Ballistic Breakthrough | Follow the Fire
Scripture: "For this Gospel I am suffering affliction and even wearing chains. But the Word of God is not chained!" (2Timothy 2:9)
Scripture: "For although they hold a form of piety (true religion), they deny and reject the power of it." (2 Timothy 3:5)
Scripture: "(Remember) how from your childhood you have had a knowledge of and been acquainted with the sacred writings which are able to instruct you and give you the understanding for salvation which comes through faith in Christ Jesus (that is, through the leaning of the entire human personality on God in Christ Jesus, in absolute trust and confidence in His power, wisdom and goodness.)" (2 Timothy 3:15)
May the grace, peace and outrageous hope be yours in Christ Jesus. I took a hike to our outdoor chapel yesterday. The maintenance crew has been clearing trees that have fallen and generally sprucing up the place. My son, whose heading this maintenance crew, wanted me to broaden my vision from my little view of how it has always been and what it is supposed to look like. He has a real eye for beauty and a deep love for nature, and he was trying to get his single focused mother to see the bigger picture of what "could be." I was asking the Lord what word He might have for you and I think it is very similar! I do not have to tell you we are in a very different season. There are many opinions about where this is going. But where are we Christians to stand? Permit me to share a story with you.
Many years ago, I had the privilege to helping start a home for unwed mothers in Baton Rouge, La. We named it Hosanna House. People ask me when I developed a great passion for unwed mothers. I never had a passion for unwed mothers! At least not at first. But Jesus does! And somewhere along the line I had told Him I would do ANYTHING for Him so when He needed this home to happen; I was enlisted! It was a miracle endeavor from the get-go, but not an easy journey. For 10 months, I had girls and babies at my house and any other house I could convince to help us. Probably over 90% of our kids had been raped by a number of people in their families, and many had another child already. My amazing husband was climbing over unwed mothers for months just trying to get a turn in the bathroom. GRATEFULLY, a woman I had never met walked in our clinic one day and handed me a check for the exact amount needed to buy the home we'd been interested in. Miracle after astounding miracle happened to get the house open, have money to hire the staff and run an incredible program. We all lived in the knowledge of what God had done for us and these girls. It made the tough times manageable seen through the lenses of God's miraculous hand on this project. Then 4 years in, things began to change. Certain critically important staff members had life changes. Some moved or could no longer work for various reasons. Money, that had come right on time every month, began to dry up. We knew something had to change, but what?
The year before we had flown to Washington DC to meet with Mother Teresa to ask her to take over Hosanna House. They were her kids...on the street if they weren't with us. We met with her on a Friday night. She arrived in Baton Rouge on Monday morning with 4 sisters. NOTHING is impossible to God. (Luke 1:37) We hoped she would be ready to step right in and help us. It had become clear that it would be best to have a religious order take this mission. It was so difficult to have stability among staff with the needs of families with changing needs, jobs etc. Mother Teresa was NOT ready to take on the young mothers yet. She had never done that, so she worked with homeless women that first year. I worked with her and her sisters, so the relationship was set in place and ready for her to step in. But it was not mentioned again for a year. By the end of that year, Hosanna House was floundering in our ability to keep going. I met with our spiritual advisor and poured out all our issues. Imagine my shock when he said, "Anne, maybe it's time to just let it go." WHATTTTT??? I couldn't imagine that. How could he have forgotten all the miracles? God had given us this mission. Wouldn't we dishonor Him if we just let it go? He looked at me quietly (ok maybe rolling his eyes internally!) and said, "Anne, has you ever thought that you were given a part to play? And if your part is done, it may well be time to let it go. As a matter of fact, if you don't, you may be hindering God's next step." ?????? I had NEVER thought of this. Sixteen thousand pounds lifted off of my shoulders. I went to Hosanna House, met with the staff and told them we had made the decision to close. No one was happy, but with no money to pay them, we really had no choice.
I arrived home at 3pm, right in time to scoop up my kids. I remember looking at the clock when the phone rang at 4pm. It was Mother Teresa. I will NEVER forget her words. "Anne, would I step on your toes if I took the unwed mothers? I've been given another building and I believe we are ready." AHHHHHHH!!!!! Echoing in my mind like a foghorn, "Anne, if your part is done let it go...you may be hindering God's next step." Oh my goodness, the story goes on but I've made my point for now. We are creatures of habit. We LOVE the familiar. We are NOT in that season where we can count on the familiar. What is God saying to the body of Christ? Many of us are part of a lay community whose founder, Fr. Thomas Judge, wanted to make every Catholic an apostle. I know that everyone reading is not Catholic. Look at your churches as well. Are we seeing apostles seeking the fresh fire of the Holy Spirit and living from that fire? What does the Lord want of His followers RIGHT NOW? What might He be asking us to let go? What new thing does He want to do, and through YOU? We are so entrenched in our habits, our ways of thinking, believing, doing. And so much is what WE do, what WE are gifted in, how WE operate in this job or this situation. I believe God is stripping much away so that we are being forced to see differently. And let's start with the fact that it is NOT about us. It's ONLY about Him. Hopefully, we will allow Him to move us to a totally different place. So many of our current churches have some great programs. I just believe with all my heart that we do not need another program, however good. What will transform lives is seeing the people of God ON FIRE with His Spirit, His Presence, His love and His power. I believe we have been positioned in this time--of Covid-19, and abortion, and war and untold sin and poverty of heart, mind, soul and body. We are positioned, carrying the LIVING GOD, for such a time as this.
Fear and hopelessness are resting over our country like a dark, heavy blanket. Yesterday, I heard of a governor who said he would hunt down those who disobeyed his orders. And another has a snitch order in his state if one dares to defy his rules. People...this is a new season, and a VERY unsettling one if we are just looking through human eyes. We have to lock our gaze on Jesus and take our orders only from Him. At this time, we cannot afford to be the people that 2 Timothy 3:5 talks about. "They hold a form of piety (true religion) but they deny it's power." Do we hold a form of religion but deny the actual power of God to move and work in us NOW? We cannot afford, as the ones who carry Jesus, to act like the Gospel is chained, even if we feel we are. (2 Timothy 2:9) It's not enough to do good things. The Rotary Club does good things. If the Holy Spirit was taken out of our churches would anyone notice? We have to present the WHOLE Gospel right now to a nation that is reeling under this new bizarre "normal." The whole Gospel is the Gospel Jesus taught...a new BEAUTIFUL normal, where the believers, filled with Jesus' Spirit, would do the things He did AND greater things. We do a lot of good things, helpful, beautiful things. But we are missing the mark if we speak only the love of God, and not of His power and His presence in our midst right now. And then DEMONSTRATE it! We cannot lessen the power and truth of His Word because we haven't yet experienced it. Let's get on our faces and repent for our unbelief and pray for a new Pentecost. THIS is what the people of God need...to see that the words are true. We are all talked to death. I have no idea what is true on the news. There are LOTS of words. People looking at Christians are saying the same thing. We have to DEMONSTRATE the Kingdom. We must BELIEVE, to take Jesus at His Word and stir up the flame that has been deposited in us. The church in tough times has always been carried forward by apostles, TOTALLY CONVINCED that they are called and commissioned, on fire, DOING the Kingdom, not just talking about it. We don't have time to sit around and wonder, people of God. If you have a pulse, you're called!
At Pentecost, RADICAL transformation happened. Those in the upper room were literally infused to overflowing with God Himself. The Gospel came alive in the lives of ordinary men, but ordinary men filled with an extraordinary God. It was unimaginable. It still is. But it is just as real in this moment as it was 2000 years ago. We MUST wake up. We must "Lean our entire human personality on God in Christ Jesus in absolute trust and confidence in His power, wisdom and goodness." (2 Timothy 3:15 AMP) "But in the last days, there will set in perilous times of great stress and trouble, hard to deal with and hard to bear." (2Timothy 3:1) This may or may not be the "last days," but it is an unprecedented time of stress, fear, trouble and uncertainty. God is waiting to give fresh fire for this season to anyone who steps up to the plate. NO special requirement except a desire to love and serve the Lord and each other. Let's not get sucked into the continuous cycle of feverish planning and activity, but that which is born of prayer and revelation. The need now is to go deeper into our Lord. How? Worship. Get out of your headspace and into His. There is not fear or anxiety in heaven...only peace and joy. God is the same yesterday, today and forever. (Hebrews 13:8) He fully intends to lead His people through, and not just a people crawling over the finish line. Get into His Word. Read the Word, ingest it, memorize Scriptures that jump out to you, fill your head and heart with worship music, stay close to those who help you grow. And my friends, as I've said before, wrestle any place in you that does not believe in His love and His calling for YOU. That's a lie from hell. Don't give the enemy an inch.
For the first church, trials and persecution were the norm. Did they fold? No. The more they allowed their Lord to infuse them with Himself, the more they grew mighty in His power, His love, His amazing signs, wonders and healings. He promised that He would NEVER leave us alone. He is not a liar. We can count on His extraordinary presence and power to break through our impossibles too. This is our moment. We were positioned where we live, for such a time as this. Don't hold on to the old way of doing and thinking. Give God permission to put into your life anything that honors Him and take out anything that doesn't. Give Him room to surprise you. The world is looking to see if God is real and able to save. People who were sure there was no God, people who'd forgotten, were