Friday, December 31, 2010

The Road I Took

The Road Not Taken
by Robert Frost

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,            
And sorry I could not travel both 
And be one traveler, long I stood             
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,        
And having perhaps the better claim,           
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;           
Though as for that the passing there           
Had worn them really about the same,                    

And both that morning equally lay           
In leaves no step had trodden black.           
Oh, I kept the first for another day!           
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,           
I doubted if I should ever come back.                    

I shall be telling this with a sigh           
Somewhere ages and ages hence:           
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—           
I took the one less traveled by,           
And that has made all the difference.         

When you take a leap of faith, it's just that because you have no idea what the outcome will be.  It's not really something I ever planned to do really.  I, like most people, would prefer to know what is going to happen next.  But there came a moment when I had to choose if I was going to stay in a place out of fear of what would happen if I didn't, or go because it's what God asked of me.  
Though I have no idea what the outcome is going to be I can tell you one thing for certain. . .  If I had to do this all over again I would make the same exact decision.  I have no regrets about quitting my job and going to the International House of Prayer.  Bad economy or good economy, it was time to move on and my God promises to supply all of my needs.  Fear should never be a reason to hold you down unless you are about to walk into something that is not of God.  If you're not walking in God's plan then you should be very afraid because it won't work.
 When that fork in the road comes and God has allowed all the parts of your life to be stirred into uncomfortableness, do not be afraid.  Ask Him what He wants you to do and just do it.  It's always better to do something everyone may think is irrational if it's of God then to do something everyone agrees with that's not of God.  I've found that the only one you can always rely on is God anyway, so worrying about what others will say is pointless.  
Moving forward allowed me to meet people who have changed my life, people I will never forget.  God has given me new awesome friendships I never would have made if I'd been too scared to jump.  And most importantly my relationship with God grew much deeper.
Before I left I knew I heard God but was not confident about it.  This is not to say I never doubt what I hear, I'm still struggling with that but I have become much more confident about it.  I step out way more than I would have before.  Before I never would have done a listening prayer.  I remember trying one in 2006 and was sure I heard wrong and wouldn't say what the Lord said to me.    Now whenever I think about not saying anything I remember this quote from Charles Spurgeon, "We must take care that we do not neglect heavenly monitions through fear of being considered visionary; we must not be staggered even by the dread of being styled fanatical, or out of our minds.  For to stifle a thought from God is no small sin."  Now I'm convicted when I hesitate to say something because of fear of man.  Man is nothing to fear.  
Psalm 118
 4 Let all who fear the Lord repeat: “His faithful love endures forever.”  6 The Lord is for me, so I will have no fear.  What can mere people do to me?
 7 Yes, the Lord is for me; he will help me.  I will look in triumph at those who hate me.
 8 It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in people.

So, as we face the New Year in the next few hours ask the Lord what He has for you.  Look ahead with joy and anticipation no matter what things look like right now.  I say this to myself as much as to you.  And if in 2011 the Lord puts a fork in the road and one is safe and the other is His will, take His road.  I promise if it's the Lord's will, you won't regret it.  
" Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference."      

Blessings to you!  And have a very Happy New Year!!   

Saturday, November 27, 2010

So Thankful!!

During the summers when I travel with the arts team; there is a song that the camp kids love to sing called, "So Much".

The lyrics are as follows:
We've got so much, so much,  so much
so much, so much, so much (8x)
To thank Him for 
(repeat chorus 2x)
We've got (person's name here) to thank Him for (2x)

The camp kids love this song because when the portion of the song where they are able to insert a person's name comes in, the song allows the children to bum-rush. . . I mean hug the person whose name is mentioned.  Needless to say it always takes around ten minutes to get the kids back on track after this verse because they are always on the other side of the room screaming and yelling in a massive pile.  This Thanksgiving that was the first song that came to my mind.  Why?  Because I have SO MUCH gratitude for what the Lord has done for me in the past few months.

This time last year I was in a scarily depressed state.  The depths of my misery are too dark and personal to convey to you.  The spirit of hopelessness and despair were all-consuming.  I was sure that God would never deliver me and I was not able to see any light at the end of the tunnel.  This Thanksgiving I had more gratitude in my heart than I can even begin to explain.  I spent the day thanking Him for what He has done for me in one of the most amazing places I have been gifted by Him to live for the past few months.  I was in the prayer room soaking in His presence, basking in His glory and worshiping Him for His kindness towards me.  You see, He didn't have to do it.  But He is a good kind Abba.  He cares about His children and wants to bring us out of dark places because He loves us.
Psalm 18:19 He also brought me out into a broad place; He delivered me because He delighted in me.

As I was in the prayer room yesterday I read a word by Victoria Boyson which spoke so strongly to me.  I hope it speaks to you as well.  She wrote,"We can get caught in the cycle of complaint with God concerning how long it is taking Him to meet our need, instead of thanking Him for all that He has already done for us. Our unhappiness can keep us continually seeking explanations from God, instead of thanking Him for the mountains He has already moved and the seas that He has parted to get us this far.
How soon we lose sight of all the miracles He has performed to bring us the victories we have already been given. While waiting for God to do the "big" thing for us, we forget to be thankful for the little victories along the way. I believe the small blessings we receive from God are a special test of our heart; He wants to know if we will be thankful even for the smallest gift."

What the Lord has done for me this year is NO small gift.  It was the answer to the loudest cry of my heart for a number of years.  Not only did my God hear my plea and answer me with a resounding "Yes"! but He also granted my request to be able to have my time be focused on Him, His word, and soaked in His presence.
Psalm 6:9 The Lord has heard my plea; the Lord will answer my prayer.
Psalm 145:18-19 18 The LORD is near to all who call on him,
   to all who call on him in truth. 19 He fulfills the desires of those who fear him;
   he hears their cry and saves them. 
This is not to say that I am not waiting for any other answers to prayers.  But the Lord is teaching me to be more thankful for EVERYTHING in EVERY situation!  In the previous years it has been so easy for me to get caught up in the despair of the "one big thing" I wanted answered.  That is one of the reasons I was in such a bad way last year.  I'm not saying I will not slip again.  Lord help my wicked flesh.  I am sure that when the next phase of difficult, dry, tired wilderness comes to test and try my soul I will not be singing this happy tune.  I do pray that my flesh dies a little everyday so that one day being thankful even in a dry and weary land is an automatic reaction for me.  It's easy to be thankful when the Lord has granted your request.  God help me to be more like you and rid me of myself.
These past few months have been a beautiful time that I will cherish for the rest of my life.  Thank you Lord for this great blessing!  You are so good!

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 16 Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

11:59 and 59 seconds

He’s an on-time God by Dottie Peoples
(He's an on time God, yes, He is).
Oh, on time God, yes, He is.
(Job said), He may not come when you want Him,
(but He'll) be there right on time;
(I tell ya He's an) on time God, yes, He is.

I grew up listening to that song but had not been able to appreciate what Ms. Peoples’ was singing about until I became an adult.  These past five years have been a waiting game like none I’ve ever played before and I am sure that there will be more waiting games ahead.  There is that saying we all know, "It always comes in the eleventh hour."  That could not be truer of my life right now.  And it is really out of my comfort zone. 
A word I received before I started my last season five years ago was this, “If I gave you your calling right now it would crush you.”  Needless to say, that word puzzled me.  I thought, “Good Grief!  What are you giving me that is so big?  I didn’t ask for that much!”  Of course at the time what I was asking for was much different than what God wanted to give me.  All I wanted was a little assistant job at a theatre company on Broadway.  This did not seem like a tall order considering I had just finished working for “The Lion King” on Broadway.  I thought my request was reasonable and why couldn’t God do it?  Well, He didn’t.  This closed door started me on the five-year waiting game I spoke of previously.  Why didn’t He do it?  I can speculate but I’m not one-hundred percent sure.  Does it matter? No, it doesn’t.  The bottom line is that He didn’t and He knows why and I must accept that. 
So, right now I am on an unknown path.  I know you all are wondering, “Well, she only has a few weeks left.  What will she do now?” The plain truth is that, I do not know yet.  I knew when I came to Missouri that God would not tell me until "the eleventh hour".  A friend of mine spoke that word and I knew it was true.  I mean five years of praying and 2 ½ of fasting and God decides to tell me what is next three weeks before it starts.  He is teaching me to trust Him and to hear His voice better.  IHOP has been a great training ground because when I hear something that I feel is from the Lord I can exercise it.  
The second part of this lesson, and most important, is the trust factor.  My trust has been really damaged within the past 2 ½ years.  I thought this was odd for someone whose life verse is Jeremiah 29:11 - "For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”  I was offended with God, I felt that He didn't know what to do with me so He put me in the corner and left me.  It was painful and I really had to work that out.  I'm still working it out.  I felt punished and I hadn’t done anything wrong.  He wasn’t punishing me, He hadn’t left me, but when you are hurt, broken and have been crying out for change for so long, it is easy to take offense in our humanness.  That is why God’s grace and mercy are so marvelous!  And why I couldn't be more grateful for this beautiful season He has given to me as a gift.  I'm so blessed and full of joy and gratitude!
Now even though I do not know what is next it doesn’t mean I am totally in the dark.  The Lord has given me little bits and pieces, but no through line.  So, I am still waiting for the clincher.  The thing I won’t see coming; the suddenly that I need to arise to make my next steps clear.  When I hear, you’ll hear. Habakkuk 2:3 (Amplified Bible) For the vision is yet for an appointed time and it hastens to the end [fulfillment]; it will not deceive or disappoint. Though it tarry, wait [earnestly] for it, because it will surely come; it will not be behindhand on its appointed day.(A)  
So, I continue to earnestly pray and seek him.  I covet your prayers for wisdom, discernment, and an increase in the heavenly realms.  I feel a fierce war is raging over this next step and Satan is wanting to stop it. 
A friend of mine was praying for me a few days ago and the Lord said to her, “She is on standby.”  My friend asked, “Who?”  And He said, “Ebony”.  Then she had a vision of me standing in an airport at the airline gate.  My bags were packed and I was ready to go but I was on standby waiting for my ticket.  Then she felt the Lord say that if He told me now I would do this -  Enjoy the clip! It’s nice to know that I make God laugh.  :-)

Laugh a lot!

P.S.  "It's okay!  I'm a limo driver!"

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Does the title fit?

I have been so challenged in my time here at IHOP-KC so far.  I love it!  I’m kind of freaking out about how I’m going to adjust to regular life after these last 5 1/2 weeks come to an end.  It was extraordinarily hard acclimating to my “normal” life when I came back after a weekend here in May.  This place is one of a kind.  An entire group of people giving there lives over 100% to pursuing God and His will.  People are afraid to date because they don’t want to be out of God’s will.  That doesn’t happen anywhere!!  Our world is the way it is because people so often don’t care or listen to God.  They just do as they please or decide that He said, “yes” because it is what they want.

This past weekend we attended the Prayer and Prophetic Conference.  One of the greatest things that I have been challenged with is standing firm in my faith even unto death.  I entitled this blog as “Fearless Obedience” because I want it.  I know I am weak and do not have it. 
Could I, in the face of being sawed in half like Isaiah be as strong as he was?  Would I shrink back knowing that possibly I could be crucified like Peter? See, we are so comfortable here in America. Honestly, I believe that’s why we are not standing up firmly for what is right according to scripture and the will of God.  There is coming a day when possible death for our beliefs will no longer be a fleeting thought for us.  There is coming a day when this will be our reality.  This is the reality for many all over the world, but there is coming a day when it will be ours here in America as well.  The statistics I’ve been learning of Americans who are serious Christians is staggering. A large portion of Americans call themselves “Christians”, but when asked specific questions about their faith seemingly have shown hardly any evidence of it.  We like to say, “Well, Only God knows their hearts”.  But, let us not forget this scripture, Matthew 15:17-19“But what comes out of the mouth gets its start in the heart. It's from the heart that we vomit up evil arguments, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, lies, and cussing. That's what pollutes.” Luke 6:43-45 "You don't get wormy apples off a healthy tree, nor good apples off a diseased tree. The health of the apple tells the health of the tree. You must begin with your own life-giving lives. It's who you are, not what you say and do, that counts. Your true being brims over into true words and deeds. 46-47"Why are you so polite with me, always saying 'Yes, sir,' and 'That's right, sir,' but never doing a thing I tell you? These words I speak to you are not mere additions to your life, homeowner improvements to your standard of living. They are foundation words, words to build a life on.”
I believe that the phrase, “God knows our hearts” is a nice little epitaph to make us feel better about not living our lives out boldly for God.  I think it has become a crutch we use and the truth in the phrase is gone when we frequently use it to comfort ourselves while we sin.  This is the truth and we need to have boldness and speak it out.  We are a people who have a stronger fear of man than of God.  And I will be the first to stand and say I am so very guilty!  Father forgive me! 
Paul was just as guilty when he went to Mars Hill to preach the gospel.  He watered the truth down to make it more relevant to the culture and people.  It was one of the very few times he tried to minimize the amount of feathers he ruffled. This is something I am seeing all over the place and again, I too am guilty.  Pastors are trying to keep people in their churches by pleasing the pew warmers.  Us pew warmers are trying to be nice to our unsaved friends and let them know we are “tolerant”.  Is allowing them to go to Hell being a nice friend?  I think we are the worst friends in the world if we allow that to happen.  We have to realize that watering it down is getting us NOWHERE!!
Look at the state of our country and tell me if you think we’ve really been speaking the truth and going out there and fighting for it all the way?  Look at all the lost people who think they are saved.  Hell is a real place and yes, people are really going there if they don’t stand for Christ FOR REAL.  And I’m not talking about some watered down, westernized version of Christianity.  I’m talking about an on fire, for real, Hell is real and so is our God, I’m speaking the truth and don’t care what you say or do to me Christianity. 
1 Corinthians 1:17-20 17 “God didn't send me out to collect a following for myself, but to preach the Message of what he has done, collecting a following for him. And he didn't send me to do it with a lot of fancy rhetoric of my own, lest the powerful action at the center—Christ on the Cross—be trivialized into mere words.’
18-21’The Message that points to Christ on the Cross seems like sheer silliness to those hellbent on destruction, but for those on the way of salvation it makes perfect sense. This is the way God works, and most powerfully as it turns out. It's written, I'll turn conventional wisdom on its head, I'll expose so-called experts as crackpots.
So where can you find someone truly wise, truly educated, truly intelligent in this day and age? Hasn't God exposed it all as pretentious nonsense? Since the world in all its fancy wisdom never had a clue when it came to knowing God, God in his wisdom took delight in using what the world considered dumb—preaching, of all things!—to bring those who trust him into the way of salvation.”
So that’s it.  People are looking for love, answers, peace, joy, security and whatever else in all the wrong places.  Our world is a mess and people are wondering why.  So what if we get a little egg on our face and people think we are not being “tolerant”.  Speaking the truth IN LOVE is what we are called to do.  We are not called to be inoffensive and make sure everyone feels real good about themselves all the time.
I had never heard Lou Engle speak until this weekend.  He sooooooo challenged my heart, mind and spirit.  I feel like the worst Christian.  He was talking and I thought, “Am I even saved?!”  He’s wonderful and speaks the truth like John the Baptist.  Praise God for him!  He spoke on prophecy and said, “ The prophetic gifts bring forth the mind of God.  We need to be delivered from the triviality of the prophetic, for it is the voice of God speaking!” Then he quoted this from a book, “To stifle a thought from God is no small sin.”  Then later he said, “Prophecy is the embodiment of the Word.  The person who speaks prophecy must become the prophecy, the Word.”    We know that the Word was with God and the Word was God and the Word become flesh in Christ.  So therefore, if we are Christians which literally means “little Christs” then we have an obligation to be The Word”.  We must eat the scroll and be it.

Hebrews 11:29 “By faith the people passed through the Red Sea[d] as on dry land; but when the Egyptians tried to do so, they were drowned.  30By faith the walls of Jericho fell, after the people had marched around them for seven days.
 31By faith the prostitute Rahab, because she welcomed the spies, was not killed with those who were disobedient.[e] 32And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel and the prophets, 33who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, 34quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies. 35Women received back their dead, raised to life again. Others were tortured and refused to be released, so that they might gain a better resurrection. 36Some faced jeers and flogging, while still others were chained and put in prison. 37They were stoned[f]; they were sawed in two; they were put to death by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated— 38the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, and in caves and holes in the ground.  39These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. 40God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.
Hebrews 12:1Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. 2Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Yes, Church is fun!

If you think I've been sitting in silence with calm churchy music and organs playing in a dark room since September.  . . you are sorely mistaken!  Tonight is our last Awakening Service and I want you to be a part!  Go to this link: tonight from 7:00pm - 1am EST and enjoy! 
If you can't jump, dance, scream and sing for Jesus, then what are you doing?  I bet you do that at concerts. (and now I am giving. . ."the look")

Monday, September 27, 2010

IHOP-KC Is Turning A Leaf

For those of you who do not know much about the International House of Prayer which is where I am going to be until the end of November, know this. . . It's awesome!
But sadly, one of the things I have been loving about it is about to end.  In  November of 2009 an outpouring of the Holy Spirit began in one of the classes.  It spread like wildfire and they began having Awakening Services shortly thereafter.  God is turning the page and the leadership team believes that it is best to go back to the groundfloor and begin praying and fasting for the next wave, the deeper waters of the river if you will.  So, the last night of Awakening services will be on October 9, 2010.

Why am I sad?  I am sad because the Awakening Services have offered a major freedom for me.  I can dance and sing as loud as I want and no one pays you any mind because they are doing the same thing.  Now it's back to the prayer room and there is not that type of freedom in the prayer room.  I've grown spiritually in those Awakening Services and it's sad for me to see it go when it's meant so much to me.
So, please pray with me if you will.  Pray that the spirit of freedom breaks out into the prayer room!  Pray that the Holy Spirit is not snuffed out because it makes people feel more comfortable.  Quite frankly I'm tired of people worrying about how comfortable they are, the gospel and being a Christian was never about that anyway. Pray that dancing like David is allowed everywhere, not just in one little box in one little section of the prayer room during certain times.  I love you IHOP, but that is booty!

Now please do not misunderstand me, I have nothing against quiet worship.  I like to have quiet worship sometimes.  I just believe there should be room for both.

Please pray that God continues to take us to deeper waters, and higher places in Him.  Please pray that the outpouring pours out everywhere and that people get healed and delivered in the cafe, prayer room, classrooms, library, etc.  Bring it on!  More Lord!!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Threshing Floor

Threshing - Threshing is the process of loosening the edible part of cereal grain (or other crop) from the scaly, inedible chaff that surrounds it. It is the step in grain preparation after harvesting and before winnowing, which separates the loosened chaff from the grain. Threshing does not remove the bran from the grain. Threshing may be done by beating the grain using a flail on a threshing floor. Another traditional method of threshing is to make donkeys or oxen walk in circles on the grain on a hard surface. A modern version of this in some areas is to spread the grain on the surface of a country road so the grain may be threshed by the wheels of passing vehicles. (Thank you Wikipedia!)

Threshing Floor - A threshing floor is a specially flattened surface made either of rock or beaten earth where a farmer would thresh the grain harvest.

John 16:33 - I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace and confidence. In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer [take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted]! For I have overcome the world. [I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you.]

For the last week and a half we had been studying Ruth in my class.  On one particular day our instructor did a study entitled:  “Redeemer at the threshing floor”.  This was the study of chapter 3 in Ruth where she goes to meet Boaz on the threshing floor and lay at his feet.  Our instructor did another comparison of Ruth and Esther in this situation.  Ruth was told to go to the threshing floor for her husband and Esther was told to go to the palace for her husband.  He surmised that the people who God puts on the threshing floor, look at the people whom God tells to go to the palace and get angry or jealous.  He knows this because he was one of them.  There are questions as to why God blesses the Esther folks with so much, meanwhile the rest of us are being beaten like grain. 

In spirit I am an Esther.  It’s been spoken over me many times and I have been able to embrace that word wholeheartedly as I’ve always loved her story.  She saved her entire race of people even in the face of what seemed like certain death.  I’ve always had trouble with Ruth’s story because I found Esther’s to be so much more heroic.  Can I just tell you that in life I rarely “feel” like Esther.  These days I am identifying with Ruth as we study her story.  This threshing floor of life idea that our instructor presented resonated with me in deep ways.  After he did the study he did a ministry time for those who felt like they had been on the threshing floor of life for quite a while and had a lot of hurt and some offense with God for His allowing it.  So of course, you don’t have to ask me twice and I was up like a dart to the front of the room.  While everyone else is sobbing, I’m standing there solid and with no tears.  The pain had been raw a few months ago, but I had felt like a window had opened when God allowed me to come to IHOP-KC so the pain was not like it was and I was doing a lot better.  I’ve recently realized I am nowhere near done with being threshed.    I’m in pain, I’m hurting and I have no idea what to do with it.  So, I am doing my best to, “give it to God on a plate. . . a plate of heart mush” as one of my good friends called it yesterday.

I keep looking back on the past few years of my life and I am trying to figure out what God was doing.  I feel like I keep loosing things and people that I thought were some of the very reasons God had me where He did for so long.  All I can do is pray that seeds were planted, God has heard all of my cries and prayers and that good will come out of the threshing I have been through. 
Redeem and restore?  I have to pray that in a way that is also about the will of the Lord being done in my life.  That means that the restoring and redeeming may not look the way I expect it to but that things are being restored in a more perfect beautiful way. 
Because the end product is always about the Lord being glorified, so therefore we have to believe that if He wants His glory to shine in these situations that it will always come out for the good of those who love him. – Romans 8:28 We are assured and know that [[j]God being a partner in their labor] all things work together and are [fitting into a plan] for good to and for those who love God and are called according to [His] design and purpose.
So even though I may not know why I’ve been on the threshing floor and I am sad, in pain and hurting that good will one day come from what seems so broken and unmendable.  Romans 8:25 - But if we hope for what is still unseen by us, we wait for it with patience and composureHabbakuk 2:3 For the vision is yet for an appointed time and it hastens to the end [fulfillment]; it will not deceive or disappoint. Though it tarry, wait [earnestly] for it, because it will surely come; it will not be behindhand on its appointed day.(A)

This harvest season has not looked at all the way I always imagined.  I thought that God would finally say “okay” and I would walk off into the sunset with a huge smile on my face and sunshine pouring out of my heart.  FALSE!! There has been trial, after trial, after trial on this bumpy road to harvest.  If I remembered how hard the labor was when harvest is actually gleaned then I would not have expected it to be so smooth and awesome.  So, instead of looking back, I am going to do my best to walk ahead.  I must keep in mind that as I walk forward into that new season I have prayed and fasted so long for that many more attacks and hurts will come and my spirit must be on guard for those. Proverbs 4:23- Keep and guard your heart with all vigilance and above all that you guard, for out of it flow the springs of life.
So, do not be discouraged when the harvest comes and things look worse than ever.  First remember that Satan is scared of how much damage you are about to do to his work and so he’s going to try to stop you.  Second, remember that you have the favor of the Lord over your life and joy will absolutely come.  Psalm 30:5 For His anger is but for a moment, but His favor is for a lifetime or in His favor is life. Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Forget the Former things. . . I am doing a new thing!

A few months ago, I became obsessed with Isaiah 43:18-19 18"Do not [earnestly] remember the former things; neither consider the things of old." 19"Behold, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs forth; do you not perceive and know it and will you not give heed to it? I will even make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert."
Once this verse was impressed on my heart, I began to see the Lord do that very thing.  Rivers were springing up everywhere in my very dry desert of a life.  Everything He sent was what I needed so desperately to sustain me.  He always does that for His beloved ones.
When I came to the International House of Prayer in Kansas City, MO for my birthday this past May the last song I heard just before I had to leave to catch my flight was, "My Soul Longs for you Lord in a dry a weary land."  Which is taken from Psalm 63:1 "O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you in a dry and weary land where there is no water."
For years I have been in the desert waiting for the Lord to rescue me and take me into the promised land.  I'm not in the promised land yet, just on another, much much more enjoyable portion of the desert.  Our instructor made a point that opened my mind so much on Thursday, that I feel it needs to be shared.  He said that if we look at all the really powerful ministers in the Bible, they spent many years being taught by God in the desert and very little in ministry.  He said if you look at Jesus he spent 30 years in the desert of training for three years of ministry and was crucified at the end of his ministry.  John the Baptist spent 30 years in the wilderness eating locusts and honey for 2 1/2 years of ministry to be be-headed at the end of his ministry.  One of the most famous men in the Bible who got the best deal was Moses.  He had eighty years of life training for 40 years of ministry.  That is rare!  But the poor old man still never got to see the promised land.
Now please hear me, I am not saying this to discourage you or depress you.  I am telling you this because it is a hard truth that I am still grappling with at this very moment.  I have spent so much time feeling that my life has been a waste.  Wondering, what in the world the Lord has been doing with me and feeling as though I've not offered much if anything to the world through my current years of existence on the planet.  The epiphany I had on Thursday was that the majority of my life may not be spent in the Promised Land.  The majority of my life will be spent in the desert getting ready to be the most effective minister of the gospel that I can possibly be. 
See, we are all onions with a trillion layers to be pulled back and dealt with.  Years of junk along with our human flesh that must be crucified with Christ.  No, we shall never be perfect.  Even Paul during his ministry said in Romans 7:14-15, "14We know that the Law is spiritual; but I am a creature of the flesh [carnal, unspiritual], having been sold into slavery under [the control of] sin.15For I do not understand my own actions [I am baffled, bewildered]. I do not practice or accomplish what I wish, but I do the very thing that I loathe [[b]which my moral instinct condemns].
But we all need to get to a place of surrendering to the mercy of God.   Our instructor brought up a beautiful point today in class.  He said that if we would only understand the mercy that we have instead of always striving to repay our debt than we would lead lives without self-pity, pride and condemnation.  If we could just rest in our Heavenly Father's arms and truly understand that we are loved and forgiven and that were have already been pardoned, we would live our lives in a new way. 
We say we are understand it, but I do not think that we really get it in our heart of hearts.  A place of truly understanding God's mercy.  I think that each of us needs to get to that place.  A place of complete surrender in His love for us.  A place where we become passionate for others to know THAT love.  In this place we can be extraordinarily effective in our ministries because we finally understand that this is what it's all about.  It's not about US doing anything.  What it comes down to is what HE did and we are only here to make sure that everyone knows and understand this, so that they may also become powerful ministers.
I am a goal oriented, career desiring woman who has not managed to have a career.  So, I've been sitting in my pool of self-pity believing that until this point, my life has not amounted to what I think it should have.  Don't get me wrong, I'm still struggling with this idea.  I've not fully accepted that I've been absolutely doing what I was called to do for these past few years.  It's hard, I had big dreams.  I shook my fists, cried my eyes out and had all out temper tantrums.  I'm sure that there are still a few in me yet to come. 
My hope in this portion of the desert is that I rid myself of what I thought I should be in this life.  If we all don't understand this we will be miserable in the next season.   I must begin to relinquish these things to God and ask that my heart completely line up with His will 110%.  I desire that all my goals be ones that he has placed in me and that the desire for anything else is taken away. 
These words are hard because there are dreams I've had since I was a small child that have yet to be fulfilled.  What will I do if they never happen?  I have no idea.  I have to believe that God will give me what I need in that time.  I must believe that in my weakness His strength is made perfect.  That's why I am so thankful for His grace and mercy. 
Romans 7: 24-25 24O unhappy and pitiable and wretched man that I am! Who will release and deliver me from [the shackles of] this body of death?  25O thank God! [He will!] through Jesus Christ (the Anointed One) our Lord! So then indeed I, of myself with the mind and heart, serve the Law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin.
Romans 8:1  1THEREFORE, [there is] now no condemnation (no adjudging guilty of wrong) for those who are in Christ Jesus, who live [and] walk not after the dictates of the flesh, but after the dictates of the Spirit.(A)

Friday, September 10, 2010

How He Loves Us!

Yesterday I was sitting with a new friend, and she showed me this AMAZING picture of Jesus!! I often have the burden of intercession and the Lord wakes me up late at night to pray until the burden lifts.  So, when I saw this picture entitled, "Jesus Intercedes for Us" I was blown!  I thought, "Man alive!  As messed up as we are His burden is so much more than anything I could ever imagine!"  And as I thought of this, my heart ached.  It ached for all that we put our beautiful Lord through.  It ached for all the ignoring and disobeying we do.  My heart began to be in physical pain for how much our Lord hurts.  I think that if we really thought about this picture and how much He really does love us, I bet we would act and react in a completely different way.  Jesus!  Thank you for your love, your grace and your mercy!
I liked the New Living Translation of Romans 8:34 because it says that He is "pleading for us".  Whoa, that is just so powerful!  Romans 8:34 (NLT) Who then will condemn us? No one--for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God's right hand, pleading for us.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

The Journey Begins . . .

So, we left for Maryland this morning at 6:30am.  My mother was awesomeness personified and drove the U-haul because I'm a big chicken!  I will not lie and say that every step thus far has been smooth.  On the contrary, it's been bumpy all the way, but everything has worked out.  God has clearly had His hand on this from the very beginning and for that I am grateful.
So, tomorrow morning at 8am I begin the long 17 hour drive to Kansas City, Missouri.  I can not even begin to tell you how excited I am!  I can't wait to hear from God!!  I felt like His voice was so much clearer when I was there the last time, than when I'm caught up in all the noise of regular life.  Everyday life can be so bothersome, but I believe that if we seek Him hard we do not need to go to IHOP-KC just to hear what He has to say to us.  I think the major issue is that I was not sitting and listening as intently as I did in Kansas City when all the noise of my life was taken away and it was just Him and I.  We allow ourselves to miss out.   We spend so much time talking and asking Him to do what we want, that we don't stop and listen to what He wants.  If we did that more often,we very well might get the answers before we've even asked the questions.  Wow!  What a concept!  To start out listening to God first before talking at Him.  I think that if we purposed to do that more, our lives we be a lot different.
My first day back from my birthday trip to Kansas City,  I got up that morning and I said to God. . ."I just want to be with you and spend time with you all day, everyday."  Well, at the time I had a job to do, but He opened a door for some of my friends and I to begin a prayer group at work.  It was such a major stream in the desert for me.  I have loved going everytime we've been able to meet.  It was the best part of my day.  Those people have literally walked me through some difficult times and I am so grateful to God for allowing me to know them.
Who knew that four months later He would say "Yes" to that prayer in a life changing way.  It gives new credence to the phrase, "Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it."
So, this is what I vow to do, and I challenge you all to do it with me. . .stop and let God speak first.  Then when He speaks listen and be quiet.  Don't speak after and say, "But" or "I just".  Try, "Yes and Amen".  You have no idea where it might take you.  But, I can promise you that it will be a journey that will change you forever.


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

A Leap of Faith

What a journey the past few days have been! From the Lord speaking to my heart that I am to literally drop everything and follow His lead, quitting my job and in two weeks I will be living in Kansas City, Missouri.  Wow! 
First, you have to know something about me.  I DON’T DO THIS!  I am a planner.  I like to plan parties and get-togethers months in advance.  I book plane tickets three months in advance.  I like to know what is happening next all the time.  I am not a fly by the seat of your pants kind of woman.  But God clearly said, “Take up thy cross and follow me!”  So, I’m doing it.  I’m leaving my wordly possessions behind, leaving a regular paycheck and benefits, to receive impartation and increase from the Holy Spirit. Whoooooaaa!
Some of you may read this and think I have really lost my mind.  Some of you may read this and think that I am just trying to make my own stuff happen and I shouldn’t do this.  Here is the thing. . .   I love you all, but God told me to do this and I am doing it.  So, if you do not have encouraging things to say about me following His lead, you don’t need to say anything.  I only have room for the will of God.  I understand reservations, and worrying for me.  That’s all love for me, but trust me when I tell you that this is the Holy Spirit’s guiding.  He clearly spoke and said, “Follow Me, walk in Fearless Obedience”.  A friend spoke over me once and said, “The Lord will tell you to do things, but beware people will say to you, ‘No, stop, don’t!”  If you are one of those people, before you type that email, make that phone call or send that text message, pray.  If anything, pray for God’s will in my life and financial provision.  Not my will, but thine Oh Lord, be done.
It’s been said that to get something you’ve never had before; you have to do something you’ve never done before.  Sometimes, when God tells you to do something it sounds crazy.  Think of Ezekiel, Haggai, David, Noah, and Joseph; the Lord asked them to do some outlandish things and gave them promises that seemed far fetched to those around them.  But after they did it, not only were they blessed, but so were generations after them and people around them.  Obeying the will of God has a ripple effect just as disobeying the will of God has one.  I want to be blessed going and coming and I want that to ripple out to all of you, my loved ones.  I Samuel 15:22 But Samuel replied:  “Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice of the Lord?  To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams.  For rebellion is like the sin of divination, and arrogance like the evil of idolatry.  Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, he has rejected you as king.”  
A friend of mine had a vision of me with the Lord and He said to her, "Obedience is better than Sacrifice". WOW!  I did not know what that meant, but I know now!  
For a long time I've been wondering what the Lord was doing with me.  I've been fasting and praying for years for the next season.  Here it is!  Staring me in the face and I just can't wait to leap off into it!  At the very beginning of my journey to this place, I was seeking the Lord for the next step.  In the midst of it I was worrying and a friend said to me, "Don't be afraid, just anticipate how God is going to move!"  People, I tell you the truth, do not be scared when the Lord asks you to make a giant leap of faith.  If He is with than you have NOTHING to fear!