Sunday, April 17, 2011

Beauty in the Wildnerness...

I wrote this revelation I had just over 2 years ago.  A friend of mine shared yesterday how she and two others we know were feeling as if they were stuck in the wilderness and didn't know what God wanted for their lives.  My first instinct is to encourage but there are times where I don't always have the right words of encouragement to share.  But I realized suddenly that I had had a revelation about he wilderness that might bring needed encouragement that I blogged about 2 years ago.  I printed out copies for those three friends today and brought it to them at church.  But I am sensing that someone else may need the encouragment I found in this revelation.  Praying someone get's blessed reading this!

Revelation of the Beauty of the Desert/Wilderness Places
Written 2/7/09
By Tamara “Tami” Blue

As I was waking up and seeking the Lord today I felt an excitement enter me once again while reading out of Isaiah 41. I wrote out some of the promises that spoke to me in this chapter which is loaded with promise. I lingered on a few but when I reached Isaiah 41:18-20 something sparked in me, revelation…

I will open rivers in desolate heights,
And fountains in the midst of the valleys;
I will make the wilderness a pool of water,
And the dry land springs of water.
I will plant in the wilderness the cedar and the acacia tree,
The myrtle and the oil tree;
I will set in the desert the cypress tree and the pine
And the box tree together,
That they may see and know,
And consider and understand together,
That the hand of the LORD has done this,

And the Holy One of Israel has created it.

Wow, something occurred to me that I had not hit on before. A simple fact that just had not hit my spirit, the desert in bloom, lush, fertile… I’ve always viewed the desert or wilderness places as desolate, dry, scorching, sandy and uncomfortable. My husband is from Southern California and loves the desert. He’s always tried to share with me the beauty of the desert but being from a very lush evergreen state I just never understood what he was talking about. My perception of the desert was not a pleasant one. But today, God hipped me to a new revelation and of the beauty hidden in the desert and or wilderness places.

As I was reading this and writing in my journal I felt led to do a search on the internet of the deserts of Israel. I wanted to see what they looked like, to get familiar with the desert and wilderness places of the Bible. I ran across some amazing pictures of oasis places, water falls, and of the desert in bloom. Of course there were the pictures of the dry desolate desert but I was sparked by the lush pictures. So this prompted a new search regarding when Spring begins in Israel, what month Spring begins. To my joy and excitement I found out that Spring begins in February, which we are now in. Wow, there really is beauty to behold in the desert that I had never realized before.

Then it occurred to me how we view the desert or wilderness places that the Lord takes us to correlates to the condition of our hearts. Wow! I hadn’t thought about that before. We can view it so many different and often negative ways. We can see it as a punishment and a discouraging place. But to behold the beauty of it, well that is kind of profound.

I had a vision a short time ago of a beautiful old tent as in the Bible in the middle of the desert in a vast open flat plain but with mountains surrounding it in the distance. It was night time and there was a beautiful amber glow from lampstands lighting the perimeter of the tent. The tent’s entry was open and I could see the golden glow of the lampstands inside the tent. It was so inviting and had a fragrant smell drawing me in. As I walked in I saw the Lord sitting on a rug and inviting me to sit with Him. As I sat down He pulled me in holding me and the incense seemed to swirl around me wrapping me closer into Him. The vision stopped there but was so beautiful and I can still visualize it clearly. In this place there was no one else, just me alone with the Lord. It is a place of beauty and intimacy where He longs to meet with each of us.

The Lord takes us to the desert wilderness places purposefully and there are many reasons and things that He desires to show us in this place. There are many things He wants to do within us and through us in this place. For years I’ve wanted out of the desert wilderness place and have grumbled to Him saying “enough is enough”. Now I am learning of the intimacy of this place and of the beauty to be discovered.

Yes, the desert can be a hostile place, a place of pure challenge. But God’s word shows time and time again how He cares for those He draws into that place. What is the condition of your heart? How do you view the desert? Have you had a negative view of it? Is it dry and desolate or can you see the oasis’s within it, fertile trees teaming with life that also providing cooling shelter? Are you parched, dry and thirsty or have you found the pools of living water? Are you stranded out in the open or have you found that hiding place in the cleft of the rocks? It is up to you what you make of this time and how you view it. For years I viewed it from a wrong perspective. Now I understand the beauty within it.

Take the time to commune alone with the Lord in this place. He wants to meet with us here; there are things He desires to show us in this place. Let Him dazzle you under vast open skies, open Heavens, seek Him in the oasis and His glory in the cleft of the rock. Search for the pools, streams and waterfalls of living water. Sit under the Acacia tree and feed off of the honey that runs smooth. This is a special place and the season is ripe with new life.

Spring is upon us, the desert is coming into bloom. New season, new life, new birth, new joy and beauty to behold. Take the time to sit with the Lord and behold His goodness, His love, His counsel, His cleansing and the life He has for each of us. The desert can be hard, it can feel desolate, it can be scorching and it can also be cold. We can feel as though we are alone and dying in this place and sometimes that is purposed to purge us of lifeless ways and or thoughts. But it is only for a season and then comes new life.

…In Your presence is fullness of joy;
In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.

Psalm 16:11

I was also led to read Isaiah 35. Many of us have felt we’ve been wandering in the wilderness for quite some time. But we’ve turned a corner. And, though there is still much more to be revealed in this new season this passage sparks excitement, hope and joy…

The wilderness and the wasteland shall be glad for them,
And the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose;
It shall blossom abundantly and rejoice,
Even with joy and singing.
The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it,
The excellence of Carmel and Sharon.
They shall see the glory of the LORD,
The excellency of our God.
Strengthen the weak hands,
And make firm the feeble knees.
Say to those who are fearful-hearted,
“ Be strong, do not fear!
Behold, your God will come with vengeance,
With the recompense of God;
He will come and save you.”
Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened,
And the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped.
Then the lame shall leap like a deer,
And the tongue of the dumb sing.
For waters shall burst forth in the wilderness,
And streams in the desert.
The parched ground shall become a pool,
And the thirsty land springs of water;
In the habitation of jackals, where each lay,
There shall be grass with reeds and rushes.
A highway shall be there, and a road,
And it shall be called the Highway of Holiness.
The unclean shall not pass over it,
But it shall be for others.
Whoever walks the road, although a fool,
Shall not go astray.
No lion shall be there,
Nor shall any ravenous beast go up on it;
It shall not be found there.
But the redeemed shall walk there,
And the ransomed of the LORD shall return,
And come to Zion with singing,
With everlasting joy on their heads.

They shall obtain joy and gladness,
And sorrow and sighing shall flee away!!!

Friday, April 15, 2011

The Grass is Not Always Greener…

The Grass is Not Always Greener…

By Tami Blue – 4/15/11

Have you ever looked at another person’s life, outwardly they have what you desire and you find yourself in envy of them and wanting what they have? Have you ever wanted something so badly and no matter where you look- so many others seem to have what you desire yet they seem to not appreciate it? Did you ever have a dream or desire so strong that has yet to be fulfilled and you see others living your dream? Well, we all have, you wouldn’t be human if you haven’t.

Some of my own ponderings, sadness’s, having had faced the covetous judgments of others and or my own momentary dissatisfactions have lead me to the reality that “The grass is not always greener on the other side”.

Have you ever envied the person who is that Great Singer that can sing you the sweetest song and leaves you with Goosebumps all over? The woman who has the house, the perfect kids, the perfect man, the two car garage…? How about the star athlete that makes all the winning scores? Or the famous evangelist who states that they are living the dream, flying around the world most of the year, reaching thousands, hundreds of thousands, even millions for Christ? Or the Grammy award winning actor who lives on the edge of a picturesque cliff overlooking the ocean, in a mansion decked out with everything a person could ever desire? Or how about the Entrepreneur who stumbled upon the next greatest idea and has become one of the top 10 wealthiest? The great Pastor who comes from a long line of Pastors and has the perfect wife, the mega church, preaches the seemingly best message around and all is “Perfect” outwardly… These are just some of the thousands of different scenarios that we often idealize, envy, desire, and even end up judging others for having.

But, the grass is not always greener on the other side…

Outwardly, all of these people have something that someone else wants. We can look at each and say “wow, I wish I was that person” or “I wish I had their home” or “I wish I had a husband/wife like that one” or “I wish I was as talented a singer as that person”… on and on and on… We may even know a person who has what we desire to have, we may know a person that is seemingly living our dream. If we’re not careful, we can become so envious that we become assuming, critical, and judgmental and view that person with our own jealous envious eyes. When the truth of the matter could really be that that person you are busy envying, assuming things about, critical and or judgmental about could be living their own personal hell but you’re too busy being envious to see the truth behind the mask they are wearing.

Have you ever been judged and think to yourself “where did that person get that from, it couldn’t be further from the truth?” and “if they only knew?” Little did you know that that incredible songbird singer is drowning her loneliness in medication & alcohol every night before she goes to sleep. Or that woman who seems to have the perfect home, well she is about to have a nervous breakdown. Every time her grumpy husband walks through the door she shutters inside wondering what the night will hold, peace or turmoil? Her son has become the class bully and recently broke another kid’s nose; her daughter is sneaking out at night to go drink with friends. And the Woman who seems to have it all is so distraught trying to manage a happy face to all who come in contact with her but the mask is starting to crack. Or the Star Athlete that is only succeeding to live up to parents lost past and all they really want to be when they grow up is the next best veterinarian. But that isn’t good enough for their parents because they want their dream fulfilled for their star athlete’s life.

Now we go to the Famous Evangelist- what about him/her? Wow, years have gone by, they’ve been traveling to and fro, reaching thousands, millions even… But in the meantime, they their marriage is splintering apart because of distance and time apart. They only see their wife and children on short home visits and their off again. And, they are giving out to fulfill the mission they feel they’ve been called to but their home life & personal emotional tank is dwindling. Then there is the Grammy Award Winning Actor… all the while that they’ve been idolized for their success, fame and luxuries they’ve had to starve themselves daily in order to fulfill the idea of what a star should look like. They are acting several roles but seem to have lost the core of who they were to begin with. But no one knows this because of that great costume & beautiful surgical mask they wear. Next we have the Entrepreneur; you really want to be this person! They could practically buy the world and all of us in it right? Well, their financial advisor had other plans with the substantial cash flow streaming in because of this lucrative business idea. He’s made some shifty illegal moves thinking no one would be the wiser. And now that great Entrepreneur is about to lose everything he’s worked so hard to build. As well as facing jail time because of the people he trusted with the success and financial matters of their great business. Oh and that Pastor… well he’s had to sacrifice what he truly believes in order to appease the masses and ever mounting bills of sustaining a mega church. He’s so busy going from preaching, to weekly classes, events, meetings, etc… that he has no time for his children. The children secretly resent the church & Jesus for taking their daddy & mommy away and developing a desire to never go to church again once they’re grown. The Pastor’s wife is so busy trying to be the perfect pastor’s wife, leader and mother and all the many demands that she is 2 seconds away from a silent killer, heart attack. And the Pastor, well he’s doing everything humanly possible not to throw up his hands and walk away from it all.

All of these scenarios are factional. None are based on any one person I know personally. I was simply painting a picture of some of our ideals, wants, and desires. But we might have seen many of these scenarios in real life, up close and personal, via people we know, or in the news headlines. But there was someone somewhere envious, assuming and maybe even secretly or even outwardly judgmental of these people without truly knowing that that seemingly green grass was merely a mirage covering up the truth.

There is always a flip side to these people seemingly living “the dream” and all is well and truly good in their lives. Maybe, they’ve worked incredibly hard to get to where they are and are reaping the reward of their very hard work. Maybe they have endured countless trials such as Job in the Bible did and suffered excruciating pasts and this is God’s way of blessing and trading all their sorrow & pains for Joy. Maybe they truly do have the Midas touch and just got blessed with one very amazing life? Maybe, this is God’s destiny for their lives being played out, lived out to the full.

Never the less, in pondering this thought/title that came to me it become even clearer why we are commanded not to covet. First off, to covet means: 1: to wish for earnestly 2: to desire (what belongs to another) inordinately or culpably; to feel inordinate desire for what belongs to another. Ugh, it already doesn’t sound right and we do it anyway (darn human nature). But what we don’t realize is that by doing so we might just be heaping more dissatisfaction upon ourselves and or might even judgment upon ourselves. Sometimes we can covet something someone else has to the point that we lack compassion, understanding or even the knowledge of what it took for them to get to where they are.

Or, consider this, we can think (have stuck in out thick minds) that we want something so badly; we pray like mad to get it. God being the incredible God that He is and in His infinite wisdom gives us our desire. Only for us to then realized “What was I thinking, why did I want that and place a prayer demand to get it, I wish I hadn’t”. Sometimes what we want just isn’t right for us at that point I time, and or fit for our personalities. Sometimes our wants and desires are not God’s desires or plans for our lives and not what He created us for.

We are human, those of us that are saved and belong to Jesus Christ we are being perfected (Phil. 3:12) belonging to a perfect God. But we still live on this planet called earth, we still dwell in these fleshly bodies, we still have dreams, passions, longings, desires for our time here and of what we’d like to attain in our life. No follower of Jesus Christ is not immune to making mistakes, coveting, making poor judgments or jumping to wrong assumptions of others. If we didn’t we wouldn’t need the great God breathed instruction manual called “The Holy Bible”. I know I’ve made my fair share to my utter regret and might again (ugh, sigh...). I don’t want to but it happens (Romans 7:14-25).

God in His loving kindness desires to draw us to His truths, plans, desires and passion for our lives. If we would draw nearer to Him and inquire of what He has for us and wait on His timing we might just be abundantly and pleasantly surprised by His best rather than our best. He delights in giving good gifts to His children, patience is key and continually going to Him. I’m reminding myself today to do just that. He promises if we draw near to Him, He will draw near to us, if we inquire of Him, He will share great and wonderful mysteries with us. And if we bear with one another, care for, rejoice with and even cry with one another, He’ll change our perspective to His.

There is a song that one of my Facebook friends shared recently by a musical artist Beckah Shae titled “#Putyourloveglasseson”, I’m putting mine on to help me see God’s truths – join me in gaining love vision which reveals optimal truth.

May God bless you so abundantly that you are utterly shocked and amazed by His loving kindness for you and the life He’s given you.

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