the kneeling heart - soaking.net newsletter

"May the Lord direct your hearts into God's love and Christ's perseverance." 2Thess.3:5
SEPTEMBER 9, 2009
[to better view this newsletter, click here]
   ACCESSING GOD: A LIVING EXCHANGE
   "POWER TO CHANGE"

I "desperately" wanted this message to bring hope to anyone struggling with experiencing God's favor, or closeness. It is my prayer that in some way, it would be a fresh cup of cold water for the thirsty... That is why I may be revising a few times what I have written, so that in the delivery, the core points for edification and encouragement may not be lost.

If you were to come back and read it in a week, you may find some things have been changed, been rewritten in order to better frame my thoughts. That's because this message is freshly being made alive in me, still being formed, and it hopefully will continue to change me as I continue to walk out its manisfestations and implications as best I can. Focusing on God's kindness and eagerness to spend time with me and share my life...
-------

It may sound a bit extreme at first, but the truth is: God will not change us even if we pray millions of hours and plead with Him to "have His way with us." That is to say, He will not force change on us, He will not scream at us like an army Sargent, but He will, however, definitely walk with us through life's circumstances and help us deal with gradual revelations of what we are made of, and show us what He is made of. God is a Father, a Teacher, He does not stand looking down on earth with a look of contempt on His face, but He loves to answer prayers that ask Him for wisdom, or courage to forgive.

He does not Lord it over us in judgment or condemnation, but takes time to walk with us at our pace, in a loving relationship, from One who KNOWS to one who grows. That is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus-Christ. That is the living love that permeates the Trinity as they share with one another the realities of our lives and find ways to intervene without breaking any of God's principles regarding freedom of choice. Free to choose, free to love. That is our gift in Him.

"I FEEL SO UNWORTHY ..."

Shame is a distortion of acceptance. It is a by-product of sin for sure, and we inherit it at birth as humans. Spontaneously we have been addicted to its emotional charge from a very young age, mislead as to its meaning: "Is this emotion what I should feel because I did something bad?" We receive correction but can't seem to have the power to change except to ensure that we are not rejected or abandoned. We negotiate peace. And we learn fast what works, sadly, this "gift" of discernment will come back to haunt us later.

When sin first manifest itself, shame grips Adam and Eve. They are overwhelmed with fear and shame, not because of a knowledge of having disobeyed God, but as a by-product of sin. "Their eyes are opened..." but to what? To self-consciousness, to shame.

They hide from God, distancing themselves from the confusion that seems to rear its head when God comes closer to them. Ensues denial of responsability and blame-shifting all the way to God.

He already covered their sin, replacing their fig leaves coverings with sheepskins. Why? Beyond the prophetic interpretation pointing to Christ's sacrifice, I believe that it also was God saying to them that even their most clever plans could never cover their nakedness. He's the One Who's in charge of that, and He has no qualms doing it, again, looking on them with love and compassion.

Thankfully, God bans them from the Garden, away from the Tree of Life, not as a punishment, but because He didn't want them to be stuck with this sinful nature eternally, and us with them. But now, there is hope, there is a way for us to come back to Plan A: relationship with God.

Even Peter, on his first evangelistic sermon, didn't rain condemnation on the listeners, but basically stated that they, the Jews, had missed it, that Christ is the Messiah they longed for during centuries: Emmanuel, God with us. But now, God was fulfilling His promise that He would pour out His Spirit on ALL flesh, and that our sons and daughters would prophesy (speak His heart and mind) and our old men see visions. And Peter added this marvelous crown over all he had already shared: "The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call." How much more inclusive can God be?

"SHAME IS THE POWER OF ISOLATION AND UNBELIEF

I think that if we were less occupied with sin and more focused on the damages of shame in our ability to relate to ourselves, others and God, we may be empowered to allow God to come closer to us, and we may learn to live more strongly out of the reality of God's infinite Grace rather than that of the delusional and misleading power of shame.

As we are taught in the Word and through all the proper teachings we receive, God took care of dealing with the power of sin, so we wouldn't be enslaved to sinful behavior anymore. It took me close to 50 years to finally draw a line in the sand of my surrender to sin and its justification, realising how many people I was hurting in the process, and how it kept shame very well alive, afraid of this contradictory power in me, ripping me apart and replaying the same scenario as my father Adam did: I would hide and poorly cover myself. Even as a believer.

"ARE YOU HEARING VOICES?"

Yet, God had already intervened in History to do something that would communicate clearly to me that He wasn't angry at me, poor blind, ignorant and terrorized soul, He had taken care of everything needed to open the way, level the mountains and fill out the valleys in my being, making way for the Lord to touch me again. Like a horse whisperer, He had waited and tamed me from a distance, doing everything He could not to frighten me. If I had simply listened to the multitudes of messages in church and on TV, I would have concluded, as I did, that God was angry at me (I know many people who don't understand why there is so much yelling from the pulpit week after week...), confirming what shame had already deeply planted in me... but I kept thinking, there must be SOMETHING I should do. Nope. Nothing. At least, not something that would resolve the very thing I was struggling with: shame.

It's by seeing more and more clearly that He had done everything, so that everything I needed to know was that I could come home now. A celebration was awaiting me, not a scolding, not the cold agenda of a worker, but the warm embrace of a Father. This started a deep process of change in me that continues and will continue until our earthly realm will fade into eternity's. I became hungry for someone to articulate with simplicity the message of love coming from God, and the call to come back home. Not be a great minister or artist, not to be a great anything, except greatly loved.

As we focus on what shame produces in us in terms of relationships, it will start receeding before the untamable and obstinate waves of God's truth. Shame is a reflex that shuts us down to others, favoring isolation and looping emotional misery. What we needed, God nailed it: freedom from shame, so that we could let Him come close to us, in us, inviting Him to be involved in our life, getting to really know Him. Our conscience is cleansed as we put our faith in the reality of Christ's death and resurrection.

We learn to live in a new way, discovering our identity, our foundamental value, in the eyes of God, Who is love. And we BELIEVE this truth. That's all we have to do. The rest is a journey with Him. Who needs to brag to the Lord (and others) about miracles and prophecies, about riches and glorious endeavors, even raising the dead? Answer: those who haven't let themselves be known by Jesus. Because something in them insisted they should not trust that the Gospel is so simple, something in them relied on the power of manipulation of others or circumstances, something that had never been touched by the revelation of their complete state of lostness without faith in Christ, and surrender to the journey of learning from God Himself.

That something in us is the child that decided, facing horrible situations, to take care of himself, of herself, not to trust.

"WE CALL HIM FATHER, BECAUSE HE IS"

Our Father sees and rewards our secret lives with Him. When we act out of love and not only out of need. When we walk humbly and live a life of grace and mercy. We need to silence the noise and rumours of our contemporary churches and ministries with their distractions and massive money appeals, and favor the quiet place of conversation with God. We need to develop our own prayers, our own history with Him, and not pursue empty dreams based on empty promises or "the message of the week." We have to be lead by thirst. By hunger. By desperation. We have to seek.

And we will find. Because God says so. Of ourselves, we can do nothing. He also said that. So why do we keep thinking there is something more we should be doing? Isn't not knowing what it is driving us mad?

Jesus said it so beautifully, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."

We should read this again and again and perceive God's heart Who, through Christ, reconciled the world with Himself. Not to create a religion, but a family. We have no need of being more than we ought to be or are able to sustain without falling into arrogance. We only need to come as we are, with our burdens and fatigue, and learn from Jesus, "because," He says, "because..." "learn from me because..." "because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your soul."

That is an invitation from a God Who wants to get personal with us, not through religious activities or traditional convenances, but through our own life. Our own daily life is the place this new life starts with God. Right here. Right now. This is ground zero.

Silence will help us in creating space between the rumble of the world around us, and allow us to focus on the world inside us, God's kingdom. In these troubled times, we need more than ever to KNOW that He is walking with us and that it's a gift to Him that we allow Him to come closer by relinquishing the obstacles to relationships in our lives. We may pray fervently for Him to change people around us, or the world around us, but in truth, He wants to bring His life into us, transforming us, loving and speaking through us as we share with others the blessing of His humble and attentive presence.

I'm nowhere near where I feel Father wants to take me, but I welcome His daily insights and reminders to go for simplicity and not complicate things out of an eagerness "to be there yet..." One thing I know now: I needed to redirect and instruct my mind to reach for simplicity in Christ. It takes some effort to quiet myself down, and I don't always achieve it long enough to bask in the aware-ness of His truth and the reality of His soul. But I long for it daily, as the Holy Spirit nudges me along the way to consider His beauty and perfect love.

Blessings to all,

Andre Lefebvre
September 9, 2009

soakingnet@gmail.com

   BLESSING
"May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and gave us, by his grace, encouragement eternal and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word."
(2 Thessalonians 2:16)

the kneeling heart


One Anothering...
by Wayne Jacobsen

Love one another - John 13:34

Forgiving one another - Ephesians4:32

Accepting one another - Romans 15:7

Being devoted to one another - Romans 12:1 & 10

Bearing with one another - Colossian 3:13

Honoring one another above ourselves- Romans 12:10

Greeting one another - II Corinthians 13:12

Being hospitable to one another - I Peter 4:9

Being kind and compassionate to one another - Ephesians 4:32

Sharing with one another - Hebrews 13:16

Serving one another - Galatians 5:13

Carrying one another's burdens - Galatians 6:2

Building up one another - 1 Thessalonians 5:11

Encouraging one another daily - Hebrews 3:13

Comforting one another - I Thessalonians 4:18

Stimulating one another to love and good deeds - Heb 10:24

Instructing one another - Romans 15:14

Admonishing one another - Colossians 3:16

Praying for one another - James 5:16

Confessing your sins to one another - James 5:16

Being of the same mind toward one another - Romans 12:16

Submitting to one another - Ephesians 5:21


[Wayne Jacobsen]











THE KNEELING HEART - A SOAKING.NET NEWSLETTER

To SUBSCRIBE, follow this link: Subscribe
To UNSUBSCRIBE, follow this link: Unsubscribe

NOTE: We manage our newsletters via InJesus.com. Make sure your SPAM folder is allowing our emails to come through. :)