Bryan’s Gems – The Promise

Another beautiful post from Bryan. You can find this post along with the his others at his blog site:  http://readthegreek.blogspot.com/

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The Promise

Crushed under the weight of my circumstances, I cried out, “I NEVER ASKED TO BE BORN!!!”

Is there a time in your life when you could relate to that?  Either you couldn’t measure up to life or life couldn’t measure up to you.  All that was left to do was find blame somewhere, anywhere, other than your own hands. 

I sometimes find it odd that my first real connection, my first honest words with God, were angry questions that He never seemed to want to answer.  I didn’t remember a time before birth where I tossed up my hand during some great assembly in heaven and asked, “Here I am, God!  Send me!!”  So why was I put on the earth?  In times of great turmoil I would almost instinctively turn to God even if I wasn’t sure He existed.  Maybe I believed He did.  Maybe we all do.  But I certainly didn’t believe He cared.  Believers or not, we all have this inner understanding that our existence was not initiated by our own will.  At the very least, our parents agreed in deed to bring us into this world.  But again, a deeper truth of His existence is revealed in all of us when we have been pushed beyond our breaking point.

My understanding of Him shaped my fox-hole prayer.  When circumstances force us to lay down all pretense, social conventions, and manners, we cry out to the God we know.  If we see Him as a cosmic overseer, we relate to Him like a run-away slave.  If we see Him as an irresponsible parent, we relate to Him like an angry child.  If we see Him as a predator, we relate to Him like a victim.  Too often we see God like a super-powered human being:  selfish, fickle, irresponsible.  Like some omnipotent two-year-old in the sky who focuses sunlight on us through some giant magnifying glass in order to satisfy some perverse pleasure.  If that’s the God you know, you have every right to be angry with Him.  Without some kind of external knowledge or experience of God, who could say you’re wrong?

So I called God out on the carpet one day and demanded that He justify my placement on this earth, with this mind, in this body, and these parents, in this time.  I got the vague sense I wasn’t being very smart.  I mean, He’s God, He can squash me like a bug.  But I was too exhausted to care.  In fact, I wanted to die.  It would be better if my death, just like my life, were caused by Him.  I wanted nothing to do with it anymore.  I wanted Him to show up or squash me.  And nothing happened…  Or so I thought.

What if the statement, “I never asked to be born”, is a valid and acceptable statement to God?  What if He would say, “You’re right.”  What if He did and does take responsibility for all of His children?  What if there is a force underwriting every human being?  What if He sent us into this world with not only a purpose but also a promise:

Deuteronomy 31:6

English Standard Version (ESV)
Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.

 

Hebrews 13:5

English Standard Version (ESV)
Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.

Joshua 1:9

English Standard Version (ESV)
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.

Matthew 28:20

English Standard Version (ESV)
20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.

Joshua 1:5

English Standard Version (ESV)
No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you or forsake you.

1 Chronicles 28:20

English Standard Version (ESV)
20 Then David said to Solomon his son, “Be strong and courageous and do it. Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed, for the LordGod, even my God, is with you. He will not leave you or forsake you, until all the work for the service of the house of the Lord is finished.

Isaiah 41:10

English Standard Version (ESV)
10 fear not, for I am with you;
    be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
    I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
 

Haggai 1:13

English Standard Version (ESV)
13 Then Haggai, the messenger of the Lord, spoke to the people with the Lord‘s message, “I am with you, declares the Lord.”

Genesis 28:15

English Standard Version (ESV)
15 Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land. For I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.

Genesis 31:3

English Standard Version (ESV)
Then the Lord said to Jacob, “Return to the land of your fathers and to your kindred, and I will be with you.

 
He says it over and over and over in scripture: “I am with you.”  “I will never leave you.”  This sounds like what a good father would say to a child who is scared about entering a dark room.  “It’s OK.  Don’t be afraid.  Daddy is coming with you.  I won’t leave you.  I’ll be right here.”  And when I look back on the times when my life was falling apart, I can see Him so clearly by my side.  
So, no, none of us asked to be born into this world.  But our Father made us a promise that still stands today:  “You are not alone.  I care for you and I will be with you wherever you go.”  How do I respond to a God like that?  How does a loving, perfect father shape my response in times of crisis?  How sweet and tender of Him to reassure us so many times.  Even when it was previously written for all to read, He said it again:  “I will not leave you.  I will not abandon you.  I am with you even now.”
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Walking it Out – Part 2: HOPE

Twelve years ago, in February and March, two life changing events occurred. The first, was an encounter during our ending worship song, in which for a moment of earthly time, I was no longer in the room. I was elsewhere, but still in a worship setting, and I was beginning to see what I was Called to do. It was but the first piece, the second of which came later in the day with my introduction to Isaiah 61 through Luke 4:18.

Five weekends later came the second event. This one plunged me into the most devastating nightmare of my life. Had this been a one weekend thing, it would not have had as great an effect. No, this was the seemingly never ending nightmare, that just continued to unfold and get worse.

This began what unfolded as a strategic assault, not just on one front, but many. There were too many layers, and too many people and circumstances, and too many dimensions for me to sort out by myself. I learned things about people and situations I never wanted to know. All my core understandings and beliefs were shaken at best, shattered at worst. But, I still had Him. That never changed. That never will.

I did my best. It’s all I could do. Did I make all the right decisions along the way, I’m sure not.. I made many mistakes, but I was trying to be obedient as best I knew how in the midst of hell, and even my mistakes were counted as good in the trying.

There were things said by those whose words carried great weight, and I took a lot of them to heart when I really should have believed in me, and Him, more. But I was just a 40 year old kid in the Kingdom, actually pretty doggone naive. Turns out, I was in the middle of other peoples messes which only made more complications. And the enemy was directly and covertly in the mix. At some point.. the war became as well a battlefield in the mind.

Sooo… after about 18 months of this nightmare, things began to turn. A door opened for me to attend a new church closer to my hometown. And God began the healing process.

I remember just a couple of months into the whole ordeal, looking up at the night sky and saying to God.. “You’re not going to rescue me this time, are You?” I’d gotten quite used to Him as my rescue. As it now turns out, I was not quite accurate. Although walking through was the course, NOW the rescue is in full operation.

This is where my new son comes in. I said in the last post that he was helping me to sort some of this stuff. But in all actuality, it’s more than that. I’m being rescued from lies and pain and mindsets and even the grip of the enemy. More on that in a bit. The healing continues. I want to share what I wrote in my journal the other morning, as I was processing this current portion of the journey.

This statement had been made, oh about a week prior and then another. And they just kept resounding…  Here’s the journal entry…

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“True love takes risks”

“I will risk your anger to guard your heart”

OK – when did that happen – sitting here after writing that statement – I guess thinking about it and how profound and beautiful it is, and how incredible it is to be loved that much – Suddenly my heart swells with so much love, in a way I’ve not felt in a long long time.

And I find myself asking –

Am I really ready to have my heart wide open again? To Love without fear? To love without reservation, walls, guard or caution?

I don’t think I ever saw that as a possibility again. In fact, I forgot what it felt like. I really did.

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Much has happened since that morning, so I did not get to share it. Today I finally sat down with it again. I knew that morning I needed to share it. Maybe I just needed more pieces first. So here’s today’s journaling.. with and without maybe some editing. 🙂

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Perfect love casts out fear.

In this process, there are some things that have been presented, sometimes in type; sometimes – a voice over a phone line; sometimes with an expression, a look that can be recalled with the tone of voice and emphasis. These replay. Sometimes when I least expect it. Mostly, just when needed. They’ve become not only building blocks, but a sword in my hand to do battle with – truths to cut down lies.

It’s working – quickly and effectively.

It’s most often in the uncomfortable silences – seemingly left alone, that the thoughts come, the ‘voices’ that lie, that challenge, that try to unglue.

But these nuggets of truth – you are loved, you are safe, I won’t leave, I won’t harm you, I will protect you, your heart is important to me… You are important to me; you are important to God, etc – these are beginning to combat the lies. And these are beginning to combat words previously on repeat. [Some of those truths have been spoken outright, some ‘gleaned’ from other statements, but still given by God to me as truths to grab hold of.]

When fear says, ‘I can’t trust this’, I remember: ‘I’ve been given a son”… ‘Will you visit?” “Certainly”.

When fear says – “you’ve been abandoned” – Love says, here I am, I am, “I’m not slow, I’m patient”.

When fear says – I won’t be rescued, Love said I’m rescuing you now.

When fear says – I’m scared of …. the dark, what I don’t understand, the pain, etc. “I am your Protector”; ‘I am very protective of your eye”; “I will fight to the death to see your dreams and your calling come to pass”; “Have you been fighting for me?””Always”, “since the day I met you”.

 “You are part of My household, I am obligated to protect you”

“Michael has been sent to guard you in this process”

God wants me free, even more than I want to be free.

He said He was going to heal me.. every molecule of my being. Though I’ve ‘reminded’ Him, and me of this promise, I think I may have given up on being that healed and restored. But He’s doing it, NOW, in ways that are so much greater then I could have hoped for.

I’ve learned truth about Him in the last couple of weeks, much in part due to these truths that have been coming my way through Love. When the lies come, the truth comes also, and I can grab what’s true and choose it over what had appeared true. Some of that is choosing to believe in the someone whom was sent to help, with an overwhelming amount of evidence to back it up. Every time I’ve done this, more truth has been revealed. And in the process, that which was stolen or misplaced, is starting to get set back in it’s rightful place. I’m being rebuilt from the inside out.

For months I thought, this nightmare will be over soon. For years then I thought, anytime now, we’ll turn the corner. For years I had my eyes on the wrong reality. Cause for years, what seemed like a nightmare for which there was no remedy, was actually a time of preparation, to walk in the promise first given that year, before all hell broke loose. To be honest.. the greatest blessings and encounters of my life have come throughout the last 12 years (God encounters). New history being made with Him. New understanding released. You can’t walk anyone else through something you’ve not walked through, nor can you truly understand it. There have been giftings unwrapped and released. There has been teaching and exposure to Kingdom realities that might never have come, had I not had the catalysts for change.

Though I can’t say I yet understand what really happened, or why He allowed it, I can finally say, with full belief, that’s it going to be ok. I can breath. I’m going to be ok. Redeemed and restored to the fullness of His original creative purposes. I will walk in all that He destined for me. And I have this nugget to hold on to in the midst of the journey:

My son has seen my best, and will not stop believing in it and fighting for it, until the fullness of its manifestation is in the now. And when doubt rises, I will continue to knock it down, cause God is faithful. What He said He will do. His words will not return to Him void.

No one really understands your journey. Maybe not even those closest to you. But God does and He is determined to collect His entire inheritance. He is not bound by time, or anything other than our will. But, I think He even knows His way around that. He is not afraid to move Heaven and Earth and even “Hell” if need be, on your behalf. In the season of shaking, let Him shake it all. He will be faithful to rebuild if you let Him, and what remains will be unshakable…

“whose voice then shook the earth; but now He has promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not only the earth, but also heaven.”  Now this, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of those things that are being shaken, as of things that are made, that the things which cannot be shaken may remain.
Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear”   Hebrews 12:26-8 (NKJV)

Preparing to Stand: The Full Armor vs the devil’s Tactics

“Finally, be strengthened by the Lord and by His vast strength. Put on the full armor of God so that you can stand against the tactics of the Devil. For our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world powers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens. This is why you must take up the full armor of God, so that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having prepared everything, to take your stand. Ephesians 6:11-13 (HCSB)

Ok. Without a doubt, the devil loves to plot against humanity. He is full of plans, schemes and war tactics. He will attack overtly and covertly, obviously and oh sooo subtlely. Unfortunately, we often learn the ways of his offenses the hard way. UGH! But God does not leave us defenseless. In fact, in this passage, He is preparing us to be on the offensive!

Standing in this passage brings to mind a soldier on a hill, in full battle array, banner staked in the ground beside him, sword in hand, heels dug in – immovable.. taking his stand. We are given promises, prophetic words, dreams and visions – often I believe, so that we can stand immovable until they can come to pass. Funny thing about a good strong message from the Lord, it’s hard to shrug off and just forget about it. Maybe this is part of standing in the gap; coming into agreement with God’s plans and not letting the enemy have his way otherwise.

So hence comes this armor from God. He doesn’t just sit us out on that hill to face the enemy army in t-shirts and shorts and barefeet. No, He gives us every tool we need to walk out this journey, whether in active battle, or just standing. I shouldn’t even say, “just standing” – for standing sometimes is the only thing you have left, and the hardest thing you ever have to do – right up until the next time. For example: a momma standing on God’s word for her wayword child praying them to come out of the dangerous paths they’ve taken; praying, believing and contending for their very lives. Yep, you ask anyone of those momma’s – they made a decision somewhere along the way, that ‘here I am, and I’m not budging till this is over’. That’s standing.

This armor of God’s is no ordinary armor. It’s great imagery that Paul gave us and the Ephesians, but the simplicity of it is so beautiful. And it is all God. These are the things that a Christian should be clothed in everyday. We are just often made more aware of the need when the battle is raging.

He tells us to stand with Truth, Righteousness, Peace (gospel of), Faith, Salvation, The Word of God, Prayers and Requests, Perseverance and Intercession. These are not things that are out of our grasp or understanding. But like all armor, every piece will be tried and tested. We will greater learn how they are best used as we grow in our maturity and relationship with Him and we’ll be better prepared to resist, to stand, and to crush the enemy’s tactics.

As for Paul, the one who wrote this passage, he gives us great perspective. Vs. 19 and 20:

Pray also for me, that the message may be given to me when I open my mouth to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel. For this I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I might be bold enough in Him to speak as I should. (HCSB)

This is a amazing and humbling example of standing. He’s been thrown in jail for believing, preaching and displaying the Gospel of Christ. But instead of moaning and groaning, he’s encouraging, teaching and equipping the Church; all the while with his eyes on the prize of continuing to advance the Kingdom every chance he gets.