Trouble will knock, but who will answer?

Can you hear Jesus speaking these words to you? What does it mean to “not let” my heart be troubled?

I think I will ponder this active call to obedience today. What does it look like in my life to not let my heart be troubled?

Trouble will come. Trouble tries to break in daily. Trouble knocks loudly on some days.

What does it look like in my life to trade the reality of trouble for belief in Jesus? How can I practice His real presence in the face of trouble?

Right now I’m imagining TROUBLE pounding on my front door. I don’t want to answer the door, but they won’t go away. Perhaps I can ask Jesus to answer the door while I stand just behind Him.

What does believing Jesus and His presence look like, feel like in your life today? And how does that belief translate into action that doesn’t allow your heart to be troubled?

Jesus replied, “All who love me will do what I say. My Father will love them, and we will come and make our home with each of them.
John 14:23 NLT

It appears to me that you and I have a choice. I’m choosing to ponder this scripture today looking for active faith.

I’d love to hear what you are pondering with regard to the reality of trouble and how you see Jesus helping you to not let your heart be troubled today.

Eyes on Jesus and Shine,

~Lisa

Want JOY?

How many have sown tears in the last year? Surely there’s a harvest of JOY coming!!!

Me. Me. Me. In my life I have sown bountifully in tears. Tears of failure. Tears of sadness and regret. Tears of fear and anguish and despair.

Tears of surrender.

How about you?n the last year, I’ve begun to reap in JOY. Tears of joy. Lately, it seems the tears suddenly bubble up from a deep place. Like a tiny seed, after rooting deep in the soil, sends a green shoot through the crust of earth, these tears erupt through my eyes and down my face.

In the last year, though, I’ve begun to reap in JOY. Tears of joy.

Lately, it seems the tears suddenly bubble up from a deep place. Like a tiny seed, after rooting deep in the soil, sends a green shoot through the crust of earth, these tears erupt through my eyes and down my face.

These deep tears pouring forth are a refreshing. They’re tears of relief. Tears that wash fear and doubt away. They cleanse my soul.

Purification.

My words for 2021 are watch/weep/whisper and I think I’m beginning to understand.

The more I watch what God is doing all around me, the more I weep over the recognition He’s heard every single one of my prayers for help.

The more I weep over what I’m watching Him do, the more I whisper my thanksgiving to my Good Good God. He is my Shepherd and I shall not be in want.

And now, God, do it again— bring rains to our drought-stricken lives So those who planted their crops in despair will shout hurrahs at the harvest, So those who went off with heavy hearts will come home laughing, with armloads of blessing. 

Psalm 126:4‭-‬6 MSG

I give thanks to You, my God, for You are good and Your steadfast love endures forever!

Thank you, Father, for letting me live to experience this great harvest of JOY. Hear, o Lord, my songs and whispers and shouts of JOY as I receive Your great harvest. I will testify of Your greatness and love. You alone are good and worthy of all praise!

Amen.

Eyes on Jesus and Shine,

~Lisa

Chapter 2: Abundant Life

{The Beatitudes of Jesus} Matthew 5:1 – 12

Jesus hands us the keys. Will we try them out to unlock doors to the abundant life?

Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him,

Blessed am I, enriched in my life, when I recognize my true position before God.

God is God and I am not. He is rich in spirit and I, without Him, am poor in spirit.

As an adult, I joined the American church culture. I watched. I listened. I wanted to learn how to assimilate in the same way an immigrant seeks to thrive in a new country by learning the culture, language, rules and values.

If you had asked me then, “What is the most important aspect of your new life in the family of God?”, I would have answered that I was learning to be a good person. It seemed to me that my surrender to Jesus as Lord meant that I had submitted all my bad girl ways and He was, by way of His people, making me good.

Since I was also the Mom of two young sons, I gleaned that it was now my job to raise our sons to be good. Productive. Jesus followers from birth. Successful in the American version of the glory of God. Thus, I sought with all my being to give them the fullness of the Christian culture of which I felt completely deficient.

And so, here was my greatest misunderstanding as a new immigrant seeking to thrive in the Kingdom of God. I believed I could pull myself up by my bootstraps, work hard, learn the language, rules and values. I believed I could earn my way and become a true citizen of this new Kingdom.

Under this belief, I would do everything within my means to give my children all that had alluded me in the old land of despair. They would be free from a young age, and successful. This new Kingdom was theirs. And I would teach them the ways of their new mother country.

Today, I know that without Christ’s resurrection making me alive, I am nothing except poor. Without Him I am wretched in a sinful soul of flesh. Christ doesn’t make bad people good. He makes dead people alive.

I wish I had learned many years ago that I am poor in spirit.

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

Matthew 5:3

Blessed am I to mourn in my poor estate. Grieved, as I ponder the truth of my sinful flesh.

My strong selfish cravings are visible to me as I correctly perceive who God is and who I am in His shadow.

I am grieved over my lack of self control as my flesh screams to have it’s way. Who will win the battle for first place?

I need You, God. You are rich in spirit. You are comfort for my grief. You win. You can have me.

You are the Shepherd and I am Your lamb.

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”

Matthew 5:4

Joyful, blessed, am I when I choose meekness.

I am meek when I recognize that I need to be led. My soul needs to be saddled. My tongue needs a bridle. I need to surrender my fallen flesh to my Creator.

You, God, make me victorious. You are victorious and You lead me to the winner’s circle.

“The meek horse wins the race.”

Slow Brewing Tea ~ Randy Loubier

“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.”

Matthew 5:5

As I embrace my posture before God, I accept my humanity. I embrace that I am poor in spirit, but God is RICH in spirit. As I mourn over my sin, I become meek in recognition of my need to surrender under the Lordship of Christ.

My desire to live out meekness is fueled by a recognition that God is making me to be an overcomer. It is then that I gratefully submit to His authority.

Blessed, full of joy, am I when I hunger and thirst for righteousness. Naturally, my flesh woman screams for control. I want what I want. I want to obey my selfish desires.

But I am learning that when I recognize my poor estate, mourn my sin, and am willing to be led; then I am actually craving obedience to God’s ways.

This is the true meaning of success. The way of God and His steadfast love for His children. How could I want any less for our seeds?

I hunger and thirst to obey God.

I desire to go His way because I see that His way is the way of life. I go easily with Him because I see clearly who He is and who I am. Clarity. Wisdom. Unity.

Faith and fear do not peacefully coexist

Lisa Brittain

I follow because I’ve made such a mess of pioneering my own trail with my own goals in mind. My very American church views of success in marriage and childrearing had landed me squarely in a ditch of my own making. Only when our teen sons questioned their desire to live as Kingdom citizens did I fall on my knees and beg God for His help.

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.”

Matthew 5:6

I am blessed to respond mercifully.

When I, not only recognize, but embrace my position before God, I am filled with joy and gratitude. I am free!

The pressure to perform is off. Dancing and singing fill my soul because, regardless of my circumstances, I don’t have to make things happen. I’m not trying to create anyone in my own image. How absurd that I had ever tried!

Mercy is my response when I can look at another person and see that they are made in the image of Christ. It’s all on Him. He is Creator, God, and I am not!

I can be merciful. In fact, mercy bubbles up as I encounter my family, friends and neighbors because I see myself in my correct position before God. And I see each of them as image bearers of the Creator.

“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.”

Matthew 5:7

The intentions of my heart are purified in this place of clarity. My goals become aligned with the goals of my King. I see myself as an ambassador to His presence, and a door holder for those who would receive His invitation.

  • surrender purifies
  • humility purifies
  • weeping purifies
  • meekness purifies
  • hunger & thirst purify
  • obedience purifies
  • forgiveness purifies

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”

Matthew5:8

Then peace follows me.

Peace covers me.

Peace permeates me.

People who encounter me as I walk in the peace of God are moved by His presence. Peace becomes tangible and desirable for those who taste and see. God is good. He allows Himself to be visible through a purified, peaceful life.

I get to live out the role of peacemaker. And others get to choose their citizenship. I get to invite and they get to choose. I get to love and they get to receive.

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.”

Matthew 5:9

Finally, persecution will come.

As I walk in His ways, I will be perceived as an easy target. Yet, from this vantage point I KNOW that NOTHING will ever be able to separate me from the love of God.

My name is written in His family album. His name is written on my forehead. His seal is upon my soul for eternity.

I am His. He is mine. Forever. I don’t have to prove my citizenship to anyone for He knows His own. And yet, I do have the responsibility to live His Kingdom mandates as His ambassador on this earth.

“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

Matthew 5:10

Eternally grateful. Each time I choose to dwell in this scriptural truth The presence of God, the richness of His Spirit is reality. Unfortunately, this reality of blessedness is not my permanent state of being. Not yet, anyway. As long as I am a sojourner in this fallen world I will lose focus. I will get distracted. I forget that I don’t have to strive for love or work for freedom.

Living intentionally in an awareness of God’s presence is a choice. Walking through the beatitudes is a choice. Remembering my position is a choice. It’s a choice I make more often as I grow up in my true Christ identity. And it is a favored choice because I have so often tasted the fruit of these truths. Intimate living is abundant living, and abundant living is what I’ve always wanted.

I want the fullness of living humble, meek, obedient, merciful and purely peaceful. I want the joy of sharing in the path of Christ even when the path involves walking through the darkest valley.

 “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

Matthew 5:11

I am rejoicing. I am glad. Not because I desire the broken places or the hurts of love and relationship. I am rejoicing and I am happy because I have faced the broken, and I have traversed the painful path of restoration. I’ve endured the long nights of grieving and then realized one day I could look forward to a new day with hope.

I am joyful because I am never alone. I’ve made my faith walk harder than it had to be, but my Shepherd is kind. He comes looking for me and leads me back to center. He’s reached in to my stuck places and rescued me from myself.

These sons, our seeds, He’s blessed them both with wisdom and discernment. He’s designed them with big, loving hearts covered in manly strength. He created them bold and humble. These are the ones so precious to me because they loved me enough to confront me with truth. If I was the example of freedom in Christ, they would take their chances on their own. Who could blame them in the stark light of truth?

My hypocrisy of talking faith, but fearfully controlling people and circumstances was offensive and unattractive.

God came to earth as a baby. His name is Jesus. And He tells us in His word that He came to bring us abundant life. So many years later, God created two sons and placed them in our home. He gave two sons who would help me find my way to faith without striving. Living without fear. Grace to trust that God is God and He is always good. I am happier and most free when I live in these simple truths of Jesus found in the beatitudes. I invite you to check them out for yourself.

Eyes on Jesus and Shine,

~Lisa

Click here for A view of abundant life through the lens of Ecclesiastes courtesy of The Bible Project featuring Tim Mackie

Pondering questions for going deeper:

Take time to read slowly through Matthew 5:1-12. Ask Holy Spirit to reveal wisdom to you. What do you see or hear in the beatitudes that you haven’t recognized before?

Jesus hands us the keys {the beatitudes}. Will we take these keys to unlock doors to the abundant life?

What of these beatitudes catches your attention? What do you plan to do to understand this key that Jesus is holding out to you?