Saturday, November 5, 2011


I was recently asked by my longtime, dear friend Jennifer White to guest post on her blog, "Inspired and Sharing It!". It's part of a new series she's hosting called "Because of Jesus". Below is what I shared from my heart. 

Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.” 1 John 3:18

My ever-inquisitive son David asked me, “Momma, what’s a force field?” I explained to him in my best pseudo-Trekkie way that it’s an invisible electric wall to keep people or things from going in…or going out. While saying this, I had an image of Mr. Spock raising his hands to a door opening only to realize painfully (dramatized by very special effects and great acting) that he couldn’t leave the room he was confined to.

I grew up a very poor, clunky-looking, short kid. Any one of those three descriptors would have put a “pick on me” sign on my back, but sporting the trio of troublesome issues? Yeah, it was bad. I did what a lot of people do as a result: I put up an invisible force field to protect my fragile, little heart. I say invisible because to most people I seemed outgoing and downright friendly. However, I was quick to criticize and lash out with arsenic-laced words that would put folks in their place if I sensed impending harm to me.

Jesus showed me that force field was not just keeping people from reaching my heart; it was keeping the love poured into my heart by Him from flowing out purely. He revealed a chasm between my self-protective tendencies and His fierce pursuit of people’s hearts.  I longed to please Him, but I knew the only way I could do that is to love the way He loves…genuinely and fearlessly. So I prayed an honest prayer from the depths of my soul: “Jesus, help me love like you do.” 

Because of Jesus, I have shifted from shielding my own heart with sharp words and a careless attitude.  Because of Jesus, I give my heart freely because He’s given His so freely to me. 

Because of Jesus, I love.

How is your life different now because of Jesus? Leave a comment below telling how He's made a difference in your life (Click "Comments"). Also, I encourage you to read the weekly installments to Jennifer's inspiring series at

Sunday, October 23, 2011


My son looked up at me with those October sky blue eyes of his and said, “Momma, a kid in my class called me a name and hurt my feelin’s.” My church-mommy reflex reply was, “Well, you need to forgive him because Jesus wants us to.” He shot back, “Yeah, I know. Four hundred ninety times because that’s 70 times 7.” That quick mathematical genius answer made me wonder if he really got the concept of forgiving each time someone hurts us. Having no energy to launch into full Sunday school flannel board mode, I decided to let it go for the time being.

Before my head hit the pillow that night though, I had a VHS playing in my mind…and rewinding in an off-rhythm bump and screech…and playing…and rewinding again.  The feature film was of a recent incident in which I felt misunderstood and shunned by a good friend of mine.  The one scene I was wearing out on the tape was painful to watch, yet I couldn’t resist going back over it again and again and again. Naturally, the longer I did this, the warmer my face got. My heart beat just a bit more quickly. I let out a sigh while shaking my head. I had worked myself into an unpleasant case of “plain ol’ mad”.

Yes, I know some readers may be saying to me at this point, “I hope you put on your Godly Girl cape and snapped out of it, Angie. I hope you remembered what you had just said to your kid.”  Believe me. I wanted to. I began going through forgiveness scriptures in my mind…”Blessed are the merciful for they shall receive mercy…If you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins…Forgive your brother from your heart.” Finally, I cried out,

“HELP!  I want to forgive them, God. Seriously. I know I keep thinking about it, but now I can’t stop. I need your grace...BAD!”

Breathe. Silence. 

Then a very low, velvet voice deep down in my heart spoke clearly, “I live inside you. You can forgive them by Me.”

The next thing I knew, great big tears are sliding down my face. He gave me hope.  I had absolute certainty that He would give me the grace I needed to do what I wanted desperately to do for Him, my friend, and myself.  There was no magical glimmer surrounding me and a whoosh, “I feel great!”  Still, it was as if a strong hand had slipped into mine and squeezed it lovingly. I wept at His tenderness toward me. He did not rebuke me for not pulling myself up by the proverbial bootstraps and just will myself into a state of forgiveness toward the one that cut my heart.  He reassured me where my strength resides…inside me in the Person of the Holy Spirit of Christ. 

He will help me forgive each and every time. I don’t know how He does it, but I believe He’s telling me the truth when He says He will. Even beyond the 490 quota.

I figured I might be on #357 now. I'm realizing how true it is that apart from Him, I can do nothing, including forgiving someone.  But, through Christ I can do all things, including forgiving someone. Playing that song in my heart over and over, instead of the black tape of hurt and rejection, stirs up joy in my soul. It will in yours too.

That, my friend, is worth shouting from the rooftops!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011


Let me let you in on a little secret.

I've been struggling with this whole blogging thing for the past couple of months.  Thoughts have sashayed through my mind disguised as sagacity suggesting that if it’s that difficult, maybe I just shouldn’t do it.  It didn’t take long for the names of several people in history who thankfully ignored similar rationale to pop up in my head. While I shooed away the idea of scrapping it, I did see the necessity in giving "Why am I doing this?" some substantial consideration.  

The simple truth is God gave me a voice and I am obliged to use it.  Alright, that was settled.  My next question that needed an answer was “What are you supposed to say in a blog with that voice of yours?” Well, I could write about the joys and challenges of being a mom of a child on the autism spectrum.  Maybe I could share handy behavior management tips for teachers.  I could even write about clever ways to maneuver around the Internet purposefully.  Someone would read them...if only my first cousin in South Louisiana.  So why write about the life-transforming power of a vibrant and intimate relationship with Him?

It's the only thing I am absolutely convinced of.

The Lord encouraged me yesterday with this verse from Isaiah 55:11 – "It is the same with my word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it."

Whew! That takes the pressure off me to make this blog successful.  He sent me to proclaim His goodness through this means.  Of that I’m sure.  Because I know He's sending this word out, it has no other recourse but to do what He wants it to do …encourage you.

The name of this blog comes from a song I now consider my anthem, "Rooftops" by Jesus Culture.  The first time I heard it I was shaken...Every word in the lyrics radiated the truth from my heart toward the Lord.  Of course, most songs that declare how I belong to Him usually resonate more deeply in me than others (spoiler alert: subject of an upcoming post). I've added the video of this song below.  If you have a few moments to listen, you won't be sorry.

For those of you that are new readers to my blog, I hope this helps explain why I've set up shop on this end of the blogosphere.  I'd be delighted if you'd come back and visit often.  For those who are returning readers, thank you.  From the bottom of my heart, thank you for your patience with me as I sift through motives and stir up motivation for continuing what I'm convinced is part of God's will for me.  It’s that joy of knowing Him and being known by Him that compels me to shout it from the rooftops.

Monday, May 30, 2011


Several weeks ago, I was asked by a fellow-blogger, Chris Goforth, to contribute a post to a series he was hosting called "Girls with Purpose".  The theme was dads and their daughters.  I was reluctant to say the least.  However, after giving it plenty of consideration, I agreed.  First of all, who could tell a guy with a cool name like Goforth "no"? Secondly, I was honored that I was even asked.  What cinched it was being assured by Chris that my story about my far-from-ideal relationship with my dad matters to others.

The post I wrote is below, but I also encourage you to go to Goforth's Journal to check out Chris's blog.

Come and take a look at two fathers.

One father is kind-hearted who treats his daughter like a princess.  She knows she is the apple of her Daddy’s eye.  He frequently scoops her up to tell her how smart she is and how much he loves her.  The little girl has no doubt that her daddy truly loves her.  He is her safe place and primary target of her pure affection.

The other father frequently speaks harsh, cutting words to his daughter.  She knows his capricious mood can shift from calm to cruel as quickly as a storm develops on the ocean.  He frequently lets her know, through both subtle and not so subtle means, that she is a disappointment to him.  This girl grows up always wary of people’s motives and questions if she is able to really be loved by anyone.

Truth is, these two fathers are one and the same…This is my dad.  The first picture is of him when I was a little girl.  The second is of him from the time I was a pre-teen until now.

For the record, I was not abused in any way by my dad.  He never lifted a finger to hit me.  He never railed at me with curses and threats.  He never told me I was worthless.  In fact, he told me many times, especially when I was a young girl, that he loved me.  Still, he made it clear as I grew older that I would never measure up to his expectations.  Memories of those careless words and cold looks from him would parade through my mind unimpeded as I entered young womanhood.

When I was in my twenties and early thirties, I would ask myself frequently what had made my dad’s love toward me change so drastically.  I poured out my heart to God constantly lamenting that there had to be something wrong with me.  As the Lord does so often, the answer didn’t come in one lightning bolt moment.  Instead, it came over the course of numerous years.  The conclusion I came to was my dad loved me the best he knew how.  The dreams he had as a bright, handsome young man had been dashed on the jagged rocks of his poor choices.  Even as I’m writing this, I’m realizing how very complicated the whole thing was and still is.  The bottom line is that he is a man unfulfilled in life who knows very little of how to extend love and grace to others beyond what benefits him in some way.  That sad reality left me splintered and broken.

So, how did I end up the woman I am today – overwhelmingly loved and generously loving?  Well, there is another father involved in this story…my heavenly Father.  As with nearly anyone I have spoken to over the years, my perception of Him was seriously skewed because of my feeling unaccepted by my earthly dad.  I had a very difficult time understanding the pure love and affection of my sweet Father God.  It wasn’t until I began to embrace the love of my Father expressed fully in Jesus that I began to unravel the mystery of God’s relentless passion for me.  How could knowing the Son of God help me understand the heart of my Father?  Jesus made that clear while He lived in this world.
“I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me. If you had really known me, you would know who my Father is. From now on, you do know him and have seen him!” – John 14:6-7
I have come to know my Father as I have come to deeply know His Son and perfect likeness, Jesus.  The more I came to trust Jesus, the more I understood He wasn’t lying to me about the incredible goodness and tenderness my Father has for me.  Yes, I understand the Old Testament is filled with our Father’s immeasurable kindness and love, but until my heart latched on to the truth of who Jesus is and whose He is, I could only give the whole thing a mental nod.  That restored relationship with my heavenly Father enables me to extend a “no-strings-attached” forgiveness toward my dad. I do not hold any of his mistakes or failures as a daddy against him.

While having a father that is consistently thoughtful and loving is optimal, not all of us are blessed with that situation.  However, our God is our precious Redeemer who makes all things work for our good and His glory.  We have a loving Father in Heaven who desires to lavish His love, goodness, mercy, and grace on us each day.  That’s beautiful news that’s great enough to shout from the rooftops!

Sunday, May 22, 2011


The furor over Rob Bell's questions about a literal hell seems to have died down a bit.  It has certainly generated a lot of conversation about the topic of where each of us will spend eternity.

Tonight I came across a video created by Francis Chan, a minister I have a lot of respect for.  He is writing a book in which he "tackles the reality of hell, and the way we view the areas of God's Word and actions that we might not agree with." 

I felt like I should share this with you, as well as ask that you join me in praying for him as he completes this project.

Here's the video...

Friday, April 29, 2011


One man was on a mission to turn the tide of oppressive injustice in his country.  The other was determined to seize the world for his own corrupt ambitions.  An article I recently read contrasted the last days of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, martyred for his active faith in Christ, and Adolf Hitler, arguably the most evil man who lived in the last 100 years.  Bonhoeffer was a German pastor who spoke out against the Nazis’ twisted rule and joined a resistance movement to remove Hitler from power permanently.  He was eventually executed for his part in the plan. Here’s an excerpt from that article:
Bonhoeffer believed the Easter story. He actually believed the extraordinary story of God's coming to Earth and dying and then rising from the dead to defeat death forever. He believed that because this was true, he need never fear death. All he needed to worry about was doing the right thing and trusting God with the results. And that he did. (“The Man Who Defeated Adolf Hitler” by Eric Metaxas - 
Regrettably, many of us assume this kind of bold faith is only available to a small handful of extra-holy folks sprinkled sparingly over the course of history.  Is it really reserved only for those special people like venerated saints or powerhouse theologians such as Bonhoeffer?  Are they the only ones who could relinquish their rights or even lay down their lives for others? 

I’m not buying it.  I don’t believe God plays favorites the way we do (Acts 10:34).  I believe a big hindrance to our living His way is our revulsion at the idea of dying to ourselves and our selfish wants.  We have to lay down all the things we insist on as our rights and yield completely to His will in obedience. Partial obedience is not good enough.  As uncomfortable as this sounds, the act of dying to ourselves actually results in a resurrection of our hearts to glorify Him and Him alone. This is not possible in our own strength, but it’s completely doable in His.  

I hear someone saying unkind things about me, words that cut deeply.  I could retaliate by saying things about the person that may be factual…but definitely not uplifting.  However, I yield to the Spirit of Christ that lives in me and choose to forgive that person without opening my mouth in defense at all.  I see someone getting all the recognition for something I did.  I could say, “That’s not fair!” or I can allow God to develop humility in me and honor me when He sees fit.  Submitting to the Lord’s way by His Spirit doesn’t make me “holier than thou”.  It allows me to live holy.

Another part of our problem is due to our acute attacks of spiritual amnesia. Distractions, busyness, misplaced affections all contribute to this.  Just as important as it is to corporately commemorate His death, burial, and resurrection annually, we must individually recognize it to be true daily.  As faithfully as we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus on Easter, we must also be faithful to recognize it daily, personally reminding ourselves that the very same resurrection power is at work in us continually - every moment. This is what causes that changing of the way we think that is necessary to know His perfect will (Romans 12:2).

Right now, several days after publicly celebrating His resurrection, I feel a desperate need to be reminded again of His triumph at work in me.  I am grateful to know that when I’m eager to hear His voice, I can open my Bible and find the truth there.  Because I suspect I’m not the only one who is experiencing this longing, I am going to start a list here of Scriptures that are reminders of our victorious existence as His children by faith and His grace.  I would love for you to add Scriptures in the comments section that will benefit anyone who happens to read this post.  Who knows?  You may want to wander back here at times to refresh your memory too. As always, you are very welcome to just share a comment about anything mentioned here.
“If you love me, you will obey what I command. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever—the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.  I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.  Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live.  On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you.” ~John 14:15-20  
For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives. Since we have been united with him in his death, we will also be raised to life as he was.  We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin.  For when we died with Christ we were set free from the power of sin.  And since we died with Christ, we know we will also live with him.  We are sure of this because Christ was raised from the dead, and he will never die again. Death no longer has any power over him.  When he died, He died once to break the power of sin. But now that he lives, he lives for the glory of God. So you also should consider yourselves to be dead to the power of sin and alive to God through Christ Jesus. ~ Romans 6:4-11   
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 1:16-20 
Now this is good news we can all shout from the rooftops!

Friday, April 1, 2011


At one point during my college days, I rented a room in the home of my friend Mandy and her mom, Mary. One evening Mandy and I were sitting in my room just talking when she looked at me soberly and said, “You are the angriest person I’ve ever met.” Talk about random!  I thought she had lost her mind.  I was Little Miss Sunshine, for goodness sake!  Mandy went on to explain what she meant and watched as the implications of this slowly began to sink into my brain.  She could have led me in a Bible study to unravel all this information I now had lying in a heap in front of me.  Instead, she gave me a set of God –inspired instructions. First, after she left, I would shut my door so I could be alone.  Then, I needed to turn on an old box fan to cover up the sounds of the crying I would do.  Finally, I needed to have a real, honest, lay-it-all-out conversation with the Father.  Check…Check…Oh no.  An honest conversation with God?  He didn’t want to hear what I had to say.  I didn’t want to hear what I had to say. 

I had never heard of approaching the throne of grace with confidence.  I went before the Father with the same kind of shaking and dread of the unknown that Dorothy and her friends did when they went to visit the Wizard the first time.  Come to think of it, my whole image of God was similar to that whole scene.  I began by rattling off things to God that were bothering me at the time.  It was more like reading an accident report to a claims adjuster than an actual conversation with another person.

I don’t remember how it happened exactly, but I stumbled and said the first really honest thing to Him:  I was angry with Him.  For my lack of a meaningful, romantic relationship.  For the bitter struggle to put myself through college while my friends seemed to have an easy ride.  For His not making my dad accept and love me despite my imperfections. For not protecting me as a little girl many years ago from a perverted uncle who molested me. Oh yeah, throwing the blame on God was all a huge load of malarkey from the enemy, but I didn’t know that.  Not really.  So I unloaded.  It would actually be more accurate to say I unleashed.  It got loud, and it got ugly.  I had to bury my face in my pillow because, by that time, that poor old fan couldn’t cover up the sound of the mess coming out of me.

 As strange as this may sound, I knew that the violation of my body as a little girl was not nearly as damaging as the knowledge that my dad wasn’t around to protect me from it.  How could he?  He was an alcoholic who traded all his responsibilities and joys as a daddy for the next cold can of Pabst Blue Ribbon and any woman who would say “Hello”.  That kind of abandonment ripped a jagged wound in my soul more devastating than my uncle had.  The reality was I was left with an inability to navigate through relationships that required any decent measure of trust.  It wasn’t until that night in Mandy’s house that the disgrace was revealed by the Holy Spirit to be what it truly was…Not mine.  It never belonged to me.  A depraved man and a selfish addict could not make me hold onto the shame God never intended me to have in the first place.  Miraculously, forgiveness has flowed as freely for both my dad and my uncle as I have felt God’s grace wash over me again and again.

Fast forward to a year and a half ago.  I was reintroduced to a woman whom I have come to know even better than many of my friends I see on a daily basis.  She’s the sinful woman who crashed the dinner party to which Jesus was invited.  Here is Luke’s account of this scandalous event (Luke 7:36-50):
One of the Pharisees asked Jesus to have dinner with him, so Jesus went to his home and sat down to eat. When a certain immoral woman from that city heard he was eating there, she brought a beautiful alabaster jar filled with expensive perfume.  Then she knelt behind him at his feet, weeping. Her tears fell on his feet, and she wiped them off with her hair. Then she kept kissing his feet and putting perfume on them.  
This is a beautiful image, but not in the pristine way I had always pictured it.  There was no way to generate the amount of tears to fall heavily on His feet without a considerable amount of facial messiness.  To put it bluntly, sobbing like that gets rather ugly.  She didn’t care.  She was there with a singular purpose…to worship the only One who loved her purely.  Notice the reaction of the host of this gathering:
When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know what kind of woman is touching him. She’s a sinner!”
He and the other men were mortified that a woman like her was even there, much less making such a spectacle of herself.  She was a sorry excuse for a Jewish woman.  Surely a preacher who could hear from the Righteous Judge would know that! 
Then Jesus answered his thoughts. “Simon,” he said to the Pharisee, “I have something to say to you.” 
“Go ahead, Teacher,” Simon replied. 
Then Jesus told him this story: “A man loaned money to two people—500 pieces of silver to one and 50 pieces to the other. But neither of them could repay him, so he kindly forgave them both, canceling their debts. Who do you suppose loved him more after that?” 
Simon answered, “I suppose the one for whom he canceled the larger debt.” 
“That’s right,” Jesus said. Then he turned to the woman and said to Simon, “Look at this woman kneeling here. When I entered your home, you didn’t offer me water to wash the dust from my feet, but she has washed them with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You didn’t greet me with a kiss, but from the time I first came in, she has not stopped kissing my feet. You neglected the courtesy of olive oil to anoint my head, but she has anointed my feet with rare perfume. 
Please don’t assume Jesus’ story and explanation had the simple intent of putting ol’ Simon in His place.  He demanded that these men look at this display of adoration because it was something they themselves were woefully unacquainted with.  He framed in gold a priceless heart of faith and the pure worship of a disenfranchised daughter of Israel.  This was all in brilliant contrast to the substandard welcome He received from pillars of the community.
“I tell you, her sins—and they are many—have been forgiven, so she has shown me much love. But a person who is forgiven little shows only little love.”  
Then Jesus said to the woman, “Your sins are forgiven.” 
The men at the table said among themselves, “Who is this man, that he goes around forgiving sins?”
If forgiveness hadn’t been enough, Jesus lavished even more love on her in the form of a profound blessing: “Go in peace.”  A deeper look at that Greek word for “peace” reveals Jesus’ full meaning…”Go in wholeness.”  Jesus was setting back in place all that had been damaged in her life. All the trust trampled and innocence lost.  He restored her to the place she was created to dwell as a child of the King.  She was one He had come to live and die for.  He did it because He loved her…exactly like He loves you and me… unreservedly and unashamedly.

That night in Mandy’s house God gently held me in His strong arms. His hand rested on my head.  I didn’t hear a word from Him about being a frightful sight of disrespect.  I still don’t.  All I had from that moment on was the healing I had longed for all my life.  I found the tangible love I desperately needed more than oxygen in His presence.  He showed me that He would always provide for my every need… He accepted me and would never reject me, flaws and all… He would remain fiercely protective of my heart as though it were a freshly wounded lamb.   He has never stopped loving me this way.  That, I can tell you gratefully, is worth shouting from the rooftops.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


I have this clear memory of when I was young sitting in a Sunday school classroom filled with soft, morning sunlight. More distinctly and more importantly, I knew Jesus was in that room with me. I felt His presence, and it was sweet.

Several years went by, and I eventually made a public profession of my faith in Him. I’ve lived for Him ever since. Strangely though, I always felt like something was missing in my walk with Him. Something vital.

*Snap*…I figured it out! I needed to do whatever I had to do to prove that I was His to others and to prove to Him that I loved Him. I prayed really great prayers. I became very involved in my church youth group. I tried to only hang out with Christians. I read the Bible as much as I could. Of course, there were lapses in all these attempts to please Him. I made puh-lenty of mistakes. Cure for the guilt I felt? Do more. Pray harder. Get more involved with church. Only hang out with good Christians. Read the Bible even more. All were great ideas that manufactured a veneer so holy looking, that I confused the look of sanctification with the actual process in my heart. My concept of how to draw nearer to Him was flawed because it lacked the most important component: I never asked Jesus what He really wanted.

There’s nothing new under the sun, and the Word of God is held up like a mirror for us to see our spiritual condition in hi-def clarity…if we have ears to hear and eyes enlightened by the Holy Spirit. Here’s a passage in Matthew 17 that has made what I was doing glaringly obvious to me:

Six days later Jesus took Peter and the two brothers, James and John, and led them up a high mountain to be alone. As the men watched, Jesus’ appearance was transformed so that his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as light. Suddenly, Moses and Elijah appeared and began talking with Jesus. Peter exclaimed, “Lord, it’s wonderful for us to be here! If you want, I’ll make three shelters as memorials—one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”

It must have thrilled Peter to have Jesus motion for him, along with James and John, to join Him in His regular practice of getting away from the crowds to be with His Father. The honor of being handpicked to accompany the Master may have helped propel him up that tall mountain, over the jagged rocks and prickly brush. At some point of the ascent though, what the three disciples see surpasses any of the miracles and signs they had seen during their time with Him. Jesus becomes literally radiant with the glory of God! To add to the shock of seeing the Master they have walked with, talked with, and eaten with shining bright as the sun, Moses and Elijah, two of the most revered men in Jewish history, appear before their eyes. Peter is absolutely starstruck! Feeling the need to speak at this auspicious occasion, he rattles off a hastily devised plan involving his efforts to commemorate this event properly. Oh yeah, and Jesus, could you sign off on this work order so we can get started with construction a.s.a.p.? “What a great plan! Thanks, man!” was what I’m sure Peter was expecting to hear.

If God the Father were from the South, He may have said, “Bless your heart, Peter” while shaking His head. Instead, He interrupts Peter’s PowerPoint presentation with a clear declaration of who this Person standing before them is. He does what the Father does so well…He glorifies His Son.

But even as he spoke, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy. Listen to him.”

What tender affection and honor! This event wipes away any doubt the disciples may have harbored as to who Jesus really is. He is the One that they would give their lives for…completely. He is the only One worthy of that kind of sacrifice. The Father establishes a memorial in their hearts that would outlast any pile of bricks and sticks Peter or anyone else could build. He follows up with a command that is the only reasonable response to this revelation: “Listen to Him.”

For a good portion of my Christian life (nearly 30 years), I did not want to listen to Him. Sure, I wanted to serve Him because I knew the alternative was not pleasant. I also enjoyed all the promises in the Bible that give comfort in a mighty uncomfortable world. However, I shrank away from the torn veil of the temple. I did not want to enter in and listen to Him because that would mean I would be accountable to do anything He told me to do. I gave a lot of time and effort to “honoring” Him who saved my soul by doing a lot of stuff. That seemed like the right thing to do. I wanted the privileges of being “obedient” in doing those things as His child, but I didn’t want the responsibilities that I knew came with a closer relationship with Him. Boy, what a bill of goods I allowed the enemy to sell me! What I traded to have a safer relationship with Him was the tender intimacy that comes with leaning on His chest listening to His heart beat. Until the Holy Spirit revealed it to me, I was unable to see that the fear of complete surrender was quite literally choking the life out of me. He made me understand the precious time we spend together cultivating an intimate relationship is the place where I find the joy, grace, and mercy to do anything for Him. He desires to wrap me up in that holy cloud of His presence again and again to assure me of who Jesus is and to remind me to lean in to Him to hear what He has to say to me. Watch as this scene wraps up.

The disciples were terrified and fell face down on the ground. Then Jesus came over and touched them. “Get up,” he said. “Don’t be afraid.” And when they looked up, Moses and Elijah were gone, and they saw only Jesus.

Jesus walks over to them, while their eyes are squeezed shut and their bodies are pressed into the mountain, and tells them, “Get up. Do not be afraid.” The Father has just instructed them to listen to Him, and the very first thing He tells them to do is to stand up and to not be scared. They raise themselves up at His bidding and look around to find…just Jesus. The only One they need. The One sent to reveal the Father’s heart to them, to us.

Entering into His pure and clean presence had frightened me too. But looking up into the eyes of Jesus made me fall hopelessly and madly in love with the Lover of my soul. Being desperately in love enables you to do crazy, impossible things…including laying down your life. That kind of love, that passion, is not sustained by casual conversations or occasional Twitter mentions. It comes from time spent at His feet, in His word, listening to Him.

Looking back, I realize I would never be satisfied with anything less than what I experienced as a little child in that Sunday school room. I was ruined in the most beautiful way. Nothing less than being with Him would do. And because He’s the One who does exceedingly abundantly more than anything I could ask or imagine, He wasn’t content with just being with me. He has made it crystal clear that He dwells in me, inhabits my innermost being. That reality messes with my mind, but it’s true and I won’t declare that it’s any less than that.

So, what does this mean to us? Well, if you’re like me and many people I’ve spoken to recently who have felt that resistance to yielding to His voice because you’re afraid of what will be required of you, let me encourage you. The unmatched joy of hearing His voice, of being close to His heart, helps to drive away the ruthless deception of our enemy. Obedience becomes glorious and not a burden. It will ruin you for anything less than His glory in your life. That’s because our Father knows what the enemy also knows: If you actually do listen to Him, what you hear will transform your life forever. For your good and His glory. That, my friends, is worth shouting from the rooftops!