Sunday, January 17, 2016

I'd rather have Jesus (I think)

Isn't the Lord wonderful?  

I recently attended a weekend women's conference and, believe me, I don't think the Lord is wonderful just because I'm on some spiritual high.  He is wonderful simply because He is!  But because of what He is doing in my heart and because of how He spoke to me through His word and the words shared by the speaker, my fingers have been itching to type and my mind has been pondering all manner of Truth.

My heart has been seeking healing but I can't receive the healing when I haven't recognized or acknowledged the wounds.  I'm in the process...  I'm a work in progress...  I want to grieve and move on...  On to what the Lord has in store.  On to breaking chains...  I want to be His servant even when it is tough and even painful.  

The conference speaker, Kelly Minter, focused on Colossians 3:12-14

In the days prior to the conference there was some much needed conviction within my heart and I was reminded of the darkness my own sinful heart is capable of.  I was humbled, as I often need to be, and ready for Him to lead me on and bring me closer to Himself.  God began by softening my heart and reminding me I was chosen and dearly loved.  He reminded me of who I am in Him and because of Him.  And because of who He is within me I can then put on compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience (bound together in perfect unity by love)   even when it's hard, like crazy hard.  It can be hard to display these virtues of holy living  when things are frustrating and breaking, going all wrong and the kids aren't listening.  You know, the kind of days where you're ready to check-out and it's only 9am.  But then there are times and people that go beyond frustration, where the rubber meets the road in a totally different kind of way.  Can I put on compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience  when it's not appreciated, not noticed, and maybe not even deserved?  The first virtue mentioned is compassion and I think that is because it is the avenue that leads us to seeing people through God's eyes.  Eyes of mercy and understanding and love beyond comprehension.  Eyes that looked on my sin and still loved me and wanted me.  It is while we were sinners that Christ died for us.  And it is while others are sinners that I must love them and serve them by dying to myself and following Christ's example.  The Lord will One Day be glorified through every knee bowing and tongue confessing that He is Lord.  Until then He has His people here to glorify His name and serve Him by following His words.  

The Lord was certainly working on my heart and drawing near to me and that is always a beautiful experience.  But it's not meant to end there.  Now, it's time to pour out of myself what God is pouring into me.  I'm ready!!  When filled with His Spirit, it's only natural to be ready to share that.  But then...


The Lord asked me a question.  A hard question.  He had been preparing me for this question for a while. God used a song Kelly Minter sang to prod and reveal.  The song is beautiful and can surely take personal sacrifice to sing wholeheartedly. 

I'd Rather Have Jesus
by Jim Reeves

I’d rather have Jesus than silver or gold;
I’d rather be His than have riches untold;
I’d rather have Jesus than houses or lands;
I’d rather be led by His nail-pierced hand

Than to be the king of a vast domain,
Or be held in sin’s dread sway;
I’d rather have Jesus than anything
This world affords today.

I’d rather have Jesus than men’s applause;
I’d rather be faithful to His dear cause;
I’d rather have Jesus than worldwide fame;
I’d rather be true to His holy name

He’s fairer than lilies of rarest bloom;
He’s sweeter than honey from out the comb;
He’s all that my hungering spirit needs;
I’d rather have Jesus and let Him lead 

A certain word triggered the following conversation.
God: Would you rather have Jesus than anything?
Me:  Of course!
God:  Really?  What about when you have been waiting and waiting and waiting for something?  Something your heart desires?  Something that benefits your family?  Something I want you to have but only in my timing?  Even when things don't go as planned and expected?
Me:  Well, now...  OK, Lord I hear you but...
God:  No, Elizabeth, no "but"s.  Would you rather have Me more than anything?
  (I guess it's time to fall apart and humbly, painfully admit and relinquish that which stands between me and Jesus)

Now, I've been asked if I trusted Him many times.  I must often overcome my own unbelief.  My faith and trust have certainly been tested and have certainly grown over time.  But, somehow, I always manage to put something ahead of my Creator and Savior.   Personally, I am being stretched in several areas.  And even though I have seen the Lord demonstrate to me the fullness of His love and perfect timing, I still question His timing when waiting is painful.  I still question Him when my thorn isn't removed.  And, yet...He is there.  He is faithful and He draws me near...

And He walks with me, and He talks with me,
And He tells me I am His own;
And the joy we share as we tarry there,
None other has ever known.
I think most Christians would be quick to say that Jesus is #1 for them...and easily say that they do want Jesus more than anything.  When we pray, let us ask God to reveal what is truly in our hearts so that what doesn't look like Him can be removed.
So, I know my heart will continue to wander when I take my eyes off of Him but, yes, I'd rather have Jesus than anything.  And believe me, that does not come easily.  

I am thankful I was afforded the opportunity to join the women pictured below (including Kelly Minter in the middle) for the conference!  The Lord ordained this time with me and my heart.  My hope is that through reading His word and drawing near to Him you, too, want Jesus more than anything!   
Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men, whereby you must be saved.  Acts 4:12