Boldness: A Look at Genesis to Revelations

Back in September of last year I started a new Bible study on what it looks like to be bold. Fearing I am never good enough because I am always anxious about whether I am doing anything right prompted me to learn how to be bold. What I learned has amazed me. So many assumptions I had, have been wrong. I am so grateful for the opportunity for God to lead me on this journey, and I can’t wait to see how it manifests in me.

In the beginning I learned every decision we make is bold. Being a jerk, is bold. Being nice, is bold. Even not making a decision is bold because there are still consequences with not making a decision. Standing by and letting someone be a jerk to someone, is bold. Everything comes with risks. Everything comes with consequences.

Originally, I thought boldness had to do with a lack of fear. However, I learned pretty quickly the boldness that comes from Christ, really has nothing to do with fear. It is possible to act boldly but still be fearful.

And in fact, the boldness that doesn’t come from Christ, probably has everything to do with fear. I’m afraid someone is going to take advantage of me if I don’t show him who is boss. I’m afraid if I don’t jump at this opportunity I may not be successful in life. I’m afraid if I don’t take control everything will fall to pieces.

The fear is about me. Not about Christ. I can feel fear. It’s not the sin. The sin is letting it control me. When I allow my fear to control me, I am taking back my life from Christ. I am no longer letting him be my Lord.

Once I hit the New testament I realized the boldness I wanted to inherit comes from God. Without Jesus or without the Holy Spirit it is impossible to please him. Again this boldness has nothing to do with fear. Boldness, like courage, is feeling fear and doing it anyway. It looks foolish to the world. It looks like weakness. It looks like defeat.

I found faith as a better way to describe boldness. Boldness allows you to do something, because it’s the right thing to do, not because you weren’t afraid. Your faith in God, makes you bold. Without faith, it is impossible to be bold for Christ.

I’m not sure if boldness is the same as faith, but I definitely believe it is a result of it. Boldness is your demonstration of your faith. Faith is a verb, and it looks like boldness. The stronger your faith, the bolder you become.

I want to live a life that displays more than my salvation. I want to spend my days living a life worthy of my Father. One that points to who my Father is. One that honors him. I don’t just want Christ to save my life. I want him to use my life. I could not do this without inheriting the boldness his Spirit gives.

With his boldness, I am able to live in this world without being a part of it. I am able to look forward to eternal and heavenly consequences, rather than earthly consequence that may be immediate but will one day disappear.

Once His Spirit enters me, my will to live is gone and the desire to do His will is birthed. I am transformed. I am no longer the same person. I am a new creation. I have access to a boldness I never had before. It starts small, but with practice and devotion, it grows. The less there is of me, the more of him there is.

The Bible is full of instruction on how to mature your boldness. The Holy Spirit enables you to be bold, but it won’t magically make you bold. It will require your commitment, your dedication, your faith.

Like the Israelites who spent 40 years in the desert being sanctified, learning how to be God’s Holy people; I have my time on earth to do the same thing. With the boldness the Lord gives me, I am learning what it means to stop being a product of this world and start being a product of a heavenly one. I’m grateful he has given me more than 40 years, but now I feel the urgency to make up for lost time. Cuz honestly, I’ve only recently started this whole sanctification process.

I live for the Day of Judgment when my salvation has been made evident, and I am rewarded for my boldness. And reward enough for me is to hear my Father’s words, “Good and faithful.”

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Giving It All Away

Giving everything you have to the Kingdom of Heaven, is bold.

You are trusting God to fulfill all his promises; that he loves you, is watching out for you, he’s going to provide everything you need, so that your resources he gave you in the first place, can go to help others know him as their father as well. He didn’t give us all this stuff so that we could live a comfy life. All this stuff is suppose to empower us to do his work; to show his love, to be his hands and feet. We were never supposed to horde what we have. We were never supposed to collect riches, things, or prestige. He puts us in position to help, and watches to see if we are investing it into others.

There are people out there who work twice as hard, five times as hard, as I do and yet, their income does not reflect mine. No one deserves what they receive. Wealth is not based on the amount of your effort, like you are somehow more special, more deserving, more gifted. It’s all a gift. A gift that was meant for others. It’s a privilege.

Oh, but I understand how great the temptation is to hold onto everything. To be selfish and then justify it by saying I deserve it. I don’t. We don’t. We don’t deserve any of it.

Now the flip side to this is there are those who refuse the gifts of God. They don’t take up their righteous place in his kingdom. They don’t want to listen to the instructions he provides, so they never find themselves in a position to help others, to do his work, to show his love, to be his hands and feet. They are victims to their circumstances. They blame others, instead of themselves. So his resources are never offered. Actually, they are offered, but they’re not accepted. Maybe they don’t know another way, maybe they’re too proud to follow any other way.

But there’s hope. He always leaves his door open to anyone who wants to come in and take up their inherited position he has set aside for them.

So he trusts us, those of us who have already inherited the Kingdom of God to lead those who don’t know him, and they in turn, use their inheritance to lead others too. It’s a beautiful cycle of love he gifts us; those of us who participate. The joy he gives out does any comfort we can horde here on Earth.

He commands nothing, but he asks for it all. He’s the kind of God I want to serve. He doesn’t need me, but he wants me anyway.

Jesus called his disciples to him and said, “I tell you the truth, this poor widow has given more than all the others who are making contributions. For they gave a tiny part of their surplus, but she, poor as she is, has given everything she had to live on.” – Mark 12:43-44

This is All I Know

If even Peter was weak and let Jesus down, how can I possibly not??? He lived with him, spoke to him. Saw his miracles. Heard him teaching. Walked on freakin’ water with him! And yet, he still denied him. THREE TIMES! IN THE SAME NIGHT!!! I am so screwed. We are all, so so screwed.

Maybe I need to accept that I fail at following Jesus, miserably. Even when I do good, I’m still screwing it all up. My ways are not his ways, and my thoughts are not his thoughts. I have trouble understanding people here on earth. So no, I don’t know exactly what God expects from me. But I know in my heart I want to spend the rest of my life figuring it out. Even if I’m doing it all wrong. I still want to pursue him, because he gives me hope.

He tells me I am loved even when I’m unlovable. He gives me peace knowing he is watching over me, guiding me, giving me a way out of the traps I keep setting for myself. He makes me new. He erases all the false messages I’ve heard about myself from others and gives me truth. Truth that I am a screw-up and he loves me anyway. He made me this way, and I am honoring him, by accepting who I am. A child of God.

I know my place; I know I’m not worthy. And only because Jesus says I am, I am. I am saved by his grace. Not by my works.

If I know anything, this is what I know…

For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. – John 3:16

This is My Mission

I am convinced that I will live for all eternity. I am 47 and when I am 87, I will say, I am only 87 because in terms of forever, it is just the beginning. I will not live like I am used up, for my lifetime has just started. I will not use excuses, focus on limits, or diminish my worth or value. My time here on Earth may be done, but that does not mean I am done. I will transition.

Therefore, I will talk about the future. I will imagine my life in 100 years, 200 years, 1,000. I will plan. I will dream. I will prepare.

I am here training. I will continue to build my faith because I am convinced it will serve me well later. I will build relationships and compassion. I will walk beyond my comfort zone. I do this because I truly believe the amount of effort I put forth now will determine the quality of life I will live forever.

This time here is oh so temporary and such a short time with so much to do. I pray the Lord will cram as much training as I can possibly handle into my few years I have left. Life has not plagued me with death, destruction or trauma. He has kept me fed, kept me warm, kept me safe. Blessed me beyond measure. I have not had to be distracted with life tragedies. He has protected me from such things, yet what have I used my time for? All selfish things, I can assure you.

It has all been for my comfort, and not for his purpose. I have suddenly been awakened with conviction that I have been living on borrowed time. This time was not meant for me, but for the work of the Lord. And I have squandered it on selfishness. I promise you, this will happen no more.

I pray I stop being the obstacle of my growth and development. I pray I am able to make up the time lost on selfish endeavors, and get to what really matters. I pray for maturity. I pray for conviction. I pray for the day when I see my Father and he tells me, “You did great! I have so much to show you. So much for you to do. I’ve had this planned for you all along, and I think you are ready for it now. Come. Let’s get to work!”

This is the plan he has for me. This is what he is talking about in Jeremiah 29:11.

For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.

THIS! This is my mission!

The Valley of Blessings

The Valley of Blessings

This is where I live, and it’s ok. Yes it’s in the valley where we struggle the most. But I’ve been told you’re either on your way out of the valley or on your way in. We never spend much time on the mountain top. And that’s ok too.

As long as I know I’m not alone once I get there, I know I’ll be ok. In fact, I praise God when I’m there, because I’ve also been told he is close to the broken hearted. So I would rather be broken with my savior in the valley, than be living the high life, alone.

Jehoshaphat was terrified by this news and begged the Lord for guidance.  – 2 Chronicles 20:3

This is what the Lord says: Do not be afraid! Don’t be discouraged by this mighty army, for the battle is not yours, but God’s. – 2 Chronicles 20:15

Believe in the Lord your God, and you will be able to stand firm. – 2 Chronicles 20:20

On the fourth day they gathered in the Valley of Blessing, which got its name that day because the people praised and thanked the Lord there. It is still called the Valley of Blessing today. – 2 Chronicles 20:26

The Apology

Yesterday, I found myself sitting in my car yelling at some woman I have never met because she fed my son. Actually, that’s not why I was yelling at her, but it is something she does everyday.

I had lost it. I lost my patience. And then I hung up. It was ugly. I was ugly.

I was already having a bad day, a bad week actually. And I know I was being tested.

Things just kept happening.

I had to take my mom to two appointments. Take my kids to theirs. Go to mine. Schedule more for my mom. Try to coordinate with work what times I could take off. My AC broke. My AC broke again. My daughter gets sent home from school with a fever and can’t be sent back. There are fraudulent activities on my debit card.

And then there is this woman who was just trying to do her job. Who doesn’t understand the issues I have with my son. Who doesn’t know our history. Who just…just was a person I could lash out at instead of a thing that was making my life more difficult.

Satan, I’m sure loved that. I felt horrible. I felt horrible not because of all the crap that was happening around me or to me, but I felt horrible because of something I did, something I could have controlled.

The feeling festered inside of me. And even though people around me were telling me I was justified and I shouldn’t beat myself up over it; we all make mistakes, I felt… unworthy, I felt disgusted, I felt I let God down.

That’s exactly the feeling Satan wanted me to feel.

This morning I heard a faint whisper, it was faint but it was clear.

You could call, and apologize.

It wasn’t a command. It wasn’t a should.

It was just a suggestion, but as soon as I heard it, I knew it was right. I knew how to stop the self loathing, I knew how I could stand tall before the altar of God, again.

But I was scared! How can I do this? What will I say? What if she yells back at me?

Oh God, this is really something I need to do to make it right? I knew the answer.

Yes, I screwed up. Yes I am human. Yes, I am forgiven. But none of these made me feel any better about myself.

I picked up the phone. I called the school. I asked to speak to the cafeteria. And as the words fell from my mouth how deeply sorry I was for speaking to her the way I had, I became completely broken and I couldn’t keep my composure.

There was silence.

I was scared she was going to lash back at me for making her feel so bad. I deserved it. I was not Christ-like. I had misrepresented him. I should be ashamed. I was ashamed.

The pause broke, and I could feel her heart melt, as mine did, when she responded, “I am sorry, too.”

At that moment I felt the Grace of God, not only pour down onto me, but onto us, as we were lifted from this earthly realm, and risen to a heavenly state.

I felt Jesus today. I felt Holy; set apart. I felt transformed. I felt forgiven. I felt worthy. I felt loved.

LOVE ME, EVEN THOUGH I AM UNLOVABLE!

I felt God say, “I do.

Crown of Glory

So after a rough morning of wondering if I was really ready to continue letting my natural hair color grow in, a new friend encouraged me by stating; we need to change the thinking of people who believe grey hair is for the old, and we can’t do that unless we start changing how we are thinking too.

I never realized how emotional this was going to be! I started coloring my hair at 21 because of the remarks I would get. It is unbelievable what strangers will say to people they don’t know. So I let others shame me into hiding who I was.

I thought I was past that. Apparently, I’m not. But I am older now, no…I am wiser.

I hide myself from no one. I strive to live an authentic life, a transparent one, which often means, a vulnerable one; but also a free one. It is incredibly freeing to see myself as a grown woman for the first time.

I am no longer a child. I no longer need to think as a child. I have been given a crown of Glory (Proverbs 16:31), and I will wear it for as long as God will let me.

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