Truly Delighted

Written by: Melissa Lefevers

I was busy picking up the mess left around the house from the kids. Homework was being done, dinner was cooking on the stove. The normal rhythm of a weekday afternoon was humming all around me. I was lost in thought and the list of “to do” pounding in my head. The list keeps getting longer and the days busier.

My husband comes home from work and says hello with a kiss. The kids are begging for dinner to be ready because they are starving. The dogs are running around the kitchen chasing each other and waiting for something to drop from the counter. In my head that pesky “to do” list keeps banging around. It feels as if my brain is going to explode.

Everyone goes outside and the sheer delight from their voices rings into the kitchen. The dogs reluctantly chase them outside and run with the kids. I’m all alone, with that “to do” list pecking away at my brain like a woodpecker delights in chomping at a tree. I try to push it aside and enjoy the ten minutes but it doesn’t work.

I head back to the bedroom to look at my planner to make sure I’m not forgetting something and come back to the kitchen. I decide maybe some worship music will help me get through the dishes and not be upset that my husband can play with the kids while I have to do all this work.

The music plays and I turn on the water to get started washing the dishes that are not dishwasher safe. (Why do they even make such a thing!) Slowly as the water rushes over my hands my soul settles. The sweet words of what my Savior has done for me wash over me as the water washes the dishes clean. My soul settles and I look.

I look outside and see. I see my husband and son laughing and playing together. My husband’s grin matches my son’s and then just like that the dog steals the ball they are playing with. I giggle as I watch the two of them chase the dog around the yard. My two sweet girls are busy playing an epic game of hide-and-go and seek. I laugh as I watch our other dog totally spoil the game because she runs right to where they are hiding and finds them first.

My head quit pounding and I was filled with such delight. These are my people. My loves that God has entrusted me with. I was in awe at how much God has blessed me with. Then just like that I was in awe at how faithful he is to quiet my soul. I had been begging all day for just five minutes. Just a couple moments to steal away and be refreshed.

Sure I didn’t expect it to come while doing dishes but isn’t that just like God to do things we do not expect. I was filled. When I was empty God filled me and reminded me He is all I need. I was delighted in Him and I remembered that he delights in me. Just as I sat there and delighted in seeing my family He delights in us.

Yes, the King of the Universe delights in us.

“The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.”
Zephanaih 3:17

He is truly a Mighty Warrior ready to come in and tackle whatever it is you need. Maybe your like me and you just need a moment. Choose to turn that music on and he will be faithful to give you what you need. Maybe you need a miracle. Sweet friend run to his throne with boldness believing he can do it. He can and it may not be in the way you expect it but he is faithful.

Let us run to the Mighty Warrior that takes delight in us and rejoices over us with singing. Let us see him for who he is and allow him to quiet our soul. There is no better place in the world than in the arms of Jesus.

I pray that today you will find delight in Him as he delights over you. I pray that you will find a place of rest and rejoice in all he has done for you as he rejoices over you. Until next week sweet friends. Look with eyes of delight and not a “to do”.

A New Song

Written by: Melissa Lefevers

As I sit and write today it is anything but calm. I am supposed to be packing to get ready for a wedding we are attending and standing in. I am so unprepared. It’s not like me but it has been a strange couple of weeks.

Let me explain. We moved into our new house just ten weeks ago. It needed a little bit of a face lift. We tackled it head on, painting, replacing floors, nothing major. We did this over Christmas break, while nursing a couple children with strep throat and planning our favorite youth event, Disciple Now. The week before this event was to take place we were snowed in for three days and my husband got the flu! Disciple Now came and went (it was amazing, by the way) and now my daughter has the flu.

Nothing major just a lot of life. Something shifted for me at the Disciple Now and up until yesterday I was unsettled and honestly grieving. We asked nine of our former students from Louisiana to come and lead our groups. It was great and they were amazing, but when I should have been excited to see them I was not. Instead I was wrecked on the inside because I knew that chapter of our life was closed.

We have been living here in Rome, GA for six months now but this just seemed to be the end of it all. These were all students that my husband and I walked through life with. Good times, hard times, life-decision times, and to top it all off, we watched six of them surrender their lives to full time ministry. In my heart I felt it was over.

In worship on the Friday night of the event I was in tears in the back. My heart was broken and God said, “Open your eyes, look at them.” Those nine were worshipping with reckless abandon, excited to be there to pour out their love of Jesus into our new students. I am not going to lie, I ugly cried because that is all I pray for as my husband and I lead in student ministry. Lives lived for God and pouring that life out into others. God whispered, “It’s ok, I’m not finished with you yet. I have much more for you to do here. Hold on, because it is going to be better than you have imagined.”

I rejoiced and praised him even more. I literally saw with my eyes God’s faithfulness that night. Then those nine leaders left and my heart ripped open once again. I have spent the last two weeks leaning in to God and trusting in his faithfulness. It has not been easy and each day has come with a lot of struggle. Struggle that has come in forms of exhaustion, sick children, self doubt, and everything in between.

Then in His awesome faithfulness God tells me once more what he told me that weekend. This time it came in a movie. The Chronicles of Narnia Prince Caspian was on and as Lucy ran into the woods to find Aslan, this is their conversation:

Lucy: I knew it was you!

Aslan:Why didn’t you come sooner?

Lucy:No one believes me?

Aslan:Why does that stop you from coming?

Lucy:Why wont you come roaring in and save us?

Aslan:Things never happen the same way twice.

Lucy: Will you help? Yes as will you!!

Aslan: I wish I was braver?

Lucy: If you were any braver you would be a lioness!!

Oh I do love Lucy and love that God can speak to my heart. Such truth and wisdom woven in these tails written by C.S.Lewis. I was scared of opening my heart again, and wondering why I felt so alone on the journey. God was there waiting for me to come and this time he wasn’t going to show up the same way he did last time. I was looking for that, but what I wasn’t looking for was a whisper to my heart.

I knew it was time for me to believe, to really believe, and to sing a new song. He will help me and I can be brave because he already knows I am.

Why do I tell you all that? Because I believe we all need a little encouragement to move forward. To look for God in a new way and to step out in faith with him and be brave. It is ok to let go and allow God to do something new. I am praying for you sweet ladies —that we may all be as brave as a lioness.

Sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous things; his right hand and his holy arm have worked salvation for him. Psalm 98:1

Without Rival— Week Five, Post Three

Written by: Melissa Lefevers

We continue along in our study and discussion of chapters 9 & 10 of Without Rival by Lisa Bevere.

Movies, television shows, novels, they all have a story. A story is filled with details and people. Lives shared and lost. Fantastic journey’s, love, comedy, suspense, adventure, drama, everyday life and things far beyond our imagination. We watch or read in anticipation to see what will happen. We get connected to our favorite characters, we laugh, cry and cheer them on. It is wonderful and exciting.

What if I told you that your life is a story? Would you dare to believe that it is just as exciting, adventurous and thrilling as your favorite story? Or would you look at your life and think someone else has a much better story than you do?

We tend to compare a lot. We look at others and see what they have and either want it or we are glad we don’t have it. We measure our success and failures through the eyes of others. We get caught up in trying to be something or someone and get lost. We lose who we are and who God created us to be.

I will dare to say we even compare ourselves to what I call “Christian Celebrities”. We think it would be wonderful to be that best selling author who is out on a speaking tour promoting her book. We see her life through social media and think that it is way better than ours. We wish we could sing, and be on tour with our favorite worship leaders. I know someone has done that before because I know that I have. Wished and wanted something that is not mine to wish and want.

You have a story. I have a story. If we are to live a life without rival we must embrace that.

Lisa Bevere states on page 230 of “Without Rival”; “You were not created for comparison…You were created for God’s Son.” She also goes on to say “No one else can live your story. It’s time your pages come alive.”

I whole heartily agree with that. We must stop comparing ourselves and start living out the life God has already written for us. Your story is unique and my story is unique. God wrote it just for you. He wrote mine just for me.

“My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. “ Psalm 139: 15-16

Your story is yours. Do not let comparison rob you of the joy of your story. Do not let comparison steal from you the precious moments God has ordained just for you. Let us open our eyes and see that our story is truly one of great adventure for our great God. It is Your Story it is time to let it come alive.

Please choose one of the questions from our conversation cafe and answer it in the comment section below.


Conversation Cafe:

  1. Do you have trouble comparing your life to others?
  2. What do you do to fight comparing yourselves to others?

 

Without Rival—Week Four, Post Three

Written by: Melissa Lefevers

We continue along in our study and discussion of chapters 7 & 8 of Without Rival by Lisa Bevere

Have you ever been scared?

I am scared of birds. Yes, I realize this is irrational but I am. Anything bigger than a sparrow and I am petrified. My kids are fearful of the dark and my husband of spiders. I know people who are scared of all kinds of things. Fear is real and sometimes it causes us to miss out on things.

Often, we miss out on love because of fear. Not just the sort of love that we share with our spouse but even the love we can have with friends, and with God.

I googled the definition of fear and here is what I found.

fear -an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat.

With seeing the actual definition in words it makes me wonder why we view people as threats? I am pretty sure we all fear loving others, God and our spouses because of past pain.

Maybe we have at one time been used, abused, or taken advantage of. Maybe we have been left, abandoned, and shut out. Maybe we have been hurt so bad we don’t know if we want to trust again. Maybe that is you, maybe at one time it was me, but it doesn’t have to be.

As I sat and read Lysa Bever’s “Without Rival” and I came across a chapter on Fear and Love. I was struck by her words on page 161 in Chapter 7 “The opposite of fear is not faith or even courage it’s love.” I sat and thought. Thought about all the times I pushed people away. All the times I pushed my husband away. All the times I didn’t want to let people in because I was scared they would hurt me.

Then I thought about all that I could have missed because I chose fear instead of love. All the relationships that would have been deeper. The moments with my husband I would treasure forever and then I remember what changed me.

I remember the day I realized that God truly loves me and no matter what he will always be with me. If God can love me so intently that he gave his Son for me then I could risk loving others the same. We do not have to fear loving others because God loves us and He is love. He will give us the courage to love others the way he loves us. We do not have to be afraid.

“ I have loved you with and everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness.” Jeremiah 31:3

God loves us with an everlasting love and with the kindness of his love he has drawn you in and near to his heart. That love can and will sustain you. That love can and will cast out all fear. You can love because God is love. Don’t be afraid anymore, God loves you deeply.

Please choose one of the questions from our conversation cafe and answer it in the comment section below.


Conversation Cafe:

  1. Do you find yourself scared to love others because you don’t want to get hurt?
  2. Have you made the decision to love anyway because God is love?

 

Without Rival—Week Three, Post Three

Written by: Melissa Lefevers

We continue along in our study and discussion of chapters 5 & 6 of Without Rival by Lisa Bevere

As I hung up the phone with my husband my mind raced and wondered. I wasn’t quite sure if I had heard him correctly. He called to fill me in on a conversation he had.

People we were close to and once praised us for a job well done, were now yelling and telling us all we had done wrong. Just like a switch had been flipped— so had the atmosphere. What once was a great thing had become something hard.

My husband and I examined our own lives to see what we could have done to cause this upset. There was not one moment. A difference in opinion and convictions had turned into a rivalry. And, the not-so-funny thing is, this has happened more than once.

My husband and I, being in ministry, have found ourselves in this position before. We have walked into places knowing God’s hand had lead us there. We have gone and done exactly what the Spirit had laid on our hearts. We have had many times where the great things we know God has called us to have turned quite sour. Or, is that just the way it seemed to us at the time?

At the time they were painful and caused us distress. I will admit that at the time I could not see these the situations for what they really were. They were moments where God fine tuned our lives to be more like him. They were moments where God was drawing us deep into his heart so he could prepare us for something bigger than that moment. Yes, even though it hurt at the time, it was for our good.

Romans 8:28 reads: For we know that in all things God works for the good of this who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

This is an amazing verse and we all have turned to it a time or two when things are not going so great, but can we look at the verse that follows it a little closer too.

Romans 8:29 says: For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.

All things work to bring out the good in us because we are being conformed into the likeness of Christ. That makes me so excited and it makes all the pain worth it. No, it is definitely not easy. Yes, it hurts when people who we once trusted and admired turn on us. However, we know that God is good and He works all things for His good for us.

In Without Rival, Lisa Bevere states on page 115, “Outward pressure works inward transformation. Rivals reveal the destiny that God has prepared for us. We decrease that God’s glory might increase in our lives. The gift of a rival is part of the learning, refining, training package.

I couldn’t agree more. Our rivals, the people who cause us pain, intentionally or unintentionally, will either cause us to run from Christ or run to Christ. Let us run to Him and trust that whatever the reason he will use it for our good.

Please choose one of the questions from our conversation cafe and answer it in the comment section below.


Conversation Cafe:

  1. Have you ever found yourself in a similar situation? Could you see at the time it was for your good?
  2. Lisa Bevere also states on page 116, “Rathe than measuring yourself by where you are, remember what he has already brought you through.” For me this always helps me see God in the crazy moments. Do you often live only in that moment or do you try to look back and see God’s faithfulness in your life?

 

Without Rival—Week Two, Post Three

Written by: Melissa Lefevers

We continue in our study of chapters three and four of Without Rival by Lisa Bevere.

I am not a good sleeper. As long as I can remember I have been a person who dreams at night. Sometimes my dreams are terrifying and other times they are hysterical. I wake up often, sometimes just long enough to roll over and look at the clock. Sometimes I stay awake for hours.

There are times though, that I wake up and I know it is because God wants to speak to me. Maybe my days have been a little too hectic and this is the only time He can really get my attention. Sometimes secret longings and dreams are spoken. I will admit to you that sometimes the secret longings and dreams seem impossible to me and I cannot fathom them in my reality. So, in my flesh I say , “Yeah, Right. It’s to late for that.” Then I wake up again or something happens in the day to remind me of that dream. I will immediately think things like; “But Lord I never went to seminary.” “But Lord, who will listen when I teach.” “But Lord I don’t have it all together.”

One day, I was reading my Bible and came across this verse:

Now to him who is ABLE to do IMMEASURABLY more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen! Ephesians 3:20-21 (emphasis mine)

I have read, heard, preached and prayed this verse over many people. But remembering Ephesians 3:20-21 that day was different. That day the Holy Spirit stirred in me something I will never forget. God is truly able to do more than we can ask or imagine. That day the Holy Spirit showed me I have all the power to do whatever he is asking me to do because He lives in me. That same power that raised Christ from the dead lives in each of us who trust him.

In Without Rival, Lisa speaks about “Stop Hiding!” on pages 75-78. She challenges us all to stop hiding behind anything that keeps you from living out what God has spoken to your heart. He will qualify you, equip you, set you apart. He will not lay something on your heart and then not be faithful in guiding you to it’s completion.

HE is a good God and He loves when we surrender and let him love on us lavishly. Those secret longings of your own are as close as the mention of His name. You can because of the power of Christ in you.

Those longings of mine were and still are to share the love of Christ through discipleship and teaching. I didn’t know then what it looked like but I knew I wanted nothing more than to share what God has done in my life with teenage girls and women. I long for you all to know that Jesus is my everything and He wants to be your everything too. I was scared, and truthfully I still am scared everyday. But, I have learned to trust that He is with me every step of the way and hold on to that scripture I see Him doing immeasurably more than I can imagine.

He can do it, my friends, and He will do it in your life. Its not to late. Whatever you dream, wish or hope for he can bring it to be. It may look different than you expected, but it will be beautiful.

I am praying for you. Let go and watch God do immeasurably more than you can Imagine.

Please choose one question from the conversation cafe and answer it in the comment section below. We look forward to chatting with you!


Conversation Cafe:

  1. Is there something holding you back from experiencing God’s immeasurable “more”?
  2. If you are comfortable please share with us one of your longings or desires. Do you believe that God will see that to completion?

 

Without Rival—Week One, Post Three

Written by: Melissa Lefevers

We are continuing along in our study and discussion of chapters 1 & 2 in Without Rival by Lisa Bevere

I woke up that morning and was not excited at all. It was field trip day for my oldest daughter and she was so excited. I must admit, field trips are not my favorite. I am a stay at home Mom and it is such a joy. I couldn’t be more thankful that I get to be a part of all aspects of my kids lives, but….. I don’t like field trips.

I don’t like that I have to follow the bus because every bus driver I have ever followed should be fired! They don’t care that the parents are following, they have a job to do and that’s all that matters. I don’t like that I usually don’t know any of the parents. They have all known each other since their kids were just starting school and I am the newbie. (We have moved a few times) Field trips cause me anxiety and every insecurity I have— I usually battle on a field trip day.

So, it was with great anxiety I arrived at school and parked behind the bus. As the time came for us to go I pulled out behind the bus and just like I knew would happen, the bus ran a red light (not kidding at all) and left us behind. Of course I panicked! I weaved my way around cars doing my best to catch up with the bus.

At last I caught up to the bus, only to realize I would be weaving in and out of traffic in the pounding rain to keep up. The adrenaline that was now consuming me was no joke and all because I didn’t want to lose sight of the bus. I whispered “Lord, Why? Why am I such an anxiety driven person? Why do I panic and get all upset? I want to know Lord, I am so exhausted from being so anxious about everything.” The answer I received was not at all what I expected. I thought the answer would come in the form of a Bible verse to help me calm down or maybe a sweet, gentle “we will get through this.” No, instead it was “Because I made you that way.

Perplexed and confused, I said “really, but this is not a fruit of the Spirit— this is not peace in my soul.” Just like that the Lord brought to my mind a few times my panic brought Him glory. Once I received a text about someone in deep need and in my “panic” i knew that God was going to do a miracle and I prayed and did all I could to get that person what they needed. That sweet person knew that God was the only reason it happened and their faith grew and so did the people around them that saw it happen. Once I was horrified by a situation and in my “panic” knew all i could do was pray. I prayed and earnestly cried out to God for that situation. And, God intervened.

Just like that I saw that my “panic”, when used the way God made it to be, was not panic at all. It is the way He wired me to serve Him. It is a unique way that brings me closer to His heart through much prayer. A promise I often think of  “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving present your request to the God. And the peace that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.Philippians 4:6-7
I realized that day in my car, that my panicking calls me to action.

In Without Rival by Lisa Bevere she says on page 17, “Your first step in knowing your identity is found in who you are to Him.” I am his daughter, you are his daughter and that day in the car I realized for the first time that panicking is ok, if I use it the right way. That day I realized I am truly “fearfully and wonderfully made”.(Psalm 139:4) So are you, friend.

Let’s talk, ladies! Choose one of the questions from our conversation cafe and answer it in the comment section.

Conversation Cafe:

1. Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you were called to pray for someone with an urgency? Explain.

2. Do you have a specific characteristic about yourself that you find God uses in unique ways?

Thankful

we-are-his-daughters

Written by: Melissa Lefevers

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving for us here in the States. It means lots of turkey, gravy, dressing, cranberry sauce and vegetables. We celebrate our gift of being able to live in the “land of the free and the home of the brave.” We celebrate our freedom of religion for which our founding fathers came to this very country for. It is a fun time of celebration and food, football and of course reflecting on what we are truly thankful for.

I will admit this year things are a little different this Thanksgiving. I will admit to you that at the close of 2015 i just knew that 2016 was going to be the best year ever. Well, lets just say it has not been. Oh, it hasn’t been “bad” or “horrid” just tough. Like nail biting, stress filled, tears shed, good fights fought, hard parenting, moving everything, everything changing, and trying to find a new normal tough.

With much anticipation I am looking forward to 2017 but with new eyes. What do I mean with new eyes. Well, let me explain. God has done such a work on my eyes, my perspective this year. Through out this last year He has challenged me to really see Him and trust Him. The kind of sight that does not come from human eyes but eyes that are laser centered on Him. The kind of sight that says I walk by faith and not by sight (2 corinthians 5:7). With this type of trust and vision I have become the most hopeful I have ever been. Hopeful because I know where my help comes from. (Psalm 121:1) Hopeful because no matter what is going on I have something to be thankful for.

God has truly taught me that there is joy in Thanksgiving. When things get tough and I don’t understand I honestly sit wit him and ask why? Time and time again this year in that honest question he has answered with because I need you to know this. The this is that he was working on something, someone or in a situation I just couldn’t see. I couldn’t see it yet because I was either to busy looking at myself or to busy trying to figure it out.

I remember one morning sitting on the back porch of my temporary residence thinking why can we not find a house? I asked God why he would want us to move to only leave us without? Yes, I was thankful for the hospitality of my mother and father in law (still am) but I just wanted something normal. We moved, uprooted, left my family, kids in a new school and I just wanted my own bed, my own time with my kids, and to be able to walk around in my PJ’s. Was that so bad? Just like that he said because I am working on something and working on the five of you.

My oldest two were sharing a room and honestly they are so opposite they don’t really play that much together. In this time of sharing a room God brought Violet and John together and now they share a deeper relationship with each other. I hear them giggling and laughing and talking. Not just chit chat but talking about real stuff. Talking about things going on at school and talking about hard things together. If we would not have been without a house, not being able to find anything then this would have never happened. So I am thankful. I know it was God’s plan for them all along.

So, yes, this Thanksgiving I have new eyes thanks to one of the toughest years I have had. Yes, I am thankful for this tough year because I have new eyes. Eyes to see that He is truly in every single detail. So as I sit and eat way to much turkey and cornbread dressing I will smile and be thankful for the smiles around the table, food in my belly and the wonderful crazy life God has chosen for me.
Let us be found singing like David:

Give thanks to the LORD, call on his name; make known among the nations what he has done. Sing to him, sing praise to him; tell of his wonderful acts. Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice. 1 Chronicles 16:8-10

Taste And See

Faith

FullSizeRenderWritten by: Melissa Lefevers

Do you ever feel like you’re just not getting something—that there has to be something more to a situation than you can see?

Have you ever felt that way about church? Maybe you go and you hear message after message and it just doesn’t click the way you think it should? Maybe you hear people talk about reading their Bible and you just don’t get it…

Have you heard about how scripture has transformed someone’s life and you’re wondering why that isn’t happening to you?

Can I ask you a personal question? Do you read the Bible for yourself daily or do you expect your pastor and leaders to teach it to you?

The Bible is our bread of life. We should be feeding ourselves and not expecting others to feed us. Let’s put it like this.

What would it look like if you were out and about and you had your mother spoon feeding you at the age of 35? Admittedly it would look weird, especially if you were completely capable of feeding yourself. You probably don’t have someone feed you your food on a regular basis, you do feed yourself.

At some point in your life you experienced the freedom of feeding yourself. You began to try new things because when someone is feeding you, you don’t get to choose. The same thing goes with our Bible. If we always expect the preacher and the teacher to feed us—we don’t experience it on our own. We don’t taste the freeing words and how it applies to our life. Like maybe the first time you ate a piece of cheese and a grape at the same time. Sure the grape is good on its own and so is the cheese but if you put them together it’s a totally new taste. A totally new experience.

When we open our Bible on our own and we pray and apply the scripture together we experience something incredible. We experience God speaking directly to us. We experience a personal relationship with him. We receive the courage to face the everyday things in life because we have taken the time to breathe in His Word.

We see familiar verses come to life in a way we would never have before. We see the capital letters, and the repetition of words that we never noticed previously. We see a side of God that we can’t see if we’re expecting someone else to feed us.

It is so important that we feed ourselves on the word and not always have someone do it for us. We cannot grow in our relationship with Christ if we do not spend time with him. What I get out of my reading might not be the same as what you get out of it. It’s amazing because God speaks to us each individually, personally, and intimately.

Will you “taste and see that the Lord is good.Psalm 34:8? Will you choose to see how great God is in your everyday by spending time with Him every day? Will you join me in becoming a group of ladies who pursues God with all their hearts?

I hope and pray that you will. I wish I could grab your hand and tell you that each day spent getting to know the One who loves us is so worth it. As I type these words, please know that I am praying you will be brave enough to feed yourself and truly taste and see that the Lord is good.

To Know Him

Faith

FullSizeRenderWritten by: Melissa Lefevers

Burdened. Have you ever had a burden for someone or something? You know this passion and deep down desire for someone or something. I was curious about the word and actually looked it up.

According to Merriam Webster burdened means something that is carried, such as a load. So if we are burdened for something or someone it is as if we are literally carrying that around with us.

Y’all, ( I hope you are hearing that in my Louisiana/Georgia accent) I have a deep burden for people to know Jesus. I mean I honestly carry it around with me every day and its not like a casual thing it’s real. I honestly am burdened not just for their saving knowledge of Christ but even more so that they really KNOW Jesus.

I live in what is referred to the Bible Belt of the south in the United States. I promise you the name Jesus is known. People know who He is and what He did for them —but they might not know him intimately. They may have even had a salvation experience but they don’t have a real relationship with him. And that sweet friends is my burden. My burden is for people to know and have a relationship with Jesus, not just know of him.

I long and desire and carry around this load daily. I long for people to:

“Taste and see that the Lord is good.” Psalm 34:8

“Be still and know that He is God.” Psalm 46:10

“Have peace that surpasses all understanding.” Philippians 4:7

“Know the Truth that will set us free.” John 8:32

A real relationship with Jesus goes far beyond our “to do list” of Christian things to do. It is more than going to church, singing songs, doing mission projects and checking off our list of a quiet time. Yes, all those things are good things and they are all a wonderful way to express our love for Jesus and all he has done. However, they can be fruitless and meaningless without a relationship with the very one that died for us.

When we seek God with all that we are we find him ( Jeremiah 29:12) and in that we see that all his words are true and he is faithful. When we take time and spend it in the word and in prayer we know God better and we see his face. We take those words and hide them in our hearts and when life comes at us from very angle we can stand firm in Him.

Yes, I am burdened for you and I to know Jesus this way. To know Him so well that doing our “good works that he has prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:10) will truly be acts of love and not of obligation. To know Him so deeply that our Sunday morning worship would truly be an overflow of our week spent with Him already. To know Him so intimately that we are never fearful to “approach the throne room of grace boldly.” (Hebrews 4:16)

I long and desire this in my life and yours and I truly believe it starts with one step. That step is deciding today that Jesus alone matters. I don’t have a formula I just know that when I decide that today is about Jesus all the rest falls into place. So I take that step, a new one every morning, and I remind myself of Jesus’ words in Luke 4:18 -19.

The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedoms for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.

No matter where we are or what we are going through Jesus has come for that reason. To set you free, recover your sight and proclaim the goodness of God. Yes, when we truly know him we are free indeed.

I pray you know Jesus this way. I pray that today you would take that first step and decide that today it is all about Jesus. Sweet friends I will continue to gladly carry this burden and pray for us all so that we can walk in freedom together knowing the One who loves us so deeply.