Journeys, expectations and the fuel for the fire
Yesterday morning the Lord showed me a picture. That's not uncommon for Him but this was not anything I expected. I was chewing on what happens when certain expectations, that felt like faith, get dashed and how they can eat away at our relationship with God. How Israel walked through this repeatedly (and badly) on their 40 year road trip. And how 1500 years later we find two discouraged disciples on their road trip to Emmaus struggling with the same issue. "We had hoped..." they said. Yeah...Been there, done that, said that. I was in the middle of talking with Him about some of my own disappointed-faith-expectations when the picture appeared. Located where my heart should have been, I could see a black mass of greasy twine/yarn covered in pitch, all tangled and impossible to unwind. Slimy to the touch and dark to the eye (and just the kind of thing you want to see when you're looking for a word of encouragement for the Deck.) All of that 'stuff' was wound around and enveloping my heart. Hmmm.... Clearly I needed some explanation. 'Okay, Lord....Why this picture and why now?' As I looked more closely I could see the cords of this covering and the fibers within the cords and I heard Him say, "...doubt and unbelief do not come in a massive overlay. They come around to bind your true heart, bit-by-bit, layer-by-layer. "You allow them to cling to your heart – these disappointments and fatigue of spirit. They constrain and hold your heart back but still you allow them and tolerate them and they build up more and more and more. "At any time, you can see them and ask that I consume them and so I shall. "The issue is not that they come against you and that you received them, the issue is that you tolerated them rather than simply turn to me and allow me to burn them off. "Precept upon precept is often how they work. It is rarely the biggest thing – it is the small things - bit by bit by bit. "You see also that each strand is woven of many cords: The smaller threads that combine to make the larger. So it is that small agreements against my heart for you combine to cover your heart and the glory that I have set within you. "All of this comes along in a process (of the enemy.) Subtle, calculated, persistent, consistent. "But if you know the strategy then you can bring it to me and I will use it as fuel to the fire." Then I saw Him set that whole mess on fire and it looked like a torch. But then, to my amazement, He took it, raised it high and waved it back and forth to signal others to draw near to Him. What?!?! The fallout of my failure became the fuel for the fire to draw others. Can you relate to that? The Deck replay should help you see how these things work and will draw the distinction between great faith and expectations that get entangled with it. When you're done, you might ask Him to show you any black cords of disappointed expectations wrapped around your heart. Don't worry if you find them: They make a really lovely signal fire. And you never know who just might need to see it. Stephen Replay of the Deck teaching, click here.
(Note: The replay has the slides and audio. Had a problem with the vid camera so you won't get to see me ignite the physical model of this...but you can hear it and it burned really well too.)