“Seriously? You don’t even have any friends in common? You have got be kidding! If I did something like that you would KILL me.” My incredulous, somewhat dramatic daughter did have a valid point and for a brief moment I questioned the sanity of my decision. But it was too late now; Danny and crew would be arriving shortly.
Although I have had the wonderful opportunity to meet many of my blog followers in person over the past two years, we have always met in a safe place: an airport, a coffee shop, a church, a Christian Retreat. This time was different. I had actually invited what could be considered a complete stranger, from halfway around the world, into my home. Crazy? Maybe. But Danny and I had been corresponding for more than a year. I knew that he was a musician working with a well-known ministry. He had encouraged me and spoken wisdom and truth into my life. He couldn’t possibly be an axe murderer or thief, right?!
Still. I spent the last thirty minutes waiting for their arrival with a little more apprehension than I expected. Maybe a part of me was selfishly concerned he would be disappointed with The Real Life Marie. (Remember this post: I Am The Color Gray? ) And maybe part of me was concerned that he would be weird and it would be a really awkward evening.
But the doorbell rang, and there he was, in real life, looking the same as his photos and with the love of the Lord radiating from him. We hugged and he quickly introduced Gai and Tan, part of his worship team. No time for awkwardness as he broke the ice with a funny story about how he had dialed a wrong number and spoken – at length – to someone he thought was me, about being on his way, before he eventually realized he wasn’t talking to me.
We broke bread together, these no-longer-strangers from Thailand and my family and me, devouring pans of lasagna followed by coffee and yogurt cake. We shared testimonies and stories above the bellows of the grandbaby, who was been suffering from ear infections. I was amazed by Tan and Gai’s English, and mesmerized as they told how God had drawn them to Him in very specific ways. Later Danny played the piano while Tan sang in a language my mind couldn’t translate but my spirit could. Gai danced a lovely Thai dance for us. We ended the evening in prayer.
But he did come wielding the sword of the Lord, and he did unwittingly slice through my veneer of rebelliousness, the one I pretended wasn’t there, the one coating me all slick and shiny but rendering me motionless. Useless.
It was a painful and convicting cut.
“Hey, I’ve really appreciated your blog. You have such an anointing on your words, and they speak to me. I know Scripture, and I don’t need just more preaching of the Word – though that is quite important – but to see how it looks in real life. I can relate to so much of what you write.”
It was the second or third time he had said something similar.
Innocent enough words. Kind enough words.
Should have been encouraging words.
Instead, God took that one word, anointing, and began to slice through my rebelliousness.
See, I haven’t been writing. Oh, not because I haven’t wanted to.
Saying it quickly doesn’t make it any less painful. I haven’t been writing because the anointing hasn’t been there.
The anointing hasn’t been there because I was walking in rebelliousness, refusing the commands of God.
Oh, I can dress it up all pretty and say that I wasn’t in outward sin, and I wasn’t really doing anything wrong. If I told you what my rebelliousness was, what I was refusing to do – or stop doing – you might even laugh at me and say, what’s wrong with doing that?
Friends, the commands of God aren’t just in Scripture, though there are plenty there. In Jeremiah 36 we are told:
I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them. Then you shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; you shall be My people, and I will be your God.” 26-28 NKJV
It was prophesied that the commands of God would no longer be solely in Scripture, or written on tablets of stone, but when His Spirit dwells in us, He will also speak to us through His Spirit. Specific words into our hearts.
His Word for me is not gonna be the same as His Word for you.
And it is only when I walk in the commands He has given me that His anointing is on me; it is only then that I am able to dwell in the place He has created for me. In my life, that place involves keypads and dictionaries, and vulnerability and sweat, and laborious hours in a recliner as I strive to pen the message He places in my heart. That is the ONLY time His anointing really shines through; the rest is just sounding brass and vanity. Empty words on a page. Or silence. Worthless.
When I choose to rationalize away His whispers to me, (Surely God, You don’t mean THAT?) I am in rebellion, choosing my own way rather than His way and it always leads to death.
There is a story in 1 Kings 13 that pierces me every time I read it. Every. Single. Time. Because I know how prone I am to be like the man of God written about in this chapter, standing solid in faith one moment and then giving in to the wiles of my own heart at other times.
This man of God, this prophet-without-a-name, the one who may very well have been the color gray, just like me, began his task, his ministry if you will, with this powerful phrase: by the word of the Lord. When we go forth according to God’s plan, amazing things happen! Annointing happens.
We are told in 13: : A man of God went…by the Word of the Lord. Then we read that this man of God (whom I personally refer to as The MOG) delivered a powerful message and performed some unbelievable signs. So astonishing, in fact, that afterwards King Jeroboam asked The MOG to return home with him, have a time of refreshing, and receive a reward for what he had done:
Then the king said to the man of God, “Come home with me and refresh yourself, and I will give you a reward.”
The MOG knew that God was His reward and he needed nothing else. He turned the King down.
But the man of God said to the king, “If you were to give me half your house, I would not go in with you; nor would I eat bread nor drink water in this place. For so it was commanded me by the word of the LORD, saying, ‘You shall not eat bread, nor drink water, nor return by the same way you came.’“ So he went another way and did not return by the way he came to Bethel. 1 Kings 13:7-10
Some pretty powerful obedience and faith, right? I mean, he was willing to give up material blessings FROM THE KING to walk according to God’s Word to him! See his ministry began with that little phrase in verse 1, by the Word of the Lord.
Oh, if only the story ended there!
The MOG was hoodwinked.
He was hoodwinked, and he died an untimely death because he didn’t continue in what the Lord had called him to. We read that another old prophet apparently wanted to know the secret of the MOG’s power and deceived him into disobedience.
Now an old prophet dwelt in Bethel, and his sons came and told him all the works that the man of God had done that day in Bethel; they also told their father the words which he had spoken to the king. And their father said to them, “Which way did he go?” For his sons had seen which way the man of God went who came from Judah. Then he said to his sons, “Saddle the donkey for me.” So they saddled the donkey for him; and he rode on it, and went after the man of God, and found him sitting under an oak. Then he said to him, “Are you the man of God who came from Judah?” And he said “I am.” Then he said to him, “Come home with me and eat bread.” And he said, “I cannot return with you nor go in with you; neither can I eat bread nor drink water with you in this place. For I have been told by the word of the LORD, ‘You shall not eat bread nor drink water there, nor return by going the way you came.’ ” v 11-17
Again, The MOG reiterates what God had told him to do.
Pretty simple, pretty clear.
Drinking water and eating bread with another prophet seems like a GOOD thing to do, but it wasn’t what God had for The MOG.
Oh, MOG, how I can relate to you. The story continues:
He said to him, “I too am a prophet as you are, and an angel spoke to me by the word of the LORD, saying, ‘Bring him back with you to your house, that he may eat bread and drink water.’” (He was lying to him.) So he went back with him, and ate bread in his house, and drank water. v18-19
Oh, MOG. How I understand.
I don’t even need a lying prophet; I can deceive my own self, arguing that “that’s not really what God wants me to do,” or “maybe He didn’t really speak to me about such and such…”
There may be a temporary satiating of the appetite first, but ultimately doing it my way means death:
Now it happened, as they sat at the table, that the word of the LORD came to the prophet who had brought him back; and he cried out to the man of God who came from Judah, saying, “Thus says the LORD: ‘Because you have disobeyed the word of the LORD, and have not kept the commandment which the LORD your God commanded you, but you came back, ate bread, and drank water in the place of which the Lord said to you, “Eat no bread and drink no water,” your corpse shall not come to the tomb of your fathers.’ ” V 20-22
And sure enough:
So it was, after he had eaten bread and after he had drunk, that he saddled the donkey for him, the prophet whom he had brought back. When he was gone, a lion met him on the road and killed him. And his corpse was thrown on the road, and the donkey stood by it. The lion also stood by the corpse. And there, men passed by and saw the corpse thrown on the road, and the lion standing by the corpse. V 23-25a
Have you ever known that God had called you into something, only to see the dream die? Or seem like it’s not gonna happen?
Perhaps it is simply a matter of waiting on His timing.
Perhaps it is a matter of deceiving your own heart.
Been there more than once.
The amazing thing is that sometimes God extends the grace to give us second and third chances.
But let’s not risk it, my friends.
Let’s not be heart hoodwinkers.
Let’s be doers and not hearers only.
Let’s walk by the Word of the Lord.
Marie with a 🙂