Revelation

All posts tagged Revelation

Because He First Loved Me

Published June 18, 2017 by Dawn

I had a very humbling experience the other day. I was lying in bed the other morning It was really early … like, the birds weren’t even up yet. I laid there hoping for the best in terms of falling back to sleep and eventually slipped into a nap. I had this dream that the Lord was looking for me, searching deeper and deeper into the depths of this really dark pit. He finally made it to the bottom, still faithfully calling out my name. There at the bottom, he lifted up this thick covering and there I was, hiding underneath it. I looked up at him with fire in my eyes and venom on my tongue as I hissed, “I hate you. I hate you. I hate you.”

I was a little kid who had lost a game of hide and seek. The Lord searched until he found me, and to my shame, when he finally found me, I was insolent and hateful. I had the sensation that this dream was a picture of Jesus. He was searching out the deepness of my heart, looking for me. I was humbled to hear myself whisper such a horrendous thing to my Lord. His gentle love in that moment humbled me greatly as I heard the Spirit whisper, “…because he first loved me.”

Being transparent seems easy for me, but I have to admit that this one was hard to even delve into for myself, much less admit it out loud for the world to know. I’ve prided myself for years … Is it okay if I get really transparent here? I might not have admitted this out loud to anyone before, but the truth is that me not being who I once was is a huge deal (to me). I took pride in it for years. Being redeemed, being transformed … I took pride in that. You will say to me, “That’s not Christ-like.” I know, friend. I know. I couldn’t help myself. I know that person, and I know myself now. I know the pit I came out of and I felt the weight of escaping it (though now I know I didn’t feel hardly anything compared to what Christ carried for me), but I felt it and the memories made me very proud to be where I am now. Are you hearing the echoes of pride as you read this? Is it turning you off? I am so sorry. I just want you to know what happened to me the other morning and to understand, you have to understand where I was at. I was proud. Of myself.

I have spent the last 8 years of my life in the arms of Christ. I have patiently bore the suffering for His name and His purpose in my life. I have not created my own way and called it good. I have remained as faithful as I can to His Will. Don’t abandon reading now … I know what this sounds like, but bear with me. I have, through all of this, nurtured this pride that somehow, I have attained “good enough” because I have strived for holiness, wrestled with flesh and maintained a firm hold on my own righteousness.

Yes, I credited God with my mouth. I thanked Jesus from my heart. What he did for me on that cross was amazing: buying me from the clutches of sin so I could pursue holiness. And each step forward, I patted myself on the back. That’s why Christ uncovered me. Because all this time, I have given credit to myself for something I could never have done on my own. There, in the secret place of my heart, I watched in horror as my child-like self hissed “I hate you” to the one who sought me, found me and pulled me out. What is there to be proud of when you know yourself like this?

That wasn’t the worst part, though. That wasn’t what did me in. Here’s what did it: He looked at me tenderly in that moment and I could see it on His face. He loved me in that moment.

Something happened. I broke. Jesus, hearing my rebellious heart hate Him, looked me in the eye with such compassion and reached for me anyway.

I don’t think I’ve ever fully understood the cross until this moment. I have spent endless hours reading the Word of God, drinking in the love story of He and Us, but the truth of it never hit me as powerfully until this moment, when His compassion destroyed my pride. I can’t even love Him without Him first loving me.  To me, that would be the easy part compared to some of the things I have been through. If I can’t even do that one thing without His help, how can I claim credit for anything?

I can’t.

Not only do I know now who I am without Him, I know fully what I am capable of. Without Him, I can do nothing. Without Him, I have done nothing. Without Him, I’m full of wickedness and a lover of darkness. I only have light because of Christ. I only walk in light and share light because of Jesus. Paul bids me to “take care lest ye fall” (1 Corinthians 10:12) and now I know just how far I am capable of falling. I am also humbly aware of just how much Jesus has done for me, in spite of myself. Not only am I ashamed of my pride, I am ashamed of my propensities outside of Christ. I thought I had a hold of righteousness, but it turns out I am fully capable of making the devil blush.

I’m in awe of Him. I am in awe of a God who can know this about me and still love me fiercely. He is all-knowing, all-powerful and I am so unworthy. Who could blame God for dealing harshly with someone like me? But that’s the incredible thing: He doesn’t.

He loves me.

Not just me, though. You too, friend. You too.

 

Dear Lord,

Your love is so incomprehensible. I can’t fathom the depths of your mercy. I am so humbled and grateful. Please continue to heal me and lighten what’s dark and forgive me. Thank you for your faithfulness. Thank you for your compassions that don’t fail. I love you … now, even from the depths of my heart, I can honestly say I love you. Thank you for your patience on my behalf. You are so good.

 

Rock of Ages, Cleft for Me

Published December 6, 2016 by Dawn

“I have learned to kiss the wave that slams me into the Rock of Ages.”

                                                                                                                -C.H. Spurgeon

 

It isn’t a gentle lolling thing, it is a tempestuous monster. Gentle things don’t slam you. Mountainous, raging things slam you. They rock you to your core, throwing you around like the mud that you are. They make you forget that you are solid.

You break.

I found this quote today while scrolling through Pinterest in search of adequate expressions to quantify the last few months of my life. I’m clinging to the Rock at this moment, aware that to let go is to drown in the circumstances. I didn’t swim to this Rock, I was slammed into it by circumstances I can’t control. At this point, I can hardly even control myself. I may be holding to this Rock, but the storm is raging and I am hanging desperately to Him while my body thrashes helplessly about in the waves.

I’m not strong, so my grip is not solid. This wave pulls me away again and again, drags me out away from the comfort and safety of the cleft, but over and over slams me into the Rock of Ages.

This storm has taken all surety. I am no longer certain of anything other than the steadfastness of this Rock and the determination to hold on to Him. I feel hopelessly tossed in all that I know or ever considered to be true excepting this one thing: I can hold on to this Rock and He’s not moving.

I feel truly blessed here. Not because of the assaulting waves of life, but because they have cast me into the only position that brings peace: I am helpless at the Savior’s feet. As I worshipped at the altar this week from a place of surrender and brokenness, telling God to be glorified in the place I have fought so hard to keep from accepting, I heard His Spirit whisper, Glorify me now. This is what is means to be blessed and highly favored.

Suddenly, His definition of blessed dawned on me and I realized that we’ve had it all wrong. Where once I saw material gain as being the epitome of God’s pleasure pouring out on us, I now see God’s adoring smile because in my brokenness, I have chosen to cling to Him. He calls me blessed because He trusted me with something so monumental. Not things, but a message of comfort from a dark place that someone else might need. God entrusted that to me. His favor is in the message that others will hear, even though right now it hurts. This storm is knocking me about, bruising me and breaking me. Tearing through my flesh and hurling me again and again into the side of Christ. It hurts, but I have found where I belong. This cut, made by a soldier’s spear so long ago, was chiseled into His flesh so that one day, I might hide there and be safe from the storms of life. Rock of Ages, cleft for me. Let me hide myself in Thee.

I am certain of this one enduring truth: we belong there. That cut was made right beneath the heart of Christ. We belong there, next to His beating heart. Its rhythm is a tonic of peace we will never know unless we’ve been pressed into His side. It’s rapturous. Paul’s injunction to glory in our sufferings never made sense until now. How can we? Suffering is so hard. To rejoice in it is utterly impossible. Unless you’ve been there, nestled under his heart, lulled by the beating of His love for you. To glorify Him then is so normal. I have found it’s all I was made for. Everything else has suddenly become a chasing after the wind. Praising Him has become a weapon of my warfare. I can be here, nestled in the cleft, and reflect His adoration back toward His loving gaze, thoroughly enraging the enemy without fear because I am safe in His arms.

Oh! Beloved of God, surrender to the waves and allow yourself to be slammed into the Rock. Cling to our Rock. He is a mighty fortress and shield. Crawl into the cleft and be sheltered. Adore our Lord because He alone is worthy of all praise. Be blessed and highly favored there. Surely you know by now that the enemy doesn’t relent. He can only be defeated. Not by you or I because we are powerless. By our great and mighty King, who delivers all who delight in Him. Find your delight in the Rock of Ages and be delivered. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Are You a Desert or an Oasis?

Published August 31, 2016 by Dawn

Five o’ clock seemed to come really early this morning, so I promptly told it to go away and rolled back over and closed my eyes. Then a whisper caught my attention …

Do you know why the devil, when he leaves a man, goes through dry, arid places looking for a place to rest?

“No, Lord, I don’t, but it’s five in the morning and I still have an hour before I absolutely have to get up so if you would kindly –“

Because he’s most comfortable in places where there’s been no water.

My feet immediately hit the floor, but sadly, only because my bladder was now awake. Upon crawling back into bed, I noticed the Lord staring at me and I turned toward the wall, content to take full advantage of the final hour of sleep.

With desperation in His voice He said to me, “You have to make time for me! Especially in this final hour. Otherwise, you become a dry, arid place.”

“But don’t you remember the rest of that verse, Lord? He doesn’t find a place so he goes back to where he came from, taking a bunch of wandering demons with him.”

You are where he came from.

*******

I went to my mom’s after work yesterday and spent time exposing my inner man. We talked about how hard it is to be like Jesus in a work place, and I lamented that His personality had not quite become mine yet. In other words, I have not fully taken on His nature, just making good habits that at any moment can show me to be a fraud when I lose my grip. My dad said, “That’s why we have to read our Bible and pray everyday. Because we need Jesus daily.” Obviously, there’s no arguing that, but it’s become kind of cliché and easy to disregard … until God puts the smackdown on your musings and you realize just how serious not spending time with Him is.

Truth: The Holy Spirit makes Satan uncomfortable. He can’t abide in the Spirit.

Truth: When we are full of the Holy Spirit, we are safe.

Truth: When we neglect our relationship with the Lord, we slowly become drained until finally, we are no longer an oasis, but a desert.

Truth: The devil likes a party, so he brings friends.

Truth: They wreck a place.

Suddenly, I don’t care if something’s been said a million times, ad nausea. Let me add another: It’s the final hour. I know you’re tired and weary and right now, probably all you want is rest. I get it. I’m right there with you. I’m tired of fighting and the battle seems to be just at the point of really heating up. I’d rather turn my back on all the stupidity parading around as intelligence, write humanity off as lost and just hold my arms up waiting for my Daddy to whisk me up into His loving embrace. But there was such a sense of urgency in His voice this morning and here’s why, I think: we can’t be stagnant in the battle. To not fight is to choose to lose. You know who’s losing this one, right? We’ll be on his side if we’re not careful.

There is so much of our natural man that must die in order for us to live effectively for the Lord. We have to surrender all that is not of God to the death of the cross. We have to allow parts of ourselves to die. So many of us just want to bury those parts of us that displease God because they amuse us or secretly, we revel in the flesh’s cleverness. These things must die, though, in order for us to truly be made new. Because these are the things in our life that lie awake when we sleep, calling out for rescue from our enemy and betraying us. They betray us in conversation when we aren’t watching our tongue. Or even in the way our facial expressions react to humanity. They reveal thoughts that have not been fully surrendered to Christ and a heart that is a shade blacker than one might expect.

Jesus said we become a spring of living water welling up to eternal life, but how can we continue to gush if we are not continuously connected to Our Source? We cannot. We become a dry, arid place. A place that is familiar to the enemy and he knows how to make full use of that place because he’s been there before. He’s worked the land over. He’s got a strategy and is commanding a platoon that will carry it out. The only way to ensure we don’t become the enemy’s headquarters is to press in to Jesus’ side and remain full of the Holy Spirit.

A Dream for the Church

Published July 3, 2016 by Dawn

I had a dream last week I wanted to share with you, but I didn’t know the right words. The truth is, when I wrote it all down afterwards, it lacked all the eloquence I strive for when writing. But I don’t want to sit on it anymore, so here you go:

My son and I were standing in the church kitchen when suddenly, it began to fill with water. I was able to climb up onto the kitchen island before the water became too deep, but my son was not. The water quickly filled the kitchen, stopping just short of covering the island and sweeping me off into the water. I was frantically looking for my son, when I realized that the water was churning around me. Then I saw their fins. The kitchen was full of sharks! I began desperately screaming, looking around to find my son. Then I felt an overwhelming sense of calm as the largest shark swam right up to the island and opened his mouth. In the back of his throat, curled up in a fetal position facing away from me lay my son. In his throat! That deep inner peace compelled me to reach in and pull out my child, who was shaken, but otherwise unharmed.

Sadly, this is not the weirdest dream I’ve ever had. But it was really weird. Thankfully, the Lord had a message in it that he shared with me when I woke up.

Desperate times are coming, and the church will not be unaffected. The church will be flooded, but in the midst of that flooding the enemy will come, seeking to devour the children of God. It will be a terrifying time, and the enemy will seem victorious. But even then, my children will be unharmed. The enemy cannot chew you up. He cannot swallow you and he cannot consume you. Even when it seems that the situation is dire, or even hopeless, the enemy has not won. I will command him even then to open his mouth and I myself will pull you out and rescue you.

Christ, Our Example

Published October 26, 2014 by Dawn

There were many times in Jesus’ life where he could have had more or been more. Many places he could have stopped and said, “This is good enough for me.” The first of which was the temple when he was twelve. He could have stayed there, despite the wishes of his parents to return home. I have no doubt the men at the temple during that time would have kept him on just because he was such an enigma. A child whose wisdom surpassed their own. They definitely could have paid off Mary and Joseph and exploited Jesus. But he wasn’t bound to it, so he moved on and grew in wisdom and stature.

Then there was the wilderness, where power and prestige were offered to him by the owner of the kingdom himself. Satan attempted to sway him with a legitimate offer of authority and distinction. If Jesus had not known his calling and been so sure of it, had he been in the flesh to any degree, he could have stopped here and had the things of this world we all seem to grapple for. But he knew, and he rebuked the enemy and moved from that place a stronger force for Heaven.

Jesus could have stopped at his position in the temple. After all, he was there teaching daily. He was given opportunity to read from the sacred texts and expound on it to the masses. His wisdom was without equal, and everyone recognized it. He could have stopped here and had a very effective ministry to the people. The Spirit of God was always drawing people to him, and Jesus could have stopped here and said, “This is it! I’ve reached the highest position of my life.”

He could have stopped among the political leaders. He was given an audience with both Pilate and Herod. He could have shown himself mighty in front of them and gained their confidence and trust. He could have sat with them and prescribed measures to ensure the peace of their people. He could have become a political giant, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, knowing that one day, he’d possess the kingdom. After all, there were many who rallied to him and fully expected him to rise into that position. But he knew there was something more, so he continued to move forward.

After he had rejected all this, after he had made the decision to reject all of earth’s temptations to keep him and use him, he was brought to the purpose of the Father. The purpose he lived for and knew would rise up to greet him one day. Bitter rejection. Agony. Pain and suffering. Death. There were so many ways he could have ministered to the world that would have made sense to us all. Many ways he could have been a mighty force for the kingdom of God, and still preserved himself. Many opportunities to avoid the cost of truly serving the Father’s purpose. He steadfastly pursued the Father’s will, and for that, he died. And saved us all. Ransomed us from death, hell and eternal destruction. He passed up Earth’s finest to become Heaven’s best.

May we who are called do the same.