Over the past several weeks the Lord has been speaking clearly to me and the family. Through several pastor's sermons, articles, and reading the Word, the Lord has been impressing on us what HE wants from us.
As we have been making plans to leave Raleigh and move to Tennessee, we have encountered some intense battles. We have doubted our calling. We have feared a lack of provision. We have focused on DOING the right things. Father is rearranging our priorities, beginning with how we relate to Him and each other.
There have been times over the past few months when our faith has been tested. What do we believe? Why are we leaving a great position where we have met with great "success"? Is this what God has blessed? Who is God....really? The Green's have their ducks in a row." We have have conducted business with a fervency. We have prayed, studied, prepared, kept ourselves from evil...watching our attitudes and motivations. Yet, we have had times where we couldn't see or feel. Scary? Absolutely.
Yesterday, God made it very clear to us what the issue is. We got so busy and focused on selling our home, finding another place to live, going through home inspections, contracts, loan applications, writing a book, and more. This is what the Lord would want us to do, but something was missing.
Revelation 2 defines that missing "thing":
“Write this letter to the angel of the church in Ephesus. This is the message from the one who holds the seven stars in his right hand, the one who walks among the seven gold lampstands:
2 “I know all the things you do. I have seen your hard work and your patient endurance. I know you don’t tolerate evil people. You have examined the claims of those who say they are apostles but are not. You have discovered they are liars. 3 You have patiently suffered for me without quitting.
4 “But I have this complaint against you. You don’t love me or each other as you did at first! 5 Look how far you have fallen! Turn back to me and do the works you did at first. If you don’t repent, I will come and remove your lampstand from its place among the churches. 6 But this is in your favor: You hate the evil deeds of the Nicolaitans, just as I do.
7 “Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches. To everyone who is victorious I will give fruit from the tree of life in the paradise of God.
Jesus approved of the things they did. Their discernment of evil was stellar. They suffered adversity. Their ministry was sound and produced a level of competency. Anyone of us would be excited to hear Jesus say that to us. It's the next paragraph that nullifies those compliments. They lost their first love. They were caught up doing the works of a New Testament community, but they forgot why they were doing it....for the love of Jesus. He wanted them more than what they did for Him.
That is what Jesus has been encouraging us with. We have been caught up in doing the right thing, making the right preparations, etc. that we forgot Him in the process. If Poiema Arts Conservatory and PoiemaArtistry are going to make a difference, we need to foundation it out a love and a passion for Jesus before our works for Him. We want our works to be His works. The only way to assure that is falling in love with HIm. Returning to the JOY of our salvation. Making Him our priority, not what we do. In doing this we won't worry about a home to live in; we won't fret over the next step to acquire a theater; we won't doubt Father is walking beside us in blazing this unknown trail.
So, the next time you feel there is no peace; when you doubt that He is FOR you; when you fall flat on your face and question His faithfulness, remember this: He wants you. He wants your affections. He wants your attention. He wants to show you how intense and intimate His love is. He wants you before your works for Him. Just repent. Yes, repent. Simply put, repent means to turn around. You turn around and guess what or Who is there? His open arms and tender gaze of admiration for you. It is true. Imagine if the church in Ephesus did this? What would Jesus have said then? How much greater would their works have been if the things they did were a result of their love for Jesus, instead of ministry.
This Christmas, starting today...now, give Him want He wants. You. Your affection. Your time. YOUR LOVE. You will then hear the clear voice of Father say, "This is the way; walk in it."
Blessings for a great Christmas Season.