Saturday, February 12, 2011

Part 22: Jezebel vs Sarah - "Shoe Leather" Status

I knew at the outset of this blog series that it would quickly become very personally challenging. I chose to engage even knowing how this would assure some very "awkward moments" and put many relationships at risk. Those of you whom the Lord has brought here to be engaged by this challenging series will find this very relevant. Such a venture can only end one way. Division must be brought forth.

32) Therefore everyone who confesses Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in heaven.
33) But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven.
34) Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.
37) He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.
Matthew 10:32-37

The only reason anyone with a sane mind and in a healthy emotional state could be willing to put even these very precious relationships at risk is for love's sake. One is required to trust in the nature and character of the One who brings that sword.

He is worthy of our love. Do you believe that? I'd like to think I do, and when I look at what I say and actually do I have an answer that can be recognized when I'm willing. I'm still a hypocrite. Ouch. I'm still holding back. How about you? But, what has been brought forth in my life recently encourages me because I've been pulled out of a rut as one changed and still in the midst of this changing - and I'm very encouraged! The Lord has allowed me such vast mercy to see this day, when passing even this love test is in sight.

If you can't personally relate to what I'm writing, I want to invite and encourage you to join me in this way of love. Lift up your eyes to see past the loss and gaze upon the One who is truly calling out to you with this challenging invitation. I'm going to ask a question I've asked myself. When would you rather learn that you have been given a love test and failed? Sooner, or later? Later, when, like, after it's too late? Sorry, "Never" is not an option.

The passage continues.

38) And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me.
39) He who has found his life will lose it, and he who has lost his life for My sake will find it.
Matthew 10:32-39

Should we picture ourselves there if we can't pass the previous test? No. Not honestly.

With greater light comes greater discernment - and judgment. Unto whom much is given, much is required. Judgment comes upon me particularly as I am a teacher, and too it comes upon each of you as the Lord brings you to it. Now, judgment isn't bad, really, it's just necessary so the holy can be separated from the profane. Refining fire is required to separate the dross from the gold. Things get shaken so they can be sifted and the valuable separated from the common. I knew I needed it and know I still do. The Lord is not done with me yet. I also knew the Lord would use this work to bring it to others. As some of you are testifying, He has been faithful!

There were a number of situations that I perceive as precipitating this series when I consider it on a personal level. Now having reached the anticipated milestone and high water mark in this series, the Lord has prompted me to begin to follow up on some of those situations where relationships are involved, and to engage in similar ways with others, too. There may be more detail forthcoming about this very engaging activity, we shall see. For now, I'm just going to tell you that the walking out of these matters relating to Jezebel vs Sarah "in shoe leather" is what this is about. There is no cheating - there are no short cuts or discounts offered. The Lord is preparing a Bride, and perhaps some among us will be found worthy.

I can tell you that what has already been required of me hasn't been easy, but neither has it been too hard. I've reviewed what's in my home with the ability to inspect things as in the light of a brighter light bulb and made yet another trip to the trash bin. If something is not good enough for me, it's not good enough for anyone else I care about, so there's no passing things off to a friend or neighbor, thrift store or Craigslist shopper. I've reviewed links on my blog and Web site as in a brighter light and identified a few that had to go. No regrets. I've reviewed comments left on the blog and comment settings. Many comments didn't pass inspection, and neither did my comments settings.

I had configured the blog so anonymous comments could be submitted, but really, since a blog is a public forum and this blog in particular is about preaching and teaching, allowing anonymous comments encourages what would become speaking in church if the comment were posted. Sometimes, even distinguishing the gender of those who are not anonymous is difficult. It should go without saying but I'll say it because it's so important: If you have a profile online that relates to interaction on the basis of christian fellowship, you have a responsibility to correctly identify your gender.

If judgment in these actions had been done on the basis of perceived value, no changes would have been made and nothing tossed out or deleted. It's very liberating to come to the place where I can accept that I'm not being asked to make such a judgment. The basis for my action was simple obedience, doing what I know is the right thing to do. The only "perceived value" decision I had to make was regarding the value of obedience.

While what I just shared isn't an all-encompassing view into the issues of my life, those specific actions were recently taken at the Lord's direction. They were required of me to bring me to the next step. If you haven't followed through in such a way with what the Lord has prompted you about, let me encourage you to do so at this time. You can come back and finish reading here when you're done. I'll wait.

It occurs to me how we sometimes wait on the Lord in a matter where He is waiting on us to act. If you've been waiting on Him for something, it may be the Lord is waiting for you to do what He already directed you to do. When you've done it, then you'll get the next step.

To be continued, Lord willing.

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