Consumed by Fire

Gideon wanted to know for sure that the one who was standing in front of him was really an angel of the Lord. He wanted to be sure of the source of the words that were being spoken to him. So he decided to bring an offering, a meal, as a sacrifice. Gideon hurried home, killed and cooked a young goat, baked bread, packed it all in a basket, and brought it back to the angel of the Lord.

The meal Gideon prepared for the angel of the Lord was an offering, a sacrifice. The Midianites had stripped their land and reduced the Israelites to starvation.

This young goat and the baked bread weren’t from abundance, but from scarcity. It was food that Gideon needed for his own survival, food his flesh hungered for. Yet, this was the very thing Gideon chose to sacrifice to know for sure the truth, to discern the voice of God, the God of his ancestors.

When the angel touched the meat and fire flamed up from the rock and consumed the meal Gideon prepared, he was overwhelmed with the presence of the Lord, afraid he would die because he had seen an angel face to face.

God had Gideon’s full attention!

Gideon now believed it was really God who was speaking to him. And so God spoke to Gideon from heaven and reassured him that he wouldn’t die. God’s words brought comfort and hope to Gideon.

The God Gideon heard about from his fathers, the Almighty God who brought his people out of Egypt with signs and miracles, was now talking to him!

The God Gideon thought had forsaken him, the God he doubted even cared about him, was actually speaking to him! To him, the least of the least. God was speaking to him, personally, face to face!

An offering out of scarcity will bring immense revelation and produce a great harvest!

Gideon was undone!

He was brought to his knees!

He was moved to worship!

Gideon built an altar to the Lord and named it Yahweh-Shalom, which means…

“The Lord is Peace.”

Gideon, who hours before was alone, and afraid in his “whinepress” from the oppression of his enemies and striving to satisfy his needs, was now bowing down before the Lord of Peace!

Gideon’s circumstances didn’t change immediately. It was still true that his enemies were oppressing him. He was still without food. He was still of the weakest clan, and the least in his family, but

The fire of God consumed Gideon’s sacrifice…

It consumed Gideon’s fear.

It consumed his striving.

It consumed his insecurity.

Gideon’s true was exchanged with God’s truth…

God was with him!

God talked to him!

God was for him!

Gideon was set free!

Gideon had a new perspective!

We can draw confidence from Gideon to bring our fears, striving, insecurities, and our true, to God as a sacrifice, and allow His Fire to consume all that is not of Him.

As we have just celebrated the death and resurrection of Jesus I’m reminded that we have an advantage that Gideon didn’t have…we live on this side of the Cross!

God sent His Son, Jesus, as the Perfect Sacrifice!

Jesus’ love for you demonstrated by surrendering His will to the will of His Father was the ultimate sacrifice! Jesus’ death on the cross consumed all the scarcity the enemy brought into your life because of sin. The shed blood of Jesus paid the price for all the fear, striving, and insecurities that sent you into hiding. Your cloak of guilt and shame has been removed, and you have been wrapped in a robe of righteousness!

This is the truth! – The resurrection of Jesus brought you freedom, victory, and everlasting life!   

As a beloved child of God, you are not meant to thresh wheat in a “whinepress.”

As a beloved child of God you’re not meant to hide in  fear, live in scarcity, or feel insecure. 

So if your true finds you there…remember the truth…

God’s love for you is unconditional and it compels Him to come to you even while in your “whinepress,” bringing words of comfort, peace, and hope.

God comes with a personal word just for you. He wants to talk with you to let you know that He is with you, that He loves you, and that He is for you!

So, get up out of your “winepress,” and prepare Him a sacrifice…

When you choose to offer God a sacrifice out of your scarcity He will consume it with His consuming Fire.

He will consume your true that says, “God has forsaken me.” “If God was with me, He would answer my prayer.”

He will consume your true that says, “I don’t have enough.” “I need to take care of myself.”

He will consume your true that says, “I”m not worth anything.” “I’m not good enough.”

No matter what your true is, God wants you to offer it to Him as a sacrifice and allow Him to consume it and to replace it with His truth…

“For God has said, “I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.” Hebrews 13:5

“Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.” Matthew 6:33

“But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.” 1 Peter 2:9

“Since we are receiving a Kingdom that is unshakable, let us be thankful and please God by worshiping him with holy fear and awe. For our God is a consuming fire.” Hebrews 12:28-29






Jesus is the Way out of your “Whinepress”

I find it encouraging that God didn’t expect Gideon to get his act together before He called him out of his “whinepress.” God met him right where he was.

Though Gideon may have forgotten God, God hadn’t forgotten him.

God’s heart has always been to Rescue and to Save! 

As we celebrate Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday this week I find there are some similarities between Gideon’s encounter with the angel of God, and the encounter of Jesus with all man-kind.

When God came and spoke to Gideon He didn’t consider what was true in Gideon’s life. He looked past the true and focused on the truth.

God wasn’t moved by Gideon’s past. His sin and rebellion didn’t disqualify Gideon from having an encounter with God.

God didn’t discuss Gideon’s present fear or question why he was threshing wheat in a winepress.

God looked past Gideon’s insecurity and the reasons why he thought he couldn’t be the one God should choose to save His people.

Gideon and the Israelites were at the mercy of their enemies with no hope.

It was their cry for help that moved the heart of God to come to them.

God sent His angel…

God chose a man…

Gideon was chosen to rescue God’s people from the oppression of their enemies. He was chosen to bring victory and salvation to many. But the victory that was won through Gideon and the salvation it accomplished lasted only for that generation.

Man-kind needed a permanent solution. It needed a Rescuer and a Savior that would be for all people, and last for all generations.

God sent His Son…

God chose all mankind…

As God sent His angel to encounter Gideon, God sent His Son, Jesus, to have an encounter here on earth so that all His creation may be moved from our past, out of our present, and into the destiny God has created us for!

Jesus’ encounter here on earth changed everything!

The fear, scarcity, and insecurity that the enemy meant for harm has been dealt a death blow.

Jesus, the Way, the Truth, and the Life has come into our true, and has made a way out of our “whinepress.”

God sent Jesus as your Rescuer, your Savior!!

God has chosen you…

So I encourage you to consider…

What is true of you?

  • Maybe your true is that you have never entered into a relationship with God through belief in His Son, Jesus. If you have never received the forgiveness God has provided through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus you are living separated from God by your sin and rebellion, oppressed by the enemy of your soul.

This true; the fear, scarcity, and insecurity that sin and rebellion bring are intended to be the the very things that bring you to the end of yourself. They are the very things intended to break you, humble you, and bring you to your knees. These are the things intended for you to cry out to God for rescue and salvation! When you cry out to God, admit your sin, ask for His forgiveness through the blood of His Son, Jesus, and embrace the truth, you begin living forever in relationship with your Heavenly Father!

  • Maybe your true is that you are a child of God. You have  a relationship with God through belief in Jesus and all He accomplished on the cross, but you have allowed those things that are true in your life to trump the truth of God.

What has happened to cause your true to say that God doesn’t care about you?

Who has disappointed you so that your true says that God can’t be trusted?

What unanswered prayer tells you that God doesn’t answer when you cry out to Him?

When weren’t your needs met so that your true has caused you to take things into your own hands?

Who have you allowed to define who you are so that your true says you aren’t valuable, worthy, loved by God?

We have a choice of what we will do with those things that are true of us. We can’t avoid the true that comes from difficult situations. We will all experience the true of disappointment from the broken promises of others. Not all of our prayers will be answered in the way and the time we expect. While God promises to supply all our needs, there are times He will stretch our faith as we learn the true of waiting on Him. We are all surrounded by those, who because of their own hurts, insecurities, and jealousies will label us with words that aren’t according to the way God sees us and how He loves us.

Jesus couldn’t avoid the true in his life.

Jesus knew the true that was about to happen to Him; the whipping, the scourging, and the death on a cross caused Him to cry out three times to His Heavenly Father in the Garden of Gethsemane.

The true caused Jesus to sweat drops of blood as He pleaded the cup be taken from Him.

But it was the truth that enabled Jesus to say, “Not My will, but Your’s be done.” It was the truth that enabled Jesus to look beyond His true, and see the pleasure and the joy it would bring His Heavenly Father and all His creation!

And it is God’s truth that will enable you to move beyond your true, surrender your will, and bring you out of your “whinepress” into the destiny God has called you to.

As you celebrate Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday this week remember that…

Jesus understands the anticipation and the agony of the true

He knows the pain of dying to self and the surrender of His will in the Garden of Gethsemane,

but, He also remembers the truth, the joy set before Him, that enabled Him to endure the true,

and as He sits at the right hand of God, He is interceding for you, asking the Father that your faith won’t fail and that you will boldly and courageously live out the destiny He has created you for!

“O Mighty Warrior! The Lord is with you! Come out of your “whinepress” for I am sending you to rescue and to save!”

The Story of the Passion Play…

This time of year, celebrating Palm Sunday and Resurrection Sunday, I’m reminded of a time when I heard the Lord speak something to me. It was in December right after we held the Living Nativity. I heard the Lord say, “That was the beginning of My story, now I want you to complete it with a Passion Play.” I was like Gideon with all kinds of reasons and things that were true to me of why I could ‘t do that. I had no idea of where to begin. The Nativity Story is relatively easy, but the Passion is a whole different Story! But, God wouldn’t let it go. The Holy Spirit kept prompting me till I finally agreed to lay aside my fears, my excuses of what was true to me, and trusted that if was of Him He would provide everything needed.

I planned a meeting and invited all my friends who had been part of the Living Nativity, shared this calling of God, and asked them to help with casting a vision. I was so encouraged by their response and enthusiasm to join in this new adventure.

I was amazed and overwhelmed by the specific ways God provided all our needs!

The Holy Spirit guided me as I put together the script which was scripture and songs that were so fitting.

All the acting parts were filled, including the role as Jesus, a man who just became a leader in the Bible study Mark and I are involved with. The Holy Spirit prompted me one evening at Bible study to ask him if he would consider playing the part of Jesus in a Passion Play. To my amazement he replied that he had played that role before and that, “Yes” he would love to do it!!

My next question of God was, “Where should we have this play?” The Lord took me out to our field and I saw the large flat rock in the middle and began to envision a theater in the round. The rock could serve as the stage with the audience seated all around. I began to become excited. Everything was actually coming together!

Lord, what about props and costumes? These were found in storage at a local church which wasn’t using them that year. We had available to us; chairs, costumes, and even a huge wooden cross!! Along with our horse, used as the donkey for Jesus to ride into Jerusalem, and the tomb which friends built, God provided every thing needed!

But even exceedingly, abundantly above and beyond…every Sunday from February until the beginning of April it was warm and dry so we could have practice outside!

The dream of a Passion Play God put in my heart back in December became a reality because I chose to exchange my true, my fears, scarcity, and insecurities with God’s truth.

I chose to let go of my fears and fear God so that His will would be accomplished.

My friend, as a beloved child of God, you have been created with a destiny that God wants to accomplish through you. Joseph had his pit and prison experiences on his way to the fulfillment of his dream. Gideon had his “whinepress” experience on his way to fulfilling the destiny God had for him. So you too, may be facing fears, scarcity, and insecurity, but don’t allow them to define you. Look into the perfect word of God, ask the Holy Spirit to guide you into all truth and allow Him to exchange your true with His truth. Let go of your fear, and fear the Lord.

There is nothing God calls you to do that He won’t also equip and provide for you. 

Always remember…

As a beloved child of God…

He sees you as a “Mighty Warrior,” who has the Living God dwelling within you, destined to carry out great victories for His glory! 

The Lord is Risen! The Lord is Risen Indeed!

True vs Truth

I was reading verses of “Who I am in Christ” over Kayla as I was driving her to school the other day when I found myself thinking, “I know these are God’s truths about who I am in Christ, but I certainly don’t feel as though they are true of me.  Verses like…

you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession.

you have the peace of God that passes understanding

you have power over all the power of the enemy and nothing will harm you

you are raised with Christ in heavenly places

you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you

Some days what I know to be true is that I’m not feeling  chosen or acting very royal, or holy.

Some days what I know to be true is that I’m everything but at peace.

Some days the strategies of the enemy are so strong and all I know to be true is that I yielded to temptation and now am regretting the words I spoke, the judgements I made.

It may be truth that I’m am raised with Christ in the heavenliness, but right now I am surrounded with cleaning, errands, and laundry; none of which seem very heavenly.

Really God? I know You said You will give me the strength to do what You tell me to do, but what I know to be true is that I don’t have the ability to do it, I’ve tried that before and failed.

Can there actually be true and truth?

What do I do when I find what I believe to be true is different than God’s truth?

I have a choice to make.

This is a profound revelation for me!

One that I have found changes how I look at situations, how I respond towards others, and what I choose to believe; and even how I pray!

It is a revelation that takes me beyond the physical, into the spiritual.

This was Gideon’s experience when he was visited by an angel while hiding in a winepress threshing wheat.

“And the Angel of the Lord appeared to him, and said to him, “The Lord is with you, you mighty man of valor!” Gideon said to Him, “O my lord, if the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all His miracles which our fathers told us about, saying, ‘Did not the Lord bring us up from Egypt?’ But now the Lord has forsaken us and delivered us into the hands of the Midianites.” Then the Lord turned to him and said, “Go in this might of yours, and you shall save Israel from the hand of the Midianites. Have I not sent you?” So he said to Him, “O my Lord, how can I save Israel? Indeed my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house.” And the Lord said to him, “Surely I will be with you, and you shall defeat the Midianites as one man.” Judges 6:12-16

What was true to Gideon…

He and his people were being oppressed and starved by the Midianites.

He hadn’t seen any miracles of God like he heard happened long ago.

The Lord had forsaken them and had given them into the hands of their enemies.

There was no way he could save his people because his clan was the weakest of all the clans, and he was the least of his family.

These things were true in the physical realm. These were Gideon’s perspectives based on what he was experiencing, what he could see, and what he understood.

Gideon felt afraid, abandoned, and sorry for himself.

Sounds familiar, kind of like a pity party down in the “whinepress“!

But God had a different perspective; one from the spiritual realm.

“The Lord is with you” 

“You mighty man of valor!”

“Go in this might of yours, and you shall save Israel from the hand of the Midianites. Have I not sent you?”

“Surely I will be with you, and you shall defeat the Midianites as one man.”

Gideon spoke what was true.

God spoke truth!

It’s clear God didn’t send His angel to have a discussion with Gideon about the reasons why they were being oppressed, the causes for the lack of miracles, or the root of Gideon’s low self-esteem.

Not that God doesn’t care about the things that concern us, but I find if I focus on my difficulties, when I doubt God and question where He has been lately, and when I think negatively and feel sorry for myself, it keeps me down in the winepress, having pity parties, and doing things I shouldn’t.

Truth trumps what is true!

So, back to the verses I speak over Kayla each morning.

If I look at them in light of this revelation, that truth trumps what is true; rather than being discouraged when I don’t feel like these are true about me, or when I have excuses as to why they can’t be true based on what I see or understand, I can thank God for His truth and choose to believe Him, no matter what.

It’s up to me to lay aside what I believe to be true about myself based on my circumstances or how I have defined myself. I can choose to see myself as God sees me, as His chosen daughter, royal, and holy, set apart for His purposes and glory.

In the midst of chaos I can get caught up in it and become overwhelmed by the turmoil and stress. Or I can choose to believe the truth that when I choose to rejoice always, don’t worry about anything, but pray about everything with thanksgiving, I will experience His surpassing peace!

When I take hold of the truth that the Holy Spirit within me is greater than any strategy of the enemy and that when I choose to resist the devil and draw near to God I will be able to resist temptation. Then I will have no regrets of harsh words or judgmental attitudes.

Seated in heavenly places? This is a truth I don’t fully understand, but I can choose to believe it, and then ask God to explain it to me. “So, Lord, I believe I have been raised with You in the heavenly places, please show me the authority I have as one seated with You, and how to live in that truth here on earth.”

When faced with a decision of what to do I have the choice of how to respond. Often I look at the choices through my eyes, examine them through my understanding, and base my decision on my ability, on my experience. When I choose independently of God’s truth it opens me up to wrong decisions and failure. When I choose to believe God’s truth that says, “you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you,” I will seek Him to guide me in making my choice and trust that in choosing His will He will give me the strength to accomplish it.

The story of Gideon doesn’t end here. God called him to “Go in this might of yours, and you shall save Israel from the hand of the Midianites. Have I not sent you?” God promised to be with him and to give him the victory.

I believe this call from oppression and scarcity is for today just as it was in Gideon’s day… so, look up from your winepress and see that…

God is with you, O mighty warrior, calling you to go in your might and save those around you from the oppression of the enemy. He promises to go with you and to give you the victory!

But it begins with an encounter with God that will require you to exchange your true, with God’s truth! 




Threshing Wheat in a Winepress?

As I’ve been writing about running the race God has set before us and the importance of stripping off all that hinders our faith and trust in God I’m reminded of some lessons we can learn from the Israelites and the story of Gideon.

The Israelites were God’s chosen people. God called Abraham out from among other nations, not because of anything he did, but because God loved him and chose to love and bless the nation that would come from him.

It has always been God’s heart to love and bless His people and to set them apart from the ways of other nations to make a distinction between those who love and worship Him and those who don’t. 

God miraculously brought His people out of slavery, into the promised land, the land He set apart for them, a good land filled with blessing. Though this was the land God promised His people would inherit, it was still inhabited with those who didn’t worship Him. These nations were as enemies because they worshipped false gods, their knowledge and ways were based on their own understanding, the lies of the enemy. God told His people to destroy all their enemies in the promised land. He warned them that if they didn’t, they would be as a snare to them. He knew that by living with people who didn’t worship as they did, with those who lived according to the nature of their flesh, His people would begin to compromise. Their flesh would crave the very things those around them had and enjoyed.

“When you come into the land which the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not learn to follow the abominations of those nations.” Deuteronomy 18:9

God loved His people, chose them, and set them apart to enjoy the blessings He had for them. Because He created them He knew what was best. He gave them commandments that were meant to set them apart as His chosen people, keep them safe and free, and enjoying the abundant life He intended.

God’s love and blessings are intended to be returned with love and worship of Him.

So when the Israelites began to compromise by trusting in the knowledge and ways of the nations around them they suffered consequences. They rebelled against God by trading their worship of Him to worshipping idols. God is a jealous God and demands all worship. He doesn’t share His glory with any other. Their sin hindered God’s blessings. Their sin put them into slavery, bondage to their enemies, the very nations that God set them apart from.

It was during a time of compromise and rebellion that the sin of the Israelites resulted in bondage to their enemies, the Midianites. The oppression of the Midianites caused the Israelites to flee to the mountains and brought them to starvation.

And it was this fear and scarcity that caused Gideon to be found threshing wheat in a winepress.

So we too are God’s chosen people, the objects of His love and blessing.

“All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ. Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure.” Ephesians 1:3-5

And we too, have been set free from the bondage of our enemy, Satan. We have been bought with the blood of Jesus and brought into the promised land of salvation, filled with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms! We have been declared holy, and without fault in the eyes of God! Through the sacrifice of Jesus we have been adopted into God’s own family, set apart from the world to make Him known, and to bring Him great pleasure!

This freedom, this salvation, this new identity as God’s very own beloved child is meant to result in our love, trust, and worship of God alone.

Living by these truths enable us to run the race God has set before us.

To live fully the destiny we have been created for.

But, same as the Israelites, we live surrounded by those who don’t love and worship the One true God, and while we may not face flesh and blood enemies like the Midianites, we do have an enemy who is after our soul, who battles against us in the spirit realm. These influences and attacks around us weigh us down and hinder us. We find ourselves conforming to life situations in the same ways as those around us who don’t worship God. We begin to think as they think, do as they do, speak as they speak, and believe as they believe.

Conforming and compromise distance us from God.

Away from the truths of God, the ways of the world begin to make sense, doubt and unbelief creep in. Our own understanding becomes what is true, and we soon forget the truth.

Conforming and compromise bring guilt and shame.

These cause us to forget who we are as God’s beloved child and we “hide” our true selves, allowing ourselves to be defined by the world.

Conforming and compromise create discontent.

Striving results as we pursue things that never satisfy, leaving us empty, but striving for more.

I believe many people of God are just as Gideon today. We are doing all we can to stay alive in the scarcity we face in our lives. We know God, we believe in God, but compromise has kept us from experiencing the blessings of God. The signs and wonders of God seem only as things in the past. Many of us are hiding our true selves because we have forgotten who we really are as God’s chosen people. Conforming to the ways of the world has redefined us and that’s how we have chosen to see ourselves rather than how God sees us.

It took the bondage of fear and scarcity to bring God’s people to cry out to Him.

There were things God needed to strip off His people, and He could finally do it when they cried out to Him for help.

What about you?

Perhaps you have conformed and compromised and you feel distant from God. Perhaps you have allowed busyness or guilt keep you from spending time with God. Maybe it has been so subtle you haven’t even thought about where God has been, and you haven’t even noticed that God’s presence is missing from your life.

Do you find yourself hiding your true self because you don’t even know who you really are anymore. You don’t like the person you’ve become, but you have no idea how to get out of the place you find yourself. Is there scarcity in your life, an emptiness that come from striving after those things that never satisfy?

Well, if any of these are true of you, the truth is that just like the Israelites you can cry out to God.

God loves you and is for you! He doesn’t condemn or bring shame…

and He sees you even if you are threshing wheat in a winepress…hiding in fear and living in scarcity! He is ready to come to you with a new name and an incredible plan to bring you victory and freedom!


Surrender my Pity Party?

The writer of Hebrews wrote a chapter that defined faith, he wrote that faith pleases God, and he wrote of many who have gone before us who lived by faith.

Then he used their examples of faith as the incentive to strip off everything that weighs us down and hinders the race God has called us to.

If they could do it, so can you!

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne.” Hebrews 12:1-2

The dictionary defines Faith – Complete trust or confidence in someone or something. – Strong belief in God.

Hebrews 11 is filled with stories of those who lived out what they believed, who put their faith in God into action. They chose to be obedient to the call of God instead of allowing their flesh to hinder them and hold them back.

Their beliefs determined their direction.

Faith is what sets God’s people apart from those of the world. Those who love and trust God will hear the voice of God. They will be guided and empowered by the word of God and by the Holy Spirit to run the race God calls them to.

God’s calls us to things bigger than ourselves.

One thing these stories of faith have in common is a contradiction, a foolishness, that just doesn’t make sense. There is something in each story that causes  human understanding to ask, “How could they do that?”

But it is that very contradiction, that very question, that defines faith. 

Believing without seeing.

Doing without understanding.

That’s where the flesh and the spirit collide.  That is where trust in God and trust in man becomes a matter of the will. Which will you choose?

From the very beginning God has called His people to live by faith, to live bigger than themselves! Though time and culture are different, God and human nature haven’t changed. We can apply the principles and truths no matter how much time has passed. I believe God wants to use His stories of faith to challenge us, and to transform us more and more into the image of His Son. Stories of faith in the Bible show us that with God, nothing is impossible, and they give us the confidence to trust Him with our impossible situations.

By reading the stories of those who have gone before us we can be encouraged and allow their acts of obedience to be as a sword that cuts away the things of our flesh that keep us from loving, trusting, and obeying what God is calling us to accomplish for His kingdom, for His glory.

“For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.” Hebrews 4:12

The call God has for us, the race He wants us to run, will draw out different thoughts, different questions, and perhaps different excuses, but bottom line, no matter what our flesh says, we are created to love God, trust Him, and to obey Him.

Our love for God, our trust in Him, and responding in obedience to His call determine whether or not we are willing to strip off the things that hinder our race. 

Our beliefs determine our direction…

Will we live a life of faith, a life bigger than ourselves?

Okay, I know you are wondering…this is the Pity Party part…

Just this week I faced a situation that tested my faith. The other morning I was singing a song about surrender. I asked God what He wanted me to surrender to Him. I didn’t really hear a response, so I left the question unanswered in my journal. Later that day I shared something with some friends that I really thought was profound and would be helpful for them. It went over like a lead balloon. They totally didn’t get it or appreciate it. I was hurt. When I came home and was in my room deciding whether or not to plan a pity party my eyes caught my unanswered question… “What do You want me to surrender?” I felt the Lord finally answered… “Your pity party.” “No, not this, I deserve to feel sorry for myself. It was a good word that should have been received. It would be very helpful.”

I hate to admit it, but I said “Okay,” there on my bed, I even wrote “Okay” in my journal, but I didn’t hold to it.

I tried.

That evening as I continued to replay the event and all the interactions of our time together I went right back into my pity party. That night and the following morning I continued my pity party. My hurt and my rejection were keeping my mind busy putting the blame on the others. The thing about pity parties is that they tend to invite more guests. I found myself looking back to other situations that were similar that I could bring into this party. Now it wasn’t just about the situation the day before, it included things that happened years ago!

Pity parties are a mental process meant to console a wounded self by…

reliving the memories of every word, every look that brought hurt and rejection,

these memories are carefully analyzed to justify blaming others for their wrongs, and by proclaiming judgements and accusations towards others,

and so proving the innocence of self,

and eventually convincing self to give up and to never let that happen again.  

Wow, no wonder God asked me to surrender my pity party!

I wish I would have truly surrendered my pity party. It would have saved so much emotional stress and so many hurtful words.

I can’t go back and have a re-do. I can’t take back the words I spoke. But I did talk to God about it. I asked His forgiveness for my sin; for my self-righteousness, my self pity, my wrong thoughts and judgements, and my hurtful words. I told Him I was sorry for not obeying when He asked me to surrender my pity party.

But then I also asked God why the response of the others upset me so much. Why was this so hurtful to me? What was it that I needed to strip off?

He reminded me of 1 Corinthians 13. In those first verses, 1-3, Paul wrote about those who have great abilities and gifts that can be used to bring God much glory, but they can also lead to great pride. He showed me that I while I love to share God’s truth with others, I don’t always do it with the pure motivation of love. In some ways it was a hard word to receive. I want to think my motives are pure, that sharing the truth is loving others. Yet, I know deep down inside I do like to be right. I do want to be appreciated for knowing the truth. As I read the following verses it became very clear… “love is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged…love never gives up.” So, I’m pretty sure that love doesn’t have pity parties! If my motive was pure I would have been able to surrender my pity party, and trust that even though what I shared wasn’t received I could trust God with the results. Yes, I need to learn to love.

So, I asked God to forgive me for my pride. My pride that wanted others to receive and appreciate the truth I shared with them. The pride in me that wanted to have the right answers for others. The pride that responded in self pity when not appreciated.

Lord, show me how to love as You love. Show me how to lovingly share Your truth with others with a pure heart so they will see only You. And let me trust Your Holy Spirit to do the work within their hearts no matter what kind of response I receive.

I choose to strip off my pride and look to You, Jesus, so I can run this race unhindered and lovingly share Your truth with others.  

And, yes, please give me the grace to surrender any future pity parties! In Jesus name, Amen!