God has a great sense of humor! Twenty-five years after completing my Master of Business Administration, the Lord spoke to me about going back to school. I explained to Him all the reasons why it was a terrible idea, but “No!” was not a good response to Him. So, I hyped myself up on all the Christian declarations:

I’ve been bought with a price.

My life is not my own.

Fear is afraid of me.

You were born for this, (my personal favorite).

If He calls me to it, He will see me through it.

…and several applications. I placed the three options before Him and went with the one where I felt peace. 

In my first semester in the Master of Divinity program, I took a New Testament class. Great! This is the perfect course to get my feet wet. In the first collaboration session with my professor, he said we would exegete Scripture passages using literary relationships. Say what? We didn’t do this in business school! I spent the remainder of the semester using literary tools to interpret Scripture. Let me explain.

Biblical authors wrote so the readers would notice the message’s most essential and critical facts. One of the methods they would use is repetition and inclusio, (sidenote: I can’t help but hear Mater’s voice in my head from Cars saying that fancy word!). In-cluuuu-sio! I like to call this the sandwich method. The repetition of the same or similar statements sandwiches the most crucial part of the passage of Scripture. 

The powerful method of using literary relationships to exegete Scripture led me to see the following truth:

Let’s look at Mark 3:13-16.

“And He went up on the mountain and summoned those whom He Himself wanted, and they came to Him. And He appointed twelve, so that they would be with Him and that He could send them out to preach, and to have authority to cast out demons. And He appointed the twelve…”

The author uses inclusio to make the main point of why He brought them to the mountain and why, “He appointed the twelve.”  I am still in awe of the reason: 

1. “so that they would be with Him”

2.  “He could send them [out] to preach.”

3. “They would have the authority to cast out demons.”   

Tears ran down my face when I saw this literary relationship for the first time. The #1 reason Jesus appointed the disciples was that He wanted them to be with Him. Can we stop and meditate?

Say this to yourself, “And He appointed me so that I would be with Him.”

He wants to be with you. 

He loves to be with you. 

He likes to be with you. 

He is in pursuit of your heart. 

Before we pray, worship, and seek His presence, what if we reminded ourselves of this truth? He longs to be with me. It is the other side of the coin. Of course, I am in pursuit of His presence and want to move His heart, but all the while, He is after mine.  

What if I treated my spouse with a one-sided love? I only wanted to show my husband affection, but never allowed time for him to love me back. I would not consider that a healthy relationship, and burnout would soon follow. Perhaps ministry burnout starts with forgetting this crucial fact. He wants me to rest in His presence, and allow Him to love me.  

Before anything you can do for Him, He wants to be with you. Before the Good News is preached, demons are cast out, the dead are raised, and the nations are discipled, He wants an appointment with you. Let that sink in. An appointment comes before the anointment. 

All ministry in His name starts with the relationship principle of presence. Have I been with Him? Have I allowed Him to minister to my heart, and have I ministered to Him? The atmosphere for ministry is His presence; therefore, I need to nurture our relationship before being sent to preach, teach, evangelize, or prophesy. He, alone, is the secret sauce!

Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. John 15:4-5

“Abide in Me, and I in you.” We usually stop at that first phrase, but it is a two-way relationship. I in Him, and He in me. As we can see in John 15, it is all or nothing. Apart from Him, we can do nothing, but with Him, impossibilities will bow. We were never designed to live apart from Him. 

Today’s reminder: And He appointed me so that I would be with Him. 



Michelle Braud and her husband, Tim, have been married for over 23 years. In addition to working as the associate pastor at The Harbor Church in Hammond, LA, she is a dedicated full-time mom to four children. She attends Regent University pursuing a Master of Divinity. 



This article was originally published in the 2023 Spring Edition of the Destiny Magazine. You can find the online edition here.