Note 6 – Part 2 (continued from same day) (Navigation forward and backward at bottom of screen)
Also in answer to this question/prayer (for CONVICTION to the point of being FULLY PERSUADED and for further revelation about what we need to do to “have the GUTS to get in the car”) ~
~ He gave us the passage where the disciples vowed that even if it meant making the ultimate sacrifice, they would die for Jesus rather than deny or disown Him (which most of them eventually did).
~ He also showed us again all that Jesus was willing to endure, including laying down His life, to fulfill His call for our sakes. He emphasized that He is our example of laying down our lives to fulfill God’s call, reminding us through Philippians 2 that we’re to have this same mind and attitude that was in Him, which led Him to actions of humility beyond what we can fully comprehend. He purposefully set aside all the glory of Heaven in order to come into our fallen, broken world and give His life in a horrific way so we could be saved. Through this word which emphasized Philippians 2, He also gave us precise and profound confirmation of what He spoke through note 5 of this series, stating that Jesus had to divest Himself of “COMFORT” and “CONVENIENCE” in order to do God’s will! He calls us to do the same ~ to humble ourselves, rid ourselves of anything that would stand in the way of us fully doing His will (including COMFORT and CONVENIENCE), take on the nature of a servant, make ourselves of no reputation, and lay down our lives so others can come to know Him and be saved.
Realizing that once again, it sounded as though He was calling us all to be ready to pay the ultimate price to follow Him, we continued to pray for clarity about the full implications of what He was saying ~ “are you preparing us to be ready and willing to even be martyred for Your Name?” After asking Him this, He brought up the account of John the Baptist multiple times in the same week from different sources. The first time was when I reread the prophetic word from 2012 (parts 1-8) which concludes with this paragraph:
At certain times the Lord speaks a difficult message that causes many to depart. With winnowing fork, He sifts the wheat from the tares ~ His true bride from those who desire only the benefits of relationship without the exclusive, enduring commitment of marriage. In those moments, when He looks at each of us with eyes full of love and sorrow and asks, “What about you? Do you want to leave too?” what will our answer be? When we realize that following the Lord can cost us all, He says, “…blessed is he who is not offended because of Me” (Mt 11:6). Will we be offended? Do we “love” Him only for His blessings and promises, or will we truly love and follow Him no matter the cost because He is Lord? We are in such a season. The sifting and separating is now. The lines are drawn in the sands of time; we must choose whom we serve.
The 2nd time occurred that Wednesday night, when our pastor talked about this same account of Jesus telling John the Baptist, “blessed is he who is not offended because of Me.” Though our pastor spoke about this account from the angle of not allowing ANY offense (with anyone) to derail us and cause us not to be able to fulfill our calling, we still believed it was significant that the Lord was bringing this passage up again in light of our prayers. The very next night, we felt led to put on a Joyce Meyer DVD teaching that we’d had for a while but had never taken the time to watch. We were IN ABSOLUTE AWE when she began to talk about the exact same account AGAIN, and she was speaking about it from the same angle I felt the Lord had always emphasized it to me ~ of not becoming offended with the Lord for the cost of following Him (even if it costs all).
I knew the piercing of this message from the story of John the Baptist well. It’s the heart rending message of one who dedicated his whole life to fulfilling the call of God, yet his seeming reward for fulfilling that call was imprisonment and impending death (for offending one in authority who didn’t appreciate hearing the truth that he must repent of his life of sin). Though maybe none of us have been in that precise scenario, perhaps we’ve been in a situation that has caused us to have a taste of his pain and confusion. Most of us can probably empathize with what was the likely wrestling match occurring in his heart at that time ~ “Surely this can’t be the way it’s supposed to be! This can’t be right. This isn’t the result I expected from doing God’s will.” After all, the Lord not only promised to bring sight to the blind, and make the lame walk; He also promised to set prisoners free (Isaiah 61)! But now that John desperately needed to see this promise manifested and receive some divine intervention and deliverance, where was Jesus? Instead, John’s experience was so counter to his expectations that it caused offense with God for how things were working out (or rather NOT working out as he thought they should). This offense became so serious that it began to cause him to question his faith and the identity of Jesus.
Cutting straight through to the heart/root of his doubts, Jesus sent word to him assuring him of the miracles, signs, and wonders that were indeed happening…for others…adding, “blessed is he who is not offended because of Me.” In other words, “Yes, I am still God, even when you don’t understand what’s happening and why things aren’t working out like you thought they would or should. You are blessed if you are not offended with Me when your faithfulness to My Word and obedience to My will carries a higher price than you realized it would.”
to be continued… (see part 3 here)
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