It's almost become anti-American. We work, we buy, repeat. We build a house, we work, we save, in hopes that when we retire (and until then), we'll be self-sufficient. We won't need anyone, because WE were responsible. We were smart with our finances. We were... safe.
I'm starting to really dislike how that word is being used.
Stay safe. Stay 6 ft apart.
Stay safe. Stay at home.
Stay safe. Don't come to church if you're sick. (assuming your church has even opened)
I've heard people misuse the quote by Corrie Ten Boom, "The safest place is in the center of God's will," to mean that God keeps us safe in the temporal no matter what. What a horrible joke. Let me put this as clear as I can:
God absolutely does not want us to be 'safe' (as the world defines it) in this life.
Wait, I thought this blog was about independence. It is. Safety, being taken care of, having all our needs met through our own 'responsible' labor, so that we can go through life with ease is why independence is a goal of so many in America. To have what I want, when I want it. To live 'comfortably'. To have access to all the amenities. To push buttons and things happen that didn't happen for thousands of years.
Independence is not needing anyone. We can do it alone with hard work and good morals.
Some would say, "But I do need people! I need people working at Amazon so I can order whatever I want and have it shipped to my house. I need people to fix my car. I need people to start restaurants so I can go out to eat. I need gas stations. I need this... that... I'm not independent!"
But yet we work so that we can be as independent as possible. We work so we have safety and comfort. We work so we can live better than kings did for thousands of years.
Many of us will do everything our boss tells us to do for money. But we won't do what our Lord tells us to do for love. - Kris Vallotton (paraphrased)
If you love me, keep my commandments. - Jesus
The real question is why? Why do we place such an outrageous value on independence?
The answer: FEAR!
What if I can't provide for my family? What if I'm old and I have no one to take care of me? I need to make enough money so I can continue my comfortable existence and not be a burden to anyone.
"Safety in light of eternity is to be in God's will."
"But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your ancestors, as it is today.
19 If you ever forget the Lord your God and follow other gods and worship and bow down to them, I testify against you today that you will surely be destroyed. 20 Like the nations the Lord destroyed before you, so you will be destroyed for not obeying the Lord your God."
"But I'm not following idols!" we exclaim. Listen, the devil has gotten a lot sneakier when it comes to idols. They are in the very fabric of what most call American.
Jesus said in John 8:28, "I do nothing on My own initiative, but I speak these things as the Father taught Me..." Did you catch that?? "I do nothing on My own..."
JESUS! God. The savior of the world!! He stated that He does nothing on His own. That is dependence. That is not independence. He didn't even come to do His own will or be served. We are always thinking of ways we can be served... comfort, convenience, a life of ease. We are selfish! Oh, Lord! Help us to be dependent on YOU!
WE CAN DO NOTHING without HIM! Nothing. The very breath we breathe is His.
Jesus said, "If you love me, keep my commandments." Let's look at some of those commands.
Love your enemies.
Bless those that persecute you.
Do not store up treasures on earth... Store up for yourselves treasures in heaven.
Do not worry about what we should eat, what we should wear.
1 Thessalonians 5:3 says, "While people are saying, 'Peace and SAFETY,' destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape."
SAFETY. Independence. FEAR.
Back to Corrie Ten Boom. Her quote is exactly right if you're not in the temporal, not in the world.
Safety in light of eternity is to be in God's will.
It is a terrible thing to fall into the hands of the living God. Hebrews 10:31
I'm all for hard work. I'm all for true wisdom. I'm not for lies in our motivation; lies that deceive our own hearts.
Pray with me today Psalm 139:23-24
"Search me, God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting."
Lord, I repent for all the ways my heart has put my labor, my safety, my independence and my fears ahead of you. Forgive me of my sin in these areas and Holy Spirit, testify to the truth in my life. Help me to not fall into these lies again. Wake me up from my sleep and apathy.
In Jesus name,
Tear down the idols in your life. Ask the Lord what they are. Wait on Him. Repeat.
We have been in Nashville for just over 4 months. It’s amazing to step into what God has prepared for us here in this region, and it’s not at all like we had expected... I guess that’s pretty typical on this journey of following the voice of our Father.
We arrived in March and circled the city with prayer, worship and intercession. Then, we had high hopes to enter the city, similar to how Joshua led the Israelites into Jericho way back in Old Testament times. Turns out that wasn’t what God had planned. We are not yet physically entering the city, but we are continuing to take ground in the spiritual realm. Ephesians 6:12 “For we are not fighting against people made of flesh and blood, but against persons without bodies—the evil rulers of the unseen world, those mighty satanic beings and great evil princes of darkness who rule this world; and against huge numbers of wicked spirits in the spirit world.”
God has arranged our steps so that we have landed at a beautiful retreat center just 15 minutes north of downtown Nashville. The Nest sits nestled into 127 acres of tree covered hills. There is a chapel and full kitchen/dining/library building, along with a shower house. The leadership of The Nest are among the most gracious and humble people we have ever encountered. We have been welcomed into family. Though small in number, this group of seasoned warriors have an intense love for God and their pursuit of revival is essential and powerful in this region.
As we have spent the past couple months at this facility we have experienced the mercy of God in new ways. He is reminding us of his grace and his power and his love, even in the middle of a major pandemic. We have felt God refining us and getting rid of junk that we have unknowingly allowed to muddy up our hearts. He is such a good Father and He has a dream for us. This dream is part of His larger plan to see His glory cover the earth like the waters cover the seas. Habakkuk 2:14 “The time will come when all the earth is filled, as the waters fill the sea, with an awareness of the glory of the Lord.”
God has confirmed to us that Nashville is strategic to reach the nations. (Please check out Josh’s post titled, “Light Shines in the Darkness,” for all the stats to support that. It’s a great post!) We know that God spoke to us about reaching the Kurdish people, but it is going to be accomplished vastly different from what we had thought.
Last year, we felt the Holy Spirit tell us that our names are prophetic. Josh is to lead people into the Promise Land; the promise land is life in Christ. My name, Mary, is like Mary of Bethany who sat at Jesus’ feet and worshipped. We believe that we are to advance the Kingdom of God and our weapons of spiritual warfare are worship, prayer and intercession.
Jesus brought old testament scriptures into new testament life and declared, “My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations…” Mark 11:17. This is it folks. We have been given the next stage of our journey and it involves us sitting at the feet of Jesus. We know that our family is to focus our attention and energy on worship and intercession in order to reach the nations.
Over and over again God has confirmed that this is how He created us to function. It is not the only way God will bring the nations of the world to Jesus, but it is the way God has put before us. It doesn’t mean that we won’t go out and share the gospel with Kurdish people and others, but the first fruits of our time, energy and resources will be spent at the feet of Jesus. We must advance the Kingdom of God on our knees in prayer.
One of my favorite things to do is sleep. Yes, it is a sad thing when you think about it. But what can I say? Sleep is great! When I sleep I’m comfortable, I don’t have to think about anything, I don’t have to do anything... In fact I like my sleep so much that, here in the Hoeckle bus, I wear earplugs to sleep.
One night God woke me up saying, “Take your earplugs out so you can hear Me.” I was like, “God, I’m pretty sure these earplugs cannot keep you from speaking to me.” But as confused as I was, I still took them out and laid back down with all the little kid noises impairing my sleep. A couple nights later God woke me up again saying the same thing, “Take your earplugs out so you can hear Me.” This time I was annoyed. “Come on God, I just want to sleep! I don’t want to take my earplugs out!” But again I obeyed anyways.
I had no idea what this meant. But I was talking with a friend about the Church being spiritually asleep and “ding!” A lightbulb turned on and I realized the whole earplug thing was a prophetic picture. The reason why some believers are asleep is because they WANT to sleep! They want to keep their earplugs in so they will not be awakened. They want to remain in their comfort where no action is required of them. “A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest.” Proverbs 24:33
During these times we are in I have seen God using the circumstances to wake people up who had been sleeping. But I have also seen some of us who seem to be lulled to sleep as we take advantage of the “ebb.” We hear, “Stay home, stay safe.” And think, “Now that sounds nice!” After all, at home and surrounded by our comforts is the safest place to be.
Please don’t take this wrong. If you want to stay home that’s fine. That’s just the physical side of things. I just want to make sure to also consider the spiritual side of things (there is always a spiritual side, which is usually more important). So I think there are some questions we should ask ourselves. Was I doing anything for the Kingdom before this? Am I doing anything now? Am I attached to my comforts? AM I ASLEEP?
Over and over in the Bible we are admonished to stay awake, stay sober, stay alert.
Matthew 26:40-41 Then He (Jesus) came to the disciples and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, “What! Could you not watch with Me one hour? Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
So easily we fall into slumber because our flesh is weak.
Matthew 25:1-13 is a parable of ten virgins. The five wise virgins were ready with oil in their lamps as they waited for the bridegroom. The five foolish virgins were not ready, they had no oil, and they fell asleep. When they tried to get in through the door at the wedding, the bridegroom would not let them in. He said, “I do not know you.”
When you are comfortable you fall asleep. When you are uncomfortable you automatically seek what you think will make you comfortable. I find that God is continually making me uncomfortable in order to reveal to me the things I desire above Him. Some of the best advice I have found is in the words of a hymn: “Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.” When we look fully at Jesus and put Him as our greatest desire, all other desires fade and comfort becomes irrelevant.
Open your eyes and turn them to Jesus. Take the plugs out of your ears so you can hear what He is saying to you. “Awake you who sleep! Arise from the dead and Christ will give you light.” Ephesians 5:14
Sleep is overrated.
In 2013 I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Earlier that same year, 2 babies died in my womb. It was a rough year. In October the chemotherapy began. My hair fell out, my body began to decay and my white blood cells were nearly zero October-December. I was hospitalized for 6 nights because I spiked a fever and they couldn’t find the infection. Since I had no white blood cells I had to be hooked up to antibiotics. It was miserable to say the least…
But, God... His grace covered me. Psalm 91 became my lifeline. I would lay in bed, all alone in that hospital, hating everything about that sterile room. Tears would pour down my cheeks as I tried to fall asleep each night listening to truth in song. I would hold my phone next to my ear in order to have the truth of the scriptures speak louder than my despairing thoughts.
Psalm 91: He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will remain secure and rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He alone is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” For He will save you from the trap of the fowler, and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you and completely protect you with His pinions. And under His wings you will find refuge; His faithfulness is a shield and a wall. You will not be afraid of the terror of night, nor of the arrow that flies by day, nor of the pestilence that stalks in darkness, nor of the destruction that lays waste at noon…
Deep and unwavering trust began to take root in my heart. I began to believe everything I had ever read in the Word of God. Every word is true. God became so close to me in those 2 months of heartache and pain and suffering and hopelessness and loss. In my darkest hour of life, the Light of the world burst forth. Not with exuberant shouting, but with peace and hope and steadfast lovingkindness. I felt that I was in the middle of a raging river holding onto a rope for dear life. The rushing current whipping me back and forth as I held tight. That rope was Jesus. The peace that surpasses all understanding was guarding my heart and my mind as I was clinging to Jesus! The scripture is REAL!
In that time I still feared dying, but with a whole lot less intensity. I actually believe that to live is to be completely hidden in Christ and to die would be gain. I would be home with Jesus, my beautiful savior and King.
This pandemic is producing a sifting in every person. I met a new friend yesterday and she told me that each one of us is being given this season as an opportunity to grow. Some may feel the growing pains and decide that it is too painful. Those people may shy away from that pain and remain stuck in their behaviors and beliefs, refusing to embrace the growth. However, many will embrace growth! And as we allow growth to happen, we will walk strongly into the new truth (not new normal!) of what God is doing.
When I was a young child, maybe 8ish, I was reading my sweet precious moments Bible and Matthew 25:31-end of chapter broke into my innocent heart. I had a real moment with God as He planted this passage deeply into my soul. I believe it has truly shaped me. Now, I’m feeling the conviction of that passage again and I can see how the enemy of our souls is working mercilessly to tempt us to neglect those we are called to be with.
Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry, and you gave me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited me in; I was naked and you clothed me; I was sick, and you visited me; I was in prison,and you came to me [ignoring personal danger]. [The righteous will say, “Lord, when did we do these things?”] The King will answer and say to them, “I assure you and most solemnly say to you, to the extent that you did it for one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it for me.”
In many places across our nation and the world, our authorities are forbidding us from completing any of these things mentioned above. We are forbidden from visiting those in prison. And, many of the people in our lives are succumbing to the fear of sickness and refusing to even smile at the sick, much less visit them. People are ostracized and quarantined and isolated. People are actually isolating themselves! We met an older couple full of the Love of God a few weeks back. They were heartbroken because their son is in prison and they are forbidden to visit him. Because of the fear masquerading inside of a health pandemic, even a mother and father have been forced to abandon their son.
What are we supposed to do as followers of Christ? We are commanded to pray for peace in the land and to honor those in authority. I firmly believe that every one of the disciples that followed Jesus walked in love and peace. However, they also caused intense political and religious disruption. All of them were either killed or imprisoned because of their obedience to the will of God over the will of the government.
The times we are living in are unparalleled in history. The eyes of our hearts are being opened to the tactics of the enemy to distort our love. What DOES love look like? It is such a powerful question to ask! The answer to that question is found in only 1 source: God. God is love. Love is not to be “nice” or make others feel good. Love can only be defined through the powerful word of God. The life of Jesus and the Holy Spirit inspired scriptures offer complete knowledge of how to love well.
We want to challenge you to align your heart and your mind with the mind of Christ. 1 Corinthians 2:16 states that all disciples of Jesus have been given the mind of Christ. However, we have the choice to fill our minds with garbage. If you are filling your life up with any other source more than The Source of Life, the mind of Christ might be on mute.
Whatcha gonna do? Turn off the mainstream media. Stop scrolling on Insta where the ideas of every single person on earth are available. Don’t turn to your mom or dad or friend or neighbor. Your local government might be awesome or totally deceived, but they are NOT the Truth. There is only 1 source. Jesus is the way, the Truth and the Life.
What is He saying?
What is He doing?
What is He asking you to do?
Ask the creator of every human being what LOVE looks like.
Be the powerful child of God you were created to be.
Scripture is so clear. The same Spirit that raised Jesus Christ from the dead is alive and at work inside of us. Do you believe that?! I mean, really deep down believe that the power of God is flowing through your veins? Ask God for fresh passionate revelation of what love, without fear, looks like. Love like that.
I want to welcome you on this journey with me: this journey of Truth. If you don’t agree with me, please pray and seek God for yourself. Ask God to reveal his heart to you and me. The enemy is using the media and those with worldly “authority” to silence the bride of Christ. If you hate what I’m saying, please pray for me. Pray that the Holy Spirit would take this conviction away from me. I don’t want to make a stink or ruffle any feathers. It would be so much easier to simply bow down to the wisdom of man. But, the question that keeps shouting in my heart is, “Does the church get a pass from being the church in this season?” NO! We must still be the church. We have the Spirit of God living in us. KNOW WHO YOU ARE!! You are a new creation! If you have made Jesus LORD of your life, you are no longer a mere human. You are something this world has never seen.
And, if we perish, we perish.
We're a family of six living full-time in a skoolie (aka a school bus converted into an RV). We are inviting you to join us as we live life to its fullest and empower others to do the same. Welcome to the family!