Defend Your Lentil Field

“Next to him was Shammah son of Agee the Hararite. When the Philistines banded together at a place where there was a field full of lentils, Israel’s troops fled from them. But Shammah took his stand in the middle of the field. He defended it and struck the Philistines down, and the Lord brought about a great victory.” 2 Samuel 23:11-12

 

The other day I was having a conversation with a dear friend of mine and she brought up this story of Shammah. As she shared with me her revelation of this, I was completely blown away. This story has not left my spirit since our conversation and has unfolded in my heart to share what the Lord has given me to share.

The verse above is found under the title “David’s Mighty Men” in my Bible. There were a lot of men that battled and died with David, but two verses (four sentences) sums up one of the many mighty men that battled with David; Shammah.

Shammah saw value in this lentil field and stood to keep possession of it. He refused to allow the enemy to take it and was willing to lay his life down for it. The Lord gave him victory over the enemy and ownership of the field along with its harvest.

Some of us need to see the value in the lentil field the Lord has placed us in and stand our ground to defend it. It has immense value; fight for it. You will see the protection, provision and favor of God when you see the value and take ownership of it. This can be where you live, your marriage, your family, your finances, your healing; anything. Stand your ground and watch the victory come!

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In the Name of Love

Heart Upon Re-entry

“Heart Upon Re-entry” by Jim Carrey

So many people have been wounded and abused in the name of love. I have been sensing that a lot just don’t even know what it truly is anymore. It has been downgraded and perverted in so many ways. It has been used as a weapon for verbal, physical and sexual abuses; so much so, there is a large group of people that have simply sworn off “falling in love” and put up walls so high and deep for protection.

A good majority of people have been duped by the entertainment industry into what they think love is: an expectation of frilly, feel-good “love” that leaves you with this floating, euphoric feeling all the time. Although there may be brief moments of that, it’s not real love. Real love isn’t necessarily a feeling. You do feel it, but most of the time, you have to make the choice to love. Sometimes that choice is going to be the hardest one you will ever make. It is way below the surface. I like to compare it to the ocean. The ocean is breathtaking when you’re standing on the shore looking at it; especially during a sunrise or sunset. It’s peaceful to sit and listen to the lull of the waves. It’s fun to swim in the refreshing waters. It’s thrilling to catch waves on a surfboard. BUT, the depth of its beauty is deep below the surface. You have to dive deep into it, you have to be prepared for it, and it can be intimidating and scary. But, the awe-inspiring beauty is worth it.

“…but for Adam no suitable helper was found, so the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep…then the Lord God made a woman…and he brought her to the man. The man said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman’ for she was taken out of man” for this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh. The man and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame” (Gen. 2:20-25)

When we partake of this surface-type “love”, it is guaranteed that at some point you will feel chewed up and spit out. When this happens there’s a part of you that blames yourself, leaving you feeling less than worthy of the something beautiful you were hoping and dreaming for. So now, each time someone new comes along, you swim in more shallow waters. This in turn pushes the other person away because there is a lack of trust. The baggage from the first swimmer is put on the next. It’s a vicious cycle and no one comes out feeling empowered, loved or free. Participating in all the things intended for marriage will always leave you empty and a piece of your soul connected to someone that doesn’t want the connection anymore. Thankfully, our God is one who Loves to Restore and Heal ALL things; especially our broken hearts.

I’ve now been married for almost 18 years. Our marriage is like every other (honest) one; like a roller coaster. Full of thrills, scares, unexpected turns, ups and downs. Several years ago, I went through a period that I just didn’t know what I felt anymore. My life had shattered into pieces and left me not recognizing how broken I was. Unfortunately, my husband took the brunt of my mess. Despite the mess I was, he showed up and walked out and fought for his unconditional love for me. See, I was such a jacked up mess that I didn’t even know how to accept his love and tried to push it away. When you’ve convinced yourself that you’re not worthy of something deep and meaningful, you settle yourself and wait for the other shoe to drop. If you don’t go beyond the fun beginning, then you don’t have to start sacrificing yourself. Real love is sacrificial. It’s compromising. It’s merging your life’s hopes and dreams with your spouse’s and sometimes some of those things don’t line up the way you imagined they would. Real love is searching out multiple avenues of communication to ensure your spouse is hearing and receiving in a healthy way. We all have an individual language and when we become One in our marriage commitment, we have to find a new language the both of us can speak and understand. This new language is created through some blood, sweat and tears; well, at least it was for us. Some of you might still be in denial because “everything is awesome”! When I had doubts of “my choice”, the Lord showed me it wasn’t really my choice, but His. He gifted me a husband that would be the manifestation of His unconditional love for me, through all my ridiculousness, my brokenness, in my mess, in my self-loathing and in all the beautiful moments of my life.

This isn’t all about marital love. Marriage is just one facet of Love.

I’ve learned unconditional love from my kids, too. This parenting thing is so much harder than I ever thought it would be. For a lot of my younger years I was told I’d never be able to have children, so I settled quite easily on not wanting children. I wasn’t heartbroken over it at all. But then again, I was a hot mess and didn’t know it. Then, I got married, and after a few years I started having that “twinge” to want kids. We now have four children and they all leave my head spinning and show me daily how much more of my flesh needs to die. I have likely apologized more than I’ve taught. But, like most parents, I would move Heaven and Earth to protect them and do everything in my power for them. God, our Heavenly Father, loves us unconditionally, even more than we love our own kids.

I had a long, hard road to be able to call on God as my “Father”. Every single one of us grew up with flawed parents and it’s guaranteed that every single one of us will be a flawed parent. Not one of us gets out of this parenting game with a perfect score. Some of our mess-ups create wounds and scars and I had some from my childhood. Because of that, I had a hard time thinking about God as my father because I was comparing Him to my earthly father. Now, I need to state that I love my dad unconditionally; no matter the ups and downs we’ve had over the course of my life. God is a restorer of families because family holds His heart more than anything else.

So, when we compare our Heavenly Father to a downgraded and flawed version, we’ve missed it. That’s where my struggle was and that’s where the Lord met me on my healing journey. Showing me who He truly was and He continues to do this. He moved Heaven to open up the way for us to experience Him as our Daddy. For a long time, I couldn’t understand why my Mom called God “Daddy”. Today as I write this, now I know. We all have a craving deep in our souls to have a meaningful and fulfilling relationship with our Dads (Mom’s too). There’s something powerful that happens when your Dad speaks encouragement over you and when he declares his love for you. This is what God our Father does. Reading His words of adoration for His creation and His children is indescribably fulfilling and empowering. You learn who you were created to be. You find your purpose in this crazy life. Without getting too political or polarizing, there’s something that has to be said. This is just my observation and opinion (there, you have my disclosure). My generation and the generations following, there is a huge deficit of fathers. I see SO many people that unbeknownst to them, they are searching out for that kind of love and acceptance. They’re seeking and continually landing on downgraded, abusive and perverted versions of the real thing. It absolutely shatters my heart. There are people everyday that are around you suffering from ignorance of what love truly is. We all need it, we all crave it; we were created from love and for love.

I’m so desperate for others to experience the transformative power of unconditional love.

When I say, “I love you all”, I absolutely mean it. You are loved and valued; you have a purpose and plan over your life that you were created to fulfill. Everything has purpose for your purpose and we walk into that from a place of love. I pray you have a pure encounter with this breathtaking, unconditional love.

I will leave you with a couple of scriptures that speak about this.

Psalm 139:13-16 “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful. I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you 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 on of them came to be.”

John 3:16-17 ”For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.”

1 Cor. 13:1-13 “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophesy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails….but when perfections comes, the imperfect disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part’ then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

Song of Solomon 8:6-7 “Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm; for love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave. It burns like blazing fire, like a mighty flame. Many waters cannot wash it away. If one were to give all the wealth of his house for love, it would be utterly scorned.”

Eph. 3:14-19 “For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom His whole family in Heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”

Lepers’ Camp

leper

I’ve been meditating a lot lately on the Leper that was healed after Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. In Matthew, chapter 8, it begins with Jesus coming down the hillside and a man with leprosy approached & knelt before Him. He said, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean”. He didn’t ask for healing, he asked to be cleansed. In that time, lepers (along with other diseases) weren’t allowed outside the sick community they were banished to. They were sent away to live with other afflicted (unclean) people to either get better or die. So, for him to appear in this public place amongst the crowd (perhaps he was hiding) was unheard of.

He asks Jesus if he is willing. Jesus reached out his hand & touched the man. He TOUCHED HIM!! This simple, single act  made him human again and showed all the onlookers the value Christ saw in him. In front of this large crowd of people, Jesus touched someone deemed “unclean” and made him clean.

This man that has been cast aside, rejected, assumed and left for dead was finally looked upon with compassion; was touched by kindness and acceptance; unconditional love. This man did not just walk away healed from his leprosy; he was released from his imprisonment of solitude and rejection. He didn’t choose to have leprosy. He didn’t choose to be rejected. His choice and desire was to rise above the labels and hope for something more for his life outside of the death placed upon him. Jesus gave him the opportunity to do so.

How many of us have rejected others because of their “afflictions”? Afflictions can be anything, but I think these days, it tends to be peoples’ choices and/or their lack of perfection in handling life. Have you judged people and placed them undeservingly into the Leper’s Camp?

Let’s flip it. Are you in the Leper’s Camp? Have you accepted the rejection and death sentence you or someone else has spoken over your life? I’m going to say one thing and you need to hear it: YOU DO NOT DESERVE IT. I don’t care what you have done or not done, no one should be in the Leper’s Camp. Our healing, our cleansing and our washing came through the blood of Jesus on that cross. Even if you don’t believe, you still don’t belong in the Leper’s Camp. I’m here to tell you that despite all your (and others’) shortcomings, that you are loved and accepted. Not everyone will understand or treat you as such, but God does. You have breath in your lungs right now because you have a purpose in this life. Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

A lot of us have given reason and justification to people throughout our lives to banish us. Call it boundaries, tough love, whatever; some of the time, it is done properly and done with love. Unfortunately, what I have found is that a lot of the time, it is not. It has only added to the pain and deepened wounds. The only thing I have found that can heal all of this is the unconditional love from our Heavenly Father. I didn’t learn it or receive it from anyone here on this Earth. I found it, I found Him while in solitude. When all that darkness closes in on you and you can’t hear any voices, you can’t see your hands in front of you; He shows up. He reaches out His loving hand and touches you, despite all of your uncleanliness. He accepts you just the way you are in your broken mess. His perfect love cleanses you, heals you inside and out, and restores you to someone better than you were before. Then, that power He used to heal you has been given to you to walk into that Lepers’ Camp and heal the rest. No more rejection, no more pain, forgiven; whole.

redeemed

Who do we know in this life that needs that acceptance? We are called to be like Jesus. It’s our job to walk into the Lepers’ Camp and make the “unclean”, clean. One loving word, one act of kindness will not only heal the visible ailment, it will breathe life into their souls.