“My desire”

Desires. We all have them. Some healthy, some rational, some well…aren’t. Desire drives us; they move us forward or in some cases backwards. They push us to our goals or they can push us to our destruction. Desires are complicated, in the makeup of our person our desires have the capacity to overtake our wills and our resolve in a matter of seconds.

Desire is inherently for our good. We, being fashioned in the image of God, have a Divinely established portion of our souls where desires are produced. God desires. He desires for all to come to salvation (2 Peter 3:9). Jesus desired to gather Jerusalem under His wings, but they refused. So, from the standpoint of scripture, desires are not bad in themselves. Now understandably, God desires out of sheer delight. While we as fallen humans, desire out of a need we feel. That “need” is the source of the fountain of desires. We all need something. Being the sovereign Creator He is, God knew exactly what would fill that cavernous need deep within, and it is found solely on the person of Christ Jesus. Desire is what God placed in the soul of man to drive us to the foot of the cross.

What’s your desire?

Paul was a man eaten up with desire. A desire so strong and secure that it would even drive him to martyrdom. What was it? He tells us plainly in Philipians 1:23.”…my desire is to depart and be with Christ…”. To be with Christ, to know Him intimately (Philip 3:10), to share fellowship with Him…even if it meant losing his head. Paul wanted to be where Christ was.  Every other desire he had was founded upon this one; to know Christ. The extremities of Paul’s desire aren’t easily duplicated or forged. Simply put: you can’t fake this kind of desire. It’s the kind that overtakes you like a wildfire, it consumes everything it touches. Why would someone seek so hard after Someone they had never seen? Why would they risk comfort and worldy pleasure? It was simple for Paul. God had desired him, by seeking him out and saving him on that dusty road to Damascus. Paul started that journey with one desire in mind, to kill or imprision all who belonged to The Way. (Acts 9) Yet masterfully done Christ showed him what he needed, what he was after. He showed Paul Himself. The unfolding of revelation blinded the Apostle from anything other than Christ.  From that point on Paul was ate up with a new desire-Christ Himself. You see Paul had been desired, sought out and now his heart throb was to seek the One who sought him.

Im not a writer. I’m not eloquent in speech. I’m a terrible speller. I have more insecurities than you can shake a stick at. But deep within is something that pushed me beyond those insecurities to start this blog: a desire. A desire that wouldn’t quit. A desire that would deflate the giant in front of me. A desire that engrafted courage into my weakness. A desire that has taken over my heart. What is it? Christ. I don’t desire to have a lot of followers, or for people to be in awe of my posts. My desire is to finish my race, fulfill my ministry, bring forth a harvest for the Kingdom, and fundamentally “for Christ to be honored through my body.” (Phillipians 1:20). I want my life to be a fragrant offering before my Lord. Im just an average woman, seeking out an extroidanary Savior. Am I there yet? Not hardly. I make myself sick by the lack of  fervor I sometimes display. But “I press on to make it my own because Christ has made me His own.” (Philip 3:12). Christs own relentless desire for me catapults me into a wildfire like desire for Him. He has placed an upward call on each of lives. ( to know Him more intimately, to glorify His name and to advance the gospel) Desire pushes us there. Some will make it, some will not. It’ll depend upon who/what sits on the throne of your desires. Don’t settle for spiraling downward when you were made to soar upward! Take what’s been given to you- Christ Himself, the fulfillment of every desire. His desire is for you beloved.

“I am my beloveds and his desire is for me” SOS 7:10

 

 

Advertisements

The Weight of Obscurity 

7 The angel of the Lord found Hagar near a spring in the desert; it was the spring that is beside the road to Shur. 8 And he said, “Hagar, slave of Sarai, where have you come from, and where are you going?”“I’m running away from my mistress Sarai,” she answered.9 Then the angel of the Lord told her, “Go back to your mistress and submit to her.” 10 The angel added, “I will increase your descendants so much that they will be too numerous to count.”11 The angel of the Lord also said to her:“You are now pregnant  and you will give birth to a son.You shall name him Ishmael,[a] for the Lord has heard of your misery.12 He will be a wild donkey of a man;his hand will be against everyone and everyone’s hand against him and he will live in hostilitytoward[b] all his brothers.”13 She gave this name to the Lord who spoke to her: “You are the God who sees me,” for she said, “I have now seen[c] the One who sees me.” 14 That is why the well was called Beer Lahai Roi[d]; it is still there, between Kadesh and Bered.  Genesis 16:7-14

She felt used and misunderstood. She was seen but people only saw what she could do for them. Her dreams, her desires, her plans seemed to dissolve by someone else’s itinerary. She felt the brunt of someone else’s decision and was left with the consequences. Hagar (Hagar was Sarai’s servant who was given to Abraham to try and fulfill the promise of God through Human Resources. The idea was she would conceive and give Sarai a child that way. But it didn’t work out like Sarai planned. Like anything that comes with the flesh, dissension and jealously drove a wedge between the two women. So, Sarai treated her “harshly” scripture says.) carried more than a child with her as she ran away from her harsh circumstances. She carried the weight of being seen but treated like she fell in the cracks of oblivion.

We’ve all been there, seen but treated like we weren’t. The sacrifices we make go unnoticed, the commitments blown off, the loyalty taken for granted…we feel used and worst of all looked over. Like some how our best wasn’t good enough and as a result our dreams dissolve in the shadows of obscurity. We had more to offer, we have great potential but it’s not noticed. We end up watching someone else get the promotion, the title, the grade, the car, the friends, the husband, the child, the applause…someone else seems to get the product of promise, someone other than us.

Maybe you’ve never been there , in Hagars shoes. Where it seems everyone’s sucesss is at your cost. Where things are happening but at your not in it. Some of us know the burden of obscurity all to well. The weight lays heavy on our souls as this question swirls like a cyclone through our mind: does anyone see?

They say they do but we’re not so sure. So we hide behind our schedules and use our callings as camouflage; we feel obscure so we hide. That’s a tale as old as time; Satan convincing us we are obscure and as a result, we try and hide from the One who is searching for us. He’s clever alright. Knowing the fatality of obscurity is in it’s irony; that if we feel unseen our instinct react as though we are.  Eve did it in the garden and we still do it today. As Adam and his help mate heard the gentle steps of the Creator coming their way, they hid. In Genesis 3 God called to His prize and said “Where are you?”. The Almighty knew where they were so why did He ask? He didn’t just want to know where they where He wanted to see them. God asked Hagar the same question as she was running from obscurity; “Where have you come from and where are you going?” She was in the wilderness, pregnant with a promise she had yet to receive. The wilderness is often a place where we are at a crossroad of where we used to be and where we are going. In a place where promise is growing but it hasn’t began to show. It’s a place of encounter; where promises are pronounced. But Hagar didn’t know that. She only knew the burden of obscurity. But Someone saw. God found her in her obscurity and spoke a promise into her present. Nothing’s as obscure as the present because we can’t see beyond it so we think we aren’t seen either. Hagar was stuck in obscurity, pregnant with a promise that she had yet to receive…maybe in those times when it feels like I’m stuck in obscurity my situation is actually pregnant with a promise I didn’t even realize God made. Maybe in those times I feel used and looked over, Someone has seen and that Someone has promised that there’s future beyond the present. Maybe what seems obscure and unimportant is actually the stage for our purpose to be born.

Many of us will find ourselves in between where we were and where we are going but don’t be mistaken, that is NOT obscurity. God not only knows where you are He sees you there and your situation is pregnant with promise. The beauty of being a child of God is not solely in being known by Him but being seen by Him; found in His promise.

Rest in what seems like obscurity knowing that He is the God of seeing; Jehovah Roi. And instead of hiding in the harshness of the moment look for the one who looks for you and after you. For the darkness of obscurity melts in His embrace.

Wonder of the Word 

The word of God has saved my life. I mean that literally. Without the guiding light of Scripture I would have stayed on the dark path I found myself on many years ago. Quite frankly,  It saved me from myself. I was my own worst enemy, my mind was against me. So, its my passion for others to see the worth of the Bible; for women to realize that all they need can be found wrapped in the scared writings of scripture. It’s the breath of God blowing through our our spiritual lungs, it’s the key to our chains, the scalpel for our infirmities, it’s the salve for our wounds and it’s the honey for our tounges. We have no greater privilege in the West than to be able to own our a copy of the breath of God. People in foreign countries risk life and limb for a copy. Some are willing to chose it over food.  In Corrie Ten Booms book “The Hiding Place” it tells of her heroic actions as she risked her life to smuggle a small copy into the concentration camp. Why would someone be willing to risk their lives for a book? Because life isn’t worth living without it. It’s the greatest necessity we have. I believe that to my core; because America is living proof you can be prosperous outwardly, having all your physical needs met, and be wasting away inwardly. Our souls need the word like our lungs need oxygen. Without it we’ll suffocate in our own flesh. 

Where we are found lacking it supliments us, when we’re tired and weary is refreshes us, when we are hopeless it gives us courage, it silences fears and defines our identity. It directs our course and sets us free. 

It’s not a chore or checklist to mark off; it’s a privelege. To crack open the very words of God Almighty. The same words that threw stars into place, that holds back the tide, that sustains the earths rotation, that feeds the lions and the swallows. This word has cosmic impact; but we push it aside. We choose our favorite TV shows, social media, or sports over the Word that could change the course of our lives. Everytime it’s opened it breathes change. Maybe that’s why we let it lay; We are content in our chaos. Or maybe it’s because the chaos around us has confused us to the point that we truly believe it’s over our heads, we can’t grasp it. Or maybe the confusion isn’t about clarity but about power. Maybe amidst the chaos of privelge we have surrendered the greatest privelge known to man; hearing from God. 

Pause and consider this: that God Himself speaks to man. 

Why? Why would such Soverignty and Majesty correspond with such frailty and brokenness? 

To fix us. To save us. To make us whole. To strengthen us. 

But we choose entertainment over fulfillment. 

God wants to speak into your darkness. He desires to heal you, to restore you, to guide you. But we must listen first. 

I’m so grateful for God is doing in His church. He’s moving. But may we never be like the crowds in Jesus time, who liked to be entertained by Him but not conformed by Him. They liked to see the miracles but they turned in disgust at His words. John 6 shows us that there were some who because of His teaching, “turned back and no longer followed Him”.  As these turned their backs to the Son of God, Christ asked the 12″do you want to leave as well?” Of course Simon Peter answered and said “To whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.”

As disciples we must not only be in awe of His works but of His words as well. Fair weather Christians marvel at the works and excuse the word. True disciples see the eternal aspect attached to the words and allow it to change them. 

To be disciples we must be taught. That means we must listen. How can we be disciples with a closed bible? 

The great commission will never be fulfilled if our bibles are closed. You can’t make disciples without it. 

And if it remains closed so will our chains. 

Cosmic Consequences 

“At that time Joshua spoke to the Lord in the day when the Lord gave the Amorites over to the sons of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel,Sun stand still at Gibeon, and moon, in the valley of Aijalon. And the sun stood still, and the moon stopped, until the nation took vengeance on their enemies….then the sun stopped in the midst of heaven and did not hurry to set for about a whole day. There has been no day like it before
” Joshua 10:12-14

The day a mans prayer effected the cosmos; the sun rose just like any other day but unlike the previous days, it was in no hurry to set. It hovered in the sky, locking into place for a set time, setting only when victory arose.

That day the plea of man had cosmic consequences.

James says that the prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. The Greek work is actually enabling power, engeraumene. If you look close you can see the English word energy tucked into the ancient construction. The word by definition means to be enabled to do (in the passive form) or able to do (in the middle voice) which is the structure of the word used in James 5:16. The significance is that our prayers are able to do because they have been enabled by the Spirit to do; the ability lies in the enablement. The prayer of the person who prays in the Spirit has cosmic consequences.

To shake the world, to leave a mark, to stamp it with significance…that would be cosmic consequences.

The gift of prayer assumes that not all of life is predetermined but that our petitions move the heart of God and in doing so, they move His hand. Yet, it is our prayers that are shaped by providence, prayers that are modeled after His heart-that move His hand.

Prayer has the potential to unlock providence, to expose the hand of God in any given area.

After all, prayer is the invitation of Gods will into ours. True, authentic, Spirit filled prayer, is the vehicle for the Kingdom to come to earth. It is the submission to His plan, the unlocking of His resources (Matthew 16,18).

There are things yet to let loose, things that are meant to be bound and our prayers play the deputy that serves the warrant.

The Lord not only heard Joshua’s plea, He listened. What would make the God of the universe inclined not only to hear mans pathetic words but to actually do as he asked? What causes such cosmic consequences?

Joshua was asking for further victory. Anytime Gods children ask for victory, even if they have already won-He gives heed to their cry.

That’s why we are more than overcomes, because victory isn’t enough for the Christian. We have been called to a further victory-a victory that exceed the status quo and doesn’t settle for good enough. The victory we are called to experience has cosmic consequences.

This type of victory is only realized through prayer. Even though Christ’s victory gave us this “further victory”, it is ours, marked with the blood and sealed with the Spirit. Yet, for many of us we don’t see the cosmic consequences of that victory because we don’t unlock it by prayer. We have been given every spiritual blessing in Christ in the heavenly places, yet we only tap into those riches on our knees.

Our prayers are used as the vehicle to usher in the unseen to the realm of the visible; where what is not is manifested and is seen for what it is. Our prayers offered in the Spirit, are the keys to the kingdom.

I will give you the keys to the kingdom and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. Matthew 16:19

Truly truly I say to you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. Again I say to you if two of you agree on earth about anything, it will done for them by my father in Heaven. Matthew 18:18-19

Prayer has the power to bind and loosen, it holds the keys to unlock Gods will on earth and bring about the realization of the kingdom; that would be cosmic consequences.

To experience the consequences of the kingdom; the effects of living in submission to His rule and reign in every area. our hearts are to be melted to His, united, beating as one for the same purpose and passion. This compound beat is the consequence of communion.

Cosmic consequences are by products of the consequence of communion. Joshua was first introduced to us in scripture as a servant boy who couldn’t get close enough to the presence of God, he hovered outside the tent of meeting, hanging onto the presence of God. Communion came before conquest. Joshua’s prayers had cosmic consequences because they were the consequences of communion. The greatest prayer warriors are the people who have been impacted the most by the presence of God. Those whose hearts are marked by communion; that’s where cosmic consequences start.

Our prayers will only penetrate to the degree to which the Presence of God has penetrated us. Without communion penetrating our hearts, our prayers will never penetrate the world.

That day the sun stood still at the command of the servant-warrior boy, further victory was his because of the cosmic consequences of communion. Never underestimate the power of His presence; His strength eclipsing our weakness-that’s the cosmic consequence of communion. 

“…for the Lord fought for Israel.” Joshua 10:14

Keep Fighting 

“And Joshua overwhelmed Amalek with the sword.” Exodus 17:13

I don’t feel very brave. I feel like a coward. It doesn’t look like I’m winning, it looks as if I’m losing. It seems as though the waves are pulling me under. It seems like everything I touch falls apart. But what if I am winning, what if I’m indeed walking on water and in fact building the kingdom with one choice at a time? What if it’s all falling into place instead of falling apart? What if instead of my calling shrilviling up its actually plumping up? It’s hard to tell the difference between victory and defeat in the midst of the battle. I wonder if Joshua knew he was winning against the Amalek? (Exodus 17)  Or if he just kept pushing forward until the end revealed the outcome.  Everyone keeps saying how strong I am or how brave I am… I know better. I know I’m neither. I wish to be, hope to be…but this battle is getting oh so long and right now…I can’t see. I can’t see how the outcome is going to be. So, I cling to the promises of Jesus. I cling to them as a life preserver. Because I know at this point they are all that’s keeping me a float. My mind is a torrent of questions. Crisis has a way of creating them. So now my mind manufactors one every few minutes and demands an answer. My mind. It’s against me these days. Convincing me it’s all over and I lost. Telling me my time is done. But my soul argues those accusations. My soul begs me to keep my head up and in the battle. My soul is smarter than my mind. For deep within faith lives. Deep within the broken barriers of my heart lies a fortitude that overpowers the ignorance of my mind. Deep within lies something that won’t let me quit. Deep within is the abode of the Spirit. Emmanuel, God with us. Instead of a feed trough in a stable, he now lies in the manger of my heart. He’s there. He’s here….in the midst of brokenness, in the middle of devestation, right here where you are-the place you never thought you would be. The place where the hurt collides with the Healer. It’s here-in the confusion of our callings, in the chaos of our cumute to purpose that the battle is faught. It’s there in the margin of life that victory is found. 

He’s here. Right here. Keep fighting. 

Maybe that was Joshua’s key to victory, he locked his eyes on the Promise Keeper and kept fighting. He didn’t have extraordinary bravery-he had an extraordinary God. It was His presence that fortified the warrior. And it is His hand that fortifies us now. 

“He trains my hand for war, so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze. You have given me the shield of your salvation, and your right hand supported me, and your gentleness made me great.” Psalm 18:34-35

Familiar with Favor

“In the year that king Uzziah died, I saw the Lord, sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up.” Isaiah 6:1
   

Too familiar? Is there such a thing as being too familiar with God? King Uzziah exemplifies for us what happens when man restrains the holy by casualness, becoming too familiar with the hand of God. 
   King Uzziah was a prosperous king. Submitting under the hand of God, all he touched turned into gold. Years into the golden favor of Jehovah, the familiarity with favor caused the king to step across the boundaries God had set for sacrifices, assuming the place of priest, Uzziah lit incense in the temple. He had become too familiar with the holy, he was so accustomed to Gods favor, he took advantage of it. It’s a dangerous thing when Gods Chosen lose their wonder; Holy is mixed with the common and as a result glory is tarnished by mans touch. We bring God down, stuffing Him into our status quo; favor has become familiar. 
We are just as guilty as the prideful king. We make Gods favor about us. We expect it but we don’t marvel at it.

Christians who have had the opportunity to serve in a third world country will tell you the marvel of running water. After seeing an entire civilization who are without the modern  amenity of indoor plumbing, who retrieve their water from pits in the ground; muddy and dangerously contaminated. The people return with a fresh awareness of the favor we experience everyday. We know some live without-we also understand we are priveleged. Yet, the familiarity robs the wonder of it all. We treat the favor of God the same way. Our faith is muddy and dangerously contaminated by casualness. We are grateful, understanding the privilege that has been placed on our heads, yet we are so familiar with it-the wonder is submerged in the common and drowned by our smugness.
 
The death of Uzziah could have meant many different things to Isaiah; a year of loss or  disappointment. Even a year of change. Many speculations have been made over the tie between the leper king and the prophet. But could it be that the death of Uzziah symbolizes the death of casualness? That when he had taken his last breath, all that was familiar was shaken up? 

Nothing was as it once was. 

Many times God will shake up our lives to wake us up. Like a divine alarm clock, the winds of change ring in our souls to awaken us from our slumber. 

Nothing brings us out of familiarity like change. It’s here, in “the year that ______”, where we know nothing will ever be the same, that we are set up to see the Lord. He doesn’t like to be made small. He won’t stand for it. So, He shows us just how big He really is by removing our safety net, drawing us out of our comfort zone-onto the waters, to experience a fresh vision of glory. 
Change ignites awe. When the familiar walls of comfort zones are torn down, we will find that “comfort” has been blocking our view all along.  The ceiling of complacency obstructed the splendor of the throne. Change often tears the roof off our limitations and we are left in slack jawed amazement at this God we serve. 

This glory Isaiah experienced was wasted on Uzziah, because he grew too familiar. The king who had His favor never saw His glory because he allowed the holy to be tainted by the common. He lived a life where favor was expected but glory was never experienced. Isaiah, on the other hand, expected nothing-because he experienced the glory and that satisfied him. One was lifted up in his own eyes, the other saw God high and lifted up; one was never satisfied, the other was.

Is His presence enough for you? 

The mark of Familiarity is the unconscious dissatisfaction with favor. Uzziah wasn’t appeased with the anointing given to him, he had to have more. Gods presence wasn’t enough. The loss of wonder excuses glory as common. May we never grow so familiar with favor that we miss His glory, never so accustomed to His presence that we make Him small. 

Wonder widens our perception of God; it gives us eyes to see His glory. 

This is the people God will use; those who marvel at His glory-those who are satisfied in His presence. 

“Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying “whom shall I send? Who will go for us?”And I said “Here I am send me!” Isaiah 6:8

Here…in His presence, that’s the launching point for mission. Yet, as our lack of wonder keeps us from the joy of His presence, it will also keep us from the thrill of the mission. 

Without wonder, we lack willingness to go. 

How many of us can honestly raise our hands and say “Here I am, send me.” Casualness robs us of glory; glory that is only seen when heaven touches earth-through the mission given by God to man. The mission of bringing His kingdom come. 

We miss the mission because we miss the marvel. 

Glory Released

 It was a churning down deep, in the place where desires and plans are lodged. Something was displaced. Something hadn’t gone as planed. I had it all figured out, calculated just right…I knew what God should do–but then He didn’t. The feeling of divine disapproval lurched into my throat. 

Why is it when plans fall through we feel as though Gods love has too? Like His steadfast love is as sturdy as an ice covered lake in late March. 

The feeling in my gut-wasn’t Gods disapproval. It was my disapproval of God. I had set a plan and He didn’t follow through-so now I was on the brink of despair. 

Pride isn’t only seen in arrogance it’s seen in the causal ways we try and take control from the King of the earth. 

Many times, our dreams, our callings, our plans, hold so much influence over our lives because they are staked on our pride. We want what we want, not necessarily what Christ wants. We do as we please, and demand God does the same. Pride says we know best. We have the solution for the family’s problem, for our friends marriage, and even for the nation. We know what’s best for our children. After all “mother knows best.” We have a checklist and we demand providence to bow to it. Pride forces our plans on providence and as a result we bear the weight. 

The irony of the kingdom is when we release what we are holding onto, we receive what Christ is holding out for us. We do not remain empty handed. It is only through empty hands that we will find true fulfillment.

 

This doesn’t mean we will hate where God leads, it is just the opposite—if we surrender than all our dreams come true. When we release them to the heavenlies, then God releases His in return. It’s a grand exchange we cannot afford to miss. But pride will and has cost millions of Christ followers to die without releasing any glory on earth—all because they sought their dream instead of the Dream Maker. Pride will tell us our way is better. Our hearts will pull and plunge within our chest at the thought of going a different route. It seems irrational and impossible to go that way. Denying our own plans for our lives, for the lives of our children, is never easy—pride cements our plans into our hearts. Humility releases them.

Glory is never released in the proud. In fact, God stiff-arms those who trust in their own ways. Pride disarms our purpose, for without glory there is no distinguishing quality about us. For example, when Moses was praying for the nation of Israel to go to the promise land in Exodus 33, he told the Lord that without His presence he didn’t even want to go “for what will distinguish us from all the peoples of the earth.”. After that prayer, Moses asked to see God’s glory. He knew that without glory we are nothing; we look the same, act the same, make the same choices…. nothing is different without it, we blend into society and in doing so leave no mark. We will never make a difference without being different. The difference we need is the mark of God’s presence; His glory.

 

Glory takes many forms. In the Old Testament, it was when the manifest presence of God would fell onto someone/thing. It is when God reveals Himself in or to someone. The heaviness of His presence would encase the common, transfusing splendor to the mundane.

 

The same happens to us when we are wrapped in His presence. Glory is proclaimed through our week vessels. Psalm 16: 5-11 displays this perfectly:

5LORD, you alone are my portion and my cup; you make my lot secure. 6The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance. 7I will praise the LORD, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me. 8I keep my eyes always on the LORD. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken. 9Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure, 10because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead, nor will you let your faithful one see decay. 11You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.”

 

I am not convinced that there is anything that translates the pleasure of God onto one’s life like joy in the midst of suffering. We’ve already talked about the sabbatical joy, the rest that comes from surrender to God’s plan. But let’s look a little closer. Look at verse 5, the Lord was the psalmist portion-nothing else. No dreams. No ambitions. Nothing held a candle to the presence of God. The problem for most of us is we are lacking joy because we are drinking from the wrong cup. When it is saying the Lord is our portion, it is referring to the allotment of inheritance. Our portion in not merely a sliver of land, it is the Lord Himself. Paul tells us in Ephesians 1:3, that we have been blessed with every heavenly blessing in Christ. This means that everything that Christ represents has been given to us. Since we are now brought into Christ by His sacrifice, the boundaries of our inheritance now lie within the limitless boarders of Christ Himself! He is our inheritance. If we settle for anything else then we have cheated ourselves. You see many of us dream in order to find significance. We dream because we feel like the lot we have is insignificant, and lacking. We plan to keep things under control. We feel less than so we chase after something that offers us importance. The news of the gospel informs us that we no longer have to chase significance- He has chased us and clothed us in it! We will always lack joy when we are drinking from the wrong “cup”, when we go outside our “portion” to find significance. We do this anytime we set anything before us besides the Lord. David had one direction- to get closer to the Lord, to know Him more. That’s the key to unleashing glory on our lives; setting the Lord always before us. Because then our future, our presence, and our past will be steeped  in the glory of His presence. If He is always before us, then we never outrun His glory. The Hebrew word for “Set before” is shavah and means among others things, “to agree with”. You see when we set the Lord before us, we are agreeing by submission to His will. It is when our dreams agree with His. Sometimes that is the greatest sacrifice we can give; when we look to nothing else, forsaking all other outlets, taking the pleasure of the Lord over the pleasure of the world. This glory of God that clothes the throne room of heaven,where God is ruling, is the same  glory that infuses every heart that becomes His throne.

 

If we do this, set the Lord continually before us, then we will find joy that transcends our circumstances. Joy that cannot be shaken by anything of this world-because it is not anchored in this world. It is laid beyond the veil, in the heavenlies, at the throne. When the throne is our landing place, we will find our lives lodged in glory for “in your presence there is fulness of joy, at your right hand there are pleasures forever more.”. A life filled with glory, is a life filled with joy-because we have taken from the Cup and are not found lacking. We may suffer but we are not sinking. We may be poor but we are indeed rich. We may be hungry, yet full. We may be seemingly insignificant, but we are famous in the eyes of our God. Wherever His presence is, nothing remains empty or lacking. His presence is the stuff dreams are made of.

 

Maybe we lack glory because our plans leave no room for God. But what if we left them blank, leaving a margin? Miracles happen in the margin; where God is given space to write His own story. In the openness of surrender, God uses the white lines to be a witness of glory. Many times when we find ourselves struggling for joy, it is because we have set our plans before us-and when we miss the mark on our check list we spiral into despair. To have the Lord always before us is to live expectantly, not frivolously. To live on purpose for a purpose. Most of our plans are frivolous, we use them as a leverage for control, that’s it. The irony is the gospel teaches that the ones who maintain control never find abundance. For Jesus said “If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give up your life for my sake you will find it.” (Matthew 10:39)

Our need for control is locking out the bounty of the kingdom. We have safe guarded ourselves from the purpose and privilege of the kingdom. Expectancy and surrender go hand in hand. We expect little of God, not because we think He is unable but because we are unwilling to let go. Expectancy isn’t being spontaneous, its being faithful. Its when we are not anchored in our plans but in the throne,not in our plans but in providence. We can rest, laying our checklist aside, because providence promises we will never be abandoned. That the path of life is paved for us in the shawdow of the throne. 
How about we let our calenders be glory releasers instead of suppressors? 

Between the Times

Waiting and looking, not knowing what to expect, yet expecting what we do not know. Questions swirl, realty crashes with dreams, it’s all so uncertain; the next step has yet to be revealed. In the darkness of uncertainty, questioning whether he heard the Lord correctly, or even if the Lord has heard him, Habakkuk is waiting; waiting on a response from the Lord. His questions of confusion swirl through the heavenlies like a whirlwind, landing on the ears of the Almighty. Questions born out of confusion are not necessarily harbored in the darkness of doubt. It is always best to send questions of God back to God. Questions do not always flow from the pride of doubt but some from the humility of a true heart, seeking out the will of God. All Habakkuk wanted was to know his God, to understand His ways. He questioned what God was doing, was the plan He sat in motion actually coming about? What does one do when the will of God, the plan that was laid out, seems to be dissolved? When things have seemingly derailed off course? When things seem to be in reverse, losing ground instead of gaining it?

“I will take my stand at my watch post and station myself on the tower, and look out to see what he will say to me…” Habakkuk 2:1

 

Habakkuk was stationed for revelation. He didn’t run, he waited. He positioned himself to hear the word from the Lord. How many of us ask questions but then run ahead to find the answer? After all, waiting is hard. Especially when the answer lies beyond the horizon. We do not like sitting still, we feel like nothing is happening. When the Lord answered Habakkuk He said “For still the vision awaits the appointed time, it hastens to the end-it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it, it will surely come, it will not delay.” In wisdom the Lord proved that He is not indebted to the calendar of man. He is not one to be rushed or pushed into untimely events; His answer–wait for it.
Waiting confuses us.  In a world of instant gratification, we grow antsy and impatient, the fear of miscalculation and misguidance starts rumbling through our souls, shaking us to our core. The answer from on high deals both with the frustration of waiting and the fears….” it hastens to the end—it will not lie.If it seems slow, wait for it,  it will surely come; it will not delay.”

The word hasten in this verse actually means “to pant”. The image is engraved here of a runner striving to reach the finish line. The word of the Lord will prove true, even though things seem still, its working to cross over to its destination. Isaiah says “ 10As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, 11so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” The word of the Lord is accomplishing, if it seems as if it has no effect, it is not that it has halted but we have just yet to see the harvest. It’s growing, reaching for maturation. The end result is all we see, we miss the process of providence. The underground work, that takes place out of the range of our peripheral sight. We are in the margin, between the times, where things remain the same, where the anchor of hope is lodged in the sand of time. And that anchor is slowly losing its grip. With each passing moment, time seeks to dissolve hope. That is why we must crawl above the sand dunes, to the watch tower, where clear perspective is gathered. If hope is lodged in the fallibility of our own calendar then it will sink in the uncertainty of time. But if it stands upon higher ground the sinking sand of time will not be able to take it down.

 

We like Habakkuk, often find ourselves living between the times; Sandwiched between prophecy and fulfillment. That can be a heavy place; caught between the future and the present.  How do you live in between the times, when purpose is lodged in a promise and the promise lodged in providence?

 

Watch and wait. While waiting often confuses us, faith unties the knots that complicate the process.

 

“Behold, his soul is puffed up; it is not upright within him, but the righteous shall live by faith.” Habakkuk 2:4

 

Faith is the paradigm of promise, based on grace, faith prepares us for providence. Faith doesn’t require God to work on our schedule. It rests in the “appointed time”. It stands watching at the finish line as the promise crosses over. It understands that we have no right to hold God prisoner to our time table. Faith unlocks us from the prison of time, where expectations are based on the tick of the clock. It “provides a solution to the doubt we sometimes feel in His all wise providence.”. Doubters, not questioners, are often puffed up with pride. The idea of control and desire for it, injects its toxic venom into our belief system. In all our plotting and calculating we bloat with pride, choosing our ways over His, assuming we know better than the Almighty. On the other hand Faith deflates; as we surrender our calender to Eternal One, the pressure is released.

 

When we are stuck in the middle, between already and not yet, faith is the watch tower. Where we watch, not the things that are seen but that which is unseen. Where we wait not on our plans to unfold, but for the appointed time-even if it tarries. It’s a place of elevated perspective.

 

If you are stuck between the times, don’t lose heart, the promise of the Lord will not be stopped, it speeds ahead—look for it, expect it—watch and wait for it. For nothing has the power to alter its course or derail it from its mission. The word will come without delay you need only to watch in faithfulness.

I’ll leave you with the encouraging words of Barker and Bailey “Habakkuk’s Revelation emphasized the life-giving nature of God. He cares for His people even when He seems distant and uninvolved. Though the revelation may take what appears to be an agonizingly long time to appear, wait for it. God knows and cares for His people.”