Monday, March 12, 2012

(day eighty-six) that's one darn ugly root

The first 60 or so of these blogs were coming pretty much daily... and that's how it was designed to be. During that time, I felt that God was gracious enough to give me a specific word/testimony/or story to share every day that represented His love for all of us. At the very least... I pray that God is glorified through every thing I type (which would be enough). But at the end of the day I pray that God moves powerfully through these words to impact every single heart receiving them. After all... It is God who pursues, saves, loves, finds, and speaks truth. He is the GREAT I AM.

I knew the closer I got to the end of this 90 day thing, the more intense each blog would be. I did not realize they would be more spread out... but now I'm beginning to understand why. Let me attempt to explain. You see, like the "hiddenness" we've discussed before... God is also doing something in us that we just can not see and we couldn't even explain it if it were visible. Perhaps that's part of the reason why we can't see it, the other reason possibly being that we might try and get in the way of His miraculous work.

Most of you know by now what 'Instagram' is, right? Well, if you don't... it's just another one of those tools to connect friends from all over the world together by posting pictures. Some post pics of their animals, their favorite meal, their vacation at the beach, their concert experience at the ryman watching mumford and sons (still pretty upset about this one), or just pictures of them looking cute and fun with their significant other (barf.. haha, jk).

Every night before I go to bed I look through these pics to help me catch up on my friends I suppose. Lately I've been noticing it's actually bringing me down a little bit. It didn't help that I was having severe pain in the left side of my jaw and my dentist making crazy talk about a root canal or something. Needless to say... I began to feel Lonely (notice the capital L). Ew. Do not like this feeling. Yuck. I could honestly do without it. Here's what went through my brain next.... "Oh man, I feel like I'm missing out on EVERYTHING. Geez. Life is moving on at a rapid and fun pace...without ME. I HATE feeling crappy. Boy, it'd really be nice to have someone to hold me...someone who is missing out on all the fun too :) Someone who really cares about ME." Then I started thinking... "Ugh... who wants to hang out with a debbie downer like me? hahahaha".

So basically those feelings progressed until today. I had been planning to leave for Nashville on Saturday but my trip had been postponed because of the pain in my teeth. I reckon another reason for the trip might have subconsciously been to run away from those awful feelings (as if we can, but I always seem to try). Well... today it was recommended I get an xray before leaving town. So I did... and an hour later I had successfully survived a root canal. Didn't see that one comin'.

As the doctor looked at me and explained what had just happened, I sat there and soaked it all in. It's like something in me had shifted. I knew that something was going on in that little heart of mine, but I wasn't quite sure what yet. He said that the infection had got into my jaw bone which was causing severe pain...(and I think it had actually made it to my bloodstream as well). Looking back, there had been several signs of discomfort but I just kept hoping they would fade away eventually and sought other ways to ignore the real pain. The doctor so intuitively shared that I could probably get the main infection squared away... but unless I got to the root of the problem (literally), it would just keep coming back.

Hmmmm.... interesting, very interesting. I'm telling you, something happened during that surgery today. It's almost as if God when straight to my heart and yanked out the ugly apathetic weed that would send me swooning over other loves to fill my crater of loneliness in the depths of my aching soul. All I know is that when I got out of that chair, I felt like a different woman... with a new bite of course (hee hee.) Instead of being hungry for the quickest most temporary fulfillment of my lonely desires.... I now feel this strange contentment. After 32 years... I think I have finally learned how to let God be the one to really HOLD me.

A few hours later I was sitting at our kitchen bar chatting with mom as she did some dishes. All of the sudden I got a picture in my head and started laughing. It was an 'Instagram' of what God is doing in my heart right now. I felt like the Lord said very clearly..."If they could only see what I'm doing in your heart, they would be the ones feeling like they are missing out." Then I just got this overwhelming peace again of the Father's love for me and truly felt like He was squeezing my guts a good way of course. As I tried to explain what I just saw and heard I just started bawling (been a little bit emotional the past couple of days i might add).

You see... so desperately our Daddy want us to be pleased, content, and excited for what He is doing in each and every one of our hearts!!! Especially the things we can not see but have to trust and believe in. And how joyful it must make Him when we rejoice in these things... not only in our hearts, but in other's hearts as well!!! How beautiful is the beat of our heart when we let Him be the one we desire to hold us. Our heart begins to be welded to His where the very secrets of His love for us and the world are hidden. Sometimes we want to know the great mysteries, but not the heart of the one who creates them. We can see the promises and perhaps believe them to be true for others, but never really know them for ourselves until we KNOW the Father.

There is absolutely nothing like His love... there is no one who could ever love you like He does... the greatest love on earth just can't compare. The sadness, pain, sorrow, and hurt you've had DID not come from our Father... He could not possibly create such things. But His son has physically been through everyone of them, in fact died... so that you could have freedom, healing and LIFE abundantly.

An excerpt from a Bill Johnson sermon:
What has the power to separate you from the love of God?

All the devils of hell aimed at one person don't have the ability to separate you from the love of God.

No human experience can separate you from the love of God.

But if you step into meditating on the failures of yesterday, you pull yourself out of the game...and put yourself in a place where you're no longer able to receive and experience the wonderful transforming love of Jesus.

His love is ever-flowing. Have we chosen to put ourselves on the side lines putting a barrier between the love of God and us? I don't think that's any one person's intention or agenda, but we MUST start believing what He says about us!!! We are children of God with an inheritance whose purpose is to pray the kingdom of heaven down to earth every single day so that we can walk around in this place as sons and daughters amongst a world of orphans and invite them to the table to feast upon the goodness of our Papa. He has so much LOVE to give all of us... it'd be a damn shame for us not to tap into that amazing glorious love on earth. I want the floodgates of that LOVE to come pouring out all over me and those around me, so that I know without a shadow of a doubt who my Dad is and what He's capable of. And lemme tell you, in these rushing waters you can't help but get caught up in the desires and plans He has for your life...

Lord I pray you force us to stop running, stop hiding, stop sticking our head in the sand, stop ignoring, and stop medicating. I pray that you reveal the real roots in our lives, the roots to our pain, discomfort, loneliness, frustration, fear, and anger. I pray that you do what it takes to yank out those roots that are causing infection throughout our entire mind, body, soul and spirit. It sure does hurt at first when you hit a nerve... but we want to RECEIVE all of the love you have for us. Let us not focus on the past... but look deep into your eyes and allow us to weld our heart with yours Father!!! YOU ARE SO GOOD, ALL THE TIME and we CHOOSE to trust in YOU! Amen.

B90: (2 Timothy 1- Hebrews 8:13)

"Now in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver but also of wood and clay, some for honorable use, some for dishonorable. Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work. So flee from youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart." 2 Tim 3:20-22

The more we patiently allow God to work on the 'unseen' parts of us, the more He is able to work out the things that hinder us from being pure and holy..."ready for every good work". Yes, i know we'll never be perfect... but I used to use that as an excuse to NOT pursue righteousness in my life. Sad but true. I assumed if it wasn't attainable, then why spend so much time on that path. But then... God quickly and painfully revealed to me that wasn't the point at all, was it? My 'call upon the Lord' used to be a state of emergency..."Oh God save me from my earthly stupidity again". Did He save me? Yes. But did He have something completely different in store for our relationship? Of course. Before my true love encounter with Him I was a Christian with an orphan spirit. Now I can truthfully say that I'm a daughter who calls upon the Lord because He loves me relentlessly, and I love Him the same.

"For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works." Titus 2:11-14

When I first read the above passage it sounds as though Paul is getting a little self-righteous.. but the more I read and meditate on it and see it's connection to the previous verse I mentioned, it seems to shed a little bit more light on where He's coming from the the beautiful yet stern warning He's placing in our lap. I think the words "training us" are so important. The more I prepare for this half-marathon, the more I realize that I'm actually doing things every day to train and build up endurance. There is no way I could sit on the couch, watch tv, eat potato chips every day and then expect to run without any pre-conditioning what so ever. God has given us the tools to be trained... but we MUST choose to use them.

Walking through the spiritual disciplines in my other blog: "the twelve"( has really helped me see this. He desires to purify us to use us as clean vessels for Him. But we must see that we need to make decisions in life that align with His word to stay on this path of training, sanctification, and purification... being patient with what God is doing on the inside, as we run fearlessly towards Him with all we have at the pace He's set.

"At the end of the day, direction, not intention, determines destination." Andy Stanley (The principle of the path)

Saturday, February 25, 2012

(day eighty-five) Are you hungry enough to face the depths of the great and mysterious sea?

I'm not gonna lie, today has certainly been a battle. It started with staying up till the wee hours of the morning writing a blog I may never post. I've felt an anxiousness I haven't felt in a long time and I'm not sure why. Earthly matters don't seem to have a troublesome effect on me anymore... but when I feel as though the enemy is truly out to get me, a girl can get a little overwhelmed you know? As hard as it is for me right now, i know that THIS is exactly what I'm supposed to write about.

Have you ever felt anxious, afraid, alone? I mean... like when all distractions of this world are removed, when you have nothing else to set your mind at ease. The moment when there is absolutely nothing YOU can DO. When all is still and completely quiet around you... do you FEEL God? ( I am beginning to sense the breakthrough for me even as I write...)

For years I was afraid to even tread to these deep waters at the thought of drowning, so I kept my floaties on and simply ignored the beckoning of my creator to explore the depths of my soul and the great mystery of His love. If you really think about the ocean, it's a little bit frightening. There is so much we don't know, but we do know that it has the potential of swallowing us up... this fear paralyzes us. So... instead of facing this deep calling we stay where it's safe. "As long as my toes can still touch bottom and I can see through the water clearly," we stubbornly yet justifiably protest!

Love, encouragement, proper education, family vacations, bible stories, comfortable worship, and mission trips were weaved throughout my childhood. My future began to be shaped by a culture who decided what they thought was best for me because it did not challenge the open sea. "You are welcome to be a this or a that, but make sure you fit in with the rest," they all projected. As soon as all of the securities, insurances, and invisible walls were built... I didn't even realize something greater existed.

Over time I became hungry for more. When this happens we have a choice. Do we follow the crowd and be satisfied with the food they are feeding us, or do we search for more? Do we seek out the Creator of it ALL in the depths of the ocean so many of us forget exists... for an exotic love and passion like the mysteries that lay buried deep inside the unfathomable capacity of God's very existence? Or do we simply stay safely put... waiting for someone else to tell us what's out there, what they see, how it feels, and if it's really worth it?

I was there, but I became hungry. I became so hungry for the depths that I had to see for myself. We are all beckoned to this place, but not all will decide to go... for whatever reason. For those who do go... don't count on them coming back. Sure they may send you messages in a bottle telling you of the massive love they are encountering... and possibly sharing of some of their lonely times as well. The truth is... nothing can come close to comparing to what God has in store for us when we completely abandon everything at the shore and dive into the great majesty of who He really is.

I'm reminded of the old hymn:
  1. O soul, are you weary and troubled?
    No light in the darkness you see?
    There’s light for a look at the Savior,
    And life more abundant and free!
    • Refrain:
      Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
      Look full in His wonderful face,
      And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
      In the light of His glory and grace.
  2. Through death into life everlasting
    He passed, and we follow Him there;
    O’er us sin no more hath dominion—
    For more than conqu’rors we are!
  3. His Word shall not fail you—He promised;
    Believe Him, and all will be well:
    Then go to a world that is dying,
    His perfect salvation to tell!

If you are hungry and you seek Him with that hunger... you will never be disappointed. Graham Cooke says that there are two ways God reveals himself to us- hiddenness and manifestation. During hiddenness we may not feel Him, but He's doing something deep inside that's worth the wait. During those times He calls us to be faithful and obedient following Him and worshipping Him for who He says He is... not just for who we feel Him to be.

Some of us are experiencing this right now as I speak. About a year ago I did... I felt so alone and scared, like I'd been abandoned by God. Even so... I praised Him for who He was, fought to see the good and purpose in everything, consistently read the truth and his promises, and searched for more. I wanted to give up so many times, but He assured me He was present through what I knew of His character. Some moments that's the only tiny thread I could hold on to to survive.... but I wasn't about to trade in my deep sea experience for those floaties I had so long ago left behind.

Around the middle of 2011 I began to come out of that dark time... and as I carefully stepped into the next season I started to see what God had done in the hiddenness. Now, I'd have to say that I am fully experiencing the manifestation of the Lord in my life like never before. The ocean has become my playground searching out the greatest depths of His love and mystery with no fear because of the things He was revealing to my soul in the darkness. I'm hearing His voice clearer than ever, seeing more miracles, having more revelations, feeling more of His love, and experiencing more of His glory.

I want you to know this because I realized something so important during all of this that I hope is encouragement for you wherever you are in this story. He was not ever withholding his love from me... but while I was wondering where He was, and having to choose to follow Him regardless of what I was feeling, He was quietly removing the hinderances of my soul so that I could receive even more of the love that constantly flows from our magnificent Creator.

Just a few days ago... a close relative of mine experienced something very similar. For years He's felt abandoned by God... but stayed hungry and fought for every bit of truth, holding on to God's promises until his fingers bled. I've hardly seen a man go through all he has, except for Job in the bible... and maybe a few others. Our family prayed and prayed and prayed that He would SEE God at work in his life. We knew God was up to something, but were also frightened that at any moment he would give up the fight, let go of his hunger, and drown in his own despair. Very recently he was driving in his car and felt the holy spirit's presence undoubtedly with Him. For the first time in years he clearly heard the Lord say, "I am with you, I've always been with you... nothing else matters but my relationship with you, and you are going to be ok."

An instantaneous peace rushed through his body like he'd never felt in his life and He knew the Lord was truly with Him. The next day he was bent over with pain, but drove to the hospital further away to be closer to home. They did an emergency surgery and simply because the grace and power of God found a growth that had been causing so much pain throughout his body for years. He had so many symptoms and was on many drugs to treat these things no one could really explain. That one thing was hindering His body from working the way it was designed to.

As God was working deep inside the his soul removing hinderances... preparing Him to be used so greatly in the kingdom, he had no choice but to push through the darkness and the pain. He was not going to give up the fight. It is of no coincidence that hours after God began to reveal what He's been doing in this weary man, He shows him physically by allowing doctors to pull out a hinderance that's been causing so much pain and sorrow. All of the details surrounding this event are so astonishing that they can hardly be described with words.

I pray God uses our stories to speak to you clearly today. Here are some encouraging things to ponder:

1- If you are satisfied with the safe place close to the shore, please ask for a desire to be hungry for more of him.
2- If you are hungry, ask for courage to swim out into the deep places of His heart.
3- If you find yourself abandoned in that deep place... be encouraged that God is doing something hidden in you that is so great and so revolutionary that you might interfere if you knew what it was... or refuse and swim back to shore. Don't give up!!! He is with you, you must be faithful... what will come from this is greater than you could ever imagine.
4- If you are basking in the depths right now- enjoy! Fill up your storehouses and stay faithful to him in these times. It's so easy to become distracted with other things again... but He wants to use you to be a ray of His light, a vessel of His love and a temple for His holiness and glory.

Whatever place you find yourself in is an opportunity for you to be a testimony of His love, grace, forgiveness, and truth. He will never leave you or forsake you... in fact, the moment you turn to Him is the moment He runs after you. In the kingdom of heaven we will never be bored... there is always more love, more mystery, more adventure, more grace, more of HIM. Please don't just let someone tell you about it... experience and know it for yourself. Right this moment it doesn't matter if you go to church, how many things you're involved with or what you've promised you'd do.... He's looking for HUNGRY people. Are you hungry for Him alone?

Watch this video and just sit and reflect for a bit on how DEEP and wide is His love for you.

B90 (Colossians 1- 1 Timothy 6:21):

"if indeed you continue with the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven..." col 1:23

"Set your minds on the things of Christ that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, the you also will appear with him in glory." col 3: 2 & 3

"Let the word of Christ dwell within you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.... and whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him." col 3: 16 & 17

I just keep thinking about us being hidden in Christ and him in us. What does that really mean? What does it look like? Wow... how amazing that when we get this... we see that when he who is in us appears, we also will appear with him. And as He is "dwelling" in us richly He is doing things in us we could never fathom... but let us continue to praise Him through it all because He is worthy!!!!

"And we urge you brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all. See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone. Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies, but test everything; hold fast what is god. Abstain from every form of evil. Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. he who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it." 1 Thes. 5: 14- 24

And lastly... I pray God speaks to the very depths of your soul as He has captivated mine through these words: "Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness. Fight the good fight of faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. I charge you in the presence of God, who gives us life to all things... to keep the commandment unstained and free from reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, which he will display at the proper time- he who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality who DWELLS in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see..." 1 Tim 6:11- 16

Saturday, February 11, 2012

(day eighty-four) Well Dressed Poverty: the stuffed starving souls and cardboard mansions

Tomorrow I will be kicking off a brand-new challenge that I'm VERY excited about (because I can already sense how much I'm gonna learn and grow!)... and slowly but SURELY will complete this one. Didn't finish it as soon as I had set out to, but I will definitely cross the finish line... which is quickly approaching! God has been speaking to me so clearly the last few weeks through the gospels and I can't wait to share it all with you. As I've been talking with others I'm starting to see that God is moving in a BIG way in a lot of people. If you don't feel like He's speaking to you.... press in deeper, ask for that hunger, and plug into the source! He doesn't withhold His love from His children... just believe, ask, praise, and receive. You might need to start consuming yourself with HIS truth... dive into the word! Do this 90 day challenge from the beginning. If you read the word and still don't feel alive, then i encourage you to take the 12 week journey through the spiritual disciplines that I am starting on Monday. Please ask for MORE of Him... and trust me, your mind will be blown! (In the best way possible). You won't be able to restrain His love any longer....

I had quite a revelation the other day about this very thing... and like most other things, it's easier for me to relate it to food because it makes sense. It seems as though I've seen a lot more apathy among Christians in the western world than anywhere else... so I started asking the Lord WHY? Is it because we haven't REALLY seen Him move, as though we need some sort of proof?? Or maybe just more encouragement that He's powerful? Is it because it's just another religion to us where we follow rules and know there's grace if we don't? Is it because we are so consumed and numbed with media and technology that we can't even hear His gentle sweet voice? Are we so drugged in our little world that we just can't feel anything anymore? Are we too prideful to ask? Too shy to receive? Do we think "well God does what He wants anyway so it's really not up to us"?? Or what? Why are we not hungry for MORE of God in each of us and MORE of His power on this earth?? Or are we?

All of those questions (which by the way are not just directed towards American Christians but any of us that find ourselves in this binding category).... led me to this single thought. Is it possible that some of us don't even know that we are hungry??? Because I have to believe that if we know and have Jesus in our lives... and if we knew we were deficient we'd want more... right?? Maybe the reason we haven't experienced ALL of what He has to offer is because we first need to acknowledge our deeeeeepest hunger and desire for a continuous flow of HIM and desperate need in our own lives. We NEED a daily love encounter with Christ and most of us are not getting it. WHY? Is it because He's not giving it??? Abso-freaking-lutely not.

He is the SOURCE of all that is good for all of eternity that spans beyond time. The Source is always there... never moves away or changes... remains full of these things and never runs out of anything for those that love HIM. So (I'll ask again)... .why in the world are we so deficient of this LOVE??? And why don't we even know it??? Is this concerning anyone else out there? Or do you relate at all?? Again... I'm not trying to bunch every Christian up into this group... I'm only trying to bring some light out there for those feeling around in the dark wondering if God turned the switch off. I'm hoping and praying that those who know Him but feel like the "walking dead" are REVIVED... and those who don't know Jesus truly find LIFE and freedom in these words today!!! If you are FULLY alive in Christ please be encouraged to keep pressing in to Him and pointing to HIM no matter how tired or weak you may sometimes feel... He WILL sustain you!

Ok, so here's the deal. I've been learning a lot about our temple the past few years and how we can properly take care of it. What I've seen is that I've made a lot of excuses over time for how I've eaten- not really understanding how it really effected my walk. Well, now it's clear to me that it does. As you've read in posts I've written before... how we eat can determine how we think, feel, look, and even act. Ok, so now for the connection...

Our body NEEDS and WANTS nutrients to survive. Our body could heal itself a lot easier and faster if we treated it the way it was intended. But the problem is: We don't even know that our body is deficient or truly hungry because we fill up on things that give us false satisfaction and fulfillment. The only thing processed foods, sugars, carbs and preservatives are doing is filling our stomach and telling our brain that we are full. In the meantime our bodies are truly suffering and not being nourished.... hence one of the reasons why we experience so much sickness, disease, and untimely death in our world. We don't even know how hungry we really are....

So is it possible that, in the same way, we have filled up our spirit, soul and mind with so much else that we've temporarily satisfied ourselves and become full with things that give us the illusion we are being nourished when in all reality we are becoming sick, diseased and dead?? I'm just curious. Looking back, that's exactly how I lived my life... even as a believer. I had no idea that I was so malnourished in the spirit and that God wanted to give me more of Him.

Sadly there was absolutely no more room in the inn because of my own selfishness, ignorance, and apathetic attitude spiraling out of control. It took me digging deep in the word of God, asking for the desire to become truly hungry for Him and making the necessary steps to cut the crap out of my life. It's so very simple, but not easy at first. Then... you began to see glimpses of His love, mercy and glory and it snowballs leaving you doing anything for more!!! He is the same... all we have to do is TAP into the SOURCE. Ask for God to show you what that means for you personally... since we are all so different. YOU are His child and I know God wants to reveal who He truly is to you :)

While I was in Nashville I was sharing my story of "missionary debt" with a friend and complaining about my complete hatred for money. She quickly checked me on it... like a good friend does... and i was instantly convicted. All of the sudden my eyes were opened. I realized that I had been suppressing these issues for so long because I was afraid of something. Whether I was afraid of money controlling me, me succeeding or being a failure I did not know... but in fact because of this it WAS controlling me!!! Over the next few days I got given the Dave Ramsey book, workbook, and cds. Crazy right? Anyway... I've been listening to them for about 4 days and finally beginning to feel some freedom already in this area! Yahoo!!! I see hope!

What I've realized though ties into the illusion that we are fine and full, but really in a way starving for more of His love. In the western world we have this way of making things look bright and beautiful to cover up a rough internal struggle of insecurity, doubt, pride, etc. Whereas, if someone is struggling with poverty, hope, or shame in another world it is easier exposed for all eyes to see. They don't have the advantage... or disadvantage... to "buying" their way out of it. Then I started to wonder if we didn't have credit... how many of us would be in the very same boat they are? What do we ACTUALLY own? Right now, if I were to count up how much debt I owe... as compared to cash in the bank I would possibly have less than the homeless man on the corner or the family in the slums of Nicaragua wondering where their next meal is coming from. I know i know... it's a lot to chew on. What I'm NOT saying is that we should stop giving or that we should feel sorry for ourselves.

But what I AM saying is that we've got to get past our illusions of wealth, satisfactions and fulfillment and start looking at the TRUE reality of our lives... align it with the word of God and discover our desperate need for HIM. Then and only then do we have SOMETHING to offer the world that the world can find no where else. We have the SOURCE of all that is good and beautiful and we have it for all of eternity for anyone who so desires to lay down his own life and pick up the cross that is offered. We must recognize our own deficiency, acknowledge that God is the source, and choose to plug into Him and receive. Then, because of our extra-ordinary lives who have been changed by His love... others will desire the same encounter, want the same REAL fulfillment, and count the same costs.

B90: (Galatians 1-Phil 4:23) Gosh, there is so much packed into these three books that it would be impossible to cover it all!!! It's hard to even know where to start... so I may just highlight certain verses for you to meditate on but my hope is that you would spend some time digging into Galatians, Ephesians and Philippians the next few days.

Know your inheritance and recognize your need: do you know WHO you belong to and WHAT He says about you? "When the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons (and daughters), God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, CRYING, "Abba! Father!" So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God." Galatians 4:4-7. Listen to the cry of your heart... we must put all things aside and ask to hear the hunger that your very soul is singing.

"For YOU were called to Freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another..." Gal. 5:13 There is so much freedom and healing in knowing we are sons and daughters of the King. He loves us so much and desires for us to overflow with all of that into the lives of others.

Ok here we go... "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing IN THE HEAVENLY PLACES (that we can tap into), even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. IN LOVE he predestined us for adoption through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the RICHES of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. In him we obtained this inheritance....." Eph 1:3-11

I hope this is all sinking in. YOU ARE LOVED and God desires for you to WALK in the fullness of the inheritance He's set before you. It's too precious and valuable and eternal for us to "cash in" and squander in the world. He wants us to stay connected to Him always so He can continuously flow through us in a powerful way!

Read Eph 2:1-10... He's made us ALIVE in Christ and seated us in the heavenly places so that the coming ages may show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ! "For we are his workmanship, created in Christ for good works, which God prepared beforehand, THAT WE SHOULD WALK IN THEM.

..."so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith- that YOU, being rooted and grounded in love, may have the strength to COMPREHEND with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be FILLED with all the fullness of God!!!!" Eph. 3:17-19 Amen amen!!!

"Therefore be imitators of God, AS BELOVED CHILDREN (kids who know their Papa loves them and act accordingly, full of Him... not deficient in anything)... and WALK in love." Read Eph 5:1-21... It's all good :)

Let Eph. 6 always remind you that our battles are not of this earth but in the spiritual realm. I could write another whole blog on this alone... but I know that if we begin to see this and rely on the power of God in the spiritual, we will begin to see more victory on earth. But if we decide our battles are here on this earth and try to win them with our own strength... we will find defeat around every corner. He does desire for us to plug into Him... and God desires to see ground taken for him in the spiritual and physical.

"IN ANY AND EVERY CIRCUMSTANCE, I HAVE LEARNED THE SECRET OF FACING PLENTY AND HUNGER, ABUNDANCE AND NEED. I CAN DO ALL THINGS THROUGH HIM WHO STRENGTHENS ME." Phil. 4: 12 & 13.... "And my God WILL supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. To our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen."

Father, let your words sink deep into our hearts tonight as we ponder your amazing love that simply takes our breath away......

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

(day eighty-three) the Unshakables

If you've been following my blog at all, you probably have read tons of analogies, epiphanies, parallels and revelations. I feel like my life has been one "ah ha!" moment after another... but I don't know if I've experienced a season like this. It's almost as if the revelations, dreams, visions, etc are getting stronger and more frequent that ever before. I sense the momentum picking up not only in me... but in everyone around me. They come all day every day and sometimes I can barely get them written down! I'm reminded of Joel 2:28 &29:

"And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions. Even on the male and female servants in those days I will pour out my Spirit."

So incredible... I mean, it's written in the word and it's happening people! I want to encourage you today to let the truth penetrate your heart so deeply that you will stop JUST believing it happens to others and begin to believe it for YOURSELVES.

A string of insane connections has been happening since I left Jonesboro for Nashville a little over a week ago. I remember one of my last conversations there (one that's continued here) is the idea of God's heavenly realm being the CONCRETE thing. It's interesting because we tend to think that we are more real than the kingdom of heaven or the spiritual realm because... well... we can see us. But today I'm here to challenge you to find more reality in the unseen than what is right before your eyes. I understand it's hard to trust what we can not see, but isn't that what faith is all about?

I love Gungor's new album "Ghosts upon the earth"... they actually touch on this a little bit. We tend to think that God, his love, and the heavenly realm are more theoretical rather than concrete and we easily think of ourselves as the concrete thing left with the power to decide if God's really real or not.... as earthlings mostly asking ourselves if He is who He says He is and if it's worth it to abandon all and follow. I figure the average person reading this might be certain God is real... but occasionally asks the other questions. Perhaps those answers are even assumed and never dealth with? I don't know about you... but after twenty something years of thinking I knew God my faith was shaken with several tramatic events. I was essentially forced to find my identity in Him and KNOW that He really is who He says He is no matter the circumstance. Otherwise, I wonder if i would have continued to live a shallow existence of inactive faith never really going deeper, walking closer, or becoming confidently unshakable.

God IS real. God IS truth. God IS love. God IS so many things... so it's really not even our place to say otherwise. What we believe is a different story. Now that we've established that, we must decide whether we are going to align with that under God's authority and power.... or align with the world under the enemy's authority and control. The wishy washy crap is nonsense. Does God still love you no matter what you believe? Yes, I do believe so... and so will I. But there is a whole spiritual realm out there waiting for believers to stand up and fight those battles... in the meantime we are still "trying to decide" if He's worthy. As long as we remain in that position we will not be able to be trusted with the authority our Daddy desires for us to have.

Our battles are not of this earth. And I do believe that when we fight in the spiritual realm territory is won for the Lord and victory happens also in the physical realm. When we don't understand and fail to seek, or don't have the word on our hearts and mind, or don't see it as reality... we will begin to experience much defeat on the earth. Yes, God fights for us... but we have got to give him authority and power to do so in our lives. And we do so by praying His will with confidence and His strength, trusting that He is who He says He is no matter what and is worthy of our worship and praise!! We must "plug in" to the only true source of POWER!

As I was driving to Nashville last week it was an amazing 4 hours of praying, crying, meditating, listening and worshipping the Lord. I felt like every moment was so real and divine. My heart was breaking all over again for what breaks His heart and He was preparing me for something big. Around 7:30 I pulled into the parking lot of Grace Center in Franklin, TN and He began to make His presense publically known in that place. It was unbleivable.

The guest pastor focused on the "dry bones" passage of Ezekiel 37. It could not have come at a more perfect time. This man has been all over the world and he said there are two things people say about the place where they live. 1- That it's the "valley of dry bones" and 2- That God is going to begin revival there. It's funny because I've thought that about all the different places that I've lived. Haha. And then it dawned on me, of course we would think that... because that's exactly what God wants to do! And this is the very thing He was highlighting that night. You've heard me say it beore and I'll say it again....we must continue to SPEAK LIFE into the dry places.

How exactly do we do this? Take a person, church, job, family, or "dry" or "broken" situation then begin to speak in the opposite spirit. All you have to do to be a prophet is to know the word and speak it out over somene. That's it! It's that simple and profound! Ha. The word is truth and what God says about His children is true and His desire for us is good... so we've got to REALLY and truly start speaking this out to others!! Then just watch as God moves!!! How much joy it must bring to our Papa when we are His become His mouthpiece!

Another thing He said when speaking was that "the depth of our hunger is equal to the extension of our arm to God". Are we hungry for Him? Do we want to know Him more? Do we want to see Him move? Are we ready to abandon all for Him??? God so desires for our hunger for Him to outweigh our feeding frenzy on other things that don't quite satisfy but fill our momentary need. Just like processed foods that fill our tummy but don't really feed out body what it needs... we end up filling full, while our body cries out for something real. Perhaps some of us don't even know that we are starving for something real because we keep filling those voids with man-made things instead of heavenly goodness?

You see, I'm not sure if we get it yet or not. But the UNSHAKABLE faith is what the Lord is asking of us. The times are only going to get crazier and we MUST be a people who clearly hear His voice, have deep true conviction, follow His lead quickly, have a humble heart of repentence, who are fit to serve Him- mind, body, and soul!!! I do realize that we are all on different parts of our journey and God has had so much grace for all of us. But i know God wants to take us so deep in the knowlege of His word and the revelation of our heart that we never sway to and fro... but remain confident in who He is no matter what!

B90: (1 Cor. 13- 2 Cor. 13:14)

I absolutely love what Paul has to say in 1 Cor. 15: 12-19... basically saying: If Christ was raised from the dead, why on earth couldn't we believe that others can? But if we believe the dead can't be raised then it must not be true that God raised Christ from the dead... and our "faith is futile, we are still in our sins, and will perish." Well gosh, this brings up a great point. Sounds to me like God is in the business of making dead things alive. How? He speaks life into being and it happens, whether we see it right away or not... it's happening. Why? Well, I can't think of a better way to demonstrate power, grace, beauty, and love than full fledged redemption and the gift of life in a dry or dead situation. I do believe He wants to awake our sleeping body, unite us for HIM and use us to speak life into the broken/dying world.... one person at a time. That's true revival people!!!! To be breathed into by the King of the Universe is resisitation at it's absolute finest.

"But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in TRIUMPHAL procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of Him everywhere. For WE are the AROMA of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a gragrance from life to life. Who is sufficient for these things? For we are not, like so many, peddlers of God's word, but as men of sincerity, as commissioned by God, in the sight of God we SPEAK in Christ." 2 Cor 2:14-17

"Such is the confidence that we have through Christ toward God. Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God, who has made us competent to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit. For the letter kils, but the Spirit gives LIFE." 2 Cor 3:4-6

Lord I ask that your word resisitate our soul tonight... that we actually feel you breathing life into each and everyone of us. I pray that we see every person as a divine appointment and opportunity to represent you. I pray that you break our heart for the death we see all around and desire to see you breath life into the dry bones. Let us be a united people who accept your life, live it, and speak it every day in every place. You are so worthy of our honor and praise. We give you all the glory Lord!!! Amen.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

(Day eighty-two) the rat race

Have you ever been to one of those human mazes? Why on earth I actually pay to put myself through torture and frustration like that I'll never know.... and multiple times at that. I remember taking the challenge with some family members AGAIN last summer at some generic theme park in Gatlinburg, Tn. One minute after starting the first injury occurred as I came around a sharp corner and literally ran into a friend knocking us both to the ground. We both immediately got up and started the rat race again... don't ask me why.

It was a madhouse to say the least. People screaming, running, pushing, yelling and stressed.... all to collect some sort of letters and make it to the end with the best time. That's it? In this game there is no: pacing yourself, keeping your cool, pit stops, or helping a brother out. Nope... it's eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth... dog eat dog. Strangers, friends and family are sneaking around you hoping to find the right paths before you do. Any way you look at it, the reality is it quickly becomes a game of selfishness, pride and defeat. It's almost like it was designed that way.....

God, on the other hand, designed a world pleasant and stunning. There was no point in rushing in the garden of Eden... no time limit, no worries, no needs, and no desperation. There was no social ladder to climb and no desire to become well known among God's creation. Peace, serenity, unfailing love, harmony, and flawless beauty where all that surrounded them. Just picture this for a minute. Wow, what I wouldn't give to be THERE sometimes.. ok, all the time. Knowing it's in our eternal future is exciting, but what about now? What about the fast paced, caffeine driven, over-time, over-worked, overwhelmed society we live in?

I don't know about you... but sometimes I feel the pressure of the maze. Since the fall of man, no doubt the enemy has had a fine time keeping us busy with "life" in a puzzle that doesn't make any sense. EVEN Christians with good intentions who desire God's will for their life might find themselves stuck in one of these desperate to keep up with the rest of the world unintentionally forgetting what real quality LIFE is.

I find that when I'm in New Zealand, Cambodia, Thailand, or somewhere in Africa "unplugged" from the system...I am much more at peace with the Lord and myself. Don't get me wrong... it's not necessarily easier to be a Christ follower in another land (per say), but it IS so much easier to FOCUS on intimacy with God when I slow down, cut out most forms of modern technology, and just BE a daughter of the King. It's in this place I become a child again who knows and trusts and loves her papa... regardless of the circumstances. It's in THIS place that i feel more like a human being rather than a human doing.

The most intriguing thing about the maze that day was watching the interaction with my cousin, his wife, their 4 year old, and 2 year old twins. I loved hearing them laugh as they found it more and more difficult keeping up with all three. You see, before too long those little ones realized there was a gap under the walls big enough for them to crawl under which gave them a pretty big advantage to the rest of the adults who were about to go insane if they reached another dead end. Also, because they were children... they didn't seem to care about the letters we were all collecting or about being first. Instead they were having a blast, not to mention reminding others to slow down and enjoy the journey a little bit more.

Another interesting perspective... literally... is when we found one of the stair cases that led us up to a platform where we could see the whole maze. These were God-sends. The crazy thing was you couldn't find them if you were looking for them, but you would always stumble upon them at your most desperate point. From this place you could see all of the human rats running around looking quite ridiculous. For the first few minutes you can't help but think how dumb they all look until you realize you were doing the exact same thing. Doesn't take long for God to put you in your place :) From up there you begin to get it. Ok... so I'm in this journey and one day i'll be out of it... the trick is to be in it but not of it right? So... be a kid, keep perspective, enjoy the journey and show others how to be kids of the King while you're at it!

The cool thing is that we have the "garden" at our fingertips. It is possible for us to live in the kingdom of heaven while on earth... but we have to know how to be His kids first. How do we do that? By believing what He says about Himself and us in His word... instead of believing the tainted version the world expresses through its brokenness. Man, God sure does love us. God is the most questioned, sought after, rejected, treasured, misunderstood, creative, worshipped, powerful, gentle, frightening, beautiful, mysterious, glorified, known divine creator in the universe and beyond. And He loves you. He desires to restore us and unite us with Him. Can you believe it? When we can stop, sit, and listen to His whisper... we'll begin to have this love encounter that leads us to the one true God. Then... we can't help but walk in humility, faithfulness, love, authenticity, grace, forgiveness, gratitude, and awe because of His presence. And the world will see you... somehow living this out... in the fallen world they are wrapped up in. And almost speechless because of His glory and love, we lift up one arm and point to Jesus.
B90: (Romans 13- 1 Corinthians 13:14) "May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God." Rom. 15:5-7

Take a second to jot down what the church family looks like from the inside-out. Now take a second to think about what it might look like from the outside-in. Or vice versa. Maybe you've had conversations with people about it or perhaps you only know one side of the story. Now go ahead and read verses 1-4 of that chapter. Is it possible we've separated ourselves so much from the world that we've created our own "christian" maze only for people who are willing to follow the rules? Or have we found that balance of truly living in the world but not of it... in harmony with one another with the welcoming spirit of Christ?

"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope." Rom. 15:13

I pray for us today as a body. That we would let down our walls of preference and be unified. That we would be so consumed with His presence that the busyness of the world drifts away and we are in constant awe of who He is and how much He loves us and the world. I pray we all get a taste of the kingdom here on earth and live in a constant hunger for more. That people come to know the God of this universe by how we love, serve and live as authentic and transparent followers of Christ. I pray we all see the importance Paul saw in being good stewards of all you've given us Lord.... ourselves, the earth, and all that is in it! Let us bless your spirit with our praise, adoration, worship, positive thinking, life bringing attitudes, service and love today. All glory to you!!! Amen.

"So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do ALL to the glory of God." 1 Cor. 10:31

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Going the distaaaaaaaance

Ok, so for the past hundred and something days I've been doing this 90 day challenge. Thank you Jesus I'm on the home stretch now with only 9 days left! In the beginning I had a lot of time to dedicate to each thing as well as momentum on my side. I would like to say my motivation has remained for the most part, but the transitional life i lead has left me aching for more minutes in the day to complete this task. Nevertheless, I have learned so many amazing things during this like: the blessings of discipline, the joy of digging in the word, how to have grace on myself, dying to self, how to live in the spirit, how to really live out the word, significant things of God's character and nature, and more of who I am in Him..... a daughter of the King.

Now with the end of this season in close view I'm seeing an even bigger picture of WHOLENESS than I ever have before!!! I've also spent some time asking the Lord what is next. Is this over? And the answer I received was a very clear NO.... it is just beginning! So, for those of you who have stuck with me this whole time... first of all I'd like to give you a standing ovation (really, I'm doing it right now) and secondly i'd like to share with you the highly anticipated (by no one other than me) "game plan" for next season. And whether or not you have been doing this 90 day challenge with me, I'd still like to extend a humble offer to join me on this next amazing challenge. If you'd like me to help you with your own personal challenge, I'd love to... just ask :)

The idea and heart behind it is to develop some healthy biblical habits that promote wholeness and health so we can live to the fullest in this fallen world and be the stewards God is desiring us to be with our minds, body, soul... and all He puts in our care.

I've always been a sprinter. Even in Jr. High track I chose sprinting because I knew I could do anything for a short amount of time. As I got older I began to see how that mentality creeped into every part of who i was. Physically I could run hard and fast for brief periods but before too long I would wear out. Mid-2010 was a prime example of this. I had been doing small quick things for God giving Him very little commitment, but lots of passion and gusto. Around the time I contracted Dengue fever in Thailand was when it all began to rapidly go down hill. I saw my physical, mental, emotional and spiritual all collapse within days/ weeks of each other... i was a MESS. Sure, some of the things that attributed to this were out of my control but as I began to get better I realized how every single decision I made actually did matter and how connected everything is. One of the things I was encouraged to do was to start to look forward with more long-term vision... rather than just throwing all my chips in the air and hoping they land in the right place.

This was something very difficult for a free bird like me to do. It took a little bit of coaching and a few panic attacks for me to begin to see that this was healthy. More recently (about a year later) while I was in New Zealand I began to run again. I tried and tried to run long distances but I just couldn't do it... in fact, I hated it. In the meantime I was also feeling a bit of anxiety about committing to a few other things in my life (like long-term missions). One day while I was running, it was almost as if God audibly said "Lindsey, your sprinting days are over... I need you to be one of my long-distance runners now." And when the Lord speaks... I answer. I'm telling you it was so clear. And without much thought at all my timid yet confident answer was, "yes dad... anything for you". I know it sounds crazy... but right at that moment I had such a peace run over me. All of the things I had unintentionally worried about (like long-term commitment to places, goals, people... yes people) in the past were gone. And then in God's gracious humor... being freed from this actually broke something in the physical and i could now run long distances with so much more ease!!! HAHA. Praise God.

So what better way than to honor God with a symbol of my new found freedom and victory than to run the music city half marathon!!! April 28 of this year my sister, a few cousins, some other amazing friends and myself will be running to raise money for Hands and Feet Project's orphanage in Haiti. I tell you this not only so you can be praying for us, but to also give you the opportunity to support us if you'd like!!! I'm trying to get 50 people to donate $1 per mile (13.1 miles)... or just throw in whatever you've got in yo back pocket! So for the next 15 weeks I'll be training with my sister learning more about discipline and becoming more fit to serve Him with everything!!! But THIS is only half of the "game plan".

The other half: You know I can never do things the easy way right? Ha. Well, our "official" training begins in about 3 weeks which will give us 12 weeks of intense training up until the half-marathon. The past few months God has been laying the spiritual disciplines on my heart so I ordered "Celebration of Disciplines" by Richard Foster. A few days ago when I opened the book I starting dying laughing when I realized there were 12 of them. It was almost a no-brainer as to what I was supposed to do. So while i'm physically training I'll also be spiritually training as I go through one of the disciplines per week, practice it... and blog about it. I could not be MORE excited for this. I really thing there are some special nuggets of gold God has during this next season... and I'd love for you to come along side me!!!

For the 3 weeks leading up to this I'll be finishing this 90 day challenge and doing some sort of detox to prepare my mind, body, soul and spirit for what's ahead. If you'd like to ask me anything please email me:

One last thing... today as my sis and I were running I was telling her the story I just told you in one ear. In her other ear was a man on her ipod telling her when we should run and when we should walk for our "pre-training". All the sudden we realized how similar life is to all of this and how God's desire is to keep us trained for long-distance by giving us preparation tools and crucial instruction on what's to come. The problem is sometimes the other "noise" is up so loud we are unsure of what He's even saying.

Clearly in the word God desires to produce in endurance in us to run the race... "and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us." Rom 5: 3-5

and "let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter or our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God." Heb 12: 1&2

Just sit and meditate on this scripture for a little while and ask the Lord how He might want to speak to you through them. We take more ground for Christ in the physical when we understand the power of prayer and the victories to be had in the spiritual. The more we commit ourselves wholly to the Lord, the less interference and more authority we are giving Him to MOVE in our lives! Celebrating true spiritual discipline brings freedom in the unseen AND the seen. Let's not let the fallen world beat us down, but let's rise above as son's and daughters and seek freedom in healing for all through Christ!

"... but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed. Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord." Heb 12:11-14

Amen!!! And we're off.....

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

(day eighty-one) the unseen.

We live in a fast paced world surrounded by flashing lights, noises, messages and voices constantly competing for our attention, money and time. Over-stimulation drives us to choose the most attractive, loudest, or most profitable option. After all... we must keep up with the status quo not to be left behind in the dust, or at least that's what they so cleverly tell us. Even with the T.V. turned off, my cell on vibrate, and a fairly quiet living space I still find 24 hours in America borderline overwhelming when compared to life "unplugged".

And by unplugged I mean you pretty much either have to be "off the grid" and live in whatever is left of our undeveloped nation, otherwise known as "the sticks".... OR live somewhere outside of the states in a developing nation, third world country, or new zealand :) Going back and forth as I have makes this self-discovery of massive distraction in our boarders a very unpleasant one.

On the bright side, people are taking note of this across our nation and doing something about it. I've heard of many families recently who are choosing to live off the land, become more self-sustainable, and cut some of the "rat race" out of their lives. This exact lifestyle can not be precisely duplicated by everyone the same, but could it possible that some sort of "slowing down" would be healthy?? Do these "unpluggers" have something right here?

Again, I'm not suggesting we all sell everything we have and live on a farm community somewhere and share chickens and cows... although that does sound mighty fine to me! But perhaps what I am suggesting is that we take the word for face value. It is quite possible to simplify this crazy life in such a way so that the King of Kings has a crystal clear pathway to speak to his sons and daughters. Some of us have unintentionally turned up the volume of life so loud that our heavenly Dad can hardly get a word in. Sadly still some wonder why they can't hear His voice in the midst of the all the chaos.

The more I've slowed down to listen to His voice, the clearer I've heard it. The more I've cut out the noise in my life... the more I begin to see the toxic things I was actually seeing, hearing, and eating that were effecting the way I lived out life! Fact is: enemy wants to make us toxic and wants to keep us busy enough to only see and care about the distractions around us. Because when we begin to SEE THE UNSEEN we become his biggest threat. The greatest victories and defeats are happening right now in a realm we do not see; but are called to be aware of and prepared and trained for. When battles are won in the spiritual, things begin to happen in the natural.

I'm reminded of Chronicles of Narnia... one of my favorite films of all time. Some of my friends and I watched this in New Zealand over Christmas and are still amazed that we've been to the very places it was filmed. Sort of makes me feel like I'm really living out the movie at times. Like most of you probably remember the four main characters are children that have been sent away from home because of war. In some sense they become orphans who are not so joyfully accepted into a new loving atmosphere. After one night of playing hide and go seek the youngest girl (portrayed as the one with the most childlike faith) stumbles into narnia through the wardrobe. The unseen becomes seen for the first time and she is utterly amazed.

Disbelief eats away at the hearts of her siblings while her own heart longs for more. Something is calling her back and no amount of worldly distraction can stop her from fighting to see it once more.... this time her brother comes along but is quickly distracted by the attractive words and powers of the witch. One more time the young girl discovers narnia, but this time with her family close behind. Finally their eyes are opened to a world they never knew existed but had been there the entire time. Slowly but surely you see their disbelief fade away as they recognize their adoption rights and accept their role as sons and daughters. As the youngest boy is still pursuing the counterfeit the witch offers, the others pursue the King. They find their identity and destiny wrapped up in His will for them in this land and become confident in Him as they encounter His love and He mobilizes them with value, worth, and fearless courage. If He is with them, what can stop them?

Shortly after they are given their weapons and accept their calling... the youngest returns back to Aslan's camp with his slave holder- the evil witch. The witch reminds Aslan that she must have a blood sacrifice to pay for his sin and betrayal.... and that's when the King steps in and lays down His own life for this one child who made a string of selfish decisions. In the end of this first film, the battle is won and all the children courageously fight with all they have! The one that was badly injured was the one that had strayed far from the truth and wasn't quite prepared for the battle. Even so... Aslan was right there with them.

I've seen this movie many times, but it wasn't until a year or two ago when it finally clicked! Just like Narnia, there is a spiritual realm out there that we can not see. If we continue to live in this world in ignorance of it, we will continue to believe that we are unaffected by it (which is exactly what the enemy would want us to think). Just read Ephesians 6. As the children walked through the wardrobe, they were given eyes to see this world. They also began to see their TRUE identity in Christ and became fearless abandoned sons and daughters of Him.

There is a whole realm we are called to put on our armor for and fight in with the power of prayer every day! We've got to see the utmost crucial importance in this and begin to position ourselves at the feet of our Lord and walk through that wardrobe every morning to see defeat happen in the spiritual and physical realm. We must put on the armor and STAND FIRM. He will not leave us or forsake us, He does have a plan and we must trust Him for it! I truly believe that the more we are present with God in His kingdom, the more we know and feel His presence on this earth. And on the contrary... the less we STAND in the spiritual, the more exhausted we become of the battles we fight on this earth.

B90: (Romans 1- 12:21) "Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained ACCESS BY FAITH INTO THIS GRACE IN WHICH WE STAND and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. " 5:1-2

Some of my favorite verses in the bible surround this one, but this really stuck out to me tonight. The ones that follow (3- 5) are probably more widely known and quoted...but now are even clearer to me after tracking back to verse 1 and taking a longer look at it. Every single thing about it is unseen. Take a look over that again and meditate on it for a few long minutes. Tear it apart if you want. Do you REALLY believe everything it speaks of? And if so... does it make a significant difference in the way you now see the physical realm we call our temporary home?

Now take a quick look at Chapter 8: 1-11 with particular attention on vs. 5-7. If we live according to the spirit that IS (or desires to be) IN us, then we will set our minds on the things of the spirit... which is life and peace. The spirit within us IS our backstage pass into the spiritual realm giving us eyes to see the unseen, and wisdom, discernment, compassion, courage, endurance and strength! The times when this world tries to get the best of me are the moments I know the only place I can find life and true peace are at the feet of my Father... and in that second I know again He is who He says He is and I know who I am in Him. That simple posture will bring defeat to the enemy's army every time.

"For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, "Abba! Father!". The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs- heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him." 8: 15-17 ... Wow! This is some powerful stuff ya'll. The Spirit within us is what tells us we are adopted royal kids of the most high King along with Christ whom we will be glorified with. Dude, that's serious biz.

I recently heard a pastor say, "Christ didn't die so we could have a relationship with God.... He died so we could have HIS relationship with the Father." Again, wow.

"For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God..." vs 18 & 19. EVEN creation is waiting. This is another picture that was portrayed so beautifully in Chronicles of Narnia.

"....and not only creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For IN THIS HOPE we were saved. Now hope that is SEEN is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience... likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. for we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. " 23-28

My prayer tonight is for those with disbelief to find truth in the King of all as they put their faith in Him. My prayer is that those with faith in Him will choose approach the throne with confidence and sit at His feet in complete humility as a child of the King. My prayer is that we begin to soak in the word, meditate on it... and let it become reality in our daily lives. I pray that we begin to see the crucial importance of the unseen... and our role as sons and daughters! My prayer is that we don't settle for the easiest route in life, but intentionally choose the path few may ever tread.

More time at His feet and in His word = less effected by worldly distractions = more defeat of the enemy and his army = more victory in the unseen Kingdom = more seen victories in the natural and more glory of God revealed!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

the source of consumption

As I purge, clean, detox, simplify... I see that for so many years (32 to be exact) I've been collecting things that have come from somewhere. But where? What is the source from where they were created and sent out... and how many people actually had a part in the making and transportation of this thing before it was placed in my hands. This is part of the problem: we have NO EARTHLY IDEA who or what is at the source of what we are consuming. And most importantly their intention. We are a culture (christian or not) who wants what we want, when we want it... and if that doesn't happen we throw a little fuss. Don't deny, we've all done it. I can't say i'm very proud of myself in those moments... but the more I've become aware how important the source is, the easier it has become for me to deny certain things knowing God has BETTER than I could imagine!

When we are speaking about tangible things the "story of stuff" is almost a physical representation of what we experience when we accept the world's version (i.e. counterfeit) instead of seeking the gifts of the TRUE source and the LIFE He offers with His LOVE.

As I began following the trail backwards from the clothes that I bought, the food our purchased, the books I read, or the movies I watched... My eyes began to be opened to many things: the amount of injustice that occurred just for the one thing to reach my hands (even sometimes "christian" products), the idea of an over-consuming society that I was very much a part of (no matter how much I compared myself to others wealthier than I), sometimes the subtle message that was being told through that thing I was ingesting, and the intention of the source of that thing and how it had effected me when I was unaware. Then I began to think about all of the other things I was missing out on God was offering that were coming directly from Him whose intention was for my good and for His glory.

You see... it's easy for us to talk about all the things we believe in, sometimes easier for christians to argue about the things they don't believe in. But what God has been revealing to me is how often we are "buying" into these things we don't even believe in... and how much they are actually influencing our body, mind, soul and spirit. Before you know it, we have a hard time believing God is who He says He is... and in turn see counterfeit as more of a reality and essential to our lives rather than an "option" that will eventually leave us empty and alone. If we think we don't have a choice because of money, time, or variety.... then we are very wrong and have believed lies somewhere along the way. And sometimes we have to spend a little more, take a little more time, or look a little harder at first.... but He's worth it and WILL provide.

I'm not necessarily suggesting you throw out everything you own and start from scratch, but I'm just asking that we take a deeper look at where our "stuff" is coming from and the effects it could be having on us. There is an epidemic growing in the western world of supply and demand. We demand and in turn the poor broken world supplies, no matter the cost. When you look at it that way, we are sittin' pretty in a comfortable world talking about Jesus and His love for us... while the world (that He very much cares about) is hurting and dying. Yes God cares about their salvation... but as you read the gospels you can clearly see His heart for their well-being in addition. "Whatever you've done to the least of these, you've done it unto me..." Matthew 25. Not only does He deeply care for each and every human being, but He's calling us to be good stewards of everything He's given us as a gift.... Our body, the world and everything in it... especially the people.

So the question becomes: Are we being good stewards of what He's given us according to the word or according to the world? I know that we can't possibly follow everything that we have back to the source... that's missing the point. More so I believe God is calling us to cut out the source of things that are toxic to us and others involved. (Even if the world tells us the economy will crash...don't we trust in Him above all that?) The enemy is the ultimate source of these things or has taken something good and tainted it along the way.

Cutting off the source of these things is half the battle. Not only will we be demanding less counterfeit, but we'll be fighting for more justice, life, love, and truth. And God- the true source- is the ONLY one that can and will supply these things. Eventually you will see how you've saved lots of effort, time, money, etc by buying into the truth. And honestly, God doesn't even see that as important compared to YOU. He wants ALL of you. And as we cut out the source of toxic things... we are making room for Him to nourish us. We are to be the vessels to make God's glory known throughout the earth, but how can we be those proper vessels if we are packed to the rim with counterfeit. He desires us to be a constant flow of His goodness- SURE of who He is and confident in who He created us to be as sons and daughters of a KING.

So let's end this blog by reflecting on the choice that's been around since the garden of eden. Are we going to go to the source- the tree of eternal life, or are we going to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil? You see.... God gave them a choice then, and He gives us a choice now.

Genesis 1:
8 Now the LORD God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed. 9 The LORD God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground—trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.....

15 The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. 16 And the LORD God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; 17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.”

Then, when they were deceived and ate from the very tree God had warned them against what happened? They were banished from that garden. My first thought of God was then one of punishment. But over the years, as I've taken a closer look at this... my eyes were opened to God's heart for adam and eve, even His heart for us. I began to see His LOVE... and this is what changed me. Now take a look at this....

Genesis 3:
21 The LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them. 22 And the LORD God said, “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.” 23 So the LORD God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken. 24 After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side[e] of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life.

God knew that if they then ate from the Tree of Life, we would all be doomed living in a fallen body in a fallen and broken world FOREVER. Wow, in this moment of revelation I was blown away by His love... and am every single time i read this.

Then He sent His son.... who became the new TREE OF LIFE for all to eat from. We need food daily to survive. What are we feasting on spiritually... and is it feeding and cleansing our spirit man or is it just momentarily taking our hunger pangs away? Are we producing fruit that is revealing God's love daily... or are we still just feeding off of a tree that is feeding us lies of the enemy? Just because we may have made one decision to follow Christ doesn't entirely mean that it stops there... we are consuming something daily (constantly making decisions), what is it and where is it coming from? Does it contain the nutrients we need to be strong and fit for the present spiritual battles we face daily for the Lord's kingdom or does it contain unnatural things created by the source of lies that is weakening our spiritual immunity every second? Think about it. Pray about it. And do something about it. By doing "nothing" we are actively choosing for the enemy to have more authority in your life and in this world. Because if we don't detox His crap out and let God come in and nourish us... then He will be happy finding a home in every area God is not present. This is why God wants ALL OF US.... not just our "spiritual" lives.