Truth be told, if there is something to walk into or trip over in the dark, I’m bound to find it. With all of our traveling and middle of the night bathroom breaks, I always wake up trying to figure out what side of the room the bathroom is on. I often grope the walls trying to get to the toilet without getting a concussion from walking into a wall first.
While it might be easier for me to find these walls and bathrooms if there was some type of night-light, I deeply appreciate a deep dark room at night where I can’t see my hand in front of my face. Research has shown that this is actually the type of lighting that cues your brain to release melatonin, a hormone that controls your sleep pattern. I think it is wise to have a healthy fear, or awareness of the walls and objects in the dark so that you don’t trip. I think it’s wiser to turn a light on even if I don’t always implement this ;)
Matthew chapter 25 verses 1-12 is a parable Jesus tells about ten virgins who are going to meet the Bridegroom being like the Kingdom of Heaven. The fact that they’re virgins signifies that they’re made pure by the righteousness of Jesus Christ, so they’re believers, not those who don’t know Him. In this story, there are 5 wise virgins and 5 foolish virgins. We see that the only distinction that is mentioned between the wise and foolish is that while they all have lamps, the foolish don’t have any oils for the lamps. Unlike our modern days of electricity, these lamps would’ve needed oil in order to be lit. It would’ve been foolish to carry a lamp without oil, as there is no hope at producing light.
Throughout scriptures the symbolism of lamps represent light as in “God’s word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” Psalm 119:105. In describing John the Baptist in John 5:35, it describes his ministry or religious profession. “The light” is the truth. John 17:17 says, “We have to walk in the light “as He is in the light.” He lives in us, and we in Him. We are in union with Him.” We obtain light by being connected to His word and His heart.
The counsel from the Apostle John here is to abide in this place of light so that our lamps would be lit.
While all 10 virgins fall asleep at the Bridegroom’s delay, when the midnight cry goes forth to meet the Bridegroom, only 5 are prepared. They all had lamps, they all had the opportunity to produce light through their ministries, but only half of them were wise enough to store oil to light their lamps and meet the Bridegroom.
We can tell from the parable that there will be believers in the last days who will be foolish and carry a lamp, but they’re like empty tombs. They can’t produce light on the spot because they haven’t been storing oil from intimacy with Jesus. They’ve not been living from the inside out and acquainted with His Holy Spirit.
There will also be those who are watchful and be found wise because they are prepared with oil in their lamps. They will keep the first things first, because even though they may fall asleep, their hearts will be awake. The lamps or the mundane ways of life won’t distract them. They’ll watch and wait expectantly and be kept in the light and enter the wedding celebration.
Even if your motive is pure, if you don’t stay connected to His heart, you’ll miss out on the coming revival like the foolish virgins missed out on the wedding. There needs to be an increased connectedness to His heart in the midst of this life. Otherwise you’ll end up burning out if you do it on your own strength.
When Stephen and I got married, we took communion and then lit candles inside of lamps. We wanted to pray that our marriage would be marked as a “burning and shining lamp” to our generation in the ways that John the Baptist was. We want to be those who not only know the times in which we are living, but seek His heart in the midst of great and difficult seasons.
In order to do this, we must keep watch. Jesus repeatedly tells us to WATCH. We must keep watch over our own hearts so that we don’t grow cold or distracted. This can only come by having a healthy fear of the Lord. I often pray, “Lord grant me the spirit of the fear of the Lord”, based on Isaiah 11:2.
The fear that I want to walk in is the fear of the Lord where I respect and worship Jesus. I want to have the fear of the Lord to guide my pursuit of His plans and desires for my life.
I want to have the fear of the Lord to keep me vigilant, awake, and partnering with His heart. I want to be part of the pure and spotless Bride awaiting the Bridegroom.
I don’t want to be caught sleeping or with a mindset that I can coast through life carrying a lamp void of any oil. Isaiah 59:9-10 says ,” We hope for light, but there is darkness; for brightness, but we live in the night. We grope along a wall like the blind; we grope like those without eyes.” Much like I try to find my way around a dark hotel room, many will find themselves trying to find light in the darkness. When they’ve not kept a relationship with Jesus primary, they will be left in the darkness.
God wants you to have a fear of the darkness in a way that provokes you to cultivate relationship with Him that stems from the fear of the Lord. He desires that you be wise and be a part of His Bride that walks in the light.
My prayer for you is that you wouldn’t be afraid of the darkness that might surround you in this present life. Rather I pray that you’d be filled with the fear of the Lord to keep the bright light shining within you.
When I deal with her directly, I am always treated well, have great advice and assistance.
However, when I deal with her staff it’s an entirely different story.
They often don’t follow through or follow-up with what the Dr. has asked them to do.
They usually aren’t knowledgable to answer my questions.
And on my last visit, the nurse was literally YELLING at the front desk people about something in front of all of us in the lobby.
Had I no knowledge that this doctor was truly excellent and kind, I wouldn’t stick around.
Sometimes I feel that what happens with my doctor’s office staff happens with Christians. Those who are supposed to represent Him aren’t always portraying a correct picture to the world.
Now before I go any further, I want to say I am a huge fan of the Church, Jesus’ Bride, in all of her components, world-wide, cross-denominationally. I cheer her on because she truly is the heart of Jesus Christ and the means of which He uses to share His love and truth.
It’s just that sometimes she misses the memo.
Sometimes she loses sight of her first love.
She is clearly in the midst of her own transformation of glory and sometimes looks like a mess.
While the Church as a whole is demonstrating that Jesus is alive and moving in the hearts of His people, there are some places that are pretty messy.
The reality is that people are imperfect, BUT they are the means by which Jesus left His message to be spread throughout the world.
People, His Church, are His #1 plan. There is no “Plan B”.
These people who were left to spread the good news were people from all walks of life. Some were liars, some were former tax-collectors, while others had just denied Christ at His time of death. They were then entrusted to tell the entire world that Jesus loves then and died for them and that they too can be forgiven of their sins.
Wow! Quite daunting for sinners saved only by grace.
And so the story goes with a lot of believers today. Some are discipled well and know Jesus rightly and live a life in surrender to Him.
Other Christians are “babies” in the Lord and make a lot of big mistakes (oh do I have stories from my life…!!!)
What we ALL have in common as Christians is that none of us will ever truly be perfect.
So long as the world looks exclusively to Christians and not to Christ for their relationship with Him, they’ll always find reasons to not accept Christ.
What a Christian’s life hasthe ability to produce is the fruit of the spirit, a deep love for Jesus, compassion for people, and a passion to share His message of salvation and redemption to a lost and hurting world.
Let’s take a look at a few areas that show why Jesus isn’t like all Christians;
1. JESUS EMBRACED WHAT THE FATHER SAID OVER HIM.
2 Corinthians 5:17-19 says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.”
When we make Jesus the Lord of our lives and invite His Holy Spirit to come live inside of us, we are welcoming the true creation that we were designed to be to take over us.
When Jesus was being baptized in the Jordan River by John the Baptist, the Bible says that the Heavens opened, a dove descended upon Jesus and the Father spoke ,“This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” (Matthew 3:17)
Jesus heard the affirmation of His Father saying;
1. You are mine. You are my son
2. I love you
3. I am well pleased with you.
Jesus went from that place to the wilderness for 40 days of fasting and he was tested by the devil.
Because Jesus knew what the TRUTH was of His identity and what the Father thought about Him, he was able to stand against the lies the enemy brought.
Many people believe that Jesus died for their sins and they have made Him the Lord of their lives, but they haven’t accepted the identity of Heaven and they still embrace the lies and accusations of the enemy as their identity.
This produces a lot of broken examples of who Christ really is and dilutes the power of His identity to transform people’s lives.
We must know that there is a greater hope in Jesus to embrace the love and affirmation of the Father and walk into a new life in Him.
2. JESUS’ HEART BEATS FOR PEOPLE.
I know and have met Christians who did not like being around people nor embodied love and compassion for others.
I myself have had bad days where I know I’ve not exemplified Christ in my actions towards others.
Whenever we see Jesus in the scriptures interacting with people, it was obvious that they were the priority.
Sure He rebuked them and challenged them, but it was because He wanted their lives to be changed and transformed.
He poured out His entire life loving and serving others.
He truly is the ultimate example of a servant leader.
All He did was for others including the ultimate sacrifice that He gave of dying for the sins of the world.
When we get to know Jesus and listen to His heart, we see how passionately it beats for others.
When Christians are consumed with themselves and try to preserve their lives, they are ignoring the heart beat of Jesus.
If you’ve been turned off to Jesus because other people haven’t reached out or loved you and shown you truth, please know that is NOT His heart.
Irregardless of how others may act, He is passionately pursuing the hearts of mankind to reveal His truth and love.
He is the ultimate lover of our souls and through His eyes, we can see others rightly and be moved in compassion to bring Christ’s love to them.
3. JESUS BROUGHT HEALING.
Everywhere He went, Jesus was healing people.
“God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him.” Acts 10:38
While physical healing is incredible, (trust me I know because I am believing for my own body right now) there are definitely other types of healing.
Some need emotional healing and mental healing.
Others have been wounded spiritually and need a fresh touch from Jesus Himself to heal the wounds others created.
When people are hurting and in need of healing, they often feel isolated and alone.
Fear is usually another strong component and they are doubtful that God wants to be near and heal them.
I think of the lepers and how Jesus healed them. The outcasts of society met Jesus face to face and received their healing! WOW!
Luke 6:6-11 shows us a time where the religious leaders of the day opposed Jesus healing someone because it was unlawful to heal on the Sabbath. Mind you they weren’t Christians but it is a similar reaction some believers might have today.
“On another Sabbath he went into the synagogue and was teaching, and a man was there whose right hand was shriveled.The Pharisees and the teachers of the law were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, so they watched him closely to see if he would heal on the Sabbath.But Jesus knew what they were thinking and said to the man with the shriveled hand, “Get up and stand in front of everyone.” So he got up and stood there.Then Jesus said to them, “I ask you, which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to destroy it?”He looked around at them all, and then said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He did so, and his hand was completely restored.But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law were furious and began to discuss with one another what they might do to Jesus.”
What would it look like for Christians to be so moved in the love of Christ to pray for and stand with those around them needing healing? To not be intimidated by what others might think? To not be held back by a legalistic spirit?
If you’re in need of healing in any form, know that Jesus wants to heal you. He wants you healed and whole and it is the other reason He died for you.
He is reaching out His hand to heal and to restore…
4. JESUS WASN’T AFTER BEING POPULAR.
While Jesus called many to come and follow Him, more chose not to follow Him and commit, than those who became disciples.
He didn’t change what He was saying to appease His followers.
He spoke truth and He spoke it plainly.
The only ones who truly followed Jesus to the end, to the place of the cross were the disciple John, Mary Magdalene, and His mother.
If we were evaluated exclusively by how many people followed us to the end of our lives, Jesus certainly wouldn’t be our example.
I think that if a Christian is not rooted in the truth of Jesus Christ, they will seek popular opinion and strive to maintain followers often at the cost of compromising God’s word and not being bold about the truth of the gospel.
Often when we are seeking to be popular with man, we lose sight of carrying the heart of God TO mankind.
5. JESUS FORGIVES
Forgiveness is a huge area that many people, let alone believers have a hard time grasping.
This message is so powerfully displayed in the new Cinderella movie and I think this is why this blog entry of mine, Cinderella Says the F Word, went viral so quickly.
If anyone had a right to be offended, it was God. Yet He sent His son to die for us.
Then Jesus completely laid down His life with His last breaths crying out, “Father FORGIVE them, for they do not know what they’re doing”.
There is no greater forgiveness than from the One who created us, the One whom we have all sinned against laying down His life and forgiving us from ALL of our iniquities.
When we get offended in this life and hold onto bitterness and anger, we aren’t forgiving others the way that we have been forgiven.
There are horrific things that can be said and done and such cruelty in this world.
People across the world are persecuted for their faith in Jesus Christ and it’s an injustice.
Yet, they are forgiven when they make Jesus their Lord. They are eternally with Jesus FORGIVEN from all of their sins.
If we’ve been forgiven of everything, who are we to withhold forgiveness to others?
As people face difficult situations, it is a difficult thing to forgive and release others especially when we don’t understand the forgiveness that has been extended to us.
Bitterness and offense are not becoming on anyone, especially those who are Christians who know the forgiveness of Christ.
Nothing you have done is out of reach of the forgiveness of Christ.
Others might not forgive you and there will be natural consequences of sin in this life. Yet, even in a prison cell, you can be forgiven.
My prayer is that whomever you are reading this, that you would know how incredible the love and salvation of Jesus Christ is. That if you are already a Christian, you would accept the identity of Heaven for your life and walk in Christ’s character and nature. That you would grow in maturity continually in your walk with Jesus.
If you aren’t a Christian, I pray that you’d see the truth and the light of Jesus’ life and make that decision today to follow Him even if His church isn’t always perfect. He is perfect and that is enough to follow and begin to love others as well.
Christians are continually being transformed into the image of the One who created them and loved them. Let’s be like Jesus, embracing our cross daily, denying ourselves, and living passionately in love with Him. Our world needs this type of Christian.
When my husband Stephen proposed to me on safari, on the Equator, in Kenya, you’d think I would’ve caught every.single.word. that he said.
HOWEVER, because of the location where he proposed, I was preoccupied with why the ring was placed in the wild African plane for any roaming animal to stomp or tourist to steal.
Sweet Steve is on his knees pouring his heart out with a cut-out of Africa behind him and I’m only thinking, “HOW DID THAT RING GET THERE?!“.
I managed to finally get out of the administrative part of my brain and tell him, “yes!”
I quickly found out that his buddy, Sach, who was with us placed the ring behind there right before we started taking pictures. I was shocked!
Now I had a ring with two rubies, a diamond, and yellow gold on my hand and it was a little loose. What a special gift though. I’ll have to tell the whole story of what happened with this ring later and how God spoke to me, BUT the point for now was that it was a special gift.
A symbol of our lives about to start together–forever.
No more thousands of miles separating us.
I cherished that ring and never took it off once it was sized. I clung to it the entirety of my Africa trip as to not lose it.
Yesterday as I was sitting in a church service, I heard something in my spirit unrelated to the message. I began to think about what a gift the Holy Spirit is.
To have fellowship with the SAME spirit that raised Jesus Christ from the dead.
To have the ability to communicate with the Father and Son and reveal all things to our spirits here on earth! WOW!
Jesus said when He left the earth that He wouldn’t leave us as orphans, or those without guidance, but that He would “come to us” (John 14:18).
TO be perfectly honest, in that moment, I was thinking about how much I’d let the BEST gift ever given to me get pushed aside recently. I clung to my wedding ring more than the gift of Holy Spirit!
How could I treat the Holy Spirit as a sideline gift while taking care of more material things like my wedding ring, my car, and other possessions?
Friends, He is our best gift. And it is the best unused gift in this generation.
Our generation doesn’t need more material possessions or titles and positions. It needs a move of the Holy Spirit.
We have access to the greatest gift on Earth! Not to hide Him away or forget about Him, but to display Him in and through our lives. To strengthen us and reveal more of the love of the Father and Jesus to us.
Take some inventory today and ask yourself if the best gift you could ever or have ever received being used less than intended :)
Question(s) of the day;
What measures have you taken to keep a precious gift from being lost, ruined or stolen?
How can you guard and maximize your gift of the Holy Spirit? If you haven’t received the gift of salvation start here ;
Say: “Jesus, I make You the Lord of my life. I’ve sinned against you and I receive Your cleansing blood, Your work on the cross, and Your resurrection from the dead. I turn from my sin and I give my life fully over to You. Come and live on the inside of my heart, mind, emotions and take over my will. Fill me with Your Holy Spirit. I love You–thank You for a new life in You! I receive Your love, Your mercy, Your forgiveness, and Your best gift ever–Holy Spirit. Amen” :) Congratulations!!! You now have the best gift EVER AND the gift of Him being with you always and forever!
Scripture(s) of the day;
But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.–John 14:26
But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me.–John 15:26