TWoL Issue 7

This is my personal emailed newsletter called “The Way of Love.” The name is based on the name of my blog, “The Beginnings Of.” I started my blog when I started my DTS with YWAM and I knew it was the beginning of something big but I didn’t know what. I have been wondering ever since then what exactly it was the beginning of and I felt like God gave me the answer in October of 2015 at a prophetic conference while I was listening to one of the speakers: “The Way of Love.”


IMG_4256
It’s a beautiful bus ride each morning as we travel to the English Camp.

17 Jan 2016

Hey everyone! This week I want to share something that God taught me recently. Its a little longer of an email than I normally send, but I hope it speaks to someone.It took place a couple weeks ago. I felt like I was deep within a horrible battle. One I had no way of seeing how to win. It was a spiritual battle (Ephesians 6:12). That week the enemy had been hard at work trying to take me out. They say that the greatest lies have a little bit of truth mixed into them. Those are the kinds of lies that the enemy had thrown at me that week. He toke lies, fashioned a hook out of them, baited it with a big fat worm of emotions, and dangled it in front of my face. And I took that bait and swallowed it hook, line, and sinker. Of course it felt more like he took those emotions and smashed them up in face and smothered my with them, but I still chose it and went with them. I chose those emotions instead of choosing Truth. I did have the choice, but the intensity of the emotions blinded me to it. I couldn’t see what was happening or how to make it stop. That’s how he likes to work, I discovered.

But let me tell you the good news, Truth. I’ve capitalized “Truth” on purpose. That’s because Truth is not a thing or a concept, He is a Person and that Person is Jesus. At one point, I was so choking on the lies that I had swallowed, that I even began to tell God that He was doing things wrong and basically that I knew better. And while I was doing so, I got a sense of Him I didn’t expect. He was sitting right next to me and the expression He had was exactly the same as it always has been. He was unbothered and unmoved by my anger and my pride and my critiques. He just sat there with me while I fumed. And that made me even more frustrated; I wanted a reaction. Later when I asked a couple people to pray for me, one person began to pray that the enemies plans would be revealed. And they were. I started to see that all these emotions were completely unfounded. Unwarranted. They were very real, but they were also very not true. What was true though, was that Jesus remained unchanged through it all. His love for me and compassion didn’t falter or flicker once. He stayed with me, right by my side. (Even when I pretty much tried to make Him go away.)

Funny story. I got a “verse of day” email the day that most of this went down, and I told Him that if this wasn’t helpful that I was done (I’m not sure what I was gonna be done with but I was ready to give up on something, maybe everything. I’m not sure). I opened the email and it was Hebrews 13:8, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” I was like, nope, not helpful, I’m done haha. It wasn’t until later that day that I realized that it really was Him speaking through that verse. Later as I was processing, He reminded me of when I was trying to tell Him that He was wrong and how He just sat there undisturbed by my accusations against Him. He truly did remain unchanged. Even when I did what, I believed, would have had to change His face toward me.

You see, I expected in my heart that my anger and accusations would get a reaction from Him. Then I would either get what I wanted or get a fight that I would believe I was on the right side of. But He did nothing. He stayed the same. And for me personally that changed something. It broke through a wall in my heart where I didn’t trust that He would always love me, that He would always stay with me, especially when things “got hard between us”. I expected Him to leave me, and I almost wanted it to happen so that I could just get it over with and prove to myself that He was just like everyone else. But He didn’t. He was the same as He was twenty three years ago when I was born and stopped breathing; the same as He was twelve years ago when I found out how real He is; the same as He was two years ago when my heart broke and I had nothing left but to ask Him to end my life. He was faithful. He really is the same yesterday, today, and forever. And if He rescued me, pursued me, and stayed with me through all that, could anything drive Him away from me?

In the time since then, I have had a chance to reflect more on what happened. That was one major lie that the enemy tried to feed me for a long time. That God would leave me. And it was almost half way down my throat too. The Truth, of course, is that He will never leave me, but I didn’t realize how little I actually believed it until then. I thought sure He wont leave as long as I keep relatively on the right course and try to always keep my heart right, His grace will keep me “safe” if I stay in the “right direction.” But I did wonder when I would cross that line of no return. When would He turn on me? Was there a point at which He would walk away from me? But that worldview was one based off of my performance and not based off of His character. Something changed inside of me through all this. I could feel it. There was suddenly a new level of trust that I had/have with Him. A new peace. I can’t do anything to change His love because, unconditional love has nothing to do with the character of the one being loved and everything to do with the character of the One doing the loving. And He never changes. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Hallelujah!

Thank you guys for reading this this week. I really hope it has encouraged someone. Please feel free to email me anytime about anything. I would love to chat! 🙂 Love you all!

-Justin Smith

 

Hebrews 13:8 ESV

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.


Prayer points:

– For more wisdom to know how to lead. More and more. haha
– For the team as we continue to travel by bus each day this coming week.
– For healing and continued good health all of us.
– That we would be able to be a part of some cool stories God has for us next week as we finish the English camp.
– Thanksgiving for the peace and the revelations that He has brought and it still bringing.

 

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow…. 🙂

 

Pastor Imir speaking about being the light of the world this last Sunday as the church celebrated 10 years.

 

Fernand teaching the kids the names of animals in English; almost 45 kids in this class!
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