Blind Faith

Words

‘When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout,”Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me.”‘ Mark 10:47

One of my favourite hymns is Amazing Grace as it proclaims that I was saved from myself, found and blind but now I see. God awakens us to a whole new understanding of what life is about and that there is more to it than what we see. I also continue to get greater understanding and I hope, wisdom as I age that this journey does not always bring immediate sight. Faith is a process of knowing God and believing that which He said, then walking in that truth. We often are the ones that hinder that progress. We create our own experience of who God is based on false information or how we have been taught to see Him.

The other morning I was quickly reminded how I am blinded by my selfish tendencies. We woke up freezing but also praising God it was not 40 below outside. Our blower motor on our furnace had met its last days and so the night before my Mr. Fix it husband, spent a good three hours trying to replace it but something was not quite right and he walked away around midnight. Selfish tendency number one, if I am awoken at night, it is difficult for me to go back to sleep and it’s not pretty. I did all I could to suppress this and speak gratitude to him instead. Thank you Jesus. Victory number one. Funny when I do this, I don’t have that much trouble going back to sleep. hmmm…

Anyway, we get to the next day. We all have the afternoon off to travel to spend time with my family but because the furnace is still not right my husband decides to take the morning off as well. Noble deed right? My first thought, but I was so excited to be alone this morning and write before we left since our week was full. Another opportunity to take this to Jesus and submit my selfishness before Him to turn to my husband with gratitude for his sacrifice. We never run out of opportunities to die to our flesh that so quickly rises sometimes. I read recently that ‘There is never a death to self without a corresponding resurrection from God.” Praise Him for that.

As I reflected on my quickness to be blind to the blessings and the trait of persistence my husband has, I was reminded of the story in the gospel of the blind beggar that was healed. This story is told in three of the gospels but my favourite account is in Mark as it tells us his name. Bartimaeus. During this time a lot of the work was physical so if you had any kind of disability that prevented you from working you often ended up a beggar. I will let Mark tell the story, 10:46-52  Then they came to Jericho. As Jesus and his disciples, together with a large crowd, were leaving the city, a blind man, Bartimaeus (which means “son of Timaeus”), was sitting by the roadside begging.  When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” Many rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.”So they called to the blind man, “Cheer up! On your feet! He’s calling you.”  Throwing his cloak aside, he jumped to his feet and came to Jesus.“What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him.The blind man said, “Rabbi, I want to see.” “Go,” said Jesus, “your faith has healed you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road.’

This story reveals so much. First of all, when Bartimaeus referred to Jesus as the Son of David, this disclosed that he Knew Jesus was the Messiah. There was no hesitation, he began to shout to Him. He knew the possibilities that lay before him even if he couldn’t physically see him. His heart knew. This is all we need too. For our hearts to know the truth of Jesus. This faith should rise up the shouting in us, despite what others say. You notice that many rebuked this man’s heart cry to Jesus and told him to be quiet. What I love is it said Bartimaeus shouted all the more. I also love that Jesus asked him what he wanted him to do. He gave him opportunity to ask to be healed.jesus-2152703_640

I think it was Bartimaeus’ persistence in faith that got Jesus to stop and call to him. Jesus wasn’t standing right beside him because he stopped and asked who was with Him to call this beggar. So you know Bartimaeus had to be yelling loudly. He knew this Jesus so well, He didn’t care what anyone thought. He knew His audience was of One and that was all that mattered. He had to have been taught to have faith, for blind Bartimaeus, 2 Corinthians 5:7 rings true in more than one way, ‘For we live by faith, not by sight.’ He believed and that was enough for Him to call out to the One who could save Him.

Do you have enough faith for this? To live by the truth and not always needing to ‘see’ a miracle or the hand of God, to know that He is present and working even when it is not visible to you? To continue to call to Him even when the naysayers are telling you to stop? And once you do receive sight from Him, are you willing to immediately follow Him? Our faith journey is constantly pressing in, repenting, turning back to Him, questioning, seeking, trusting, being still, listening, persisting, running the race kind of life. In this you will find Him, be amazed, be healed, be willing, do great things because of the Great things He has done for you. Never forget that His offer is always the gift of Himself. Relationship with our Creator. He is enough.

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Liberated Identity

Galatians 5:1 “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”

When in doubt, go back to what you know. As I sit in my makeshift writing space praying, researching and gathering the copious amounts of writing I have done over the years, I sense God whisper, write what you know.  Over 9 years ago my charge was given to encourage and enlighten others to live in the shameless freedom and forgiveness of Christ. It has been my gathering place when I doubted my purpose or wasn’t solidified in my identity. It is simple really but I have chosen to complicate it.

I have not been set free just to be free. I have not freed myself but it is because of Jesus that I am free. It is my responsibility to live that way. Christ has set us free dying under the curse of the law so we should not take the yoke of slavery upon us again. Freedom is a gift not to be abused but used so that we will serve. “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” John 8:36. It includes telling others of the treasures I have found and my mode of sharing happens to be writing. “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit-fruit that will last- and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.” John 15:16 

When you realize how much God loves you, you’ll begin to live in true freedom.

As I grew up, I never felt like I belonged in my family. I was a surprise which could have been the reason. God chose my family and I love them intensely. I don’t know why I felt that way and I don’t blame anyone for that. It was what it was. It could have been the impetus for me seeking to fill that empty place in my heart and soul and unfortunately the choices I made to do so weren’t always great ones. The choices were temporary numbing to my emptiness but the true fullness came in the form of Jesus. In this place, awareness of my true identity and purpose collided together in a myriad of new truth. It has now been 15 years of God process, healing the places of me to line up with who I truly am in Him.

I was surprised at the simplicity of the definition of identity. Dictionary.com: Identity – the fact of being who or what a person or thing is. In the world it means being who we are but when identity is rooted in Christ, it is embodied in the Greek definition of identity which means – the vital breath, breath of life or the soul. Identity in Him is full of purpose and power and meaning.

These are just a few of the truths in Scripture speaking the certainty of who we are in Christ:

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John 1:12 I am God’s child.
John 15:15 As a disciple, I am a friend of Jesus Christ.
Romans 5:1 I have been justified.
1 Corinthians 6:17 I am united with the Lord, and I am one with Him in spirit.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 I have been bought with a price and I belong to God.
1 Corinthians 12:27 I am a member of Christ’s body.
Ephesians 1:3-8 I have been chosen by God and adopted as His child.
Colossians 1:13-14 I have been redeemed and forgiven of all my sins.
Colossians 2:9-10 I am complete in Christ.
Hebrews 4:14-16 I have direct access to the throne of grace through Jesus Christ.

My freedom deepens as I allow God to love me through the truth of His Word. God’s priority is our heart and character, not our circumstances. Freedom isn’t a literal releasing as much as it is a becoming. Oh to be like Him! That is true freedom.

Where have you looked for your identity? What part of God’s truth about you do you need to sink deep into your spirit? Sit with it, soak in it and choose to believe it. Live from freedom, from victory because Christ died for it. Period.

Posture to Receive

“In the morning, O Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation.” Psalm 5:3

There seems to be a recurring theme in my life lately that creates opportunity to change expectation into expectancy. It is when my expectations are in people or circumstances that the disappointment is ripe to grow. As I have experienced and studied the topic of expectations while I write, a formula that is usually accurate is when expectations do not equal reality it creates frustration. Often then we will look at the circumstances and place the blame or frustration there rather than digging deeper and seeing the pathway that led us to be disappointed in the result. BAM! Did you see that? Often our Pastor, when speaking something he feels is profound or impactful will repeat what he just said to highlight the point. I will give you a real life example.

Please do keep in mind I love my husband and children more than my life itself but I think all you Mama’s will relate to this one. I have been feeling convicted to spend some time writing and the last 2 weeks have been plumb full of people, kids off school and kids ministry etc. So when Wade left for work and Owen and Tessa were going to school and then her home for the weekend, I was quite excited to have my time of writing. Ok bye-bye, out the door now, did an early workout so gonna hop in the shower as soon as they leave and not waste any more time. Tessa walks back in, “My tire is flat!”  100 scenarios of how my time is going to be sucked away play through my mind and I give every possible helpful hint that wouldn’t involve my time. Holy Spirit knocks on my head, Hard. Remember the let me be open to your leading today Lord prayer…”I will call Wade about the air compressor.” After that, time-stealing scenarios are still making music in the background, I begin to explain where it is, how to use it, then more HS knocking as I stare at her frozen windows and sweet face and pregnant belly, “Wait, I will bring it around.” Just for the record I would not have left her stranded and would have given up my whole day if I needed to but my expectation of a time of writing and quiet had been interrupted and I went straight to selfish mode. The reality did not match my expectation and therefore created frustration.

God has been speaking to me a lot lately about being in a posture to receive. Be still and know that I am God was one of my Mom’s favorite verses and it has always seemed difficult to do. It created an expectation in me that I needed to be physically still in order to hear and know God better. It has created a lot of frustration sometimes when life is busy and I long to just sit with the lover of my soul. This verse comes from Psalm 46:10 and the complete verse says, “Be still and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations. I will be exalted in the earth.” Be still in the Hebrew context is to let go, or release so in essence we let go of our own control and know that God is in control.  It is not necessarily a physical posture, which interestingly one definition of posture is a particular way of dealing with or considering something, an approach or attitude. BAM again! Did you see that one. Ok I will stop, but really…

This psalm talks about God defending his city and people, how He is our fortress and no matter what is going on, He has the ultimate victory in the world. The rest of the verse, I will be exalted among the nations. I will be exalted in the earth are a reminder to us as His people to take time everyday to recognize and exalt (hold in very high regard,speak or think highly of)Him. This can be done in all situations no matter how physically still we are. A posture of receiving is a state of mind, an attitude to choose to see God wherever we are at, whatever we are in. Also for the record a physical posture of quiet before Him to receive and listen and exalt Him is sometimes required.

God promises often in His word that He will never leave us or forsake us. Abandon is one meaning of forsake and so it is comforting to know that God never abandons us, he may leave us to our own devices sometimes but He is always present. As I was taught and experienced early on in my walk with Him, He is a gentleman, He will never bust in where He is not invited. Graham Cooke says, “If we are in Christ, then all of our circumstances are as well.” So let your expectations move into expectancy of God, not in people or circumstances or processes but God Himself. Invite Him into the exact place that you are, He sees your state of nakedness and knows anyway.