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One year ago today, God called a soldier home. Papa Rick, the man who fathered me in the spirit and mentored me into destiny, suddenly and tragically left this earth on May 4th, 2015. As I reflect on his life (read more here) and the influence he had on mine, I am contemplating what he would say to me in this season. It is from the wisdom of my Papa and the whisper of the Spirit of God that I write this post.

Have You Considered My Servant?

I have been meditating on the first and second chapters of Job recently. I continue to be amazed by the way God gives Satan permission to test His servants. The Bible tells us that Job “was blameless and upright; he feared God and shunned evil.” Yet in Job 1, an exchange occurs between Satan and God that can wreck the mind if misunderstood. God suggests to Satan, “Have you considered My servant Job? There is no one on earth like him … everything he has is in your power ….”

Now why would a good and loving Father turn a blameless and upright man over to the wiles of the enemy? Why?! Doesn’t that contradict the very nature of God?

Sometimes we just have to wrestle with God, don’t we? We have to sit with His word, be in His presence, and ask the tough questions. We have to trust Him in the unknowing and wait on Him for the revelation. If we truly BELIEVE He is who He says He is, then He will cause all things to align with His goodness … we need only to ask and believe.

The Lord has been reminding me that He knows His servants best. He created us. He knows our strengths, and He knows our weaknesses. Most importantly, He knows our hearts. Sometimes He will turn us over to our enemy – not to sabotage or reprimand us – but to reveal to heaven, hell, and earth who we really are. Selah.

Have you considered My servant, _________? Insert your name into that question and imagine Satan approaching the throne of God seeking whom he may devour. Your faithful Father suggests your name. Why? Because He knows you. Just as He knew Job. See, I believe the Father knew Job’s strength and courage. He knew Job’s faithfulness. He knew Job’s spirit and soul. And He knew that no matter what Satan did to Job, this blameless and upright man would never turn his back on his God. Never. Not once. Not when his family was destroyed. Not when his health was attacked. Not when his friends challenged him. Not when his wife taunted him. Never. Not once. Not one single time did Job turn his back on God. In the midst of his deepest turmoil and darkest struggles, Job was blameless and upright in his heart toward God.

Beloved, the Lord is still giving Satan permission. Father God is still suggesting the names of His servants. Why? Because He believes in us. Because He knows our hearts better than we do. And because He wants to remind us of who we really are.

Strength and Courage

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. – Joshua 1:9

The Lord has been showing me that there are heavy attacks set against His faithful servants in this season. But the beauty lies in the truth behind the permission. God may give Satan permission, but the truth is that your Father in heaven KNOWS you. God KNOWS you will not turn your back on Him. He KNOWS you will stay true to your belief in who He is. He KNOWS that even in your pain you will STAND, and when you have done all to stand, you will stand some more. He KNOWS you are not a quitter. He KNOWS you will never give up, never back down, and never lose faith. He KNOWS that even in your struggle you will bless the Lord with all of your heart, mind, soul, and strength. And He also KNOWS that you need to be reminded of who you are.

I imagine Job truly believed he loved the Lord and would be faithful to Him all of his days. But Beloved, the test of our character comes in our trials. We are only as strong as our battles reveal us to be. In other words, when everything is rocking along nicely in our comfort zone, it is easy to be faithful to God. But what happens when the Lord takes away some peace? What happens when He removes some blessings? What happens when we are stretched and pressed on every side? How do we respond to Him (and to others) when the rug is pulled out from under us? This is who we really are. And this is the greatest lesson we can learn from Job … how to endure in faithful love and trust God under great pressure. Remember … NO PRESSURE, NO DIAMONDS.

I believe the Lord is allowing some attacks in this season – not so we will be forced to trust Him in the trials – rather so we will be reminded of WHO WE REALLY ARE. I have no doubt Job was a better, stronger, and more courageous man after he walked through the fire. I have no doubt his faith increased when God finally restored all that was stolen. I have no doubt he became even more aware of his identity and more confident in his relentless pursuit of his relationship with God. This is the reason for this season. This is what MAY is about. You MAY want to give up this month, but I encourage you to stay the course, fight the good fight, and trust the One who is sovereign over ALL (including the enemy of your soul). You will emerge from the fire with a strength and courage that you forgot you possessed. Beloved, it is time to get your game back.

RESTORATION

Literally as soon as I finished typing that last paragraph, a friend sent a text with one word … “RESTORATION.” This friend had no idea what I was doing, but God did. Job is ultimately a book about restoration. In the final chapter of Job, the last eight verses say:

“And the Lord restored Job’s losses when he prayed for his friends. Indeed the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before. Then all his brothers, all his sisters, and all those who had been his acquaintances before, came to him and ate food with him in his house; and they consoled him and comforted him for all the adversity that the Lord had brought upon him. Each one gave him a piece of silver and each a ring of gold. Now the Lord blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning; for he had fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, one thousand yoke of oxen, and one thousand female donkeys. He also had seven sons and three daughters. And he called the name of the first Jemimah, the name of the second Keziah, and the name of the third Keren-Happuch. In all the land were found no women so beautiful as the daughters of Job; and their father gave them an inheritance among their brothers. After this Job lived one hundred and forty years, and saw his children and grandchildren for four generations. So Job died, old and full of days.”

I don’t know what you are going through, but I know it is likely not nearly as difficult as what Job experienced. Yet God restored. Beloved, weeping may endure for a night, but JOY comes in the morning! And I have heard it said that morning is not necessarily when the sun rises … it is when we WAKE UP. Remember, the darkest night comes just before the dawn. Your dark night may be longer or shorter than mine, but I know this … the sun WILL RISE again. The restoration WILL come. And at some point, you WILL REMEMBER who you are. You will be STRONGER and more COURAGEOUS than ever before, and the Lord WILL bless you. This is the Year of Jubilee, Beloved. God promises to restore you this year. Wait and watch … and whatever you do, do NOT give up.

I encourage you to keep your heart fixed on the Lover of your soul. Keep your eyes off of the wind and the waves, Peter. Shift your focus onto the One walking on the water. Do not be distracted by the circumstances, Job. Rest and trust in the faithfulness of the Father. Yes, He gives and He takes away. But blessed be the name of the Lord!

GET YOUR GAME BACK

I really believe this is a time of restoring identity and remembering who we are in Him. I believe the Lord is teaching His servants how to fight again. The battle is not against flesh and blood. This is spiritual warfare. This is a higher level of intensity. This is new revelation, new territory, and new dimensions. I have been encouraged by someone close to me recently, “We can GROW UP or GIVE UP. We can OVERCOME or BE OVERCOME.” This is the message of the month, Beloved. This is how we get our game back. The Lord will occasionally remind us of who we are by allowing us to go through some things that stretch us to the breaking point.

BREAKthrough happens after we BREAK. Sometimes the Lord will “help” us get to the end of ourselves just so we can see how committed and devoted we are to Him. Read that last sentence again please. He allows it so WE can see how committed and devoted we are. Father God already sees it. He knows how capable we are. We are the ones who need to be reminded. In seasons of comfort or complacency, it is easy to forget who we really are. Unless we have to fight for something, we can slip into a familiar zone of forgetting. This ultimately prevents our progression and inevitably stunts our growth. Embrace the fight, Beloved. Step up to the plate. Remember who you are. Find your authentic swing. And never look back. This is your time to shine.

 

Watch this clip …

The Legend of Bagger Vance: “Authentic Swing”

 

May the Fourth be with you, friends. May you remember your calling and identity in Christ Jesus. May you be empowered by His Spirit and healed by His presence. May you walk with integrity and be blessed with peace, even in the midst of adversity. The road may be long, but the journey is worth it. Stay the course and fight the good fight, in Jesus’ Name.

 

A little extra encouragement for the month: