My Road to Receiving
“Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.” James 1:17
“Well what do you think, little lady?” our friend Jeff asked as he dusted off his hands and prepared to hop in his truck. “It’s beautiful, so amazing…” I managed to say. But truthfully I wanted to say so much more and inside I felt so, well, confused! Every once in a while God will do something so great that I have no file in my brain to process and file it in. This was one of those moments for me.
For the past few years we have been a part of a small group that meets bi-weekly and discusses scripture and our experiences with God. It has been such a pleasure meeting with this group as we walk and stand by one another through celebrations of births, Boy Scout awards, musical milestones among the children, and joys of life. Just the same we have stood by one another and prayed through some of the tougher times of life transitions. From the small and quiet group that started meeting three years ago we have grown into a laughing, chatting, completely transparent family that relies on one another to spur us into growth.
Now, this “family” had out-done itself, and I couldn’t even begin to wrap my head around it! I had voiced a desire to have an area to host picnics outside. Since we live on a hill there really was no level area for us to hang out and bless and serve those we love. With my home being 1200 sq ft having a group inside is pretty much out of the question. After some brainstorming at the end of the season last year and some pictures sent of a friend’s yard, I got the bright idea that we could level off the area behind our house and hang some sun shades to give a reprieve during the heat of the day. When I started shopping for sun shades I realized that our best bet would be to build a cheap pergalo-type structure even if it only lasted for a few years. I don’t remember the point I mentioned this to a friend, Tammy, in the group, but I do know that within a day her husband (a carpenter) decided that it was something he could and would like to build to bless Rick and I. Less than four weeks later I stood looking at this gorgeous pergalo that was so perfect it nearly outshined my small home as I waved goodbye to the small group men pulling out of our driveway.
Inside I was like a child. I was so excited to share our first meal underneath with our friends. I felt so loved and treasured by God realizing that He cared enough to not just give me what I asked for but to place it in Jeff’s heart to gather the nicest of beams and then the other men (Jarrett and Jeff) in the group to set aside their day to help us for free! They built something so far beyond what I had envisioned and it was beautiful! All of this just because of a desire in my heart to fellowship and have good times? “Whoa,” I thought, “God is much bigger than I realize!”
Immediately guilt started to rack my brain. “You didn’t really NEED this done…there are other things that you should have prioritized”, “Of course they all had to set aside their day and help YOU when they probably all had things they needed to do,” “Now you owe this group big time, you better start brainstorming ways to pay them back. Nothing is free in this world!” Then anxiety started to settle in and weigh my heart down as I was unsure of this new beautiful accent in my yard.
Receiving a blessing is much harder than giving one away. Why is that? Why do we not believe that we truly are children of God and He gives us wonderful things? Why do we not accept these wonderful things from the hands of His people without striving to “pay it back” and “owe nothing to no one”? Why do we look at gifts with us as the center focal point rather than as if we are partnering with God in something He is doing? Was I the only person that felt this way? Some recollection told me quickly that I wasn’t the only one. From before Jesus came to earth, since the Fall, mankind knew that every sin must be paid for and we deserve to die because of it. We have been keeping accounts ever since and remembering what we owe and to whom we owe, I believe. But when Jesus came to us and became the price for that sin, and died to settle every single one of our debts, we no longer owed. Here the battle changes from fighting to pay our debts into fighting to receive what Jesus paid for.
“Our problem is that we spend so much time telling people how to get into the Kingdom that we rarely teach them what to do once they get inside. Often we don’t know ourselves because no one has ever taught us, either. We spend so much time preaching about the door that we forget all about the palace behind it….if we get “stuck” at the door, we will never experience the fullness of the Kingdom that the Father has prepared for us.
We have to step beyond the doorway so we can discover a whole brand-new world of the riches and glory that lie within…Jesus is the shepherd who brings us into the abundant pastures of His Father’s Kingdom, but how much nourishment and refreshment we receive there is up to us. The Lord will not force-feed us. He wants us to participate fully in the joys and benefits and blessings of His Kingdom…” Myles Munroe, Rediscovering the Kingdom
The very same day and time that the men in small group were building our pergalo, I was at a Mother/Daughter brunch titled, “Princess: Daughter of the King”. Our speaker, Tammy, the wife of the man at my home building, spoke about knowing and realizing that our Father in Heaven considers each of us His daughters and she spoke of tools for walking in that freedom by recognizing the truth. The truth is: God loves me. I am His daughter. He gives good gifts to His children. He is my Father and so what Father doesn’t give His child gifts even if they don’t “need” them? What Father gives his daughter a new dress then demands she work to pay for it?
“If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!” Matthew 7:11
“El-Shaddai: ‘The Almighty God; the Double-Breasted God.’” John Paul Jackson, I AM: Inheriting the Fullness of God’s Names
When we think of a mother and a child that breast-feeds we think of nurturing, guiding, gentleness, security. God is more than just a provider for us, he is our nurturer. He is the Almighty from whom all provisions flow limitless. Is it possible I believed a lie? It seemed by the guilt and battle in my mind that I believed that I had to earn the gifts that my Father in Heaven wanted to freely give me. Did I really believe God was more than just a provider for needs but also a nurturer into abundance? My mind said yes but my anxious emotions and fear lurking under the surface betrayed the lies I was believing.
“Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.” James 4:8
Knowing and hearing these things in my mind was one thing but days later I was still feeling so confused and double-minded as the battle raged on in my heart. I knew it was as simple as choosing the Tree of Life over the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil but I still found myself trying to come up with ways to repay. I was in turmoil wondering if the small group relationships were forever destroyed and what the three men that built this thought of us. I wondered if they were angry or later regretted their time spent here on something we didn’t “need”. I wondered if I would need to duck their wives next time I ran into them for having taken so many hours of their time. As I sought God about it I only received the same four words from Him each time, “It was a gift.” No more, no less. “It was a gift.” How frustrating, I thought, when I’m asking for help to reconcile this in my head and understand how it is somehow OK for me to simply accept this and live in a place of blessing.
“When man ate of the Tree of Knowledge, his attention became focused upon himself and he began to think of himself as the center of the universe. Every child born after the fall inherited this deception. Our little problems and ambitions completely dominate our minds until we are converted. Then, as we begin to see the Kingdom of God, our perspective is changed….Walking in truth is walking with God. As our vision of His kingdom is clarified, the things of earth do grow dim. The things that are invisible to the natural man become more real to us than things that are seen.” Rick Joyner, There were Two Trees in the Garden
1 Corinthians 2:14-15
There it was again, the word Truth – the word that has been spoken to me by a friend over and over again recently, and spoken by David Takle in The Truth about Lies and the Lies about Truth. Freedom = God’s truth replacing the false beliefs in my own mind.
I started to realize at this point that God’s truth is that He placed it in my heart to want to serve and bless others at our home in good times of fellowship. He has a message of encouragement to impart to others as they come to our home and break bread with us. He can use me to speak to the heart of each person that comes here in a special way that will bring forth life and eternal value. The truth is that each person that was here helping build that shading pergalo sowed into the Kingdom. The Holy Spirit placed it in their heart to join in with what God plans to do and they sowed into that in a way that only God’s people can do. While they did not come here with the mindset of sowing, but rather simply providing a kind service unto the Lord and His people, their deeds were not in vain. While I do not yet know who God will bring here to be blessed and receive encouragement and refreshment I do know that in realizing these truths I became very excited to partner with Him in this.
Kingdom mindsets are mindsets of Grace. We don’t have many “files” in our minds for processing these things naturally because we aren’t born with them. Honestly, many of us aren’t even taught how to live in grace. But as we seek out God’s truth and receive the blessings He bestows on us through others we will start to “get it”. The grooves in our brains will begin to rewire and reconnect and each time we will see God’s truth a little more quickly and clearly. It is so freeing to realize that He simply gave us a great gift and that we can be stewards of that gift to multiply His kindness to others. Not because we “owe” that to our Father (or the people he used to build it), but because having truly received His love gift, now it is bubbling over inside and we want to share it!
My entire life I have said no to so many gifts but this past year I have been humbled and forced to accept several. It truly has become the most rewarding experience of my thirty years. When others pass on to me something that God placed on their heart to give, then there is a relationship and bridge of unity built between us that God can continue to work through. Furthermore, whatever is received on my end is a humble reminder that every good thing comes from God and nothing I have is because I have done something to deserve it.
So who am I? A daughter of the King. Jesus brought the Kingdom to earth and we are to pray each day to be the vessels of seeing the Kingdom manifest on earth as it is in Heaven. As Mile Munroe explains we are living in the palace because of Jesus, our door. A child of the King must receive gifts and also distribute these provisions as well. It’s time to think bigger than us. It’s time to get the focus off of us, our life, our ideas, our IOU’s, and shift them onto the bigger focus of joining in God’s plans and purposes.
Someone in small group challenged the rest of us a few weeks ago to spend a moment each morning dedicating our day to the Lord. That small act of taking the focus off of what I want to accomplish and thinking about what God wants to do in His kingdom (that I live in) has grounded me in truth and kept me living in the Spirit throughout the day. I believe when we live in truth we are partaking of the Tree of Life. As Rick Joyner’s book is titled, There Were Two Trees in the Garden, and the Tree of Life brings forth such wonderful fruit that we will not want anything else! (Galatians 5:22)
I’m not sure who will show up today for some encouragement, but the sun is shining and the flowers are planted under the pergalo. I’m ready for anything God wants to place in front of me.
“I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe”. Ephesians 1:18
*Special thanks to Tammy and Jeff Vible, Meredith and Jarrett Hostetter, Rachel and Jeff Craig for sowing into the Kingdom and allowing me to come into greater freedom in my relationship with Christ through realizing the blessing in receiving.
If you are interested in further reading on Truth and Kingdom Mindsets I highly recommend:
- The Truth About Lies and the Lies About Truth by David Takle
- Rediscovering The Kingdom by Miles Munroe
- There Were Two Trees in the Garden by Rick Joyner