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My Journey into Glory

And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit. 2 Corinthians 3:18

Hello, beloved.

It’s been a while. I’ve been on a journey with the Lord that shifted my attention from writing for a season. In the midst of building our ministry and discipling people, God has been revealing Himself personally to me in profound and beautiful ways—ways I long for you to experience too. He still heals hearts, you know, and He dearly wants to heal yours.

But I wonder if you even recognize that you need healing. Do you, dear one? I only ask because I didn’t, at least not to the depth that Jesus saw I needed. And you and I will never invite Jesus in to restore what we don’t recognize we need.

So, I’m about to get vulnerable with you. Because we NEED vulnerability. Desperately. Our hiding has kept the enemy powerful, and we need to learn the glory of stepping into the light.

Two years ago in healing prayer, I had a powerful encounter with Jesus. He led me back to a pivotal memory as a small child that had shifted my understanding of who I was supposed to be, and there, my precious Jesus redeemed it. I literally saw Him exchange the influence of that moment with a crisp, clean, white page—a new beginning as He wiped my slate clean.

As our prayer came to a close, my friend sensed in the Spirit, “He wants to show you His glory. Ask Him to show it to you.”

I made the request, unprepared for what I was about to see. The image caught my breath and left me sobbing before my King.

It was me.

Part of me still hesitates to share the moment with you. Even now, the false humility much of the church calls “spiritual” wants to apologize for it. But understanding truth is what sets Kingdom sons and daughters free, so I’m sharing it anyway. I saw myself shining in dazzling splendor. Regal. Crowned. Radiant with light. Glorious!

Instantly, unbelief began to discredit the vision, until the Spirit reminded me of Jesus’ words to His Father on the night He gave His life for us.

The glory that You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one even as We are one, 23 I in them and You in Me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that You sent Me and loved them even as You loved Me.” John 17:22-23

Did you know that you carry His glory, dear one? Jesus poured His glory into you the moment you put your faith in Him. He poured it into me, too. He created us to be His image bearers, reflecting the beauty of His own nature and filling the earth with the glory of who He is. But when we shape our identity around our own life experience and the enemy’s deceptions instead of this truth, that glory remains hidden. And you and I will never live out the full potential of what we carry.

I almost didn’t.

What should’ve unleashed fresh anointing and victorious power in my life set off a war within my soul. My mind understood the truth that Scripture was declaring, and my heart joyfully leapt at the knowledge! But underneath, hidden within the deep wounds of my past, my heart couldn’t believe it for myself. And I didn’t know I couldn’t. I honestly thought that I was leaning into that beautiful promise! But then I began to experience a feeling of separation from God.

It doesn't matter what you know. What matters is what you believe. #onlyFaithAccessesGrace Click To Tweet

Can you relate, dear one? Have you ever felt a shift in your relationship with Jesus that leaves you longing for what you had? Yet no matter what you do, you just can’t seem to get there?

That was me. Loving Jesus. Serving Him. Yet feeling a growing chasm between my heart and His.

This happens, dear one, when our hearts reject the truth He declares over us, when something inside us denies Him by refusing to believe what He says. We can’t experience the intimate fellowship He longs for while we disagree with Him. Amos 3:3 (NKJV) says, “Can two walk together, unless they are agreed?” The answer, child of God, remains “no.”

Beloved, when we reject His words, we reject Jesus.

I will share more of my story next time, but for now, let’s establish the foundational truth I believe God wants to anchor our hearts in. You are a glory carrier. If you have put your faith in Jesus, His glory lies within you. And above all else, He wants to reveal it through you. Not by asking you to perform good works, but by teaching you who you truly are as He shows you who He is.

Take a moment to reflect on our opening Scripture:

And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit. 2 Corinthians 3:18

Did you see it, dear one? The same image. Not a lesser version. Not an imperfect replica of the true. God desires to transform us into the same image that He Himself bears. Righteous. Regal. Radiant. Pure. Glorious.

Let’s stop allowing the enemy to convince us to settle for less than promises. He schemes to limit the revelation of God’s power on earth by convincing His people that we are less than who we are. Our God is calling us higher, so let’s raise the bar. Jesus accomplished an incredible miracle on that old rugged cross. He made us much more than we think we are. He made us who He is.

Perhaps it’s time we believed Him.

 

Have You Opened Your Gifts From Jesus?

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6

I trust by now you’ve had your fill of Thanksgiving leftovers. And now, I’m guessing that ornaments, evergreens, and sparkling lights are quickly replacing any decorative pumpkins and fall leaves. I’m excited to share that my own home has begun its holiday transformation.

December ushers in one of my very favorite seasons. Christmas has filled my heart with wonder for as long as I can remember. When we hung the lights, and holly and evergreens made their way inside our home, the joy that flickered deep within told me that this time of year was special. Christmas simply felt different than the rest of the year.

As a child I looked forward to it with great anticipation. I loved the family gatherings that accompanied Christmas, complete with caroling, special foods, and holiday smells. But nothing inspired quite as much awe as the sight of the gifts spilling out from under the tree.

Lots of extended family gathered in our home for Christmas, and large numbers of people meant a large number of gifts! Packages and ribbons beckoned our exploration, and I joined my brothers to examine the nametags, searching for the owner of each new possession. Joy would ripple through me when I found my name. This one’s for me.

And hope would rise to the surface. Perhaps this is the one I have been waiting for!

Do you remember how it felt to experience Christmas with the heart of a child, dear one? Can you recall the sensation of sugarplums dancing in your belly, a delightful mingling of anticipation and hope?

For many of us, routine has replaced much of the marvel of the holidays. And let’s be honest; the work often overshadows the wonder! Many have even lost the thrill of surprise on Christmas morning, having purchased and wrapped the gifts bearing their name beneath the tree with their own hands.

And Jesus, the One whom we gather to celebrate, is almost forgotten, worked into our festivities with brief mentions and a visit to church on Christmas Eve.

Perhaps we have been missing something.

I’d love for you to entertain this thought with me. What if Christmas still holds something worth anticipating? What if its offer of joy, hope, and wonder extends to more than just children? What if you and I could experience that child-like awe as we unwrap the gifts the Christ-child came to bring?

Consider Jesus’ words to His disciples during His earthly ministry:

He called a little child and had him stand among them. And he said: “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 18:2-3

Do you have a child-like heart, beloved?

Jesus said that unless we approach Him with the heart of a child, we will miss His kingdom. He wasn’t just referring to the eternal kingdom He will establish when He returns. He was also warning us that we can miss the kingdom blessings we’re supposed to experience on this earth until He does.

Jesus came to the earth to draw us to Him in divine relationship and reveal the glory of what’s to come. He came so people like you and me could know Him and experience a foretaste of heaven.

Have you tasted it, dear one? You’re meant to!

What if we tried a new approach this Christmas? What if we choose to see Jesus as the all-surpassing gift scripture claims He is? What if we open our hearts to believe like little children and take a chance on believing God for more?

Let’s invite the wonder of Christmas to return! Gifts bearing your name await your attention under the tree. Jesus invites you to explore them so you can claim them as your own.

This one’s for me.

What gift do you need to open, beloved? Healing. Restoration. Redemption. Forgiveness. Reconciliation. Power. Purpose.

And Jesus said to him, “‘… All things are possible for one who believes.” Mark 9:23

‘Tis the season for believing, dear one.

Allow your heart to open with the wonder of an expectant child. Approach Jesus with hope and anticipation.

Beloved, Jesus holds the gifts you’ve been searching for all your life.

Feeling Powerless? Drink!

Like cold water to a thirsty soul, so is good news from a far country. Proverbs 25:25 ESV

The Gospel is good news.

Literally. That’s what it means.

And it is good news. The cross of Christ changed everything, offering what nothing else can. Forgiveness. Redemption. Identity. Healing. Resurrection life. Restoration. Wholeness. Power. Transformation. Grace.

But for some reason we don’t share the message of the cross like its good news. We act like we don’t want to bother people with it.

Huh? Somehow the enemy has convinced us to fear sharing the hope that will help people. That will quench their thirst. That will heal what’s broken, revive and restore.

Good news is like cold water to a thirsty soul, beloved. So why aren’t we more excited to share it?

I have a theory, based on my own experience.

While we smile and enter our churches all dressed up and ready to worship Jesus, inside we’re not at all sure the gospel offers any real power—at least not while our feet still kick up dust on this earth. Life hasn’t changed much—except that we set an alarm on Sunday—and we don’t want to look bad when the message we share doesn’t live up to their expectations.

Because we ourselves still thirst.

We’re dry. Broken. Bitter. Powerless. Weary. We sing praises to the name of Jesus, but our lives too closely resemble the lost we’re supposed to save.

And so we reason that the promises of scripture are future promises instead of now promises. And we settle for just getting by, with no real zeal for advancing a kingdom that seems to promise much but deliver little.

I get it. I’ve been there. But what if the words Jesus proclaimed to a thirsty woman at a well are actually true for us today?

“Whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”” John 4:14 ESV

Sounds pretty fabulous to me.

Jesus said that in Him it’s possible to never thirst again. Ever. Can you imagine it? To never feel dry and unsatisfied but always filled and refreshed?

Well He said it, dear one. So the question really boils down to whether or not you believe it. And if you say you believe it, will you live trusting the principle, or will you settle for less than what Jesus has promised you?

Jesus claims that the water He provides will become a spring welling up within us until life flows—both in us and from us (John 7:38). Eternal life that doesn’t fade.

Ever present refreshment that won’t permit thirst.

But Jesus also gives a condition to experiencing those promises. We must drink the water.

We can’t just talk about it. It does no good to memorize scriptures about it. We have to drink it. Consistently. Deeply.

But we haven’t drunk deeply, beloved. We’ve sipped of His Spirit on Sunday mornings. And we expect the life of God to manifest in us while we live the majority of our lives ignoring Him.

It doesn’t work that way, dear one. We must drink the water to experience the life it gives. 

We must drink the water to experience the life it gives. Click To Tweet

We have to meet with God and partake. Only then can the water within us well up to produce life.

Then we will be changed.

And that change will compel us to offer that water to everyone we care about. Because when we have drunk deeply from the living water, allowing it to do its work—reviving our own souls and restoring our own brokenness—how could we not share the resurrection life we have been given?

 For the kingdom of God does not consist in talk but in power. 1 Corinthians 4:20

 God’s Word is true, dear one. Let’s prove it.

Drink.

Then drink more.

And keep drinking until you no longer remember how it feels to thirst.

Unlikely Cherished Things

Confession time again.

Have you ever held onto a promise of God—watching, waiting, wrestling with the time it has taken to fulfill it—and wondered if perhaps you had been wrong to believe it? You reason that God might fulfill this promise for someone else, but what if He’s decided not to do it for you? What if this isn’t part of your blessing?

A part of my heart has been broken for a very long time. Nothing particularly traumatic or extraordinary happened to me to break it. Years ago, I simply made some destructive choices in search of acceptance. Choices that the world offers as commonplace and right, but that God warns will leave their mark. They did.

I had no idea the extent of the damage. Like most of us do, I looked at my life and the progress I’d made with the Lord and thought I was okay.

But God is too good to allow us to settle for okay. After all, His Son was beaten, bled, and hung on a cross to heal what sin’s damage left broken. To restore us. To make us whole.

Still, as much as God has transformed me and poured His grace into my life, in this area, I have not been whole.

And I’ve struggled with God over it.

I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve cried out to Him in prayer, surrendering this one thing and asking for healing. Yet I remain stuck.

While Living Water flows and empowers so many areas of my life, something has blocked its movement here. This place remains a dry desert.

This week, I revisited Numbers 13. I stood in the desert with Moses and witnessed God sending men from each tribe to explore the land He’d promised to Israel. After forty days, the men returned and reported what they had found.

“We went into the land to which you sent us, and it does flow with milk and honey! Here is its fruit.” Numbers 13:27

They found the land exactly as God had promised. They even tasted the fruit available to them there.

“But the people who live there are powerful, and the cities are fortified and very large.” Numbers 13:28

So they determined not to even try to claim the land God had promised them.

Listen, dear one. Twelve men entered the land God clearly said He was giving them as an inheritance (verse 1). They all witnessed the same things. They all saw that the land was good, and they all saw the fortified cities and fighting men.

Two of those men focused on the promises of God and received them into their lives. The other ten focused on the obstacles keeping them from attaining it. Those ten, as well as the rest of the Israelites who believed them, never left the desert. That’s where they died.

It struck me that I have had a similar experience to those Israelites. I have witnessed God’s awesome power to deliver and have left the captivity of much of my sin. Now I stand in the desert looking at the promise of wholeness God has placed before me, that He has promised to give me through His Word. I have even tasted the fruit of it as God has graciously allowed breakthrough moments that have shown me what’s possible in Him.

But those moments always fade, and the obstacles loom large once again. Still, I remain in the desert.

I can’t help but ask the question. Why?

I’m not particularly fond of the answer He gave me.

You see, just like those Israelites, I have kept myself in the desert. Part of me clung to its familiarity, even while I cried out to God to deliver me from it.

Somehow along the way, this very part of myself that I hated and cried out to God to restore became a cherished thing. I wanted God to miraculously heal it, but at the same time, I’m recognizing that I didn’t really want to give it up. It defined me. It was familiar. I actually feared the void it might leave if I let go of it. So I didn’t. I asked God to take it, but I wasn’t willing to hand it to Him. I said I was, but I’ve discovered that my heart didn’t agree.

And that was the problem, dear one. Because God will only take what we freely offer Him.

Yesterday, my Scripture reading took me to Mount Moriah. I wept with Abraham as he placed his cherished thing, his beloved son Isaac, on the altar of sacrifice. He didn’t allow the obstacles ahead of him—death itself—to keep him from believing God’s promise to bless him through Isaac. Hebrews 11:19 reveals that he reasoned God could raise him from the dead.

So Abraham placed his son on the altar, fully believing in the goodness of his faithful God. Expecting a miracle, he chose not to withhold his cherished thing.

And God provided a ram in place of Abraham’s offering. God didn’t take, dear one. He gave. And He multiplied Abraham’s offering. Instead of only the one cherished son, Abraham would have “descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore (Genesis 22:17).”

Look at God’s response to His faithful servant.

“I swear by myself, declares the Lord, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will surely bless you . . .” Genesis 22:16-17

What are you withholding from God, dear one, that blocks the flow of His blessing into your life? As I discovered, sometimes the things we’re holding onto aren’t even good things. They’re destructive things. Things we’ve convinced ourselves we need, when actually they are the very things that rob us of the blessing we desire through them.

God doesn’t empty, beloved. He fills. He swears on His own name that He will do it.

“I swear by myself, declares the Lord, that because you have done this and have not withheld ____________________________ I will surely bless you . . .” Genesis 22:16-17

Will you believe Him?