He still washed Judas’s feet

1 John 4:19 (AMP) We love, because He first loved us.

Not two days after I finished reading Unmerited Favor by Joseph Prince and starting on The Root of Rejection by Joyce Meyer did I get a blow to my heart. I already knew it was coming. God had told us about it almost a year ago, but it still hurt. The timing was perfect for the enemy to use. Why? I had just come out stating that I was going to remind myself daily that “I am His beloved.” When I read the Word and meditate on it, the revelation knowledge that I get is because, “I am Jesus’s favorite disciple.”

A little back story of what it feels like to be a favorite. My sisters (twins) and I are about twenty two months apart, me being the oldest. When I was four we lived in Kentucky and I remember there being a special drawer for me with gum in it…Bubblicious gum. My sisters were too young to enjoy treats like that, but I got to! It made me feel special. When we moved, I have another memory of one of my aunts bringing treats for all of the little kids (she having two herself). We all closed our eyes and held out our hands and they put candies in everyone’s hands but mine. I was told that I was too old (at the age of six) to receive any. In my gut I knew that it was because my grandparents had a special bond with me and she was jealous.

So when I was told that I was not who they wanted to speak into their life (even though we pastor), that “this person is my leader,” it took me back to the pain of being rejected at six years old. I had to realize that the enemy was jealous, he is not His favorite, I am! It took me a few days to get over that blow to my heart, but it was a distraction. It was a distraction from me walking in freedom and the power that wherever I go miracles follow because the Holy Spirit dwells in me!! Do you know what Jesus’s favorite disciple gets to do? They get to walk around everywhere they go knowing they are loved. The Holy Spirit will bring back all that transpired and say, “you did what I told you to do, they still have free choice.” I have to continue to walk in love even though it was wrong, why? In my wrongness, He loved me first! Even in being rejected and knowing He would be betrayed, He still washed Judas’s feet. I love, because He loved first!

My love is not wrapped in this one person who rejected me. God showed me, look at all of these that see you as a gift. You know He does that with His beloved. I am His favorite disciple, so that I can point others back to Him. I want to tell you that you are His favorite disciple too. He will make Himself as personal to you as you desire Him to. I often like to call them “Daddy Moments.” Remember, He first loved us. He knows what it is like to love so deeply and still be rejected, but He first loved us (the book of 1 John was written to people who rejected Him).

James 1:2-4 (AMP) Consider it nothing but joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you fall into various trials.  Be assured that the testing of your faith [through experience] produces endurance [leading to spiritual maturity, and inner peace] And let endurance have its perfect result and do a thorough work, so that you may be perfect and completely developed [in your faith], lacking in nothing.

The enemy is going to test that Word inside of you. Count it as a joy because it will produce something great inside of you. Do not let the enemy try to get you to go into hiding, as it did me. We need to experience this life. I do not want to lack anything that He has planned for me. I may get hurt again, that is okay. Just like He did this time, He will do it again, He will let me know just how loved and wanted I am. I pray He does the same for you.

Psalm 138:3 (NLT) As soon as I pray, you answer me; you encourage me by giving me strength.

Patience is a muscle

James 1:2-7 (NKJV) My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of you faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord.

Patience is one of the fruits or attributes of the love walk. We find it mentioned in Galatians 5 and in 1 Corinthians 13. Why does it say we should rejoice with trials to get more of it?

I have the privilege of mentoring many young ladies in the church. When they are going through various trials it may be easier to allow the grumbling and the harsh self talk. We are to be empathetic right? It does take courage, and is sometimes rejection at first, but the perspective of “this is a growth opportunity!” always shows to be true.

Romans 12:12 (AMP) Constantly rejoicing in hope (because of our confidence in Christ), steadfast and patient in distress, devoted in prayer (continually seeking wisdom, guidance, and strength).

Did you know that you can limit the work that God can do in your life by your perspective? James 1:13 (NKJV) says, ‘Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone.‘ Trials are not brought on by God. If we do not have trials how could “free will” be established. How as believers are we to be examples of the love of God on earth if we are always complaining of what we are going through?

One of my least favorite verses to hear people quote is Job 1:21 “The Lord gives, and the Lord takes away.” This is a verse that I hear when people give up hope. That nothing is going right for them because that is God’s will. That is so very untrue. God removes things out of our lives to make room for better things. It is all about perspective.

There are times that I have to correct my children. In doing so I want to get to the root of the reason they made the decision in the first place. Why is it when we are corrected the first reaction is “I can’t do anything right?” It takes a patient parent to not get frustrated. It takes a parent that cares to make them stay in the room until the conversation is resolved. It takes a loving parent to admit their own mistakes and not be on the defensive as well. Without wisdom, His wisdom, I cannot get things right. This is one of the trials that helps me grow in patience. It is all about perspective.

Our perspective and the words that come out of our mouth as result are so very important to the growth that can happen in our lives. Yes, you make be going through a hard season. It may look like your world is crashing down all around you.

Philippians 1:6 (AMP) I am convinced and confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will (continue to) perfect and complete it until the day of Christ Jesus (the time of His return).

James 1:12 (AMP) Blessed (happy, spiritually prosperous, favored by God) is the man who is steadfast under trial and perseveres when tempted; for when he has passed the test and been approved, he will receive the (victor’s) crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.

Like our physical stature, our spirit man has muscles that need to be worked as well. My spirit muscles will not grow stronger without resistance. Like I have said before, I want all that God has for me. I want as many crowns and rewards as I can get when I get to heaven. It will take me persevering. I will not lose hope. I will rejoice and choose to grow in trials. I will continue to praise His name and not complain. I will be led by the Holy Spirit, and step out of what is comfortable, so that I can fulfill the Great Commission that He has commanded that I do.

The enemy wants us to hide away when we are facing trials. Why? He wants to put you on pause as long as he can so that you stop running. Just like our physical muscles, when we stop moving, our muscles start to shrink. Your endurance lessens. You get comfortable in the sedentary lifestyle. Now your health is at risk. It is all about perspective. When my body hurts, I want to give it rest. If I let it rest too long, then when I try to get up to move my body will scream at me to stop and sit back down. Muscles need to be worked.

The enemy wants us to hide away when we are facing trials.

Hebrews 12:1-13 (TPT) As for us, we have all of these great witnesses who encircle us like clouds. So we must let go every wound that has pierced us and the sin we so easily fall into. The we will be able to run life’s marathon race with passion and determination, for the path has been already marked out before us. We look away from the natural realm and we fasten our gaze onto Jesus who birthed faith within us and who leads us forward into faith’s perfection. His example is this: Because his heart was focused on the joy of knowing that you would be his, endured the agony of the cross and conquered its humiliation, and not sits exalted at the right hand of the throne of God! So consider carefully how Jesus faced such intense opposition from sinners who opposed their own souls, so that you won’t become worn down and cave under life’s pressures. After all, you have not yet reached the point of sweating blood in your opposition to sin. And you have forgotten the encouraging words spoken to you as his children? He said, “My child, don’t underestimate the value of the discipline and training of the Lord God, or get depressed when he has to correct you. For the Lord’s training of your life is the evidence of his faithful love. And when he draws himself, it proves you are his delightful child.” Fully embrace God’s correction as part of your training, for he is doing what any loving father does for his children. For who has ever heard of a child who never had to be corrected? We all should welcome God’s discipline as the validation of authentic sonship. For if we have never once endured his correction it only proves we are strangers and not sons. And isn’t it true that we respect our earthly fathers even though they corrected and disciplined us? Then we should demonstrate an even greater respect for God, our spiritual Father, as we submit to his life-giving discipline. Our parents corrected us for the short time of childhood as it seemed good to them. But God corrects us throughout our lives for our own good, giving us an invitation to share his holiness. Now all discipline seems to be more pain than pleasure at the time, yet later it will produce a transformation of character, bring a harvest of righteousness and peace to those who yield it. So be made strong even in your weakness by lifting up your tired hands in prayer and worship. And strengthen your weak knees, for as you keep walking forward on God’s path all your stumbling ways will be divinely healed!

This is one of my go to passages when we are tempted to give up. When I get disappointed with people and want to hide. When I so much see others potential and get frustrated when they refuse to move. I have to remember, that I am running a race myself and cannot get distracted. I have to work that patience muscle and not allow disappointments to become wounds. God will work things out in them and it is their choice to stop running, but that does not mean I need to stop.

You see I am talking out of the heart of a pastor. Patience is one of the faith muscles that we constantly have to grow in. There are those who are stubborn and will never get out of the mindset of a God that gives and takes away. We love them anyways. I have to rejoice and celebrate in the ones who take a hold of the Word of God and let it work in their life. When I see Hebrews 12 come alive to them. As a pastor our trials are not often lusts, to some they are. To me one of my trials is people. I see so much potential in the people that God has put in my life. I have to remind myself that God is their parent, Amanda. Just like I had to remind myself of the teens and some of the stuff they are allowed to do. I am not their parent. Pray and allow God to do the work in them. It is their choice. I have to run my race. Those that allow me to mentor, I mentor. Those that do not, pray that the door will open so that they can receive from someone who will point them to God. It is all about perspective!

Peace Even During Difficulty

Nearly two years ago I was terminated from a job that I no longer felt joy in going to. Honestly I should have left a year and a half before. However, I stayed not listening to God, because I could not see how we could have all the luxuries we do now without it. I know it was selfish! It was a huge mistake and the mistake that I made (as unintentional as it was) was a huge blow to my character…so I thought.

What did I do when confronted with this blow? I spent the first week in the word NON STOP! I read books on dealing with rejection. I dove deeper into my Bible. I even pulled out my old study Bible from m when I first accepted Christ, at the age of eighteen. I played worship music for hours!!

Peace did not leave me in that transition. Why? I was ready to leave that job, I was the one holding onto it. It was my fault that I put myself into that situation. I was bound and determined that I was going to hold true to His Word. Romans 8: 28 says, “So we are convinced that every detail of our lives is continually woven together to fit into God’s perfect plan of bringing good into our lives, for we are his lovers who have been called to fulfill his designed purpose.”(TPT)

God was going to get the glory for this! I did not hide. I did not fall into depression. I did not blame anyone for my circumstances. Did I have moments? Um…I am not perfect, of course I did! They were only allowed to be moments though. Jesus left us a promise:

“Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” (John 14:27)

People today define peace as long as things are going their way. We hear “World Peace” as in reference to ending of wars and no crime. Peace is defined in this manner as “Stress-free state of security and calmness that comes when there is no fighting or war.”

Jesus left us a supernatural peace though. A peace that will be there even in the midst of great difficulty.

2 Peter 1:2 (with emphasis added), “May grace (God’s unmerited favor demonstrated through power on your behalf) and a peace (a state of perfect well-being, all necessary good, all spiritual prosperity, and freedom from fears and agitating passions and moral conflicts) be multiplied to your through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.”

There was a time when Jesus was at peace and those that were with him were not. In Mark 4:35-40 we can see that Jesus is with the disciples on a boat and a storm comes up. Jesus, however, is sleeping through it… the disciples were not. Right away in verse thirty five Jesus tells them, “Let us cross over to the other side.” Then He grabs a pillow and takes a nap. Do you not think that Jesus knew that a storm was coming?

Do you not think that God knew a storm was going to come into your life? He knew I would be terminated. Why is is that when things like that happen we going into a lament and shout out to God “Why me?” Then we withhold ourselves thinking we will ease some stress.

I once read a tweet that said, “Today in church a Pastor said this: If you can trust a puzzle company to make sure every piece is in the box to complete the puzzle, then why can’t you trust God that every piece of your life is there for a reason?”

Ephesians 2:10, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”

God knows the beginning to the end, not just about earth, but about our individual lives as well. Can I stand in peace through trials?

Lisa Bevere wrote a book called Without Rival. Here are a couple of quotes I pulled out during this time in my life: “Moses learned that destiny is revealed in seasons of confrontation rather than season for comfort.” “The anointing set you apart, but confrontations, storms and trials will set you up.”

“Moses learned that destiny is revealed in seasons of confrontation rather than season for comfort.”

Lisa Bevere

Remember that in times of trials you can hold onto His peace. You are not shouldering this alone.

1 Peter 5:7, “Pour out all your worries and stress upon him and leave them there, for he always tenderly cares for you.” (TPT) The New King James Version tells us to, “cast all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.” Whether you lay it down, or you throw it to Him, He cares for us so much that we do not need to feel like the trials are just for us alone. He knows the path to go through them and He will walk every step with us, knowing this we can be at peace.