God opens doors no man can open. One opened recently and I walked through sure footed, but shaking all the way. It was one of those “walking on water” things; a step of faith into the great unknown. A bit dramatic, I know.
I shouldn’t be surprised that the opportunity came in this season as the resounding theme of my heart, or I should say God’s training ground for me, has been being BRAVE! I’m all about that…being BRAVE in the face of difficult circumstances, testing, standing believing for answers, in the Goodness of God, and this new “walking on the water” experience is right in line with all that. Even the song “You Make Me Brave” from Bethel Music (my fav) was released smack in the middle of this season. God is speaking and I’m listening. If you’re sick of me talking about it, I won’t apologize. You’ll just have to deal with it. *smile*
That ‘door’ was an opportunity to share a bit of own journey with a wonderful group of ladies at a prayer breakfast, a true privilege. This post is the “telling” of that experience, a milestone for me. Bear with me as I give a shout out to Pastor Mark and Gail and the amazing ladies from LIFT (Ladies in Fellowship Together) women’s group from City Church Sacramento, especially to my long time friend Theresa who helped open that door! AND, a special shout out to my buddies, prayer warriors, and fellow “queens,” Mercedes and Arzella for having my back through this adventure. You know I love you!
I write what I live and speaking it is no different, really. Some time back I wrote a post on being Firmly Planted. The scripture theme for this event, Colossians 1:10, fit so well, but I got in the way just a little, not wanting to repeat myself, but after a few strong God conversations… well okay more like arguments, I gave in and went with it.
How many know (if you’re BRAVE enough…raise your hand) that we are never completely through God’s training ground. That’s just a nice way of saying I NEEDED TO BE REMINDED OF THIS, AGAIN. What a way to learn too. Whew… He has a plan, and we went much deeper this time. The lesson is all about not giving up and the title…well you’ll see.
So with that very long intro, if you will humor me with the retelling, here goes…
Colossians 1:10 AMP
That you may walk (live and conduct yourselves) in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to Him and desiring to please Him in all things, bearing fruit in every good work and steadily growing and increasing in and by the knowledge of God [with fuller, deeper, and clearer insight, acquaintance, and recognition].
This scripture is so rich with such depth. The question is, how do we walk, live, conduct our lives fully pleasing to Him, steadily growing, increasing in knowledge, with fuller, deeper, clearer insight, acquaintance and recognition?
That phrase “fully pleasing to Him” kept ringing in my spirit. I want that, to live my life this way… I knew this was where God was leading, but what pleases Him? I mean really, there could be many answers, but for this time God, what pleases You?
The answer came and it’s all about pursuing God…. RELENTLESSLY. Here are a few of His answers – what He said “pleases Me.”
Some of the words that define relentless: oppressively constant, incessant, unyielding, persistent, continual, never ending, unforgiving like the sun
Relentless can be a hard word, but a very good description of the pursuit of God. Stepping into that great unknown begins our love journey with God, but never giving up; being relentless in our pursuit of Him will be how we grow up in that journey of knowing and loving God, and ultimately finish well.
God said…”it’s the JOURNEY that PLEASES ME!”
This journey with God is like a tree planted in a garden. If you read further in Colossians chapter 2, Paul goes even deeper along this path…
6 As you have therefore received Christ, [even] Jesus the Lord, [so] walk (regulate your lives and conduct yourselves) in union with and conformity to Him. 7. Have the roots [of your being] firmly and deeply planted [in Him, fixed and founded in Him], being continually built up in Him, becoming increasingly more confirmed and established in the faith, just as you were taught, and abounding and overflowing in it with thanksgiving.
It’s all about how we tend our roots.
1. FIRMLY Planted
When you plant a tree, you dig a big deep hole, deep enough for that root ball to have room to spread out and grow, so when the hole is filled with soil, the roots are covered and the trunk stands firm.
Firmly defined: Resistant to externally applied pressure
Bringing that example into real life, having your spirit firmly planted in God means you’re not easily blown over when storms in life come – and storms do come.
If I’m hit with a crisis out of the blue and it feels like I’ve hit a WALL, experiencing the continuing pressure of circumstances beyond my control; YET I can stand “steady, strong and sure” in the face of it, able to resist the tendency to worry – or “freak out,”believing in the Goodness of God over that circumstance and not blaming? THAT to me is what it means to be Firmly Planted.
God said…”being firmly planted PLEASES ME!”
Am I there yet? Well, let’s just say I’m still working on it…
2. DEEPLY Rooted
Ever hear the term “LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION?” The roots of this tree must be planted next to a constant source of flowing water. It’s all about feeding those roots.
Psalm 1:2-3 AMP
But his delight and desire are in the law of the Lord, and on His law (the precepts, the instructions, the teachings of God) he habitually meditates (ponders and studies) by day and by night. And he shall be like a tree firmly planted [and tended] by the streams of water, ready to bring forth its fruit in its season; its leaf also shall not fade or wither; and everything he does shall prosper [and come to maturity].
Where are you planted?
By the streams of water… that Water is the WORD. Planting yourself deep in the Word of God, having that “washing of the word” continually feeding your roots is SO CRUTIAL.
Water…nothing grows without it. It’s not only a cleansing agent, but without it we dry up – in fact our blood can’t even flow without it. I decided to do a little digging about blood and water…from WikiAnswers I found this very interesting tidbit:
Question: What is the function of water in the blood?
Answer: The water acts as a solvent for the blood to move in. Without water, blood would be like peanut butter in your blood vessels. Meaning it wouldn’t be able to move through the body.
The living water of the Word is that cleansing, hydrating, creative force that makes things live, thrive, bloom, GROW and come to MATURITY. That’s also how we BECOME ACQUAINTED and RECOGNIZE HIM, as it said in Colossians 1:10.
God said…”being deeply rooted PLEASES ME!”
3. Go deep — CULTIVATE!
The theme scripture from Colossians 1:10 and from 2:6 both say similar things:
1:10 That you may walk (live and conduct yourselves) in a manner worthy of the Lord
2:6 As you have therefore received Christ, [even] Jesus the Lord, [so] walk (regulate your lives and conduct yourselves) in union with and conformity to Him.
If you want your roots to go DEEP, it’s imperative that the soil be CULTIVATED… meaning you walk it out. ACTION! MOVE! JUST DO IT!
Prepare your soil, your spirit, to receive ALL that God has for you in this wonderful adventure of pursuing Him.
I’ll just plant (pun intended) one thought, one way to cultivate from Psalms 19…
Psalm 19:14 AMP
14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my [firm, impenetrable] Rock and my Redeemer. (love that)
Guarding what you say and meditate on. This is probably the most challenging part of the journey for me. It takes BEING RELENTLESS!
Questions to ask – that I ask myself all the time:
Am I speaking negatively or out of fear?
Do my words speak truth, life or death?
Am I believing a lie?
Am I taking thoughts captive, obedient to the truth?
No cultivation – No depth. Roots planted in uncultivated soil will hit hard clay and won’t go any deeper.
So…how deep can your roots go?
Have you cultivated your heart to receive?
God said…”Cultivating…this PLEASES ME!”
4. BEARING FRUIT
Colossians 1 “…bearing fruit in every good work…”
God really likes gardens, especially trees. We can see that His favorite examples are taken from nature, His creation in all forms. In fact, He planted us…did you know you are a “planting of the Lord?”
Along the journey of writing and preparing for this I kept hearing “Oaks of Righteousness.” Okay God, what? “Go look it up…” So I did, and sure enough –
…to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of His splendor.
Digging a little deeper I found more…
The [uncompromisingly] righteous shall flourish like the palm tree [be long-lived, stately, upright, useful, and fruitful]; they shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon [majestic, stable, durable, and incorruptible]. Planted in the house of the Lord, they shall flourish in the courts of our God. [Growing in grace] they shall still bring forth fruit in old age; they shall be full of sap [of spiritual vitality] and [rich in the] verdure [of trust, love, and contentment].
But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God; I trust in and confidently rely on the loving-kindness and the mercy of God forever and ever.
Learned a new word on this one, “verdure,” it means “lush green vegetation.” Trees are healthy, lush and green, and bear fruit when planted firmly and deeply, watered well, and then pruned from time to time. Part of our “good works” is tending to our spirit man relentlessly so that we too can “still bring forth fruit in old age…” (…Note – I’m not old yet, just say’n.)
God said… “Bearing fruit…this PLEASES ME!”
I’d like to end this with a nugget God gave me from my journal – after pondering that question – what pleases Him? This was His final response:
Many trees are planted but don’t produce life.
Cultivate that soil – give it water – let it grow.
Dry soil won’t produce life.
Water of life flows out from Me; from the throne.
Tap INTO the “fountain of life” – to produce life!
I planted the first “garden” of Adam and Eve
to be fruitful and multiply.
I still plant to bring life, continually.
Each person is my garden
full of seeds, full of potential,
full of possibilities, full of LIFE!
MY RESURRECTION LIFE.
TAP IN! THIS PLEASES ME!”
So TAP IN, be RELENTLESS in the journey. Run after Him, He’s ready and waiting and …
CAN’T WAIT TO BE FOUND!