Known by Him by Lisa Burkhardt Worley

Ever since I rededicated my life to Christ in 1993 after a devastating television career crash, I have spent almost thirty years trying to know God better, yet He’s still a mystery in many ways. That’s what makes the quest to know Him more intriguing.

But we do have many clues for understanding our Heavenly Father’s character. Some good ones can be found in Exodus 34 when the LORD allowed His glory to pass by Moses. He said, “The LORD, the LORD God, is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in loving devotion and faithfulness, maintaining loving devotion to a thousand generations, forgiving iniquity, transgression, and sin. Yet He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished; He will visit the iniquity of the fathers on their children and grandchildren to the third and fourth generations” (Exodus 34:6–7).

So we know God is a loving, compassionate, faithful, forgiving, patient and righteous Father who desires our obedience. Those are some great attributes that we can hold onto.

But we still want to know Him better, don’t we? We need more intel. But here’s the thing that I was reminded of this week. God wants to know us more than we want to know Him, as evidenced by the waffling in our faith at times and by the fact that we often place our “to do” list before Him. But even when we drift, he’s still at work in our lives.

When speaking to the Galatians, Paul was frustrated that the believers in Galatia had gone back to some old ways after giving their lives to God. He said, “Before you Gentiles knew God, you were slaves to so-called gods that do not even exist. So now that you know God (or should I say, now that God knows you), why do you want to go back again and become slaves once more to the weak and useless spiritual principles of this world?” (Galatians 4:8–9)

What I love about this passage is the way Paul corrects himself, emphasizing that God knows them but they don’t really know God.

And that’s the way I feel even after all these years of study. God knows me much better than I know Him. He created me. Psalm 139:13 says, “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb” (NIV).

And that’s the purpose of today’s message to you. I want you to know that you are known by God. Your heavenly Father sees every minute of your life and knows you inside and out. He’s compassionate, faithful and loving and He has an open door policy. Because of the sacrifice Jesus made, you can enter his presence at any time—day or night. And He does want you to know Him better. Yes, there is a lot of mystery surrounding our heavenly Father, but He gives enough clues in His Word to paint a picture of His character—and it’s good—so good.

Old Wells by Lisa Burkhardt Worley

Balance.

That’s important to me. If I can’t work out, take a walk or even have time to shop during the week, I become like a caged lion, pacing back and forth, desperate for a quick escape. And that’s the way I felt by Wednesday. The workload was too much. There were no breaks. I was once again wondering if I was really supposed to be in school—especially at my age.

But God is always so good to provide encouragement, right when we need it.

Our chapel speaker at school on Wednesday was a professional counselor, Dr. Cassie Reid, and I felt like she was speaking directly to me, but maybe this is for you as well. She said, “Some of you may be feeling like you want to quit—to sit down short of your goal.” Yes. But then she said, “If we want to see what we’ve never seen, we have to do what we’ve never done.” “The call on your life is bigger than you.” I chewed on those statements.

The latest path of Messianic Studies is certainly a road I had never been down before. With a Jewish father, who died before I was born, I did not grow up practicing Judaism, and had very little knowledge of what it meant to be Jewish. This field of study was uncharted territory.

Image by Jazella from Pixabay

Then this was the capper as she began to share prophecy about the Dallas/Ft. Worth metroplex, where I’m planted. “God is re-digging old wells. Old wells are coming back to life.” According to Julye Bidmead, Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Chapman University, in the Bible, divine revelation occurred at wells “as water is life giving and symbolizes creating and new beginnings.”

New beginnings. Hmm.

When I thought of old wells in Dallas, my mind immediately went back to my great-great grandfather Abram Weaver, one of the early pastors at First Baptist Church in Dallas. In the 1800’s, Pastor Weaver was cutting edge when it came to women. In his itinerant journeys, one of his stops was as President of the “Rockford Female Seminary” in Rockford, North Carolina. Meanwhile, at the dedication of the first sanctuary building at First Baptist Dallas he said, “The women of our church must be reckoned with.” Knowing what I know about him, this statement meant that women needed to have more responsibility in the church. He paved the way for women in ministry, and now the well that he dug back in 1872 was being unearthed, as I am the first person in his lineage to pursue a life serving God. In addition to serving women through Pearls of Promise, I am also exploring how I can make difference, as a woman, in this area of Messianic Judaism.

So I’m hanging in there in a new place —but an old well—and seeing that once again I am not alone on this journey. What old well is God digging up in your life?

“And remember, I am with you always, even unto the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20).

#

I hope you will join me for for our monthly online “POP Chat” on Wednesday, April 28th at 6:30 pm. when I will be sharing the message “Why Nothing is Impossible with God.” Email info@pearlsofpromiseministries.com for the link.

I Can Do All Things…By Lisa Burkhardt Worley

Some weeks are just more difficult than others, right?

As I round the corner into the final stretch of this year at school, the classwork is intensifying, as is the ministry workload—we’re taping our POP Talk television show tomorrow, my husband and I are hosting our church small group Thursday night (that means cleaning the house as well!) and I am filling in as leader for a pre-service event before our church Shabbat Service Friday night. Combined with school homework, this seems like a lot. I’ve even had the thought, Did God really tell me to go back to school?

With so many demands on my time, last night I hit the wall. I thought about picking up the phone to vent with a friend, but instead I fell to my knees and humbly cried, “Help!” I asked God to give me the strength that I do not have on my own.

I’ve been studying the journeys of the Apostle Paul in the book of Acts over the past few weeks, and one of the things I love about Paul is that he never gave up, no matter the push back and no matter the trial. What I am seeing is that while some opposed his case for Jesus as the Messiah, others loved him and believed. What if no one had bought into his message? In every port, it seemed like there were friends who took care of his needs. God also saved him from shipwrecks, and before his arrest, he was provided Jewish believer friends like Priscilla and Aquila to work alongside him. Yet he was also beaten, placed in chains and theologically opposed. Paul received good and God saw him through the bad. That’s why he was able to say, “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:12–13).

The Greek word for “to be in need” actually means” to be brought low.” Paul knew what it was like to be down and out, but he also knew where to find a source of strength. Through “Him”—Jesus.

God did not design us to be self-sufficient. We are Him-Sufficient.

So I don’t know what’s going on in your life right now, but I felt like there is someone out there who needs to know that it is okay if your strength is zapped and you feel like giving up. Don’t throw in the towel. You can do all things—just not on your own. Today, will you ask Jesus to fill in the gap for the strength you are lacking? I am personally moving forward knowing He will provide what I do not humanly have on my own, and that gives me the confidence I need to manage what’s ahead.

“I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 1:19–20, NLT).

#

Will you join me for our next POP Chat Wednesday, April 28th from 6:30-7:30 p.m. CST? I will be speaking on the subject: “Nothing is Impossible with God.” If you have a situation in your life that seems “impossible,” then you will want to participate. We will worship, pray and discuss the message. Our Worship Leader this month is the talented Renee Rollins, who is a singer/songwriter and who even sang at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City! You will not want to miss this powerful gathering. Email info@pearlsofpromiseministries.com for more details.

What Easter Means to Me by Lisa Burkhardt Worley

At one time in my life, Easter was only about the Easter Bunny and egg hunts. I remember a family 8 mm film where, as a toddler, I took one of those beautifully died eggs and smashed it on the sidewalk. Always curious, I guess I wanted to see what would happen to that egg at high impact!

I still like the colorful eggs, and the fun of the Easter bunny. In fact I passed by him on the street Thursday—he had a police escort—so I snapped a photo to share.

But Easter is so much richer now that I know the risen Christ, and as I reflect on why Easter is meaningful to me, three things come to mind.

Access- When Jesus breathed his last breath, the curtain in the temple tore from top to bottom. That represented a type of access to our Holy God that was unfathomable. At one time it was only consecrated Jewish priests who could enter the Holy of Holies of the Tabernacle where God resided. I just read that priests had to yearly go through thirty-five steps on the Day of Atonement to make sacrifices for the sins of the people. One wrong move and they could die. Now, because of Jesus’s sacrifice, every believer is a priest and is covered by the blood of Jesus so that we can enter the presence of God 24/7. Because of our High Priest, Jesus, we can “approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need” (Hebrews 4:16, NIV). This access shouldn’t be taken for granted. I never had a father in my life, so being able to sit in the presence of our heavenly Father has been a precious gift and has sustained me all of these years.

Forgiveness of Sins- I am not proud of my inappropriate behavior in college and those single years following college. I wish I could undo a lot of it, but because of Easter, I repented, and I know Jesus has washed me clean from those wrongdoings (even though the enemy of my soul tries to bring it up every so often). 1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (NKJV). The word for cleanse here also means to “purify.” So when we believe, the kind of true belief that results in change, then Jesus bleaches out the stains of our sins—he purifies us—and enables us to overcome temptation and gives us the power to turn from our past way of life.

The Hope of Eternity- As I am living in what is probably the final quarter of my life, I am holding onto this hope that when I pass, I will transition into Heaven and into the arms of Jesus. This could only happen because of Easter. Hebrews 6:19-20 says, “We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf” (NIV). Jesus made it possible for us to live on in His presence. The apostle James called our lives a “mist that appears for a while then vanishes” (James 4:14). Psalm 39 tells us we should number our days. But if we believe in what Jesus did for us on Easter, we know this is not the end. I call this life a “holy boot camp” to get us ready for eternity.

So these are just a few of the reasons why I am grateful for Easter. I hope you all have a beautiful celebration of our Savior’s resurrection and take this time to reflect on what Easter means to you.

Grateful for Maundy Thursday by Mary Ann Springer Moore

Our guest blogger today is Mary Ann Springer Moore. Mary Ann is a Christian speaker in the Northern California area. She often shares her teaching gifts at women’s retreats and with youth events. Mary Ann is married to Tim and has two grown daughters.

When life is out of control, and things are not going as you thought, structure and organization are what keep things calm and give you the ability to focus on the next thing to do. The last few days of Jesus life were planned, and prepared in advance, because Jesus knew His time was near.

Organization and structure are my weakest areas, so when I look at Jesus’s last week, I’m amazed at the plan. It’s intriguing to me, a very sanguine girl, as I study this particular day and see the sovereignty of God in every detail. Jesus knew the reason He came to Earth was to take our place before God in judgement so we could take Jesus’s place before God in redemption. So Maundy Thursday was the day everything moved into action.

“Mandatum” is the Latin word for “Maundy” and means “commandment.” So, you could say this is “new commandment Thursday.” And it was Passover, a very important observance in the life of a Jew, like Jesus. So it was Jesus’s last night with His disciples, and He already had the upper room ready for this special evening. John 13:3-5 says, “Jesus knew that the Father had given him authority over everything and that he had come from God and would return to God. So he got up from the table, took off his robe, wrapped a towel around his waist, and poured water into a basin. Then he began to wash the disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel he had around him.” Jesus removed His king’s robe and came to earth as a man, so this symbolized his stepping into a servant’s role. He washed the disciple’s feet, saying his last words to each of them. I wonder what words of wisdom he gave them knowing what they were going to face in the next twenty-four hours? John 13:34-35 gives us a clue. It says, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

So why is this a new commandment? The way Jesus loves is to humble himself to be a servant and then to die for us. As the mother of grown children, I feel like my surrender and servanthood is over. It’s time for me to do my next thing. No, not yet. That is my selfish thinking, not kingdom thinking. To be a servant is the greatest privilege in the world, but the hardest thing to do. To put others first, all the time, rather than myself.

Why is this so hard? Help? So I turned to the book of John to look at Maundy Thursday and asked what does this mean for me—for Christianity? I see three things:

1) God is sovereign in every detail of life. So when life turns upside down, God is working His sovereignty in our lives so we can trust Him.

2) God humbled himself to serve others for a bigger purpose, our salvation. How do we need to humble ourselves and help others in the way they need to be helped?

3) God loved his disciples and prepared them the best way he could, by example. How can we die to ourselves, and serve those who are hurting, hopeless or harassing us? God sees them all, yet in love, died, so that we may have life.

There are many lessons to be found on the eve of Jesus’s sacrifice—for us. Grateful for Maundy Thursday!

1 2 3 20