I began writing this post two days ago. I was actually almost done with it when I stepped away from my tablet for a moment not realizing my work was not saved. You can imagine my disappointment. I didn’t even want to make the attempt to write it again because I knew it would not have the exact same wording and feel, but such is life (deep sigh). At any rate, this gives me another opportunity to honor my wife, so here I go!
Allow me to brag on my wife today. She left me a beautiful voicemail Tuesday morning telling me how much she loves and appreciates me. Now, she always tells me she loves me, but this message was different. As my custom is, whenever she goes to work I start the car, carry her work bag out for her (that thing is heavy 😂), make sure she gets in safe, and wave her off as she leaves. Well, on Tuesday morning she went to work early, so it was still dark. As I was walking her to the car I stepped on a piece of broken glass. Surveying the immediate area, I realized it was all around the car, like someone just threw a bottle without care and respect for other people or their property. Anyway, I told her to be careful as she got in and I cleaned the glass up when she left. Afterwards, I seen and listened to the voicemail, my heart smiling with joy as I sensed something different and unique in her words. You know how you get the typical “I love you” from a spouse or family member? It’s not that it’s fake or superficial, it’s just “typical.” It’s regular, the normal thing a loved one would say to another, particularly upon leaving each other’s presence. However, this voicemail was anything but. It was original, emotive – it had life in it! Honestly, I knew it was special at first listen, but I didn’t know how deeply special it was until I began writing about it.
The Holy Spirit has recently made me aware of His leading me to hear, listen, read, stumble upon, etc., exactly what I need at the exact time I need it. (This is the true evidence of the Spirit of God in the life of a believer, as He does things on time in real-time‼️) Over the past few weeks (and perhaps longer) I have been in travail, extremely burdened by the weight of the Lord – the weight of vision, the weight of my calling and purpose – the weight I put on myself to fulfill it, the weight of my decision to leave my job, the weight that decision has put on my wife and family. Honestly, I always knew I would personally be ok in everything no matter the weight, so this recent burden was less about me and more about how my various “weights” have effected my family, my wife in particular. Watching her drive off for work is both a blessing and a burden, beautiful and bothersome. I smile when I wave her off, but deep down inside my soul cries in pain every time, as I continue to labor from the deep places of my spirit to make vision reality. I’m laboring with how I can help her – should I go back to work or not, should I do this or that, or just about anything to make it easier on her! In Truth, I know these are contractions – temporary bursts of pain that will lead to the birthing of something beautiful. However, even though they’re temporary they still hurt, and sometimes can last awhile. So, as my mind began to wander from the multitude of thoughts in my head, I began to feel myself break down. Just then, by the grace of Jesus, I began to mouth out loud “I’m not going back. I’m not going back there.” You see, the Lord Jesus freed me from the depths of despair and depression, the bondage of a weak and fragile mind. The thoughts may come and Satan’s weapons will be formed, but the power is in me (the Holy Spirit) to choose to let them prosper or not. I chose and will continue to choose not, and will never return to bondage again. With that statement of faith and love, the Lord answered me from the throne of Heaven with a voicemail message through my wife I won’t soon forget. It wasn’t just a wife leaving a nice, typical “I love you” message on a husband’s voicemail. No, not a chance. It was the Holy Spirit praying and interceding on my behalf, comforting, consoling, affirming, and encouraging me through my wife to stay strong and keep going.
Baby, I know I have been hard to love throughout our relationship. I have made it hard on you with my sudden, impulsive decisions in the past, spending OUR money on MY “dreams.” What did we calculate I spent on my music career? $15,000 – $20,000?? Yikes. I apologize sincerely, and I know this decision just seems like it’s me being my “typical” self. By the Spirit of the Lord, I assure you this time is different, just like your voicemail. And just like He redeemed me He will redeem that money in His time and for His glory. Hang on baby. Trust the Lord and trust me. Thank you for loving me. In Jesus name.
This is the Word of the Lord for 2021 and beyond: Do not be sensuous in your faith, sensual in your walk with Me! You serve me when you feel like it – when it is convenient for you! You love me when you feel me – when my presence affirms you! When you feel my presence you are happy and joyful, and I rejoice! However, when you do not feel my presence you shrivel up, doubt, and crumble, and I sigh! You wilt under pressure and crumble under the powers of difficulty and challenge! Is it a light thing to dishonor me by crumbling to powers inferior to me? My presence, glory, and love abides even when you do not feel me. Do not cause me to sigh at the hands of your superficial, convenient, self-serving love! Do not tempt me and cause me to serve in your fair-weather faith! If you were gifted my Spirit you were gifted Me – my promise, my seed, my first-begotten Son! To this child of mine will I look and be delighted: those who are confident in my Word, in my presence, and in my love! I will not leave or forsake. If you persist through, my power will get through!
Yesterday I wrote about persistent difficulty, how irritating it can be, and how we must have a controlled response to the irritancy. This morning I was listening to the late, renowned, reformed theologian R.C. Sproul. His lesson was on encountering God, which was so good I will need to expound on it in another post. However, during the lesson he told an anecdote, and it immediately struck me because it was exactly what the Lord had me write on yesterday! He told about a time he was asked to fill in at a church one Sunday on behalf of the pastor who was seriously ill in the hospital. He was asked to speak and administer communion, so he buckled down and studied hard to give the congregation a great message in the light of communion and their leader being sick unto death.
The message did not go as he felt, thought, or hoped. For whatever reason, he did not have his usual flair or energy. He did not feel like preaching and described his sermon as “flat.” In his many years of preaching, he recounted this event as one of the few moments in his life and ministry where he had an overwhelming feeling of the lack of the presence of God! When he was done preaching, he said he wanted to crawl into a hole and never come out, feeling like he let God down, the pastor, and his congregation! He went to the back of the church to customarily shake hands with the congregation members as they were leaving when the most amazing thing happened. Every person who shook his hand had a glazed expression on their face, like zombies who had seen a ghost! One by one they shook his hand firmly, thanking him for a message touched with the breath of God! Incredibly, everyone in that church felt the presence of God except him. In that moment and from that day forward, he vowed to never be a sensuous Christian – someone who needs to feel God to know He is there. If you need to feel Him you are influenced by your feelings, not by His Spirit. The members of the church did not encounter a ghost that day, leaving their faces glazed over. They encountered the Holy Ghost, the Father of spirits, the glory and power of a holy God. Get out your senses. Get out your feelings. Stay out your flesh. To remain in truth is to remain in the Spirit, for only there can we please God (Rom. 8:8). In Jesus name.