Presence of affliction does not mean the absence of favor

TD Jakes posed the question, can God trust you with the trouble?

Mary, blessed and highly favored, pregnant out of wedlock, the wedding she envisioned… gone, rode on the back of a donkey (in labor), to give birth to a child in a barn, to flee with her husband because there were those who sought to kill her child,  to endure the mocking of the judgmental people because her child was not her husbands, to endure all of this… to watch her son be crucified… and she was favored?

If you were to endure this… would you still believe you are blessed and highly favored?

Thanks be to God, His ways are higher than our ways. Praise Him He is not hindered by our narrow mindedness.

You can have favor, but that does not mean you wont have fear.

You can have favor, but that does not mean you will not face tribulations and frustrations.

You can have visitation from an angel and still ride on a donkey. That which you have received can be of God and you may still be surrounded by the demonic. Your job is to survive it all.  -TD Jakes

Thank You, Jesus. It is not our holiness, it is Yours. Help us to be consistent even when we are confused. Help us to trust you even when all hell is coming against us. Birth in us that which you have planted in us. Strengthen us to be guardians to the vision you have given us. There may be a bounty on the head of our calling, but You alone, O’ Lord, are faithful and true. Let Your will be done and may You find us trustworthy to rest in You even when we are running and fighting. Thank You, Lord, when You trust us with Your purpose, You are trusting us with the trouble. Help us to remain steadfast.

Hidden Treasures

Treasure hunters will go to great lengths to unearth a treasure. Some may travel the far corners of the world to find the precious gem, risk life and limb, sacrifice rest and self, to excavate what they believe to be of great worth.

What may look like nothing to an untrained eye, is sheer beauty to the one who knows its worth.

The treasure seeker will dig through earth, rocks, sand, and soil, to lay hold of the prize. When they have unearthed it, they carefully lift it with their hands, as to not damage it. Upon first sight, it is covered in dirt, caked with years of debris. But with delicate hands, they will clean it, polish it, restore it back to it’s original beauty, and preserve it.

Why do treasure hunters do this? Because they recognize the value. Some treasures are worth far more value than most are willing to pay.

The kingdom of heaven is like something precious buried in a field, which a man found and hid again; then in his joy he goes and sells all he has and buys that field. Matthew 13:44

God did this. He is the greatest treasure hunter. He placed such value on each of us, He was willing to go through great lengths to find us, unearth us, and bring us back to our natural beauty. He sent His Son to take such a beating for us, to go into the earth for three days, to bring us up from the grasp of the thief, to restore us, reconcile us, and bring us back to our created purpose.

Even when we were caked in the soil of the world, drowning in our sins, wrapped in the bondage of our hurts, rejected and abandoned as unworthy, He saw us and He restored us. He looked beyond the outward, He looked into our hearts and He placed His strong gentle hands on us and He declared… this one is Mine.

Then He placed us on display. Paraded us past the enemy and held the banner of Love over us.

The greatest commandment is to love the Lord your God out of and with your whole heart and out of and with all your soul (your life) and out of and with all your mind (with your faculty of thought and your moral understanding) and out of and with all your strength. This is the first and principal commandment. The second is like it and is this, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these. Mark 12:30-31

Who is our neighbor? The person who has need, the poor one, the broken one, the sick one, the one who can never repay…

How about those who are closest to us? Those we know so well, we know their imperfections, their quirks, their hang-ups, the one who has hurt us? What about them?

I submit to you, one of the main causes for break-ups, divorce, and division is we fail to see beyond the outward to look at the heart. For if we truly desired to be like Christ, we would delicately unearth the heart, speak words of compassion, create a safe environment, and allow God to use us to bring healing to the wounded hearts. We just might find a treasure of great worth, if we truly followed the words of Mark 12:30-31.

We are all broken vessels, but in the hands of God, we will shine with such brilliance hell will be blinded, relationship’s restored, ministries birthed, and the Glory of the Lord would rest on us and bring great revival, healing, deliverance, and salvation to many.

Be a minister He can use. With the same grace given to you, give to others. For inside each of us is something far more valuable than money can buy. Only through love can a heart shine.

The Cost of Yes

There is a cost to yes.

When we found love, we say we are blessed. When our wallets are padded, we say we are blessed. When doors open, we say we are favored.  When our friends are at peace with us and our enemies are silent, we say we have His peace. When we throw up our minute prayer and He answers, we say He hears us. When everything is as it should be we feel His presence and we declare His glory with our lips.

But, what about when love leaves us and we are broken? What if the wallet is slim and the bills are piling up and the car just broke down? What if our friends turn on us and our enemies mock us? What if we cannot even find the strength to throw up a prayer? What if everything is not as we feel it should be?

Will we still say we are blessed and favored? Is He still God even then?

So many times I have repeated the words of Jesus, “If the world hates you, know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you belonged to the world, the world would treat you with affection and would love you as its own. But because you are not of the world [no longer one with it], but I have chosen (selected) you out of the world, the world hates (detests) you.” John 15

What if the furnace you are in is not because the world hates you? What if He placed you in the furnace? Will you still love Him? Will you trust Him?

Can you stand in the heat of the furnace and still believe He will “rescue you”, even when you feel the flames and you cannot feel Him beside you? What if His rescue doesn’t come immediately?

The road to Golgotha is paved in blood, sweat, and tears. The cross is heavy. Can you carry your cross? Will you crumble under the weight of it?

In your brokenness can you pray, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass away from Me; nevertheless, not what I will [not what I desire], but as You will and desire.” Matthew 26:39

Holiness does not equate happiness. Joy is not always without tears. Oh, but can you believe and cling to the peace that will pass all of your understanding and not trust your eyes, but walk by faith, one step at a time?

When you say yes to God, you are saying yes to His purpose, His will. You are trusting Him to take you from here to there and He is the map maker. You will not always understand, but can you still say yes even when…?

He will not leave you where you are or in the condition you are in. No! He will take you and mold you into the purpose He has called you to be from the foundation of the earth.

It is in the fire, where all that is not of Him, will be burned away. Stay there, do not fight it, trust Him. You will come forth as gold. You are more precious to Him than diamonds, and diamonds do not become diamonds without the pressure.

Say yes! Give Him your dreams and your hopes.

Say yes! Even when all others forsake you.

Say yes! Even if you have to walk alone.

Say yes! Even when your pillow is wet from your tears.

Say yes! Even when you have been betrayed by the one you loved.

Say yes! Even when the bills are piling up.

Here is the test, can you say yes without compromise? Can He trust you?

Much is given to a yes and much is required. Beloved, be broken, let His work be completed.  He is with you in the flames and He carries the soothing healing balm that will refresh you, deliver you, and complete you. Surrender to Him and there will be no lack, no scars…

When you cry out, “Why, Lord, why?!” Know the answer is in the transformation, you are being conformed into His image, because when this has passed, people will no longer see you, they will see Him. And isn’t that what you want? Isn’t that what you said yes to?

He hasn’t left you. He knows exactly where you are. There is reason in the suffering. Wipe off your face, shake the dust off your shoes, put on the cologne, bath yourself in oil, and say…

Though You slay me, I will trust You Lord!”

To Him be the glory!