What happens when God tells you to do something and you don’t? Well, it varies, but here’s one story.
He told me to write a book years ago, and I started…then dropped it. Years later, He told me to get back on it and I did…and later dropped it. A few months ago, He told me to get back on it again, and I started planning, but… yeah.
I’ve been faithfully back at it, seriously at it, for several weeks now and I’m excited about both how it’s changed from when God first told me to do it and the progress I’m making as I work. I’m also excited by how clearly my story illustrates His mercy. He could have given up on me, but He didn’t. He kept coming back and saying, “Tammy, I gave you a job to do. Now let’s get going.”
And there’s even more to His mercy in my story. When I started, years ago, I thought I knew what it would look like, and it was fairly simple. Then God added more to the plan. When I picked it up recently, I knew I’d be working on the “more,” but then He added even more. Why? He knows me!
When faced with what feels like a huge task, I can get overwhelmed. God knows this, so He broke the book down into manageable phases. What might have had me throwing my hands up in defeat if I’d seen the whole vision up front, ended up being an exciting journey because I wasn’t worrying about the next phase while working on the current one.
God knows everything we will need to become who He wants us to be, and He’s merciful and gracious enough to work with our weaknesses.
I did not expect to have a part two, but you can never predict God.
The women of our church have a dedicated worship hour every month. This is the service I referred to in my earlier post, “When We Worship.” God always meets me there. He talks to me. He gives me visions. He encourages me… Tonight was different. Tonight He called me.
I used to write, used to have my own publishing company that produced ebooks for homeschoolers, used to edit a large homeschool magazine. God gave me those gifts and I used them in that homeschooling season. Then I…laid them down. Other than the occasional blog post and the writing I do for work, I’ve done almost nothing with my gift of words for ten years.
Tonight that changes. Tonight, during worship, God told me that it’s time to pick that gift back up and return it to Him. Interestingly enough (though it’s not really a surprise), two things happened this weekend that led me directly into this conversation with Him. “Do you remember when you said…?” He asked. Yes. Yes I did.
So why am I sharing this? Two reasons.
1. The lesser reason: Accountability. The more people I tell, the more likely I am to follow through. Because when God calls you to go out on a limb it is easy to find excuses not to. I’ve done that very thing many times in the past. This time MUST be different.
2. The big reason: This is a reminder that you never know what will happen when you set aside time to wholeheartedly worship Him. He will meet with you. He may give you reassurance, peace, visions…or an assignment. When it’s the latter, remember one particularly vital point: Obedience is also worship.
I have a beautiful cross that I never take off. It is my constant reminder of everything Jesus has done in my life.
It is also a slap in the devil’s face.
Think about it. The cross was the most ghastly, abhorrent, abominable thing imaginable. If you were hung on a cross, you were a despicable human being worthy of the greatest contempt.
Cross = BAD
Now we see the cross as a beautiful thing. Even many who don’t believe in the saving work of Jesus Christ often wear it as decoration because it is beautiful. Imagine what a headache that constant reminder must give the devil.
But this is exactly what Jesus does. While He lived, He specialized in making bad things beautiful. Whether He was healing lepers, delivering a woman from being stoned, returning dead children to their parents…
And He does the same today. It makes no difference to Him that you’ve been bad. He doesn’t care what you’ve done. He cares about you letting Him do what only He can do – turning your life from bad to beautiful.
Imagine sitting down in Heaven between God and Jesus. I did; it happened in a vision a few months ago. I was at a worship service with a group of women, loving on Him, when God told me to sit down.
God opened my spiritual eyes, and it truly was as if I were sitting down between Him and Jesus. It would sound sacrilegious to say it if it weren’t for Ephesians 2:6, but I assure you it happened; and as we sat there God had me look out in front of us. When I did, I saw an enormous gathering of people worshiping Him. There seemed no end to the crowd.
I asked Him, “Who are these people?” and He answered, “This is everyone who is worshipping Me right now.” What God showed me in that vision is that when we truly worship Him, whether it be in a church service, an official worship service, or in our own prayer closets or kitchens, we enter directly into the throne room of God. I’ve read about it, and I know the scriptures that talk about coming boldly before the throne of grace, but still… the whole idea floors me!
Not only that, but when we do this, when we bring wholehearted worship to the King, we come into unity with untold numbers of other people. We know that where there is unity a blessing is commanded, and this means that even if you are alone in your bedroom while you are worshiping God you are in unity with every other worshiper in that moment – and a blessing is commanded in that unity.
In 1 Chronicles 6 we are reminded of the tribes Gershon, Kohath, and Merari. They were responsible for carrying the various parts of the Tabernacle from place to place.
Then Solomon built the Temple. So was God done with them, these faithful men who had carried the house of God through the desert and into Canaan? No. Absolutely not.
The change began in 1 Chronicles 6:31 when David assigned men from these three tribes to lead the music at the Tabernacle. Far from being finished with them, God was drawing them closer to Him and truly giving them even more responsibility-that of leading worshippers into His presence.
We could learn from these tribes. Sometimes we go through seasons when we think God is done with us, that there is nothing left in us that He can use. When we think that, we’re wrong.
Farmers today, when they’re ready to plant, either place an order online or dash down to the store, but it wasn’t always that way.
In previous generations, a man bought seed to plant if he had to, but most farmers kept back seed from their own harvests and held it for the next season’s crops. This is where the phrase “Don’t eat your seed” comes from. If you ate your seed wheat, you had nothing to plant when the time came.
In a beautiful cycle of sowing and reaping, it was the harvest that provided the seed.
This law of sowing and reaping still works today. Give (plant seed), get a harvest, give (after returning the tithe of course), receive another harvest, give…
I’ve seen this process so much in my life, but especially in our church’s annual auction. This auction helps fund a variety of missions, outreaches, and assistance projects, and it holds my heart. That first year I had little I could give, but I gave it, and every year since God has enabled me to give even more, to raise even more funds.
Spiritually speaking, my harvest from the seed I sow one year provides seed for me to sow the following year. It’s a miraculous and beautiful thing, and I celebrate it just as joyously as any farmer celebrates successfully getting his fields planted and harvested on time.
“The veil.” It wasn’t a simple thing like the sheer piece of fabric worn by a bride. This 60’ high, 4” thick curtain was massive, heavy, and effective. It separated man from God and God from man in a visible way just as completely as sin separated them spiritually. Yet it was torn, split down the middle when Jesus completed His work on the cross.
Only God could have torn it, and He did. In that action, He returned to us the right to enter into His presence. He began the process of drawing us ever closer to Him. It’s what He wants, what He wanted in the garden.
And then what happened? Man started trying to repair that veil. Think about how much work would have gone into repairing a FOUR INCH THICK piece of fabric.
But man is still trying to “repair” that veil today, drawing together threads made of rules, regulations, traditions, and even fears designed to separate man from God just as surely as the Temple veil separated them that morning before Jesus shouted, “It is finished!”
Have you ever really thought about Jesus, specifically about His emotional state, in Matthew 14:13-21?
He’d just learned that John the Baptist, His relative, the first one to recognize Jesus (in his mother’s womb), the one who prepared the way for Him, the one who baptized Him and announced to the people that He was The One they’d been waiting for, had been murdered, beheaded. Jesus was divine, but He was also human, and His human heart had to be torn.
So He set out to go to the desert to be alone. To mourn, perhaps? To talk to His heavenly Father about it? Who knows? But the very fact that He went shows that He had a need. However…
The people followed Him, and He chose their needs over His own. Honestly, He had every right to take some time off, to receive comfort for a while. But that’s not what happened.