Die beautifully

The words on my heart go specifically against what American Christianity teaches. The world specifically in the church realm is in a tizzy of trying to become influential and popular, but the words I feel so strongly in my spirit are “Die Beautifully”. You can’t serve your flesh and serve God. One will always rule over the other. God says to follow him, you must take up your cross daily, and deny yourself. That means the world can do all kinds of worldly things, but your spirit is made alive now, you’ve been bought with a price, you are held to a different standard from people who have not been. It’s so simple, yet we make it so complex. Your spirit was dead, now it’s alive. Your soul was ruling you, now God wants you to be leaders of the spirit and not of the flesh. We make it wordier than it needs to be, but it’s the simple gospel. Upon salvation, the debt of your sin has been paid, but you have to be mindful and listen to the Holy Spirit. You begin to feel a conviction of sin you used to partake of, instead of it feeling good, you feel almost dirty instead. Sanctification begins to take place, you are alive to the things of God and a new creation. The Bible isn’t a rule book of what you can and can’t do, but a love story of God constantly chasing and redeeming us, ultimately with his precious son Jesus! If you are saved, You are bought, and you were bought with the most precious thing ever, the blood of Jesus. You aren’t forced to accept salvation, but why wouldn’t you want to?. 

I’ve chased the world, and I assure you; there was nothing that could fill the void I had inside of me. I was liked by many, but I was also dead inside spiritually. I am now alive in Jesus and dying in my old ways. It’s hard, but it’s so rewarding at the same time. I realize all the things I thought were me, were things I picked up along the way that changed who I truly was meant to be. I find the more things God heals me from, the more he restores me to my childhood self. The more he restores my soul, the more peace I have, the more full I become. As I die to the baggage I’ve picked up in the world, the more I become alive and the more full I become in sharing the good news of Jesus with others. This isn’t a sad story, it’s honestly the most beautifully rewarding life I could live. Are there times when things seem unbearable, yes? However I have to recognize it for what it is, then I have to literally remove my emotions completely, and give it to God. It’s easier said than done. Most things are a mindset change, the Bible refers to this as renewing of the mind, but sometimes it is something that needs to be cast off. A mindset is hard to change, but you can’t call a snake a dove. Some things need deliverance, and all things can be combated with the word of God. 

There was a time when my personality was the exact opposite of who I am now, my husband and family can attest to this. I was so incredibly loud and now I’m definitely quieter than I’ve ever been in my life. I listen more than I talk, and this did not come naturally. It took God literally saying, “you talk too much”. I no longer have to scream for attention when I know my place at His table is secure. My mannerisms in the last two years have changed so much that I even asked God many times, “who am I now?” Because I felt lost in a sense at first. I’m not who I was, but I’m becoming who I was made to be. When you’re healed of trauma and many demonic attachments, you’ll question who you are now. I’m not who I was, and I’m in the process of becoming who God created me to be. I no longer have ADHD. I now have a sound mind, and I can focus so clearly. I no longer have to be the loudest to fight for the center of attention, because I know God sees me, even if people don’t. I don’t have to lie, because I realize comparison is the thief of joy, and my joy is in the lord. I no longer deal with being controlling or trying to do everything perfectly to align with worldly standards, because this world isn’t my home. I don’t have to walk around with pride or religious works to cover up rejection, no one can “one-up” a daughter of the king. I know who I am because I acknowledge the sonship and I recognize that no one can separate me from my Heavenly Father. I open my mouth and God hears me. All the people in the world, and he hears me speak. He hears you speak if you are his child, really think about that. It’s a love that’s so personal, he knows everything, even things I was ashamed of, and junk that hid so deep within, and he chooses to love me still despite knowing all my faults… 

I say all of that to bring up the season change. I am in a new season of my life. Spiritually, emotionally, mentally, and physically. Now I love the fall in the south, but here in the Midwest, it is so much more beautiful. It is unlike anything I’ve ever seen in my life. Every tree is a different color, and the fall beauty just continues as you drive in these small towns. On my street specifically, there are multiple shapes and sizes of trees and I marvel at their beauty every single day. I send my mom pictures all the time, because I simply cannot express how beautiful they are with words, and a picture simply does not do it justice. One is specifically gorgeous. It is outside my kitchen window, and I love it so much. I stand and do the dishes and I gaze in absolute wonder at this big beautiful 30-foot tree. It started green, almost like a Christmas tree in the distance, but I’ve watched it turn a vibrant red, then a marvelous orange, and now it has an orangey-yellow hue. It’s gorgeous. As I’ve watched this tree change, something profound keeps coming into my spirit. I hear the lord saying one thing to me, “die beautifully.” 

I drive into town daily, multiple times at that, to drop my kids off at school in all their separate times. I look at the same scenery. I could almost paint the whole town because my eyes wander at every nook and cranny of the beauty in it, it’s like a hallmark movie. This is the land of promise, and it’s just so gorgeous to me. I pass some trees and they are magnificently yellow, some red, many orange, and so many still vibrantly green. It makes me think that just because we are all in the same place, doesn’t mean we are all in the same seasons in our walks, and that brings such peace to my spirit. He meets us exactly where we are. 

So I was taking the path I take most days, and I looked up to see this one tree that caught my attention, and I wanted to giggle. Its foliage was dying for the season in preparation for winter, but it looked so silly. The top was bare, but the bottom was full of greenery. I giggled because all it reminded me of is when a man’s hair begins to fall out on top, and you’re just like, “cut it all off already”. Please don’t take offense at my imagery here, it’s the best explanation I can give.

 It made me start thinking, we as believers are to die to ourselves daily, it isn’t a suggestion. We must die to ourselves, or we will fall away, or live a defeated life (which an overwhelming majority of believers do). We aren’t supposed to take from other branches to add to our own. We aren’t supposed to adorn ourselves with glamorous things to look better, but to die. You can’t “fake it until you make it”. That is the world’s way, but I’m teaching the kingdom way today. Many will say “Lord did we not do all these works, and he will say to many “I never knew you”. That isn’t to instill fear, but by being American, I was born Christian. I had to get lost to get saved because I thought I was born again, but I didn’t know him at all. I didn’t talk to God, serve him, or even ever go to church, maybe 10 times in my life. This statement goes against western Christianity, and I would have argued with myself here a year ago, but many who claim to know him simply don’t. I was talking to someone telling them how beautiful and blessed they are, and God has them, and I felt God nudge my spirit and say “they don’t know me.” Many believe they know him, but they don’t. Many serve what they want him to be, and slap his name on it, but they don’t know him personally. They lack a relationship… Sitting in church won’t save you. Grandma can’t save you. Singing worship songs won’t save you. He doesn’t want your religion, he wants your relationship. It’s only through relationship that you can hear His thoughts and His heart, and it usually goes against everything you want in your life. Jesus shines brightest in us when we die to ourselves, but unfortunately many don’t want to. Scripture says, “He must increase, and I must decrease.” It isn’t popular by any means, but it’s the gospel. 

So as I looked at this tree that was practically dying on top, but not on the bottom. It made me think of many believers who do this, myself included for many years. We die in certain areas, only the areas we allow. I spoke about how God healed me of alcohol addiction, but I would not let him touch my fear or rejection for many years. Why? Well, because that was messy. It was an unsurrendered area of my life, an area I wanted to remain in control of. That was my mess, and I didn’t want anyone poking around in that area, even God himself. Isn’t that such a funny mindset to have? He knew us before we were formed in our mother’s womb, but we think we can hide things from him?. So that was an area that I covered with a rug, and I hoped no one tripped and exposed it. In our lives we sweep so much under the rug, we tidy both sides neatly, but there’s a large mountain-sized pile of dirt and filth underneath, and we say, “don’t you dare point it out or I’ll rip you apart from one end to the other”. We say “give me Jesus, and I surrender all” in our worship, but the moment the Holy Spirit touches something we don’t have victory over, it’s “the devils messing with me again.” A lot of times it isn’t the devil, but ourselves in the way. Friend, my best advice is this, heal than just die to yourself. 

Let the Holy Spirit touch you and expose you. It is painful, but it is so rewarding. The Potter breaks the clay. He remolds it, he fires up the kiln and he bakes it to extreme temperatures . That heat exposes all imperfections. He then works out those imperfections over and over again. The Potter doesn’t giggle as he breaks you, His intention isn’t to make you suffer, He loves you, and He helps you. He removes all the access clay you lumped onto yourself and makes you what you were born to be. He makes you into what you’ve always been created to do. I was praying over my kids one day, and the Holy Spirit began showing me that the areas the enemy was attacking were specifically correlated to their identity and their callings. The enemy frequently attacks you in that vulnerable spot and tries to keep you bound. Don’t allow him to hold you by something that’s unsurrendered in your life. Don’t give the devil legal rights to anything, just heal, renounce, rebuke, get those curses off, and ultimately surrender! See, when you die, you don’t get embarrassed about what God delivered you from. You don’t care that you didn’t have enough money to buy groceries, but you shout that God met the need and supernaturally provided, even down to the lactose intolerant milk your babies needed. You shout about how you were healed supernaturally from pain in your body, more than once. You share how you just moved across the US and needed coats, and not only was one coat for every one of us bought brand new, but someone else mailed our coats in our sizes that were brand new as well, in designer brands I could never afford at the time. You don’t care about sharing the fear you were delivered from, because you are now walking in freedom, you are victorious. You dance and you shout, why? Because you saw the chains fall off, and you felt his glory!! The victory didn’t come from anything you did but through the blood of Jesus!! There’s freedom in dying to yourself, friend. There’s victory in Jesus! God doesn’t make you suffer until you die. Is there suffering in living in this world, yes! You can’t escape that, believer or not; but there’s a blessed hope in Jesus that gives you such endurance to finish the race, even amid persecution. 

One thing I’ve learned is that our words carry such power, so I declare this. I die of all the insecurity in my soul. I die of the pain of yesterday. I die of the sorrow I felt when I was younger. I die of pride and selfish ambition. I die of comparison and I shine so beautifully while doing so. Why? Because I refuse to stand in the way of what God’s purpose is in my life. I don’t want to get to heaven and not fulfill my purpose on this earth. I also don’t want to do works and get to heaven to see my works stemmed from pride, and my heart wasn’t for him, but out of religion. As Steve Hill preached a message that ministered to my husband from a service that was aired in 1995 that changed our lives completely was called, “you can’t have it”. The words he spoke as he looked at the camera and said,” I don’t want to get to heaven and have a measly paper crown”. Those words changed my husband, and by changing him, it changed my life in every way too. Ever since I saw what he did to my husband, I have continually had the mindset that I am all in.  I want to finish the race successfully, not on one wheel, in a busted-down beater, but victoriously coming home. I will fight and give my all for him because he died for me. 

 I don’t want just one branch surrendered, but all shine brightly overall. I want the whole thing to look like a fire. I want the bright red, orange, and yellow color change. I want to change everything so drastically that the color change is overwhelming and causes everyone to look in awe of what God can do in a surrendered vessel. It isn’t so I can be a spectacle for myself, but so everyone can see Jesus burn brightly in me. I pray when people see me, they see Jesus, and those who knew me back then, don’t recognize me anymore. I pray that they would no longer see me at all, but that they would see a yielded vessel. I pray they would worship his majesty in spirit and in truth, and they would say yes and surrender their lives to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. If I must die so He can reach the broken and lost, then that surrender is worth it. I pray in this life that if I must die, that I wouldn’t go out patchy, but I would glow and surrender it all at once so I may die beautifully for the one who chose to die for me! 

In this world, you aren’t guaranteed tomorrow, but you are guaranteed one thing. You can serve him now and experience heaven on earth, or you can hold on and do “just enough” until you get to heaven. Or you can refuse him and you’ll be permanently separated from him. Religion isn’t fun, and the Christian walk isn’t about sitting in a pew being a “sinner saved by grace.” It is a bold walk. It’s a surrender that leads to being used by the Father, so other people get set free. It’s liberty and a place of freedom you physically can’t obtain in worldly things or worldly systems. It is a yes to share the good news and it’s a willing prayer for something that can only be healed supernaturally. I’ve watched people be set free of demonic spirits. I’ve seen deaf ears open, I’ve seen fevers go away immediately. I’ve watched God give a word that broke curses off people, and strongholds from many generations.

 Living for Jesus isn’t religious ceremonies and a book of theology to argue, and laws to judge others, its freedom.. but the freedom costs a price many refuse to give, and it’s dying to self. Friend, in a world that promotes self, you’ll only go as far as you will allow. Money and things of the world are temporary, but Jesus is eternal! Things aren’t going back to normal in the world. God is drawing a line. There is a remnant of people that have arisen from the ashes that were meant to destroy them, and they’ve become purified. God is trying his people in this season with fire. You are either coming out charred or purified. Now isn’t the time to be lukewarm. Many have prayed for the Acts 2 church, and it’s here. Many will not accept it, but many didn’t accept Jesus either, especially the Pharisees. But God says in Revelation that he’s coming back for a spotless bride. He’s preparing his believers for that day. For years I have said, I don’t want to be a bride with patches all over my dress. Now is the season, now is the time. Don’t let the lord return with your garments soiled, be ready like the 5 virgins with oil in their lamps, don’t miss him by being foolish. ten were brides, but only 5 took it seriously. Friend, now isn’t the time to skate on thin ice. He’s coming soon, very soon and the last thing I want is to stand before him in a beautiful gown with stains or like that patchy tree. I want to stand before him beautifully burning in his glory. In a world that promotes self, I’m asking you today one question, is that what you want? When all is finished and you’re staring at the grave, what will you say? Will you preciously await your King to take you home, or will you be full of regret for not doing what you were made to do? 

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