PB and J
I love how the Lord stirs His Spirit in me and directs me on what to write. For the past five days or more I keep finding my thoughts, at random moments, drift to the idea of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I rarely eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches anymore, but love them just the same. No, my thoughts were not lead by a hungry stomach or a craving for “comfort food” (for to many people a PB and J sandwich is at the top of the chart in comfort foods; maybe because it reminds them of their childhood?). I have enough experience with the Holy Spirit and the familiarity of His Voice that it was HIM directing me. If I remain patient and wait for it, I would receive greater revelation of what He desired me to say. I knew He wanted me to write and the PB and J was the anchor of my story. I even told John, as we drove home from shopping yesterday afternoon, what I just shared with you. So, there you have it, I woke up at 6AM today, with the exact exhortation I now sit to write to you today. PB and J…
PRAISE, BELIEVERS AND JEALOUSY
“For the Lord your God is a jealous God among you…”
“for you shall worship no other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.” Exodus 34:14
God does not force us to adore Him, but he wants our attention so badly. How humbling is that? He is the KING! Yet, he notices the individual and has no regard for their lack of status or standing? Yes, it is true. This is what makes His love all the more pure and true. He is hopefully devoted to you and desires you reciprocate that devotion to Him as well.
There is nothing the Lord desires more than your unyielding and unbridled adoration and devotion. He tells us all throughout scriptures, both the Old Testament and the New, of the power, edification and strength we have access to when we simply take the time to praise Him and give Him His proper due.
“Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name.” Hebrews 13:15
Every Sunday Believing people gather in churches all over the world. Whether their church is a traditional building with a sanctuary, a cave in a third world or oppressed country, a living room of a home church or Bible study…we gather and we all do the same thing, we praise. There is nothing more unifying to the Body of Christ than when we praise Him. Now, I could carry on regarding the importance of praise, but instead, I want to shift to what happens when Believers praise each other as well.
“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” 1 Peter 4:8
If you know me at all, you know I am a shameless people promoter. The gift of exhortation pumps through my veins and I am a self appointed cheerleader to anyone who would accept my encouragement. I am honest with my praise, I never make something up or say something just because I think it is what the person wants to hear (that is flattery, not encouragement). I am more interested in true praise that will sink into the depths of the persons heart and really do something powerful.
Believe it or not, not everyone wants it, so I try to be respectful, but I still encourage at a lower level (because I can’t help it and truly, all persons need it, even if it is hard to accept). Now, just as God wants our total devotion and praise, thanking Him with gratitude in the hard times not just the good, what would happen if we did this for each other as well!
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
God loves all of His kids. He has special appreciation for the absolute uniqueness of us all, every single one of us. Just like how a parent loves to see their children compliment one another and work together, so is it with the Father above. I do not think it is an ability restricted only to those with a gift to encourage. We all, with the help of the Holy Spirit can become a noticer of the details and find special and unique appreciation for each other. Some people are absolute diamonds, but they are completely unaware because they are too focused on comparing themselves to others, or maybe they have been verbally beat down in their lifetime and lost the correct perspective of their true self. We must build each other up. When someone receives encouragement that is timely and proper it builds their confidence and empowers them to press on and do all that the Lord desires of them. It is like telling one another, “I’ve got your back”. When someone truly has your back you feel the supplemental strength they offer. Like how the Lord is our rear guard, so we are to be a physical representation of a wall of readiness around ourselves and each other.
Have you ever seen the movie, “300”? ~Such a rich visual perspective. I personally find this movie fascinating, yet extremely difficult to watch. I am just super sensitive spiritually and it is a dark movie. However, there are so many rich analogies dripping through out. In the movie, the 300 Spartan soldiers move as a well-choreographed unit. They know exactly how to use their shield and how to cover the man to his right or his left with it. When they hem in tight, they become a cocoon of metal (the shields). Beloved, this is how our mutual praise of the Lord and encouragement of each other functions. It does something in the heart that is undeniable. We are to be completely devoted to each other. There should be no room for insecurity, only love…affection…mutual appreciation for something beautiful.
When God’s love is expressed it is an undeniable, sweet, fragrance and it draws people from near and far to take a deep breath and capture this ever-blossoming love we have found. It’s good and it goes down deep. Let it sink in. Savor it.
He is Jealous for your affection and attention. If you give it to Him, something wonderful happens inside your heart. It is an uncontainable Joy I’ve found and it wells up to overflowing and spills out over others around.
You’ve got a River of Life flowing out of you. Share it. Draw others into the Overflow. Then the Garden of His Goodness will grow and there will not be room to contain this Garden. His Delight…and it begins with Praise.