Monday, January 30, 2017

Do not be afraid of their faces

May our prayers rise as incense!
I was recently at a worship gathering that afterwards the people leading it took the time to give prophetic words, words of knowledge and encouragement for the people who were gathered there. The word I was given was about having been like a tweedy bird in a cage and how God was opening the cage door that God would use my voice to change atmospheres. He added one last thing that stood out to me "Do not be afraid of their faces." I immediately thought singing canary in a cage except I've been singing in front of people for 30 years there is no reason to be afraid of anyones faces in that arena. Perhaps God meant something else?  

Today while reading Jeremiah 1:4 I found those same words "Do not be afraid of their faces." I looked back in the verse to see what was happening. It seems this is the beginning of Jeremiah's ministry and he tries to tell God "hey but I'm still just a youth."

My Almond Awakening Lotion inspired by Jeremiah 1:11
Interestingly the I used the verse just a little further down as an inspiration for my Almond Awakening Lotion that I made and gave as Christmas gifts. In verse 11 God asks Jeremiah what he sees. He says that he sees and almond branch. God tells him,  great you got it right and I am ready to perform my word.  You have to look back to find the word God is going to perform in verses 5 and 7 For you shall go to all to whom I send you,  And whatever I command you, you shall speak. 

So tweedy bird has no trouble singing from her gilded cage and in environments that seem safe but yikes God is opening that door and sending the little bird out in to the big world to speak or sing his message to all whom I send you and to speak whatever I command you to speak. Don't be afraid of those faces, go change the atmosphere with your voice. Now the word is making more sense to me and it has gotten more clear as I have written this post.

Jeremiah 1:4 Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying:

5 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you;
Before you were born I sanctified you;
I ordained you a prophet to the nations.”

6 Then said I:

“Ah, Lord God!
Behold, I cannot speak, for I am a youth.”

7 But the Lord said to me:

“Do not say, ‘I am a youth,’
For you shall go to all to whom I send you,
And whatever I command you, you shall speak.
8 Do not be afraid of their faces,
For I am with you to deliver you,” says the Lord.

9 Then the Lord put forth His hand and touched my mouth, and the Lord said to me:

“Behold, I have put My words in your mouth.
10 See, I have this day set you over the nations and over the kingdoms,
To root out and to pull down,
To destroy and to throw down,
To build and to plant.”

11 Moreover the word of the Lord came to me, saying, “Jeremiah, what do you see?”

And I said, “I see a branch of an almond tree.”

12 Then the Lord said to me, “You have seen well, for I am ready to perform My word.”

My words can change atmospheres and get people to think about things from other vantage points. Its interesting in this current political season that I have dear friends on every side of just about every political argument am I brave enough to share what I believe God is saying?  While some friends are celebrating others are angered or frightened. I stand like a bridge between often vastly different view points.  I have majored on listening and pointing people to prayer, compassion, mercy and justice. I have tried to point people on both sides to actually listen and try to understand one another.  I am not always so bold as to speak up and share my opinion. So here is some of it for anyone reading.

The problems we face in this day are multifaceted and we will not find answers as long as we are accusing, blaming, pointing fingers and screaming at one another. We need to be willing to love people even if we don't agree with everything they think or believe or do. I believe Jesus has modeled this for all of us. When we came to him and even now if we are humble to admit it, we often don't fully understand what His ways, plans or larger purposes. We don't always really know what God is doing, our doctrine and belief are often a smorgasbord for truth and that fluffy jello pudding stuff. Tasty stuff but of little real value. Yet Jesus meets each of us where we are and every step along the way he calls us to come a little closer, come know Him more, come sit at His feet, come experience His transforming power in your life. It is His kindness and the growth of relationship with Him that causes us to want to know Him more and understand His better way and be transformed into His image. It is also out of relationship with people and the kindness that we show them that we earn their trust and a chance to be heard with His transforming love and truth.  

Jesus sat down to meals and hung out with sinful broken people. He didn't gather an army and become a political super power to take on the government of Rome. I think much as I have all along that if Jesus showed up at this time in history He would be out among the people who are hurting. He wouldn't be posturing for power and influence in government. He might not even be at your church after all he came to the lost, the sick, the confused, and the broken and really if you have been in church very long those things should be already taken care of.   Most of the time if he had issues with any group of people it was with the religious. I think he would have issues the church today as well.

I've had the opportunity to go to some really great worship meetings and to hear some truly dynamic speakers and to see God do some amazing miracles of healing and helping people get free and awaken. Its all wonderful but where I really see the power and the glory of God move is out among the people that He allows to cross my path each and every day.  We are not to chase signs and wonders, they are supposed to follow those who believe. Yes those meetings are wonderful but they are what I like to think of as mountain top experiences. Where stuff really grows is back down in the valley's of life.  I guess my thought is that it is important to get filled up but don't get things backwards there are people who need the Jesus that is in you every day and most of them are not able to find their way to the mountain top. We have to go to them.

I was reminded of this video and I think it applies not just to churches but also to how we live our lives. Are we just living the good life waiting for Jesus to return or are we on a mission to make a difference each and every day in the lives of the people we are privileged to encounter?

 I hope I haven't stepped on too many toes - my heart is to challenge us all to step up and out into the calling on each of our lives. If you don't know for sure what that is there are plenty of things in the Bible to get you started there are plenty of the "least of these" folks that need a touch from God through you.

"Not all of us can do great things. 

But we can do small things with great love.'"
- Mother Teresa

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