Monday, August 1, 2011

(day thirty-nine) Rooted or Rotten?

The past few days I've been thinking a lot about expectations. So, I looked it up. Expectations:
1. A strong belief that something will happen or be the case in the future. 2. A belief that someone will or should achieve something. Truth is, if our expectations are for the glory of the Lord that's great! And He wants to exceed all of them! Example: I'm expecting God's power to come through in this situation, or I'm expecting Him to work in this person's life, or I know my future is bright because I expect God to do great things in and through me. These expectations go hand in hand with praying into God's will and reading the truth we have available to us....being ROOTED in the source.

And i really hate to say this... but i truly believe any other expectations we could have for ourselves or others come from the desire to control. And that's no fact, it's rotten. Control is simply based in fear and lack of trust. Now, if you are working I'm sure there are expectations that come along with the job. Even so, if you don't live up to these... there may be some sort of penalty in store. So many times we place these on others and when they fail we are disappointed or angry. On the contrary, we also put expectations on us... and beat ourselves up if we can't fulfill them. Every day the world puts expectations on who we are supposed to be, how we are to act... we should be good in school, get a decent job, marry a nice man, have beautiful children, be part of a church, drive a good lookin car, etc etc. And if you are a christian.... there are even more on top of that! What happens when we mess up? Or when something doesn't quite work out like you, your parents, your spouse, or the world planned it to?

Here's the thing. YOU are not a failure. You are a child of the King. Why then are we STILL basing so much of our life on performance instead of love. We celebrate people when they live up to our expectations so they will keep doing "good", and we punish when people fail with guilt, shame or anger. Here's a thought even more frightening... what are we teaching in church? Is it God's love and our action of that love that draws people to a place to be healed and experience this love? Or is it our agenda that pushes them there so they will perform better and probably find it harder to get up off the floor next time because of a failure to "live up"?

I know i talk about God's love ALL THE TIME, and you may be getting weary of the repetitiveness.... but I just feel like it's weighing on my spirit and it's something God really wants to drive home. I definitely DO NOT have all the answers... but i do know that the answers ARE in the spirit within us and in the word of God. Again, His expectations of us are simple. BE HIS KID. When we know how to be His kid first... we know how to love others well no matter where they are in life. We also begin to understand how to pray in His will because we are spending so much time at His feet. This is when we REALLY start to see things happen! Another thing that happens is we begin to praise Him and declare His goodness CONSISTENTLY, no matter what is going on.... because we know He deserves it and that is the only thing that will get us to that place of heavenly perspective.

LIES are all around us. The enemy LOVES to manipulate and twist things. He loves to destroy relationships of all kind.... especially marriages. He loves to tear friends apart, family members and even churches. Ugh. Stupid devil. We've got to STOP laying around and believing them friends! We must recognize that the lie obviously contradicts what God says about us, take hold of it... trash it, and fill back up with His truth! This is why our battles are not of this earth (Eph 6). And our battles are won by praising Him and meditating on His word! Then we see the lie for what it is, and have the strength to stand firm and resist. So instead of believing the lies, wanting control, manipulating, placing unrealistic expectations, or performing... we must learn how to be a child and sit at His feet listening to how much He adores us and the world. I know that God is a Just God... but I still wonder why we focus so much on his judgment as a way to finagle people to the cross. It began with love and will end with love.

B90: (Job 31:17- Ps 8:9) I made it out of Job!! Shwew, thought i would never leave that place. It's kinda like going to a movie for me, I get so emotionally attached to the characters that I actually feel what they are going through. A blessing and a curse I suppose. Our time in Job's story today was kicked off by our good friend Elihu. I seriously love this kid. Basically he says... I'm young, i've patiently and respectively waited my turn, now i'm ready to speak the truth. Here it goes. In Ch. 32: 8 & 9 Elihu tells Job and his "wise friends" that the answer is not found in experience or earthly wisdom, "but it is the spirit IN man, the breath of the Almighty, that makes him understand." How often do we rely on what the world is telling us, rather than what God says... especially in the dark place. When we don't see or feel Him then we rely on the word... and as good friends we speak OUT the lies and speak IN the truth! Amen?

In Ch. 34 Elihu is calling out the lies and putting them to shame with God's truth! I love this Chapter. He's literally cutting the enemy in half with the sword, the truth of who God is. Once Elihu brings light to the REAL issue going on, it's a lot easier to see that in the midst of darkness satan took advantage of Job's perplexing turmoil with sneaky little lies. Then we can follow the rabbit trail as Job then sets false expectations for God as He tries to manipulate himself out of the situation He's currently in. Most of us can recall a time in our life when this has happened. And we all know how difficult it is to STAND and trust in this place. And in Job's defense, he had it haaaaaaard. But I truly believe this is one of the many reasons we have the story of Job: we have or will be in the dark place at this point, and all God expects of us is to be his kid by trusting Him as our Father and praising Him in the dark.

One of the coolest moments of my life is when my outreach team drove deep into the jungles of Malaysia to encourage some men who live in these underground hut things. They don't have ANYTHING... even their wives and children are in another country. These men are being hunted all day long by viper snakes, wild boars, and other wild animals. Not to mention the government, who wants them out or dead. When we got there it was so dark and they began to lead us deeper into the jungle to another little hut. When we got there, they broke out the guitars and started singing. I've never seen a group of men, who have absolutely nothing, worship God with such passion. All of this occurred in the black of night. This was THE most amazing love exchange with God that I've ever experienced. THIS is what awaits us when at our very worst, dry, weary, dark place... God shows up in a majestic powerful way. All we do is praise.

Then the Lord says..."Where is the way to the dwelling of light, and where is the place of darkness, that you may take it to its territory and that you may discern the paths to its home?"
(Ch. 38:19 & 20) After the Lord speaks, Job takes his beautiful mess and confesses and repents to the Lord. Then the Lord restores to Job much more than he had in the beginning.

"Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers." ( Psalm 1: 1-3)
Just remember that even trees who are rooted to the source of their life go through dry and dark seasons. We must trust that we are connected to the source during those times, that He hasn't left us, to keep aligning ourselves with the truth, and to praise Him with our branches high! Pretty soon we'll return to basking in the sun bearing FRESH tasty fruit for all to feast on. And the glory will be all His. Amen!

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