Grateful or Disobedient?

A man with leprosy came to Him (Jesus) and begged Him on his knees, “If You are willing, You can make me clean.”

Jesus was indignant. He reached out His hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” He said. “Be clean!” Immediately the leprosy left him and he was cleansed.

Jesus sent him away at once with a strong warning: “See that you don’t tell this to anyone. But go, show yourself to the priest and offer the sacrifices that Moses commanded for your cleansing, as a testimony to them.”

Instead he went out and began to talk freely, spreading the news. As a result, Jesus could no longer enter a town openly but stayed outside in lonely places. Yet the people still came to him from everywhere.
Mark 1:40‭-‬45 NIV

I’m curious. How do you read this true scenario? Was the man’s behavior disobedient or grateful?

Was the healed man dismissive of Jesus’ authority?

Or was he simply so overwhelmed with gratitude that he couldn’t help but tell everyone of his miraculous healing?

And was this glorifying to God? The healed leper was testifying to the kindness and power of Jesus.

But, didn’t Jesus, Messiah, command the healed man to go directly to the priests with his testimony? Wasn’t he strongly warned by Jesus not to tell anyone? The man was supposed to follow the law of Moses. (See Leviticus 13-14)

Did the healed man’s actions affect the movement of Jesus in that community? Was the work of God hampered by the man’s exercise of his free will? If so, how?

Worth pondering, this scenario is a much deeper well than it might appear on a cursory review.

I’m curious. Holy Spirit, what insight and revelation of truth would you like to reveal through this scripture? How does this real life scenario apply to my life in 2021?

Please come Holy Spirit and bring wisdom. Please reveal to me what You want me to know. Come and teach me how to honor Jesus and submit to His authority in my life. For my own good and for His glory…

I’m curious. What do you think?

Eyes on Jesus and Shine,

~Lisa

Enjoy the Journey…

In the midst of every exciting and memorable adventure, a relationship building moment is sure to arise. You know, the unanticipated snafu in the well crafted plan. Perhaps it was the luggage that didn’t arrive at the airport when you arrived at your long awaited location.

Maybe you left your car behind and planned to rent mopeds once you arrived on the island by ferry only to learn that the moped workers’ union was currently on strike. {That was our honeymoon experience on Martha’s Vineyard.} Perhaps, the rental car company took your reservation, but forgot to hold the reservation for you. {Seinfeld reference}

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

Ponder your most memorable adventures for a moment. Even as you read the words, you may find yourself begin to smile or even giggle as the memories download. Your very own memory book of adventures is highlighted by the boo boos, isn’t it? That’s definitely the case for me.

My dear man and I have a humorous anecdote for just about every journey we’ve taken together. Most of these events weren’t so funny IN the moment. {Relationship building} opportunities are what we dub these moments. However, we’ve learned over more than thirty years that it is typically the unexpected and even inconvenient unplanned situations which add the flavor to our otherwise vanilla plans.

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
    because the Lord has anointed me
    to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,

    to proclaim freedom for the captives
    and release from darkness for the prisoners,
Isaiah 61:1

Now that we’ve all experienced a number of cancellations, postponements and disappointing changes in our circumstances due to the mandated shelter in place, I wonder how some of these unwelcome situations might be perceived in the future. Will these momentary burdens become memories of delight?

Please know that I am not making light of the terribly unpleasant – even unavoidable – feelings you have possibly experienced in this unprecedented year of 2020. The loss and the grief have yet to be reconciled I fear. Whether the plans were celebratory and long planned for or the unexpected need to memorialize a loved one, to gather in consolation of one another; the losses and the pain have been real and significant.

and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
    instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
    instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
    instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
    a planting of the Lord
    for the display of his splendor.
Isaiah 61:3

Perspective, though, is a beautiful gift. Having the opportunity to travel on through life and look back from a distance adds color, height, depth and reality to the bigger picture. It may seem absolutely impossible that the disappointments could ever look like anything but an ash heap. We’re all too close to the current moments to gain perspective.

I would encourage you, and myself as well, to anticipate the journey forward, and the vantage point to come. I pray for you, and for myself as well, that God will {as much as He delights to do it} turn our ashes to beauty, our mourning to joy, and our despair to praise!

May each and every one of us look in the rearview mirror to see that the first half of 2020 changed us in all the most positive ways, and caused us to turn a chapter in our lives. May the remaining chapters in our stories be dedicated to living and loving more fully because of the disappointments and painful experiences of today.

May we each look back with thanksgiving to God for His grace and mercy to carry us through while we remember with smiles, giggles, and even tears, the many ways He restored and redeemed our {relationship building} opportunities. May we all be better for all we’ve been saved from and through.

Eyes on Jesus… You shine!

~Lisa

Pondering {pay attention}

Day 84. Pentecost is coming.
Are you on tiptoes? Anticipating?
I am expectant. And I’m extending an invitation. To you.
Will you join me in expectancy?

Perhaps your church has already opened for worship. For prayer. Maybe your church plans to re- gather refreshed on May 31st. Pentecost Sunday. Possibly your church will not open for weeks, months or has no plan to reopen.

Regardless, will you watch and wait with me for a great celebration of God’s goodness poured out on His people as we praise His holy name? This anticipation requires only a personal choice. Do you hear the Bridegroom’s whisper?

“At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five were wise. The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. The wise ones, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep. “At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’

“Pay attention!”

I first heard His call to ponder these words in February 2019. His repeated whisper to {pay attention} caused me to go to His scriptures and search. The Shepherd’s gentle instruction caused me to ask some good questions. And the more I’ve pondered these simple words the more expectant my heart has grown.

“Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’ “ ‘No,’ they replied, ‘there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’ “But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut.
Matthew 25:1‭-‬10 NIV

This season of {pay attention} has increasingly reminded me of my excitement as an engaged bride counting down the days eagerly anticipating the arrival of my groom just days before our wedding. As May 21st drew closer, my heart longed for and my eyes watched for the sight of my love walking through the door. I could hardly contain myself. I was focused.

Pay attention.

Watch. Wait. It’s a purposeful turning of eyes away from the distractions of earth. I have had to intentionally tune my ears to His voice, the song of my Beloved.

Something good; He, Himself, is right around the corner. We who are betrothed to this Bridegroom, we need to have our hearts refreshed with fire. The yearning for His voice and His return for us must become a hunger that prompts us to be on alert. On tiptoes. Waiting at the door. Listening for the sound of His approach.

He whispers to me again and again… {Pay attention} Lisa. I know you’ve waited long for My answers to your many questions. Watch, for I AM near.

It might sound to you that I’m predicting the return of Jesus on Pentecost. Truly, since His call to my heart to {pay attention}, I have been looking up and calling for Him with increasing joy and fervor than any other time in my life. I don’t know the day or the hour of my Bridegroom’s coming to sweep me up and across the threshold of our new home.

However, I do sense a coming fire of His presence, which will rekindle love in the hearts of His people. The bride will be turning, once again, toward her first love. And as we receive the nearness of His presence through the outpouring of His Holy Spirit, we will gain a new vigor, a boldness with joy to participate with Him to bring in a great harvest. We’re going to enjoy Him more and share Him more as we delight in Him more.

Pentecost is coming. Watch. Wait. Anticipate. Worship. Praise. Repent. Fast. Pray.

Pay attention.

Jesus wants us to see Him, hear Him, experience Him and follow Him. He is jealous for our affection. He’s whispering your name. He is getting our attention.

If you’re asking, “what now?” because your world has been turned upside down. Maybe now is a good time to ask Jesus what He wants you to know. It’s a good time to look up. Turn away from the cares of the world. Tune your ears to His voice. Turn off the world’s constant chatter.

Pay attention.

Watch for Holy Spirit to come with a fresh wind and restore souls. A fresh fire is coming. Lord, Your people are looking up. We’re ready to go to work with You. Ready to bring in the great harvest.

Thank You Father, Son and Holy Spirit for letting me live at this time in history! Thank You for the privilege as Your betrothed to join You in the fields ripe for harvest. I’m watching for You. I know You are near.

Help those who read these words to have their eyes opened, ears tuned and hearts awakened. Encourage each one to receive Your invitation to come close to Your all consuming fire and be rekindled. For those who need life, may they receive Your breath in this Pentecost season.

Thank You, lover of my soul, for coming for me, dying for me and making my life abundant by Your sacrificial Love. I’m watching. Anticipating. Standing on tiptoes…

Eyes on Jesus and Shine,

~Lisa

Pondering {help}

Day 80. Psalm 80.

This psalm just feels appropriate for the current state of affairs in our country and world. I hope you might go and read Psalm 80 for yourself. I wonder in what way the Word will impact your life today?

Feel the rawness of weary begging. “God, come down!! Fix this terrible situation. This shutdown and isolation feels awful. Come down!!”

Maybe it’s just me, but in this psalm I hear a child complaining to a parent about the pain of his timeout.  I hear a child blaming her parent for the brokenness of her life and circumstances.

I hear a child who has been sent to his room to contemplate the consequences of his choices screaming for the parent to come and let him out.

Toward the end the child says that she will never disobey again. I’m fairly sure that in my lifetime I have made that same false claim in an attempt to get out of trouble. However, a loving parent allows the consequence to have it’s full affect.

Then we will never turn back from You. Revive us again, that we may trust in You.
Psalms 80:18 TPT

A maturing child will recognize that the love of the parent has held that parent near. Perhaps right outside the door. Waiting with eager expectation for a breakthrough is the parent who longs for the child to be free.

Our God wants us to be free. He wants to bless us. He delights in showing favor to His children. However, he will not be mocked or ignored or accept that He has been put in second place.

And have you forgotten His encouraging words spoken to you as His children? He said, “My child, don’t underestimate the value of the discipline and training of the Lord God, or get depressed when He has to correct you. For the Lord’s training of your life is the evidence of His faithful love. And when He draws you to Himself, it proves you are His delightful child.”

Fully embrace God’s correction as part of your training, for He is doing what any loving father does for His children. For who has ever heard of a child who never had to be corrected?
Hebrews 12:5-7

May our severe timeout have it’s full affect. May the children of God reflect seriously on our own participation in wrongdoing. May we become still in His presence. May we agree with our Good Father that we have done wrong and His discipline is right.

May we ask with intentionality what He wants us to learn from this time. May we seek to grow in the word of God, truth and wisdom and accept our place as children of the Most High God.

Yes, absolutely, let me cry for help. Help me, Lord, because I don’t know how to follow You. Help me, Jesus, as my Shepherd and teach me to wait on You. Teach me to trust Your goodness.

Help! Because You are sovereign and I am not.

Eyes on Jesus and Shine,

~Lisa

FMF: {depend}

Again – it’s past Friday, and yet I will make a deliberate effort to write 5 minutes on Kate’s  word prompt for this week {depend}.

Why?  fmf logo

I haven’t quite figured out the answer to “why?” just yet.  It’s not because I have so much time.  It’s not because my posts are widely read.  It’s not because anyone is {depend}ing on me to write and post.  It’s not because I’m being paid or in any way receive a monetary reward – or any material reward for that matter.

It’s just that I have so many thoughts and words and ideas racing through the twisting, turning highway of my mind.  At times all the words and thoughts – truth and lies – get tangled up together as if a major mangled pile up has taken place in my brain.

Writing helps me sort.  Typing out words and allowing Holy Spirit to bring to mind the truth of Scripture through which my thoughts need to be sifted brings me great peace and comfort.  By putting it out there on my blog and sharing my posts through social media, possibly someone will benefit from my sorting and filtering through the truth of God’s word.  Someone might become untangled by truth and ultimately receive peace and comfort and rest in reassurance Jesus has never left them.  No, not for one moment, have we been left alone!

And what does any of this have to do with the word prompt {depend} anyway?                                                              (5 minutes on my timer begins)

I’m learning in my personal conversations with Holy Spirit, and He is highlighting for me a very deep-rooted fear in me.  It’s a fear of {depend}ency.  It’s a fear of another person clinging to me.  It’s a very real fear of an unhealthy attachment – {depend}ency.

This is an odd quandary.  I value {depend}ability.  However, I fear {depend}ency.  And so, on this part of my life’s journey, I am often asking Jesus to teach me.  What is the difference between {depend}ability and {depend}ency?

I desire to be {depend}able.  Equally, I value other people being {depend}able.  However, I reject {depend}ency.  In my work, I strive to be someone who can be counted on – reliable.  I show up.  I get my work done.  I am purposeful in meeting my employer’s expectations.

Spoiler alert – I’m not perfect.  As much as I want to be {depend}able all the time, perfectly, 100%, without exception – I’m not.  No one is.  I value {depend}ability in the people I work with and for, and they are most of the time – {depend}able.  And then there are those few times when they are not.

There’s GRACE for this!

It’s the same in my family, with friends, in church and truly, every circle of life in which I live and breathe and move and have my being through Christ.  I desire to be {depend}able, and I desire others to be {depend}able with the full understanding on my part that the only trustworthy {depend}able One is God, my Father, Savior, and Counselor.  (5 minutes, but my thoughts continue)

Depend - fmf - square

So far, my conclusion is {depend}ency has to do with perfection.  It feels to me that someone {depend}ent on me expects me to be perfectly available and all-sufficient, all knowing and all present for their every need, all the time.  And I reject that – wholeheartedly I say “NO!” to that kind of expectation placed on me.  I fear that type of suffocating {depend}ency.  I run from it.

And through our sorting, Holy Spirit and me, through the filter of God’s word, I believe this is the correct reaction.  The only One Who can be perfectly available and all-sufficient to carry every burden and supply every need, being perfectly present all the time is God as the Word become flesh, Jesus, our Savior, and His Holy Spirit, Comforter, the gift to us received at salvation Who never leaves us – NEVER!

God is perfectly dependable.  And so yes, when I feel the hairs on the back of my neck standing up because I feel a dependency overshadowing me, I will pull back and redirect in all love and in truth pointing toward Jesus.

I’ll walk you to Him.  I’ll introduce you to Him.  And then I will leave you with Him.  Because He is all you have ever – and will ever need.  You can {depend} on Jesus.

I hope you would do the same for me.

For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence,
    for my hope is from him.
He only is my rock and my salvation,
    my fortress; I shall not be shaken.
On God rests my salvation and my glory;
    my mighty rock, my refuge is God.

Psalm 62:5-7