because these are not those who sat passively in church, but those who were actively [DOING] all of the ‘right’ things–and in His very Name! But He says, “I never knew you.” Do you notice that in their list of ‘reasons’ for entering the kingdom of heaven, they do not say, “Lord, Lord, have we not LOVED You, and trusted You, and surrendered our lives for Your kingdom?”  Like Judas, these had the APPEARANCE of following–and even the experiences of those who truly followed–but lacked a burning love for Him that consumed them to the point of true and willing surrender.

Directly after giving these words of warning in Matthew 7, Jesus goes on to give a parable that depicts true following. After saying, “… I never knew you: depart from Me…” He says,

THEREFORE whosoever heareth these sayings of Mine and DOETH THEM, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it FELL NOT: for it was founded upon a rock.

And every one that heareth these sayings of Mine, and DOETH THEM NOT, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it FELL: and great [terrible] was the fall of it.” (Matthew 7:24-27)

A few things can be pulled from this passage: both men chose where to build their house. Both men faced the same storms. Only one house remained.

John 15:5 says,

“I am the Vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth [REMAINS] in Me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without [apart from] Me, ye can do nothing.”

Judas was ‘with’ Jesus, and heard all of His sayings, yet inwardly despised a woman who DID SOMETHING because she knew Him. She was moved to DO something–because she was affectionately attached to the Vine. She didn’t hold the alabaster jar tightly and ‘weigh the costs’ before pouring it ALL upon Jesus. Like the wise man, she had CHOSEN to build her house upon the Rock. She had no fear of the storms to come, because she knew Who she was founded upon.

Will you, like Judas, choose a sand foundation? Always clinging tightly because the storms easily move you? Always weighing the cost and looking for personal gain? Always around Jesus, yet unmoved by Him? Always despising those who pour out their lives for Him, as He poured out His for us? Always laughing and mocking ‘those people’ as too extreme? Do you, like Judas, have a sandy, gritty heart?

—OR—

Will you, like the woman, and the 11 other disciples, choose to be founded upon the Rock? Will you stand firm in the face of the storms? Will you REMAIN in Him because you love Him and there is NO cost too great to following Him? Will you be moved to ACTION because you’re not only with Him, but you KNOW HIM  so well that you LOOK LIKE HIM? Does your heart beat with His and desire what His desires? Are you KNOWN BY HIM? What will He say to YOU in that day? What is He saying to you now?

If your foundation is shaky and unsure, do not dismiss this moment to humble yourself before Him and allow Him to solidify it. Pray and ask Him to SO connect you to His Vine that you bear fruit in your life that only one connected to Him can. If you can admittedly say  that you’re not IN LOVE WITH HIM, ask Him to reveal Himself to you in a fresh new way that makes your heart and spirit burn within you.

Do not allow yourself to go through the religious motions–that merely carry appearance and lack MEANING. Do not surround yourself with ‘all the right people’ while being unaffected by the One in whose Name you all gather. Honestly ask yourself–is there anything you have or so want to receive that would allow you to betray Christ? Is the 30 pieces of silver Judas received representative of anything in your life? Perhaps you say, “Surely, I don’t identify with Judas!” Ask yourself this: Do you surround yourself with others who follow Christ while hoarding an alabaster jar? Maybe it’s not what you’d receive —like Judas– maybe it’s what you already have and that you’re unwilling to use for His glory.

Allow Him to examine your heart today and bring you into a place of complete and joyful surrender. Not because you should, or what might happen if you don’t, but because you LOVE Him. Do not miss the motivation behind the action. This woman did not pour it all out to be seen by others… or because Jesus saw the bottle and asked her to. She poured it all out because she loved Him and wanted to give Him everything she had– her very best and most treasured possession even. Some would say–based upon the price–that she gave Him her very future. Isn’t thisour very futures— what we should give Him–out of our love, devotion, and gratitude?

 

 

Rooted Revelations

Tree

I often feel like I’m striving because I’m trying to be the best mother, the best homeschool teacher, the best wife, the best friend; the best in each area–and [as expected] I feel like I can’t do it all and obviously fall short. I long to read and learn in each area–and this is with good intent–yet I still come up short.

When I look at the life of Jesus, I see no striving. He was not focused on being the best rabbi, best leader, most effective minister, etc… He was all of these things, but it was not because He had read all of the teachings of the revelations of the rabbis before Him, or because He had a goal to receive __x__ amount of followers. His interests were not divided. He operated out of who He WAS–which He received from time spent with His Father–seeking Him and knowing Him as intimately as possible. He was diligent in separating Himself in order to pray and receive from the only One who can truly GIVE. He did not dissect His life and work on each area separately–He simply WAS. He did not read all of the latest and greatest books, nor did the disciples. They operated solely upon time spent with the Father, experience in walking with the Son, and guidance from the Holy Spirit.

You will never walk in or impart something to those around you because you’ve studied it out through someone else’s experience or revelation. You may be able to speak knowledgeably about it and so impress another, but you will be unable to LIVE anything that you have not received first-hand from the LORD Himself. These gifts of understanding and heart change can only be received from the Giver in the secret place.

If I want to be a more patient mom, I will not be able to LIVE it by reading a book on mothering that describes the patient actions of a wise mother. Sure, this may give me some insight and good, practical ideas, but it will most assuredly become an act of striving to follow after the revelation of another that incited them to action. No, true patience in my mothering, that is consistent and lasting, will only be LIVED because I’ve spent time with the Patient One–and I’ve spent enough time with Him to know Him and intimately walk how He walks.

I am not condemning the reading of edifying books written by wise and Godly men and women… [after all, someone may somewhere be reading this] but what I am condemning is the deception that because someone else has received from Him and written about their revelation and experience that YOU will walk in what they have simply by reading their words and trying to imitate their words or experience. This is like reading about what someone else ate for breakfast or lunch and expecting it to nourish your own body! This is impossible! The only true and lasting nourishment you will receive will come directly from spending time with Him so that He can feed your soul exactly what you’re ready to receive. An infant is not fed solid foods, nor does an adult live on milk alone. The Giver and Nourisher of your soul knows exactly where you’re at and exactly what you need. Spending time with Him in prayer, worship, praise, [relational communion] will allow Him to tenderly feed your soul. Only when you’ve received it inwardly can you express it outwardly–in all sincerity and truth.

When the actions come from your inmost being, they do not come from a place of striving and efforts that often fail–they come from a place of exuding WHO [and Whose] you ARE–as simply as exhaling oxygen from your lungs. You are no longer attempting to bear fruit; you are a fruitful tree because you are ROOTED IN HIM. Only then does your fruit become a source of LIFE for others–because it’s come from the Source of Life Himself.

  • 1 Corinthians 3:2
  • Matthew 6:6
  • John 15:4-5

The Source

Cross Shaped Power Strip

A few months back, I awoke to all three of my small children up before 6:00 a.m. As my husband said goodbye and left for work, I could hear fighting and bickering out in the living room. I was feeling under the weather and wasn’t super excited about the routine tasks awaiting me. I was feeling… in need… before my feet had even hit the floor. This got me thinking about all of the many things we ‘need’ and where they are ultimately met: IN HIM. He began speaking to me that day about how He is The Source. This was a fundamental yet profound truth for my soul. My Heavenly Father wanted me to identify Him as The Source [the very Answer] for every need that I have.

What are you looking to to fulfill your current ‘need?’ Is it the next book…? The next design project…? The next diet…? The next relationship…? The next house…? The next car…? The next child…? The next job…? The next shopping spree…? The next compliment…? The next ministry opportunity…?

None of these things are inherently bad… In fact, they can certainly bring a form of happiness–but, it is a shadow of TRUE Fulfillment. Here’s the deal: After you read that good new book, you will search for the next one… After you redesign that room, you will want to do the next one… The next new outfit will get old… and you’ll search for the next one… That compliment will leave you longing for the next one… I think you get the point.

ALL true and lasting fulfillment and contentment comes from HIM.

1 Timothy 6:6 says, “…But Godliness with contentment is great gain.” Religious ‘godliness’ without relationship will leave you longing. Filling a chair on a Sunday will not sustain you. Reading the Word because you ‘should’ or you ‘have to’ will not inspire you. Do you know Him? Have you ever spent time with Him just to be with Him–the way you would with a close friend?

The Source of your joy beckons you,

“Come to Me, dear child. I long to spend time with you… to embrace you and reveal Myself to you in new ways… to provide you with all that you need. Take refuge IN Me; ABIDE; and you shall long for NO good thing.” 

[[There is not a single need we have that cannot be met in Jesus.]]

For your EVERY need ___________ He is The Source.

  • Financial             –> Provider
  • Sick                       –> Healer
  • Lonely                  –> Friend/Brother
  • Broken                 –> Redeemer
  • Sinner                  –> Savior
  • Confused            –> Counselor
  • Orphaned           –> Father
  • Scared                 –> Refuge/Fortress
  • Miracle               –> Able
  • Downcast          –> Lifter of Your Head
  • Searching         –> Truth
  • Doubting          –> Unchanging
  • Tired                  –> Sustainer
  • Unsure              –> Enough
  • Suicidal            –> Abundant Life
  • Disappointed –> Holder of Perspective

[[WHATEVER]] your need… Give it to Him today, friend.

Have you ever seen the battery symbol running low on your phone? You know what to do to get that battery full charged. You plug it in to a power source! Stop connecting yourself to things that can’t charge your soul! Plug-in to HIM! He longs to be The Source for your every need, and is the Only One who will truly satisfy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Take My Hand

Holding Hands

Cherished One,

Do not live to please others.  Live only to please Me.  I extend to you My righteous right hand—take hold of it and realize that you are seated with Christ in the heavenly realms.  By trying to please others you are kept from focusing on Me and what I expect from you.  I expect you to take hold of My hand and TRUST Me.  Allow Me to guide you throughout your day—without ever letting go of My hand.  In doing this, you will continually be in My Presence; you will remain in Me.  You may struggle with this at times—knowing that you are only left to accomplish tasks one-handed—but remember—when you are weak, then you are strong.  Yes, this requires you to relinquish control.  I know this is tough for you, My Dear One.  If you are in control, you are not fully trusting Me.  I am Trustworthy, Faithful, and True (and I have a track-record to prove it!) Feel free to ask Moses, Daniel, Joshua, Abraham—need I go on?

Stop over-analyzing everything—I have not given you a spirit of confusion or a spirit of fear.  In Me, you are gifted with power, love, and sound mind.  Do things that require steps of faith—because when you step out, I am right there with you—holding your hand.  We encounter every situation together.  You are NEVER alone.  You have continued access to My powerful and mighty right hand.  It is My hand that will accomplish everything as we journey together.  You need only to hold on.  Feel free to use your available hand to praise Me, with a thankful heart, for all that I am doing in and through your life.

 

Remain in Me and I will remain in you–always.

Love,

♥Abba 

Ephesians 2:6 •Isaiah 41:10 •2 Corinthians 12:10 •2 Timothy 1:7 •John 15:4 •Deuteronomy 31:6 

 

 

 

 

Personal Revelation

Headache

I’ve finally pin-pointed my lifelong internal struggle: I am not the kind of person who likes to “learn as I go.” I prefer to ‘know’/master a thing ahead of time, and then pursue/conquer/succeed. This creates anxiety and a lack of perseverance in my life. If I get going at [a thing] and then determine it could have been executed in a better way, or is not being done properly [by my standards] then I want to give up. I believe I have failed.

I don’t desire to LEARN [in life] although I love learning [in general]. I see everything through a continual lens of pass/fail or right/wrong. I am not okay with my perceived ‘weakness’ and am so aware of my own shortcomings that I’d rather, in fact, give up than keep trying or even compensating! I know that in my weakness HE is made strong…but it is an internal struggle that wishes for me to be strong on my own!

Why?! I KNOW the Truth! Lord… Continue to reveal… Show me how to live differently! I have humbled myself before You so many times…! At least [I thought] I had. Perhaps I was broken…but not truly humble?

Ah… Humility is required of teachability!!! YES–thank You, Lord!

It’s interesting that a mentor asked me a few months back to think about what humility really meant. I began noticing every scripture reference in regards to this [Thank You, Holy Spirit!] and today You reveal the link between humility and teachability–a WILLINGNESS to learn; an acceptance of ‘less than’ perfection… Knowing that life is a process and it will not ALL be right/mastered etc…TODAY.

It’s like I’m constantly trying to be two steps ahead—to be in control. I give it a positive spin—I call it foresight… But am I not exalting myself into the position of the One who IS Timeless? Exalting myself as God—with my hand on all things… expecting to yield a specific outcome—instead of trusting what He gives? Having the “mind of Christ” [1 Corinthians 2:16] does not mean that have all the answers, but I know the One who does—and I can trust Him.

He reveals bit by bit. Manna bites. The Israelites were given what they needed for the DAY. Who are we to expect WHOLE loaves?! Is this not spiritual gluttony—PRIDE? Give us, give ME, my DAILY bread. Show me what you want me to learn TODAY, LORD, and help me see You and give thanks in ALL of it.

This is an entry from my personal journal written today, and I share this because my [former] disposition has robbed me of SO much joy…and I invite you to walk and journey with me in trusting Him and embracing a posture of humility that is teachable and joyfully FREE!

~Susan

Love Letter

Love letter image

Dear Friends,

If either of you came to my door, I would invite you in. I would offer you a cup of cold water or perhaps some coffee or tea. I would take your coat and encourage you to have a seat. I would ask about your day and about your family–and genuinely care.

You wouldn’t know this–but I have been spending much time in prayer for each of you!! Asking God to soften your hearts and reveal Himself to you.

In my home, I would treat you with the utmost respect–as members of my own family; as those also made in His image. I would show you great hospitality and generosity–asking nothing in return.

I would share words of Truth–speaking about your value and God’s great love for you…

For this, one of you would call me an intolerant bigot and wish to silence me, fine me, or imprison me. The other would wish to have my head–literally.

How this breaks my heart–and the heart of my Father–our Father. We are all brothers and sisters–children made by Him and for Him. How He longs for you to know The Truth–to know Him…because Truth is a person. I don’t just want you to hear another version of ‘the truth’ I want you to know The Truth!

Let’s sit down and chat awhile… speaking of His great love for each of us. His heart is for  you–and I am simply a messenger of His heart… I speak The Truth in love, not in judgement. For I, like Paul, was chief among sinners–and I long to see you set free in the same way I was set free: By getting to know our Savior and our Father; by experiencing the transformation of His Holy Spirit living within us and changing us from the inside out. This not of ourselves, but of Him–because His yoke is easy and His burden is light! He is our Strength and our Shield!

You see, He is not against you… and I am not against you. But there is one who is against you…and against me… One who seeks to divide, conquer, kill, and destroy… To bring unnecessary questions, grief, heartbreak, shame, condemnation, and death. He wishes to blind, confuse, conflict, control, and overtake you. To keep you in bondage and lead you into captivity now and forever.

But this… not so with our Father. He is Loving, Gracious, and Kind. He is Merciful and Forgiving. He is Faithful and True. He longs for you to love Him in the same way that He loves you. That’s all that He’s ever wanted–since the day He breathed life into dust and made man. As those made in His image–a glorious privilege given to no other form of His creation–He has given the ability to choose. To choose Him, or reject Him. And how the latter breaks His heart! So much so that He sent His only Son; wrapped Him in skin and sent Him into our broken world; our fallenness–to bear our burdens and die in our place! The very death that we deserved!

In that moment, all Heaven rejoiced with Him as He declared:

“I LOVE YOU!”

“My dear children… Do not continue to needlessly suffer under the deception of the Prince of this World. He is defeated and you are free! I paid for you–with the blood of My Son! Do you not see it…? The great extent that I went to–to buy you back? I knew that you could not do this yourself–and I love you too much to give up on you! Please love Me–because I first loved you! Do you still not know? Do you still not believe? Don’t choose death, dear child! Choose life–it’s FREE! Paid for by Me–so that we can have the relationship I’ve always wanted–the one you long for and search for in many people and many things… It’s in Me, dear child! This, by My design–for Our good! We are a Family! Father, Son, Holy Spirit–and Our children–with all of creation to enjoy forever–in perfect love, peace, and harmony! Please choose this–choose Truth! Choose Life! Choose Me–as I have chosen you!”

Dear Friends–this is the message I wish to bring. It is The Truth about how Love won–years ago, when blood poured out on a tree–for the redemption of you and me. For reconciliation–for true relationship–for our forever family. I will speak the heart of our Father to you–not because I judge you–but because I love you–and He loves you. God is Love.

Be Blessed,

Your Sister in Christ,

~Susan 

LIFE Potential

Welcome, spring!

Oh, how I love this weather! I have to admit, about a month back I wasn’t too excited about setting the clocks ahead and losing an hour of sleep during a week of illness for our family… I wasn’t thrilled about the warm–wait–cold-again-weather… I felt guilty about being the kind of mom who kept my kids from jumping in mud puddles… BUT, [narrow perspective] aside, the LORD reminded me what spring is really about.

What right now looks like death in the aftermath of winter has LIFE-potential written all over it.

trees

Trees that appear brown and brittle are only a series of moments away from birthing fresh, green leaves. Fields that look like barren wasteland will soon be worked to turn over rich soil — ready for the scattering of seed. LIFE-potential. Yes, spring is upon us. God gives us spring. NEW LIFE. Transformation. A yearly [picture] reminder of what Christ has done for each one of us! Places that appear dead and dry–or just plain weary–produce NEW LIFE… Trees will begin to bear fruit–each according to its kind. And it has always been this way. Right there from the beginning in Genesis 1:12, “The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds.” AND God saw that it was good. It was good to see LIFE effortlessly springing forth. No straining. No striving. No trying. No doing. No struggle. No questioning what should become of this seed or that. Plants and trees bore seeds and fruit according to their kind. 

And so it is with those born of Christ. Jesus says in John 12:24, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” He was speaking to His disciples about the plentiful harvest of NEW LIVES that would come forth as a result of His death and resurrection. Those born of Christ are of His Seed. As those born of Him, we bear fruit according to His kind. We exchange the shameful identity as those born of Adam’s seed and take on the newness of life as those born of Christ’s seed! 1 Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! We bear the fruit of transformation; the fruit of the Spirit. As those born of Adam, it was natural to produce fruit of the flesh. [Remember–each according to its kind]. BUT, as those born of Christ, we bear HIS life-giving fruit. As those who remain IN HIM, (John 15:5) we can effortlessly bear HIS fruit. No straining. No striving. No trying. No doing. No struggle. Just the natural by-product of those born of His Seed who remain in relationship with Him and are nourished by the Vine.

It is also encouraging to know that sometimes God breathes LIFE into the least likely places; places that we may not even realize that seed has been scattered; places we may not have even deemed worthy to scatter seed. The other day, I noticed a small [and random] group of flowers standing proudly amidst a large number of rocks at the front of our house. It’s likely that seed had somehow been dropped and sown into the underlying soil from some plants that had hung just above the rocks the previous year.

flowers

Who would have known that such a quiet and seemingly uneventful exchange had taken place? Yet, God used this exchange, these scattered seeds–to bring forth LIFE–in such an unexpected place. We ought to count it a joy and a privilege to sow seed wherever we go. 1 Corinthians 3:7 reminds us that, “It’s not important who does the planting, or who does the watering. What’s important is that God makes the seed grow.” God WILL bring the increase. Even in soil covered and surrounded by rocks.

Dear friends, be encouraged! We serve a God who specializes in tapping LIFE-potential. A God who transforms that which is ugly, broken, bruised, hopeless, bleak, weary, withered, worn, or even undiscovered. In this season, allow the words of the LORD in Isaiah 43:19 to nourish your soul: “For I am about to do something NEW. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.”

When you look around and see only that which has the appearance of death, do not lose hope. Trust the work that is being done by the Creator of spring; the Gardener of your soul; the God who breathes LIFE.

Sharing From the Heart… For Such a Time As This

It is with exhilaration (and maybe an ounce of sheer terror, if I’m being honest) that I launch into the world of blogging. (Exhilaration because I’m walking in obedience to something the Lord has been calling me to do for years now… And sheer terror because of the writer-induced-agony that comes with sharing publicly the most vulnerable and sacred things revealed to my heart). I have never had some great desire to join the world of blogging, but what I DO have is a desire and an urgency to see the Truth of God’s Word come alive to thirsty readers everywhere. It is my prayer that God will use this as a place where you can return from time to time and journey along with me in receiving (and acting upon) whatever Truth He intends to speak to our hearts, “For He satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things.” (Psalm 107:9)

It is fitting that I am launching wholeheartedly into this endeavor during Purim (March 4th and 5th this year)–a Jewish celebration that commemorates the bravery of Queen Esther and the deliverance of the Jewish people from a wicked man who was plotting their annihilation. Through bold and courageous acts, Esther risked her life to save her people, the Jews. Esther’s cousin (and surrogate father) Mordecai, incited her to action with these often quoted words from Esther 4:14, “For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?”

FOR SUCH A TIME AS THIS.

God has created each of us for a plan and a purpose and it is His desire that we rise up and walk in the fullness of ALL that He has for us. At a time when we are seeing more biblical prophesies being fulfilled than ever before, and signs and wonders are being displayed in the heavens as promised–this is a call to action for God’s people. This blog is a small part of my contribution as one in a much needed Esther Generation: those rising up for such a time as this. I urge you to seek the Lord and walk in whatever it is that He is calling you to without delay.

In early February I was reading through the Parable of the Talents in Matthew 25. In short, this is a parable about a man who entrusted three servants with differing amounts of money–referred to as talents. Two of the servants immediately put their talents to use and yielded a return on their investments. Ironically, the servant given the least–just one talent–does nothing with it. He says the following, “…So I was afraid and went out and hid your talent in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.” He gives his master back nothing more than the talent he had originally been given. A return of untapped potential. I had read this story dozens of times, but the thing that struck me in this reading was the motivation behind the servant’s inaction: FEAR. God wants us to be good stewards of what we’ve been given and work to multiply it! NOT fear and hide! Within a week of the Holy Spirit shedding light on this for me, my pastor preached the very same message concerning this in church that Sunday. God speaks clearly. Fear can be immobilizing. Often times people would rather do nothing than do something and risk failure–or even just failed expectations.

I can attest to this very thing–and it was one of the many reasons (including lack of time, perfectionism, and the list could go on) that I did not incite myself to action in writing the very things God has prompted me to write. Nearly two years ago, I circled 1 Thessalonians 5:24 in prayer concerning my writing: “The One who calls you is faithful and HE will do it.” I am asking God to forgive me for the ‘lost time’ and receiving His grace in knowing that He has refined and prepared me during the self-imposed period of waiting.

It is at this time that I implore you to join me in using your God-given-talent. Using your talent–whatever it may be– is your contribution to the Kingdom for such a time as this. Do not deem the talent you’ve been given as ‘insignificant’ or ‘less than’. God is the Giver of ALL talents. Do not allow fear to immobilize you. “Fear Not”  is the most frequently given command in the Bible. The only thing we are instructed to fear is the Lord–and this is a reverent, life-giving, action-inducing, holy fear. An obedient fear that brings blessings–because we are allowing Him to accomplish through us what He has called us to! The One who calls you is faithful and HE will do it. I earnestly desire to hear the words, “Well done, good and faithful servant!” someday–and I’m sure that you long to hear the same. This requires that our talents be put to use!

Feel free to comment and share how you are joining with me in walking out what God has called YOU to!

LIVE the Truth,

~Susan