A New Year. No Resolution.

Isaiah 43:19 New Living Translation (NLT)

19 For I am about to do something new.
    See, I have already begun! Do you not see it?
I will make a pathway through the wilderness.
    I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.

2020 is almost here. A New Year. A New Decade. A New Vision. The Lord is about to do something new! This morning He revealed two old things from 2019 that could hinder me from following His new path in 2020:

Number 1: STOP throwing pearls to pigs

Matthew 7:6-8 New Living Translation (NLT)

“Don’t waste what is holy on people who are unholy.[a] Don’t throw your pearls to pigs! They will trample the pearls, then turn and attack you.

I’m not calling people pigs; the BIBLE makes the analogy! I readily admit, I’ve actedlike a pig; eating the slop of the world and rolling around in the mud. The only reason I’m no longer in the pig pen is the grace of God. By the power of His Spirit, I came to my senses and ran home to my Father 20 years ago. As His daughter, I am continually being cleansed from the mud and muck to be made holy as He is holy (1 Peter 1:16). He rescued me from death & filled me with His Spirit, giving me eyes to see, ears to hear, and a heart to understand how long, how wide and how deep His love is for me (Ephesians 3:19). Only by receiving His love am I able to love Him with all my heart, soul, mind and strength (Matthew 22:37). Only by loving Him am I able to love myself. Only by loving myself am I able to love my neighbor. Only by loving my neighbor am I able to preach the gospel & teach people how to obey Jesus.

People.

Sometimes they act like pigs.

In 2019, I received a lot of pearls from the Lord- in fact, an entire strand of them. In my impetuousness, however, I foolishly shared those pearls with people who SAID they love God, but who’s lives continued to SHOW they didn’t. Because I loved them, I ignored the fact that their words could not be trusted. Instead of guarding my heart, I received rejection as they rejected the pearls (dreams, visions, prophesy) I shared. As a result, I felt trampled (betrayed, denied) & attacked (falsely accused).

But the Lord is doing something new in 2020! He says I must forgive those people for lying, but stop wasting what is holy. He has given them the freedom to live like pigs, and I must do the same. He says I must continue to love, but I cannot wallow in the mud with them.

Number 2: STOP chasing prodigals

Luke 15:11-32

11 To illustrate the point further, Jesus told them this story: “A man had two sons.12 The younger son told his father, ‘I want my share of your estate now before you die.’ So his father agreed to divide his wealth between his sons.

13 “A few days later this younger son packed all his belongings and moved to a distant land, and there he wasted all his money in wild living. 14 About the time his money ran out, a great famine swept over the land, and he began to starve. 15 He persuaded a local farmer to hire him, and the man sent him into his fields to feed the pigs. 16 The young man became so hungry that even the pods he was feeding the pigs looked good to him. But no one gave him anything.

17 “When he finally came to his senses, he said to himself, ‘At home even the hired servants have food enough to spare, and here I am dying of hunger! 18 I will go home to my father and say, “Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you,19 and I am no longer worthy of being called your son. Please take me on as a hired servant.”’

20 “So he returned home to his father. And while he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him. 21 His son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy of being called your son.[a]

22 “But his father said to the servants, ‘Quick! Bring the finest robe in the house and put it on him. Get a ring for his finger and sandals for his feet. 23 And kill the calf we have been fattening. We must celebrate with a feast, 24 for this son of mine was dead and has now returned to life. He was lost, but now he is found.’ So the party began.

25 “Meanwhile, the older son was in the fields working. When he returned home, he heard music and dancing in the house, 26 and he asked one of the servants what was going on. 27 ‘Your brother is back,’ he was told, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf. We are celebrating because of his safe return.’

28 “The older brother was angry and wouldn’t go in. His father came out and begged him, 29 but he replied, ‘All these years I’ve slaved for you and never once refused to do a single thing you told me to. And in all that time you never gave me even one young goat for a feast with my friends. 30 Yet when this son of yours comes back after squandering your money on prostitutes, you celebrate by killing the fattened calf!’

31 “His father said to him, ‘Look, dear son, you have always stayed by me, and everything I have is yours. 32 We had to celebrate this happy day. For your brother was dead and has come back to life! He was lost, but now he is found!’”

As previously mentioned, I was a prodigal daughter & regrettably I’ve also acted like a prodigal sister .

But the Lord is doing something new in 2020! He’s showing me how to love prodigals as HE loves them: He gives His children their inheritance and the freedom to choose to stay at home or waste their lives on immoral living. He allows them to experience poverty, be in need with no one to help them, and be hungry for pig slop. And when a prodigal finally comes to their senses, He runs out to greet them and throws a party. The Father knows which sons and daughters will return home and which will reject His love for eternity. He says I must love them all. He says I must intercede for some. He says I must seek His will in heaven and pray it on the earth. He says I must not chase after prodigals. He says I must not beg, manipulate or control circumstances to make them return to Him.

A New Year.jpg

A New Year. No Resolution.

Instead, I confess: I’ve tried to save people who act like pigs. I’ve tried to save prodigals who ran away from home.

A New Year. No Resolution.

Instead, I repent: I’ve foolishly asked God “but Lord, what about _________?!”

A New Year. No Resolution.

Instead, I receive His rebuke: “What’s that to you? Follow Me!” (John 21:20-22).

A New Year. No Resolution.

Instead, I submit to His pathway through the wilderness.

A New Year. No Resolution.

Instead, I chose to be in the river that runs through the dry wasteland.

Connected to the Body

I’m a private person.  In the past, I’ve been guilty of dealing with tough issues (work, marriage, children, parents, fellow believers, disappointments, expectations, and sins) by MYSELF.

Occasionally, when issues get REALLY bad, I make strides in going to God and submitting to others for a while….But, I’ve struggled with having consistent, deep relationships with other believers in the body, especially other men. I can count on one hand the people I’ve let in.  The fact is, I’ve been hurt, betrayed rejected and abandoned by those I trusted.  But because of my pride I haven’t forgiven them completely.  Currently my wife is the main person I’ve trusted to let in.

Maybe you too have remained isolated when issues arise in your job, marriage, children, parents, fellow believers, disappointments, expectations, and sins. Maybe you too haven’t completely forgiven those in the body of Christ that have hurt or disappointed you.

The truth is: We were created to be in close relationship with God

AND

The truth is: We were created to be in close relationship with the body.

connected

Romans 12:5(NLT) “So it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts, of one body, and we all belong to each other.”

Acts 2:42(NLT)“All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper) and to prayer…47 And each day the Lord added to their Fellowshipthose who were being saved.”

I see that the church has become really good at getting together with others, sharing meals, maybe listening to a teaching, maybe taking communion, and perhaps praying.  The church as a whole has become a card carrying membership and not a fellowship.  Ship: old English “scipe”; as to shape, form, adjust, adopt, evolve, develop.

Why?

Independence. Independence from God and one another. Instead of being a part of the body of Christ, we have amputated ourselves…..trying to process the issues of life alone- without God, and without each other

How do we solve the problem?

Three (3) things that we can do to stay connected and become a healthy body

  1. SEEK parts of the body – Out of a humble heart, proactively search for someone you can intimately connect with, confide in, count on, and call out on a deeper level;

Hebrews 10:25(TPT) “This is not the time to pull away and neglect meeting together, as some have formed the habit of doing,  In fact, we should come together even more frequently, eager to encourage and urge each other onward as we anticipate that day dawning.”

  1. SUBMIT to parts of the body – Out of a humble heart, willingly surrender to someone by opening up and being vulnerable. Allow them to ask the difficult questions and provide the difficult answers surrounding your marriage, children, parents, fellow believers, disappointments, expectations, and sins.

1Peter 5:5 (NKJV) “Likewise you young people, submit yourselves to your elders.  Yes, all of you, be submissiveto one another, and be clothed with humility, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble””.

  1. SHARE with parts of the body – Out of a humble heart, deliberately and lovingly speak life to someone, including words of praise, encouragement, and correction.

Proverbs 10:11 (NLT) “The words of the godly are a life-giving fountain…”

Ephesians 4:2“Always be humble and gentle.  Be patient with each other, making allowances for each other’s faults because of your love”. Making every effort to keep yourselves unitedin the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace.”

Misapplied:      Matthew 7:1“Do not judge others, and you will not be judged.”

1Cor 5:12 (TPT)“What right do I have to pronounce judgment on unbelievers? That’s’ God’s responsibility.  But those who are inside the church family are our responsibility to discern and judge..”

Proverbs 17:10 (TPT)“One word of correction breaks open a teachable heart, but a fool can be corrected a hundred times and still not know what hit him.”

You and I were created to be connected to the body both physically and spiritually

When we seek out, submit to, and share with other parts of the body of Christ, we are built up and equipped to .be a unified and powerful body- able to fulfill the commandments and commission that Christ demands of the church.

I’m no authority on relationships in fact I’ve failed time and time again… but time and time again, the Lord has proven that He has never left me or forsaken me and neither has the church – there ARE others in the body that are also seeking, submitting to and willing to share their lives with me, so that we can edify and encourage one another.

What about you? Are you connected to the body daily or just weekly?

Are you seeking, submitting and sharing with others or are you isolated and independent of God and others? Do you have someone that you open up to and are vulnerable with or are you avoiding issues?

Is someone encouraging, challenging and correcting so that you can be the healthiest you?