Sunday, July 31, 2011
First things first. I think there's a praise report in order. About a month ago I met a young woman who was searching big time. She was very honest about her past, which revealed a painful marriage as well as being deeply involved in the muslim religion. She knew a whole lot about the bible and wasn't afraid to ask questions... but Jesus was her roadblock. In her case, she got so involved in the muslim way of life that to believe Jesus was also God would not be a good "turn out" for her. We knew there was nothing we could or should say to "convince" her, it had to be the holy spirit to reveal the truth. So... my mom, a good friend of mine, and i started praying. We knew that it was going to happen on God's watch and through a supernatural event.
The other day my mom felt led to give her the book "Heaven is For Real", which is awesome by the way! She thought she could read it on vacation, but instead she read the whole thing in 6 hours. Last night she stayed up crying out to God and praying. Before she fell asleep she asked God to open her heart and reveal the truth to her so she would no longer live in fear of this agonizing decision about her faith. As she slept she had a dream where my mom, my good friend and i were all present. In the dream we kept telling her to come with us. When she woke up she knew that Jesus was who He said He was, and God was God. She chose at that moment to surrender her life completely to the Trinity and receive all of His love for her!!! Yahoooooooo!!!! We just got a call from her a few hours ago and celebrated! I can't wait to see how God rocks her and moves through her in this life! I love how God doesn't get stressed about the pace of our journey or the path he chooses to bring us there... perhaps, He delights in it.
Today in church Pastor Dan spoke in Romans 8 about us receiving the spirit of adoption as sons and daughters, not the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear. As his adopted kids we cry, "Abba Father!" and our papa hears us. Just like my friend who wrestled daily with the truth of God, we are caught in a tension between our current earthly situation and our future salvation. He said that when you see the future it shapes and dictates how you view the present. For example: whether you know you'll win a million tomorrow or it will be your last day on earth, you will live according to that promise today. God knows there is struggle and decay on this earth from the effects of sin... but He also says it's not even worth comparing to the glory that will be revealed to us one day. Our acceptance of our very own adoption, glimpses of the kingdom on earth, knowledge of the word, and direction of the Holy spirit lead us to a place where our visions of heaven can run wild! This should be the very thing that determines our response to the present.
I used to be the person who was only different than the world because I had made a "decision" and went to church. I watched the same things, said the same stuff, listened to the same lies, reacted the same way, was quite careless with my body, fearful, depressed at times, and most of the time confused as to what God was doing in my life. Don't get me wrong I had times of joy, revelation, conviction, and relationship... but I was not free, and there wasn't a whole lot of evidence in consistent healthy fruit. I think a huge misconception is that when we are "saved" that's it. Then we become a better or worse christian at that point. Well, that's a bunch of bull in my opinion. Yes, something magnificent happens when we are "saved"... but there is a constant process of sanctification that happens as He's restoring us to Him. He wants us to live FREELY even on earth. Free as kids who love the heck out of their dad, and it becomes very visible to all those around because of the way we treat ALL of His creation in our response to His love.
B90: (Job 13- Job 31:16) I tell you what, every time i start to read Job i'm ready to get out of there! But even in the midst of all the depression and darkness, there are tiny bits of light and hope. One particular thing stuck out to me in Job tonight right after my friend Matt had shared a special story with me. Job says, "What is the Almighty, that we should serve Him? And what profit do we get if we pray to him?" (Ch 21:15) I feel that if we were being completely honest, most of us have asked this question at some point in our life. If not, maybe we should. Not to undermine His power or authority.... but so that you honestly know WHY you follow Him. I mean, we might know the sunday school answer but do we REALLY know for ourselves?
Matt said that one of the kids he has been mentoring was recently saved and had an amazing vision the other day of confirmation. He had just asked himself this question, just like my friend i mention in the beginning of this blog..."Why Jesus?" In this vision He saw himself and his friends behind bars. At one point as they were crying out, a man came and released them. Instead of following the man who released them they ran away and were captured again. This happened several times before they realized the one who had been releasing them must know what He's doing and must have great compassion on them. All the sudden, as they began to follow where He went... they discovered it was Jesus. He finally understood that Jesus was the only one who can truly break us free from our bondage of sin and slavery! One of the beautiful things Pastor Dan mentioned today in the sermon was, "what the law could not do for you, Jesus could."
Tonight as I was reading in Job, this song came on by The Swell Season. It's one of my fav's and I'd love to share it with you because I think it's very timely to what the spirit of God is saying now. When I hear the words: I hear the struggle, pain and cries of Job, myself, and all of you. Then I hear our Father coming to our rescue and begin feel the hope, redemption, and unfailing love. I pray your soul is lifted up today so high that you see yourself through His eyes.
I don't know you
But I want you
All the more for that
Words fall through me
And always fool me
And I can't react
And games that never amount
To more than they're meant
Will play themselves out
Take this sinking boat and point it home
We've still got time
Raise your hopeful voice you have a choice
You've made it now
Falling slowly, eyes that know me
And I can't go back
Moods that take me and erase me
And I'm painted black
You have suffered enough
And warred with yourself
It's time that you won
Take this sinking boat and point it home
We've still got time
Raise your hopeful voice you had a choice
You've made it now
Take this sinking boat and point it home
We've still got time
Raise your hopeful voice you had a choice
You've made it now
Saturday, July 30, 2011
There have been a few times in my life where i've experienced pockets of darkness or moments of hopelessness. A lot of those times happened to be on outreach when I was in a foreign land without the comforts, securities, and stabilities of home. Without someone's familiar words to guide me to the light, or someone else's hug to find warmth. I remember one specific time of complete discomfort and fear while I was in Bangladesh a few years ago. One particular day I felt sick and had to stay back at the ywam base alone. That was one of the longest days of my life. I vividly remember laying in my bunk surrounded by a mosquito net finding it hard to breath because of the thick hot stagnant air. It must've been a degree or two hotter than what I imagine hell would feel like; and the electricity, which kept the fans pushing hot stuffy air around the room, gave out on me. All I could hear, besides the thoughts of suffering in my head, where the repetitive and haunting sounds of the "call to prayer" blasting continuously on the loud distorted speakers no human ears could escape. Oh, but it doesn't stop there. To add to the irritating smell of death, I was having excruciating pain in my body in the form of fever and chills.
Ok, at this point you're probably thinking: "Lindsey, you are being a little over dramatic aren't you?" Perhaps I am, but this event stirred something deep within that hadn't been touched before and has only been grabbed once or twice since then. There is something at the depths of your soul that, when faced with potential death, has the choice to give up... or fight through. The fighting consists of the decision to simply stand in the face of adversity, know your purpose in this earth, and worship the LIVING God no matter the circumstances that surround you. This is the very moment hope begins to resurface... and when it does, boy... you hang on for dear life! To persevere means to: persist in or remain constant to a purpose, idea, or task in the face of obstacles or discouragement. No matter if we face trials or not (which we all do), we must ask ourselves this question: Who/what are we living for, and is it really worth it? I hope your answer is Jesus and if so the following answer should be yes. (If you're answer isn't Jesus, trust in God for your revelation of who He really is and He'll begin to reveal Himself to you in a mighty and loving way.) But how often do we rest comfortably at our sunday school answer before giving Him the chance He deserves to prove His worth to you?
Truth is, He proves it in His crazy love for us. (Before the cross, at the cross and since the cross) His love is proven in the testimony of thousands in the written word, and hundreds of thousands- if not millions- since then. Have we given God a chance to reveal this hope and show this love or have we given up when the going gets tough? Do we find it easy to "obey" Him when things are good and a little bit harder to follow Him in the dark? Truthfully, I found it very hard at times to find the security of His grip on my life during those difficult life-threatening situations, but that's when i had to TRUST He was there because He said He was and not because i felt Him.
I remember back in Bangladesh as I fought hard to understand through my tears and plea. I remember reaching that point of utter helplessness and inability to fix myself. At that moment, I pulled back my mosquito net (at this point the blood suckers were the least of my worries), crawled out from under my bunk, and fell face first in desperation before my King. Despite my pain; I chose to repent of anything unclean and beg for His love to consume and overwhelm me. I knew I must stand against the adversity- the very thing driving my flesh to cower and succumb- and DECLARE His goodness and promises. After a few hours of this, I used what strength I had left to pull my head up in hopes of some spiritual light or direction. The moment I did, something caught my attention through the tears. Wiping them away I realized it was a picture of Jesus hanging right above the window. I had been living in that room for days and hadn't noticed this picture before now. This little Bangla version of Jesus was God speaking loudly to me in that place. "I am here with you, and I will never leave you or forsake you." The waterworks started again uncontrollably as I recognized His gentle, loving, graceful, merciful, guiding hand on my life once again. I knew I'd never be the same.
Shortly after, my team members came in and found me on the floor in a puddle of tears. They scooped me up, showered me with His love, and helped restore my soul with His truth. I'll never ever forget that time in Bangladesh as long as I live and honestly I never want to. Something happened that awakened my soul and made my heart come alive. Extraordinary things happen when we make that decision to push through the dark place to see the hope on the other side. If a caterpillar chose to give up in the cocoon, it would never have the momentous victory of persevering nor the blessing of being able to experience the world from a completely different perspective. Not to mention the benefits of going from eating dirt to feasting on nectar! It would be giving up on it's makers intention for it as a beautiful butterfly flying high as a testimony for all of the other caterpillars to see and believe in.
I've had a small handful of dark times like that since then, but not one of them would I take back because of the sweetness of life that i gained and the majestic glory of God that I experienced. Looking back, I see how much more joy I have now because I believe in a God that rescues, restores, and redeems. George Mueller said it best, "If the Lord fails me at this time, it will be the first time." Many of you are in or have been in a "dark place" and I want to offer you courage and hope today. You may have been in this place for a short or long time, you may be taking something to numb the pain, or you may be battling with this on your own because you don't want to be a burden on anyone else. No matter your situation... I encourage you to push through with PRAISE. Especially if you don't feel it. Every time you declare His goodness in your lack, the strongholds of the enemy are retreating and releasing their grip in your life. Living in the darkness should never be a place to set up camp, but a wilderness to walk through knowing there is freedom, hope and healing on the outer edge. No matter how hard it might get; we must not undermine God's authority, deny His power, or fail to recognize His love.
I know it's tough living in this fallen world in fallen bodies where the enemy loves to play... but we cannot forget who has already won and that we have the amazing opportunity to start living in the kingdom of heaven on earth today! We CAN experience joy through the pain and sorrow. We CAN have hope and give it to others even in our darkest hours. We can live to the fullest right where we are! The enemy may have a plan of destruction, but our God has a plan of redemption... and has already caught the enemy in the very trap he tried to set for us. God is omnipresent and all powerful, the enemy is not.
B90: (Esther 5- Job 12:25) Whether you are reading along with the 90 day challengers or not, I recommend reading this whole section today. At the very least take a look at Esther Ch. 6 & 7 with me real quick. To catch you up to speed, there is a guy name Haman who has it out for Mordecai (Queen Esther's cousin/adopted dad). Because of a few instances with Mordecai and lots of pride, Haman decided to wipe out all the jews throughout the kingdom of Ahasuerus. Death was literally knocking at Mordecai's (and the rest of the jews) door. Haman had the plot and was building the very gallows to hang him. So what did they do? Esther, Mordecai and their people fasted and prayed for 3 days. Ok, now here's where it gets REALLY good.
Esther invites Haman over for dinner and in the meantime the King finds evidence of Mordecai's honor. Then he ends up asking Haman how He should go about showing honor to someone he delights in. Well, Haman can't help but thing it's himself so He starts listing off all of the ways He would just looooove to be honored. Then to his surprise, the king announces his delight in Mordecai and to top it off asks Haman to be the one to show him!!! "Leaving out nothing that he had mentioned." Hilarious! I imagine he was pretty mortified. (If Ashton Kutcher were there He may have coined the term, "Ah, you've just been Mordecai'd!" Haha.) So when the king finds out Haman's plot... He ends up hanging Him on the very gallows he had built for Mordecai's death. Hmmmm, is this sounding familiar yet?
And as if we didn't have enough trouble to keep us busy tonight, Job enters the scene. I know most of us (christian or non-christian) are pretty familiar with this story, but there are several things i'd love to point out. Ok so it's attack, attack, attack... then job wishes he were never born... then his friends enter the picture. I love this little nugget of truth Eliphaz throws out there in Ch. 4, "is not your fear of God your confidence, and the integrity or your ways your hope?" This is one of those things that stuck out to me during that dark place in Bangladesh. And then in this moment when Bildad speaks prophetically over Job, "And though your beginning was small, your latter days will be very great." And as He pours hope and life into His broken brother in Ch. 8: 19-22, just like my friends have done for me in those dark places. Lastly read over a few of Zophar's words in Ch.11 :13-20. These are some amazing things to reflect on those times when you find yourself there.
We'll continue to walk through Job tomorrow, but I pray you've found some tangible hope for today :) Love you all. Goodnight.
P.s. If you truly are having a difficult time finding a way out of the "dark place", please email me at email@example.com so i can be personally praying for you. I'd also love to share some the things that helped me through!
Friday, July 29, 2011
I'm learning more and more that when you pray in God's will, God moves. I know God loves being talked about, worshiped, enjoyed and glorified (and not in the earthly conceited way we may assume). So... if we pray according to these things, we can rest assured it's His will. That's exactly why i love praying for divine appointments. I also pray that God will speak through me in a relatable way and that everything about the moment will glorify Him. Then there is no pressure, no agenda, and no planning... other than the preparation of my heart and theirs. Since it's His thing, He always takes care of all the details... yea, God is pretty cool like that!
I walked into the gallery last night expecting God to move in cool ways... and it was just one divine conversation after the next! One of my friends, who has a muslim background and is desperately searching for truth right now, asked me to pray for her. Afterward, she said..."Lindsey, your prayers worked!" Haha. She is on an amazing journey, and i'm so blessed to be apart of it. I love that God is not intimidated by our journey's! Then I got to hang out with another friend of mine who is also really searching for more to life. We've had many conversations about life, love and the source of it all. This guy knows a lot of high profile athletes as well as people all over the world... what an influence He has in so many lives. I'm excited to be a part of His continuing discovery, and i've been honored to learn so much from him too!
I got to talk to at least 10 others who were encouraged or inspired by my photos. Every one of them had some sort of spiritual connection and it always left for an open door for me to tell them about the love of my life! God moved in such a powerful way in that place last night. All we have to do is be available and make room for Him. There are a whole lot of people out there in the world waiting to be loved in a heavenly way. And here's the thing... I'm not any different than anyone else out there. I'm simply telling this story to encourage all of you to pray and look for these divine moments where God will give you every single thing you need to represent Him in a beautiful way. He's putting broken, lost, or hurting people in our path daily who are hungry for more. Do we see them? In the past i've been so focused on my own hurt, that i didn't see anyone else's pain. Then i finally realized there was no reason to continue to walk around like that because I had a heavenly heart doc that had already healed me; i just needed to step into that healing. Once I did, everything changed. When we know our value and worth it's a whole lot easier to see that in others, treat them well, and love them sacrificially. As God carries us to the banqueting table to feast on His goodness we are overwhelmed by His love and naturally desire to tell everyone about this love that's available and relatable to all!
B90: (Ezra 4:17- Neh 7:3 & Neh 7:4-Esther 4:17) Seems like there was quite a bit of fasting and praying in these books. I love the book of Nehemiah... probably my favorite part is when they are rebuilding the wall and "each labored on the work with one hand and held his weapon with the other" (Neh 4: 17) And truly believed, "Our God will fight for us." In everything that we do for the kingdom, there will be opposition. That's a given. We may not actually see it, but it's going on. Being aware of the spiritual battle that surrounds us is imperative, but knowing God will fight for us is even more eternally significant. We must remember that our armor is not supposed to collect dust in our closet, but to be worn every single day.
There is so much meat in Chapter 9 when the people confess their sin. I think i must have underlined, circled or starred pretty much everything. There is something magical that takes place when we recognize the state we currently find ourselves in compared to the magnificent glory of God. We suddenly realize our GREAT for Him. Then the result is complete FREEDOM to fully be who He's created us to be. Our praise and worship comes from a deeper place of gratitude and honor. We are acknowledging His goodness and responding to His love.
And just like Esther who was summoned by name to the King's courts because He delighted in her, so are you. He calls us all to His banqueting table and lavishes us with His love.
Here are lyrics to one of my favorite Leeland songs "carried to the table", thought it might be appropriate for this blog:
I was shattered by the fall
Broken and forgotten
Feeling lost and all alone
Summoned by the King
Into the Master's courts
Lifted by the Savior
And cradled in His arms
I was carried to the table
Seated where I don't belong
Carried to the table
Swept away by His love
And I don't see my brokenness anymore
When I'm seated at the table of the Lord
I'm carried to the table
The table of the Lord
Fighting thoughts of fear
And wondering why He called my name
Am I good enough to share this cup
This world has left me lame
Even in my weakness
The Savior called my name
In His Holy presence
I'm healed and unashamed
You carried me, my God
You carried me
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
For the first time in many years, I've spent a significant amount of time in one place. I was just thinking today how it seems everything i've been learning over the years about God, myself and the world is finally sinking in and taking root. I'm now able to rest in the presence of the Lord without being overwhelmed by the burden of his lost, broken, and wounded creation. I still cry out for them... but I have learned how to let Him carry it instead, believing He already died for it. I've also learned how to BE instead of trying to live up to the world's expectations of me daily. His expectations are simple. Learn how to be His kid.
On that journey I've discovered how well He loves me... I've been pretty overwhelmed with this many times. As a result, my heart for the lost, broken and wounded has grown a million times it's original size. So now, i see all humans on the same scale. Everyone is loved by God deeply... just not everyone has had the revelation of His love yet. Unfortunately, there are some christians... even preachers... who have not yet known this encounter. It seems the deeper the revelation the more evidence of fruit in their life. The more we learn how to be His kid, the more we experience this love for us... and the more we truly desire to love others in this way. So much unspoken truth is told through this selfless expression of love. We've got to trust that God knows what He's doing. The church has got to become a place where people come to be healed... and go back out into the world to touch others lives with the testimony of His love. Too often we come to church every Sunday in the exact same position we left in. No less slavery, no more freedom. Same ole, same ole. He wants to shake us out of our daily routine! He wants us to be excited for the all of the divine appointments, ministry opportunities, and adventure around every corner! He wants to completely and utterly wreck us with His love. (In a good way of course!)
Wanna get shaken up in the best way possible? Ask for a love encounter. You'll never be the same.
B90: (2 Chron 29- Ezra 4:16) Chapter 29 probably stuck out to me more than anything in this section. I just love Hezekiah's guts and ambition as He begins purging the temple of all the crap that been stacking up over the years. He knew it was time for a nice good detox, so He did it. Go Hez! I can just picture Him doing all this handy-work around the place with his fancy gold plated hammer and legitimate cow skin tool belt, can't you? Ha. So, they brought out EVERYTHING that was unclean... even the utensils (gross) that King Ahaz used when He was faithless. (29: 19) (Hmmmm... Remember the water molecule miracle blog?)
So then several things happen that are pretty signif. They do some bloody sacrifice. Pretty messy sitch with some slaughtering... blood throwing, etc. Sounds kind of like a friday the 13th movie if you ask me. Then again, real sacrifice is never pretty. The original cross was not this cute little silver necklace... it was splintery, bloody, and smelly. In our world, we hardly know what sacrifice is anymore. There's no reason to put yourself in that uncomfortable position. Or is there? Actually, when we put ourselves on the alter... we are voluntarily allowing God to burn away our flesh and cover us with His blood so that we can walk off that alter fully alive in Him!!!
And once they repented, cleansed and sacrificed they took out their cymbals and harps and started singing praises to the Lord! And the WHOLE assembly worshiped! (29:28) After that they brought more thank offerings, then they CELEBRATED! They had feasts, served one another, encouraged each other, giving thanks to the Lord and singing with ALL THEIR MIGHT. (30:21) Why the heck don't we party like this?
One of our weeks in ywam is called "Lordship" week. Mark, the speaker we usually have, loves to walk us through this process. Throughout the week we are facing all of our own dirt and crap that's been stacking up over the years. It's NOT a pretty sight sometimes. We have the opportunity to keep hanging on and let it have reign in our lives, or to let it go and repent. The last day is probably the most intense. We walk in that morning- entering into His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise! Then we repent before the Lord, He cleanses us... and we lay down symbols of sacrifice to the Lord. The cross becomes SO REAL. You begin to see how messy His sacrifice for us was...and how worthy He ALWAYS is of our praise. After this we worship again... bring more offering to the Lord then... we party like it's 1999! We have a major feast together honoring God, encouraging each other... and just delighting in His presence. At the end you've never felt so FREE and whole! It's amazing!!!! And even the more reason to celebrate His goodness and mercy!!!! When you choose to walk this in obedience to God... you can't help but experience the greatest love encounter of your life. And that is just the beginning :)
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
On the subject of hearts... ours is an essential muscular organ that pumps blood received from the veins into the arteries, thus maintaining the flow of blood through the entire body. Fact: we need a heart to simply live. Our heart is also the vital center and source of one's being, emotions, and sensibilities. A few days ago while my grandpa was having some chest pains, my family found themselves unsure of the man who was determining the source of these troubles. Most of their distrust lied in the uncertainty of the doctor. Whether it was a lack of confidence or sympathy, the fam couldn't help but think something might go wrong. It's amazing what a nurturing and assured heart could've done to ease the fear, restore the hope, and lay the foundation of trust that would get them through situation regardless of the outcome.
Around mid-day He started crashing. Outside the room mom and grandma were left guessing, and begging the Lord for a miracle. Across the state, my cousins and I had the half the youth camp praying in a matter of minutes. At the same moment that I placed my trust in the Father, He placed His power in me to speak life into the hearts of these children. So as the physicians were frantically working to stabilize my grandfather, our heavenly father was performing open-heart surgery on his wounded kids in great need of supernatural tlc. Before our session was over, I got the text saying He was going to be ok! Hallelujah!
Many hearts were healed that day, physically and spiritually. But I wonder how many of us walk around every day with a broken heart and don't even know it. My mom's best friend went to the hospital yesterday with chest pains and is having heart surgery tomorrow. Up to this point, she had no indication that there was anything major going on. (Please take a moment to lift her up in prayer.) Most of us don't realize we need God to do an overhaul on our own hearts until it's at emergency status. Unfortunately the world deals us so many painful cards our negative emotions tend to stack up pretty quickly. We easily find ourselves looking for coping mechanisms that are worthwhile if they can just numb the pain.
Temporary absence of the ache disguises our legitimate urgency for authentic miraculous love.
Let's do a quick little examination. Allow Him to peal back the layers and expose the heart in it's current state. No one person on earth is exempt from this deep longing that lies beneath the surface of our soul; and no human being is farther than God's arm can reach. That's what makes His love so majestic... His grace has found us just as we are. Empty handed but alive in His hands.
As you search deeper: do you find fear, anxiety, restlessness, or uncertainty? Are you able to love others fully and sacrificially with nothing in return? Can you trust our Dad completely, or can you only trust Him to the degree you trust your earthly father? Do you see yourself and others how God sees you?
What God says about himself and us is true, no matter how we feel. He has confidence in who He's created us to be. It's amazing what His nurturing and assured heart does to ease our fear, restore our hope, and lay the foundation of trust that get us through any situation regardless of the outcome. Let the following words sink deep as the ultimate heart doctor reveals His love in a way that will alter your life forever. Take a moment to posture your heart humbly before His feet. I pray that as you read this love letter for YOU, that you will sense your heart in His secure and gentle grip and it will then begin to beat with the rhythm of His own. I truly believe He desires to heal our hearts and transform the body of Christ with His blood that's pumped directly from the cross into the very depths of our soul.
You may not know me,
but I know everything about you.
I know when you sit down and when you rise up.
I am familiar with all your ways.
Even the very hairs on your head are numbered.
For you were made in my image.
In me you live and move and have your being.
For you are my offspring.
I knew you even before you were conceived.
I chose you when I planned creation.
You were not a mistake,
for all your days are written in my book.
I determined the exact time of your birth
and where you would live.
You are fearfully and wonderfully made.
I knit you together in your mother's womb.
And brought you forth on the day you were born.
I have been misrepresented
by those who don't know me.
I am not distant and angry,
but am the complete expression of love.
1 John 4:16
And it is my desire to lavish my love on you.
1 John 3:1
Simply because you are my child
and I am your Father.
1 John 3:1
I offer you more than your earthly father ever could.
For I am the perfect father.
Every good gift that you receive comes from my hand.
For I am your provider and I meet all your needs.
My plan for your future has always been filled with hope.
Because I love you with an everlasting love.
My thoughts toward you are countless
as the sand on the seashore.
And I rejoice over you with singing.
I will never stop doing good to you.
For you are my treasured possession.
I desire to establish you
with all my heart and all my soul.
And I want to show you great and marvelous things.
If you seek me with all your heart,
you will find me.
Delight in me and I will give you
the desires of your heart.
For it is I who gave you those desires.
I am able to do more for you
than you could possibly imagine.
For I am your greatest encourager.
2 Thessalonians 2:16-17
I am also the Father who comforts you
in all your troubles.
2 Corinthians 1:3-4
When you are brokenhearted,
I am close to you.
As a shepherd carries a lamb,
I have carried you close to my heart.
One day I will wipe away
every tear from your eyes.
And I'll take away all the pain
you have suffered on this earth.
I am your Father, and I love you
even as I love my son, Jesus.
For in Jesus, my love for you is revealed.
He is the exact representation of my being.
He came to demonstrate that I am for you,
not against you.
And to tell you that I am not counting your sins.
2 Corinthians 5:18-19
Jesus died so that you and I could be reconciled.
2 Corinthians 5:18-19
His death was the ultimate expression
of my love for you.
1 John 4:10
I gave up everything I loved
that I might gain your love.
If you receive the gift of my son Jesus,
you receive me.
1 John 2:23
And nothing will ever separate you
from my love again.
Come home and I'll throw the biggest party
heaven has ever seen.
I have always been Father,
and will always be Father.
My question is…
Will you be my child?
Love, Your Dad
Father's Love Letter used by permission Father Heart Communications
© 1999-2011 www.FathersLoveLetter.com
(Side note: If you have trouble accepting God's love for you for whatever reason, make it a point to read this every morning and soak in His truth. As I finished up this blog "How He loves us" began to play. Listen to this song while you sit at His feet and receive. Pray the God connects your head knowledge of Him with your heart. Pray for a TRUE love encounter in yourself, your family, your work, your church, your town... and the world.)
B90: (2 Chron. 15:2- 28:27)
Monday, July 25, 2011
Every opportunity I've had to spend some time in another country, I'm overwhelmed by their kindness and generosity. I'm not saying people are not hospitable here (because i have definitely been blessed by so many), but i have encountered and been deeply moved by their heart of giving. One vivid picture I have is when I was in very poor part of Northern India. Someone had said that a woman wanted us to stop by her house on the way home. Well, the house was more like a few boards stuck together with pieces of old dingy material covering the door and window. Two of us squeezed in there with her family of 3 and settled on the earthy floor. Instead of this woman (who obviously has nothing by our standards) apologizing for it being cramped or dirty, she is tripping over herself to prepare us tea and biscuits. Over and over we found ourselves in a similar situation to this. Watching human beings living in these rough conditions day after day with an over abundance of service, love, and gratitude as suddenly you feel unworthy to be in the presence of such a saint. The crazy thing is, most of these people don't even know who Jesus is... it's just a way of life for them.
Culture shock is stepping back into an environment where this isn't the norm. Where making lots of money to live in debt and above our means IS. It's a harsh reality, but once you step outside this boarder and cross an ocean your eyes begin to adjust to the tiny percentile we are living in and the large mass of poverty and need we shield from our vision. I'm betting that if we truly waited around for God to provide for our needs we'd have a lot less crap in our attic.
Here are some truths that I've learned the past couple of years: God is the God of the impossible, God is the ultimate provider and has unlimited resources, God does care about all of His creation, God hates sin not those who sin, God hates what has happened to His creation because of sin, God is redeeming and restoring us back to His original intention for us, God is near to the broken-hearted and troubled, God blesses those who give freely and rejoice in Him, God deeply cares for all His creation and delights in us stewarding it all well, and He loves loves loves when we give Him the glory for everything!
So, I'm not judging or coming down on anyone (if so, i'm included in that) rather giving us a picture of what the world looks like from His perspective. It's easy to imagine what the world might look like from space with all the pictures we now have. But we can't even begin to fathom what God's perspective must be like. He can see all, know all and love all at the same time! And instead of His eyes watching how much we give away or hold on to, He sees our heart. Is our heart giving freely while celebrating His goodness and provision for ourselves and the world? Or do our hearts let go of only what we can afford while fearing our needs may not be met the way we think they should?
One of my mentors and good friends always encourages people to give in the area that they are lacking. So if you are having trouble with your finances, find ways in which to give money to others. The easier it is for you to let go, the better position you are (open-handed) to receive from the heavenly realm. It's this whole upside-down kingdom that we live in. If you are lacking in love, find ways to love others selflessly and watch as God blows you away with His unfathomable love.
Just a few days ago while visiting Nashville I was approached by a homeless man asking for change. Now, first of all if God is calling us to give to the poor... it's up to the holy spirit on guiding that person on how to use it. It's good to be in-tune with the HS in a situation like this. We must let go, again, of our control and let God do all the work. I usually end up praying for the person and giving them a little money making sure they know who my provider is... but this case was a little different. I felt as though the Lord was asking me to give him money, but to make him promise to give half of it away. I thought this was a little weird at first, but then it all made sense. Before I knew it I was preaching to the guy about giving joyfully and freely even when we don't have our own needs met and waiting on the Lord to take care of us. I have no earthly idea what the end of the story was, but I do know that the man walked away skipping so excited about finding someone to help and love on! I truly believe God will begin to reveal himself to this man and those he assists in a beautiful way!
Imagine a world for a second where believers truly lived in this freedom, sacrificially giving of their time, money, and resources. I know plenty of people like this that don't know Jesus, but how much more does God delight in this way of life when we give Him all the glory and trust He'll take care of the rest! How much more will people see that we don't just care about their "fire insurance" but we deeply care about the process of sanctification. We are all on this journey together, some just haven't had a revelation of His transforming love yet... and what better person to share this love than you.
B90: (1 Chron. 29- 2 Chron. 14:15) At the very start of Ch. 29 David is mobilizing Solomon to do all of the great work God has chosen him to do for His own glory. Then down in vs.5 asks the question..."who then will offer willingly, consecrating himself today to the Lord?" Then it says all the leaders, commanders, and officers gave freewill offerings of money, service and valuables. "Then the people REJOICED because they had given willingly for with a whole heart they had offered freely to the Lord, David the king also rejoiced greatly." Ch 29:9 Then David continues to give all of the glory as He declares His goodness in the next several verses.
Then He asks, "But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able thus to offer willingly? For all things come from you, and of your own have we given you." Ch 29: 14. Wow! So packed full of goodies i'll let you unwrap this one for yourself. "I know my God, that you test the uprightness, in the uprightness of my heart I have freely offered all these things, and now I have seen our people, who are present here, offering freely and joyously to you."
"If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land." 2 Chron 7:14 As we seek him with our whole hearts humbly, and as His love begins to free us from the chains of our sin... He will forgive us and heal our land. What an opportunity we also have to stand in the gap for those who do not yet know our King interceding for their own land to be healed and hearts to be free! Amen!!!
Sunday, July 24, 2011
Today I got a call from one of the girls who attended Siloam camp last week. Before one of our sessions her and her sister told me about losing their mom in a motorcycle accident this past April. Even more tragically, their dad witnessed the whole thing. This happened just a few days/weeks after I spoke at Siloam during this past spring break. The crazy thing is I think I remember her telling me about how she longed for her daughter to be there that week. She wanted freedom for her daughter. After that week she went home and told her daughter how much she wished that we had met. Well, her prayers were answered in a way no one expected.
Both of her girls came to camp numb and weary. They had just lost they only voice of hope and love in their lives. What a tremendous blow on these young girls. They were beginning to feel defeated by the lies that told them they would never make it without her. They had heard so much information about God their whole lives, but never took interest in really seeking for themselves what God thought about them. So now, with the desperate situation at hand... they were at a very pivotal place. They were standing at a crossroads about to choose the very path that would lead them to a place of freedom and joy or destruction and slavery.
As we were talking one day about Identity, Missions, Creativity, and Freedom... both girls sat listening intently with eyes wide and hearts open. I knew God had begun moving in their lives. Afterward, we had the awesome opportunity to speak and pray with them knowing it was going to have to be the Holy Spirit that illuminated himself to them in a real way. Later that evening I ran into one of the girls who came up shouting, "I feel so different, so alive!" And just a few minutes ago I got a call from the other girl telling me how excited she is for life now!! She's even found an opportunity to serve in Africa!! Wow, God is SO SO GOOD! They are still hurting from the absence of their mom, but now have now decided to go to the depths with God as He is shining light in every avenue of their life and comforting them in a way they never could have imagined.
Today during church at Journey, Brother Dan's sermon was about this very thing. He mentioned how Jesus had to leave us so that we would be able to do even more with the Holy Spirit resting inside of us. If Jesus had stayed we'd probably let Him do all the work thinking He could do a better job and we probably wouldn't need much faith. It's funny how we continue to think that it's actually about the "work" and our performance in the "work", rather than our love relationship.
Dan continued on to talk about how much information we have available to us these days and that sometimes that very thing becomes a crutch in our lives. We tend to think that the more info about God that surrounds us the more "ok" we are with Him, but the whole time we are lacking the very illumination God wants to give us of His truth. God values the process of us investigating His deeper realm of understanding. Contrary to what we may think, just because God is opposed to our "earning" His love doesn't mean He's opposed to our effort to learn, grow, and ask.
Dan also said that our experience of God can only go as far as the knowledge we have of the Word. And that when we sit down with the author and take time to hear His thoughts on what He's written, He will begin to illuminate the scripture making it come alive to us! If you desire freedom... then you desire to know the deep things of God. Let the Spirit take you there. Every part of you will be challenged, but just remember you are in the process of being restored to who you were intended to be- a beautiful reflection of Him as a child of the King.
B90: (1 Chron 16- 28:21) "For you, my God, have revealed to your servant that you will build a house for him. Therefore your servant has found courage to pray before you. And now, O Lord, you are God, and you have promised this good thing to your servant." Ch 17:25-26. God loves to make known His mysteries, and even more so for His children to simply seek them. How much more strength do we gain from the illumination brought forth by His very own hand?
"Only may the Lord give you discretion and understanding, that when he gives you charge over Israel you may keep the law of the Lord your God. Then you will prosper if you are careful to observe the statutes and rules that the Lord commanded. Be strong and courageous. Fear not; Do not be dismayed." Ch. 22: 12-13. If we seek the world for understanding we will never exceed the revelations beyond this earth. We will always wonder why we don't feel something more, something greater, something divine. But when we seek HIS discretion... our knowledge of the word of God will serve as a spring board for the Holy Spirit to do amazing unfathomable things within our soul! "Set your mind and heart to see the Lord your God." vs 19.
"Serve Him with a WHOLE heart and with a willing mind for the Lord searches all hearts and understands every plan and thought. If you seek him, he will be found by you..." Ch. 28:9.
Saturday, July 23, 2011
This may or may not be where you are at... but i can pretty much guarantee most of us have been there at some point. The most exciting news is that it doesn't have to be like this forever!!!
The speaker at camp this week started one session by asking the kids if they knew who all these famous people were and of course they cheered and jeered their fav's. Then he asked if they knew of a certain sergeant's name. No one did. He then talked about the war that's going on that no one seems to know a thing about. How easy it is to forget about things that are not right in our face or effecting us in any way. This is just like all of the injustice that goes on in the world. There are hundreds of thousands of people dying in slavery every day, many more dying from hunger, and even more from diseases... and we don't even know it. So how then do we begin to bring that world into ours without becoming overwhelmed? When do we start to see that there is much more going on out there than just our little sphere? What is God's heart for us, the world, and us connecting with the world?
In Ephesians 6 The Lord tells us to be strong in the strength of His might, wear the armor, and stand firm. He also says again that we DO NOT fight against flesh and blood, but against rulers, authorities, cosmic powers, and spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. There is THIS battle going on every day and we don't even know it. Every single day we must go out prepared. If we knew we were going into battle tomorrow, we would not be spending our time on frivolous things... instead spending time with the one who makes us strong in Him by His love. We have no real battles with earth, but in things we cannot see. And we conquer not by fighting but by standing in His presence declaring His goodness, praising Him for who He is, and seeking His beautiful heart for us. According to my irish friend Phil, this is exactly how we send the devil to therapy. Haha... funny thought. Time to break out the harps and lyres perhaps?
While we rejoice in Him... our enemy is defeated and our life becomes a little bit (ok, a lot) more exciting. I have a completely different view of daily challenges now that i've had this revelation. Now when someone cuts me off, or cheats me on something, or is being negative, or embarrasses me, or simply hurts my feelings... i can look at that situation and see how somewhere along the way they've believed some lies, have some toxins stored up, and haven't had a full revelation of God's love for them yet. So instead of me holding on to the pain or returning the favor, i can easily let go and start praying for that love encounter for them.
If we invite the WHOLE trinity to rest wherever we are... then we will fully be able to walk around in that kingdom of heaven on earth where His love is in a constant flow. My day is so much more adventurous when I put my spiritual goggles on and see the battle for what it is. Even more so when we know it's not ours to fight, but stand and praise!!!
We are the very intersection between heaven and earth :)
B90: (1 Chron. 4:13- 15:29) One of my favorite verses in this book is Ch. 12:8, "there went over to David at the stronghold in the wilderness mighty and experienced warriors, expert with shield and spear, whose faces were like the faces of lions and who were swift as gazelles upon the mountains." Wow... this is so rad. Can I have one of those please? Ok, in all seriousness though... what a cool picture of what we are actually called to be in the spiritual realm. Experienced warriors, expert with shield (of faith) and spear (of spirit), courageous and fast! Again, important to remember that it's by our praise to the Lord that our real enemy is defeated. David knew this well and even appointed people to do this very thing at times of struggle and celebration. "David commanded the chiefs to appoint their brothers as singers who should play loudly on musical instruments, on harps and lyres and cymbals to raise sounds of joy!" Ch.15:16
P90: Still keeping up with the workout pretty well, just not really seeing a need to blog about it as much anymore. I'm finding it's always good to mix it up a little looking for fun creative ways to get a workout in... like rock climbing, swimming, kayaking, sports, yoga, surfing, etc.
Friday, July 22, 2011
As most of you know, I spent the last 3 days at a camp in Siloam Springs, Ar. Thank you so much for lifting us up in prayer. It's hard to explain what actually went on the last few days, but i'll try my best. It was yet another prayer request answered to be spending time at a summer camp, loving on some kids, visiting with family, and being able to have a reunion with some of my best friends. I would've been so happy just being present, but God had much BIGGER things in store.
Beau, Phil and I led a breakout session the first day called, "Creativity and Missions". We had a idea of what were going to talk about, however...God had something much cooler up His sleeve! They expected about 25 students for our class, but about 60 showed up that day. We truly felt like the first thing for them to REALLY get... before they could ever do "missions", is for them to know how MUCH God loves them. Because like the speaker said, "You can't give what you don't have." Part of what religion has done is create a performance base acceptance of God's love. Many have been raised with this agenda, and now genuinely desire to "live for God" but don't even know how to simply receive His love. We want others to be "saved", but we ourselves sometimes walk around in our own slavery. It's sometimes quite hard to see through the glasses we've been given by the world that we don't actually have to DO anything for God's love. He FIRST loved us, and He loved us before we were even born... so what makes us think that we have to perform a certain way to gain this love?
Once this begins to sink in and the lies are exposed by truth, healing begins... and freedom enters in. God's already there, He just wants to be moving in and through us with His power and glory. When we accept His love and surrender our own lives, it's an opportunity for a constant flow of His goodness and mercy. Unfortunately, instead of listening to what He says about us in the living word... we believe what the enemy says about us through the world's mouth. The lies burrow deep inside and we become numb to the kind words of our Savior. Being an adopted kid of the MOST HIGH KING seems like a distant fairy tale instead of reality.
We trade His throne room for a jail cell, His crown for shackles, His robe for rags and His beautiful FREEDOM for paralyzing slavery. How on earth can we help others break free when we are just as tangled in this web of deception? And the worst of it is... sometimes we think we actually deserve that!!! Oh my goodness. Here's the thing: we very much would deserve it, but we don't because we have a Savior who took on all the shame, guilt, and sin of the world on the cross. His blood has already taken care of our debt, yet we still blame ourselves for succumbing to the lies.
I saw so many jr. high, high schoolers, and parents who came seeking God's divine love and power. They felt trapped in their own body and desired nothing more than to serve Him with their lives. How frustrating this can be for all of us. After that first day of speaking we began to see bits of breakthrough. It seemed like the speaker's talks went hand in hand with what God had spoken through us. That next day we had about 100 kids in our breakout session. This day we truly felt the Holy Spirit running through our veins and knew God had some extra special goodies for them. Afterward, so many came up and wanted prayer. I saw one after another healed from these lies. And NO LIE, they seriously ran outside shouting FREEEEEDOM like a crazy person! It was SO AWESOME!!!! I really wish i could share all of the stories, and maybe i will eventually... but one in particular was very special to me.
One night during worship I went to pray for a young girl about 13 years of age. As I was praying she began crying. I asked her to pray and as she did she mentioned a guilt she was holding onto from her aunt's death. Wow! This little girl (and some family) was blaming herself!!! Can you believe it? I spoke right into her face the TRUTH of what God says about her, how much He loves her and how it's not her fault! It was so beautiful to see this precious thing dancing around with her arms lifted high praising the one who has released her from bondage!!! I got about 15 hugs a day from her too!!! How cute.
Another kid was upset because He loved to pray, but felt like His prayers weren't making it to God anymore. I knew there had to be some lie that was causing this barrier... so we prayed for him and he went on his way. That night He ran up to us and said... "i'm free i'm free i'm free!!!", with the biggest smile i've ever seen. He proceeded to tell us that God revealed to him the lie he had been believing. He said, "God doesn't care what I say or how i say it... He just wants to hear my voice." Whoooooah. Crazy revelation for this kid. So amazing. It's hard, even at our age, to know that the God of the universe gets excited when we simply spend time in His presence.
So many more stories, but I have to sleep at some point :)
B90: (2 Kings 19- 1 Chronicles 4:12) Probably one of the most fascinating things to me in 2 Kings is at the very end when Evil-Merodach king of Babylon graciously frees Jeroiachin king of Judah from a very long time in prison. (Chapter 25: 27-29) It says the King spoke kindly to him and gave him the best seat in the house dining regularly at the King's table eating the King's food! He took off His prison clothes and replaced them with clean, nice smelling clothes i'm sure. It even says that the king took care of every single need He had for the rest of His life.
If this earthly King could bestow this much grace and love on another human being, how much more would our heavenly King bestow on His own children!! He does desire to see us completely free, madly in love with Him, and living out this bold yet humble love to the world every single day! He wants us to sit with Him at His table so we can feast on all His goodness, which He never withholds from us!!! He really does want to supply every single need for us. All He asks is that we allow Him to transform our lives with His love as we trust His word is true, take the lies captive, and live in the full complete freedom offered in His kingdom.
How many of us have believed the lies that have kept us trapped for too long? How many of us have quickly let fear or anxiety determine lack of trust? I encourage EVERYONE to search deep within to find any tiny thing you may have believed along the way that you know is not true about yourself because of what God says. This lie needs to be attacked and destroyed. When it is, you will find long awaited healing... and know without a shadow of a doubt are now free. ABSOLUTELY NOTHING is too big or small for God. Like the speaker said this week, "If we make Jesus really small our problems will seem really big, if we make Jesus really big... those same problems will seem tiny and way less important."
I'll leave you with something my good friend Beau just posted on His FB wall that blew me away, "You never see Jesus save without healing, heal without revealing truth, or teach without transforming."
Monday, July 18, 2011
Last night I had the amazing opportunity to see U2 live in St. Louis!!! It was an unbelievable experience and God showed me things through that that i'm sure i'll be sharing in the near future. As we were sitting in our seats watching the crowd enjoy the show, i saw so many seeking spirits. U2 may be the closest to any "spiritual encounter" they ever have, but i certainly hope not. At one point Bono had everyone raise their hands, and Bono just said "Lord bring your presence in this place tonight." No matter where everyone else's hearts were at, the name of the Lord was being lifted up in that place. I pray that they walk away with a taste of our loving God and wanting more of Him! I also realized how much they paid for their seats and was amazed at the dough people are willing to lay down for this shindig. Pretty crazy! Then I realized how VALUED we all are, and how much we are worth to our creator! He paid the ultimate, and we have the opportunity to have the best seat in the house... right at the feet of His throne :) I don't know about you... but I sure don't wanna ever settle for the "nose bleed" section. Front and center... is where He wants us. How much more then can we see the true expression on His face for His kids that He desires?
B90: (2 Kings 8:16- 18:37) I read it and it was good. Ha. More on this later :)
Talk to you soon!!!
Saturday, July 16, 2011
I've been waiting forever to tell all of you this story! It's been one of those paradigm shifts in my life, and I hope you'll be inspired as well :) It all started when I heard a girl speak at church about the book she'd just written. About half way through she starts talking about this particular study and I'm going to try my best to explain it. Feel free to do your own research as well. Please keep in mind this man did not believe in God before He began this study and now knows there HAS to be one.
Several years ago this Dr. Emoto started to look at the effect of human consciousness on the molecular structure of water. (Stay with me) So to simplify it all for you, He took different samples of water and played music to them. After playing different types of music He froze the water. When looking at the molecules he found that the positive music forms beautiful and intricate crystals and the negative music has difficulty forming crystals and mostly looks like blobs.
Next He spoke words into the water. First words of life like: joy, happiness, love, peace, etc. And then words of death such as: i hate you, i want to kill you, you are ugly. After He froze the water and looked at the molecules, He found that the positive words AGAIN formed these beautiful crystals and the negative words ugly blobs.
Then He simply wrote words down and attached them to the sides of the water samples. SAME RESULT. Positive words = beautiful molecules and negative words = ugly blobs.
Then he took it a step further (and i know it sounds crazy, but...) prayed to one and silently cursed the other. Would you believe the same thing happened?
Dr. Emoto goes on to say that our body is made of up to 80% water and so is the earth. So it's quite interesting to think about what our words might actually do to others, and what our thoughts might do to ourselves. Now, I think maybe there IS more to blessing our food before we eat? Perhaps what we watch and hear DOES actually matter? What about tattoos and what they say? What about when God asks us to repent? Now I see his heart for us in that. It might actually make us physically feel better when we aren't storing up negative emotions inside! I also think about worship. When we worship we are in this pure, beautiful and sweet conversation with the Lord. In those moments our insides must look like a crystal cathedral, I can hardly imagine! What an amazing home for the holy spirit!!! Yet another reason to take our thoughts captive and to fill our mind with positive thinking, words of life and scripture :)
There are so many paths to go down with this, but I love this story my friend told me shortly after this discovery. She said that she had bought a chair from a junk store and turned it upside down one day to see "rejected" written on the bottom of it. Her and her mother agreed this was no chair they wanted to sit in, so she marked it out and wrote "CHOSEN" really big. Now, this will actually be claimed over the person that sits in this chair!!! I've also decided to do this at the coffee shop :)
B90: (2 Kings 8:16- 18:37) The reason I felt like I could now share this water molecule story with you, was because I was waiting for it to relate to the scripture. And in some ways it very much does. Just a few examples to look deeper into yourself are: Ch. 2:19-22 when He healed the water and made it clean; Ch. 3:11 when the servants said the water had been poured on the hands of Elijah and the word of the Lord was with him; then in vs 16 when they called for music to be played and dry stream beds turned into pools. There is also water mentioned in Ch. 5:14 when the man's flesh is restored when he dipped i the Jordan after Elijah told him too. It seemed as though Elijah was always had water in the picture. Now, I am in no way saying water has more power than God... I AM saying that it's possible God's power is very REAL. So real and powerful in fact, that He can actually make our words, thoughts and song change the very molecules into something that either reflects His glory or it doesn't.
I know you may or may not think this is true... and it's ok either way. But it helped me see again how much God is involved in everything, how BIG God is... and how much He cares about His creation. I hope you do your own research and i hope you are inspired like I was to think positively about myself and others, speak words of LIFE, sing songs of joy and praise, to be careful what I watch or listen to, and to continue giving Him the glory with every breath.
Today I had a friend walk into the cafe I was working at and tell me he was going to see U2 in St. Louis. Immediately my jaw dropped to the floor and I was almost speechless. I have been trying to go to U2 for years, always missing them by a hair. A few days ago I found out that I probably could have gone to the show in Nashville for free. So... I told my daddy in heaven I'd like to go if it were at all possible :) And then, it happened! My friend actually asked me to go!!! So now i'm going to St. Louis tomorrow with a great friend and get to see one of the most incredible bands ever!!! And guess what? I'm giving all the glory to God! Haha.
For the past few days i've been working at my friend's cafe downtown. She desires for the cafe to be a place people can come and be loved on, inspired, encouraged, ect. Well so far, every time i've been there it has been! I could probably fill up the next few blogs with all of the amazing stories. But I really just want to share one with you today about a very special man that's hurting.
Yesterday this man came in frustrated and mad at the world. He began yelling about another friend of ours that he says cheated him out of money. This man was just nasty about it all. He stormed out and we spoke to those friends about the mishap. Today, this same man came in and then stormed right back out because we didn't have diet coke. Haha. At first, I was thinking "good riddance mister". But then, this love came over me and i started praying for the man. About 30 minutes later he walked back in. (Apparently no one in all of downtown Jonesboro had diet coke.) We started chatting and I began to see his whole demeanor change. He told me the story and said that it had all been taken care of. He said that our friend found him, paid him back and apologized. (Even though our friend was not at fault.) My eyes filled up with tears as he continued on with his story.
In the last few months this man had lost his job, house, had a heart attack and triple by-pass surgery. He was living at a homeless shelter and had no family around. No wonder this man was hurting people... all he knew was his own hurt. He told me that when all this happened He went to the tracks and was actually going to step out in front of a train until he remembered his grandma telling him he would go to hell if he ever took his own life. It makes me a little bit sad this is the only thing that kept him from suicide but at least he's still alive! Then He started praying for help, hope and love. And wouldn't you know it, God started providing for this man! Need after need taken care of!! At the end of the conversation, his words began to be more positive and he actually let me pray for him! It was amazing!!! Thank you Jesus for that rad opportunity!!! Pray for this man, that He would continue to seek God and find him :) He said he'll be a regular, so if you live in the Jonesboro area come to Soul Boost cafe and love on some people!
B90: (1 Kings 20:13- 2 Kings 8:15) Elijah is the man. Isn't his solid rock faith just fantastic? I also get a kick out of how frank he was with everyone. This guy just told it like it was. He spoke truth, with no extra fluff :) One of my fav verses is when he says "how long will you go limping between two different opinions? IF the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him." (18:21) Wow... pretty straight forward there Elijah. And then it says "the people didn't say a word." Haha. Wow.
And His faith, man... I admire this. Story after story his trust in the Lord revealed as He practically spoke things into existence. Every time, Elijah went against the grain of the world, took a "risk", and jumped... right into the arms of a loving Father who can be trusted. He cared not for his reputation,status or fame, but knew WHO he was and WHO he lived wholly for!! I also think so much symbolism can come from Chapter 19:11-12. When God was not in the fierce wind, or the earthquake, or the fire... but in the whisper. Nuff said.
P90x: Had a great workout last night, looking forward to the next one :)
Friday, July 15, 2011
That morning over coffee, I had some solid hang-out time with one of my closest friends. The subject of sin was brought up, and we had a very invigorating convo about God's desire to protect us from it... and cleanse us to be whole and FREE from the slavery it manifests. It seems like i've been having these discussions a lot since the beginning of this 90 day thing. One of the conclusions we had agreed on was how important it was to stay open to WHO God says we are in HIM, rather than settling for who we (or the world) think we are. It's a dangerous position to simply say, "well, i guess that's just who i am," instead of aligning ourselves with the word and desiring to be living in more freedom!
God gave me the amazing opportunity to pray with several of my friends in Nashville this time around, and one of the things He kept highlighting was that He wanted to SHOW us how much He loves us. That's WHY He wants freedom in our lives... and it allows us to love and worship Him with an unhindered unashamed undignified love. A way in which I believe He wanted to show this love to one particular friend was by asking God to give her flowers. The funny thing was that she had just been thinking about asking Him for flowers. When I've asked for God to reveal His pursuit in the past, He's unveiled my eyes and helped me see all that He has for me. And this is what I believe He's doing for her too and what He wants to do with all of us!
So as I was headed out of town the first sign i saw was "King Solomon's taco stand". It didn't surprise me later when I found out I was actually reading about Solomon becoming King that very day in the 90 day challenge. After that I saw the "sun trust" sign, and He whispered..."Trust me". Then I saw the store "Rainbow fashion", and He said... "my promises are good". Next it was "beauty supply", and He said..."i supply all your needs and to me you are beautiful." One can imagine at this point, I'd be like... "seriously God??" And I was... while doing this awkward laugh/cry thing.
A little bit later, after another incredible visit with a friend whom God is in the process of renewing, I headed towards my kinesiology appointment and it happens again! First I saw "Garden center" and underneath that "Home center"... I felt a flood of peace as God was telling me Home is in the garden. Not only am I doing this "Earthcare" school... but I feel as though He is so eager to restore His creation back to Eden: pre-fall existence, with Him. Real Home. And call me crazy, but right after I see "Good year" with the words alignment, re-capping, and service on the side of the building. I just felt as though He was then saying that it's gonna be a good year of aligning me with Him, re-capping on things that i've learned, and serving the world with what He has given me.
Now some would probably say i'm reading into things a bit much. But I say that God himself was encouraging me, filling me up and loving me in an extraordinary way!! And if i was looking to deep, then so what... I walked away from the day feeling even more pursued and sought after by the most High King!
B90: (1 Kings 1- 9:14) If you read yesterday's post, "the core", I wrote something like..."If you give God your first, He gives you His best." This is something I've probably heard along the way somewhere and stored in the back of my mind, but is literally becoming a reality to me now. One of my favorite parts of this section is when it says in Ch. 3 vs 3 that Solomon LOVED the Lord, which indicates a good healthy relationship. How many times are we actually questioning God's love for us and our love for Him BECAUSE of the very circumstances that surround us? Seemed like Solomon had a pretty great example in his dad... who messed up from time to time, but loved the Lord with His whole heart and ALWAYS ran back to HIM. And then in a dream, God asks Solomon "Ask what I shall give you". So Solomon asks for an understanding mind... or wisdom to govern God's people. This answer signified that Solomon KNEW His great need for God... and also a desire to truly put others before himself. To me, this was an act of great humility and selflessness on His part. And for that, God rewarded Solomon with much more than just wisdom.
Just the other day as I was driving, I felt as though God was asking me this same question. I wish I had read this before, because instead of something humble and selfless like wisdom... I said "well, i'd really like a husband one day God." HAHAAHAHA. Then when I read this I died laughing. OOPS, is it ok if i change my answer now? Ha. Just kidding, God's got it!
It says God gave Solomon wisdom and understanding beyond measure...and so many things were accomplished through Solomon, because He simply loved the Lord and walked in His ways.
So what did Judah and Israel do next? The ate tacos, drank sangria and were happy!
(Ch.4:20) haha. Ok, not quite like that.
Exercise/nutrition: I haven't touched on this subject for awhile, but it's probably because I have not been doing p90x every day. I usually do some sort of exercise, but haven't been able to keep the p90 daily. I'm about to jump back on board full speed ahead with it! I'm also trying to focus on eating MORE veggies this week! Yay!
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
Through the natural symbolism of our physical and spiritual body, I've seen how the strength of the core determines our unity, freedom and mobility. If my physical core is weak then my parts don't seem to work together in unity; I become controlled by my body (and am more susceptible to getting sick); and I can't go as far or as fast as I'm capable of. It's the same spiritually speaking because if I put Christ as my core in the center of my life, He IS my strength. And if we, as the church, truly put Him as our center before religion, organizations, and agendas... then we will truly begin to see unity in the body of Christ; freedom to live, love, and serve as we're designed; and be mobile enough to do anything/ anywhere for the kingdom of God.
Just as I write this I'm distracted by my pounding headache. Because of the nature of these headaches, I know that something is out of alignment in my back that is causing all the pain. It's amazing how one little adjustment can bring so much relief. It really makes you stop and think how important it is to be in alignment with God's word and His heart for the world. There may be some adjustments that need to be done in our own heart, but once He touches us there comes a great relief in knowing it's all in His hands. We can trust He knows what He's doing. Just tonight I was telling a friend that i used to say (more as a justification than anything), "you are only accountable for what you know." But now as I look closer to His word... I'm realizing that because I know Him I'm accountable to what the word says if i've read it or not. What a wake-up call for me!
So as we put Him in the center, and begin to align ourselves with the word... we will start to carry His characteristics and begin to resemble our Father more and more. It's pretty funny to walk around my hometown and to have some completely random person stop me and ask if i'm Pam Little's daughter. Not only do we favor, but because i've spent so much time with her we have similar tones, laughs, expressions, and habits. I want to spend so much time with my Dad that I start to think, look, talk and act like Him. I want people to stop me on the street and say, "you must be the daughter of God because you really resemble His son Jesus." Wow.... how amazing would that be? And how proud our Dad would be to have all these little carbon copies of His Son running around loving and serving the heck out of people. I wonder if God ever looks at us and thinks, "can you please just get over yourselves, stop arguing, and love each other despite your differences for crying out loud??".
B90: (2 Samuel 15- 2 Samuel 24:25) I was thinking about this all day, not really knowing what part to focus on but knowing somehow it would all come together. And tonight, at 10:30 pm, as I'm driving to the airport to pick up my friend... I turn to a radio station I never listen to. The first thing I heard was a man's voice reading 2 Samuel 19:4-6. At this point I was driving with my ears open and jaw to the floor. Seriously, What are the odds? Once again try and tell me God doesn't like to be involved with His kids lives. Hahaha.
Anyway, the point this man was making was more on the Father/son angle of the story. David mourned over the loss of his son, even though his son was trying to freakin kill him! Although Absalom denied His father's love, He could never deny His kinship and the imprint of His father on his life. How many times have we, and how many times have we seen the world, mis-understand our Father? How often it breaks my heart when I see God's unfathomable love denied by so many who all carry the fingerprint of Him on their very soul. And perhaps it's denied because they've never seen (first-hand) this loving relationship of a Father and kid represented in this world. If we truly want people to see/experience the love of God for themselves, then we've got to lay down our agenda for them and start living this love out loud.
All of this has now led me on a daily search to find my center. Who am I choosing to be in the very core of who i am every single day? Myself or my Savior? Once we choose Him (if we do) as our center: He becomes our strength, aligns us with His word and heart, we respond...and we then begin to take on the very likeness of our Father.