Why BB4TheLord2

Why BB4TheLord2: My first blog, bb4thelord.blogspot.com was began a couple years after I became a young widow. After ten years on that journey of widowhood, I took a break from blogging. Now the time has come to begin again. Writing is a gift God has given me and I must get back into using the gifts God has given me.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Rebuilding VI: Armorbearer

As I read through the life of David this week, a word caught my eye. Armorbearer. David not only played his harp for Saul before he did his well-known defeat of Goliath, but it says in I Samuel 16 that David became King Saul’s armorbearer.

And then in the next chapter we read Saul goes to fight the enemy. David's three eldest brothers go with him. But David goes back home to tend the sheep. Before he is gotten to play the harp for Saul, David's reputation is that he is a mighty valiant man, and a man of war. So why not keep him as an armorbearer, Saul? His age? His stature? And how did David feel? Samuel had anointed him. He got called to play for the king. He became his armorbearer. War comes and David is dismissed. Set aside.

I identify with David. I studied last year about being an armorbearer. And even posted on it. I said it then and will restated it here: “Intercessory prayer is the privilege to be another person's armorbearer.” Being a prayer warrior has been the backbone of my Christian life. Ever since I first heard the word as a young Christian, I remember thinking, "yes, I want to be a prayer warrior, Lord." And He has grown me into this act of service. Rarely do I not have people on my heart and have some kind of list I am pray through.

Then came this month. And I felt so worked over I could hardly pray for myself and the boys, let alone others. “Speak, Lord!” was my simple plea as I sought Him and waited. No other words poured out for others. I felt like the prayer mantle had been taken from me. Like I had been dismissed from being an armorbearer.  Ugh!

You ever feel like God put you on a shelf? It is a most wretched feeling. I know that the Lord loves me and He is doing a work of restoration in me. That He needed to clean me up, strengthen me, and settle me on somethings. I get that. But I so identify with David being humbly dismissed as an armorbearer and going out alone in the field waiting for God to speak.

Thankfully, gradually the Lord burdened my heart to pray for someone. Then another. And another. Slowly I felt being taken off the shelf. I finally was able to pray aloud at prayer meeting last week. And tonight I made my first prayer list in weeks.

What a privilege to pray over that list of others I am burdened for! I am not at full strength yet. I know it. My list is half the size it usually is. But I feel like the walls of my Jerusalem are almost all rebuilt and though the enemy attacks, I am stronger and not so vulnerable. And I am back at my post donning my privileged prayer mantle. Thank You, Christ Jesus!

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Rebuilding III: Letting Go in Faith

There is much I am being taught. I want to catch it all in words and yet as I try, the sacredness of it all is tarnished a little. But tarnished or not, I want to record it all. I don't want any of the Lord's words to me during this precious time to fall to the ground.

The Lord is the Master Conductor. He recently used a sermon about releasing the Holy Spirit and a Bible study the younger two boys are doing to once again open my eyes to truth. Last fall I wrote a post about holding everything in an open hand. The Lord took that lesson to a deeper level.

The boys were doing an indepth study on Hebrews 11, the well-known "Hall of Faith." I joined along and did my own study. As I dug deeper and sought personal application, Abraham's willingness to sacrifice Isaac grabbed my heart. Hebrews 11:17-19 "By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promise offered up his only begotten son, of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called: accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead from whence also he received him in a figure."

Reread those verses slowly. The LORD had promised Abraham this son, he had waited 25 years for him! Through Isaac was going to come the Deliverer as well as many other descendants. This child was literally Abraham's hopes and dreams, but also the LORD's promise. We know that the LORD provided a ram in the thicket. But according to the verses in Hebrews, Abraham wasn't believing God to give him a ram in the thicket, a way to escape having to offer up his precious son. Abraham believed that though he was going to have to slay his beloved son, God would raise Isaac up from the dead to keep His word, His promise. That is incredible faith!!!

It is a Letting-Go kind of faith. Abraham let go of the promise God had given him in faith that the LORD would resurrect it in His way at His time. What went on in his heart? What words did he pray? No conversation at the altar is recorded between Isaac and Abraham. Did Isaac understand? Had Abraham explained to him before that he was a promise and through him would come a promise? I am sure this whole thing was an emotional ordeal. Yet Abraham believed that God had power over death. He could let go that which was most precious to him and the LORD would resurrect it.

Abraham had an inspiring Letting-go-kind-of-faith. Too often we have a clinging-controling-whiney faith. Our inner brat stamps it feet and says, "You promised, GOD, and it should be this way at this time" and our fingerprints are all over what is God's alone.

In my pastor's sermon about Releasing the Spirit, he said, "The Spirit won't touch what you are touching. You must surrender. Let it go for the Spirit to work upon it." It instantly made me think of Moses' rod. God commanded him to throw it down. Once his hands was off it, it turned into a snake. When God told him to grab its tail, it instantly became a rod again. It became alive when his hands were off it. Again, the lesson of letting go. But not in doubt. Letting go in belief.

This is deeper than just holding everything in an open hand. This is putting it to death in my heart. This is dying to it myself. This is imaging being at the funeral of whatever it is. And walking away from the casket. And believing the LORD will resurrect it at His time and in His way. And maybe not even while I am on this side of glory.

All this talk of death takes me back to standing alone at my Jim's casket. Everything within me wanted to crawl into that casket with him. To pull the lid down and be done. But our unborn baby within me stirred and brought reality to my mind. I had to walk away and leave my heart lying there shattered in a million pieces. It was the beginning of a long journey of letting go. Yet I will forever remember words from that night. "See you later."

I imagine Abraham's heart was saying similar words as he lifted the knife in the air believing in the God who has power over death. He believed the Almighty was going to bring life again to his son. The Almighty would bring life again to His Promise. But first he had to let go in faith.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Rebuilding II: Casting Out Fear

A healthy balanced fear of the LORD is a good thing. A very good thing. But when it isn't balanced by His perfect love, it becomes twisted and a tool of the enemy, a lie.
Like this picture. It appears awesome, but it is fake. Digitally doctored up.

Like I stated in a previous post, I must not focus on one attribute of my Almighty God. I must remember ALL He is. He is my judge, and has every right to chasten me. But He is also the Lover of my Soul who loves me with an everlasting love.

As I stated before, the Lord disciplines in love and for my good. But the enemy wants to twist that into a constant fear of God smacking me each time I mess up. I tend to be an overthinker. Add to this that sometimes I have a difficult time discerning what is God and what is just me, plus having been recently admonished by the Lord, I find myself bracing for consequences for having failed to listen to God, yet again.

I have been battling this unhealthy fear off and on during this restoration time. It has been stressful. Condemning. And once again my loving Father touched my life with His fingerprints. I was looking through some old sermon notes and came across the perfect answer in my own handwriting. It was about a sermon on conquering fears, I had written down "Though God chastens, He is not out to get you, waiting for you to mess up again. Because of Christ's blood, you have peace with God. Perfect love casts out fear."  Oh, the power of truth. Sunshine flooded my soul!

The notes also talked about unconfessed or condemning things from the past allowing fear to torment. So I went digging within. And I found certain past sins that though confessed and forsaken, I was still condemning myself for. I know I deserve punishment for them. And I know the Lord has had mercy and forgiven me. But the shame and guilt hung like a heavy chain around my neck. Then the Lord reminded me of my pastor's recent sermon on forgiveness. I reread those sermon notes. Oh, what words of life to me! For I suddenly saw I was struggling with forgiving myself. "What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common." I released that to the Lord and the weighty chain fell off. Another part of me was restored.

"Fear the LORD and depart from evil" but also remember "perfect love casteth out fear"  Soak it in like sunshine. The LORD knows every broken, sinful part of us. Yet loves us more in a moment than anyone can in a lifetime. Abide in Christ's love.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Rebuilding I: With a Sword by My Side

There is a story I read the boys when they were little. Not sure of the title, but we remember the theme, "No, no, don't go, to the plain of Ono!" It was a child's rendition of Nehemiah and his struggles with rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem. At one point, the enemies ask to speak to him in the plain of Ono. Nehemiah doesn't go. The work he is doing is too important. The enemies tried many tactics: lying, distraction, threats, and flat out planning an assault.

Nehemiah and his people had a mind to work, despite the threat of attack. They built and restored the walls all the while with a sword by their side. That is where I am at. The Lord is restoring me. Rebuilding me. But the enemy is attacking. He is speaking sly words. He is trying to manipulate me. To get me to stop the work that is being done. He attacks with sharp accusations and fears.

"...in the evil day, and having done all, to stand." I am doing my best to stand. To run to His Word, my sword, claiming promises. Mediating on His Word and reading it more frequently and in larger chunks. I know this level of attack is only for a season. Yet it is exhausting fighting off the repeated bombardments of the enemy. Being constantly on guard, I feel like a vet with PTSD. Always in that heightened state of alertness. Most of the battle is within me. In my mind & in my heart.

Like the old hymn says:
Prone to wonder, Lord, I feel it,
prone to leave this God I love.
Take my heart, oh, take and
seal it, seal it for Thy courts above.

And so I slipped my grandmother's silver heart pendent onto my necklace. Yes, Lord, into Your hands I place my heart. This restoration work is Yours. This battle is Yours too. I hid once again in Him.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Jealous God & Other Truths

During this time of heart restoration, the Lord has been repeatedly showing me the following four truths:

The most significant truth being Exodus 34:14: “For thou shalt worship no other god: for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God” He has seared this in my mind. I must remember ALL that God is. Yes, He is Love, longsuffering, merciful, and a comforter. But He is also Jealous, holy, almighty, and a just judge. My relationship with the Almighty is sacred & He will NOT tolerate being second fiddle to any thing or any one.

Next He reminded me when He corrects me, rebukes me, and disciplines me, it is always in love and for my good. In Hebrews 12:6,10-11 He says, "For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth..For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness. Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby

Besides viewing the LORD as He really is, and viewing His chastening correctly, I must view sin as it really is. Sin breaks the very heart of God. In her book Holiness: The Heart God Purifies, Nancy DeMoss compares sin to spiritual adultery. "To say yes to sin is to fall into the embrace of a paramour. It is to bring a rival into a sacred love relationship." That is a powerful statement! Our world is too casual about embracing sin. Christians get too casual about sin. I get too casual about sin. And I am just as guilty of getting weaseled into the enemy's embrace. When I catch myself sinning, I need to view myself like the woman taken in adultery in John 8. Bring myself before Christ. He has power to punish, yet also to pardon and forgive. And He delights in forgiving a repentant heart. Because ultimately that is His focus, my heart.

Which brings me to the final truth the Lord has been working on ingraining in me: Faith. Hebrews 11:6 says, "But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him."

What I truly believe in my heart, my faith in the Lord is what pleases God. Not my actions, words, or thoughts. No matter how good or honorable. It is my faith in the Lord that makes Him smile. When I trust God, when I say in my heart "I believe You & Your Word," this is the ultimate "I love You, Lord!" When I step out in action to that belief, it is displayed as obedience. My relationship with Christ and what I am believing God for is very important to Him. 

Christ Jesus knows everything about me already and still loves me & accepts me. He is absolutely crazy! But I am eternally grateful. And I must keep in balance these four things: all that the Lord is, what His chastening really is, what sin really is, and ultimately, what faith really is.  

Clear the Stage

This song has really been edifying to my heart lately:

Sang by Jamie Leigh

Words by Jimmy Needham

Clear the stage and set the sound and lights ablaze
If that's the measure you must take to crush the idols.
Jerk the pews & all the decorations, too
Until the congregations few, then have revival.
Tell your friends that this is where the party ends
Until you're broken for your sins, 
you can't be social.
Then seek the Lord & wait for what He has in store
And know that great is your reward so just be hopeful.

'Cause you can sing all you want to
Yes, you can sing all you want to
You can sing all you want to
And still get it wrong; cause worship is 
more than a song.

Take a break from all the plans that you have made
And sit at home alone and wait for God to whisper.
Beg Him please to open up His mouth and speak
And pray for real upon your knees until they blister.
Shine the light on every corner of your life
Until the pride and lust and lies are in the open.
Then read the Word and put
 to test the things you've heard Until your heart and soul are stirred and rocked and broken.

'Cause you can sing all you want to
Yes, you can sing all you want to
You can sing all you want to
And still get it wrong; worship is 
more than a song

We must not worship something that's not even worth it.
Clear the stage, make some space for the One who deserves it.
Anything I put before my God is 
an idol.
Anything I want with all my heart is an idol.
Anything I can't stop thinking of, is an idol.
Anything that I give all my love, is an idol.

'Cause you can sing all you want to
Yes, you can sing all you want to
You can sing all you want to
And still get it wrong; worship is 
more than a song

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Running Ahead

I found this on Pinterest and it hit me like a ton of bricks! 

I picture myself like a child holding Christ's hand walking along a path. Then I drop His hand and run ahead of Him down the path. It curves this way and that and there are many splits off of the main path we had been on. I run ahead, losing sight of Christ behind me. Sometimes I pick a side trail and wander even farther from my Jesus. 

What makes me run ahead? Many things. Anxiousness, impatience, pride, fear, worry, stubborness, false wisdom, displaced zeal, an independent spirit, rebellion, and ultimately, unbelief. 

Then suddenly I find myself alone, lost, and exhausted. Sometimes wounded. Sometimes paralized in fright. Sometimes dealing with devastating consequences. In desperation and despair, I cry out. And faithful Jesus comes.

In mercy, He calms me. Heals me. Holds me. Strengthens me. Pours out grace on the sharp consequences. He takes my hand and lovingly walks me back to His path. As we walk, He speaks to me compassionately and yet sternly, "Don't run ahead of Me. I know what is ahead of us. I know the best way to get to where I am taking you. Enjoy the journey with Me. Don't run ahead of me, child."

I am so thankful the Lord is longsuffering and merciful. As I look back on my life, this sin of running ahead of Him has been a constant struggle for me. 

"Don't run ahead of Me." The head knowledge of this keeps getting knocked out of my hand. The last year or so the Lord has been working in my life to make this truth a part of me. To ingrain it deep within my soul. 

As the Lord has been doing His restorative work on my heart, I hear Him whisper lovingly, "Don't run ahead of Me, child." I find myself frequently turning to Him making sure I have hold of His hand and am safely by His side. 

Yes, the relationship is the treasure on this journey, not the destination. And again, I rest in Him.