When we draw near, we know that He will too. It is a promise of God.
Read with me, “Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” Philippians 2:1-4
God has been reminding me lately that every area He has called me to, He has not necessarily called me to lead. One of the biggest misgivings in ministry is the notion that when we are called, we automatically lead in that area. It is not necessarily true that you will be the head of the spear in your particular field, more often than not He calls us to serve. ‘Serve,’ a little word met with much apprehension, the needle that readily deflates the most eager, an effective prompt to humble and reposition us. How often do we claim it an honor to serve God, while confidently assuming our “yes” positions us in front, at the top, visible and strong?
I love how He gently comes and reposition my focus on the small things by calling me to serve Him in the secret first, there where no-one sees and hears. Here God would put on display the secret thoughts of my heart, the things I hold dear and cherish, the things I hide and keep secret, things I value and desire to keep. It is usually during these secret conversations that He reminds me that others come first. It is not just about me, my calling, my word. Here He recently recalled that serving involves empowering and assisting others, to come in alignment with His word over their lives. Serving involves covering people, promoting their ideas, preserving their platforms. Serving can mean that when I have the perfect opportunity to gossip with valid true info, I refrain. Serving is the opposite of promoting myself. Serving is not enduring a certain amount of time in ministry in order to carve out a platform for myself. Serving is inherently selfless. It is laying down our own wants, desires, and opinions for His. What is His opinion of the other person?
I want to draw your attention to the story of Obadiah ( you can read it in 1 Kings 18), who hid a hundred prophets from Jezebel. Jezebel, King Ahab’s wife was killing off the prophets of God, but Obadiah hid them, fed them, and kept them safe from her. In Kings 18 we read that Obadiah revered the Lord greatly, and therefore protected the people of God, risking his own career and life. It hit me hard that love and reverence for God made this man protect His people. It has stirred a prayer in my heart to be reminded to protect others, to cover them, to host them. The love of God will make us servants of men. Our own pride has no place in the Kingdom of God. What would you look like if you took thought to promote someone else today? What would the conversation sound like if you had to promote someone in front of others? Would it sound different than your usual dialogue? We honor God by honoring each other, we show our love for Him by loving one another. I want to ask you today, do you still know what the interest of your neighbor is? Are you invested in their promotion? Are you in a state of mind to facilitate their protection? Are we still hosting the presence of God in the secret thoughts of our hearts just like Obadiah protected His presence by covering God’s people in shelter and safety. We serve by sheltering others’ hearts. When the presence of God, who resides in others, becomes of value to us it becomes an enjoyable task to protect their reputations, their callings, their platforms.
The one thing that I am constantly reminded of in this season is this, “It is not only about me.” IT is imperative that we live the life God called us to, it is imperative we realize that we have value and get to absolutely walk in effective salvation, but keeping in mind that our mission should be to bring about unity in the body. Every decision, every act, every mission should be to serve the King in wonder, spurred on by Love.
Pray with me, “ Thank you God for calling me, thank you for calling others alongside me. It is an honor to serve in Your Kingdom. Remind me of your love, show me ways to host and shelter others. I want to dedicate attention to You, to what You are busy doing in others and for others. I lay my life down to serve You and your people.”
Read with me, “Then the Lord said to me, “You have seen well, for I am ready to perform My word.” Jeremiah 1:12
Sometimes I get stuck on a passage of Scripture for months. This time it is Jeremiah 1. Until I feel urged to move on, this is where I am leaning into what He is saying for now. I feel the heart of God beating for those suffering lack right now. I feel His urge to bring to remembrance the fact that HE is a good God. Jeremiah was afraid, he was afraid to speak because he was facing hardship and uncertainty. God keeps asking Jeremiah, “What do you see?” This is significant because what we behold and focus on becomes what we speak about. What do you see? What are you saying when you look at the situations in your life? Are you feeling inadequate, like Jeremiah. Jeremiah goes on to tell God that he cannot speak, and God responds with these simple words, “ Do not say ‘but’…” It is imperative in this time that we confess the truth of what He has instilled inside of us. This back and forth between God and Jeremiah makes this passage such a prophetically insightful and activating passage. There is a beautiful junction of man’s insufficiency with God’s provision. I love how God allays Jeremiah’s fear with the fact that He is ready to act. Ps 46 says He is a ready help in times of trouble. I don’t know about you, but 2020 and onward has proven troublesome in many ways. Never have we needed to hold on to the word and person of God more than now. I want to draw your attention to one of the characteristics of God, one of the spectacularly beautiful facets of His nature; He isn’t just a doer, but God is a giver – a bringer. All throughout Scripture there are many instances that testify of how He brought what was needed to man. Think about the very beginning. God made everything that man could possibly need to survive before He ever made man. There was not a moment in time where Adam and Eve didn’t have what they needed to live. They did not know lack in His perfect provision. This included food, love, sustenance, shelter, company and fellowship. God provided for them, before they needed, not because they asked, but because He is good. He even provided these elements for the animals before they were created. We know according to Matt 6 He takes care of the birds and feeds them. He knows what we need. He is aware and involved in the details of what sustains life. He cares. He brought food to Elijah, and a ram for sacrifice to Abraham on the mountain which resulted in a geographical landmark being named “The Lord will provide.” Amazing! He is the God that invented food delivery service, via Ravens, nonetheless. He is the God that made bread rain from the sky when the Israelite’s food from their season of bondage had run out. He was in the details, He provided new bread. He is the God that speaks to His children not through manipulating methods of withholding, but through abundance. Lack is not a tool in His arsenal He wields to ascertain our submission. No, He is the God who provides. In 1 Corinthians 10:13 we see He even provides a way of escape when we are facing temptation. He brings the outcome, He brings the breakthrough, He brings the provision, He brings life, He brings the answer. Matthew 27 paints such a beautiful picture of Jesus’ heart when it comes to money. Upon arriving in Capernaum, the tax collector asked Peter whether Jesus was going to pay his taxes or not. Jesus told Peter they will pay their taxes in order not to offend. He then instructs Peter to look in the mouth of the first fish he catches, there he would find money to pay the tax. Jesus provided a way of escape out of offence, out of insult, out of shame, by providing money in an extraordinary way.
If He said He will provide, He surely will. If you are on the mountain having to sacrifice part of your life, He will provide. If you are struggling to make ends meet, He said He will provide. He is watching over His word to perform it. What He said, He will do. When looking at your circumstances, take care to see well, take care to see what He sees. Just as He said to Jeremiah, so He says to us, He is watching over His word to perform it. Speak His word over your situation today. Claim victory, proclaim the goodness of God. Remind yourself of His faithfulness. We overcome by the word of our testimony, so speak life to the situation that are dire.
Pray with me, “Thank you Father for being generous, for reminding us that You are with us and willing to help us. I pray today for the Spirit to guard my words, help me speak only what You say. I trust Your heart, Your intentions, and Your perspective.”
Read with me, “ And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses,14 by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.” Colossians 2:13-14
As my friends and I were discussing what Easter means to us, the concept of having victory kept coming up. It seemed, collectively, we all shared a hope that we would have victory over circumstances. Here were a bunch of ladies of all ages, demographics, and walks of life testifying that they were so very reminded of His ability in us to be see victory over every onslaught of the enemy. An awareness of His ability to make all things new, to bring life and restoration. And let me tell you, some of these girls are fighting hard battles. What admirable faith! IT encouraged me to hope and become excited about the future. I could see Him rise, offering deliverance to those hoped. But suddenly I felt a sense of doubt in my celebration. My heart was fearing arrogance. How can I celebrate in the face of death? It was my sin that put Him there. I felt a tinge of shame as I thought of this wonderful deed Christ did for me evoking such a boldness is my heart. Should the fact that He suffered not make me sad? Should I not walk head upside down to show my humility. Maybe if I had showed some remorse I would be deserving? Should I not weep constantly in awe of such mercy? Oh, but I do feel sad and shameful, God, I thought. Immediately God reminded me it was for freedom that we were made free. He did not suffer to put us to shame. It was for Joy that he suffered.
The Cross was an extremely costly sacrifice. If we can understand that He bought us access to Himself we will jump for joy. When we choose to live in shame of any form, we cheapen the price He paid. Shame often represents in us trying to hard, judging too harshly, feeling inadequate, lack of boldness, constantly needing to have the answers, validating our own shortcomings, justifying living distant from His presence. We do not have to live in shame. We have been bought. We belong to Him. He paid the ultimate price so we do not have to. Freedom means we get to live, it means we get to live HOLY. It brings Him joy when we embrace the fullness of the cross and live in such a way that honors our belief. Honoring Him looks like boldness, action, love, hope, freedom, and obedience.We believe He died for us, because He loved us so. Live like you believe He paid it all. It can be a daunting and overwhelming idea to think that your debt has been paid by the very Son of God. But be encouraged today, He had a choice, and He chose you. The one who created you chose to keep you. Today, if you hear His call, respond. Choose Him, also. Accept the call, revel in His love, embrace His words, and lay down your reasoning that wants to give you all the reasons you cannot ever overcome. It was for you. It was for love. He endured for Joy! Take the courage to love on Him by accepting that He loved you then, and He loves you still. He knew you then, everything you would do, everything you would be, and He still chose to die for you. Today, lay aside yourself. Lay aside the pride that would have you living in sin and working for righteousness. Love on Him, be with Him, speak to Him. Partake of His nature by embracing the fact that He is Love, and that He chose you.
Pray with me, “Father, thank you for sending your Son to die for me. Thank you for loving me and choosing me, daily. Help me live in a way that honors the You. Forgive me for the times I have doubted you and denied you. Today, I vow to live according to You purposes and not my own.”