Uzziah and Pride

This morning I read in 2 Chronicles. The following verses especially caught my attention: 26:3-5 Uzziah was sixteen years old when he began to reign, and he reigned fifty-two years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Jecoliah of Jerusalem. And he did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, according to all that his father Amaziah had done. He set himself to seek God in the days of Zechariah, who instructed him in the fear of God, and as long as he sought the Lord, God made him prosper (ESV). Uzziah started off great. But his story didn’t end well. It comes down to verse 5 in 2 Chronicles 26 when it says, “and as long as he sought the Lord, God made him prosper.” And as long as. Those are the key words. At some point Uzziah no longer was. 2 Chronicles 26:16 But when he was strong, he grew proud, to his destruction. For he was unfaithful to the Lord his God and entered the temple of the Lord to burn incense on the altar of incense (ESV).

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Abraham Lincoln is credited with a great quote: if you want to test a man’s character, give him power. I’ve said this before and it’s worth repeating. Talent or gifting means nothing without character. If a person isn’t doing something with right motives then it doesn’t please God. If it doesn’t please Elohim, it’s worthless. I have seen many with a certain call or ability end up in a place of influence in ministry. The problem is, without proper spiritual fruit, it’s all hypocrisy.

No living waters are produced from their ministry efforts. Just puffed up accomplishments to brag about. It’s like that person (we all know one) that tells you their accolades when you ask how they’re doing. Ever felt like saying, “I’m asking about you not a list of how awesome you are.” When people do that they miss something important. John 15:5 I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing (ESV). They think they are amazing apart from Him. They’re not.

Today, I want to encourage those who are discouraged with waiting on God’s timing. We all know somebody who appeared to not pay their dues and received much success young. There are those who hear the specific call of God on their lives and jump right into it full force. My husband went to Bible college with a man who now has a very successful ministry with millions of followers. I won’t share the name of the college or the man as I’m not out to slam him. He has achieved fame, money, and a large platform while he was quite young. However, his personal life has been dysfunctional and his ministry, very sadly, leads many astray. It promotes a charismatic mystical Holy Spirit experience that isn’t holy nor from the Ruach (Spirit). At first, my husband vented to me on how that guy seems to get promotion and he is struggling. Let me tell you clearly. That man is not to be envied. He has much to answer for. And so far, it’s not good.

Don’t worry about someone else’s calling or how their life looks. Only God knows their heart. Worry about you. Pride will destroy you. Just look at Uzziah. Seek brokenness daily. It is a gift. It keeps you in intimacy and right relationship with your Maker. Nothing is better than to be in favor with the Creator. Truly. The point is to finish well. May we hear, “Well done.”

Proverbs 16:18 ESV Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.

Matthew 23:12 ESV Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.
James 4:6b ESV Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”

One Night Stand

When I turned 21, shortly before moving up to Minnesota, I went on a blind date. My roommate told me about this guy she briefly dated and thought was nice. By the way she spoke, I got the impression he was a pretty decent man. She professed to be a Christian too so I figured he’d be a person of faith to some degree. Oh my, I was wrong. I was lonely, hurting, and trying to find where I fit in life. I was quite young in my faith and needed a lot of healing (still do some). I’ve come to discover that wounded people usually don’t consistently walk in wisdom. Pain causes a person to isolate, wall up, and make rash decisions to self preserve. And that’s what I did. I floated between keeping someone at arm’s length and pulling close too quick. It was a terrible emotional disaster. This man was nearly a one night stand.

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I met this guy at a bar restaurant. The date at some point ended up at his place. And he wanted a more than just company. I shouldn’t have went. I’m fortunate he took no for an answer. But let me tell you, I nearly said yes. My aching desire for love (love isn’t sex folks but many believe that lie) nearly led to a terrible mistake. And sin. Fornication. What actually caused me to say no was the guy didn’t have birth control. The fear of diseases and pregnancy was a great motivator to abstain. As I was praying earlier I felt led to share this personal story. I look back on it now wondering why when I realized what he was about I didn’t initially say no. Why? I was led by my wounds, not the Ruach (Spirit). Pain we are unwilling to confront will cause havoc in our lives. The hole I had in my soul needed Yeshua (Jesus), not a fling.

I am speaking right now to those who desire love and acceptance so bad you’ve been compromising. If the wages of sin were paid immediately then no one would partake in it. The appeal is often they’re not. Compromise won’t bring peace. Consider James 1:15 Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death (ESV). My story could have ended in rape, pregnancy out of wedlock (which would have ruined my move here to attend Bible college), some kind of disease or a broken heart. I had met other women afterwards who dated him. He was very much a “hello, goodbye” kind of person. He had many notches on his belt.

Not only does sin have physical consequences, but it also has spiritual ones too. Your soul isn’t worth playing with fire. God does know what’s best. Trust Him. It is far better to be alone than to be with the wrong person. Love yourself enough to not give out free samples. The right person, a godly spouse, will buy you at full price.

You are worth more than rubies.

Proverbs 31:10 ESV An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels.
1 Corinthians 6:9-10 ESV Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.

Hebrews 10:23 ESV Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.

Last Night and Today

This blog is emotion from my heart to yours today.

Many years ago I got an opportunity to meet Amy Grant. Her album The Collection was the first Christian music I owned. The opportunity came around for me to meet her again, so I did at a local church, followed by a concert of hymns and songs about life. A lot of life has happened since then. I am very frugal when it comes to spending money to do anything for myself. I bought the ticket ahead of time and went.

The event headlined Amy Grant and Sally Lloyd-Jones who wrote The Jesus Storyteller Bible that I bought for my youngest when he was just a baby. When I got to meet Amy I mentioned that my mother listened to her hymns albums towards the end of her life. It seemed to help her process faith a little bit. She said, “Thank you. You know, I’ve been thinking about my mother all day too. It sticks with you.” Her mother passed I believe six years ago. The reference was Mother’s Day being difficult. It was a nice event and I’m glad that I went. I always love hearing “El Shaddai”. For some reason though, the thought hit me. My mother is gone and my dad has been holding on by a thread for the last few years. When he passes, in essence, I will be an orphan. That thought just totally struck me. For whatever reason, I felt so lost in that moment.

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The lighting was awful for the photo but it was a nice experience. 😊

Mother’s Day and June, the anniversary of my mom’s death, are what I call “high emotional trigger” times for me. In the past I’d just basically cry my way through. For the past couple of years, it’s been a time of reflection. I get quieter and inwardly spiritually process. Not that I need one, but these seasons are reminders of our mortality and the brevity of life. I think about why I’m here (according to the Bible), if I’m living out that purpose well (love God, love people), and what legacy I’m leaving to my children (if YHVH tarries). I don’t know about you but when I really search for those answers I find I haven’t been all I should be or could be. And I mean in the character sense, not just works. And I really want to.

For those of you who dread days like this because of a loss or unfulfilled longing (infertility), much love to you. I’ve never been one to really celebrate these types of holidays. I’ve seen a few Facebook memes circulating on the pagan roots of Mother’s Day. The founder of it, Anna Marie Jarvis, did not do so for that reason. Nonetheless, she died childless in regret she ever pushed to institute this day. Every day we should honor our mothers, fathers, and God. But many don’t.

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I want to leave you with this thought. This is what I realized that really struck me. We are all at first orphans. All of us, in our sin, were separated from Abba (God the Father). It is Yeshua (Jesus) that, through the cross, bridged the gap between sinful humanity and a holy God. As I was driving home last night I was singing in the car, “Then sings my soul, my savior God to thee. How great thou art, how great thou art.” Because, I am not an orphan anymore. Not spiritually. And I never will be. For those who feel lost or lonely, may you never forget that. Life with God means we are never alone and we have purpose.

Always.

Galatians 4:6-7 ESV And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.

Ephesians 2:1-10 ESV And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.

But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

Phonetically Living

I had heard recently that the singer, Celine Dion, sang phonetically in English in the beginning of her mainstream career. She is from Québec, Canada and her native language is French. That is what she first started singing in. When her first radio hit in English was released, she didn’t know the language well. Celine could pronounce the English words pretty well, but didn’t understand fully what she was communicating. I was having a conversation with someone yesterday that caused me to wonder how that example translates into spiritual lives.

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When we first come to know the Father through Yeshua (Jesus), we have little to no knowledge of Him and His nature. As we start reading the Word, perhaps attend a church, listen to teaching and worship songs we start to gain a vocabulary. I like to call this “christianese”. The lingo gets nailed. Folks will learn to say phrases like, “washed in the blood, love on them, lifting in prayer, feeling led, spiritually/prophetically soaking, being saved” and feel like they’ve arrived. Or so they thought. Then comes Bible college, and some start leaving churches to search for even deeper truth. The Hebrew Roots Movement and Torah Observant camps come into play. After a few Google searches, some Facebook memes, and YouTube videos some are ready to teach the world the “correct” Hebrew names and words. Now calendars come into play. There’s some that are understandable and legitimate and others that are unique and definitely questionable. People start fighting over doctrine, pagan origins, name spelling and pronunciation, history, conspiracy theories etc. This is what I call “phonetically living”. Phonetics is basically the study of pronunciation. Some learn the right lingo, the impressive “proper” actions to appear mature. And these ones will be the first to point out those “less advanced” or “off”. But, their lifestyle has little to no spiritual fruit. No love. No patience. No kindness. No peace. Just no maturity. They are fat babies with no true foundation.

My intent on writing this is for each of us, myself included, to get off our soap box for a minute and get prostrate before our Maker. Are we growing? Are we really allowing the Ruach (Spirit) to refine us? Does our lives reflect more maturity or a cycle of “better then worse”? If I have to err, I’d prefer to do so on the side of love and mercy. The ones who put themselves in a position to speak into others’ lives (including myself) must remember this in James 3:1 Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness (ESV).

Remember, it starts with us and Abba. If that relationship isn’t right, nothing else will be. Motive is everything.

Psalm 51:10-13 ESV Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit. Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will return to you.

Galatians 5:19-23 ESV Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.