He Is…I Am Bible Study Week 5

This is a little later than I normally post these but Jesus was speaking and I had to get His words to share with you.

I’ve been listening to this song the past few days and I really like it. Except for one line. Plumb sings, “Come and consume, All we are. We give You permission….” That line, about giving Jesus permission, just rubs me the wrong way.

We do not give Jesus permission. He is not beneath us, nor is He in our control. He does not stand outside, hat in hand waiting for us to deign to invite Him in. He always works. He draws our hearts to Him. Yes, He stands at the door and knocks, but He is not a gentleman. He goes where He is not wanted nor invited. He gets in our business all the time.

Anymore the very thought of our giving Him permission or allowing Him to do anything turns my stomach and makes me angry. Yes, angry. He does what He is going to do–no permission from His creation is needed nor sought. He is God and His plan marches on to completion. He is not a gentleman, but He is good and kind, loving in all He does.

Our only role–is not that of foreman, granting permission as we deem necessary–but that of surrender. We bow our knees before Him in surrender. He is in charge and is not a gentleman.

Oh Jesus, consume me like a forest fire out of control. Burn off the dead, bring fresh nutrients to the soil. Please set me aflame.

See to it that you do not refuse Him who is speaking. For if those did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less shall we escape who turn away from Him who warns from heaven. And His voice shook the earth then, but not He has promised, saying, ‘Yet once more I will shake not only the earth, but also the heaven.’ And this expression, ‘Yet once more,’ denotes the removing of those things which can be shaken, as of created things, in order that those things which cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude by which we may offer to God an acceptable service, with reverence and awe; for our God is a consuming fire.

Hebrews 12:25-29

We all want a nice, safe God. One who plays nice with our lives and doesn’t rattle our cage or shake us up at all. We want one that allows our control and strongholds to remain and He sure doesn’t ask anything from us. We want to Him play sweet on Sunday, we want to feel His presence as we sit in church and then bless us as we live in our control and strongholds the rest of the week, calling on Him only when we face something we deem to big for us to handle.

This is not the Jesus–not the God–of Scripture. That God rattles and shakes things. Often the things He rattles and shakes is us, our things. He shakes things up and He shakes us up.

He shakes to remove those things which can be shaken–our sin, our control, our strongholds–in order that those things–His Life and gifts–that cannot be shaken remain.

One thing we desperately need is to be shaken. We must see all our control and strongholds for what they are–a farce and a sham. They are flimsy and no good at keeping anyone with any strength out. Until we surrender to Him and surrender our control and strongholds to the One in Control and our Greatest Stronghold of refuge, He will continue to shake us.

Even after we surrender things will be shaken up, because He must expose and remove all our self-made strongholds. This is why we should pray to be protected from everything except what would bring Him glory. When we pray this, we know in our times of shaking that everything that happens is bringing Him glory, painful though it may be. We can rest secure in Him and watch Him be glorified in us and through us.

So when things start to shake in your life, and they will, trust me on that, surrender. Don’t dig your heels in and staunchly try to maintain your control. Surrender. Lay down your weapons, ask Him to speak to the hurt, the stronghold and then be set free to live in Him.

For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory, far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things  which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.

2 Corinthians 4:17-18

He Is…I Am Bible Study Week 4

Can you believe we’re finishing up our first month of Bible study already? I pray Jesus is opening your eyes to see Him, to hear Him, and to experience Him in brand-new ways.

I’ve been struck over over the past couple of weeks with His very sameness. He is the same, yesterday, today, and forever. He does not change. He cannot change. The way He was before the beginning of time is exactly how He will be after the end of time. There is no shifting of shadows in Him. There is no, “well, I don’t know if He’ll still do it….”.

Precious reader, if He did it before He is sure to do it again! It might not be the in the exact same way, but He will do it because He doesn’t change. If He met you yesterday, He’ll meet you today. Since He was faithful to you last week, He’ll be faithful to you this week as well.

Here is the thing that really strikes me about the very unchangeableness of our Jesus.

He’s not monotonous.

Monotony bores me to tears. If you want to see me run, put me in a place I will have to do the same thing, in the same way, every day. I’ll die. I will invent new ways of doing it. I will be so bored I’ll cause trouble for everyone. I’ll talk when I should be quiet, I’ll poke my neighbor, I’ll prattle on and on, long after you’ve shushed me a billion times.

When I leave my house I often try to take a new way to wherever I’m going. Since I’ve lived here for over 17 years, I’m quickly running out of ways to go, but still the thrill entices me.

My man is the opposite. Change is horrifying to him. He lives today as he lived yesterday. He takes the same way to work every single day. And what’s more, he sees no need, has no desire to change it at all. I’m going to admit it drives me absolutely up the wall.

It is comforting however, to know that Jesus never changes. It comforts because we can know that as He loves us today, He will love us tomorrow. He will never love us more, never love us less than He does right this moment. He will never know us more, never know us less than He does right this second. He will never stop loving us, or knowing us because He doesn’t change. As He is right now, He will always be.

He will reveal different facets of Himself and we plunge deeper into Him, His heart and His life. But He, His heart, His life, His character, His character remain the same forever. From forever past to forever present to forever future, He remains the same.

Man changes. But our God remains steadfastly faithful.

He will continue to grow us, to change us, to teach us, but He will always remain our Faithful God. Through the shifting sands of time He is steadfast.

Remember that! Never forget.

Here is the link to the next month of Bible study.

He Is…I Am Bible Study Week 3

Can you believe we’ve completed three weeks of our study into our identity already!?! I would love to hear what you have been learning, please consider leaving a comment so we can rejoice and celebrate with you.

Jesus will never love us more, He will not know us more than He does in this exact moment in time. It is also true that He will not love us or know us less than He does in this precise moment in time. There is nothing we can do to stop, thwart, or change His love for us. He will never stop loving because His heart never changes.

As Jesus is right now, He will always be. He will reveal different facets of Himself and His life; but He will remain the same. His heart, His character, His love does not shift or change. He remains the same forever, from forever past to forever future He is steadfastly faithful.

We are often so quick to think other people bring change and growth to our life. We think they make us flourish in ways we hadn’t before. We think, “Man, since this person has been in my life, I’ve acted differently.” Ergo, it’s the person.

But all growth and lasting, noticeable change comes only from Jesus. As He breaks–shatters–the strongholds, we are changed and that change lasts. He will continue to grow us, to change us, teach us but He will remain the same. He will never be surprised by anything, He will never know more or less than He does because through the shifting sands of time He remains steadfastly faithful.

When I look back over the last year I am amazed at the changes in my own heart. Most of them have been subtle, yet sublime, internal changes that are not readily noticeable. I haven’t experienced a sudden, remarkable change. One cannot point to a time and say, “One moment you were this and then BAM! You were like that!”

His truth has been cemented in the marrow of my soul. Things I had heard, things people had tried to teach me have been understood because of His love, His faithfulness. His truth has moved from an intellectual pursuit, staying all in the mind and never reaching a behavior-changing heart level, to being dropped and cemented in my heart and is now a truth lived out because Jesus’ Life lives in me.

He showed me the high price of surrender is not near as high as the cost of remaining in and with an illusion of control. Surrender to Him and His life is always worth the cost. Always.

So many times we fear a loss of who we are if we surrender to Him. We fear we will be a nobody, we will have no identity. We are afraid we will be an empty cup. We will have no life, we will be a nameless, faceless person in a crowd. We fear this because our identity is wrapped up in who we are not. We think we are the life, we think the cup makes the coffee great, not the coffee making the cup great.

Our identity is not in who we think we are. It is in who Jesus says we are! Our identity is not lost when we surrender who we are not to Who He is, it is realized! Only in this freely surrendering our identity to His truth are we changed and enabled to walk in our high places with Him.

In this surrender we see ourselves as we are–His–and that frees us to see others as they are, and allow them to be who Jesus created them to be. We let go of any illusion of control that says everyone must be just like us or they are wrong. It frees us of the trap of comparison. It frees us from so much self.

Shoot, it just dang frees us. From us. To Him. And that is true freedom.

He Is…I Am Bible Study Week 1

So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and are of God’s household, having been  built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ  Jesus Himself being the cornerstone.

Ephesians 2:19-20

Our identity is not about us. As human beings we think everything is always all about us. Even as we proclaim, “It’s not about me!” Our lives and our actions tell a very different story.

I’ve spent some time at the beginning of this New Year contemplating Peter walking on the water. Peter was the rash, impulsive disciple, the one who said what others probably only thought but wouldn’t dare voice it. He is most famous for his denial of Jesus. One thing we fail to remember is all of the disciples were saying the same thing.

In Matthew’s retelling of Peter’s walking on water all of the disciples were in the boat. All of them were afraid of Him. Only Peter said, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” Only Peter was brave enough put one leg over the side of the boat, and then the other and walk on the waves to Jesus.

What a true picture of walking in our identity in Him! No one else was willing to get out of the boat and on the storm tossed sea.

Every prayer, every request, to “call me out to You on the water” is answered with “Come!” There is never a time He will say, “No. You stay where you are.” The deeper we go with Jesus, the more His life lives in and changes us, the more He feeds our desires. He is our desire. He is what our soul longs for. He plunges us into the depths of Him and with Him.

In our very human-ness we are incapable of doing anything (except sin) without Him. Hebrews 12:2 says, “Fixing our eyes on Jesus…”, dear soul, please hear this, you are not capable in and of yourself to keep your gaze fixed on Jesus. His life in you fixes your gaze. You do have a choice of focus. You can choose to allow Him to set and be your focus, or you can look to yourself.

He keeps our eyes fixed on Him. Alone and left to our own desires, our gaze flickers and falters, but His voice always reminds us that He is good. It reminds us of all He has done, and that it is all Him and not us. He tells us that without Him we are dead and the only safe place is to be in the wildness of Him and His waves.

We were all at one time strangers and aliens, we were all outside of His bubble. Jew and Gentile alike. Jesus blood bough redemption for all of us all at once. His blood brought us all near and made us fellow citizens and members of His household. It is His identity that changes our identity.

We are who we are in Him because of Him. Every facet of His identity touches us and changes us to reflect His life in us. Everything that He is speaks of who we are. And who we are in Him is not who we are apart from Him.

Everything that was true of you before you believed Him, before His life lived in you, is no longer true. Before Jesus, you were not enough. You were not good enough. You were without hope.

Now, Jesus in you is enough. Now Jesus is your hope. Because He is your hope you are not hopeless. Because He is your Daddy, you are not abandoned, you have a home, a family, a place you belong. And you belong with Him.

As you discover your identity in Jesus chances are you’ll be walking on the waves alone. But keep walking! Keep trusting! Keep listening!

Please remember to use the hashtag #HeIsIAm when sharing what you’re learning on social media. Your insights, your thoughts will minister to others.

Houston, We have a Problem

Thank you to everyone who signed up to do the new Bible Study, “He Is…I Am, a Bible Study Journey to Hearing the Voice of Jesus”. Please believe me when I say your life will be radically changed. His voice speaking to our soul changes us in radical, wild, and wonderful ways.

It was brought to my attention that there was an issue with the Bible Study. I have corrected it and it is available for download again with the corrections.

You can either use the link. Or use the Contact Me! page and I’ll send you a pdf of the study.

Additionally, since this is the first Bible study I’ve written, I welcome your feedback! Please use the Contact Me! page to share your thoughts, what do you like/don’t like, what could be/should be different, what worked/what didn’t.

As you’re studying and hearing His voice, please share your thoughts on social media using the hashtag, #HeIsIAmBibleStudy. This will encourage others in their walk with Jesus.

Oh He is going to do so many amazing things in you! I am giddy that you’ve joined us!

Because He Is…I am.