Friday, May 31, 2013

I Confess: I'm a Birther!

No doubt you've heard about the Birthers, a group of people across our political landscape so coined because they don’t believe Barack Obama is a natural-born citizen.  Although documents show Obama’s birthplace as Hawaii, Birthers claim these are forged to cover up the fact that he was really born in Kenya, which makes him ineligible to hold the office of the President of the United States.

However, on this day, The Feast of the Visitation, I’ve been thinking about a very different set of 'birthers'.

Our story begins with Elizabeth-- well-stricken in age, as the Bible notes--who became pregnant with a child prophesied to be the forerunner for the Messiah. When she was six months into her pregnancy, her teenage cousin Mary arrives for a visit. She, too, was pregnant—pregnant with the Messiah! The extended visit between these two is recorded in Luke 1:39-56.

I like to be around birthers...not the political, conspiracy-minded kind, but believers who are pregnant with the plans of God.  I’m a birther, too. We’ll quickly tell you that what we carry is of God; otherwise, our age, health, finances, lack of education, and a host of other natural obstacles would normally prevent conception.

Whatever the reason, Kingdom birthers all agree on one thing:  It’s the same phrase the angel Gabriel used when he appeared to Mary and announced that she, a teenage virgin, would be overshadowed by the Holy Spirit with a “holy thing”: (KJV)

“For with God nothing shall be impossible”. (Luke 1:37)

Are you incubating a “holy thing”? An immense vision, a dream or a daring assignment from God that is maturing inside of you?

You don’t have all the answers. You may not be sure of the exact season when you’ll go into labor. And you certainly don’t know how you will be able to properly care for this new arrival. You just know that God chose you. He overshadowed you. Despite the difficulties ahead—including misunderstandings from family and friends—you said “yes” to God. Suddenly, your inner being became a womb.

Let me advise you to do exactly what Mary did—seek out “with haste” another “birther”! That which was placed on the inside of you will always jump for joy in the presence of another believer who carries a living word, a promise, and a plan from God.

Only in the presence of birthers--not the spiritually barren--will you receive a blessing (Luke 1: 42, 45). The spirit of prophecy can well up inside of you to speak forth His goodness and grace to the nations. You will wax strong and be able to bring to full term that which is on the inside of you:

“Now Elizabeth’s full time came that she should be delivered, and she brought forth a son.” (Luke 1:57)

“…the days were accomplished that she (Mary) should be delivered.” (Luke 2:6)

Sadly, not all assignments from God come to birth at their appointed time. A discouraging spirit can show up during a birther’s most vulnerable moments to play upon deep, lingering fears.

The adversary wants us to exchange the truth for a lie--the lie that says we have deceived ourselves by thinking we are chosen by God for great things—a lie that, if believed, expels (uproots) the seed within us.

Godly reforms were taking place under Hezekiah’s leadership, but there was much more that needed to be done. Then, a powerful enemy came to lay siege against Jerusalem. His clever, deceitful words made King Hezekiah cower in fear and cry, “This day is a day of distress and rebuke and disgrace, as when children come to the point of birth and there is no strength to deliver them.” (Isaiah 37:3)

His name was Rabshakeh —Sennacherib’s silver-tongued general. The Assyrian forces had never been defeated. Hezekiah’s people were outnumbered and outclassed by a ruthless army.

He met with Hezekiah’s representatives outside the city wall. They asked him to converse in the Syrian tongue so as not to panic the people watching from the wall, but Rabshakeh arrogantly refused. He threatened them in perfect Hebrew, mocking God and Hezekiah’s claim that God would prevail on their behalf.

Don’t be alarmed if a Rabshakeh of some sort shows up to mock you. Don’t be surprised if he makes his threats public for everyone around you to hear, particularly those who have supported you through rough times and may now be prone to criticize.

This I know: if a Rabshakeh arrives on the scene, it can only mean one thing--you’ve come to full term and your days are about to be accomplished! Don’t give up!

Hezekiah rent his clothes in despair, but instead of letting Rabshakeh frighten him from God, Hezekiah ran to God. He called upon a friend who knew how to incubate and protect a word from God during difficult times--the prophet Isaiah. Isaiah returned God’s words to ascendancy over Rabshakeh’s. Hezekiah regained his confidence and strength, and God won the day!

Don’t go it alone in isolation. Don’t hang around with spiritually barren people. With haste, seek out other believers who are pregnant with the seed of great things for God and stay a while.  If you do, you will be blessed…and “there shall be a performance of those things which were told to you from the Lord.” (Luke 1: 45)