I don't know if anyone else notices this, but it seems like God is on the move- big time. I know it may seem like i talk a lot about God's unfathomable, unconditional, all encompassing, gentle, personal, majestic love. But there's a good reason for it. First of all... to even spread this love, we gotta know it first. Not only do we need to know it, we gotta encounter it. To fully submerse ourselves in His love means we must embrace the TRUTH of who He is and invite our flesh to be crucified. Our flesh is the one believing all those lies we hear anyway, and then doing stupid stuff to keep us from fully engaging with His heart. I meet people all the time who know Christ, but have never ever let His love sink in. I'm still trying to figure this one out.
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 :)