Beth Moore - These Words of Mine - Part 2
You see, intimacy with God has to start right here. So I knew already. And you know how I knew I was gonna use this? Because over and over again, women on Twitter answered when I said, "What word from the Scriptures, in red, means so much to you"? Do you know how many of them answered, "Mary"? Quotations around it. Not one of their names was Mary. What were they saying? The fact that he knew her name. And she knew him well enough that she recognized his voice. "Mary".
Now, when I looked up the meaning of the name, "Mary," it had been a while since I've looked it up, and I was just delighted. I remembered the second I saw it how varied it was because the Greek transliteration of the word "Mary" that we see in our English words here is coming from Mariam or Miriam, and Miriam is a personal name, but it's got a very uncertain meaning. It could mean a host of things, and so I'm reading straight out of the Greek dictionary. These are some things that it means. It perhaps means, I'm quoting, "bitter," "God's gift," "beloved," or "defiant". So I just ask you, is there anyone in here that can't answer to "Miriam"? Because my guess is that you're either bitter, or you think you're God's gift; you're beloved, or you're defiant. And the way I see it, at one time or another, all of us could answer to "Mary".
"Mary," because let me tell you somethin': Intimacy with Jesus, if you wanna know how to get started here, if you wanna know how to get restarted here, it begins with just knowing he knows you, that he knows you, that he knows your name, and you're known to him. Your whole story is known to him. Your pain is known intimately to him. Everything that has ever made you cry into your pillow is known by him, and every tear collected in a bottle. You are known by Jesus. He knows your name. When he called you, he called you by name. I love that, Isaiah 43:1, that says, "I called you by name". "You are mine. You are mine". I love John chapter 15, where he says, "You did not choose me. I chose you".
Some of you think you know Jesus better than he knows you, that you chose him. He doesn't really know how you got in. You came in with someone else. You came in on a group pass. But you did not. You did not. You were known by name. I even love that you may have a nickname. He told Simon he nicknamed him Peter, the Rock. He nicknamed James and John, the Sons of Thunder. I just love that. So what's one word? How about two words? John 1:43. John 1:43, we would find two words in the red: "Follow me". If I am following Jesus then that means I'm not out front. Anybody? You can't follow and be out in front of them, and these are all times. I love thinking about in terms of Psalm 91, verse 1, that says, "The one who lives under the protection of the Most High dwells in the shadow of the Almighty," that, when we follow Jesus, we are in his shadow. We are protected. There's our defender out front, our captain, our leader. We gotta even be willing to go with him when he leads us from a place or a people we love.
What I love about following Jesus, the whole idea of it, is, if we really do follow him, we will never go anywhere he has not gone before us, never, never. He said in John chapter 14, "I go to prepare a place for you," and a lot of terms and a matter of speaking, he's doing that continually if we're following him. He's always going first into whatever city, into whatever place, into whatever church, into whatever group, into whatever new house. Whatever new community, whatever new city, he's always going first: "I'll go and prepare it. I'll go and prepare it". We're goin' like, "I'll prepare it for you, Jesus". He's going, "No, I'll prepare it for you," because this is called "follows-ship". Number three, can you say it with me? "Remember Lot's wife". So weird.
Okay, go with me to Luke 17:32. So this is Jesus. He's talkin' about the coming of the kingdom. He's been asked about it and not only by his disciples but also the Pharisees. They wanna know "When is the kingdom of God coming"? So he begins to describe what it will be like, and in verse 32, verse 32, listen, if you're wanting to get a memory verse, like, if you're in a group that's memorizing Scripture, this is one of 'em right here. This is three words. Just say, "My life verse is 'Remember Lot's wife.'" Because it's easy to remember three words in one verse, "Remember, Lot's wife. Whoever tries to make his life secure will lose it. Whoever loses his life will preserve it".
Okay, so what in the world ties all the way back to Genesis 19? If you're not familiar with it, this is a great time. Write down that address, and then look at it later, maybe tonight, maybe over the weekend, maybe next week, but look it up for yourself, but let me tell you basically what it is. Well, this, I mean, outcry has come up to the Lord, and I love all this. I love all this visually. I love all of poetically. We don't know exactly how to imagine it, but the Lord is, like, stormed, stormed, in the heavenlies, seated on his throne, about all the terrible things happening in Sodom. And if you would look it up, you would see that not only is there all manner of carnality and all manner of sexual sin going on, but if you look into Ezekiel, you would also find that these were people that had a great excess, and they were people that would not take care of their own poor, so they just let them starve to death while they had an excess of food and an excess of riches.
So this outcry had come up to heaven about all the things, all the wickedness that was happening in Sodom, and so, I mean, like, he's gonna take that place down, but he's already talked, Abraham had said, "But what about the righteous? I mean, you wouldn't just let them be destroyed with the wicked, would you"? So this whole ordeal goes on. This whole dialogue, one of the most fascinating dialogues in the entire of Scriptures, certainly in Genesis, I think. In chapter 18, you'll have to look it up as well. And so God goes, "Oh, no, no, I'll bring 'em out". And he goes, you know, Lot is Abram's relative. "I'll take Lot's family out".
Well, he sends two angels into Sodom. They go to Lot and go, "You're gonna need to get out. This place is about to be destroyed. It's about to be judged. You're gonna wanna get out of here". And so he goes, and he tells his sons-in-law what the angels have said, and his sons-in-law think he's joking. Does this sound familiar to anybody? Because people just be out there like, "Oh, right, right". "No, he really did say he would come to judge the earth". "Oh, right. Oh, right". That's exactly what they said, and so they wouldn't go. So he gets his wife by the hand. He gets his two daughters by the hand because the angels have said, "You need to get out of this town". And they go, and you can read it, I'm quoting, "Run for your lives, and do not look back".
And it tells about Lot's wife, when the rest of them were just running and running, he goes, "Run to the hills, run to the hills, run to the hills, run to the hills, run to the hills", and she stops, and she looks back. And what we're left to assume is that it must be with longing. Lot's family was very well-to-do because we know they were huge landowners, and so she's probably thinkin', I mean, "We got nothin' here. Everything I own is back there, and what has happened to all that now as it's goin' up in a cloud of smoke"? The oddest thing, the Bible says she just turns into a pillar of salt. And so Jesus himself, Jesus himself, who is the truth, the way, and the life, says to them, "You need to remember Lot's wife," because, when God is trying to rescue you, go. Anybody gettin' that with me? You go. You go. Your future is ahead of you. It is not behind you.
Now, we have lots of marvelous things behind us. If you're like me, you have some great memories, things that are precious to you that you wanna remember forever. That's not what this is about. It's not forgetting those things that were precious to us, but it's remembering that we want to have 'em, we wanna have those things treasured in us to ponder 'em with our faces still forward, walking forward, because, if we're gonna walk and we're always lookin' back over our shoulder, we will trip. We will trip because we won't know where we're going. We'll step right into a hole, right into a trap, face forward. I can tell you this, your future is in front of you. It is not behind you. He's not just wantin' to do a replay of where you've been. God has a future for you. He has somethin' he wants to do, and it's good. It's somethin' that's good that was set aside for you. Your future is ahead of you.
How many words are we on now? All right, go with me to the end of Matthew, Matthew 28, verse 10. I just love this because this is where Jesus...of course, these are the women that have just been to the tomb, and, I mean, like, and the angel says, "He is not here. For he is risen, just as he said". I just love that they had to throw in the "just as he said," 'cause it's like, "You know, he told you. I mean, we're not tryin' to make a point here, but he did tell you he was gonna do it, and guess what? He did it. He's not here. He's risen". And then it says, so, they're departing, in verse 8, "departing quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy". I don't know. Are there many things more exciting than 'fear and great joy'? You know, like, there's fear, and that's not fun, but then there's the, "the Lord is, he's doin' somethin'". And it's that kind of holy fear that just, he's at work.
Do you ever... I mean, you've built your whole life on him, but do you ever have a day where you just go, "Man, you are really real"? He's goin' like, "You know, you're wreckin' your life on that 40 years ago". You know what I'm saying? But that was like, "What in the world was that"? "What in the world was that"? It's kind of that feeling right there, and so it says, "Jesus meets them, and he just says, 'Greetings.' And they came up, and they took hold of his feet". I just love that. It says that about Mary, in John chapter 22. They just go for his feet. I guess they're just gonna, you know, like... we'll hold him down here. Go for his feet. Go for his neck. However they can grab onto him. And Jesus says to them four words: "Do not be afraid". I wanna ask you a question tonight, one I've had to ask myself no few times: "Really, how long are you going to be led by your fear? Really, truly"? At what point do we decide that we're not just going to be continually motivated by our fear?
The devil wouldn't really have a personal offense against us except that we belong to God. It's God he's trying to get at by harassing us. You understand that? We're the apple of his eye. We're his own. We're his loves. And so he goes for us because he knows what that is going to do to the heart of God because that's who he really wants to get back at because what Satan really wanted was to himself be the Most High. So that jealousy, that bitterness, that resentment and that pride, that murderous vengeance drives him continually. Well, he knows the Word better than we do, and Satan knows that, without faith, it is impossible to please God. That is Hebrews 11, verse 6, and so because he knows that there is nothing in your life and nothing in my life that pleases God more than our faith, what do you think Satan is going to come for?
More than your marriage, if you're married, more than your children, if you have children, more than your church, more than your home, more than your health, what Satan is after most in your life and mine is our faith. Why? Because he wants to displease God, and your faith pleases God. So he undermines it constantly, and the way he undermines our faith continually, the most effective way he ever does it is to drive us with fear because it will displace our faith. I am asking you, what is it you would do to serve Jesus if you were not driven by your fear? If I were not afraid, what would I do right here? Sometimes we have to take the action of the unafraid when we don't have the emotion of the unafraid. Anybody know what I'm talkin' about, where we just go, "You know what? The fact is I really am scared, but I don't wanna be scared. I don't wanna act scared. I wanna do the obedient thing, so I'm just gonna do it scared". That has some validity to it.
Luke chapter 5, oh, I love this. Oh, I love this so much. Okay, Luke chapter 5, I'm gonna start reading at verse 17. We've only got two more to go for this session this evening. We're at five words, and I'm gonna start reading in Luke 5, verse 17: "On one of those days while he was teaching, Pharisees and teachers of the law were sitting there who had come from every village of Galilee and Judea, and also from Jerusalem. And the Lord's power to heal was in him". Now, he always had power to heal. I'm so fascinated by this verse because we know he always had the power to heal because, remember, when the woman reaches through the crowd, she grabs hold of the hem of his garment, and she's healed, for cryin' out loud, and he goes, "Who touched me? I felt the power go out". But what I think it means here, and I've looked at it a number of times and studied it a number of times. What I think that it means here is that his intention in that place at that time was to heal. He was there to heal, and, I mean, it was strong and in the nerve endings of his skin to do it.
Then it goes, in 18, "Then some of the men came, carrying on a stretcher a man who was paralyzed. They tried to bring him in and set him down before him. Since they couldn't find a way to bring him in because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and lowered him on the stretcher through the roof tiles into the middle of the crowd before Jesus. Seeing their faith he said", here are your five words, "Friend, your sins are forgiven". What would our lives look like if we really believed that we were forgiven, hmm? What do lives look like that really do take God at his word and believe that Christ has paid the full ransom for our sins, that you are forgiven? It would not make us be people of license. Wouldn't make us licentious, which is what that word means, that "we just use it as license," that, as Paul said, where we just, like, "Oh, let's sin all the more so grace may abound".
That's not the way it works when you realize, because part of what sends us back into that pattern of sin, this was my story for years and years and years is that I kept thinking of myself that way. So, inevitably, we will follow where our thoughts are leading us. We keep thinking that way, "This is who I am," "This is who I am," "This is who I am," "This is who I am, so this is how I act". "This is who I am," "This is who I am," "This is who I am," "This is who I am, so this is how I act.'" Anybody getting that with me? Because we're gonna follow that belief system. No matter what our mouths say, our actions will tell somebody what we believe. And when we keep goin' back to that same pit, over and over again, it is because we believe we belong in that pit because that's who we believe we really are. What if you believed Christ instead? Psalm 32:1, says, "How joyful is the one who knows his sins are forgiven and that his trespasses are covered".
I love it because the word in Greek is not, or in Hebrew, rather, is not the one we would see more often for "blessed" in the Old Testament. This one is coming from that word, the transliteration, "Asher," and it means "happy," and one way we know that most of us do not believe our sins really have been forgiven is because we're not happy enough. People who really do know it are fairly happy people 'cause they're like, they're at the grocery store, checkin' out their groceries, going, "You're not gonna believe what I'm gonna tell you. You cannot believe the pit I have lived in, and I need to tell you right now, Jesus has completely blotted out every one of my transgressions". He said to his disciples, "Go, preach forgiveness for sins. Forgiveness for sins". It's gon' be a real tragedy when we get to the point in the church that we no longer believe in sin because people who don't believe in sin never do repent, and people that never do repent never are made to feel brand-new. We can't rewrite it where, just, suddenly the smartest people that ever lived since the cross, and "We are the enlightened ones, so we know what he really meant to say". That's just not how it works. It's not how it works. How many words are we up to?
All right. Go with me to Mark chapter 1, verses 14 and 15: "After John was arrested, Jesus went to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God". Verse 15, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near". Here are your six words: "Repent and believe the good news". Can you think of a time in your lifetime that we have been more inundated by bad news? He says there is no amount of bad news out there that condemn the good news of the gospel. The darkness that surrounds us cannot overcome the light. It can't. And there's some bad news we gotta know about, and we've got to respond to, but we are people of the good news. We gotta get our minds turned back to that which is freeing and not crushing.
I was thinking about what all that bad news will do. Y'all it's crushing. It's crushing, and not just to us psychologically. I'm telling you that the more we feed off of that, just continually, it's havin' an effect on our physical bodies, on our insides, on our hearts, for cryin' out loud, on our intestines. Repent and believe the good news that God loves this world, it's not forsaken, that he loves people immeasurably, that he sent his Son to save us, that he's forgiven us all our sins, gone to the cross to free us from all our chains. He's kept all our tears. He will return, and he will right every wrong. He will redeem all our pain. He will renew all of creation. He will raise us from the dead. He's gone to prepare a place for us. It is so good. If the people of the gospel have forgotten the good news, what is this world to do? Good tidings back on our tongues, that people can look at us in our workplace, in our coming and going, and know "There's something weird about them". Sooner or later, they'll ask us. Sooner or later, they'll wanna know.