Podcast

Come As You Are – Part 2

TOT 73 | Unconditional Love

God loves us unconditionally, and we can come to God just as we are.  We don’t need formulas, perfection or faultlessness to come to God, make our request known and have God over answer our prayers.  God is that good and it is His delight to bless us!  So just come to God…come just as you are! Join Dr. Siohvaughn Funches once again as she guides us to a continued reflection of these eternal truths.


Listen to the podcast here:

Come As You Are – Part 2

We’re going to be continuing on with our series titled, Come As You Are. Before we recap, for those who are joining with this for the first time, we’re going to take a moment and do what it is that you all know that we always do, and that’s acknowledge God and pray. I thank you, Heavenly Father, for the opportunity to get at the feet of Jesus again and hear His word. I thank you that you have given to each and every one of us the spirit of wisdom and revelation and the knowledge of Jesus. I thank you that the eyes of our understanding are being enlightened, that we may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in us, the saints, and what is that exceeding greatness of His power towards us, who believe according to the working of His mighty power.

I thank you, Holy Spirit, for being present and in our midst. I thank you that as we behold Jesus, the author and the finisher of our faith. Thank you, Holy Spirit, that you are transforming us into His very same image. I thank you that you’re taking us from level to level and glory to glory effortlessly. Thank you, Lord, in Jesus’ name. If you guys were with me in the last episode, you know we were just getting into 1 Samuel. For those who weren’t reading out of the New King James Version of 1 Samuel 1. That’s at least where we started. We’re going to pick up where we left off in the last episode in 1 Samuel. We’re still in chapter one though.

We know that God loves us unconditionally. God has justified us and His very own blood. He’s paid a high price for the forgiveness of all of our sins to establish this new covenant of grace, truth, and peace. We have peace with God and it cost him nothing less than His only begotten son, to bleed, to die, to go to hell for all of our sins to be raised. God doesn’t make us pay for the consequences of our sins. They have undoubtedly been paid for. There were consequences, and that’s been taken care of through the blood of Jesus Christ and through the son of God, Himself.

That’s the unshakeable foundation upon which all of us as believers stand. That’s where our faith is at. That’s the place where we can never be moved. It’s also the premise for this particular show series which led to the title and the spirit of it. Even the examples that God has given us in this particular series is that we can come to God just as we are. There’s no need to clean up this, stop that, and do all of that. In and of ourselves, we can do nothing. Jesus is the true vine and we’re the branches. Branches bear fruit because of the vine. The vine is like the root of it. It causes the branches to bear fruit. Branches, while they look like they were a part of it because all the fruit hangs off of it, it is the job of the vine.

It is the job of the vinedresser. God is the vinedresser. Jesus is the true vine and we are the branches. We can’t bear fruit without him. That’s in anything. Jesus said, “Apart from me, you can do nothing,” so change yourself, stop bad habits, and cut out on addiction. None of it can be done by our strength, our might, or our power. It has to be done by the power and grace of God, like all things period point-blank. God knows that. He knows every shortcoming. He knows every failing ahead of time. God doesn’t remember our sins anymore. We talked about that new covenant, which is in Hebrews. It’s in a couple of places and you can find it twice in the book of Hebrews where God talks about the new covenant and promises us as believers that he forgot.

When it comes to our sin, God doesn’t remember them anymore. We must remember that God forgot. When we come to God, we can come boldly like He said to the throne of grace. Grace is like, “I’m choosing to be good. I’m loving you not because of you. You’re the object of my love, not because of you, but because I am love and I love you.” With that being said, we can come to God just as we are. In coming to him, that’s what causes the transformation because anybody who comes to God must believe He exists. That right there is that measure of faith that God has given to every single one of us. God honors faith. We know that if you’ve been with us on this journey from the beginning, and I would encourage anyone who hasn’t to please go read to that initial series where God lays a solid foundation. Not just for this show, but even more importantly for your entire Christian walk.

From the beginning of it to its eternity, it’s relevant what’s said n that first initial series that God did. All of it is relevant. If it’s coming from God, His words are life. We need life. What’s the alternative? Death. We know that it’s all important, but that solid foundation laid, that certainty that can only come from the true gospel being preached and laid out what people think is maybe the basics. It’s always important. If you are a homeowner, this is important the foundation of your house. Nothing else matters if that’s not solid, not at all. Marble floors for what? For them to come caving in because the foundation cracked and fell through? The foundation is super important and God did. That’s a foundational series and it’s upon which God builds our entire walk and relationship with Him.

Lessons From Hannah’s Story

Every calling, every ministry, every move we’re making, every breath we’re taking is because of a lot of the truths that God lays out in there. I would encourage anyone who hasn’t to read, and to anyone who asks, to read again. Faith comes by hearing and hearing the word of Christ. We have to keep hearing the right thing. God knows. Especially, there’s been all opportunities to hear bad news. We have to hear the good news and the good news is the gospel. We know that we can come to God as we are. We began by looking at Hannah because there’s a ton of proof that we can come to God as we are in the entire Bible from beginning to the end of it. God, in the interest of time, has given us a few examples.

We saw that Hannah was married to Elkanah and Elkanah had two wives. That was acceptable custom during that day. That’s not the case now. We looked and saw how the other wife of Elkanah, Peninnah, provoked Hannah severely, the Bible says. Continually and severely because Hannah couldn’t have children. Back in those times, a woman being able to bear children and a man even being able to bear children was top-notch important. It was like, God, next and that. It’s very serious. People nowadays are choosing even careers over that, or even deciding that that’s not something they want to do or embark on as far as parenting is concerned.

Back then, it was looked upon as a shame. It was something of a reproach to be quite honest. Nothing less than a curse if a woman didn’t have a child. In some regards, I’m not saying people still don’t have that’s not in the air, even in America. We know that Hannah was not able to have children and Peninnah had several children with Elkanah. She provoked Hannah to the point that the Bible says Hannah didn’t even eat and she was weeping. We pointed out how God didn’t say she was crying. She was weeping like full of sorrow, like a continual funeral. One that didn’t end was her affliction. I said in the last episode, I can relate to Hannah in many ways. Maybe not being unable to conceive in the area of having children but seeming not to give birth to something you deeply desire.

TOT 73 | Unconditional Love
Unconditional Love: God loves you unconditionally, so you can come to God just as you are and have your prayers answered!

The more you went after it, the more seem to evade you and then on top of that, persecution. It hurt enough being in that barren state or in that desert place. To have someone who’s provoking you and just on you about it is altogether another challenge. We’re going to pick up in verse eight here and I’ll point out to you something. I love how God pointed it out to me. I want to share it with you, but we’re back in 1 Samuel 1. We’re going to start with eight. It says, “Elkanah her husband said to her, ‘Hannah, why do you weep? Why do you not eat? Why is your heart grieved? I’m not better to you than ten sons?’” It says, “Hannah arose after they had finished eating and drinking in Shiloh. Eli, the priest was sitting on the seat by the doorpost of the tabernacle of the Lord. She was in bitterness of soul and prayed to the Lord and wept in anguish.”

I am not at all happy that Hannah had to go through this, but I am so grateful to God. For every example of men and women that God put in the Bible, we see them as heroes of faith, as overcomers, as more than conquerors, as healers, as evangelists, preachers, and anointed teachers. That’s fine. They were human like you and I. Vessels that God moved through. Apart from Him, they could do nothing like we can. With Him, through Christ, we can do all things. Same thing. I love it. It’s so real. The Bible is raw and be honest, that’s what we need, especially when we’re going through like, “Please don’t paint the pretty picture for me when I’m going through.”

I do better when someone can tell me they’ve been hell and back twice. Like one summer, they went twice but they made it. Don’t give me this covered up version of it wasn’t bad and all of that. It was terrible like bald spot and all, hair straight to the floor. Stress alone. Give me the real raw version. She couldn’t eat, not this whole like, “God is good.” I believe in positive confession. I on purpose make confessions daily on purpose, and my mother bears witness to this. I declare and I say what I want to see. I take time out of my day to do that. I am a strong believer and walk it out a positive confession. I’m not have become perfect in what I say, but I come a long way, even in short period of time for the glory of God.

I love that the Bible, the Holy Spirit and recording the Bible, gives it to us raw. I love it because then we’re reminded that these are humans. When we see their victory and that they triumph, that they overcame, we know we can. These people didn’t have capes on their back. There was no S on her chest. This is the ordinary woman like you and I, and the struggle was real. You got all the society saying like, “I wonder why. Probably because maybe she hadn’t known. She’s probably cursed.” All of that’s happening, then she’s sharing her husband. That’s a whole another show series. We’re not going to go there. On top of that, the other woman is provoking her.

You’re talking about when it rains, it pours. That’s not pouring. That’s a tsunami. Let’s be real. That’s hurricane 5 is what that is. She had us going through. I love the fact that the Bible doesn’t hold any punches and tells us she was depressed. She wasn’t eating, wasn’t sleeping, wasn’t crying. She was weeping. The Holy Spirit didn’t hold any punches. That gives me hope. If Hannah overcame, then that means the meals I’ve missed when I went through, I can still overcome. There’s hope for us. Thank God for Hannah. Interestingly in Hebrew, the language of the Bible was written in this Old Testament. Her name means grace. I think that’s beautiful.

It reminds us that every blessing we have, every ability we have, and every answered prayer we get is by the grace of God. She’s a phenomenal testimony in the Bible of the goodness and faithfulness of God. There’s another thing God showed me, but I truly believe that would be an entirely different show series as well. God is good. He’s good and He wants to be good. Hannah’s an example of that. I love how the Bible says, this is what God showed me, she came just as she was. The Bible says that she was in bitterness of soul. We all know that bitterness is a sin. The Bible tells us about not being bitter. It does and God tells us don’t worry and don’t fear.

No Need To Fear God

Hannah was wrapped up in all of that so much so that she couldn’t even eat. She’s weeping. I think this is good because God is not religious. They want to categorize, put on applications, and call Christianity a religion. Christianity is not a religion. Religious rulers and religious demon, I know that Jesus paid for all of our sins. In that regard, we all crucified him. It was a spirit of religion that was used as a means to the end of crucifying Christ because Jesus came and everything, He was doing was glorifying God, exalting grace. The Bible says he came in grace and truth. That’s the truth, the grace of God and it was killing religion. The Pharisees, Sadducees, the lawyers, and legalistic people were like, “Live it,” to the point of, “Kill Him before we crucify Him. Kill Him twice.”

It was mad and seething because He was after that spirit of religion. All those rules and things that paint pictures of God. Making Him in an image that He’s not. God is who He says He is. God is love. He can’t lie. If He says He’s love, He’s love, simple. Religious spirit wants to call Him something else to make somebody afraid of God in order to control them. That’s a means to an end of their wallet. That’s a lot of times why you find preachers either they believe God is mean, and they see Him like that, so they’re preaching and teaching like that. Otherwise, they know that God is not, but some people want sincerely get people to do things right and so they’re trying to control them by the means of fear.

That’s not good because they’re trying to put people in fear of God. There’s no need to fear God. I know the Bible says to fear God, but that the Bible was translated into English. It wasn’t its original language. Jesus taught us to fear the Lord as to worship him and God can’t lie. Jesus is God in the flesh. I love the fact that the Bible says she was in bitterness of soul. We know that bitterness is in God. That’s not as best for us. Just because we’re not dotting every I and crossing every T, and even we’re not dotting most of the I’s or crossing most of the T’s, if we’re dotting no I’s and crossing no T’s, we need to come boldly to the throne of grace. We need to come like yesterday. Depending on how much you’re going through, you may want to get there faster, not slower. Hannah does that. She doesn’t get rid of the bitterness first. She doesn’t clean up her act and say, “Let me lift my hands and holy praise unto God.”

She came to God just how she was, good, bad and ugly, but it’s mostly ugly. The Bible says, “She prayed to the Lord and wept in anguish.” She gave him all of it. People are like, “I come, Lord, and I want to give you thanks.” Hannah, she wanted to tell Him that, “This lady is out of line, God. Why is my wound like this, Jesus?” There’s hope for me if Hannah came like that. If you know the story, you know God over answered her prayer. If there’s hope Hannah coming like that to God, there’s hope for me because I don’t always go to God like thou art greatest Lord. I never used the King James Version when talking to God. The point is, I can’t come with the pretenses. The things that have happened to me are way too real. I have to get to the point with God. I have to keep it real with God. I got to go so fast that it’s like yesterday. I love that Hannah came to the Lord just as she was. Let’s go in the spirit of Jesus Christ, which is his Holy Spirit, and keep tearing down religion because religion wants to paint this false picture of this false image of who God is. God is not this religious God. That’s like, “Get it out of your heart first.” He doesn’t talk like that. Sometimes I hear Him and it’s sarcasm and funny.

TOT 73 | Unconditional Love
Unconditional Love: Let God finish. If God promised you you’re going to the other side, you’re going to the other side.

The Bible says she made a vow and said, “Lord of hosts, if you will indeed look on the affliction of your maidservant.” People are like, “You’re supposed to enter God’s gates with thanksgiving.” I know what I’m supposed to do. A lot of times, it’s not that you don’t know what you’re supposed to do but this is all you get. If you can’t keep it real with anybody else, you can keep it real with God. I can even assure you of that. Hannah is our testimony here written and recorded, benefit, edification, and promotion, but also my own testimony. If you haven’t read it, get the book. It’s real. You don’t have anything fancy to bring in a God. It’s like, “I got nothing but ashes. I heard you give people beauty and exchange fully. Help me Jesus.” When you have an ugly cry, you’re going to God. I went to God many times and cry ugly.

God is over answering my prayers. He’s still unwrapping these gifts. He is giving them and God is blessing me. She had told God, “If you indeed look on the affliction of your mates serving, that’s not thanksgiving, that’s a complaint I’m going through.” Remember me and not forget your maidservant, but we’ll give your maidservant a male child. She’s not like, “Holy is the Lord greatest.” Jesus is 1,000,000,000 % worthy of our worship at all times. Sometimes we’re out of gas and we’re like, “I can’t give what I don’t have. I’ve got to keep it real with God.” Knowing that He loves me so much. When I worship and I’m like, “I’m entering your gates with thanksgiving. Thank you so much,” he loves me the same, not more. God is good. He may enjoy us more at different times in life but love us more is not happening. He loves us more than we could measure at all times, no matter what. He loves us unconditionally.

She asks God for a male child. She said, “God, if you give me this male child, all the days of his life, no razor shall come upon his head.” She’s talking to God and she made a vow. We don’t have to do an exchange with God but that’s the way that she prayed. That’s what she said. There was a purpose. I believe the Holy Spirit led her to pray because the child that God gave her when he answered this prayer was certainly called by God to be a priest. Her dedication that he would live this consecrated life was what he was called by God to do before she opened her mouth to speak. God already had the idea to give her this child. God worked it together for good.

The lady thought she was provoking her to destroy her. She might’ve wanted to slit her wrists. Don’t do it. Don’t give people satisfaction. The Bible says, “I would have seen the goodness of God in the land of the living,” like, “Where would I be?” You’re like “I would have despaired.” That was the word of God written through King David. We know He went through serious testing and trial, especially before He began to fulfill His destiny. In my book, you got to let God finish. There’s a section in there that talks about from desert to destiny. That’s how that works. Don’t let the testing, desert, or if you went from famine first and then got to the feast, don’t let it discourage you. If God promised you’re going to the other side, you’re going to the other side. You can take that check to the bank and cash it. It is that simple.

It says that it happened as she continued praying before the Lord that Eli watched her mouth. Hannah has spoken her heart. Only her lips moved but her voice was not heard. Therefore, he thought she was drunk. He’s like, “It’s way too early in the morning for you to be out here high as a kite.” It stands for Hannah answered and said, “No, my Lord, I’m a woman of sorrowful spirit.” See how she came to God with how she was, sorrowful, bitter, and mad. No thanksgiving. She’s skipping past that straight to her what she won’t. God do this for me. Remember me, God. Religion wants somebody to feel that kind of prayer like Jabez made, “Bless me, indeed. Enlarge my coast. Let your hand be with me. Keep me from evil that it doesn’t grieve me or cause me pain.” Religion wants to tell you about being selfish. You’re not being selfish. You’re being wise. God is glorified. When I pray, He answered it. You can see that in John 15, that’s first foremost.

God The Provider

Second of all, God made it like that. He ordained it. He’s God with the people. He’s the provider. Where’re the ones provided for. He’s the lover. We’re the beloved. He’s the healer. We’re the ones that are saying, “Heal me, God.” God knows that. God has accepted His role. We accept ours. We’re richly blessed. We’re blessed to be a blessing. How can we give to somebody what we don’t have? She came and Hannah’s so bitter. She’s sorrowful. She’s wrapped up in what she going through and what she doesn’t have. Hannah’s loved. She’s in her right man. To me, she got some character from Christ Himself because she hasn’t given this lady two black eyes and a punctured kidney.

I’m from the real streets outside of Chicago. The real streets are scary. Children are not safe on the playground streets. Where I’m from before I gave my life to Christ, it’s like, “This lady right here,” They’d had to identify that other wife by her dental records. There is nothing left but teeth. That’s where I’m from. I’m proud of Hannah. For the most part, I keep things in check. God will check me. I’m learning to keep it right. God is washing those streets off of me and I’m still on the potter’s wheel. I love it because there’s so much freedom and knowing that God loves me all in potter’s wheel. I’m fine with the fact that I haven’t arrived because God is fine with the fact that I haven’t arrived. He loves me the way I am. He does love me too much to leave me like that. I’m on a potter’s wheel. You’re on the potter’s wheel too.

I love how this lady came and she’s sorrowful and she’s talking about her. She’s bringing Jabez. She hasn’t thanked God for her health, for the fact she’s in the right man, and for the fact that He kept her out of jail. She could have gone to prison dealing with that lady. People went to jail for less. Thank God for keeping it together. You say, “God, you didn’t just bring me this far, you kept me. You didn’t just make me, you’ve kept me.” These are all things to be thankful for. She has a husband who loves her deeply. We saw he was given the other wife’s crumbs and then compared to what he’s given to Hannah, he’s given Hannah a double portion. You could tell the husband’s heart is with her. How many wives out there are praying for a husband whose heart is deeply loves them and the way Christ loves the church? Hannah hated it then. He didn’t think to cross everything because his whole statement about like, “Why are you crying? Why are you in this?” She’s like, “They are one. Why don’t you know?” You got no discernment.

TOT 73 | Unconditional Love
Unconditional Love: Be fine with the fact that you haven’t arrived because God is fine with it.

She had a lot to be thankful for but she skips past that and she straightened to the bitterness. What does God do? He uses this priest Eli. After Eli, she tells him, she’s not drunk. She was so grieved. You can mistake her for someone high as a Georgia pine. Eli answers and tells her, “Go and have peace. The God of Israel has granted your petition, which you have asked him.” That word was not, “I hope it happens.” They believe then. We believe now. If not, we should. The word of a priest, King, and a real priest from God, somebody ordained by God. I got a real King anointed by God or appointed by God had the power not just earthly. That was a position in the earth of leadership. It had some authority, but the power was from Omaha. They knew that. This wasn’t any man that said to her, “Go in peace. God is granting your petition.”

That wasn’t somebody hoping that it happens to say something positive so she doesn’t kill herself. That has power. Jesus has made us born again believers, Kings, and priests. I’m thanking God for His word all the time. She knew that these words have power. It’s a weighty word. We’ve got Jesus who’s made us both Kings and priests. A double power. Usually, were a priest or a King. You’re not getting both mantels, but Jesus comes and takes us as an exchange. He gives us His righteousness, His keys to the kingdom makes us Kings, priests, heirs of God, and joint heirs with him. We ought to be decreed a thing. You may be one decree away from your breakthrough, open your mouth. The miracle is in your mouth. Don’t let the hindrance be in your mouth like, “In Jesus’ name, I pray for the both of us.”

She says, “Let your maidservant find favor in your sight.” The woman went her way and ate, her face was no longer sad. This lady gets one prophetic word. What does she do? She goes off and she believes God in such a way that is like, “She knows that its God and God is going to do it.” Chapter two, it says He knew Hannah, his wife. For God, sex is not sex. It’s intimacy. It’s something so much more beautiful than the act of sex. Remember animals have sex. It says, “The Lord remembered her, ‘Was that not what that woman prayed?’” You see the condition she was in when she prayed. It’s all about her, full of bitterness. She’s like, “I’m mad. I’m not going to forgave the lady.” She made her mad that morning. Nevertheless, “Lord, here I am.” I love God. No religion in Him. Full of grace and truth, no doubt. It says, “It came to pass in the process of time that Hannah conceived and bore a son.” Remember she didn’t ask God to give a conception. She specifically asked God for a son.

He did it and called his name Samuel, and saying, “I have asked for him from the Lord.” Hannah knows what her help comes from. She’s full of the grace of God. He shows towards the end of chapter one that she ends up coming into the priest, Eli, because she made that vow to God. She’s going to keep her vow. She did. She said in verse 27, “For this child, I prayed. The Lord has granted me my petition, which I asked Him. Therefore, I also have lent him to the Lord. As long as he lives, he shall be lent to the Lord.” They worship the Lord there. Hannah was like that leopard that came back. After God blessed her, she didn’t forget God.

The goodness of God led Hannah to repentance before she could see bitterness and all that kind of stuff. She came just as she was. She didn’t try to get it together. She had no power to get it together. If Hannah had power, she’d have used it to get a wound open up. When she had that baby, she deeply desired, and God used Samuel in a major way. This is the book of 1 Samuel. We’ve got a book of 2 Samuel. That tells you how important that is. Two books, we call them Samuel 1 and Samuel 2. That’s serious insignificant. This lady didn’t just give birth to a son. She gave birth to destiny. This other lady popped out children like children pop Skittles in their mouths.

They’re coming out like a litter, not children. Hannah seemed to be slow to giving birth. If you’re somebody that feels like everybody else comes fast and almost like as soon as they exit happened, but it’d be a long time coming for you or something. When we get the answer to our prayers, some of us have to travail the way that Hannah did. Hannah was barren for years of travailing. Ladies, you’ve been in labor, a few hours is enough to make you want to say, “I don’t know if it was worth it.” There are some of us whose prayer seemed to be taking time longer. When I think about giving birth to destiny, something that God has shown me about giving birth is like if somebody has a baby and the baby’s 4 or 5 pounds, that can be a fairly simple birth. It’s like they’re sliding out.

You get some women who have a baby and the baby is 15 pounds. That’s a bigger baby and maybe a bigger destiny and a higher calling. That can be more difficult and prolonged labor. Don’t be discourage. Don’t be dismayed. Don’t give up because of it taking the time it’s taken and those contraction pains. Most of you all, there’s no exaggeration in you. You’re looking around like, “Do they even believe me?” Women who’ve never experienced any type of labor pain. Sometimes they like, “I like that.” My second son that I had, Zion, he was running out. He’s a Kenyan. He’s getting out of there. He was ready to go. My first son that I had almost grieved me to death. I felt in labor that I thought I was going to die. In her, it took a while but they’re both worth it. It was just different.

Imagine someone who’s never had painful labor. They’re on child four, and it’s like they always lay it out for them. They don’t gain weight. They never had morning sickness that I’ve experienced. They may not be able to empathize with the woman who’s given birth. All three of her children were 11.6, 12, and 12.5 pounds. She went through. Women who had to be hospitalized got sick and lost weight that is gained. It couldn’t keep anything down like counter tumultuous stuff. That’s a different experience altogether. Don’t give up. Hannah didn’t. However you are, whatever condition you win, come to God just how you are. We see that God answered Hannah’s prayer and we’ll conclude a little bit and her testimony.

God answered this woman’s prayer. She came to God just as she was, no pretenses, and she didn’t hold any punches. She brought them the good, the bad, and the double ugly. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Be encouraged to come to God as you are and you encouraged people of God who are giving birth to a very big destiny. God has not forgotten you. He said you’re going to the other side. You are going to the other side. Thank you for being with me on this journey. Until next time. God continue to bless you, keep you, and protect you.

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