Happy New Year!
I just came back from the mother of all watch night services held in Charlotte, North Carolina. Beginning on New Years Eve, I spent three spirit-filled days in corporate praise and worship. It was soul-stirring, spirit uplifting and birthed a confidence and expectation for 2016. The term used throughout the weekend was Sweet 16. God was going to do sweet things for those who call Him Lord.
But my high seemed short lived. When I returned, I learned that my beloved sister-cousin was in the hospital with pneumonia; my visa card had been hacked…for a third time, and I received a less than favorable court ruling. And this is only the first week of the New Year. What the What! This doesn’t feel so “sweet”.
At that moment, I’m feeling like Moses after his mountaintop experience. After having spent time in the presence of the Lord, basking in His glory, I left North Carolina reinvigorated and ready to share with all who would listen how good He is, how faithful He is and what He’s ready to do for those who love Him– only to find that all hell is breaking loose.
So, what did I do? I tried to climb back up the mountaintop. I wanted to hide in the cleft of His arm. I tried to roll up in a ball and hide. In the lowness that held me, I was unable to be present, to be emotionally available to my children; An experience that can be disconcerting to children. Especially, my babies with whom I consider highly intuitive and spiritually discerning.
Last night, in a moment of awareness, I tried to engage my kiddos. Ron Anthony, eager to be “received” by me, asked me if I was feeling better. I could not answer. Rather, I melted under the weight of the unresolved issues of 2015 and the ones that found me in 2016. Seconds later, he tapped me on the shoulder. He held his cellphone out towards me and said, “Mommy, let’s read something. This will help.” On his phone was the Bible app. My baby took me to the Word. I must be doing *something* right.
We read two chapters in the Book of Psalm. As I was reading, I had another moment of awareness. My babies are watching me. They are learning about this God with whom I’m always talking about by watching me- what I say, what I do, how I handle stress, adversity and setbacks. They are watching. Is He really the strong, faithful God as I have presented to them? Do I respond to challenges with a trusting heart for this so-called trustworthy God? By watching me, they’re hearts are processing everything I’ve preached against everything I do.
As I lay in the dark, the Spirit of the Lord whispered in my heart, “Am I less praise worthy because of these events?”
Tearfully, “Oh no, Lord, always worthy of the praise.”
“Am I less God because you don’t understand?”
“Never that Holy Spirit. Never that.”
Right there in the dark I pushed myself into worship. No choir. No CD. No playlist. Just me- pressing my soul into submission. As I worshipped, a peace began to fill the room. I could feel the physical weight of the depression, oppression lift.
Worship makes room for God to be God.
An old song simply titled, Yes Lord, dropped in my spirit. It was also the first thing on my heart when I awoke this morning.
“Yes, Lord. Yes, Lord. From the bottom of my heart- to depths of my soul- Yes, Lord. Completely yes. My soul says yes.”
What am I saying yes to?
Yes, You are Lord of my life.
Yes, Your throne rests on my heart.
Yes, You are my judge
Yes, I know that these circumstances do not change who You are
Yes, I know that what appears as a “no” is actually Your “yes” to something better
Yes, I trust You– even when I don’t understand
Yes, I trust You– even when I can’t stand. Yes, Lord. My soul says yes.
When I “came to myself” (like the prodigal son), I was reminded of Jesus’ warning in Mark 4:
…where the word is sown; when they hear, Satan immediately comes and takes away the word which is sown in them. And these in like manner are the ones sown upon rocky ground, who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with joy; and they have no root in themselves, but endure for a while; then, when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately they fall away.
Tribulations and persecutions will arise on account of the word. I received a good, good word for 2016, and I’m not giving it back. Enter stage left Tribulation and Persecution. But I will remain rooted in the Lord. I will not fall away. Every promise He made me, every word He gave me is on the other side of tribulation and persecution. Every tribulation and act of persecution is an opportunity for God to show Himself strong on my behalf. He is trustworthy.
Jesus said that Satan *immediately* comes to snatch the word from us. In 2016, we have to fight for the word spoken into our lives. We have to fight for the promises He’s made. Like Jacob, we have to grab hold of, wrestle to the ground every blessing we want to see come to pass.
From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven has suffered violence, and the violent take it by force. Matthew 11:12 ESV
We need to get violent in 2016. Get violent for your word. Get violent for your family. Get violent for your children. Get violent for your marriage. Get violent for your business. Get violent for your dreams, for your destiny. Take it by force! Fight for your word. Fight for His promises.
I pray that 2016 is indeed a happy, blessed year for you. I pray that every encounter, every experience push you into your destiny.
With Love and Expectation!