My son limped into the kitchen unleashing small screams. He looked like a dog with a crippled leg and whined like Poodle just freed from a jammed doggy door. Needless to say, any enjoyment, quiet or solitude that comes with morning coffee left, quickly. “I can’t walk. I can’t….mommy!”
All 40-pounds of him appeared, stumbled and reached out for me in agony.
I didn’t move, just smiled and said, “Good, Michael, God is answering your prayers.”
Now before you think I’m the most insensitive mom out there, which at times, I can be, let me tell you: Kid’s been praying for strength. He’s also spent hours the day before playing at a jump-zone, a rough and tumble get-all-your energy-out kid playground of the indoor variety. Kid was plain-and-simple – sore.
Often, when we pray for strength, we’re shocked by the means in which we get it.
I explained to him how muscles tear when pushed physically, but how they repair stronger. They’re torn, so they may be rebuilt with more power.
Likewise, when we pray for growth, strength or to look like Christ, we’re often torn in order to be rebuilt with more power.
What tears are you experiencing today? What might be breaking for God’s remaking?
Be not discouraged, the tearing starts the rebuiliding. What he’s pulling on, will become more beautiful in time. What He’s doing is not to hurt you, but to help you. What strength you’ve prayed for, is likely in process.
We can’t see it in the moment, because, in the moment, is a test of sorts, kind of like this:
(Jesus) said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?” He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do. John 6:5-6
Jesus was building Philip’s faith muscle. He tested it to see if it was strong and then, by multiplying loaves and fish, he ripped his disbelief and made it whole.
He’s likely doing that with us too.
What might God be calling you to believe in?
Inviting you to see?
Tearing so he can make it even bigger, bolder and better for his name?
Someone sitting on a couch of complacency, who now grabs a remote more than the Word of God, whose heart feels let down by God – needs to hear this. It is why I am dedicating this blog post to this very person.
Get back up again.
You have not been forgotten. You’ve not been left behind. Just because you’ve pulled away, does not mean that God is pulling away from you. He’s not. He’s pulling even closer. He’s chasing you down, pursuing you, on this very blog page. He’s letting you know that he sees. He sees your tightly clenched jaw. He sees the way you’re shying away from talking to him. He sees your insides that ache. He sees your loss. Your grief. Your shame. He sees your feelings that say – I cannot continue.
He knows when you lay down or when you get up. He’s got every single move, all your thoughts, all your ways and all your actions in his hands. He’s deeply familiar with you (Ps. 139:1-2).
You are not outside His vision. You have not journeyed to wild places where God doesn’t exist, lost friend. That’s impossible! It’s simply impossible to go where he isn’t. He’s everywhere.
I look behind me and you’re there,
then up ahead and you’re there, too— your reassuring presence, coming and going. Ps. 139
It’s about here, you say: But, Kelly, it’s my shame that keeps me from him. I feel too embarrassed. I’ve gone too far away now, you say.
I say, no one is ever too far for God. We were far, but now are close. Jesus dropped from the paradise of heaven to hit the grime- and stink-laden earth. Why? He came close so we don’t have to live far forever. He took our shame and owned it, to annihilate forever shame. His body broke, so ours could be repaired, restored and renewed according to his glorious riches. He felt agony, so we could learn peace. Jesus cried out so one day we will cry no more, our every tear will be wiped away by Him.
My friend, when you’re in Him, you’re in righteousness – not temporary, but permanent; not moody, but consistent; not dependent on you, but independent of you. He is in you. Period.
Remind yourself of these 3 things:
1. It is done.
2. It is finished.
3. I am secure today and tomorrow, in this minute and the next, in this situation or the next.
When we remember Jesus won our security, we can, once again, get up in victory.
Then Jesus said to him,
“Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” Jo. 5:8
Friend, pick yourself up and walk. You’re not as incapacitated as you’ve told yourself. You’re not as sick as you want to believe. You’re not as ruined as circumstances say. You’re not as done as the enemy says. Forget all that…
Walk, I say! Walk, He says!
Enough is enough, because God is enough. What He gives is enough.
And, time is awastin’, days are a progressin’ yet, better said, God’s love endures forever. It is behind you, with you and moving for you. Go with it. Head to the great places He’s prepared in advance for you. Don’t miss the chance! Step in! Grab Jesus. You’ll come alive in ways you’ve never experienced on your safety mat. Get up!
***Bloggers…When I wrote this, I felt sure there was someone who desperately needed this message. Perhaps it is one of your readers. I pray we reach that person so their heart can be restored in truth, love and security. May your heart feel blessed too. Much love to you all!
I sat in the group. I remember it clear as day. She thinks I’m a know it all, a God-goody two shoes, a high and mighty bible thumper.
My shoulders tucked under, my eyes looked down, I almost immediately clammed up, turning into myself and away from them.
There’s no use in being me because being me – is far too much for them. I am coming across too strong, so I need to appear more weak. Appear weak, and they’ll like you. They’ll want you. You won’t intimidate them or throw them off because of your intensity, strength or willingness. You’ll pacify everyone and then you can go and eat that brownie after the group, hungry for it. But, hollow and empty on the inside.
Do you ever hide yourself to appease others? Restrain who you are to make sure others aren’t put off?
It happened again to me yesterday. She’s going to be jealous when she hears about this. Should I not do it? Brush it under the carpet and pretend it isn’t happening? Out of guilt, respond to her with some sort of sundae-with-a-cherry-on-top offering that will make her smile again?
Do you ever confuse serving others with taking care of them because of your own guilt?
Guilt makes a woman do all sorts of nasty stuff, things that God never assigned her to do. She gives up a part of herself. She gets involved in the constant cycle of thinking about others emotions. She signs away her dreams to makes sure others pick up theirs. She forgets about God’s heart to care for others and thinks she’s the Good Shepherd.
God is the only Good Shepherd. He calls us to care for people from a place of love, not guilt. Why?
Because actions out of obligation lead to destruction:
How do you know if you’re operating from a place of guilt and not love? If you’re leaving behind God’s calling to remediate someone else’s, you’re on the wrong path. If you’re trying to fix someone’s problems to make your own heart feel happy again, you’re on the wrong path. If you’re coming to the rescue of people who feel insecure, and your changing your identity to meet them, you’re on the wrong path. This is a guilt-offering, not a God offering, nor a good offering.
Love instead, works like this:
God, in his timing and in his way, will take care of them.
He’ll instruct me on the way I should go.
I am not the manager, fixer or orchestrator of others’ feelings.
Often the best way to love is to make space for God to swoop in with his rescuing love.
Not everyone was happy with Jesus, even when he did God’s will, not everyone will be happy with me.K
Sometimes the higher calling is the low road, where discomfort is.
God leaves behind no one and he won’t leave me behind as I am true to who he’s created me to be.
I can follow through on God’s callings, no matter what others think, say or do.
I can say no.
I can be true to who God created me to be.
I can go my own way, have my own opinion and stand firm.
I can relax and love as God calls me to, rather than how my insides demand I do.
What would our life look like if we were unhinged from having to tie up everyone’s shoelaces? Would we then allow ourselves the ability to look up and see God’s unique callings?
How might we thrive? How might we minister rather than manipulate? How might love grow within us then bloom so that many can be changed by its beauty?
Especially this week, with husband out of town and toddler girl waking nightly seeing “bad things”, repeatedly, nearly every hour – I am tired. It didn’t help she came down with pink eye, the mysterious condition that makes your eyes seep out goo that should only be reserved for icky monsters on kid cartoons. Needless to say, the goo spoke saying, “Get her to urgent care ASAP.”
Which was almost impossible because it was nearly blizzarding and pelting ice like hockey pucks. But, not entirely impossible, so we pulled on winter gear, slushed through the mush and made it, unscathed, to 3 urgent care locations. Closed. Each and every one of them. Closed. Closed. Closed.
I considered laying my head on the horn, making a SUV tribal sound, indicating to the world, “Rescue me.” I didn’t. I knew no one would come.
Upward and onward!!! Moms don’t give up. We got her meds.
Then, I got pink eye. Then, Madison got a mysterious fever only showing up during the hours of school. She got banned for 24 hours from returning. I got frustrated because every single mission I am trying to work on is getting thwarted. Every moment of time I have to do great things, is getting stolen. Every dream I am pursuing is becoming ruined by sickness and no sleep and storms and people and…the whole world is buckling, it is falling down on the sides. The box is breaking and I can’t hold it up. It isn’t listening!!!
Did I mention, I feel weak?
Jesus says, “Our flesh is weak.” (Mt. 26:41)
He knows how it goes.
He also says our “spirit is willing.” (Mt. 26:41)
“Spirit” in this case is the Greek word pneuma, our own soul or mind.
In translation, this means: Our flesh is weak and our mind is willing. Or better said, our flesh is weak and our mind tries…
Our mind tries, just like the disciples’ minds probably tried. They tried to stay awake, I’m sure, but, they didn’t. They fell asleep in Jesus’ hour of need. Jesus returned to find them, not praying and watching, but asleep – again.
I think if Jesus returned to find me, he’d find me, not praying, but weak to his power in my life.
That thought scares me.
But, what wakes my true Spirit up in me, not the try-hard, die-hard, spirit in me, is this: “I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being,so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.” (Eph. 3:16-17)
When I get in the posture of prayer, I can awaken my Spirit of Faith. God wants to pour out revival in my own soul. He wants to replenish what is depleted. He wants to overpower my spirit with His. And this, returns me to power. It awakens me to purpose. It reminds me: My flesh is weak, my spirit is willing, but His Spirit is alive, moving and activating things that need tending to in my life.
Will you let God in?
Perhaps you join me today and pray this simple prayer: God, I pray out of your riches, you strengthen me with power through your Spirit in my inner being. Father, I want Christ to dwell in my heart through faith. You are the only answer when everything seems impossible. You are the only answer when I feel I can’t. You are the answer when everything goes wrong. My spirit is willing. My flesh is weak. Increase the power of your Spirit within me and by decrease my spirit response, so that I might live full of faith and full of you as I go through my day. In Jesus’ Name, Amen
A few weeks ago, I told you about a flower that got pulled out by the bulb. I replanted it.
I also told you how, I believe, the enemy wants nothing greater than to pluck out the bulb of our faith. Deep truth in fertile soil only survives.
We talked about this…we pondered those beautiful flowers.
So, everything was fine and dandy, until, snow got in the forecast. Until, my beautiful budding beauties were about to clobbered by a mega snowstorm.
Then, my heart started up again. Worrying like I do. About – flowers?!
What?! While most worry about finances, pension funds, and pilgrimages to far away lands, here I am – worrying about flowers!? While other people are fretting about unsaved folk, disaster planning due to health catastrophes and pleading coverage for substance abuse therapy – here I am worrying about petals – yet, again?!
Normally, I’d silently call myself stupid! and call it a day. But, not today.
Today, I’ve learned to create space for what God is speaking. The Spirit is always working, ever-counseling and constantly grabbing for the attention of our hearts and mind. Will I listen? Will you?
No matter what they all think? No matter how stupid we look or feel?
By not listening, just think of all we miss: How much we deny ourselves. How we look past what God is doing, because we feel we have to be on this hamster wheel of progress, schedule and monotony. How we think we are running after the right stuff, only to find out chasing urgent is all wrong.
Do not deceive yourselves. If any of you think you are wise by the standards of this age, you should become “fools” so that you may become wise. 1 Cor. 3:18
I consider those flowers in the snow. And, when it is snowing, I give them a second glance on the way to the car.
Their little yellow noses pop up from under the white blanket of freezing. I smile at them.
Then, I think, what God wants me to see. It comes: They are closed.
Before, when they were in light and warmth the petals were open. Picture-ready flowers.
Yet, now, while being battered by ice, snow and wind they are closed. Closed and shuttered for a non-tropical hurricane. There’s no getting in.
I hold on to the message given to me, as if it is a clue for Kelly Balarie as she traverses this dangerous world. It’s this: When the high winds of the world come (and they will!), close your shutters and pull in close to God.
He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. Ps. 91:4
It works like this:
When you feel frazzled because you aren’t dazzling the world,
shut out the show and slow things down.
When people are speaking at you from five different sides,
shut off the voices and find His voice of peace.
When life keeps telling you, you’re no good,
shut off the messages and read God’s Word.
When social media reminds you you’re a step short,
shut off the computer’s power and rest in His power.
When you feel as weak as a woman one day short of death,
shut down, be still and know that He is God.
When everything and then everything goes wrong,
shut off negativity and ask for God’s objectivity.
When you feel stupid for doing something,
shut off your inner-voice to see if God’s voice is calling you deeper still.
When you remember all them laughing,
slam shut the memory and open up truth:
you can do exceedingly abundantly more than you ask or imagine.
When you’re afraid you’ll fail, shut out doubt.
Just as God feeds the birds, He’ll feed us. Just as God protects the flowers, He makes way for us to protect our hearts.
Life, no doubt, lives like war. Daily, we wake, and don’t know what attack might come our way. We don’t know if we might get that phone call, if our small health issue may turn into a big problem or if we may hit a relational snag that leaves us knot-tied for weeks.
We wake up. Usually, we blindly head into it.
I don’t know about you, but a lot of days, I feel like I wake vulnerable, open for attack and easily knocked down. The battles move so fast, some days, it is hard to get ahead of them. It is hard be be one step faster or to create a battle plan, especially when you don’t know what is coming.
But, lately, I’ve been thinking much about moving from defensive faith to offensive faith. I think the stance makes all the difference.
A defensive faith stance is:
– Waking and going through the motions
– Reading God’s Word in the morning then going into the day
– Praying when troubles hit
– Asking people to help you when you are in a serious ditch
– Acknowledging God when something really great happens in your life
An offensive faith stance is:
– Waking and proclaiming God’s truths over your life (God is with me, for me, above me, before me…)
– Moving God’s word from your head to your heart by dwelling on it throughout the day
– Praying perpetually, in the car, in your house, in your free time.
– Having a team of people to support your faith walk. Knowing they will check in on you.
– Praising God as you see his glory through your day.
– Thanking God continually for all you have.
A Christian on offense moves into the battlefield not only able to withstand war, but ready to win. They see not only what is coming against them, but they are prepared with a tactical plan to love, when usually they’d be prone to fear. It changes their eyesight. Rather than being a pawn they are now a son or daughter of the King, one loved, provided for and helped along the way. They are an active force of good on the spiritual game board of good and evil. God knows they are ready, I believe. He sees their faith and willingness to prepare. He rewards them for seeking him diligently.
This person understands, it is not their own willpower that wins, it is not their mindset that overcomes, but it is the blood of Jesus that won for them. In humility, they stand under God so that he can move over their lives and into the lives of others.
This kind of person proclaims: Blessed be the Lord my Rock, who trains my hands for war, and my fingers for battle – my lovingkindness and my fortress, my high tower and my deliverer, my shield and the One in whom I take refuge, who subdues my people under me.” (Psalm 144:1)
A wise old owl lived in an oak The more he saw the less he spoke The less he spoke the more he heard. Why can’t we all be like that wise old bird?
– Edward Hersey Richards
His big, dense, coal eyes looked at me. And, I looked at him.
What does he see – in me?
In him? I saw wisdom: Eyes in no rush to move. A being okay with being. A head made up of regal feathers of grey and white.
He was caged, contained, but still, somehow, he appeared content. Our gaze connected us, yes, but what bothered me was – he seemed to know something. In all his wisdom, was he on to something I could not see?
I walked away from his cage, but in the end, all I wanted to do was return. When I did, his branch was empty and while I peered through the fence for him, he wasn’t so easy to spot.
There he is! The owl of wisdom. He’s in the back of the cage.
But almost as soon as I found him, I realized something I’d missed all along. There was another owl, right next to him. I hadn’t seen him, not even one bit.
I gazed deeper now, wondering if my eyes were still betraying me…
I love those who love me, and those who seek me find me. Prov. 8:17
The harder I looked, the more I saw: There was a 3rd owl, right next to the first two.
Blessed are those who listen to me, watching daily at my doors, waiting at my doorway. For those who find me find life and receive favor from the Lord.
Could there be more? Should I keep looking? Search harder? I did: another one, a 4th one was right before my very eyes!
How are my eyes deceiving me?
How much more do I miss in life?
Often wisdom is right before our eyes, but we can’t see it.
We think wisdom is much like everything else in this world. We think it will just show up like a boxed up UPS deliver on our doorstep. But, guess what? It doesn’t work like that.
Wisdom isn’t something we trip over. It’s something we’ll miss if we don’t seek it. It is something we’ll step past if don’t pursue it. It is something we won’t find if we don’t hunt for it.
Wisdom, we must pursue.
Because, often wisdom is camouflaged in our environment, in the environment of the world. Just as I couldn’t see the owls, often we can’t see wisdom because we are: too distracted, too worried, too rushed, too preoccupied, too concerned about people, too critical or too annoyed.
But those who fail to find me harm themselves; all who hate me love death. Prov. 8:36
And, with this, as far as I can see, I believe we have two paths – a way of wisdom or a way of destruction. We have a way of seeking or a way of delusion. We have a way of wonder or a way of wreckage.
God doesn’t make it hard for us to seek wisdom, to find it under the cover of our world, to glean it out of our places of uncertainty, he simply says to ask him for it…
“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” Ja. 1:5
Pop Quiz: What is a very small thing in size that has a gigantic impact regarding the direction of your life?
Clue: It moves, kind of flippantly, up and down.
Got it yet?
This should help: “Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell.” James 3:3-6
It can speak liberty or captivity that sinks a heart.
It can speak faith or fear that you’ll always live in the basement and never get anywhere in life.
It can tell you you’ll be stuck in that dead-end job with a boss you hate or
it can profess glory, glory, glory and holy, holy, holy!
It can rip a person apart and spit them out like day old coffee or
it can savor the goodness of others and remind them of it with an intentional word of kindness.
It can blabber about a person who never should have taken your parking space like that,
a family member who is so wrong, an insensitive and unthoughtful husband,
or it can cut through the tension and speak aloud every virtue of God.
It can send you into high places, with high people to confess high things of importance,
or it can keep stuck in the gutter, speaking a whole litany of unholy words that keep you unhappy.
It can halt its movement and literally change the density of another’s heart,
moving a person from defensive to receptive in an instant.
How do you use your tongue?
I can almost hear you all glaring back at me, saying, “Well, Kelly, how do you use your tongue?”
Not so well, friends. This lesson, and every lesson I write, really, is for me because, much more than dwelling on the immensity of God, I taste and swallow negativity. I constantly internally talk about the ways I’m failing to make good meals, spend enough time with the kids before bedtime and open up the door to my husband when he arrives home with a smile and thoughtful motives, like not bombarding him with the daily happenings at first sight of his brown hair. I, then, throw out words, like daggers, because I feel bad about myself.
It’s not easy.
The problem is, my tongue likes to go. My mouth wants to speak, incessantly. My complaints, grievances and objections are many. It is very hard to shut the trap when it wants to catch something wrong, and, golly day, and fix it with my words.
But, fault-pointing words usually fix nothing. And, all they end up trapping is me – in dejection, demotivation and frustration. Get me out of here – I’m stuck!!!
“Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.” Prov. 18:21
By looking deep into this verse, it appears, just as much as my words can get me stuck in a rut – or kill me, they can also lift me out of ruts, and feed me. I like that. I like the idea my words can literally provide me sustenance, food and energy. I like that by changing the course of my words, I can change the course of my life. I can move into into go-mode, into vision and into purpose that surpasses my own thoughts, limitations and plans.
5 Ways to Use Your Tongue to Change the Course of Your Life (for the better):
Constantly speak what is excellent, true, pure, good, right, honorable, admirable, praiseworthy (Phil. 4:8). If it doesn’t fall in one of those categories, carry it on over to the trash can and dispose of it. It should be taken to the dump instead of coming out of your mouth like a stinky mess bound to hurt you and leave you overwhelmingly frustrated that your life doesn’t look better.
Let Praise Be Your Chatter. If you lift God up with your tongue, you’ll lift your mind up too. It is natural. You can’t be acknowledging the magnificence and the righteousness of God and still be stuck in a hole. He grabs you and pulls you up to heavenly perspectives when you do some fine-tuning.
Say thanks. Thank you that you have great plans for me, God. Thank you, husband, you are so thoughtful. Thank you, children, you are listening so well. Thank you, self, you are giving your whole heart to speaking carefully and intentionally. Thank you, world, I have such a great opportunity not to react, but to reach out to you and share Jesus
Speak humility. Best said, this means letting the voice of Jesus go before you. It means letting his heart be your words. It means letting his holy verses take flight so they come shooting out of your mouth before your own perceptions or intentions rule you (I know, not easy!). But, it is possible. We have the mind of Christ, which means, it should change us to speak with the mouth of Christ.
Don’t use it: don’t open your mouth, don’t utter a word, don’t speak a sigh, don’t offer a grunt, don’t release a criticism, don’t give flight to judgement. There are times, when the best speech you can give is silence. The best course of treatment you can give is dead air. Why? Because it is often in the lack of words, that God pours out the abundance of grace that changes a person’s heart from contemptuous to contrite.
This very small part has the ability to lead people to Christ, to change demeanors, to open eyes, to counsel the needy through disasters, to promote love, to inflict compassion and to listen. It’s amazing.
Let’s choose to use it as it was intended to be: a weapon of goodness that cuts through people’s hearts using the sword of the spirit, God’s Word. This is effective speech:
Parlaying his majesty into the day that lays ahead of you.
Speaking his glory into the places where you feel hurt.
Highlighting truth in the midst of emotions that are as wild as a bucking bronco.
Correcting another (or yourself) with the tone of compassion, grace and mercy.
Singing wonder about all that He has created.
Recounting the many times – God’s shown up in your life and how he remains consistent. Reflecting on the limitless nature of His power and being okay with it sitting on you.
Declaring his faithfulness, returning to this truth once again.
Demonstrating his humility, speaking less and listening more.
Let it out. Be not ashamed. Be not restrained. Be forthcoming. Be powerful. Change your life and change theirs.
I went to the bathroom and balled my eyes out. Everything I wanted, wasn’t showing up. Everything I needed, didn’t seem to be happening. Everything that I figured good, was far from me.
God, where are you? God, did you leave me? God, why aren’t things happening for me?
God seemed lost. His help seemed distant. His loving hand, removed.
Help me, God!
Not knowing what to do, I did the only thing ever left to do – when you don’t know what to do: I opened God’s Word, expecting He’d teach me, lead me and restore me.
He did. These verses changed my heart; I believe they’ll change yours too:
28 Verses Proving: God Will Provide
And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. (Phil. 4:19)
And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. (Heb. 11:6)
I am the LORD your God, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt. Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it. (Psalms 81:10)
For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly. (Ps. 84:11)
But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. (Mt. 6:33)
The Lord does not let the righteous go hungry, but he thwarts the craving of the wicked. (Prov. 10:3)
He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? (Ro. 8:32)
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! (Eph. 3:20)
The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. (Ps. 18:2)
Abraham said, “God will provide for himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.” So they went both of them together. (Gen. 22:8)
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. (2 Cor. 12:9)
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. (Jer. 29:11)
Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. And as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything. (Gen. 9:3)
The young lions suffer want and hunger; but those who seek the LORD lack no good thing. (Ps. 34:10)
And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.” (Mt. 21:22)
You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. (Jo. 15:6)
Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need. (Mal. 3:10)
Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. … (Mt. 6:25-34)
Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. (Mt. 7:7-8)
I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. (Eph. 3:16-17)
Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it. (Jo. 14:13-14)
If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. (John 15:7)
And whatever we ask we receive from him, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him. (1 John 3:22)
But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. (Jo. 14:26)
But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. (2 Pet. 3:13)
The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food in due season. You open your hand; you satisfy the desire of every living thing. (Ps. 145:15-16)
And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. (2 Cor. 9:8)
For he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things. (Psalm 107:9)
I walked to the car. Laying on the driveway at my feet was a flower, pulled out by the bulb. My heart dropped. It was disturbing.
Leaning over to pick it up, I tossed it around in my hand, considering how it hadn’t been picked like a normal flower, it hadn’t been cut at it’s stem so it could sprout up next year. Nope. Instead, it was ripped up, its core yanked from the ground. Never again would there be growth, renewal, and hope for this little thing.
The worst thing – ever – happened to this little flower. Hope was gone.
The devil wants to rip us, the same way, right from the bulb out of the hearty soil of God’s love. He wants to cut us, not at our stem, so that we can grow again, but at the core of who we are. He wants to take away our heart that believes we are son or daughter. He wants to remove the mustard seed of faith. He wants to hijack the truth we are saved from our heart. He wants to cripple our ability to ever bloom again.
The farmer sows the word. Some people are like seed along the path, where the word is sown. As soon as they hear it, Satan comes and takes away the word that was sown in them. Mk. 4:14-15
His tactics happen subtly. I don’t know one person who said: I want to become an alcoholic. I want to someday cheat on my spouse. I dream of becoming addicted by drugs. I am looking forward to becoming a shopaholic. I hope to one day fall far, far away from Jesus, never to care much about his ways anymore. His tugs are slow-coming.
Little-by-little, he yanks. Little-by-little, we are removed just a little more from the soil we were planted in. Day-by-day, it happens until, one day – pop! – we’re a plucked bulb from the ground. Faith is gone.
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. Jo. 10:10
What are we doing, anyway? Are we waiting and watching or are we just going – la, de, da – living as life passes us by?
Just as a predator loves a woman head down, wearing earbuds (how better to grab her) – so does the enemy love when we are distracted by the noise, commotion and the distraction of the world. Snatch!
Friends, be aware. Don’t just go through the motions of a day. Intentionally draw close to God. Come near to God and he will come near to you. (Ja. 4:8)
Don’t just wait for faith to happen. Move into it. Grab it. Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ. (Ro. 10:17)
Don’t just be a lukewarm Christian. Let God set you on fire. Go out. So, because you are lukewarm–neither hot nor cold–I am about to spit you out of my mouth. (Rev. 3:16)
Don’t sit around and live a distracted life. Stay focused. It matters. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed – that exhilarating finish in and with God… (Heb. 12:2 MSG)
The days are short. The weeks are numbered. The mission is huge. The stakes are high. God is what matters.
I replanted that bulb, by the way. That is what God does. He replants us, no matter where we’ve been ripped up in life. He grows us again. And, we show up even more beautiful.