At different points in all of our lives, we come face to face with two things: fear and anxiety. How we choose to deal with them can make a big difference in our lives. We might struggle with fear when we come up against things we cannot control. Or we might fight it when trying not to worry about the welfare of our loved ones. We might even deal with it when standing against our "haters." Whatever the case might be, Jesus Christ has the remedy for fear in His Word. Jesus had to tell His disciples on some occasions, "Fear not." 2 Timothy 1:7 states, "For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind." We all can overcome fear and anxiety and walk in the victory that Christ provides! When we walk in victory over fear, we can do what God has called us to do, and we can be who He has called us to be. #ThoughtForTheDay
Mark 9:2 - "And after six days Jesus taketh with him Peter, and James, and John, and leadeth them up into an high mountain apart by themselves: and he was transfigured before them."
Climbing up the "Mount of Transfiguration" was no easy task for the 3 disciples--Peter, James, and John--that Jesus decided to call apart from the rest of the Twelve. First they had to wrestle with being called to leave the lower grounds of ease and comfort in order to reach a higher level of focus and discipline. Not everyone passes that test. To be immediately comfortable and miss an opportunity to be even closer to the Savior just because you don't want to have to struggle up a mountain to achieve that next level of discipleship and closeness versus taking that chance is the question.
Now imagine for a moment that you are one of the three disciples that got to climb up with Jesus. Having to climbing up several thousand feet above sea level and you're not even sure about how to prepare or about what to pack for the journey can be a scary prospect. But you have it in you to make up in your mind that you'll go up anyway.
Now it's nice weather at the ground level, but the weather can get trippy the closer you get to the top as it gets colder and colder and the air gets thinner and thinner. And you wonder if you will find it difficult to breathe. But you can rest assured that Jesus doesn't take you up the mountain all at once. No no; instead He takes you up by steps and stages so you don't get overwhelmed. Remember, He won't put any more on you than you can bare.
As you get higher and higher, you know you cannot turn back now. Then eventually you see Jesus transfigured before you. You see His real glory revealed a bit, you get to experience the glory of the Kingdom a bit, and you forget about religion, and politics, and he-said/she-said foolishness, and the stress from your job, and who made you upset and how much money is or is not in your bank account. You momentarily forget about all that because you have come to see the special kind of glory that could not have been seen if you remained in your comfort zone on the ground.
So you think to yourself, "This climb was hard, but it is totally worth it." And because Jesus was transfigured before you, even you are experiencing a change in yourself. And when you change everything around you has to change. No more settling, no more same ol', same ol', no more mediocrity. Jesus led you up the mountain because He knew your path would be a bit different from the rest of the "Twelve." He knew if you stayed with the pack, you would not get to a place of leadership. When you come back down from the mountain, having changed for the better, hopefully you will help others to see how they can grow and change for the better as well.
What is your mountain to climb? Is it a corporate work structure? Is it getting a degree? Is it making a move from your hometown to another one to find work? Whatever it is, understand that not everyone can come up with you to the special place to which Jesus has called you. If you go, some people will call you "stuck up," or say things like "what do you think you are doing? You won't make it. If I didn't make it, what makes you think you can?" Yes don't be surprised if even your close friends start to act crazy around you; it's just that they don't understand where God is taking you and why He is taking you there. But really it does not have to be their business to know all the details. Just know that as you follow Jesus you learn more and more about what you are made of.
Jesus didn't lead you up the mountain for the sake of elitism or arrogance, but for the sake of your purpose. The mountain journey allowed for a time for a glimpse of the glory of Jesus and the Kingdom. He gives us glimpses of His glory because we cannot handle all of it at one time. It's too much. But He leads us and guides us along steps towards elevation. Moreover, He has a special kind of key you can only get from having chased Him for it. Following Jesus will involve some times of discomfort, but you must continue to do so because the key He has unlocks the door to the mystery of who you really are called to be. The question is, are you ready for promotion and elevation? #Elevation
I recently watched a sermon by Bishop T. D. Jakes entitled, "The Beauty of In Between." It was a fantastic message that really challenged me to not just "[forget] those things which are behind, and [reach] forth unto those things which are before" (Philippians 3:13 KJV), but to really make sure I am PRESENT in the moment. Please forgive me as my thoughts and notes are in bullet form, but I hope who ever reads this can get something great out of this:
- "I count not myself to have apprehended...." In other words, I'm not quite where I need to be and I'm comfortable with acknowledging that.
- You cannot control life. (So we need to be able to adapt when changes come our way.)
- We put too much energy into controlling our image because we are afraid of what people might be thinking about us.
- We are too afraid to show that we can be vulnerable and we sometimes fear or retaliate against people for no reason. We are too busy trying to protect ourselves from certain people who really don't even matter.
- "I don't have it all together, but can you love me anyway?"
- Beware of letting yourself become numb because of all you have been through in life. You can be numb to the pain and hurt, but you also become numb to joy and good times and the excitement life has to offer to the point where every day looks the same. It's like you're the walking dead, numb to time. You're just going through the motions and you might even forget what day it is.
- What you build around yourself to keep yourself from getting hurt can be the very thing that will incarcerate you.
- Let's not be so "spiritual" concerning forgetting what is behind us and reaching for what is before us that we end up not being present in the moment. We can have faith that yesteday is dealt with and praise God for tomorrow, but what about the RIGHT NOW part of time? Can you deal with the fact that you have to count yourself as one who has yet to apprehend what you are going after? There is a sense of vulnerability about not having "made it" yet that people are uncomfortable with. People don't like things that are not finished.
- Have you sold your beliefs as realities? Have you somehow convinced yourself that your "truth" is the only truth and everyone else just does not get it?
- "If you have convinced yourself that you are right and everyone else is wrong, you'll miss the opportunity to learn the lessons that life came to teach you, because when life called the roll for school you were not present. You were either in yesterday, or groping after tomorrow, and you were not present" (Jakes).
- "When we can't be vulnerable, we can't grow" (Jakes).
- If you believe you are right and everyone else is wrong, you'll miss out on being present for the lessons life came to teach you.
- In relationships we can be so hard on people at times while we are in the "in-between" part of our life processes... "You're imperfect so I'll deny you my love, time, and attention until you are like me." Are you really as great as you portray yourself to be?
- It's easier to reach for the "sweet by and by" and "someday" than to deal with the naked reality that "I count not myself to have apprehended."
- It takes courage to be vulnerable.
- "Sometimes I'm Superman, but I've got kryptonite too."
- Nothing in your past is affecting your destiny. So it's ok to forget those things that are behind you. And it's ok to be reaching towards your goals and dreams for tomorrow, but in the mean time, have the courage to say "I count not myself to have apprehended."
- Your fierce need to protect yourself from the ugliness of what could go wrong is keeping you from seeing the beauty of what is going right.
- Jesus was heading toward Jairus' house to heal his daughter, but a woman with an issue of blood crawled on the ground, touched the hem of His garment, and received her healing. She received what she needed in the "here and now" while Jesus was pressing forward, reaching for Jairus' house.
- I count not myself to have apprehended, so I gonna scratch crawl if I have to in order to get what I need. You might have it all together but I don't.
- Don't be so busy saving yourself for "some day" that you miss TODAY. "THIS is the day the Lord hath made." Rejoice and be glad in it! This is the day the Lord wants to deal with your issue.
- Jesus: "I'm surrounded by people who want to sit on the right and sit on the left and by people who want to do the inaugural message and get promoted, but I'm not being touched!"
- When you have a desperate need you don't have time to prepare yourself to look the best. You've got to touch Jesus now! Don't focus so much on "when this" or "when that" to the point where you miss NOW.
- We've got to stop being fake. We've been faking the funk for so long that we can't tell what's real when it's right in front of us.
I just want to encourage and inspire as many people as I can for Jesus Christ.