Lindsay Roberts is an awesome teacher of the Word. She always serves up a thought-provoking message with a side order of pull your head out. I love her. She’s just my style.
Years ago she preached a sermon called, “Go to the throne before you go to the phone.” It’s so simple and yet so profound. We rush off and tell someone our troubles when we’re still all riled up in the heat of the moment and it gets us nowhere… or even makes it worse.
Sometimes you really need to let it marinate for a while before you dive in. Let the Holy Spirit have a chance to soften hearts and bring understanding to an otherwise difficult situation. He is infinitely smarter than us. We may contemplate a thousand scenarios to neutralize the problem, but still He has a better solution. He always does… if we’ll invite Him into the situation and then wait. That’s the hard part.
Marinades take time to do their work, but they can turn the toughest cut of meat into a tender lump of love if we give it time. The Holy Spirit is the most powerful marinade there is.
Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God. (Romans 8:26-27 NIV)
Whatever tough cut has you tied up in knots, I encourage you to let it marinate. See what wonderful things God can do.
God got me again. For real. I was struggling with something… imagine that, me struggling. Anyway, my spirit settled on Proverbs 3:6: In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.
Sounds easy enough, right? But have you ever thought about what it really means to acknowledge Him in all your ways? All my ways? Everything I do? Everything I contemplate? Everything I struggle or succeed with? Everything?
All my ways is a lot. I don’t know how to do that. I acknowledge God a lot, even every day, but I know I’m not doing it in all my ways. Here’s where I have to make an adjustment.
I have to ask the Holy Spirit to remind me to acknowledge God in all my ways. I know I’m not smart enough to remember that on my own. It has to become second nature… something I do in all things and without thinking.
How can He work everything together for my good if He’s not part of everything I do?
In order to walk the path that He’s chosen for me, His perfect path, then He’s got to be part of the equation. I know if I can get that deeply rooted in my heart and my corresponding actions, things will turn out much better. And I will spend much less time struggling.
I am not known for my patience. I am known to get agitated waiting on my Keurig. If someone doesn’t answer my text message immediately, I tend to FREAK OUT. I think I may have a problem.
What’s new? I seem to discover things I need to work on quite often… daily, if I’m really being honest.
Today was no different.
I was praying this morning, actually praying and fretting, and it occurred to me; I cannot do both. Fret is fear. It sounds nicer, but it’s just fear.
It all worked out and I realized my fretting was for naught, but I continued to think about my little conundrum for the rest of the day. I had two forces working against each other, essentially canceling the other out. I’ve heard many sermons and I know it to be truth, that faith and fear are opposites sides of the same force, but sometimes it’s difficult to see when we’re in fear. We say softer words like fret and try to convince ourselves that we’re in faith. And I wanted to be. I tried to be! But I knew in my heart I wasn’t.
Now it’s night-time and I’m still thinking about it.
I don’t have an answer except, “Cool Your Jets.” Yes, that’s what He said to me. That was His response to my fretting. I prayed, I put the Blood of Jesus on the situation, I cast my care on Him, and that’s where it should have ended.
Cool your jets, Juli.
Next time, I’m going to start with that.
Yes, you may be in trouble, or in some kind of mess, but God specializes in getting us out of messes and making things even better than they were before. Honestly, just look at the life of Jesus. Try to see it from the disciples’ eyes. They had been going around with their teacher, they had been hearing the Word of the Living God that burned like fire in their souls, seeing incredible miracles, having the time of their lives when one night they sit down to dinner and Jesus tells them He’s going to die. These men had laid down their lives to follow him… left their homes and jobs and devoted their lives to Jesus’ ministry. Can you imagine what they must have been thinking when they watched Jesus’ words come to pass? When they saw Him on that cross?
We think about the disciples being these great men of faith and wisdom, but these guys were just regular people. They must have been horrified! Can you imagine the hopelessness they would have felt when Jesus died? They did not have the benefit of the bigger picture that we have. We know that Jesus had to die to redeem us from sin, but they didn’t know that. They didn’t know squat. But just look at how God took that seemingly unfixable mess and changed the course of mankind.
Talk about making things better than they were before… what would it be like if we still had to sacrifice animals to cleanse us from sin? PETA would not like that at all.
Your mess isn’t too big for God to clean up. You’re not too deep in your sea of troubles that He can’t fish you out. As long as your heart still has room for Him, He has answers for you.
He will call on me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him.(Psalm 91:15 NIV)
God is a redeemer. That means He redeems.
He redeems us from sin, cleans us up, and sets us back on our feet.
He is also the redeemer of situations. That doesn’t mean just fix our situation, but make it even better than it was before.
How does He do it?
It’s different every time.
He’s smarter than us.
Ask Him into your situation. Ask Him to redeem it. Repent of your sin and receive His forgiveness.
Let the guilt go.
Don’t focus on the mess; focus on the Redeemer.
What exactly is an issue of blood? Actually, strike that. I don’t want to know. The point is, whatever malady she was tormented with for twelve years, Jesus healed her.
I read the accounts of this woman in the Gospels as I was helping ORM put together a workbook to correspond with my Dad’s School of Miracles courses. They are awesome and FREE, by the way. (www.SOM.OralRoberts.com)
I’ve read her story, heard her story, and been preached countless sermons about her story, but I never saw it quite like I did today. This woman did something to get what she needed. Actually, she did three things:
She said she’d be made whole, she pushed through the crowd, and she touched Him.
She used her mouth; she got confession working for her. (Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit. Proverbs 18:1) She pushed through her circumstances, no matter how difficult. (And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28) And finally, she reached out her hand and touched Him. She touched Him, believing that she would be healed. (… all things are possible to him who believes. Mark 9:23)
She did these things. She didn’t sit on her can and wait for her healing or deliverance or breakthrough or miracle to come. She did something.
You may ask, “What am I supposed to do?” Well, God is infinitely able to move heaven and earth on your behalf, why don’t you ask Him? He’s got all the answers before we even know the questions. He knows what we need to do. He knows how to fix our messes. He knows how to turn our boat right-side-up when we capsize. We just have to ask Him, and then we have to do what He says.
It drives me nuts when people say, “God is in control.” News flash… He’s not in control unless we put Him in control. If God were really in control, He’s not doing a very good job. Sacrilege! Crucify her!
No, seriously, we are the ones that are not doing a good job. We are the ones that don’t have our crap together. We are the ones who miss it and screw things up and get ourselves in trouble.
God can only do what we let Him do; He can only take over where we invite Him in. The Bible says, Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6) Do you see that there’s a qualifier in that scripture? He directs our paths if we acknowledge Him in all our ways. It doesn’t mean we only communicate with God on Sundays. It doesn’t mean we only seek God when we’re in trouble. It means ALL OUR WAYS. It means we must make God a part of our everyday life. It means we must seek Him in good times and bad. It means we must allow Him into all our situations. It means we must listen to His voice. And sometimes that means close our own mouth and ask Him to do the talking. That’s called having a teachable heart. And that’s the best kind of heart you can have.
An unteachable heart handcuffs God. The God of the universe, Creator of Heaven and Earth can be handcuffed by His people. Don’t handcuff God. Invite Him in. Call on His Name. Stand on His Word. Relinquish control. Unlock the handcuffs and let God come in and transform your life. You are His beloved child. Let Him be your Father.
The other day I opened the door to Jackie’s linen closet, and the fragrance of Tide, and Bounce, and Downy enveloped me in a cloud. The woman’s laundry smelled amazing. Sometimes I could smell her fabric softener out in the driveway on big laundry days. I made a mental note to check out what flavors she used and to duplicate them. I want my laundry to smell like Jackie’s.
Since she passed away, I’ve been wearing Hypnose, a perfume by Lancome. She wore it for years and it makes me feel close to her. Smell is such a powerful sense. The memories it evokes can stop me dead in my tracks.
Transitions like these can be brutal. Moving, divorce, death, job changes… all these things can feel like a slow drowning. But they don’t have to. God can help us during these times. And He wants to. We have only to ask.
Psalm 46:1 says He is our ever-present help in time of need. And if we seek Him, He will envelop us in His presence, like Jackie’s cloud of Tide and Downy. If we seek Him, He will whisper our names into the ears of those He can count on to listen and pray. If we seek Him, He will give us peace in transit.
When I was a little girl, I was a bit of a tomboy and spent a lot of time outside. On nice days you could find me up a tree or walking through woods or wading through a creek. I also loved to dig holes. I really cannot imagine why and probably need therapy, but I dug holes. I remember digging down through the sandy soil, down to the hard clay level, and it would be cool. No matter how hot the topsoil was, that clay level was cool.
The things of God are like that. It takes time and dedication to get down to the cool level. The Bible says that the Word of God is life to those who find it, and health to all their flesh (Proverbs 4:22). That says to me that we have to find it. Finding something means you had it look for it, you had to pursue it.
Life is hard and the sandy topsoil level can be really bleak, but if we’ll dig into God’s Word and pursue His precious promises that are there for us, we’ll find relief.
We have some wonderful ministry friends, Pastor Jim and Ireta Willoughby, who I adore. They are a great family, and they are real people, my favorite kind of people. Ireta was a guest on Lindsay’s program (Make Your Day Count) a few days ago and she said something that stopped me cold. She said, “God doesn’t want you to carbon copy somebody else’s prayer; He wants to hear from your heart.”
Sometimes when I hear ministers give wordy and highfalutin prayers, I admit I get kind of irritated… maybe because somewhere inside me I feel a little less qualified. But in my heart, I know that God doesn’t care how fancy the words are, He just wants to hear from me. I also feel funny when I hear people talk about their prayer closets. I don’t have a prayer closet. I really can’t pinpoint a place where I do my praying. I guess the world is my prayer closet.
I pray in the car, I pray in the shower, I pray at work, I pray while I’m doing dishes. I pray when I need to, I pray when I want to. I just pray. And I think that’s the key. God wants to hear from us, anytime and all the time.
He wants to hear from us when we are in trouble or triumph, when the day is awesome and when it’s not. I know that I don’t like it when people only reach out to me when they need something. I imagine God doesn’t appreciate it either.
My friend Ireta reminded me that my Heavenly Father is my friend. He is tuned into my heart. He speaks my language. And He speaks yours too.