Pam's Chat with the Lord
My sweet daughter, you are so hard on yourself. I do not expect more from you than what I draw you to. All I ask is that when I draw you, respond. Do not delay but come to me immediately so I may fill you to overflowing. I have good plans for you; I will not give you a stone when you ask for bread. When you ask of me, expect and look for the answer; I will not disappoint you. It is my pleasure to bless you and lead you in the way everlasting. Everlasting blessings, love and joy are my plans for you. Do not put pressure on yourself to achieve more than I have placed before you.
Come to me and I will give you rest. It is when you are well rested that you are the most effective and able to respond to my calling. You need to sleep but the rest you long for is the rest that is only available to you when you linger in my Presence and drink in my teaching. Rest here with me and let me fill your heart and mind so you will recognize my voice whether there is stillness or chaos. I will give you confidence that you have heard me correctly. I will not leave you unattended. I am with you always, so do not despair. I have you securely in my hand; rest in me with confidence that I am truly in control of all things pertaining to you.
Expectantly watch, listen, and ask questions. As you do these things intentionally, I will train you to recognize my guidance. You will hear the still small voice of my Spirit speaking to you. You will see the hand of my guidance leading you forward or putting up a hand to halt you from moving ahead. I will enable you to trust your instincts as I develop your sensitivity to my guidance. I want you to succeed. I have many plans for you; they are plans for good and not for evil. I will not let you fall from my grasp. Your security is not in your ability to do many good and wonderful things to prove yourself to anyone. Your security is in the completed work of Jesus Christ when he hung on the Cross in your place. It was for the joy set before Him that He endured the cross for your sake. The greatest Joy for Him is knowing that you are secure in Him and that you are fully committed to completing His work here on this Earth. I have entrusted many things to you. You are not fully aware of everything I have planned for you. I promise…these things will bring you true joy and peace as you see my plans rolling out before you. Keep yourself strong in the Spirit, walk close to me everyday.
And he will be called Wonderful, Counselor…
Who do you turn to for advice? Is it a friend, a loved one, your mother, your husband, a mentor? Maybe you find yourself flipping on the TV to see what Oprah or Dr. Phil has to say? But what makes their counsel trustworthy?
We all know what a counselor is… it is someone that gives us advice or guidance. How many times have you needed advice? How many times have you found yourself at a crossroads and simply not known what to do? When you ask others for counsel, how do you know you are getting the right advice for the situation you are in? Do you follow it blindly or do you then take that advice and go and get advice on whether or not you should act on the advice?
I think we women have a tendency to analyze everything; the littlest remark, cross ways look, and big cross road type decisions. It is good to seek good counsel or advice but so often, we look to find the solutions to life’s issues in the wrong place. We ask our friends, who don’t always make the right decisions themselves. We ask people who really don’t know us all that well or worse we ask people whose real motive in advising us to manipulate us into doing what they want you to do.
Unfortunately, we end up from time to time listening to advice that does us more harm than good.
When faced with a decision or a circumstance that you need counsel on wouldn’t it be awesome to talk to someone who knew you intimately? To someone who knows you better than you know yourself? Someone as wise as Solomon who could give you guidance, wisdom, and insight into the problem, or situation you are experiencing.
Have you ever wondered if Jesus could help you to gain clarity and insight into the issue you are facing?
Are you thinking how can Jesus counsel me? He’s up there and I’m down here. Well, after all he left us the Holy Spirit who is called the Counselor, and whose role is to guide us into all truth. The truth is he understands you better than you understand yourself. After all he did knit you together in your mother’s womb. Since he wired you so he knows how you think, feel, and react to every situation.
He always knows the future. Long before you were ever born, he knew every decision, crossroad, victory, heartache, and every tear we would ever experience. The treasure of Jesus being our Counselor is that he has a plan for our lives. Remember Jeremiah 29:11?
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
If we look to him for counsel He will guide us. But what can I practically do to practice going to him for counsel.
6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. (Phil 4:6-7)
I know there are women that have been praying for wisdom and guidance regarding a situation for quite some time. Maybe you’ve been praying for wisdom in how to resolve a relationship conflict. Perhaps you need direction in a difficult and confusion decision. Possibly you have been asking the Lord to help you reach a lost loved one for years.
You’ve prayed. I want to encourage you… Don’t give up praying for help and direction. Press in closer. Keep asking. He does hear you, he has not forgotten you. Timing is everything and he is at work.
Search the Word
David said, “Your statutes are my delight; they are my counselors.” (Psalm 119:24) His love letter is the instruction manual for life. Because it is living and active it will speak to you where you are emotionally. Practically and morally it outlines all we need to know for each situation we encounter; relationships, trials, tests, illness, etc. I want to make decisions that won’t trip me up. His advice and direction may not be the popular or "PC" thing to do and it may not being the easy thing to do, especially when compared to the advice you might get from a friend, but I guarantee you it is the right thing to do.
Now God can and will use others to talk to you but this is how you know if their counsel is wise, it will match up with God’s word. It will never contradict what scripture encourages you to do.
Jesus is wonderful, and so is the gift of his counsel.
And He will be called Wonderful…
Last time we learned the Son, the gift would carry the government on his shoulders. Because he is in control of the government of our lives we need to know what he is like. That is why the list of names are so important. They describe the person of Jesus.
The first name is Wonderful. So often we quote the passage as reading Wonderful Counselor. But in some Bibles you will find a comma after Wonderful. In this verse wonderful is not an adjective it is a noun. Wonderful is his proper name.
Think about someone you would describe as wonderful. What makes them wonderful? Are they wonderful all the time or just sometimes? In this case, wonderful is who he is… He is wonderful because he loves us. He is wonderful because he stepped out of Heaven and came to Earth to be with you. He is wonderful because he wanted us to know him. He is wonderful because he is humble. He is wonderful because he is forgiving, loving, gentle, patient, and kind.
He is also wonderful because of what he does for me. He came to rescue me, redeem me, give me hope, teach me a better way to live, equip me, empower me, and give me purpose. He is wonderful. What he does is wonderful.
I want to know wonderful. I can trust wonderful. Wonderful sounds like the type of man I’d want in control of the government of my life.
What do you think? How is he wonderful to you?
Continuing with our exploration of Isiah 9:6
For unto us a child is born. For unto us a son is given.
And the government will be on his shoulders.
What thoughts and feelings come up when the word government is mentioned? I know lately that is a loaded question! Since this is a family page let me answer the question so that we don’t have a political discussion break out. For some the word government brings up feelings of safety, protection and a sense of being generally for the people it serves. For others, the word brings up feelings of fear, persecution, and control. The reality is our human experience and what we think about it is the filter we apply to the word government.
Clearly from this passage, the child - the son will be one who governs.
Who will he govern? All of us. What will he govern? I believe government is much more than running three legislative branches and ensuring the protection and well-being of a nation and its people. Will it be that? Certainly that will be part of it. But in my opinion, governing is managing the ups and downs, in’s and out, gains and loss, and joy and sorrow of life. It is managing – ruling – being sovereign over and in control of every issue that affects me. The Son will govern all aspects of life.
By the way – there is nothing he is not capable of handling. How do I know? The placement of the government – it is on his shoulders. That is great because I am really getting tired of trying to carry everything around that affects my life on my shoulders. I’m tired of trying to control it too. My shoulders are simply not strong enough to support the weight of the decisions, mistakes, and mishaps that occur when I try to govern my own life. By the way… the son must be a very good governor because the government is on his shoulders not under his feet.
Which brings up an important fact. It is important for us to know just what this governor will be like. What are the characteristics of this Son turned governor and what is his government like? After all if he is going to be in control of and govern my life then I need to know what he is like… Since he is being given to us I sure would like to know more…
Oh... one quick question. What type of governor are you? How are you doing with governing your life?
Isaiah 9:6 (NKJV)
6 For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Last time we talked about the Child being born for ALL of us. It is beautiful to know that God is inclusive and not exclusive. But why would a child need to be born to us or a Son be given to us?
One reason mankind would need such a gift… sin. Sin is defined as missing the mark. So that begs the question what in the world is the mark? The mark is the standard of behavior we aim for – it is about morality as much as it is about attitude. There are certain sins that are obvious such as murder but there are attitudes of the heart like resentment, malice, hate lust, and rage that are equally sinful. We all fall short, we all miss the mark unfortunately it is the human condition. Because of that God sent his only son that whoever believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. This is why he is a gift.
Another reason the Child, the Son was born in a manger is simply to show us what God is like. The Son is like his Father. The child reveals to us the character, action, and purpose of the Father. What does a baby teach us about God?
He values relationship. The relationship between mother and baby is precious. The Son, the Gift is knowing that the Lord wants to be in relationship. He values it and it is important to him or the Son would not have needed a mom.
He is approachable. Have you read the Old Testament? All the power God exercised in the Old Testament suddenly appears on each in the approachable, vulnerable form of a baby. Jesus could have shown up on Earth as a full grown adult with armies of angels. But the baby teaches us God is approachable.
He is relatable. The son is born and that means he can relate to the human condition and experience. He has walked a mile in our shoes. He understands what is it to have to feel hungry, cry, have to grow up, be completely dependent on another human being, be part of a family. He gets you and me because he was fully human while being fully God.
He is loveable. Who doesn’t love a baby?
He is humble. From walking streets of Gold to living in a cold stinky stable – the Son moves into our neighborhood and into the human condition. He who created all things was born into poverty and unknown family.
The child was born so that you would know God wants to know you.
The son was given so that you know God gets you.
The child was born so that you would know God loves you.
The Child, the Gift of the Son is for us – all of us.
So then what does it mean that the government is on his shoulders?
Isaiah 9:6–7 (NKJV)
6 For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
7 Of the increase of His government and peace
There will be no end,
Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom,
To order it and establish it with judgment and justice
From that time forward, even forever.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.
I love the Christmas season. This time of year thoughts of family near and long gone, traditions, and phrases like “peace on Earth, goodwill to men” flood my heart. There is so much beauty everywhere we look… the lights, decorations, even the smells overwhelm our senses. I never get tired of the sights and sounds of Christmas. I must admit though that the hustle and bustle of the season I feel at times causes us to lose a grip on why exactly we celebrate. It is then I hear the familiar phrase Jesus is the reason for the season. He is the reason for the season because his birth is the greatest gift ever given to mankind.
Isaiah 9:6 tells us – “For unto us a child is given. Unto us a son is given.”
The first question – who is us? To whom is the son given?
When I think about it the answer is US - you and me. All of us. There is no exclusion in us so the son is given:
That includes everyone everywhere. From the young Girl in California to the man in New York.
For the one born in Israel and the one born in Kenya.
It also means the child is given and born for the princess, the prostitute and the prideful.
For the happy, well adjusted, popular and carefree and for the depressed, despised, anxious, shamed, suicidal and the despised.
For the one born into a family and the one abandoned or alone.
He is born and given to the poor and the rich. The well and the sick. For the sober and the drug addicted and the felon.
The one who loves and follows him, and the one who does not yet know him.
Jesus is the reason for the season. And the season is for everyone.
Next – Why do we need the gift of a son?
Have you ever noticed how models in the magazines always appear flawless? Nothing is ever out of place. Their hair is perfect, skin is smooth and like porcelain, teeth almost blindingly white, hair shiny, and their make-up is always perfect. They look like perfect people. Okay maybe I am just noticing it because I ate too much turkey… but my curiosity about those flawless looking people drove me to do some research.
To make them look so good the photo shoot is scheduled for a certain time of day and then the necessary lighting and filters are added. After all it is important that your subject is shown in the best light. Different attachments are added to the camera lens to get the right contrast. While the shot is set up, the models spend hours in the hair and make-up chair where the artist spends hours covering and correcting. In some cases huge fans blow the models hair and clothes to add that dramatic touch. In some cases, it takes hundreds of shots to get the shot and even then, it is retouched or airbrushed before publication. All in an effort to hide those pesky imperfections!
Have you ever wondered what it must be like to go to such extremes to hide a perceived flaw and look perfect? You know I have noticed it is not only models and photographers that try to achieve the “flawless” look. I see it happen all the time in our everyday lives. Too many of us believe the lie, “if it looks good on the outside then it must be okay on the inside”. We mask, pretend, make up, cover, and act up all in an effort to hide the truth that our lives are messy and anything but picture perfect. We hide our boo-boos behind our higher education, we try to overcome our pain by overworking, we fake it until we make it. In effect we live in denial. We deny our truth and we hope our friends, family, coworkers or people we simply want to impress will not be able to see who we really are. We tragically believe that to be acceptable and lovable we must appear flawless because broken and messy is undesirable.
But what if broken and messy is what endears others too us? What if the very thing we believed makes us flawed instead makes us authentic and approachable? What if being REAL became the new definition of what it means to be flawless? And trying to be flawless defined us as fakes?
What if we discovered that being real is what makes us human? What if our vulnerability was desirable? What if our hidden hurts, disappoints, and flaws became tools for Jesus to use to encourage others? What if we discovered that hiding our flaws strangles the ability of Jesus to use them to draw others to him?
I’m learning there is freedom in knowing Jesus can use everything in our life for His glory. I’m growing more comfortable acknowledging my list weaknesses and flaws; I sometimes struggle with anger, at times I get overwhelmed by stress and anxiety because I think I can do everything, I have control issues, and then there’s that sneaky pride, and I have a compassion disorder which is a tendency to try to take in and fix broken people which ALWAYS gets me in trouble because I am not the Holy Spirit.
Hiding never sets us free… it tightens the shackles. Recognition – confession – freedom result when we admit our flaws, surrender each to Jesus, and are truthful with our struggle. Paul said…
9 Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. 10 That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
2 Corinthians 12:9 NLT
Our flaws or weaknesses give Jesus a chance to show how beautiful and complete his power is at work in us. Grace makes up for what we lack. To see his power at work in weakness is so incredibly beautiful and encouraging. I want to find strength in my weakness. In fact I want to boast in them like Paul. I don’t want to be flawless by the world’s standards… I want my flaws - my lack – my weaknesses to be visible so that Jesus and his flawless grace and overwhelming power and can be seen in me and demonstrated through me.
Peter, turning around, saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them; the one who also had leaned back on His bosom at the supper and said, “Lord, who is the one who betrays You?” So Peter seeing him said to Jesus, “Lord, and what about this man?” Jesus said to him, “If I want him to remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow Me!” Therefore this saying went out among the brethren that that disciple would not die; yet Jesus did not say to him that he would not die, but only, “If I want him to remain until I come, what is that to you?” John 21:20-23
So, how often do you get caught up in comparing? Do you look at the work of another one of the Lord's servants and wonder what the heck the Lord is up to with this person? Come on now... we ALL do it. From time to time we tend to get more caught up in what God is doing through someone else than we are in what he wants to do in and through us. This is a terrible trap... it leads to all kinds of ugliness in us that is visible to others.
So what was up with Peter in John 21 above? Why did he care so much about what Jesus wanted to do with John? I suspect Peter was feeling a little insecure. After all, he had just had a HUGE blunder! The betrayal of Jesus was a misstep that knocked Peter right off his feet... as much as Peter loved Jesus and longed to follow him the truth is insecurity also breeds competition. Wouldn't it be nice to be rooted so strongly in Jesus that you died to competition with others and the opinions of all but Jesus?
I'm no where near close. I still struggle with the ugliness of my own heart failures. I'm tempted to look over and say to Jesus "What's up with her?" And I hear the sting of "What's that to you?" ringing in my ear. BUT... I'm learning to pay attention to the root causes of what makes me look over in the first place. I'm learning to watch what I give my face time too. By the way, when I'm looking at someone else I often end up tripping over my two own very large feet. You can't look at someone else and follow Jesus... it's too distracting and in my case debilitating. Learn to ask yourself... "What are you looking at?" and then learn to quickly divert your gaze from someone else to looking straight ahead at the one leading you through life.
Recently I went to my office for a day of Bible study and meetings. Over the last few days I’ve been a bit troubled.... actually I've felt like Moses and the Israelites approaching the Red Sea. My journey of faith and stepping out to Follow Jesus has brought me to a place what appeared to be dead end. I found myself standing at a sea of what appeared to be impassable circumstances and my mind began shifting through endless ways I could get around… could I swim across? Build a boat? Fly over? Waves of frustration, fear and even regret began to wash over me as I stood on the beach. I hate it when I second guess myself... but when we rely on our own resources and abilities that is what happens isn't it? God leads us somewhere and instead of trusting him to continuing leading we take over and try to stay in this new place in our own power instead of resting and continuing to trust.
This was my Red Sea Moment. Like the Israelites I grumbled at God, "was it because there were no graves in Egypt you brought us here to die?" (Exodus 14) Hey, I never said my journey of faith was pretty! I struggle to Believe with a capital B) at times. Why, because I'm human, flawed, and oh so ready to take back control of my life at the first sign of trouble, discomfort, and uncertainty.
Have you ever been there? Have you ever found yourself joyfully following the Lord only to find yourself smack dab in the middle of the enemy in pursuit and a sea of impassable size in front of you? Feels overwhelming doesn't it?
I think the Lord enjoys those moments. Why? Because it is the opportunity for him to show his great love toward me through the execution of his plan for me. He loves to show up and do mighty things on our behalf. They may not look like a parting of the Red Sea but they will be no less miraculous. I'm trying to learn as I stand at the edge of the sea to stand not in fear but in faith.
13 Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. 14 The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still." 15 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to me? Tell the Israelites to move on. 16 Raise your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea to divide the water so that the Israelites can go through the sea on dry ground. 17 I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians so that they will go in after them. And I will gain glory through Pharaoh and all his army, through his chariots and his horsemen. 18 The Egyptians will know that I am the Lord when I gain glory through Pharaoh, his chariots and his horsemen.”
What seemed like a complete stop of forward progression was actually just a pause as God worked behind the scenes in Pharaoh's heart so that the Lords children would NEVER have to be concerned with him or his evil ways again. There was a greater plan at work than what they could see while at the Sea's edge.
Friday the Lord reminded me HE parts seas not me. My role is to stand in faith and be patient in the waiting, open to opportunities and not locked in expectations. So no matter the challenge that presents itself in life be assured of this, He IS at work. And he will provide you a way through that will reveal his greatness as Lord over every circumstance - from little puddle to vast sea.
Praying in the waiting... Your Kingdom come, our Will be done.
Something to think about...
As I reflect on conversations I have had lately two scriptures come to mind... Jesus' reminder to us about removing the plank in our own eye before trying to remove the splinter from another's and this lovely thought from Paul...Romans 2:1-3
Those people are on a dark spiral downward. But if you think that leaves you on the high ground where you can point your finger at others, think again. Every time you criticize someone, you condemn yourself. It takes one to know one. Judgmental criticism of others is a well-known way of escaping detection in your own crimes and misdemeanors. But God isn’t so easily diverted. He sees right through all such smoke screens and holds you to what you’ve done.
You didn’t think, did you, that just by pointing your finger at others you would distract God from seeing all your
misdoings and from coming down on you hard?
The Message: The Bible in contemporary language (Ro 2:1–3). Nav Press
It is interesting to me how quickly we find flaws in others - or is it just me? Instead of so quickly pointing out what it is you think others are doing wrong, why not ask God to reveal your flaws to you first? Finger-pointing (according to Scripture) is God's way of revealing your junk to you through others. Ouch! Remember, when you are irritated, offended, feeling like you want to point out what others do wrong you have a plank to remove first. If that doesn't put a governor on our mouths and accusations I don't know what will.
The revelation that we are not perfect and do the same thing we dislike in others is harsh and yet necessary. Without it there is no opportunity for growth or humility.
Lie - I am perfect. I didn't do anything.
Truth - I do what I dislike in others. I need to prayerfully ask Jesus to remove the plank from my own eye.
#ChristianSpeaker, #CJRapp, #trashtheliesthatkeepmestuck.